A few minutes of rest.
“We looked for and dreamed about this piece of property for so long, sometimes it’s incredible to think that we’re really here. Here’s what it looks like when we’re not busy haying or digging ditches.”
Rain, snow melt, and flooding.
“Since we started, our herds have grown. We started out with ninteen heirloom Angus and eight full-blood Wagyu. Now we have fifty Angus and twenty-two Wagyu. It’s one of the reasons I’m thinking about expanding to accommodate the herd. It would be more work, of course, to move them around by trailer. We’ll see. I have too many ideas.”
Branding cows and sending bulls off to Fresno State.
“Cows are herd animals that don’t like being separated. We’ve found if you leave one on their own, all hell breaks loose. One of our favorites, she’s been nursing two calves, very friendly. At 1,700 pounds, she has jumped the gate and broken three gates.”
Six horses off to Santa Anita. Putting cows through the chute. Over and over.
“Last month, I dug down a foot the entire length of the chute. I did this to make the sides higher and prevent any more jumpers. Now there’s a big pile of dirt from digging that out. As we’re running them all through the chute, everyone has to stop and roll in it. They think it’s the best thing ever. Moms, babies. They all headbutt the dirt pile and roll their heads around in it. Great fun!”
Trimming trees and having fun in the sprinklers during hot weather.
“When we mow or harrow the fields, the blue herons come show up to eat the gophers. Those rodents make a mound and a hole which can cause cows and horses to trip or get hurt with a foot stuck down in it. Squirrel holes are worse. So we’re glad we have predators.”
So hot. Everything is harder in the heat.
“Our cows stay cool by keeping in the shade and stand in the sprinklers. We work hard to keep them comfortable.”
Lessons from a broken foot.
“Trying to get her into the chute, she went for Julia and Dario. I figured I could get her over to it, but she was mad! I’m usually quick, but she was so fast. When I hid behind a tree, she came after me and head butted me. Then she rolled me, and my foot ended up under a hoof. I should have had more respect for a cow with a baby.”
Phantom Proton won at Los Alamitos Race Cource. Shifting the livestock on the farm.
“We had already been thinking about selling Tiny because he’s related to all the cows on the farm. He’s a nice animal to be around and has a great temperament—never gives us any trouble when we need to move him. But he’s longer than he should be, and his genetics just aren’t as good as we need. So when the time comes, we’ll put him and some of our Wagyu stock up for sale. It’s tough, but that’s ranching.”
We bought a new bull for breeding Angus and a new piece of land for expanding the farm.
“We’ve been feeling the squeeze on our farm for a while, needing more space to put cows out to pasture. Now we’ve got it. The property has an oak grove at the bottom. I’ve been spending most of my time there, figuring out where the wells will go, what kind of fencing it needs, and how much we need to do to start from scratch.”
A win at Del Mar Racetrack.
“Our filly, Rolling Shadow, won at Delmar coming up from last place to a photo finish. Such an exciting win for the farm and our team!”
Gearing up for next year.
“I’m planning to move some of the cows to Stepaside Ranch property for greener pastures. First there’s a road to put in, fence to build, and about a million old tires to move out. Still. Every time I walk this property, I feel so good about this decision.”
Looking forward to 2018
The thing I love most are the new calves. We’ll have about thirty this year, I think. I just look forward to seeing them every time. We’ve got a little Wagyu girl who’s just two weeks old now. She’s so funny, such a little character. When I’m feeding the cows she’ll run around then stop and look at you—then run around again.
There’s always work to do, but the cows make me happy and keep me going. Happy new year!