In real estate, they say location, location, location. In ranching, it’s rotation, rotation, rotation.
Using the same fields for different purposes is how we take care of the land. At the moment, I’m haying for the second time this year. When we’re done baling, the twenty-six cows plus Tiny the bull will come in that pasture to eat what’s left.
Because we compost the horse and cow manure, it turns into rich organic topsoil to fertilize the fields. I put that down after I cut the grass. The other day, a neighbor came by and said our place looks amazing. He’s been around a lot longer than we have, and it was nice to get a compliment about how well we’re caring for the property.
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.
It’s amazing to watch the herons standing completely still over a gopher hill as long as they have to. While I’m mowing, the hawks follow me to catch mice and gophers. Nature helps you out. In fact, our population of gophers is 30% of what it was.
Last week, the weather was so hot. I like to keep busy, but no one was working in the afternoon because it was just too hot. We turned sprinklers on the horses and cows to keep them cool. You can read their faces almost saying, “Please turn it on.” They like being sprayed and don’t run away.
In some places in the Sierras, there were snow levels 180% above normal. The high heat melts snow quickly, and the dam systems just can’t keep up. We’re dealing with a lot of water. Half the fields are flooded. So many skunks and raccoons are here because the river is flooding—almost over the bridge .At some point, I have to check the bridge out. There’s been so much water hitting against the sides, I want to be sure it’s stable.
We’ve lost at least twenty-five oak trees and lots more are coming down because they can’t handle the wet. And it’s still running. We’ve been cutting up all the downed trees and bringing them down to the recycle center so often, we’ll need new tires for the trailer!
Finally, we find out in a few weeks whether the ten Wagyu embryos implanted 25 days ago were successful. Our embryologist veterinarians will be back to see how we did. We had so many bulls last season (fifteen!), we’re hoping for a few more cows this time.
Here are some photos of our downed oaks…
And that’s just three!