Sunday, July 20, 2014

Happy Bulls, Baby Elk, Bounty of Apricots

Mike took the bulls out to the Zumwalt to reunite with the cow herd in June. We winter all our animals together on the Imnaha, but we separate the bulls from the cows in the spring time. That way the cows will be bred to calve to when the grass is abundant.
"I'm back ladies!"

Blade bellers and Tank befriends a heifer

The bulls were also eager for a good scratch and rub on the pine bark.
Tank and Blade getting a rub

We saw a lot of cow elk when we returned to the canyon to pick up the last of the horses. Their adorable long legged calves bounced alongside as they moved up the ridge from the river. One cow and her calf took up residence in the box elder grove, visiting the orchard daily and cleaning up the windfall apricots. 
Elk cows and calves at the river

The apricots came on with a vengeance in the hundred degree weather. The fruit went from green to falling off the trees in three days! Luckily the hot weather also made for good river swimming, although the water was still too high and fast to really embrace the current. 
A few of the hundreds of pounds of apricots

Dawson and Cammie water fight

Even with the heat, the water was cold enough that the warm rocks felt good. 
Dawson warms up after his swim

Wes practices rock throwing

Dried, canned and jammed, apricots

We only get a big apricot crop about every four years as frost often nips the buds in spring. Between marketing beef, herding steers, and my day job, the apricot bounty was jammed, canned and dried. We're looking forward to the sunny taste of this beautiful fruit all winter long.

Last evening, we headed out to the steer pasture, hoping to get in a wayward steer who had fallen in love with the neighbor's cow herd.
Mike and Chester, off to bring in the awol steer
 It turned into an adventure, with the steer covering most of the 300 acre pasture. I watched Mike and Chester exhibiting their skills, jumping irrigation ditches, cutting and sprinting to head the steer, riding quietly behind the herd, gently nudging through and poking a small bunch toward the gate. At the last minute, the big steer and a bull charged for the open gate, I swung my bullwhip as Mike surged forward cutting between the two animals. Crack! The bull turned back. Crack! The steer, trying to bolt past me, turned into the next gate and the pasture where he belonged. I was impressed. We got him in, that stubborn steer.

Ten minutes later, with Chester in the trailer, we headed for home, only to see the steer jump a fence and trot back toward the cows. Sigh, we'll be back another day....

The end of my bull whip

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, Home of Bunchgrass Beef