Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Why can’t the rain wait until you need it?  It is sunshine that we want to see now!

It’s still too wet do any farming here – although there are plenty of other tasks on the list.  One project has been to trench in a new power line to the bunkhouse.
It had been just me and the mother-in-law up at the ranch all winter, with occasional relief provided by visits from my oldest son.  With ski season over, my younger son has returned to the ranch.  But when we went to turn on the water at the bunkhouse we discovered that one leg of the power was dead.
That power line was a convoluted combination of overhead and underground feeds, and apparently an underground wire had burned through.  We used the backhoe to intercept the underground line where it crossed the creek, but the break was somewhere in the yard around the shop.  We measured up and went to the supply store for a new length of underground cable, and rented a trencher.
The trencher worked well for the first 75 feet, but we ran into rocks that were too much for that machine.  We had to finish the trench with the backhoe.
When we had finished, I swapped the trencher at the rental store for gooseneck flatbed trailer and ran up the Shields River to a ranch where I had dealt for a used ‘big gun’ irrigation system.  We were able to load a tractor and the sprinkler gun on the trailer to haul back up to the West Boulder.
I had a tractor that quit during the winter while I was blowing snow.  After unloading the tractor and sprinkler from the trailer, we loaded the up the dead tractor for a trip down the mountain to the repair shop.
And of course we’re still feeding hay to the cows. 
I had lined up a pretty good crew to brand calves this weekend, but it is not to be.  We received 2 ½” of rain in the last 24 hours, and the weatherman predicts 80% chance for today and tomorrow.  The calves are gaining weight pretty quickly, and another week of growth will make the job more challenging, but you can’t brand wet calves – a rancher is always at the mercy of the weather.

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