Sounds of Summer

Memorial Day! This week marks the start of summer as well as hay season here on the ranch. We’ll start laying grass on the ground and with temps this week in the middle 90s (heat indexes nearing the century mark) it’ll cure pretty quick.

The cows are pretty content, so I had the opportunity to visit some friends this weekend and enjoy some good food. We know all about our grillin, just get a good dry rub and a grill, sit back and enjoy. I had some good steaks, lamb, and even had catfish with all the fixins twice. When was the last time you sat back to watch and listen to the sunset? Nothin like listenin to all the crickets and critters, and the squirrels.

Take time this week to thank a soldier for their work to keep our freedoms in this country. What will you be doing for Memorial Day? What signs mark the start of Summer around your place?

Photo Friday: Wind Power

Thank goodness its Friday! On Fridays I will post a photo from the ranch and discuss the subject. Take a gander and see if you can guess what we are looking at…

Montana Wind Farm: Photo Courtesy of Katy Jane Angwin

Nope, they’re not your modern day wind mills. Actually quite diferent from wind mills used as early as the late 1800s in places like the XIT Ranch of Texas to draw underground water for livestock. These modern day wind turbines are found in wind farms across the globe, generating 2% of the electricity in the U.S. today.

On the drive through Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico last week these things dotted the horizon. While I lived in Dalhart last year I remember looking out at the night sky (more like morning on my way to work at 3 AM some days) and watching the blinking lights off in the distance from these towers. They are pretty majestic to watch and quite the distaction along I-40. If ole Boone Pickens has anything to do about it, we’ll being seeing more of these in the near future.

Wind Turbine Facts

  • The U.S. has capacity to generate more than 35,000 MW of energy from wind turbines and leads the world in wind power
  • In 2008 wind power accounted for 42% of U.S. new power-producing capacity
  • Wind power in the U.S. provides enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 9 million homes, avoiding the emissions of 57 million tons of carbon each year
  •  The world’s largest wind farm is located in Texas
  • The microclimate created by wind farms is actually beneficial to crop production
  • Turbine blades sometimes interrupt ground radar returns, affecting storm tracking and aircraft direction
  • A large number of turbine blades are manufactured in Little Rock, Arkansas
Do you have any wind farms in your area? What are some of your experiences or stories about wind power?

Writer’s Block: Fielding Your Questions

For the first time in quite a while, I have nothin much to talk about. That or I’ve just been unmotivated to just write it all out. So maybe I’ll just let ya know what we’re up to on the ranch.

Seems like we have been pelted with Spring storms this year. The weather warning tones are now commonplace on the radio and I’m so tired of finding trees down on fence lines, it’s not even funny. Last week I took all 3 chain saws to the shop for a tune up, so maybe I can get caught up soon. Our river bottom keeps flooding every time we get an inch or more of rain upstream. Guess there’s not much of a place for all that water to go right now. So that’s kinda messing up my rotation to new pastures in the bottoms, but luckily with all this water grass is growing well on higher ground.

We have finished up Spring vaccinations. All our cows have their annual vaccinations, fly tags, and dewormers. All of the calves are castrated, tagged, and vaccinated. We have just a few Fall calves left to round-up, but they’re not in the easiest pasture to get up to the corral, so I’m just lettin em hang for a bit.

The bulls have been turned out since the first week in May. They are doing their job, keeping good condition, and I’m counting down til I get to round em up again. We’ll start cutting hay next week. Some of the neighbors have already made a cutting, but we graze out most of our best hay pastures to catch that good early Spring grass. Sometimes it makes better grazing than it does hay.

My horses are doing great. Grullo is a champ except when he decided to have a bit of a bucking fit after a few days off last weekend. Blaze is playing hard to catch, so he’s getting a daily work out. I’ve ridden him 3 times now with no incident. Though he did throw a random bucking fit just as I was about to unsaddle him last week. But he’s got a brain in there somewhere and we’re making progress.

Pistol is being a whinny butt as usual when she gets left in the pickup.

Since I’ve run into a writer’s block of sorts, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to host some questions. Ask me anything about cattle, horses, ranch life, myself, or food/Ag in general. I’ll field the questions in a few posts and some may get a post of their own. I’ll try fitting several of these in all Summer, so please send em my way. Leave a comment on any post, catch me on Twitter (@AR_ranchhand), or leave em on the Facebook page. Or if you’d like email me (

Wordless Wednesday: Back Breaking

Water's taking over the river bottoms once again
Cattle gathering last few bites of grass Sunday morning before water moves in
Pistol's got it figured out. Sit in the shade and let someone else do the hard work in this 90 degree heat
My back hurts and this is only two logs. Wait, ignore the splitter in the background, it's just for decoration...

 Be sure to check out my other Wordless Wednesday at Sitting in the Pasture