This letter from West Cattle Company is the first of many that is designed to bring our ranch home to you. Our hope is that by following us through our monthly updates, we can share the love and the joy of the journey that is working on the West Ranch.
Whether you are just passing through on this journey, or one of our well-known neighbors, everyone is welcome at West Cattle Company and we are glad you decided to spend a few moments with us.
With that said…….
It is always amazing how fast and crazy summers come and go around the ranch. One minute it is April, May, and June, and we are running ragged in the rollercoaster that is calving season. Seemingly on a dime, what was once shades of brown and grey turn into shades of green and yellow and blue. The skies begin to rumble and roar with thunderstorms soaking the thirsty ground with a much-needed drink. The bitter bite of winter relents, leaving a feeling of thankfulness and inspiration. Calves begin to make their way into this world. First a few, soon after, an entire harvest of calves bucking, jumping, and loving on their mothers.
When the calving is all done and the branding is through it is time to begin to focus on how to feed the livestock through the next winter. July and August bring haying season. Equipment must remain in tip top shape to endure the hours and hours of operation to shepherd in a successful hay crop. The coordination between who cuts the hay and who bales the hay is like a dance. Cut too little at one time and production is not maximized. Cut too much, and risk a random thunderstorm or wind storm to add more work and time to the operation. Soon the fields are spotted with bales of hay ready to feed our livestock through the fast-approaching winter.
Its September. The bales of hay have been picked up and hauled to the designated spot known as the “Hay Stack”. This area is fully fortified with tall fences and locks to keep animals (both wild and domestic) from helping themselves to the hay buffet. This is catch up time. Everything that had to be pushed aside to make time to calve and put-up hay is now on the list. What fence repairs that didn’t get done, corral repairs, equipment repairs, and overall maintenance. Its also a time to catch up on some much-needed rest. Summers are a grind. Sometimes you have to pull your hat down and push through. Sometimes you have to dig deep and remember the reason why you do what you do. However hard the summer was, rest is important because Wyoming winters are brutal and long.
October is going to be an exciting month. The calves have been sold. To prepare for their journey we will provide them with the vaccinations they need to stay healthy. This is called pre-conditioning. Its also time for them to be weaned from their mother. The Moms need time to focus on the next generation, and for the past 60 days, the bulls have been hard at work to keep our operation moving forward.
Sometimes it’s a whirlwind here at West Cattle Company, and sometimes there is a lull. However, one thing remains constant above all others. We are blessed to have this life to care for and manage God’s creation, and no matter what new adventures the seasons bring, we love this life here on the range.
After all, who doesn’t love to ride rollercoasters, dance, and rest.
Till next time,
West Cattle Company.