Well, it has been one busy summer and we are sneaking into fall without an end in sight. I have failed once again to send out a consistent update and for that I am sorry. I love to explain what it is we do on the ranch but sometimes, it is hard to get behind the computer and type it out. I often struggle to put into words exactly what goes on around here. However, I will give it the old college try. And late minute college writing is what I do best!
April and May bring on calving season. One minute, you are preparing and bringing the herd closer to the house to prepare, and the next, you are scrambling for your life as baby calves begin to fill the ranch with new life. We prefer to calve later than the traditional February/March calving period so we expect to see calves starting the end of April through the end of June. Calving season is always busy, but the hardest part is constantly being present for the first-time heifer mommas. We keep a close eye on them and assist them when they are having trouble having their baby. Sometimes, we are not able to get the momma into the corral so it’s necessary to pull the calf out in the field. It is always more challenging to do this, but if she needs help, it is impossible to always make the situation fit the perfect circumstances.
We do our best to keep up with the available technology to get our jobs done faster and more efficient. This year we started to experiment using our new drone to check heifers. If you follow us on social media, you may have seen the video Brittany posted about us sending the drone into flight. Its an attempt to do the same job that needs to be done in a more efficient manner. We will continue to try to use innovative ways to get our work done and we will keep you posted on how the drone experiment plays out. For now, it too early to tell.
This spring/summer was nothing short of an amazing blessing. It rained and rained and just when we thought we could not handle any more water, it would rain again. Pastures erupted with grasses and plants that have been aching for a drink. Creeks and ponds filled to their maximum capacity, and then spilled over. Hay meadows produced more than we have seen in a very long time. As a result, mommas and their calves happily grazed on the best mother nature could provide. What a fun year to just sit back and lock into the memory bank! Its years like this that make it hard to imagine ever doing anything else.
As calves begin to cover the ground, we shortly creep into branding season. Its also the time of year we begin to decide which calves from which mommas will be kept to grow the herd and continue the next generation of the ranch. Our animals are an extension of our family, and like our family, it is exciting to see them grow.
This summer also brought our first hired employee. Brennan came to us at the end of May and stayed until the end of July. He is an Ohio guy (apparently, we like to collect Ohio people) and he hit the ground running. Brennan was a blessing to the ranch, providing much needed help with fencing, farmers markets, branding, and working on the hog paddocks. He is a young, hardworking, teachable, young man and we are crossing our fingers that he will make an appearance next summer!
For us, the end of calving season brings about the beginning of haying season. We usually begin haying around July 4th, and finish sometime in late August, However, as I write this blog, we are not even close to finishing. We have struggled through broken equipment and weather for almost three solid months. When the equipment was running, the rain would not allow us to continue. When the rains would pause, our equipment would need to be fixed. As challenging as it is sometimes, it really makes you think about how “not in charge” you really are when it comes to weather and events that are out of your control.
In the midst of all the ranch work, We at West Cattle Company completed another year of delivering meat to Ohio. We made stopes in Illinois along the way, and as always, it was such a privelage to be able to provide people across the country with our grass fed grass finished beef. As hard as that trip is to organize and execute, sharing a part of our lives here in Wyoming with people that may not otherwise know our existence is a fantastic experience.
We have also continued our run at the Loveland Farmers Market and we continue to enjoy delivering our high-quality meat to new and existing customers. Every year we continue to grow and expand, and that is all because of you who support us in this small business adventure. Its hard, its challenging, but we would not trade a thing to be able to continue to Live the Legend!
Brandon & Brittany
West Cattle Company