Monthly Archives: June 2012
Have I mentioned how much I love social media? It’s opened so many doors for me, especially within the last year. For example, a month or so ago I was buying everything and anything at OSH’s spring plant sale. My obsession with my garden had hit a new high, I could not be stopped. When the plant buying frenzy finally ceased, I had some herbs that, well, I didn’t know what they were or what to do with them. To Twitter I went!
I have found between twitter and pinterest almost all of my problems and questions can be solved. Like I said, it’s amazing. I follow around 1,500 people on twitter. All kinds of people – from vegans environmentalists to loggers in Canada to meat scientists to plant science PhD’s. I learn a lot and get exposed to some points of views that I normally wouldn’t. It definitely gets me out of my comfort zone – a good thing!
I asked my twitter followers who knew about a herb called borage. I’d purchased 3 or 4 of them, because they were 99 cents at the OSH sale! But I had no clue how or where to plant them. I totally scored when Dr. Pamela Ronald tweeted me back! Yeah, you should go ahead a check her out, go here and here. Yeah, she is badass. Guess what? She invited me down to meet her and her husband and see the UC Davis Student Organic Farm!!!! To an ag nerd like me, this was very exciting.
As I’ve been trying to explain to some of my facebook friends that accuse me of being “pro chemy” or “in Monsanto’s pocket” – agriculture isn’t like that for me. I am a supporter of agriculture – organic, natural or conventional. I want to use the best practices on my ranch that has been in my family for 6 generations. I want that ranch there for another 6! I’m trying to have a dialogue with as many people as I can, to learn as much as I can.
My next field trip will be in July. I’m going to Monsanto’s test plot in Woodland. I’m excited to contrast the organic farm and Mosanto’s test plots – I’m willing to bet they are not that different.
I would like to thank Dr. Ronald for taking time out of her very busy schedule to visit with us and teach us about the organic farm. It was wonderful to learn more about a different type of agriculture. Thank you!
Our cattle start calving (or giving birth) in June. This is usually a very busy time on the Ranch, in addition to the babies being born, we are also making hay, selling and shipping our commercial cattle and taking care of the day-to-day ranch chores. It is anything but “the simple life”.
Inevitably we always end up with a bottle calf or two. This happens for a couple reasons. The first being sometimes you have twins! Our beef cows generally are not equipped to raise two calves, so one twin becomes a bottle baby. The second reason is sometimes you lose a cow in birth, but you can save the calf. And finally the third reason is sometimes your neighbors will have extra calves but no extra time, so they will sell you their bottle babies.
We like to have an extra bottle calf on the ranch. Why you ask? Well, it takes around 6 years for a beef cow to be profitable on a ranch. That means you have to keep that cow healthy, happy and producing a calf, ever year, so you can continue to ranch. If you aren’t able to keep your cattle happy and healthy – they will not breed back and you will not have a product (calves) to sell. If you don’t have a product to sell, you won’t make money. If you do not make money, you will go out of business. This is a fact I think we can all agree on.
Say you have a nice young cow that for some reason or another (maybe she ate a poisonous plant), lost her calf. Instead of culling (or selling) that cow because she isn’t producing, you “graft” a bottle calf onto that cow. That calf gets a new Mom that loves it, and the cow gets a baby to love and raise and the cattleperson gets to keep a nice, young, healthy cow and a calf to sell next year! Everyone wins!
So far this summer, we’ve had 3 bottle babies. It’s been the summer of twins! We’ve already grafted one calf on to a cow, but we still have two bottle babies on the Home Ranch that my Mom and I (mainly my Mom), are taking care of right now. I thought it would be a fun little blog post to show my readers how we bottle feed our babies! Enjoy!
Remember the guest post that Brian Drake did a couple weeks ago? Well I am pleased to annouce they have pork available!!!
A couple months ago, a woman I follow on twitter, @SusanaCanseco, sent me an e-mail about feed bags or “Bolsas” her family makes. Well, I checked out the link – http://www.elojodeagua.com/more-about-our-recycled-feed-sack-bags/ – and let me tell you, I loved them. Her family upcycles all of their ranch’s feed sacks! Genius! This makes me happy on levels, obvisiously recycling is good, but these bags also make me think about the animals that Susana’s family cared for. I get the warm and fuzzies when I think about ranchers caring for their animals, I can’t help it.
So Susanna made me an offer I couldn’t refuse – she wanted to send one of her bolsitas bags to me to use, if I would write about my experience with it. It was like Christmas! I love doing this sorta stuff!!!! I scampered back over to her website to look at bags! To be honest, I loved them all, look at this one!!! Horses!!! And this one, it is a purse!!!!
After much agonizing about what bag I wanted, I called in my Mom for a second opinion. Turns out, this was a bad idea, more on why later.
If you like to support crafty, creative people that make a product that really does rock, I highly recommend that you check out Susana’s page http://www.elojodeagua.com/bolsitas and buy one of her bags. I plan on buying a few for Christmas gifts! My friends will love them!
Even better, if you are in Texas go check out their beef and hunting http://www.elojodeagua.com/!!!