Tag Archives: poo

Earth Day, Grazing and Fire Prevention

Over the past two years our ranch has been involved with two fires. In 2017, the Cherokee Fire burned our ranch destroying homes, trees, barns, out buildings, water infrastructure, fences and corrals. It caused almost $4 million in damage to our home ranch. The Camp Fire happened in 2018. Although we were spared from flames damaging our property, the evacuations, water infrastructure damage, smoke damage and stress to ourselves and animals is still causing major problems.

The home ranch still burning the morning after the Cherokee Fire.

The home ranch still burning the morning after the Cherokee Fire.

Living through several natural disasters I’ve become accustom to answering questions about what we do, as cattle people, to mitigate damage from fire. For six generations my family has lived in this area, running cattle with little change. Fire has always been part of our plan, however the past few years it seems like it has been excessively different.

In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to show you one big benefit of grazing cattle; fire fuel load reduction.

The two photos below were taken one year apart. The top photo was our ranch un-grazed spring of 2018. The Cherokee Fire destroyed all of our fences so we were not able to run cattle on this side of the ranch during the winter of 2018 like we normally would. The result was grass that almost grew taller than I. The fuel load was massive and we were so scared we were going to burn up, again.

Spring 2018

Spring 2018

The second photo shows what healthy grazing looks like. The grass is managed and healthy (as are the cattle). The cattle also release nutrients back into the soil with the poo and provide us with food and fiber. Cattle play an important role in fire prevention in our area.

Spring 2019

Spring 2019

As we enter the 2019 fire season, I’d like you remind you, your local neighborhood cattle are working hard to mitigate potential damage around our communities.  They are doing this without using pesticide, electricity, loud mowers or fossil fuel, just a four chambered stomach.  Help support them by having a lovely hamburger or steak for dinner this week?

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Beef, Fire, History, Know a California Farmer, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized

14 Tips for Dating a FarmHER or RancHER

I don’t watch much TV. I especially don’t watch reality TV. My reality is enough for me! However, it has come to my attention that a popular reality TV dating show is featuring a farmer. I know this because I have seen multiple blog posts about what it is to date or marry a farmer. This is great, most of us need all the dating advice we can get. But it’s been just a whisper one-sided. Where are the blog posts about what it is like to date or marry a woman farmer or rancher? Since I am a woman rancher and I usually date non-farmers or ranchers, this is a topic I am especially familiar with, so I give you my list of advice.

1. Don’t be intimidated by us. Yes, we have an unique skill set, work ethic and a can-do attitude that can be daunting but there is nothing sexy about a man who is scared or threatened by a woman who is self-sufficient.

2. Working in agriculture is often a dirty, bloody, dusty, muddy, smelly job. Sometimes we like to be pretty and knock the poo off, take us out occasionally so we can wear our town boots and smell nice. Of course not during planting, harvest, calving or shipping season though.

3. We can castrate with our teeth. Enough said.

4. Our prefered topics of conversation will make you uncomfortable or grossed out for a while. Don’t worry, you’ll get used it and eventually like it. Example dinner topic at my house: “did you see that abscess on that cow finally popped?!? What was the scrotal circumference on the new bull?’

5. Don’t “little lady” us on our ranch. By that I mean don’t treat us any differently than you a man doing our job. Not only is it incredibly insulting, it can get someone hurt. We know our job and how to safely do it. You do not.

6. We cuss like well-educated sailors. It’s a result of being “little ladied”. For example, if it comes between dropping an “F” bomb to get your attention, or watching you get mucked-out by a mad mama cow because you were trying to do my job, I’ll let loose a string of expletives that would make a trucker blush.

We love our animals.

We love our animals.

7. The farm and animals will always come first. Often, our ranch is the work of generations of our family’s blood, sweat and tears – we know this is a legacy that we cannot lose. Respect that, even offer to lend a hand (even if you just bring us dinner to the tractor or field). Bonus points if it’s during our busy season.

8. Sometimes we won’t be able to take that romantic getaway or attend that wedding with you or even go on that date, our schedules are not like our non-farming counterparts. The animals don’t care if you have plans and the harvest can’t wait. Give us lots of notice for events and forgive us if we cancel on you – our whole season’s work might be in jeopardy.

9. A clean house may not always be our top priority, but we can cook better than your Mom, probably your Grandma too. And, extra bonus? Our deep freezers often contain more beef, pork, lamb and wild game than you ever imagined!

10. We can hunt and fish. And own excellent places to do that. We also clean and gut our own game, yours too, if you compliment us enough.

So handy!

So handy!

11. We are damn handy to have around. Most of us possess a plethora of skills honed over our lifetime of manual labor on the ranch. Need some welding done? Maybe some plumbing? Have some heavy equipment you need operated?  Maybe your pet needs some vaccinations? Let us know, we’ll take care of it.

12. We are confident and fearless. We rarely take shit from anyone. If you make us mad, you will know about it. We work with animals and equipment that are much larger than you and not as reasonable, everyday, all day.

13. We can breed, plant, assist with birth, raise, harvest and slaughter our own food. We are connected to agriculture in almost a spiritual way. If you spend any amount of time with us, you will learn more about agriculture than you ever thought possible and start to love it as much as us.

14. If you love us, you will love our life. It just comes with the territory. Farming and ranching is not always easy, pretty, fun or comfortable, but it is one of the most rewarding ways of life ever. If you are lucky enough to date a farmher or rancher, told on tight, we are worth it.

Don’t believe me? Here is some more advice!

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Humor, Know a California Farmer, Ranch life, Rants, Uncategorized

My Top 13 Cattle Working Tips….

cowgirl

  1. Wear comfortable and supportive underwear and socks. There is nothing worse than getting an epic wedgie while running up and down a catwalk of a chute.
  2. Well…as long as we are on the subject…..Invest in a really good sports bra. The rocks + ATV’s = giving yourself a black eye.
  3. Bring an extra jacket because it’s always colder than you think, especially on an ATV. A beautiful, balmy morning can quickly turn into hypothermia and snotcicles.
  4. Wear short sleeves underneath because it gets hotter than you planned and boob sweat in your fancy sports bra is not your friend.
  5. Try and get as far away from the boss as you can, this lessens the likelihood you’ll get yelled at.
  6. Bring Chapstick, it’s wonderful for many uses. You never know when you’ll need to lube up a gate that is stuck or when your lips need moisturizing.
  7. Wind burn is as bad as sunburn. Wear lots of sunscreen and a big hat, you’ll thank me when you’re my age and you still get carded.
  8. Check all gates for hornet’s nests first! Those suckers hold a grudge and will get you at all costs. It’s like getting punched, it’ll ruin your day.
  9. Bring toilet paper. It’s a long way back to the house, there is no shame peeing in a stock trailer. Dripping dry is not time efficient.
  10. Keep your mouth shut as much as possible. I swear the cows get great joy flicking poo at and on you. Cow poo doesn’t taste good.
  11. Shut and lock and double check that you locked every gate you pass through. You do not want to be the one responsible for accidentally letting the cows out.
  12. Wear boots that are comfortable. There is nothing worse than breaking in a new pair of boots during a work day. You’ll be so busy, you won’t notice your blisters until they bleed.
  13. Bring your sense of humor.  Sometimes things will go wrong, people will get snapped at, and you will get poo in your mouth – it’s life, you just have to spit it out and keep moving forward.

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, family, History, Humor, Know a California Farmer, photos, Ranch life, Rants, Uncategorized

Outhouse in House?

You can buy this book at amazon 

In honor of Dr. Grandin’s visit, my Parent’s are installing our third set of humane handling corrals. I got to share with Dr. Grandin how much her designs have helped us and our cattle. I think she liked hearing that. My Dad has been on his backhoe this week, tearing down our old wooden corrals so we can install the new sweep and solid panels. In addition to tearing down the old corrals, my Parents have been cleaning up some old barns and buildings that are slowly falling apart.

The herd heading to the Valley in 1939

The neat thing about having old buildings and barns is the cool stuff that my family stored there generations ago. For example, we found the old port-a-potty that my Great Grandpa used on the week long cattle drives we used to have. It was made so you could set it on two stumps or rocks, have a nice seat to do your business, yet it was small enough to be portable so they could carry it on the chuck wagon.  According to legend, they also had a “deluxe” model, with two holes, so the kids wouldn’t fall in. Isn’t that ingenious? They never covered that on the Oregon Trail game we played in elementary school. I know my least favorite parts of cattle drives was pooping in the forest. In fact, I attribute my early woods pooping experiences to why I loathe camping now. Scarred for life.

Sam Brown Jr. and his dog. Notice the chuck wagon behind him?

This port-a-potty is so neat, and has such a wonderful history, I want to make it into my new coffee table. Yes, I am aware generations of my family pooped through it, but that just adds to the charm, in my opinion. I could even put a chips and salsa bowl in the hole when I have parties! I have several talented friends that I am talking to right now about this project.  Hopefully I can blog the whole process and share with my readers! Check back often!

My new coffee table!

“The Seat”

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Filed under Ag, History, Humor, photos