Things that don’t belong on the V6

It’s easy for me to think of all the things I need for the V6, but it dawned on the other day that it might be more effective to first determine what things I don’t need.

Asking myself the question of what don’t I need, gives me permission to not only see what Dead Wood is slowly disintegrating before my eyes. This backward look at the things we do at the ranch has allowed me to call into question some practices that I might have kept going, but when exposed to the light of reality made no sense.
Why would I continue to dry farm (means to plant a hay or grain crop depending solely on the amount of rain that might fall during the rainy season), when most years I can buy the hay the ranch needs cheaper than I can raise it? Gone now are all the clanking, groaning, humming Hay Bailers, Swathers, Harrow Beds, tractors and disks, ECT. ECT. ECT. AND ALL THOSE HATEFUL TRIPS TO TOWN TO BUY PARTS TO KEEP ALL THIS MACHINERY CLANKING ALL TOOK STAGE LEFT IN THE YEAR 2000.

All because I asked myself,

With my Holistic Management training does Dry Land Farming work anymore?

The testing and monitoring said emphatically, NO.
I discovered that this is a grass ranch first and livestock ranch second. If I don’t raise grass first, then I’m shortchanging the grazers something to eat. And this effects the well being of all the predators, and in turn the scavengers to complete the health of the grazing whole.  I can’t forget that paying the bills is the most important part of another whole that allows me to work at stopping erosion, providing feed and cover for all the domestic and wild critters. Keeping the welcome mat out to all our hunt club members and cattle driving guest that always enjoy a very unique experience.

Nothing can live very long without water so I’ve developed 3 sources. We have spring water, pond water and well water, and a very elaborate distribution system.

What I don’t need for the ranch. The list to follow has no rhyme or reason it is presented just as thoughts pop into my mind. Minimize the need for straight lines. Roads are the biggest culprits, Mother Nature abhors them. Zee and I spent last Saturday afternoon watching the Cutting Horse finals in Paso Robles. I spent part of the day looking at what the vendors had for sale. Two items caught my eye. Both sparkled in the sun and both won’t find a home on the V6.

All ranches in my view need a pickup truck or two, but not the one with a $65,000 sticker in the window. Start its engine and at least $20,000 will disappear in a flash from your bank account.  For traveling the countryside I guess I’ll do without a $606,000 Motor Home and settle for a nights stay at Motel 6. The ranch needs the tiniest amount of paint as Mother Nature’s colors are much prettier and she will maintain them for you at no cost. That makes Rust my favorite color.

Every bit of new tech knowledge that is touted to solve whatever problem might be staring you in the face at this moment most likely is not the answer. The land dances to Mother Nature’s music. Not to a super computer you just need to observe, look and then listen to the songs that her orchestra is playing.

We don’t need people that live, work, or play here that see this land only as a thing to be exploited for their own gratification. And we certainly don’t have to follow the Pied Piper anymore that taught us how to send unfathomable amounts of topsoil down our streams and rivers to graveyards in our oceans. I think I’d better quit before I rant on about all the pesticides, herbicides, germicides that are only Band-Aids for our man made problems not solutions.

See ya,


Finding the sick one

My position in the cattle industry is called a Stocker Operator. Which means that in the autumn of each year I buy all the cattle the V6 will carry for the upcoming grass season. The stockers that I usually buy come from the high desert of Northern Nevada and Southern Oregon, and normally they arrive in good health. But that doesn’t mean that none of them wont get sick.

Pneumonia is the disease that usually strikes when a Stocker is stressed from being shipped; thus its slang name: SHIPPING FEVER. If not cared for, it will almost always end in death. Putting a big dent in a cattleman’s pocket book. So what is the proper course of action?

First you have to locate the sick ones. Because they are not like us, who can be physically sick, but most calls to the doctors office your doctor will politely tell you that you’re only sick in the head. My cattle are either sick or they are not makes things much easier.

I start the hunt for a possible sick one when they first arrive. My horse is saddled ready to move through the cattle, as the cattle are more relaxed around a person on a horse than one that is looking from his perch upon his 2 feet.

For me, the best time to look is when the cattle have just been fed. Many times a sick one will not come up to eat but will be found lying by its self. Two people are better than one when driving a sick one to the Hospital Pen.

I’ve picked out the obvious ones, now it’s time to start looking for the next one who is exhibiting the typical SHIPPING FEVER symptoms:

  • Soft Cough
  • Standing with Head hanging low,
  • Mucus running from the nose,
  • Hair on the back of the tail is flat,
  • Hollow in the flank
  • Slow walk

And if you find one gasping for breath, your probably too late, you should have found him the previous day!!

Last, the really good PEN RIDERS have a sixth sense that allows them to pick out a sick one almost before the Bullock (wiener calf) knows that he’s ill. THE QUICKER YOU FIND THE SICK ONES THE FEWER DEAD ONES WILL BE A FEAST FOR ALL THE  SCAVENGERS THAT NEED MEAT TO SURVIVE.

I practice Socialized Medicine; this means all the cattle that go through my doctoring chute first get their temperature taken. Then depending on how high above normal (normal is 101.5) the temperature is, and how much they weigh, determines the treatment that will be administered in a therapeutic dose. I don’t practice low level feeding of antibiotics to keep my cattle in good health as you just develop drug resistant bacteria.

So with diligence and using the latest protocol for the correct antibiotic to use, and careful monitoring for 2-3 weeks of all the cattle, they should be feeling Hail and Hardy and ready to feast on some V6 grass.

See Ya,