Friday, March 22, 2013

We'll take what we can get!

Its been a dry year... to say the least.  With over 75% of the country in drought conditions, its hard to complain about a little snow, or even a lot of snow!

So when it started coming down a couple weeks ago we bundled up, went outside and did a little dance.  Afterall, snow is moisture and the earth rejoiced.  But then it kept coming, and coming, and coming! With a day in between the two biggest storms, the guys had just enough time to push their way through the drifts to get big ol Bertha down the road.

As with every time we have severe weather, our cattle are on the forefront of our minds. But when we have little babies hitting the ground every day, 12 inches of snow makes matters even worse.  Luckily, cows are notorious for hiding their babies out of sight and out of the wind so 9 times out of 10 the little babies wake up after the storm dry and warm and ready to go sledding!

And, with the passing of every storm, there is always the promise of yet another day. Another sunrise, another sunset, another day to give Thanks.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Who are you calling a Heifer!?

Keeping with the theme of playing, "What went on on the ranch"....

Running a registered herd is quite a bit different then running a commercial herd.  With our Black Hereford herd, we are quite anal about keeping meticulous records.  From very specific birth weights, weaning weights, calving ease even down to specific dates of vaccinations.  This helps us build up data on our herds so we have everything we need to present to our buyers and prove what an amazing group of cattle they are!

So, just like the bulls, we have to get yearling weights on our little heifers.  It's a pretty quick but necessary step  of their lives but, like most women, the heifers would rather look away from the scale then have their weight shouted throughout the barn. We use this data to calculate their average daily gain, something we are very proud of with our Black Herefords.

Nonetheless, its always pretty incredible to see how quickly our little girls have grown from 70-90 lb little newbies to 900 lb teenagers.  It brings a tear to my eye... they're all grown up!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Neighbor to Neighbor

You know those people who stand outside the grocery stores? The ones who are ringing bells, handing out fliers, trying to give or get something from you?  Are you the type of person who stops and listens to what they have to say or one that skirts on by "promising" you'll stop on the way out only to take the back exit and walk a 1/4 mile just to avoid the conversation?

If you're the latter, stop and listen just for a moment.  Ms. Katie and I will be posted up outside of Dillons on Saturday morning promoting the Neighbor to Neighbor food drive.  We will be collecting food and money for our local families of Leavenworth County who dont have enough to  eat.

Being a farmer and a rancher, we already are providing food for the nation but as Kansas' largest industry, employer and economic driver; there is always more we can do.

“The Neighbor to Neighbor food drive can help us reduce hunger in Kansas but it also gives us a chance to say thank you to our state’s farmers and ranchers,” Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman said. “Today’s farmers and ranchers work 365 days a year to raise food to feed your family and mine. They work to continuously improve their practices to raise safe, wholesome food. About 30 years ago, one farmer fed approximately 56 people on average. Today, one farmer feeds 155 people. I hope all Kansans will join us in this important effort to help our neighbors and will also take a minute to say thank you to the men and women who raised that food.” 

So, come by and see us.  We'll be at the Dillons in Leavenworth from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm  She is quite possibly the cutest pregnant lady you'll ever meet and I just want to shake your hand for helping us help those in need.  After all, it's going to be a beautiful day!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

In other news...

Other reasons why I've turned into a bad blogger?   Too many commitments! One little job after another means I need a big marker board to keep things straight... ( Need, dont have, that's why I'm always feeling crazy!!!)

So,  here's my little two cents that goes in the Kansas Stockman each month.  Basically I just write a few words about what's going on with the Black Hereford Association so people are always thinking about us!

April's Issue:

The sales are wrapping up, the snow is melting and the baby calves are quickly making their debuts! If you’re a spring calving operation that uses live cover for breeding you should be seeing at least 65% of your babies by the end of your first 21 day breeding cycle.  That makes for a very busy first couple of weeks.  If your numbers are much less than that, you may want to consider looking into your cow nutrition or your herd bull battery.  Your heifers should be 65% of their full adult weight upon breeding and 85% of their adult weight at delivery of their first calf. 

Although the snow is less than desirable during the thick of calving season, we hope it will provide some much needed relief from the drought we’ve all be suffering through.  The uncertainty of Mother Nature has made for smaller herds for this upcoming year but if you find yourself needing a bull as the rain (hopefully) continues to fall, please contact me at(913) 727-1266.

Monday, March 11, 2013

we got oursleves a 'twofer'!

You know that perfect pair of boots? The ones that go with every outfit; that were broke in just right; that you just couldn't imagine living without? Well that's the way we viewed cowboy John.  Dependable, hard working, versatile.

So you could imagine our heartbreak when he got an offer he couldn't refuse.  He decided to move out west ( central KS, dont get carried away) to become a partner in another cattle operation.  We were heartbroken but really excited for his opportunity. Afterall, we couldn't expect him to stay with us forever, right?

So just when we felt like all was lost and we'd never find another cowboy quite like him, we found Brandon ... and his brother in law, Brandon.  Yep, you read that right.  Two Brandons, One Family. It's the things dreams are made of.  For the sake of confusion from this point on, we'll call them North and South. ( dont tell them this, they're from Texas and I'm sure North would not appreciate nickname)

 South ( always in a baseball cap) started with us while John was still here, learning the ropes, getting in the groove, and that poor guy got thrown in right before sale time hit.  Talk about a crash course during one of the hardest times of the year.   The only thing worse than starting right before sale time? Starting right at the beginning of calving... poor poor North.

So here we are, North ( the cowboy hat type)  has a wonderful little family with two boys a little older than lil Hoagie so he has someone to get in trouble with. And our young pup, South, who seems to be cowboy John 10 years ago, Mr. "fix it and if I dont know how I'll learn". Always good to have on the ranch.

They're a little camera shy in their new habitat but I'm sure I'll break em in soon!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I think I can

It's been a while. Ok, it's been forever. And I wish I had a better excuse. One better than my world got rocked by some 8 lb 9 oz lil cowboy who, with every day, changes the very world I've come to know and love. And of course, for the better. But have you ever been blindfolded, spun around and then put on a runaway pony?? Because that's my world now.

But, after 8 months, I feel like I have control. No, scratch that. I've succumb, submitted, surrendered to the idea that I have NO control and I'm learning every day to be ok with that. I'm ok. I'm ok. .... Ok...

A lot has changed since the last time I left you and I'm going to do my best to catch you up on it. Over the past few months I've found myself missing this blog. Missing being able to put out into the universe what goes on here. Believable or not, it is our life.

Confession time: I think what had me stuck last time I left was I was trying to make this blog too educational. Seriously, who wants that. So I'm going back to my roots. Writing about the everyday here at the ranch which inevitable is funny, challenging, covered in poop, and ever changing....just like lil Hoagie!!

I won't promise you I'll be here every week. I will promise you I'll do my best to keep you on the forefront of my mind the next time I'm shin deep in a pile of muck laughing to myself that nobody would believe this!!

Until then !!

Always yours , The Hoags