Homesteading | Ranch Life | Seasons | Spring

Spring has sprung

April 20, 2011

I have never been so happy in my life to see spring. Everyone has had a hard winter this year, but I had never noticed how excited I was to see spring until this year. Our entire living is based off of grass. Without grass we wouldn’t be able to be ranchers in this part of the country, so when spring comes and we are down to our last bale of hay and we start to see the grass reemerging from the ground we see the start of a new year. What do we do in the spring? Well, there’s plenty to be done at this time of year!

Most ranchers have a good majority if not all their cows on their private land during the winter, which during that time most ranchers will feed hay to their cows. Ranchers get itchy right before the first of March or April (depending on their BLM permit) to turn their cows out on the federal land so they don’t have to get into a cold tractor and go feed hungry cows (can’t blame them). Depending on where the BLM allotment is, it can be a fairly short day, or a really long day. Our families first allotment is about 30 miles away from home, so it’s a long day for the cowboys. Once the cows are turned out they can have a huge sigh of relief for not having to feed a bunch of cows everyday, but of course… there is plenty more work to be done.

Once the cows are turned out we start looking ahead at what’s next. We flood irrigate our fields so all the ditches that the water flows through must be cleaned by pulling a large blade through them and burning all the surrounding brush. We also drag the fields where the cows have been all winter. This breaks up all the cows manure and creates great fertilizer for the fields!

Currently, my husband is out every morning now flood irrigating the fields so they get a good start on growing! Extremely important for a grass farmer.

This week we finished fencing in our yard and just planted the first spring plants! Looking forward to a big garden this year!

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  1. Hey Liz!

    I know that my rancher friends in North Dakota have most of their cattle babies born during March/April-are you guys busy checking on new babies during this time as well?

    Beautiful picture of a great view!

  2. Stephanie,

    We calf in Feb/March, and all our calves are turned out at this point.

    We don’t really check our calves anymore, the family has worked really hard to cull poor calving mothers out of the herd, so we have a pretty strong herd at this point.

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