Posted By: Jesse Williams
Because our lives seem to be so hectic lately and we may not get to see our friends & family as much as we would like, we decided to post a monthly look-back to share with everyone. We're thinking of it as a our digital scrapbook of 2016! If you're interested in what we were up to this past month, have a read...
Happy New Year!
We rang the new year in with friends at a local community hall in Pollockville, AB, sharing tons of great laughs & enjoying a dance or too. Thanks to the Berry Creek Ag Society for putting on such a great show! We spent the next day with family and had the opportunity to take a sneak peak at Clay's brother's 2016 Sale Gelbvieh Bulls. And they were spectacular. Chuck & Jenn Williams of Flatland Ranch have done a ton of work with their breeding program over the past few years and it shows!
Clay's 1st Ice Fishing Adventure
We took a few days off in the beginning of January to enjoy a weekend of ice fishing with my family down in Brooks. While I grew up with this winter sport, Clay, being from what I like to call the 'desert', had never been before. He mastered the art very quickly and along with the rest of the men, brought home the bacon, er... fish! It was a very cold weekend (-25) but the kids were troopers and we had a great time!
At the Ranch
January on the ranch was pretty quiet. With relatively mild weather (except for a few days of -25) and average snow, feeding cows has been pretty easy (knock on wood!). Because I work in town all day and Clay is busy, busy, busy with our company Legacy Drilling, feeding cows during the week was always done at night. We are savoring every extra minute of daylight as the days lengthen towards spring.
We had a bit of a hiccup when Jack, our 30 year old bale truck, had an extended stay in the shop for some new u-joints and leaf springs, but luckily we had fabulous family members that let us borrow their equipment. Thanks to Clay's keen mechanic skills (and my expert light holding!) Jack is up, running and ready to roar for the rest of the winter!
We ended the month selling a few dry heifers for butchers (bringing them in on the COLDEST day all month of course!) and then bringing in our herd for their Scour Bos vaccinations. Thanks to an awesome crew and an absolutely BEAUTIFUL, sunny day in the pluses (quite contrary to the day we brought the butchers in!!), we blew through 210 head in 3 hours. The gorgeous weather at the end of the month did cause some melting and freezing, resulting in some slippery situations and crusted snow across our pastures/yards, but there's not much we can do about that. The herd looked good, their pea straw/hay/oat greenfeed diet obviously agreeing with them. We are on track to calve at the end of March!
On the Drilling Side...
Any extra time off the ranch (and in the evenings, and on coffee breaks and in the middle of the night when we should be sleeping...) has been devoted to our water solutions company, Legacy Drilling. While our main service is drilling water wells in the summer, we added some winter services to keep us going. Selling straightened, squared coil tubing has kept Clay on his feet loading customers and keeping track of inventories. But there were two much more exciting things that happened this month!
1. We received word that we can now license water wells, as Clay is a professional Engineer by trade. This will help our customers with larger projects such as irrigation or water diversion!
2. We are now an authorized distributor of CAP Solar Livestock Watering & Alternative Solar Options! Because so many of our wells we drill are remote and have no access to grid power, we are ecstatic to offer our customers solar & wind options for year round livestock watering no matter where you need it!
As an Ag Fieldman it felt like I spent most of my month in Edmonton going to conferences, but luckily there were some awesome learning opportunities that apply to our ranch, as well as the weed management industry. The Provincial Ag Service Board meeting was mid-January & FarmTech at the end of the month. Here are some links you may find interesting... (Click on the description for a link to more info).
Gary Conklin, a dairy farmer from Ohio shared his experiences unknowingly hiring an animal rights activist on his farm. He also gives some words of advice to other ranchers hiring employees.
Dr. Patrick Moore told a fascinating story about how he left Green Peace after they became a radical group of eco-terrorists. Now he shares his experiences with crowds & explains why agriculture is helping the CO2 crisis, not making it worse.
My personal favorite was an entertaining presentation about Tornado Hunting by CMT Tornado Hunter Greg Johnson. While it doesn't directly relate to agriculture (other than flying bales & cows!?), he is just such a captivating, enjoyable speaker that I had to share the link to his stuff!
There hasn't been any progress on the house front, other than we now know it is officially scheduled to arrive IN THREE PIECES the first week of June. We have our work cut out for us as we have to get the basement dug before then, plus have water/power/sewer lines to dig all across the yard once the ground thaws. For now, this is the view looking east towards our new yard, looking very bare with only a barn and a shop. Hopefully we see a heck of a lot of progress over the summer months on this project as our goal is to be in by September 2016... We MUST be crazy!!
Looking forward to February...
Bull shopping for a Simmental bull
Feeding cows & very impatiently waiting for calving to begin
Launching a NEW year round watering option with CAP Solar! Stay Tuned!
Our first Tradeshow with Legacy... nerve racking much!?!
Local seminars on milk replacements & cattle transport
And of course getting our Valentine's Day on... #rancherstyle (stay tuned for posts!)
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