Time To Come Home…

Our family has approximately 600 acres of grass pasture 10 miles south and west of the feed yard.  We use this grass pasture for two purposes: 1. to graze light weight cattle before placing them on feed at the yard, and 2. to bale grass hay (prairie hay) to use as animal feed during the fall and winter months.

Pasture ground along the Willow Island Road...

Pasture ground along the Willow Island Road…

Our pasture ground is picturesque land on the Willow Island Road.  My favorite blondes and I love to take our horses down there to ride—whether we are checking cattle or just riding the horses to enjoy a beautiful day, our pasture ground always brings a smile to my face.

Loping along having fun...

Loping along, having fun…

The grass typically begins to green up and grow in April, although this year it was delayed about six weeks due to cold spring temperatures.  Depending on rainfall amounts, we can grow cattle down on the pasture grass for several months during the summer time.   By September, the grass is tired and lacks the feed value that my cattle need to continue to grow.

During the peak of the summer, decent rainfall brought lots of grass...

As shown in this picture, during the peak of the summer, decent rainfall brought lots of grass…By the end of August, hot weather sapped the nutrient value out of the grass.

When that happens, it is time to come home with the cattle to the feed yard where we can offer a constant and nutritious blend of feed.  This enables them to continue to prosper even though Mother Nature is finished providing for the year.

Here, Archie is pictured by the cattle load out corrals with bales of prairie hay in the background...

Here, Archie is pictured by the cattle load out corrals with bales of prairie hay in the background…

My favorite retired feed yard manager (Archie) and his wife (Alice) are in charge of the pasture ground.  They maintain the fence, spray for weeds, and are the primary caregivers for the cattle when they are there grazing.

Archie and I loaded our cattle on a semi-truck Monday morning to bring them home to the feed yard.  While I had already planned to do this due to lack of feed/nutrition, the threat of flood waters from Colorado on the South Platte River cemented my decision.

Cattle moving up into the semi-truck to be transported back to the feed yard...

Cattle moving up into the semi-truck to be transported back to the feed yard…

Our pasture ground is in close proximity of the South Platte River.  Depending on how high the water gets, it may flood this weekend as the water runs across the state of Nebraska.  I learned a long time ago that preparation and planning ahead allow me to lesson the impact of Mother Nature’s vengeance even though I am impotent in my ability to stop her.

Farmers and ranchers all along the South Platte River have been busy this week moving cattle and hay bales out of the path of the flood waters.  The water hit the western edge of the state yesterday, and it is reported that the water levels of the river will rise 13 feet in some places.  The Platte River is a wide and shallow river, so that is quite a bit of added depth and will cause damage as it rages across the state.

The bridge that we drive across to get down to our pasture ground.  You can see that the water level is still its usual shallow level...

The bridge that we drive across to get down to our pasture ground. You can see that the water level is still its usual shallow level…

It is painful for me to look at pictures of the devastation in Colorado and I pray that those affected will have the tenacity to rebuild their farms.  I also pray that the damage in Nebraska will be minimal.

Mother Nature always seems to find a way to instill humility in those that rely on her for their livelihood.

13 Comments

Filed under CAFO, General

13 responses to “Time To Come Home…

  1. Megan S

    Stay safe and thoughts and prayers are with everyone. It seems like Mother Nature is all or nothing sometimes and I know it’s hard on folks to always be preparing for the worst. Hang in there!

    • Thank you, Megan! I agree–it is either feast or famine. My Megan announced many years ago (when she was about 6) that we needed to make sure that when we prayed for rain that we told God exactly how much we wanted…This was after a 10 inch rain that brought flooding to the feed yard.

      We do the best that we can with what we are given. Thanks so much for the encouragement 🙂
      Anne

  2. Seasonsgirl

    Ann,
    Hope the flodding miss you all. Will be praying.
    -Kim

    • Thank you, Kim. I appreciate it so much! I hope that all is well in your part of the country—have the leaves starting to change yet? Ours are beginning to. I love fall—it is my favorite time of year 🙂

      Anne

  3. Bill

    If 13′ feet of water hits that bridge, then its good-bye bridge. With the bridge embankment, it is a choke point. There’ll be a lot of pressure on the structure. You always were a good planner, Anne. Hopefully the pasture doesn’t get trashed.

    • That is correct, Bill. Those were my father-in-law’s exact words. The water is scheduled to hit Saturday night or Sunday. I agree that hopefully the pasture does not get flooded. We moved the cattle off and should have all of our hay bales moved by tomorrow afternoon.

      Good to hear from you!
      Anne

  4. Keep up the good work of raising happy animals 🙂 and praying for the waters to keep where they need to be.

    • Thank you so much! I really appreciate your support and prayers. We will know the reality by Sunday…I love to raise content and health animals so I will certainly keep it up!

      All the best,
      Anne

  5. Anne,

    Glad to hear you are planning ahead and getting the cows out of there. Sometimes I think that many people think farmers/ranchers just repeat the same thing everyday, without regard to the fact that there the plan of attack changes so much everyday. Stay safe and best of luck!

    -Zach

    • Thank you, Zach! I appreciate your thoughts and well wishes. The water got to Ogallala this afternoon which is about 100 miles west of us. Mother Nature always seems to keep us hopping…

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I always enjoy reading comments 🙂

      Anne

  6. Rex

    Eighty years ago, the Republican River flooded and people several hundred miles downstream from the rainstorm had no idea it was coming. It sure is a lot more fun to farm and ranch now with the help of the weather service.

    • I agree, Rex! The water is up this morning and I believe that the crest has passed North Platte. We are still several feet from having anything terrible in Dawson County but I assume that the water will continue to rise for most of the day before cresting and going back down. Our bridge at Willow Island is holding strong at this point 🙂

      Take care,
      Anne

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