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Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Friday, December 3, 2010

Turkeys, crooked bales and the view

I had a pretty normal day. Feed the calves down in the corrals and made sure none were sick.There are 110 newly purchased heifer calves down there. They looked pretty good, only a couple of snotty noses. Hope it stays that way. Then I loaded three bales of hay to take to the bunch of cattle the furthest from home. On the way out, I swapped out dogs,putting Miles in the house. I had used him to quietly move the new heifers. Taking their turns were Hope, Boyd and Vesta. Sometimes I take all four of them and other times I have a rotation system. There just isn't room for four dogs and a bundled up person in the cab of the feed truck.
The past two years have seen a decline in our wild turkey population. For several years they had been thick in our area. A couple of very dry summers and a tough winter had thinned them down some. It is always nice to see wildlife on the ranch but sometimes things get kind of out of balance. Then wildlife becomes a problem. The turkeys invaded our hay yards ruining bales of hay by pooping on them or just picking them apart. The cows won't eat the hay if the turkeys have left their calling cards in it. It was nice to see baby turkeys in the grass and brush this summer and it is nice to see them now. Let's just hope the population stays in check and they don't feel compelled to make their messes in  the hay yards! I spotted this bunch about 2 miles from home. They eventually split up as they hit the brush. I also counted 21 pheasant roosters in one bunch along the way.

I had a pretty tough time getting into the pasture where we have a pretty big bunch of cows. The snow is pretty deep in lots of places and it is slick underneath. Hopefully, we will be moving this group of cattle closer to home in the next few days. The day after I took these photos, I got stuck, and I do mean stuck. Let's just say, that a cell phone is a wonderful thing to have when you are aways from home and need help! I had to walk to the top  of a hill to get reception but the excercise did me good! Lucky for me I was able to get ahold of my son who works for the county road crew! They were working "nearby" and one of the blade guys came and pulled me out. I worked on digging while I waited. My in-laws, husband and nearest neighbor were all gone for the day. I had my camera with me, but was so digusted about being stuck, that the last thing I wanted was a reminder of it!!
The point of this photo was to show that our feed truck can carry three big round bales of hay. We weighed some of our bales this summer and the average was about 1600 pounds per bale. The bale on the ground needs to have the bale arms recentered so it will easily roll out when the bale wrap is cut off. We are pretty high tech, our hydraulic bale bed has a remote control which is so nice!
Sometimes the last bale ends up sliding into a position where the bale arms can not reach it. There are a couple of ways to make it accessible. Find a hill and drive up it so the bale rolls to the back of the truckbed and catch it with the arms (hopefully), or make a sudden turn or stop going kind of fast so it slides into place.

The easiest way to reposition a bale is with a log chain looped around the bale and then the ends of the bale arms.
Lower the arms towards the ground and the bale slides into place or sets down on the ground so it can be picked up and postitioned correctly.
The bale below had to be picked up again laid on its side before I could cut the wrap and unroll it. It is easiest to just lay the log chain up by the truck cab so that when the first bale is loaded the chain is in place to use for this tactic. Some days you never have a problem with bales moving around but when you do this sure works slick!
Even though there are days things don't go right when I am out feeding our cattle, the things I see make up for it. How many people get to see such beauty everyday? We do!


Shirley said...

That system sure does work. I have a friend who is an outfitter that feeds his horses with a horse drawn sleigh with a bale arm that operates by a winch to lower the bale and roll it out as the horses go along. Same idea, but only one bale at a time.
The upside of winter is indeed the beauty of it. I like the photo of the camel hump in the post below.

tina said...

Several years ago, our neighbor baled his hay in large bales...not sureif they were as big as yours! He used a forklift to get them from the field to the corrals were the cattle were at that time. That was barely a quarter of a mile and on the flats! He was running alot more cattle back then..he's 85 now and most days has more stamina then I do!
Love your views...wish we had snow more often...the last here at the house was '89. Very nice to look at but I am sure not as nice to work in sometimes ;)

Linda said...

When I get a bale stuck on the truck like that I find a place on a slight hill, back up real fast and slam on the brakes.....of course the Bossman says I'm awful hard on machinery but I learned it form him;)))

Sarah said...

stay warm! It looks cold...and beautiful! The turkeys are neat. I love the wildlife. Wish they weren't destructive like they can be!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Looks like you can handle about any situation with those bales! We have quite a few wild turkey here too..they have made a come back. Great scenic view! :)

DayPhoto said...

You are amazing! You and Linda make everyone else seems like desk jockeys! I bow to your abilities.


gowestferalwoman said...

your turkeys are at my place... ;o!

Good year for hay - we got about the same out here. now all the snow - next years hay crop hopefully!

You be careful out there - log chains, doing donuts etc. to put bales in place - you wild woman you! Are the dogs in the cab while you are doing this? i always wonder what they are thinking...I told dexter our dog that i bet he's like Pinocchio - wishes he was a boy so he could drive! lol