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Haying season gets rolling in late July

Eppich News: Good rain will help hay and pasture production

Summer seemed to fly by. During the middle of June, Gregory and John were able to work some summerfallow. I took the colt LJ out to check the cows at Landis on June 26. Everybody was accounted for but I found one calf with foot rot. The next day, Gregory and I rode out and we pushed the cows into the loading corral and sorted the calf out. We managed to get her behind a gate and squeezed her tight while I gave her some medicine. That worked well but we were glad she wasn’t any bigger.

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Over the next several days it rained. We found a Canada Day surprise in the corral July 1. The old mare had finally foaled and had a beautiful buckskin colt.

On July 6 we had to pull the pump for the well at John and Barb’s house. It had been giving a bit of trouble for a while and had finally given out. We got the new pump put on but now there are sand and rust coming through the waterlines. It clogged up the taps in the house and has been a consistent problem ever since.

On July 8 it rained all day and all night. It was a nice slow rain that added up to over three inches. The crops, gardens, and pastures were very happy.

We were finally able to have James baptized on July 11. My mom, dad, and James’s godmother Lacey were not able to attend because the U.S. border was still closed. However, it was a beautiful ceremony nonetheless.

The last mare foaled July 17. She had a cute little palomino colt early in the morning. It took quite a bit of work and patience, but we were able to convince the mare to also take on the orphan filly. Now the filly and the colt are bonded like siblings and the mare is very tolerant.

On July 20 the inspector arrived for the inspection needed in order to maintain the farm’s organic certification. While Gregory was with the inspector, John started cutting the ditches for hay with the 12-foot haybine. Our hay fields look pretty good this year but we will still need some ditch bales. The next day, Gregory got the 16-foot haybine going and they both worked on cutting down the hay for several days.

Time to bring the bulls home

On July 23 we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. Gregory was cutting hay, so Joseph and James helped me put together a little picnic out as a family in our hay field . On one of my many trips back and forth from Landis, I noticed that the cows on the native pasture were near the road and so I pulled in to take a quick look. They all looked well, but the bull was missing. Later that evening, the neighbour let us know that the bull was over in with his cattle.

The next day, Gregory and I saddled up and went over to Landis to get the bull. It was time for him to come home anyway. We found him in the neighbour’s pasture which shares a small stretch of fence in common with ours. We rode out and found that the bulls must have fought through the fence. There were three broken posts and two broken wires.

Since we were over there anyway and Gregory was going to have to come back for the horses again, we decided to go get the other bull. So, while Gregory took the one bull home, I ponied his horse the half a mile to the other pasture. By myself, I walked the cows across the pasture to the loading corral. I sorted the bull off with one pair and held him in the corral until Gregory got there. The bull never got worked up, no fences were broken, and we were ready for Gregory when he got there.

We no sooner got the bull loaded than it started to rain. Once the road is wet there is no getting in or out of that particular pasture so we quickly unsaddled the horses and turned them loose and then drove through the hayfield to get out of there. The rain came fast and hard and was so cold that it was shocking. The horses enjoyed their couple days of vacation.

On July 30 I started baling while Gregory and John continued to cut hay. The dew was pretty heavy in the mornings and so we didn’t usually get started until later, but there is always something that needs some attention and so it seems that we are constantly on the run.

About the author

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Heather Eppich is a young former Idaho rancher building a new farm and family with her husband and young son, near Handel, Sask. Contact her at: [email protected]

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