Seeding is finished, cows are out to pasture

Eppich News: The new foals are looking good, but we suddenly lose a broodmares

By the middle of May we were very busy with seeding. We stopped seeding May 16 and split the team to cover more ground. We started the day off very well with the birth of a healthy palomino filly. Then Gregory and I branded our calves and worked the cows, John took his combine and finished harvesting the little bit of barley that was out over winter, and Barb watched Joseph and James. It was a long day but by the end we had accomplished quite a bit.

On May 18 we hauled some of the cows out to the two Landis pastures and turned out two of our bulls. The grass was very slow to come and so we opened the gates to let them have the entire pasture, rather than have them chew down the grass in one area. We ran out of daylight and so were not able to get the third bull out. Accompanied by Joseph and James, I hauled him out the next morning and put him with his cows.

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We still had the old Angus bull, nine-year-old Fat Freddy, with his handful of our best cows on the little home pasture being supplemented by hay. The native pasture close to home is quite small and so we needed to give it time to grow and get ahead of them.

Working with the horses

Our new broodmare arrived on May 20. She’s an older mare but will fit in very nicely with our herd. It was raining pretty good that day and by the end we had over two inches of rain. It came down pretty hard for a while and so a lot of it ran off, but we were so happy for some moisture for the grass and the crops. As soon as it dried up a bit, we were back in the fields seeding again.

I started halter training the foals on May 23. It is so much fun working with the little ones. Their personalities really start to come out. We are pretty proud of our Juan the Sailor grandbabies. They are very nice-looking foals and are a real pleasure to work with.

By June 3 we were finally done seeding and we also got the last of the cows out to pasture. A few days later we got another 7/10ths of rain.

The evening of June 8 was a scary time for us. At about nine o’clock, Joseph started complaining of stomach pains. He is not one to complain at all, and our closest emergency services were over an hour away so we were quite concerned. Gregory and I took him into the ER in fear of appendicitis, while John and Barb watched James. Luckily it turned out to be severe gas cramps and he recovered quickly.

The next morning, we went out to do chores and found one of the broodmares dead in the corral. She must have had a heart attack or some such thing, because she had been very healthy and there were no signs of trauma or a struggle. It was a bad loss for our program and the month-old filly has become a big project for us. We are still waiting for two more mares to foal and are praying all goes well.

For three days Gregory was spraying John’s wheat crop for him. Later he was very happy when he got to work summerfallow again. In fact, it was like a gift to himself being out in the field all day for his birthday on June 16. That night we had a nice supper for him, with a cake that Joseph and James helped me make along with ice cream.

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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