Summer has arrived and is flying by much too fast! We have been busy irrigating the fields, building fence, planting the garden, and working on the hydroponics. The kids are out of school and enjoying the time to play and work with the animals. Winnie was thrilled when Annabelle's baby was born on March 31st, and even more excited that it is a heifer. She named her Isabelle, and has been working with her on a halter already. We had a second calf, a bull, out of another one of our cows, Starlette, in the middle of April. Two more are due any day now. The kids have been training the alpacas for the county fair in August, and even Gus is planning to go to the show this year! The cherry trees are heavy with fruit, having survived the nail-biting frost season. The apricots weren't so lucky this year. The garden plants are planted, and the hydroponics set up is just about ready. I'll have to have Jeff fill you in on that one! We got two new yaks to add to our herd, a big royal(black and white) bull named Ogie, and a fuzzy black heifer named Lucy. They came from the little town of Norwood, about 2 hours away. We are really going to try to get the yak meat market going over here, and hope to have a couple outlets to sell the meat in the Aspen area. We will be going to the Cedaredge Farmer's Market with it as time permits also. It has been busy around here as usual, but always fun!
With a cold front and snow predicted, we had a mad rush of winter prep. All the water tanks had heaters installed, all the hoses emptied and stored, and hay arranged. The lucky alpacas got to move down to the tree field with Buck, and the yaks will stay in a top pen for a bit longer before being put back on their summer pasture. We loaded up 5 yaks for a buyer out of Durango, so now we only have 9 to feed for the winter. We were more streamlined and prepared in our tasks this year, I guess we are finally getting in a groove! We also moved two of the cows and one steer to a grassy pasture to board for a few months. It is a busy time, but with winter looming it will soon limit our outdoor maintenance. Ski season cometh!
2 more yak calves were born last week, one heifer and one bull calf. We are excited that they are all doing so well. The yaks are now down in the corner field next to the veterinary clinic, and we get lots of comments and people slowing as they drive by to check them out. The babies are getting more playful and visible, for the first several days they were hiding in the grass sleeping most of the time. We sell the yak meat at the clinic, and have several regular customers coming in to get it. These two calves were born to a couple of our older girls, Bess, who is a great momma, and Daisy, who was beating up the tractor while we caught and vaccinated her little girl.
The first yak calf of the season!
We had our first calf on Sunday, June 10th. It is a little heifer calf, with one white sock on a hind leg. This is Lacey's third calf, and she is a very good mom. We went out with the tractor to catch her and give her a vaccine a few hours after she was born. The calves are very small at birth, and we have never had to assist a birth. This one weighed in at about 30 pounds, and is super cute. Hopefully we'll have several more to come this summer!
Susie (and sometimes Jeff) Hirsch, parents, vets, small scale ranchers, and regular people, who must have a sense of humor to survive!