We have occasionally seen cattle drives where cattle were being moved from one location to another but we had never taken part in one. The day started with no plans to move cattle at all. There is never a lack of things to do on the farm, in fact there is usually more things to do than there is time in the day. We had plans to work on some equipment and get out and do some field work. Then Chris received a call from one of their neighbors asking if they would be willing to help him move his cattle from one pasture to another. Without hesitating he said we would be there and the three of us jumped on some 4 wheelers to help. This simple fact truly amazes me and makes me love this area and culture even more, a neighbor calls for help and you drop everything you are doing to help them out. That’s just the way they roll around here.
The cattle drive itself was very interesting, there were 4 of us on 4 wheelers and two people in vehicles. The role of the two vehicles was to have one in front of the drive and one in the rear to alert traffic while the 4 wheelers were there to guide the cattle, round up any of the cattle that wanted to break away and generally keep them moving.The first challenge was to even get the cattle moving. The cattle were bunched up along the edge of the fence where we wanted them to start and the fence was taken down so we could get started. Even though the fence was down they did not want to cross that imaginary boundary to leave the pasture. It is very difficult if not impossible to get cattle to do something they do not want to do, the key is to get them to think it is their idea to do it. So we sat there for about 20 minutes until one of them finally decided to walk out of the pasture and the rest quickly followed.
|Refusing to cross the imaginary fence|
The first leg of the drive took the cattle down a blacktop county road for about 2 miles. There was minimal traffic with probably only a dozen cars slowly passing through the herd. We tried to keep them in the ditch as much as possible but there were stretches where the terrain forced us to use the road through certain sections. By the time we had gone ½ mile the faster cattle were way ahead, the slower ones were way behind and we lost one of our vehicles who had to stop for a cow who stepped in a large hole and just laid down in the ditch and would not move. Another thing I quickly learned is that nervous cattle get really “loose” and they start crapping pretty much constantly so you have to watch yourself!
|Finally headed down the ditch.......|
|....and onto the road!|
|That's a dump truck sneaking by ahead on the left|
After the first two miles we turned onto a gravel road so the traffic was really minimal but now the slower cattle were really slow and we were probably stretched out for almost a mile. In all it took us over 2 hours to move them the 5-6 miles to their new pasture. The cow that went down eventually got up and made it back an hour or so after the rest and it was another adventure I can cross of the bucket list!As much fun as that was the primary focus this week was to get out hunting as much as possible between farm chores. We got out duck hunting several times and although the weather was way too warm we did manage to get our share of ducks throughout the week.
|We got quite the variety of birds; Geese, redheads, buffleheads, scaup, pintails and gadwalls|
I got out bow hunting a total of 7 times and saw deer almost every time. Anytime I get out is special as I never know what I am going to see. Like the time I had 1,000 snow geese land within 100 yards of me (check out video below), or the time a coyote came within 20 yards and ate a couple of apples in front of me and never knew I was there. Who knew coyotes ate apples?!?!? 6 of those times I saw does/fawns, small bucks or nothing at all but the day before rifle season opened I was fortunate enough to harvest a nice 10 point buck we had seen on camera several times.
Video of Snow Geese
|Coyote poses with an apple in its mouth|
|I caught up with this guy 10 days after this picture was taken and now have a freezer full of venison!|
Dakota and Daisy are really starting to bond. For those of you who know Daisy, you know she has to be sitting on or touching someone pretty much constantly in fact she used to lay or sit on top of Bailey all the time. Although she has not taken to laying on Dakota, she does love to sit on her.
|$50.00 later we had a new remote|
|Barb can tie a mean knot!|
We had dinners over at both the Finken's and Sobieck's, Holly fixed chicken fajitas and Deanne invited us over to dinner one night for our second ever meal consisting of Fleischkeukle. We first had this meal several years ago in October of 2014 when Deanne first introduced us to this German dish. Since this introduction we have seen it on several menus as we have travel the country and enjoyed it both times we had it. She also got a new car! She has wanted a VW for a while and she finally pulled the trigger the day before we left. Well deserved..... We got out to dinner with Bob and Deanne the weekend before we left to.....wait for it....a brewery! We traveled to Minot where we had dinner and a few beers at Souris River Brewing. Thanks guys!!!!!
|Deanne and her new Bug!|
Last but not least there is the never ending farm work. So many different things to do.....Taking advantage of the unusually warm weather, Bob and Chris started preparing the fields for next spring. Harrowing, Pro-Tilling, pulling more fence and cutting and burning dried up sloughs. The Finken family has been farming many of these fields since 1916 and there is a constant ebb and flow with the lands. In this part of the country there are countless potholes and sloughs throughout the area. On wet years they can lose hundreds of acres of croplands, on drier years following regulations they are able to reclaim some of the sloughs back to farmland. One method of reclaiming the sloughs is to break up the ground around the edge of the slough and start it on fire. Using a propane torch, my job was to go along the edge of the sloughs and start them on fire. Once lit, I watched the edges to make sure everything was contained in the burn area.
|After burn....ready for tilling|
|This is what happens when you get too close to the water...|
With the warmer than expected weather, we were able to extend out stay and extra 10 days but with snow and extended cold weather forecasted for tomorrow it is time to head south. So after 7 weeks,we packed everything up said our goodbyes and headed down the road. The Finken/Sobieck crew probably thought the cold weather would never get here and push us south and were probably doing the "Happy Dance" as we were headed down the driveway. We had a great time and the time flew bye. We are going to miss everyone, thanks for everything and see you next year!!!!!