We spent Saturday night and all day Sunday up at the ranch. I haven't talked about the ranch much lately so I thought I'd do a little photo run down of the stuff that goes on up there. Most of the building work is done and we've already had several hunters, though this is the slow time of year. Mostly because it's smokin hot and no one really likes to sit out in the woods covered in camo when it's 100 degrees. Anyway, this weekend was mostly just maintenance, feeding, fence fixing, etc...
We got there around dinner Saturday night. Usually the guys have the cupboards stocked full, but they were pretty bare this weekend. We ate too rare for my taste steak, canned peaches and super hot jalapeno laden beans. Mmmmm. Not exactly gourmet but...
We got up Saturday morning, Pete did a little work down in the cabins and Jake went hunting with his BB gun. This blue bellied lizard was his first victim. (oh yes, there were more casualties)
After lunch we headed out to the big pen (aprox. 1,000 acres fenced) to feed, and to set up a water line to a natural spring.
First Pete filled up the back of the buggy with a load of sweet potatoes. Pete gets these 'cull potatoes' from a farmer down in the valley. Twice a month he gets about 7,000 pounds of potatoes for FREE. The pigs love it. But the smell I was smelling right about now was not good, not to mention the 'potato dust' that was being thrown all over and the flies. It's a dirty, stinky job. Thank goodness I was just a passenger.
There are several places within the fenced area that are set up for hunters with tree stands, automatic grain feeders. They also put out the potatoes around these areas. It obviously lures the animals to where the hunters are, but 1,000 acres is huge, so the food needs to be spread out. We headed to several of these spots and left some potatoes.
Water is also a huge issue. It's kind of tough to tell from pictures, but the land here is very harsh.
Especially this time of year. The property basically goes straight up and down hill. There a ton of brush and oak tress. It's really rugged terrain. When this project all started 3 years ago, there was basically no water on the property at all except a small creek that only ran during the winter. Pete had a tractor guy come up and dig a pond which is about maybe 2 acres wide at its fullest point and serves as the ONLY water in the entire 1,000 acres for all the animals. It also sits at the lowest point of the property, making it quite a trek to get down to. About a year or so ago, Pete and his friends actually found a natural water spring way up on the side of a mountain. The plan is to somehow pump water out of that spring and into the creek (to keep it running year round) and get it up the hill so the animals don't have to go that far for water. Also pigs don't sweat so they need water to wallow in and keep themselves cool when it's super hot. (we actually found 3 dead sheep yesterday. We're pretty sure they were not getting enough water) Yesterday we drug a 720 foot long plastic pipe all the way to the spring. I guess the guys will be working on that project soon.
After checking the fence, hauling the water pipe and feeding the pigs in the pen, we headed over to the breeding pens.
They have 3 breeding pens set up next to the main house. Two are for pigs and one is for turkeys. Pigs are breeding inside the pen too, but these ones here are pure bread and are in a more controlled environment. Pigs can actually be somewhat cannibalistic and eat their babies. I know, gross. But it's true. So keeping these ones here gives them a better shot at surviving, especially since the conditions in the big pen can be pretty harsh.
Aren't they ugly? These are pure European pigs. They long snouts and to me they look like anteaters. They are mean too. Pete had to do a little fence mending as these guys started rooting around and tried to make a hole in the fence.
Here he is feeding the turkeys. These turkeys were not raised in my garage so therefore I like them at least 50% better than the ones I did raise. I really hated turkeys last year. And I'm still holding a turkey grudge.
Oh and one last thing...Jake's 3rd casualty of the weekend...a Blue Jay. Close your eyes if your timid or are fond of Blue Jays. He made is daddy proud.
So after all this we were all hot, tired and really stinky. We packed up and went home. We stopped in town for dinner. Luckily the Denny's in Patterson is used to ranchers coming in all dirty and stinky so we fit right in!