2001 Dry Creek Ranch Newsletter

Hello everyone!  Barn before the big paint job, July Long Weekend
 Barn afterwards - looks new, doesn't it?  August Along with the new roof put on last November, the barn looks new! I've had several people ask if we built a new barn this year. It does look great, if I say so myself!
This year's main project was to greatly increase our hay production - both on and off the ranch. The weather flip-flopped on us, giving us poor quality, rained-on hay from July, to excellent, high quality forage from August. In all, I managed to produce 170 tonnes of hay! Not bad for one person. Perry was the "mechanic" and basically spent most of his summer fixing equipment. I'm just grateful that he is becoming quite the adept welder - we need it! We invested in a new, "bells and whistles" tractor this year (with air-conditioned cab, radio, etc.), but the tractor arrived in mid-September. It only had to do about 8 hours of haying, but it was enough for me to realize that next summer's haying is going to be all the easier. The quality of forage keeps going up each year, plus we will actually have hay to sell this year! The income will of course go towards the yearly tractor payments.  Tractor and Tree, December 16th
 Some of the yearling roping cattle near the arena - July We have been expanding animal-wise as well - another of our yearly goals. We now have around 50 cattle including our own new yearling bull (to be use for breeding next year) and a "borrowed" bull who will be returned to his owner this winter. Sheepwise, I've really expanded - I've got close to 30 ewes, plus my ram (who produced lovely lambs this year) and a new ram that I'll use for breeding next year. The sheep business is doing quite well - I've even put coats on some of the sheep to keep their wool clean for the next shearing in February. The bunny business is also getting better this year, especially with the website. I've still been getting pigs every 6 months - I always seem to have customers for a side of pork and we seem to go through two sides per year, ourselves! What can I say? Home-raised pork is delicious!
Garden-wise this year, we were "flooded out" in July by the worst continuous rainfall I've ever seen for this area. May and June are supposed to be the rainy season on this high plateau, but for some reason, the rain in July was amazing. It rained continuously for 10 solid days. The river levels were the highest I've seen on the ranch - higher than Spring breakup! I lost most of my above-ground veggies, my beets and a large percentage of carrots. We had a bumper crop of potatoes, however, which I traded with another gardener for beets. I also traded potatoes, pork and lamb for a nearly-new hay rake and square bailer. I'm so glad the barter system is alive and well here! Once again, the frosts came early (August 17th - it's like clockwork!).  Freckles with her first lamb, April
 Some of the sheep wearing coats to keep the wool clean, December Horse-wise, neither Perry nor I did any competing this year. For me, it was because I injured my shoulder about a year ago. It was a "repetitive stress injury", which caused the shoulder joint to be dislocated. Yes, it was, and still is, very painful! Perry has been doing the heavy lifting this year, especially since haying season. There are no bales to pick up (we make round bales), but the jarring and shifting from bouncing around on a rough tractor (thank goodness we now have a smoother riding tractor), really set me back. At least now the shoulder is beginning to improve, so hopefully next year I'll get back into the groove of riding and competing. Perry didn't compete either, most likely because no-one wasn't riding here on the ranch. His horse wasn't ridden once this year! I got on mine 3 or 4 times bareback, because I can't lift the saddle that high!
Work-wise, the Coroner job continues to be an interesting career. My caseload continues to be somewhat low, which is great, but the cases I've had this year seemed to take up more time - the same scenario as last year! There was never a dull moment, it seemed! This year, more skeletons were found, requiring DNA analysis to determine whom the remains belong to. I've also had some "suspicious" deaths, that are ongoing.
 Perry, Annie and the 2001 Christmas Tree, December Anyway, life continues to be very busy for us, both ranch-wise and work-wise. I've said this every year and I'll say it again; it is such a rewarding lifestyle, that I can't imagine living anywhere else.
Well, I hope that all is well in your own household. Here's to a healthy, happy and prosperous new year! And, a happy, healthy and safe holiday for everyone.

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