KT Copper Doc Lona, “Lona,” is a mare that we have raised, mom, Pam, got Lona’s grandma, Sheba, for her 16th birthday present. Lona’s mom, Chicken, was Sheba’s first foal and Lona is Chicken’s only filly. So of course, Lona is mom’s favorite and her horse. Lona is out of Docs Sizzle Bar and Copper War Chic, Chicken. Chicken was a great cow horse and show horse that we had for many years. We did not start breeding Chicken until she was in her 20s, so we only got three foals out of her, one filly and two colts. We broke Lona to ride and have used her as a broodmare. Lona’s grandsire was Willie War Chic, ROM Race ~ SI 95. Loan’s breeding also includes, Sizzlin Hot, Docs Dee Bar, Ed Echols and more. http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/kt+copper+doc+lona
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Well I guess the ground hog was right and winter is not over, weather wise we had a heck of a weekend. Snow, rain, wind, freezing temps and more. However, that does not stop the work from getting done. Saturday we finished the wash rack, built the tie rail and a fence around it. Ben welded, Kicker helped him get the bar set a few times. Toni, the kids and I built the fence, Kicker bounced around from helping us to helping Ben. And the kids also hauled out the excess dirt. We all had wind burnt faces by the time we were done, but getting that wash rack ready for good weather to wash the steers headed to the Spokane Livestock Show is pretty important. The kids wanted to wash this weekend, but we refused with the weather we had.
Sunday we finally had another foal, however, it was a small foal. Foxy the miniature had a colt by Dreamer. He is a cute little guy that the kids think needs packed. I don’t know if he knows how to walk (yes I am joking). We also tied up the steers on Sunday and got in our mares that are for sale. Getting the mares in off 80 acres in a freak snow storm was not the most fun we have ever had. We spent lots of time just walking through the mares and petting them and checking them out. There are some that look like they are getting close to foaling. Once the work was done, Toni’s best friend Shannon brought four foreign exchange students out from Richland to see the ranch. Again, the wind was blowing and the temp was below freezing with the wind chill. 2 of the kids are from the Netherlands, 1 girl is from Paris, and the other boy is from Ecuador. Other than the girl from Paris, the kids were really good sports and went out and petted Rocky and looked at the animals. Diego from Ecuador and Max from the Netherlands seem to enjoy the animals. Toni took them back home and gave them hot chocolate before sending them home. It is great to expose kids to our ag way of life and help them to understand that importance of ag in the world.
Monday morning bright and early Toni and Ben took Kaine and Kade to do their Boy Scout duty. On holidays the Connell boy scouts put out flags in people’s yards. So we had “fun with flags.” Anna and I got up early to check the cows since we had a cold bitter wind blowing. Then, Toni and I met with Dan from Burns, who took home Dallas, Cheyenne, and Whitty. Then, Toni and I sorted out heavy heifers and hauled them to the house and helped the kids tie up their steers. Toni did not have a day off from her legal practice, so she had to go home and get some paying work done. So Kade, Kaine, Ben and I got the bulls in and poured on them, we tagged some calves and then lead the steers for a little while.
We got down to the house and Toni and I haltered the last two foals to halter break (since it is a little lighter again at night). The last two are the Azteca, “Whim,” and Little Blackie. Both did pretty good. However, Double was not pleased that they are in his pen. Smokey was still in with Double so we moved him over to be with his age group. Smokey has never really considered himself to be a foal, so he was very unhappy to be put out with a bunch of yearlings. We are getting ready to separate the colts and the fillies. We thought it would go better if Smokey was with his fellow colts for a week before we move them.
Also, one of Toni and my favorite Hereford bulls left to his new home on Monday, Thanks Terry. Bob from Clarkston came to look and put a deposit down on the ET 2 year old bull. We had two additional groups of bull buyers come out as well to look at the Angus bulls.
It is cousin Jay’s birthday today, and since he told me not to put him in anymore of my blogs, I thought I should definitely mention him today. Toni hauled the Hereford bulls over on Saturday and him, Uncle Joe, and Mar cut their horns for us. Thanks Jay, you have an immense amount of skills that come in handy as our cousin! Also, Jay is a great role model for the kids, he takes them to jack pot shows, helps them with their steers and heifers, clips them, and is a great all around guy. He also will AI for us if we need him, as well as help pull calves as long as he has a driver to bring him over. We are all pretty lucky to have him in our life bringing his sarcastic humor and pithy responses that keep us laughing. Happy Birthday!
The kids are excited, they finally have an actual wash rack and won’t be washing in the mud. Hopefully the weather is nice next weekend and we can start using it. However, I doubt Ben will have their tie rail up by then. We had Pegrams come out and poor it and they did a great job. It looks so good!
We have a VERY busy weekend building fence. We put up hot wire fence on Saturday for the cows, moving them to a new side of the corn field and fresh stalks. Anna is getting old enough that she is a lot of help. She can actually pound in posts and pull them out.
We also got a new mare Saturday, CeeCee. She came from a good friend of ours that just knew we needed another black mare. CeeCee came from the Froelich Ranch in North Dakota. She was purchased as a yearling and brought to WA. CeeCee sustained an injury and is only usable as a broodmare now, which is why we have her. Froelich’s base their breeding program on foundation quarter horses, so CeeCee has a very foundation pedigree and is out of Blue Stars Fire. We are excited to add her to our herd and see what she can produce. She is very friendly and gets along with the herd quite well. Toni, Kade, Jaxsen and I also went and watched the cutting at Bonina for an hour, but Jackpot wasn’t quite ready to show. We went ahead and scratched him. Blaine said Jackpot should be ready by the next one.
Sunday we finished the fence at the top of the hill at mom and dads (currently Double’s pen). We changed the plan the night before on wire. Ben decided we should use the twisted wire instead of the woven no-climb, so Ben and I ran to Moses Lake Sunday morning and got enough wire, clips, and lag bolts to finish the project. The fence looks really good and the kids were a lot of help on that fence as well. Ben and Kicker put the wire up. Toni, Kade and Kaine put the last of the poles up for the brace posts. Anna and I started clipped the wire up. When Toni and the boys got done with the poles and stretching the wire, we all finished clipping it on. The kids thought Toni would be done with the fencing for a bit, but they started a new project Tuesday. Dad and Toni decided that Double’s north fence should be replaced, so they are. The north fence runs up the hill, so they will be putting as much pole fence in as possible, then when it is too steep, putting up wire fence. This will be a slow project due to topography, but with as many stallions as we have, the fences need to be bullet proof, or stallion proof. This morning the kids woke up to snow and told Toni that this was nature’s Valentine’s Day gift to them because she couldn’t make them build fence.
Toni , the kids, and I also went to the BB Cattle Sale dinner on Sunday night where we got to visiting with family and friends. Then Monday we helped out at the BB sale. BB had a top selling bull at $15,000.00 and had an average of $4,300.00. This is a great average in today’s market and Grandpa should be happy for a day. The boys helped Shelby, Nick and Kayla bring bulls down and Anna got promoted to helping her beloved Uncle Joe run the gate going into the sale barn. We have horse and bull buyers coming this weekend to look at our livestock so we are excited about that.
Dad and Toni went to the Washington Policy Dinner on Thursday night. Toni is on the advisory board for the WPC Ag section. They said the dinner was great and there was a really good turnout. WPC is an organization that puts out advisory papers on proposed regulation and the impact that regulation will have on ag. Toni and Dad also went to the Cattlemen’s meeting last night, I normally volunteer to stay home with the kids. I have been working on a Franklin County Cattlemen’s website and Facebook page, so Toni was texting me changes to make from the meeting. If you have not, go online and take a look.
Another week is half gone and we are still foaling and calving. We start our first AI group of cattle the first of March so we are trying to narrow down our bull list. We also have the horses ready to start getting cattle in and sorting. The kids are really excited to chase cows and do some fun stuff.
KT Copper Queen Cleo is one of our favorite mares, she is out of our first foal crop by Docs Sizzle Bar. Her dam was an awesome all-around horse, Copper Queen Robin. Dad roped off of Robin, she was used as a ranch horse, Toni barrel raced off of her and shoed her 4H. She was not used as a brood mare until she was in her 20s. Robin was one of our all-time favorite mares. Cleo bowed her tendon as a weanling, but we were able to put some rides on her as a 2 year old. She has been a super horse to have around, and has really produced some cow eating foals. Her breeding includes Docs Dee Bar, Sizzlin Hot, Gusdusted, Ed Echols, and more. 81% NFQHA http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/kt+copper+queen+cleo
So I have not helped much on Toni and the kids’ fence, I think I have helped twice and they work on it every night after school. So Toni informs me that I think fences magically appear around here. And I would DEFINITELY like to live in that dream world. And as far as their fence on top of the hill goes, it kind of has magically appeared like fence fairies are coming during the day while I am at work. But, we do have other fencing projects and temporary fences we have to work on on the weekends, and for some reason she does not let me out of those. So, when the sun shines here, it means we can really get down to work, or business, and last weekend that meant a lot of fencing. Dad also decided that we needed to replace some of the older gates, he is on gate three today. Dad and Toni have all kinds of strategies for their gate hanging. Don’t worry, Dad told me that Toni may think she is the boss, but she isn’t. Dad still considers himself to be the boss around here.
With the end of hunting season we can utilize more of the corn fields, so we spent about half of Saturday fencing off the corn ponds, or one very large one. Saturday afternoon Toni, Kaine, Kade, Jaxsen and I got the horses in closer since we should start foaling any time. We took Stinger, Cleo, Comet and Izzy to the house. We had a couple more mares we would have liked to take to the house but they did not willing jump in the trailer. So since they are still out on 80 acres, they kind of get a choice right now if they want to leave or not. We did get to pet most of them after we brought them in and remind them that they are good horses. That gave us a chance to check out their parts. We think we are still a bit out from foaling, but there are definitely some that are starting to have the look.
Saturday night Toni and I got to have a girl’s night with our cousin Leslie. Leslie is the current president of Franklin County Cattlemen’s so she is basically required to go to the neighboring annual dinners. We all went to the Benton Cattlemen’s banquet to have fun. Toni talked her and Leslie’s friend Ron into buying our desserts at the dessert auction, we had some awesome lemon and apple bars and a chocolate torte. The dinner was great and we got to talk to a lot of people, and even get grandma some walnuts in the silent auction. Even though we had to get all of our work done very quickly to give us time to get to the dinner, it was worth it to have a night out with some good friends.
Sunday morning we had some more fencing, we just can’t have too much fun. We went back out with the mares to give them another look through. Considering they have all been out on desert ground all winter, they look really good. Our Friday (going to be 4) looks like a mare now. She needed this winter to finish maturing. We also took an inventory of the mares we think are open, there are a few. There are always a few that don’t breed back and we factor that in. Toni finished cutting up poles to use on the fence in the H braces with her new reciprocating saw. Then Toni and dad put out grass bales to the mares and Toni did chores so her and Kicker could take the boys to a Super Bowl party. Go Eagles! Anna and I had to run to town for some supplies, then we fed cows, and sold a bull.
This week we are all gearing up to help at the BB Cattle Co bull sale on the 12th. Dad is going to go to Spokane to work at the WCA Booth at the Spokane Ag Show, and we have Jackpot’s first show on Saturday. We don’t have any expectations for him. He is a supremely nice horse and we hope that he does well in the show ring, but having a show record really won’t change our plan for him. We LOVE our filly out of him, Yo. What a little powerhouse. Toni keeps telling me we don’t need to sell her, but Toni is the one that says we keep too many. We just hope that Jackpot’s foals are all as nice as Yo. We don’t plan to breed with him this year, we want to focus on giving him some time to see about a show record. Anyway, if anyone is bored on Saturday, Bonina is having a warm up show to get all of the people and horses back into the swing of things. Hope to see some friendly faces at the show.
Spring is Definitely Here
You know spring is here (no matter what the calendar says) when studs are running through fences and bulls are acting like bulls. We have both. Leroy, who is super gentle and easy to be around, managed to break down panels and run through an electric fence to try to get to some mares. Not his finest hour, but he comes to his name, so it was easy to get him back in.
We moved Smokey and Whitty over with our old pony mare, Smoke. We thought getting them out of the mud was a great plan. They didn’t like being away from Double, so they ran through a fence. A different fence than the fence Leroy ran through. We have gotten that fence fixed and moved them back again. They are doing much better this time around. They are out of the mud and have lots of room to run. We are going to move the other coming yearling colts in with them soon.
On the actual fencing project, the first 500 feet of fence posts is in. The wire isn’t up yet, but that can go up at one time, so we started the second half of putting the posts in. Not only do we have to put all new posts and wire in, but we have to take out all of the old posts and the old wire. That makes the job take twice as long. But it will all be worth it when the new fence is in. We are hoping we don’t have to fix it again during our lifetime. Anna has also been helping on the fence, but did not get in any of the pictures.
I was elected to the Board of Directors for the United Braford Breeders. They will be doing a brief article on her for the next Braford News. This isn’t the first time I have been on the Board. Our family has been on the Board for the UBB off and on. The meetings are down South, so it makes it hard to attend. I am being allowed to attend via Skype to make attendance much easier.
We plan to move the mares out of the winter pasture this weekend and into their foaling pasture. We could start foaling as early as this week, but we don’t think they are quite ready to go yet. It is really a toss-up over which foals we are most excited to see. It may sound lame but we are always happy when we get a live, healthy foal. We do have 2 AI foals coming this year, our first Bishop foals, and our first Leroy foals. We also have some new mares in the mix that we got last year that we are really excited to see what they produce. A few of those new mares are maiden, so this is really a new experience all around. Hopefully the weather remains nice when the foaling gets started.
Breeding season is coming up fast. Bull buyers are starting to get interested in buying bulls for the 2018 breeding season. With this warmer weather, and rain instead of snow, we are getting anxious to see what 2018 brings.
Per the norm for calving season, last night was a late night of checking calving cows. Luckily we have cousin that is an expert at pulling calves, and he was able to come over and help pull Autumn’s heifer calf Monday night. The head was down and her feet were not coming out the right way. By time they got the feet and legs coming out correctly they had her upside down. Due to Jay’s skill, and all of the time that Ben and Kicker had already put in, and Jay’s driver Todd, Autumn and her heifer calf (not named yet) are both doing great. And of course we had an Angus cow calving too, 209, so we had to run back out and check her to make sure everything was ok there, and luckily it was. By 10 pm 209 had calved. As a positive, Kade’s old show heifer, Dark Night calved by herself during the day yesterday, so Kade has a little baby heifer. Dark Night is a bit spoiled, so we will see how she does as a mother.
We gave Great Grandma a heartfelt goodbye Friday. The service was great, there was a great turnout and the weather was terrific for a January, even though there was a little bite to the wind. For anyone that was not able to make it we have a copy of the service. We had a graveside in Endicott followed by a meal and visit in Lacrosse. Per the norm, our family did a great job providing food and personpower to pull off the Lacrosse event. The town of Lacrosse is truly an amazing community, so many people came to eat and talk and share memories. Uncle Manny made it back home to Alaska in time to feel the earthquake, he said they are about 150 miles away from it, but still felt it.
The kids and I are back to tying up their Spokane steers (and three of their steers for fall shows that are in with the Spokane steers). They seemed to have forgotten a lot on their time off (the steers that is). We are glad that the kids are so excited to get out and work, but the mud doesn’t make working on them very fun. We need to get in our new washrack before we start having to work on the steers’ hair. Mud mixed with more water doesn’t allow the animals to stay clean.
Toni and the kids, Dad and I have helped some but not a lot, are working on fences again. Toni said she should not have taken that break, her fence building muscles have gone slack. But don’t worry, she is working them double time to build them back up. She likes to set really attainable goals, like 4 posts per day, since it is 3 t-posts and 1 wood post, every ten feet, then she likes to surpass that and put in 12-20 per day depending on the soil. They are redoing the fence on top of the hill by mom and dads. We will see how much fencing material we have and where they stop. Toni’s current goal (with what they have) is to do half of the hill. The kids have been big helpers as there is no road to part of it, so they have to pack the fencing materials down the ditch bank. It is a huge pain in the butt, but hopefully we never have to rebuild this fence again.
Even with the rain over Sunday afternoon, we still had a great couple out to look at the horses. They came during the heaviest of the rainfall, but even soaking wet they took time to work with Missy and make sure she was going to work for them. They ended up taking her home which leaves us with just a few broodmares left to sell.
On the fun side of things, Toni, Kicker and the boys got to go to a hockey game on Friday night. We celebrated my birthday on Saturday night with Skip. And the boys have a pinewood Derby race at boy scouts on Thursday night.
Have a great week everyone, and remember, we still have a few 2017 foals left for sale, 3 bred commercial heifers, and some Hereford and Braford bulls for sale.
Thanks Tina Kocar for this wonderfully bred mare, Plain Dark Choclet, “Rudy”. Rudy was shown back in her prime. She is a daughter of Just Plain Colonel, Earner of $52,676. He was a money-earner at the Tropicana 4-Year-Old Open Futurity, at five and six, 1989 PCCHA Open Challenge-5th, 1989 Gold & Silver 5/6-Year-Old Open Stakes-7th, 1988 Reno Western Open Classic-4th.1988 Bonanza Open Classic, 1989 PCCHA Open Top Ten He was a finalist at the 1988 PCCHA Open Tournament of Champions. He is the NRCHA #6 All-Time Leading Sire. JUST PLAIN COLONEL has appeared on leading sire lists every year from 1995 – 2007, and those lists have included reined cowhorse, cutting and reining! On the bottom side Rudy as Par three and Doc N Willy. Rudy is bred to Gunner for 2018. http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/plain+dark+choclet
We have a couple of openings left for anyone that wants to breed to Leroy Gunner or Dude for 2018. Breeding fee is $500, call, email, FB message or text for more information.
We have had some 50 degree days which really put us in the mood for spring. Toni and Dad have been working on prioritizing the fencing projects (which never end) as well as working on fence here and there. We really like the no climb mesh horse fence that is tall enough they can’t go over the top of it. The problem with this fencing is the cost. There are lots of posts to keep this type of fencing up and tight, every ten feet, with wood posts after every three t-posts. So putting up this type of fence is pretty labor intense. Especially compared to a barbed wire or hot fence. We are slowly trying to get either this type of fence up in all of the horse areas, wood pole fence, or panels for our entire permanent fence. We also use hot wire and barbed wire, but try not to use barbed wire in the horse areas. As everyone already knows, we also have quite a few stallions, so having really tough fence up PRIOR to the beginning of breeding season is a priority. Currently Toni and Dad are working on replacing the perimeter fence on Double’s pen as the first priority project. Toni and the boys have also taken down some barbed wire and replaced it with panels in a high traffic area pen where we keep the young stallions.
The stallions are also starting to feel like it is spring and are becoming rascals. We are really watching to make sure that the young three, Bishop, Sagebug, and Reed can continue to co-habitate. We may need to separate them soon. We also have Double in with Smokey and Whim. Double always does great with the foals, but at some point he may decide they are no longer foals and are young studs, so again, we are keeping an eye on that pen. We are also watching our mares start to really round out and look like broodmares.
We have finished our first round of AI calves. Our conception percentage was lower than normal. There are lots of factors that go into conception, and we were still within what is considered the normal range for the industry. However, it is disappointing to us. Our second group will start to calve soon. We are also getting natural calves right now. We will start AIing in about 45 days, so we are sorting through bulls and looking at semen that is available. We are very picky, and with four people having an opinion, the process can take a while! We did order some semen today though on a bull we bred to our heifers and have liked the calves out of. These calves really have vigor when they are born, they jump up and start nursing.
On a personal note, the last few weeks have been pretty rough. Great Grandma took a turn for the worse right around New Years. We flew Uncle Manny (her son) down from Alaska the first week of January. He has been here with us as we have all taken turns being with her and trying to make her last days the best that we could. Hospice was called in to help manager her pain. GG left us January 13, 2018. We have been very busy getting all of the details lined out for the service scheduled January 19, her obit, the memorial, etc. Per the norm, our family really steps up and everyone pitches in and helps out when something like this occurs. For anyone that knew her, a graveside service will be in Endicott on Friday at 10 followed by a get together in Lacrosse at noon with a meal, talking, and sharing stories. This is a sad time for us, but in reality, we had 7 bonus years with her. She took a nasty fall 7 years ago and we didn’t think she would make it then. She did, which has enabled our children to get to know her better and to hear her stories and know our family history. Having someone like her in our lives is irreplaceable. We are so thankful that we had the years with her that we had. Here is a link to her obituary: http://www.bruningfuneralhome.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=4540097&fh_id=13165