Farming Computer Work in the Snow

Yesterday the big farming task was to sort the ewes into backup breeding groups and put their respective rams in. We have a handling facility that is under a roof but we had lots of blowing snow. We need the water so no complaints from us.

Sorry for the sideways pictures, I STILL cannot figure out how to tell the forum SW to display them in portrait mode.

Here are the ewes in the chute. There are 2 sort pens at the end and a two way gate.

And here is Ken scanning a sheep ear tag and me using the LambTracker system to see which ram she is to be bred to.

The rams Desert Weyr Bad Wolf and Desert Weyr Bravo were very happy.

PS This is also an advertisement for the insulating qualities of wool. The sheep were perfectly comfy and dry under their fleece even with snow on their backs.


Sometimes I have to open pics in Preview, rotate right, then left, then save again. I think Photos probably takes the EXIF info into account when displaying, so displays the proper orientation, whereas Discourse and many others do not.


Excellent photos, Oogie! Thank you for sharing — and thank you, John, for fixing.

I hope you had plenty of your hot drinks and alcoholic beverages of choice to warm up after that cold outdoor work.

I’m guessing Ken’s mask is to keep his face warm?

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I have had the same problem uploading photos to Wordpress. Annoying — sometimes I’d upload a photo, not look at it, and come back hours later to find it was sideways. (Also, explains why I’m more haphazard about posting to my Wordpress blog — if nobody says anything about an egregious error like that, it suggests no one is looking at it.) The only solution I’ve found is the one John implements here.


Not really, I came in to slave over a hot computer working on bugs in the AnimalTrakker code.

W did go down to PUB (Paonia United Brewing) for a nice beer in the evening though.

Yeah, we’ve both found that wearing a mask means you can breathe better. The air stays moist and a bit warmer. I’ve worn masks outside for years all year long not just in winter. I’m allergic to hay, grasses and most other flowering plants (bad thing for farming I admit) and I’ve found I can keep the pollen out of my lungs and my need for drugs to a minimum by wearing a simple dust mask all the time. They aren’t great for COVID prevention, they leak around the nose and chin but it’s good for outdoors work.


My wife has done the same with a merino scarf for years. Pulls it off if she needs to call any wayward dog, and then it wears it the rest of the time so that she’s not pulling in cold dry air.

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How many head of sheep do you run?

That’s where Carhartts and good pack boots, wool socks, and good gloves makes this time of year tolerable. Feeding cattle would sometimes take all day.

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We are down to our lowest numbers in over a decade, only 85 head on the place right now.

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It has been a dry year here. There is a shortage of hay. There were cattle operations that were dispersing this herds starting in late May.

Yep, that’s why I was so thrilled not to have to take sheep to slaughter in January. We had a limit on what we can carry with the hay we have and we were over. I went through a bunch of folks that said they wanted to by breeding sheep before I finally got them sold this week. I’d alredy sent tobutcher the ones that deserved to be on a plate. I was glad not to have to send these as they are better than that.

Couldn’t tell from you photos what breed you’re running, Suffolk? Round here its largely Scottish Blackface with a smattering of Hebridean in some of the very poor pasture

P.S. They’re really easy going, not the thugs they look to be!
P.P.S. for our urban readers, if you see a dark brown/ black sheep with FOUR horns, it’s probably Hebridean.


My conclusion about agriculture. It is a good life but a hard living. My dad was a rancher for all of his life. He always wanted to be a cowboy. And he lived that dream. He still is a rancher at heart. at 88 he still gets on a horse and will help work cattle.

My brother still ranches. I no longer own any cattle. I keep my livestock brand registered. “just in case.” I am also one of the few people who have a tractor parked in the alley behind the house. I need to do some work on it to get it to working the way it should. I have visions of using it for small projects and some side income.

I really need to go back and listen to the episode you were on, Oogie.

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Black Welsh Mountain Sheep, I’m the registrar for the US and Canadian Associaiton and an approved inspector for the UK Association. Our flock is also UK registered.