Processing the Wagyu X Calves


Tuesday morning, we gathered our first-calf heifers and their Wagyu X calves and drove them a couple of miles to our corrals to be processed with a second round of vaccinations before shipping the calves to Snake River Farms in Idaho.


Wednesday morning, Clarence and the girls separated the cows from their calves to be weighed before processing.


Once separated, the calves come down the lane to the scales. With these weights we can lock in a price when we ship the calves at the end of the month and determine if all the calves can be hauled on one truck. But after balancing the scales, I noticed a rabbit hiding in the scale box.


With very little grass to grow up on, the calves weighed about 100 pounds less than normal, in part because we’re shipping three weeks earlier due to our drought conditions. Nevertheless, we were pleased that both cows and calves were in good shape.


All very routine, little things like rabbits and cobwebs seem symbolic as we all hang in the balance.


The startled rock pigeons fly in a bunch from the pasture ahead of a drab figure making a game of the hunt, with extra bounds in the short grass for fun. Between them ground squirrels scattering that I can’t see. Bobcat, Coyote in the glasses at 400 yards? A long tail stops to listen to me holler at the house as it leaves, and then again as I repeat myself, winter hair shining like a well-groomed German Shepherd at dusk, looking back over its shoulder at a human outpost in this world. The good dog growls beside me.


Calves big, pups ahead—
even fine specimens
can make a living fun.



Yellow-headed Blackbird

Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus  - April 14, 2014

Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus – April 14, 2014

While regulating my irrigation water yesterday morning, I ran into this happy fellow, the likes of which I’ve never seen before around here. His habits reminded me of a blackbird, but a third larger, and after touring the Internet I finally identified this adult male that I believe is nesting in the nearby cattails bordering a pond. Distribution maps have Central California as a migration area only, breeding, it appears from the maps, on the east side of the Sierra Nevadas, Nevada and Arizona northward. More info HERE A fairly tame and colorful bird compared to our drab natives, I expect to see him again, and perhaps even the female, but next time I’ll have the big lens.

Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus - April 14, 2014

Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus – April 14, 2014




Sometimes it takes a week or more
for the words to sink in,
get past the callous crust,
irrigate, grow roots
and flower in the brain.

My scalp must be littered with debris
of brittle stems, wild seed and chaff
hidden in a forest of gray follicles
waiting to germinate
after a good rain.

But I get it now—see the words,
not the speaker, on paper—
each packing its own weight
in an even flow across
a cultivated field of furrows.

Golden Brodiaea, Pretty Face

Triteleia ixioides - April 10, 2014

Triteleia ixioides - April 10, 2014


Even at a distance smiling
in a cheerful crowd.
I see your face.



Perhaps the most photogenic wildflower, the Golden Brodiaea or Pretty Face begs to be looked upon, straight down, a flat plane of cheerful faces with a fixed focal length looking up without a care in the world. Their bloom is plentiful this spring, showing above our short feed making one last growth spurt, one last gasp before turning and heading out early. At a distance in the green, the clusters appear to be single yellowish flowers, indistinct lush splotches dotting north and east slopes in the low clay and the granite draws. Each cluster much the same, yet uniquely different in bloom and detail, I seem to photograph them every spring.


WPC – Rock Monument (3)




Once upon a time
everyone of a long-gone people
knew its name.



WPC – Morning Monument (2)

December 8, 2009

December 8, 2009



Dependable, Sulphur Peak
faces each day
dressing for the season.



WPC – Forgotten Monument (1)




Caged from cattle,
who were her people
pioneering in the foothills?



White Mariposa Tulip

Calochortus venustus - April 10, 2014

Calochortus venustus – April 10, 2014


Calochortus venustus - April 10, 2014

Calochortus venustus – April 10, 2014



Kaweah Brodiaea 2014

Brodiaea Insignis - April 11, 2014

Brodiaea Insignis – April 11, 2014

With drought conditions, the rare and endangered Kaweah Brodiaea bloom is early and rather difficult to find this year. Go HERE for the history of the Kaweah Brodiaea on this ranch or follow the tags below.