Straitside Ranch: A New Era

Since the spring of 1995 our purpose was to develop a polled miniature using the genetics of the horned cattle on polled cattle. Our desire was to develop cattle with excellent beef qualities, excellent reproduction, healthy calves, following in the path of those before us, and keeping the Hereford bloodlines pure.
The spring of 2010 brought us new challenges. I had to learn to run irrigation pumps, keeping water pressure on the main lines, Oh, of course those leaks. I learned a lot about valves, rubber seals, and keeping the pressure just right so the pump didn’t shut down. We also have a large reel for irrigation, I had to learn to move the reel (oh not too fast) when taking out the sprinkler head lining up the hose, setting the water pressure, making sure the reel is secure and brake is off so all will go well.
That summer many of our friends stepped up to help get our hay cut. One day I was raking, when from behind I heard metal against metal, and turned to discover the rake had blown itself apart. Our haying partner came upon this mess and very simply said “Well that’s farming.” Of course I was ready to sit down and cry. So the search for another rake began. I was able to borrow a ground drive (OKAY!) and I searched for a rake to purchase but not one was available. Later that fall a friend was able to repair the rake I had blown apart. Oh yes, remember those fences, many of then needed repair, again friends were there to lend a hand.
The cow herd had grown to about 70 head. So now who manages them, including shots, breeding, and preg checks. Early in the spring of 2010 our good friend Bob Watts, Diamond S Herefords, brought us two bulls for use.
We kept on with the shows as well which is another whole manager’s job: washing, clipping, halter breaking. Oh did you get those entries in? Did you remember the health papers for the show in August? There are many facets that go into getting cattle ready for a show, and it is a two person job at least. We were able to make three of our major show that year. One of them being the Cow Palace in California.
Our calving season started in December 2010 and ended May of 2011. Note to self, get hold of your breeding program – must tighten this up. Now comes evaluating the new calves. Calving season has its down turns as well. We lost several calves that year due to…what, I am not sure. One thought: maybe the cows are getting too fat because their bale feeder is way too close to the water trough. So let’s move that hay a bit further away. I was trying out some new mineral tubs. After going through six of them I was sure the cattle had developed a sweet tooth. I had to rethink the mineral issue. At the suggestion of the DuVals, we started using Wind and Rain. It is a good product, it doesn’t quite have all the cows need, but for now it is working. The cows this year are well, no retained afterbirth, calves have lots of vigor, only four pulls three of which came backwards.
The Spring of 2011 bulls were going in April 15th and out July 15th managing the 2012 calving season. I had purchased a herd bull from Bob Watts. At the same time I took two bulls to be drawn for future use. Oh yes, remember health papers as the bulls are going into Oregon. We get to the vet office and he asks for a “Trich” test. What’s that? Do I need one to go to Oregon? As it turned out much to my thankfulness the vet taking semen could do the required “Trich” test.
2011 gave us 14 bulls and 4 heifers. 2012 gave us 12 heifers and 9 bulls. May have something to do with the bull from Bob? All of us here at Straitside so enjoy the calving season we worked all year to see if our choice paid off.
Straitside has suffered no recession. I give thanks to the Lord for His faithfulness. I was able to sell 12 steers and 6 bred cows. So we now have several new breeders as well new MHBA members. Thanks to all who put their trust in our cattle.
In the summer of 2011 the baler broke down twice. Generally we put up about 110 1000lb bales. One of the breakdowns was the spline attached to one of the main reels. After searching the internet for a replacement not one was to be found. We found someone who could build a pillow block to rebuild the spline. That repair was barely completed when one of the roller shafts broke (which had been repaired before) so off to be repaired. One more learning process find a baler. Not being able to find one in my area, after talking to several people, looking on the internet the choice was made to purchase a new baler. The new baler was delivered to us this spring.
A lot of changes have occurred since Johnny’s passing in 2010. I was reacquainted with an old friend from high school. Randy Barnes came alongside me and is a tremendous help with all the equipment as well as all the other things that happen around here. Randy and I were married last fall.
Here at Straitside we are continuing with the same goals that were established early on for our cattle: breed the best Polled Miniature Herefords that we can produce. Now we are looking forward to haying season (with minor breakdowns)and a great show season for all. Meeting new people and making the world more aware of Miniature Herefords. Looking forward to next year’s calves. We have welcomed our newest addition to the herd, SS MR JAKE arrived this spring.
A great BIG thank-you to all our friend and family who have helped to keep us going: my daughters, Jayme Williams, Jeanna Geniesse and their families, as well as my nephew Jason Smith and also to all our friends in the Miniature Hereford world.

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