Scenes from the Ranch

I’ve been sharing several photos in a Scenes from the Ranch post every week or two over on social media. These snapshots capture a few events in our daily lives to give our friends, supporters and customers an idea of what life is like out here on the prairie of central Montana. I’ve been less interested in social media myself lately, and realize that some of our supporters may enjoy reading our Scenes from the Ranch outside of those platforms. So here is my first blog share of the same content – just some little snippets of our lives on the ranch.

Coulee Creek Ranch calves

Like many ranchers, we weaned our calves at the end of October. We fence line wean, which is a gentle and healthy way to separate the calves from their mothers. The cows are able to visit and make nose-to-nose contact across the fence, which prevents nursing. Slowly they all settle into the new normal, and the cows eventually wander off in search of fresh grass. We’ll keep the heifer calves to replace aging cows, and the steers will be butchered at about two years of age for our direct-to-consumer beef sales.

ski tracks and the Snowy Mountains

The snow and cold last week made from some great cross-country skiing! Maverick and I enjoyed adventures up on the prairie while the blanket of snow lasted. We’re relieved to see a thick coat of snow on the Snowy Mountains in the distance too. Hopefully it recharges the Musselshell River, which was running low and slow by the end of the summer.

draft horse team pulling the hay wagon

We took the team on a 10-mile drive over to a neighbor’s farm to pick up a load of small straw bales last month. We use straw in the barn as bedding and in the chicken coop so it feels good to have a supply stacked under the eaves of the barn before winter. It was a wonderful adventure to travel so far with the team!

bird tracks in the snow

I lucked upon this beautiful bird wing impression in the snow while it was still fresh and powdery. The wing prints were big enough to be from a great horned owl. We’ve been hearing one in the trees behind the house in the evenings.

Published by Heather Bilden

I live in Montana with my husband Bart. I enjoy working in the garden, taking care of the animals, and exploring the prairie with my dogs, my binoculars, and a reverence for the natural world.

5 thoughts on “Scenes from the Ranch

  1. Hi Heather, I love the most recent photos and your explanations. What a discovery the impression of owl wing-prints is! And how fleeting! I had never heard about the humane way you wean the young cows! How compassionate and how different from factory farming! It was so good to see you recently. Now we knit together from afar. xoxoxox Aunt Nancy


  2. I love these photos. Thanks for thinking of folks who aren’t on social media! And what a cool bird wing impression. I can’t wait to show Elliott.


  3. Thank you, Heather, for the beautiful pictures. I especially like Bart driving the horses and wagon and the bird. How did the bird picture get made!! Love, Mom


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