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  • Ian Thompson

Back on the Range

A lot has gone one since our last post. Two new calves were born in the corral. Our little herd is now seven strong. First, came a bull calf and then a heifer calf that we named Buffolena. We don't name our bull calves. The females that are born here may well spend 20 years on this land. Most of the bulls are destine for sale at the age of two in order to help us keep the herd balanced while paying for the land and infrastructure.

Amy and a one-armed Ian have recently begun building high tensile electric cross fence on our own. The first task was to build a solid training pen for the animals. The fence for this pen is electrified, but constructed heavily enough that it could keep the animals in even if it were not electrified. This is a safe setting to introduce the buffalo to electric fence. If we were to let them encounter electric fence for the first time out in a pasture, they could potentially push through a perimeter fence end up on a neighbor's land.

Today, it was life affirming to watch the herd rumble out through the corral door and into their first little pasture on this farm. This year, we've learned how to build high tensile electric fence, weld, and run water line. Without these new skills, today's scene, along with all of the remaining infrastructure work that we still have left to do would never have been possible. Without the help of our knowledgeable friends and neighbors, we couldn't have even begun down this path. Then there are the animals themselves. Buffalo are the keystone species of the prairie and Great Plains. If we give them the right conditions to work under, they will help us to restore health this tired tract of land. As I hear a mother and young calf call to each other, I can't help but wonder how long its been since this land has heard that sound. I'm guessing about 170 years. What a feeling to see and hear these incredible animals on this beautiful landscape.

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