Yup…that about sums up Springtime on this South Dakota cow outfit
By Shawna Roghair
Roghair Angus Ranch Ent. was established in 2004 on a small ranch in central South Dakota, just three miles west of a little ghost town called Okaton. Brad Roghair stepped away from his family’s preference for Hereford cattle and bought six head of registered Angus cows from his uncle, Stan Caldwell, in 1996. Those cows remained on his parent’s place a few miles down the road until 2004 when Brad and I were married and settled down with our two girls where we currently reside.
For the first seven years of our marriage, Brad traveled the country as a technician and supervisor for Barnhart Cable and Rigging in their wind division, building and maintaining wind towers. I stayed home managing the place and schooling our girls. We learned a lot in those first years, especially myself. I had been familiar with the ranching lifestyle, had even worked one summer for Brad’s uncle, but hadn’t been raised in agriculture. I was learning from the ground up.
Brad quit tower work to remain full time on the ranch in 2009, just before our fourth daughter was born. Today we run just under 300 head of cows on the same small place where we winter them on grass and alfalfa mix hay, calve them out, and then ship to various summer pastures that we lease, some as far as 70 miles from where we live. We have a mixed herd of commercial cows as well as our registered Black Angus herd, and try to sell several head of registered Black Angus along with a few Red Angus and Hereford bulls every year.
We share our love of cattle and our lifestyle with our six daughters, who participate in every aspect of our lives as we homeschool them. They range in age from 17 to 2. God had blessed us in being able to share this lifestyle with our children and we look forward to continuing the ranching legacy for years to come.
12-Day Journal of Shawna Roghair
Monday, April 10, 2017
We woke up yesterday to .41 of much needed rain after an evening of thunderstorms. We have been calving for a couple weeks and are getting close to our AI synchronization dates, so could be getting a lot of calves. Brad, two of the girls and I went out right before lunch to check as well as tag and treat some of the calves from the day before.
It cleared off into a beautiful day. I went out and let the heifers back out to pasture after lunch. The sun was shining, water was running and you can almost see the grass growing. We all rested in the afternoon after the long night. We ate supper then headed out to work on chores. Brad headed out in the tractor and the rest followed and opened gates in the Ranger. We didn’t get any more new calves and it was a beautiful evening to be out.
Tuesday, April 11
Brad, Darian and Jubilee left early in the morning for Sheridan, Wyoming to a production sale where we have been looking at some registered Red Angus heifers.
The rest of the crew worked on school until 11, at which time Grandpa Mel picked Mesa up for the hour drive to Pierre for her violin lesson. Those of us at home headed out to make our rounds.
We ran to our nearest town, Murdo, after lunch for antibiotics. While we were in town we dropped off eggs to a neighbor and picked up supper at Subway because we knew we weren’t going to have a lot of time once we got home. We picnicked on the pickup flatbed then got right to work. This was by far the biggest calving day yet. New ones everywhere. We headed back to start on evening chores.
Brad and the girls got home around 10:30. Brad decided to make one more check before turning in. Ten minutes later he was back, had a cow with a leg back. We managed to get her in, get the calf pulled alive and all was well. Brad went to finish his check; altogether we had 12 calves born today.
Wednesday, April 12
Brad and I headed out in the Ranger early to make a check of everything. We found a few new calves out of cows we had suspected the night before. All was well.
Brad and I had to make a trip to town again to the vet, bank and post office. Once we got back Brad saddled up and he and the girls headed out to tag and treat calves.
The girls came back and Annalee and I brought the milk cow and calf up to the barn from the pasture so we could get her starting with milking. After chores were done I took the two oldest girls into Murdo to shoot .22 for 4-H Shooting Sports. While we were gone Brad had gone to check cows for a neighbor and then up to check our herd bulls in a pasture north of us a ways. Unfortunately, he found our good heifer bull with a broken back leg. Not a thing a person can do, but a bad feeling nonetheless. Brad finished up feeding while we were gone also, so once we got home we all headed to bed.
Thursday, April 13
The fog was thick when we got up this morning. Darian was up bright and early getting milk cow chores completed. I headed out alone to try to check heifers in the fog. I didn’t find anything new. I came back for coffee and Annalee and Brad came out and we all went to check cows.
The two oldest girls and I headed out to bring four bulls up out of the pasture to the corrals. They were being pretty obnoxious this morning, but we managed to get them in no problem. We got them loaded in the trailer and Brad, Darian and JD headed out to deliver them to three of our bull buyers. The rest of us worked on school until lunch.
Brad called from the pasture out west to say someone needed to come out and get one of the cows that had calved in the afternoon, the calf hadn’t sucked. I went out and opened gates and helped Brad put hay out for the cows we are feeding in the lot for the recipients. We ate supper late then Darian and I headed back out to work on the cow with the calf that hadn’t sucked. She was nice, didn’t give us any issues and the calf got fed so we headed back to the house and turned in.
Friday, April 14
Flush day! Jubilee and Riata were up bright and early to go out with Darian to help with milk cows. Brad headed out to drive through the cows and found three new calves. Dr. Hines was to arrive after lunch, so Brad took a couple of girls and loaded a couple of bulls on the trailer to go up to our herd bull pasture and bring the bull with the broken leg home. While they were gone Annalee went out to cake all of the heifer and bull calves. I stayed in and made caramel rolls and tried to get things straightened up so we had plenty of room to set up equipment.
We had lunch, checked cows again, and worked on a little bit of fence before they arrived around 2:00. Dr. Hines flushed three cows. Once we were finished the kids wanted to go fishing, so we all pitched in and got chores done. The girls, along with my sister in law’s brother and a cousin, headed out west to do a little fishing. They had great success, and when Brad was done feeding and we made a loop to get numbers on the new calves we headed home for a fish fry. The fish was great, the company better, the weather was beautiful and we are all exhausted and ready for bed after a full day.
Saturday, April 15
Brad went out early to check cows. There were a couple new ones, everything looked good. I decided I would make the one hour trip to Pierre to visit my family and do a little bit of shopping for Easter. While we were gone Brad and Darian worked on fence most of the day. They went to the neighbor’s a couple miles north and gathered up two bulls out of his cows and into a different pasture for him.
Late afternoon they went home and gathered some of the sell bulls and an extra calf and drove it down to his brother that lives southwest of us, about an hour drive. We got home around 5:30 and I picked up my neighbor’s kiddos so they (Mom & Dad) could go out for supper to celebrate her birthday. We came home and all had pizza for supper, then set out to get chores done. We took the kids with us in the Ranger to go out to the cows. They don’t have cattle, so it was a joy to listen to them exclaim about the calves and their mamas. Our friends stopped to pick up their girls and we had birthday cake and visited a bit, then we all headed to bed.
Sunday, April 16
Easter Sunday. We got an early start to get things done before it was time for church. The girls all went to Sunday School at 9. Brad and I stayed behind to work on our annual Easter Bible Scavenger Hunt for the kids, and then we went to church at 10. We came home and checked cows right away. Not much going on so had a late dinner.
Brad and I went to check heifers, nobody had checked since just after noon and it was now four. We found one calving, but left her alone for a bit. She ended up needing help, so I snuck up behind her and we got the calf out. Praise the Lord. It is a good feeling when something like that goes right.
We went back up to check on the girls. Brad and I finished the Scavenger Hunt and set the girls loose. The last clue took them out to our calving pasture, so Brad took off with the tractor to feed. The girls were done so they headed home to chore and I helped de-twine bales and run gates for Brad. There was another heifer calving when we were feeding. We got done and went to the house for an impromptu bon fire complete with popcorn and s’mores. Before dark Brad and I ran through the heifers. Finished up and cleaned up outside and now it’s time to turn in.
Monday, April 17
We ran our check of the cows early and got chores done shortly after. Darian and Annalee headed out after a bit of school to tag up and treat calves. After lunch they left so Darian could ultrasound a few head of cows for her uncle just a few miles down the road at Grandpa’s. On their way home they stopped at the neighbors’ to check cows and cut just a little bit of firewood because of rain and colder temps in the forecast. I took time to get some things finished up around home, but went out after everyone was back home.
Brad’s brother and his wife were headed to the sale barn with a few head of cattle so dropped his two kids off for a few hours so they could have supper while they were gone. We got supper done, a few rows of potatoes planted and chores done with a bit of playtime before it was time for them to head home.
Tuesday, April 18
Brad and I made our rounds, there wasn’t a lot going on. Grandpa Mel and Jess came over so that Annalee could take Grandpa out to see her two Hereford heifer calves. Darian came back from checking heifers to say we had another with a leg back. They got her in and Darian got the leg right and the calf pulled without any difficulty.
Shortly after, I left with three of the girls for violin lessons in Pierre. Brad and the other girls spent the day fencing and checking cows. By the time we got home in the evening it was time to feed and do chores. I planted a few more rows of potatoes, onions and a row of carrots ahead of the predicted rain while everyone else was out. It was late by the time everyone was back in and ready for bed. It had been a long day.
Wednesday, April 19
We woke up late to the sound of rain. By 8 we already had around a half-inch. We made a loop through the cows and they were stacked up a little bit in places against the wind. We were having a project day for school, sewing and craft projects for a baby shower we are planning on Saturday. Brad went out right before lunch, the rain had let up a bit and the wind had died down considerable. He called home and said he was coming with a young cow that had a backwards calf and wasn’t progressing at all. We managed to get her in and the calf pulled.
Darian got her chores done and she, Annalee and I headed in for Shooting Sports while Brad was feeding. We made it a short night and came home early, as Darian was feeling pretty under the weather. Off to bed and prepare for a new day.
Thursday, April 20
We ran through the cows early then Brad headed out to check cows for the neighbor. I worked on getting school going and wrapped up before we needed to leave for Sioux Falls to run some errands. We had a mid-morning interruption for a bird watching exercise when several Eastern Bluebirds landed outside of the dining room window. It is fun when we get to incorporate our outdoor lifestyle into our schooling without workbooks and lectures.
We ate lunch, then Brad and I left shortly after. Darian and Annalee went out after they had completed their school and tagged up and treated a bunch of calves.
Brad and I had finished up with our shopping and had a nice supper date. The girls were keeping us up to date via phone on how things were going at home. We arrived back around 10:30. We finished getting debriefed; they had a total of nine calves all day and they were pretty sure there were at least three more going when they checked. Nice to have capable helpers.
Friday, April 21
It was a beautiful morning. I got the coffee started and Brad and I headed out to check. Out west we found four new ones. Great day for it, the sun is shining and there is a light breeze. Everyone was up bustling about so we got breakfast wrapped up, had a tag painting class, updated calving books, and started school.
After we got school and lunch wrapped up, Annalee, Trinity and I took off again to watch one of our nieces at her Junior Senior Banquet for school up near Pierre and tie up some loose ends on the shower I am helping to host tomorrow. It sure seems that we have been doing a lot of running lately.
Brad saddled up, and he and the rest of the girls headed out and spent the rest of the afternoon tagging and treating calves. It took the rest of the day, as there were over 20 to be done. We had 17 calves born today, and a few left from yesterday that needed tagged yet. They finished up around 7 and then worked at getting feeding done. They didn’t come in for supper tonight until around 9:00. That was a full day and we are all ready to turn in. Good day for a good ending to our journal.