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Category ArchiveMeet the Sabos



Meet the Sabos &Sustainable Agriculture &Wildlife saboranch on 20 Aug 2016

A story of land restoration at Sabo Ranch

The land surrounding Harrison Lake in 2004- barren of anything but grass.

The land surrounding Harrison Lake in 2004- barren of anything but grass.

When we purchased the 6000+ acres of ground in 2004, it had been over grazed for decades.  Nothing but a sea of grass.  The border of the Lake, a significant stopping point for migratory waterfowl, was seamless grass- no cover, no willows, no cattails.

Mark and I gave the land a year of rest, then started to manage grazing to keep livestock OFF the lake borders.  $2000+ in materials, hours of permanent fence creation, and many more hours of erecting electric fence to control access to the Lake shore has born fruit.

57 of 60 Narrow Leaf Cottonwood trees that Mark and Scott Swanson planted several years ago have survived and are thriving! The willows that have self seeded are so thick in places that it was hard to find the trees!

57 of 60 Narrow Leaf Cottonwood trees that Mark and Scott Swanson planted several years ago have survived and are thriving.  The willows that have self seeded are so thick in places that it was hard to find the trees!

Mark selects a spot with good fitting for the cattle, and creates an electric fence water gap between willow stands for cattle watering. Since the Lake level falls swiftly during irrigation season, he mush extend the water gap farther into the Lake every couple of days.

Mark selects a spot with good footing for the cattle, and creates an electric fence water gap between willow stands for cattle watering. Since the Lake level falls swiftly during irrigation season, he mush extend the water gap farther into the Lake every couple of days.

IMG_2261The cattle stay within the borders of the water gap (you can see where the few willows within the gap have been avidly browsed by the visiting cattle), and the willows and trees keep growing around all borders of the Lake.

Migrating waterfowl and other birds LOVE the border zone!  Coots and greebs use the submerged willows early in the summer as protective cover for themselves and their chicks.  Yellow-headed Blackbirds nest by the hundreds in the willows at the shallow end of the Lake, suspending their pendulous nests safely above the muddy waters.

 

Meet the Sabos &Sustainable Agriculture saboranch on 18 Jun 2016

Ranching and Wildlife

Ranchers live a pretty incredible life. Here are scenes from the past few days out in the field.

A porcupine came to visit Mark's carefully tended aspen trees near our cabin at harrison Lake.  We loaded it into a trash can and transported it far away, towards a spot with more wild trees.

A porcupine came to visit Mark’s carefully tended aspen trees near our cabin at harrison Lake. We loaded it into a trash can and transported it far away, towards a spot with more wild trees.

A whitetail deer fawn, probably only a day old.  We found them on our driveway, and the doe brought it into the hayfield, told it to lie down, and ran far enough away to draw our attention elsewhere.

A whitetail deer fawn, probably only a day old. We found them on our driveway, and the doe brought it into the hayfield, told it to lie down, and ran far enough away to draw our attention elsewhere.

IMG_1351

Curlew eggs!  I almost stepped on mother curlew, and her broken wing act alerted me to something precious nearby.  A "life bird" in birding terms- or rather a "life bird nest"!

Curlew eggs! I almost stepped on mother curlew, and her broken wing act alerted me to something precious nearby. A “life bird” in birding terms- or rather a “life bird nest”!

Fencing in the morning, serenaded by Curlews, Meadow Larks, and sparrows.

Fencing in the morning, serenaded by Curlews, Meadow Larks, and sparrows.

The heavily used elk trails on a beeline from the neighbor's open pastures to our delicious field of sanfoin, a tasty legume.  The broken fence wires are proof of their nightly visits.

The heavily used elk trails on a beeline from the neighbor’s open pastures to our delicious field of sanfoin, a tasty legume. The broken fence wires are proof of their nightly visits.

Elk tracks, heading "home" to undisturbed daytime pastures free of cattle and ranchers.  They'll be back again tonight!

Elk tracks, heading “home” to undisturbed daytime pastures free of cattle and ranchers. They’ll be back again tonight!

Sabo Ranch, Harrison, MT 59735  406-451-6900, saboranch1@gmail.com

 

Articles &Meet the Sabos &Soil and Forage &Sustainable Agriculture saboranch on 09 Apr 2014

The importance of CALCIUM & MANGANESE

Many of us dislike glyphosate, found in RoundUp and other herbicides. One of the things it does is to block the absorption of MANGANESE from the soil. It blocks other minerals’ absorption also, but here’s some farming information about manganese that might be interesting to both farmers and livestock producers.

Manganese is high in the seed heads of grasses- livestock and humans need manganese to produce eggs and sperm. If we breed our Montana livestock back in July & August, when seeds are being produced by native grasses, we take advantage of naturally occurring higher levels of manganese in forages- for better breed back and pregnancy percentages!

“…Carbon determines the depth of the magnetic field across an acre of land. The next item of importance to maintenance of a basic electrical field is manganese. If manganese is not present, seeds will not sprout….Manganese is one of the heaviest elements essential for crop production…. It take at least 12 atoms of nitrogen to capture one of manganese. (hence the importance of adequate nitrogen in our soils! emphasis mine) Nitrate nitrogen is one of the main negatively charged elements in the soil, the other chief ones being calcium, atomic weight 40, and potassium, atomic weight 39.102…. If each calcium atom gave up all …units of energy, only four atoms would be required to capture one atom of manganese. No element will give up that much of itself, therefore a great many more than four will be required to capture that single atom of manganese. It may take as many as 15 or 20. If we have one pound of manganese per acre, it might take 500 pounds of calcium to serve up the energy needed to capture that manganese. A low test weight on a crop means that the soil was not working correctly to capture the necessary manganese. Certain symptoms can assist the farmer in reading the situation. If the soil is sticky, it may be so hungry the calcium can give up very little of its energy to capture the manganese. Soil that isn’t trying to grab the boot off your feet will give up calcium more readily.” p. 47

“Mainline Farming for Century 21” Dan Skow DVM & Charles Walters

Do any of us know that grains such as wheat, barley, etc, should have SOLID stems- indicating adequate calcium?
I always thought that wheat should have a hollow stem. That cool hollow tube of a wheat stem is actually an indicator of ill health and inadequate mineralization and an incomplete food for wheat’s consumers.

The first step in making CHANGE is to NOTICE. This corn dolly made from our grasses shows that indicative hollow stem- our cattle's demand from the minerals tubs have shown that our hay is still lacking in calcium. This year, again, we are mineralizing our fields- an effort to move the available minerals into a more bioavailable form than the ground-up rocks in the mineral tubs. Those have worked for 5 years and that method is slowly remineralizing our fields through the cattle. Now it's time to ratchet up the process and put the minerals onto the fields!

 

Meet the Sabos &Sustainable Agriculture saboranch on 15 Feb 2014

Kiril Sabo’s Pastured Poultry activities

Kiril's pastured turkey fed us at Thanksgiving!

Kiril Sabo is our pastured poultry specialist at Sabo Ranch.  He cares for our laying hens and ducks every morning before school or church- often in the dark!

His eggs feed our FAMILY,  GROWING CHICKS, GROWING HOGS, and our ranch CATS and DOGS.

Kiril caring for spring chicks in our greenhouse

A few of Kiril's heritage style Rhode Island Red chickens

Kiril's autumn pastured turkeys, half grown and eating LOTS of green grass.

Articles &Intern Diaries &Meet the Sabos &Sustainable Agriculture saboranch on 25 Nov 2013

Health and Responsibility

There is a lot of debate these days about HEALTH CARE, when we are actually debating ILLNESS CARE, and usually CHRONIC illness care.

Mark and I discuss with visitors and friends the issue of cheap food equalling cheap nutrition all the time.  Its just part of our lives now.  I attend Weston Price meetings to learn, and also with my marketing hat on- so people who understand what we’re doing know that we exist.

Kiril Sabo raising organically fed, pastured turkeys this autumn.

I write a lot, and we host visitors a lot, to keep educating, to keep sending on information about how to find good health and good food.  We all want simple lives, but good food/good health in America comes by searching out the complicated issues and understanding them. Our customers are a tiny percentage of the whole– educated, thinking, questing, never satisfied with the easy answer.
We can raise livestock because they, like us, enjoy the easy answer– feed me your choice, my stomach will be full, and I’ll stay here until you butcher me……..  It’s a rather grim view of the world, but…!
That’s why this American health care issue works– the public is asking the “health care system ” to help them past their own terrible health choices, agreeing to follow you (the Feds & the conventional drug based medical system) and pay you (the health care system) the bulk of their lifetime earnings by the end.

The first litter of Sabo Ranch American Guinea Hogs- the perfect grazing hog- gentle, excellent mothers, easy keeping.

With 80% of health care costs taking place in the last month or two of life, many Americans are leaving this world far poorer than they or their families would wish.  Many Americans are also living a life of pain, with sore digestive tracts, sore joints, sore hearts, sore backs, and fuzzy minds– all due to their dietary choices.

All Sabo Ranch cattle are GRASSFED/GRASS FINISHED, for heath of cattle AND human consumers!

The life that we are leading requires personal responsibility, responsibility every day of our lives as we choose what to eat, how to live, how to raise our children in that responsibility.  It’s hard work.  Many rewards, but harder.
If we choose pastured meats, nutrient dense vegetables and fruits, and eat fermented grains in moderation, we can ameliorate a lot of our chronic illnesses such as arthritis, attention deficit disorders, allergies, heart inflammation, and even autism can often be ameliorated with responsible nutrient dense food choices.
I admire what all of you who are producing quality, nutrient dense foods are doing, and if you can stay the course, you will find that people start to depend on what you produce, because they are also making the hard choices and can’t raise all their own food, but want good food!

Meet the Sabos &Off Grid Lliving saboranch on 07 Aug 2013

Cycling WOOFFers at Sabo Ranch!

We recently hosted and enjoyed a wonderful visit with Francois-Xavier, Cecile, and Emma(age 6) Delemotte, originally of Montreal and now total nomads (www.nomad-dream.org).  Having sold their home and possessions, the family is cycling around the world for 3 years, and stopped by for a couple of weeks of WOOFFing to experience farm life and rest after they started cycling 2-1/2 months ago in Vancouver.

Emma milked cows, patted pigs, caught chickens, chased ducks, ate good food, taught Little Anne, our 24 month old Border Collie, good “child manners” (i.e. submit to ALL hugs, at any time!), and gave the tooth fairy reason to visit the ranch on her first night here.  Cecile helped immensely in the kitchen, and  used her strong rock climbing hands to ably milk the Jerseys with Jenny.  F-X picked Nanking cherries until his hands turned red, photographed everything, and helped with everything from moving and sorting cattle to taking 10 year old Kiril Sabo on a 16 mile bike trip south to Norris, MT at the Delemott’s departure!

We encourage other farms to host WWOOFers and wonderful visitors from abroad.  Our time with the Delemottes was filled with children playing together and finding a common bilingual language, discussions about farming, and parenting, and concerns about the future of the environment that supports us all.  This planet is truly small and precious, and opening our home to such wonderful visitors, such great new friends, reminds us that wherever we have been born, whatever language we speak, we are the same in our hearts.

Kiril and Riley Sabo give Emma Delemotte a last hug before she heads south on the road again with her parents for another two months of hard travel.

Kiril Sabo(left), suited up for a 16 mile ride to Norris, MT with the Delemottes as they head out. Riley Sabo, without helmet, checks out the gear one last time. F-X pulls Emma's bike, plus gear front and back, and Cecile covers the tail of the convoy with gear bags and a trailer on her bike. GO Nomad Dream!

Intern Diaries &Meet the Sabos &Sustainable Agriculture saboranch on 02 Feb 2010

Sabo Ranch Internship Blog- Jules Feeney 2/1/10

Kiril Sabo and Jules Feeney start a snow fort on a winter afternoon

Kiril Sabo and Jules Feeney start a snow fort on a winter afternoon

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my first day on the Sabo Ranch and these are a few of my first impressions. Only some things are consistent. The cows and chickens need to be watched on a daily basis. The way in which the runts interact with the other animals effects the way the feeding is done. The overall rhythm of things is considerably consistent, every morning the cows and chickens are fed and checked on.

            The family is very much just a family with a significant amount of chores that need to be done. Kiril (age six) and Riley (age nine) help, play or work all the time. Riley seems to know everything there is to know about his ranch. Kiril is still learning the way things work from his brother. Both boys have their own set of things to do around the house. Every evening someone goes out to the chicken coup to collect the eggs.

The family could not have been more welcoming or better teachers. I look forward to more days of work and learning with this kind family.

Intern Diaries &Meet the Sabos saboranch on 26 Jan 2010

Jules Feeney- Sabo Ranch Feb. 2010 Intern

Jules Feeney, age 15, calls the Washington D.C. area home.  Jules will be spending two weeks with us for his Winter Special Session from the Field School.

Jules Feeney, age 15, calls the Washington D.C. area home. Jules will be spending two weeks with us for his Winter Special Session from the Field School.

Sabo Ranch remains fully committed to helping high school and college students experience life on a Montana cattle ranch. 

Jules Feeney will try his hand at driving the ranch pickup for feeding cattle, loading bales, milking cows, tending chickens and ducks, living off-the-grid, and eating in season in a Montana winter.  He will also attend a Bozeman Winter Farmers Market (as a farmer!), and watch a grassfed beef getting butchered, and cut up, at our local butcher “Montana’s Best Meats” for steaks and burger.

 

Before leaving- Jan. 26, 2010

Blog 1

by Jules Feeney

 

 

When I first decided I wanted to spend my winter internship in Montana at Sabo ranch I was expecting to do a few thing around and help out. But as the weeks went on and the time for me to leave came closer I realized I would be a real ranch hand doing everything and anything. So out of everything I want to learn to ride a horse because I’ve never actually ridden one before.

What I remember from the last time I was out on the ranch was the horse pulled sled riding. This a fond memory but not the driving force that has me returning as an intern. My dad has been encouraging me to get out in the world and work. We had talked about doing this in the summer but the time was never right. But when I had this opportunity with my school I decided this was my chance.

It’s had to say what I want to bring home with me before I’ve even seen what’s up for me to take home. However a sense of accomplishment and support that I can then provide for my family back home in the city life is something that sounds appealing.

The preparations were mainly thinking about my trip and preparing for the cold but also making sure I had the right clothes for the weather was another big part. But from what I’ve done in the way of packing and preparing I feel safe and ready for another learning experience.

Sabo Ranch has space for one Intern Sept-Dec. 2010.  Questions?  Contact us at saboranch@gmail.com, or 406-685-3248.

Meet the Sabos saboranch on 26 Jan 2010

Kiril’s Ranch Artwork

Kiril Sabo, age 6 (photographed by his mother who faced him straight into the winter sun) with his Ranch Artwork.  Kiril has carefully drawn cows eating hay, calves lying down, and even busy bulls with their mates!

Kiril Sabo, age 6 (photographed by his mother who faced him straight into the winter sun) with his Ranch Artwork. Kiril has carefully drawn cows eating hay, calves lying down, and even busy bulls with their mates!

Meet the Sabos saboranch on 18 Dec 2009

Kiril farm photo

Kiril's Farm at Home
Kiril’s Snowy Day farm game

When a farm kid plays at home, he knows what he’s doing when he reaches into the box of toys and animals!  Kiril, age 6-3/4, built and photographed this, and wanted to add it to our website, so here it is. 

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