Sanctuary

I look upon my home as my sanctuary (at times). Living on a farm/ranch can be really peaceful (at times)…..particularly when the cows are out to pasture as they are now and hopefully remaining there for another month or so.

But it would appear that even the wildlife are seeing my home as a sanctuary. Two mornings ago, as I was just getting to my first coffee of the day, what should be walking through my garden spot and up to my kitchen window but this beautiful buck deer!!

My faithful companions…camera and lens, jumped into my hands almost immediately and I banged off as many shots as I could as he walked around our yard and I aimed from every window.

Always a treat when these beautiful animals come to me and I don’ t have to be pursuing or searching for them on my evening tours.

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The Return

Now, either I can say I became lazy or I became too busy. I am going to go with “too busy”. It’s true, just as my Twitter page says….an over-active retiree. I really didn’t mean to neglect my Flicka Rancher blog over the past few months, but starting with our ever-most-challenging calving season at mid-February, I found I had to redirect my energies to the goings-on on our ranch….and we were certainly going and going on!!!

Right from the hop we ran into a series of nightmares with our heifers. The end result was just about every calf had to be either pulled or we had to call in our vet for C Sections. Every calf was saved but at such a cost…financially and emotionally…we were exhausted by March and still had the mature herd of 200+ yet to start calving.

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Had you visited our place back then you would have seen a number of our poor young gals sporting these fancy stitches on their left side. Anatomically, a C-Section is performed on the left side after the vet carefully cuts through the layers of tissue until she reveals the calf in the uterine sac. Unfortunately, this delicate surgical procedure became almost routine in our barn and subsequently hubby and I became very familiar with the steps and ultimately reliable assistants to our mobile vet….securing the cow, disinfecting, shaving, cutting, pulling out the calf, resuscitating (when necessary), suturing and monitoring and medicating both mom and calf for days thereafter. And yes, some pretty cold nights and days were happening all the same time. We were pretty pooched by mid-March.

And then the moisture came….we love moisture…so I hesitate to berate the chaos that presented but even the old-timers around here would tell us never had they seen so much wet and mud and muck and turmoil from this element of nature that is so necessary but rarely so excessive! So again, we were doubly pooched by the end of spring.

Seems funny to be writing about all that past drama now. Now, while the “lazy” days of summer draw to an end. I call them lazy with tongue in cheek….as this is when our cows and calves are out on their own in the pasture …the only time we aren’t watching their every move when they’re home with us for the winter into spring.  But a flurry of activity continues as well during the summer as we put up hay for feed.  We pray for rain and sun, we bale, we haul, we stack, we clean the barn and corrals, we check pastures, we treat sick animals. Did I say “lazy” days? More like “catching-up” days. And today I have finally caught up the return to my blog.

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And so, I am happily anticipating an “easier” season of winter-feeding our animals once all are home and the snow has fallen. Hubby has gifted me with fields of bale-grazing. The idea will be to let our cows in and out of these fields which are filled with standing bales spread out for easy grazing. Along with my dog Patty, I will just have to call the girls, open the gates, they will follow and I close the gates behind them whereby they munch away until Patty and I return before sundown and call them out, they will follow, head for water and then go to bed. The next day Patty and I will repeat the process. Sounds too good to be true, right? Stay tuned for our adventures to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confusion

Ahhhh, my poor animals. When we went to visit them in the pastures during the summer we would have pails of grain with us to enhance the visit. So now when I take my quad out into the field to check on everybody and I’m “empty-handed” all I achieve is the whole herd following me from one end of the field to the other and then back to the yard bawling and hooting and looking for grain.

Guess they didn’t get the memo….you’ll get grain – just not every day you see a human. There’s plenty of grass out there girls and boys!!

 

Got My Cows Home

When the cows and their calves come home from their respective pastures around the area I feel relieved. No more 2-4 hour drives to check on them and wonder about them when we’re not around. But now….here they are and I have some work to do!!

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Fencing never ends….always patching.

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Chopping ice for water hole for my heifers.

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Feeding grain.

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But…they’re home…let the chores begin!

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Not My Favorite Season

I’m not going to be too popular with a number of my friends and relatives with this post….those who happily anticipate the arrival of November 1 and the return to hunting season. Not my favourite season at all. I grew up with a dad and brothers who hunted every year and brought home deer, moose and elk for the freezer.  I even enjoy the taste of wild meat on the supper plate. Admittedly, that makes me a classic hypocrite….I confess.

I do regret though, that such beautiful and majestic animals must be brought down in the prime of their lives to satisfy the hunter. These beings have become my photographic passion….I absolutely come alive when a deer, elk, moose, bear, bird or coyote comes to me  through my viewfinder.

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Subsequently, I joyfully took on the task this week of posting “No Hunting” signs along our property fence lines. I know – I know….this is not going to stop the sport but at least I feel like I am doing my part to perhaps save the life or lives of some of my favorite photographic subjects.

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Isn’t it so much nicer to see a healthy, handsome and alive animal?

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Photo Challenge – Flãneur

I love words. I love learning new words. I love using clever words in my day to day conversations and had so much fun with this quirky little behaviour on an almost daily basis when in the office during my career days. Imagine my delight when the Photo Challenge presented today for the week is a new word for my files – Flâneur! What a cool word and what a cool behaviour it defines….”a detached observer of street life and surroundings…..”

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I found myself being fascinated in such a way on my vacation in B.C. last month and sure enough I collected some images that reflected this fascination with the world around me.

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This country gal, fresh off the ranch….observing the self-defined “oddities” around me.