Calving Capers 4

Calving Capers is pretty tame right now as we are in the preparation stage and carrying on with our day to day routine. Filling, packing and feeding 100 chop pails daily, feeding bales and bedding pens with straw every second day or so. Add the calving escapades to this in a few weeks time and we are going to be “occupied”!
During this relative calm I have the opportunity to introduce the final cast member in my pen of Calving Capers Characters.  Meet my fancy heifer… Shirley Temple…[17B]…note the “blonde” and “curly”….


I picked her out as a “keeper” shortly after she was born two years ago.



Even then she had that blond and curly look. To my mind, it’s neat to have a few unique looking animals in our herd. My husband concentrates on the all red look and admittedly it sure does make a big herd look lovely and uniform out there in the pasture. Thankfully, I’m “allowed” to identify and keep a few characters that I like the look of. I trust pretty Shirley Temple will deliver some fancy calves of her own

We have oh so many more “personalities” in our herd, but the animals with a story have been introduced over the past three weeks. They will earn a special watchful eye and attention from this blog-writer.
For now, my husband and I need to stay healthy, store up on sleep and carry on our diligence to care for these precious animals that we are stewards over.
The night-time watches are coming up real soon!!

Photo Challenge – Seasons

We are just about at spring and yet, in Alberta one can blink and a snowstorm will come out of nowhere on an otherwise warm and sunny day. This little blizzard picked a good week to show up as the current Photo Challenge is to depict something that reflects the season we are experiencing.



I had gone into town for a few errands – I even washed and waxed my truck and THIS happens! Actually the best part of these late winter – early spring snow squalls is the fantastic moisture that comes out of these big fat flakes!

Calving Capers Episode 3

One of my favorite cows is Vanilla Dip, aptly named in reference to her white-tipped nose which looks like it was dipped in vanilla ice cream. She has provided us a nice mix of female and male calves over the past few years. It is actually Vanilla Dip and 3B, as mother and baby calf, that I chose to introduce my blog-posting feature series back on Jan 27. They are also the pair on my Calf Count image on the sidebar to my blog.

The girl she had two years ago is 3B the next in my cast of Calving Capers characters….an aspiring young bred heifer.

Unbelievably, she is almost two years old, about to deliver her first calf, and she still doesn’t have a name! Perhaps my blog readers have a suggestion or two…if so, please feel free to share in a friendly comment.
I look forward to seeing her progeny as her mother has such a nice temperament and so far, 3B is turning out to be the same. We love to keep the quiet ones around, so if she stays with the herd she most certainly needs an imaginative name.

Photo Challenge – Life Imitates Art

This week’s challenge is to imitate a work of art in some way shape or form. I found that the process of taking on this challenge created a story itself.

Life Imitates Art

This past Christmas my husband received a small table sculpture from his twin boys of a praying cowboy by his horse.

I thought this would be a cool piece of art to recreate with him and his dedicated, faithful hard-working horse. When asked, I was thrilled that my husband willingly agreed. I thought I would have to beg and plead!

We chose today, after chores, to tackle the project. Because we have had our two older horses out in the field partnered up all on their own, it required hubby to quad out to them this afternoon to halter up his gelding, T-Bone. The second horse, Shadow, trotted right alongside. Horses need to be together and these two are the best of friends.


Subsequently, when separated, Shadow became very anxious and ran along the fenceline in despair for the duration of our project because her T-Bone buddy was taken out of her sight.


We needed to set up out of view so we could try to recreate a “peaceful”, prayerful pose of cowboy and quiet horse. We went with a couple of different renditions:

A few minutes later, it was all over, the humans had their photo challenge fun and the friends were reunited, free to graze and meander without human intervention for a few more weeks.


Calving Capers Episode 2

We experienced a sad and disappointing occurrence this past week. One of our fine young bred heifers aborted her calf almost two months early. She may have been bumped or fell on the terrible icy surfaces we are beleaguered with this winter to trigger this loss.
It was a female calf which makes it worse as she would have been a gal we could have kept in the herd.
And to top it all off, making it doubly worse, this was Suzy Q’s first calf!

What makes me extra sad is that she always returns to the same spot on the straw bed where she dropped her calf. This is where I took her picture.

This was not the way I wished to introduce the next character in Calving Capers, our dear Suzy Q [40B], the one and only daughter of our dearly departed Trixie, featured last year in this blog.
Thankfully though, Suzy Q will “be allowed” to stay in the herd and get to try again. In the meantime she’s going to have a pretty easy year just grazing and keeping all the nutrients to herself. She’s a lovely heifer with a chance to be our superstar next year!

Vibrant – Photo Challenge

Sneaking in my interpretation of last Friday’s photo challenge. I see there isn’t a new one posted yet for today so may be getting in under the wire!



During the winter months,the last thing I want to prepare is a cold salad even though I do enjoy them as a vibrant and healthy food source. What a treat then, yesterday, to be invited out to lunch and my hostess had prepared such a warm and inviting and yes, vibrant salad! She didn’t even mind me pulling out my phone right away to snag this pic! Somewhat of a rude gesture for a dinner guest, mayhaps??

Calving Capers Episode 1

During these somewhat routine days before calving starts, a flurry of activity goes on behind the scenes for me. This week has been focussed on completing all the farm
books recording in order to send off to the accountant to compile our 2015 tax returns. It is in order too, I practically do all the work for them but in return they keep their charges down. I prefer that they do the last tweaking anyway.

Along with record-keeping is nailing down all our inventory numbers for year end purposes. So many outside parties need that particular set of information from us. Our government, our banker, our accountant and of course ourselves. It was quite exciting this year to see that my efforts paid off. I reconciled every calf right down to the last head. Small victories create much satisfied excitement for this rancher girl!

So as we approach the busy weeks ahead I’ll take the time to feature my cast of characters in the drama about to unfold. This week meet 12B, otherwise known as Goldilicks.


I named her so in her early days after weaning. She had lost her pretty pink calf tag so we no longer could recall who her mother was. But what made her unique was her willingness to come up to any of us and readily lick our gloves, no matter if we were in the corral or out in the pasture. She is a lighter red in colour, almost goldish under the noonday sun so what better name than Goldilicks?

After a summer of frolicking in our north pasture with her sisters and a couple of fellas (the bulls) she is now an almost-grown-up cow….rather, a bred heifer. She is carrying her very first calf and you can bet I will be keeping a watchful eye over her as she nears her calving date and commences her life as a productive mother cow.

She earned the coveted number 12 (one of Flicka Rancher’s favorite numbers) to go along with the B which represents her year of birth. Most of the letters of the alphabet are used in the cattle industry to identify the year of birth. For example, breeding stock (heifers and bulls) born in 2013 are A, 2014 (like Goldilicks) are B, the animals we had and kept from last year in 2015 will earn a C tag and so on.

Just think, next time you’re walking by a field or pasture with grazing cows, check out their tags … you’ll be able to amaze your friends by informing them almost exactly the age of those animals just by the letter in their ear tag.

Calving Capers continues next week!