Heifer-Quieting – Day One

Loaded up the feed truck with tubs and pails of grain and headed west to our pasture to visit those lovely heifers. What a beautiful warm October week I have been blessed with to take on this mission. To think that just barely a week ago we were blanketed…no, almost buried under 9 inches of moisture-filled snow just flabbergasts me. But this is just how Alberta can be….blink or sneeze and our weather will do a full 360 turn!

My first solo visit out to these girls was not without it’s anxious moments…which is not uncommon for me and my predicaments. As can be seen by the deep tire tracks in my short video clip, I almost got my big old 4×4 stuck in the soft moisture-soaked terrain of the pasture.

 

Happily, the heifers came from the other end of the pasture to my voice…my non-descript call that has morphed into what you hear in the clip and what used to be “cu-bus”. As I said, non-descript word and non-descript sound but they do recognize me and they do come a-runnin’ from way across the field. THAT was a reward to start. I chummed around with them for a bit while they snacked and even had a few gals come up for a selfie with me (see above).

The weather continues to summer-ize for the next few days so hoping for drier conditions at next visit and even more besties in my domain.

P.S. I should maybe clarify that what you may have heard me say at the end of my video was not “a swear” but rather I was declaring “as they should”.

Goofy Girls

I have an important self-imposed assignment this week. I have taken it upon myself to quiet down our herd of bred heifers that are presently out on their own pasture an hour away from the homeplace. We want to be able to “quietly” trail them from one pasture to another pasture next Sunday, along a public gravel road, to get them to the corral system we use to eventually load them before the real winter snow arrives. We have become highly motivated to start this “moving” activity since the recent, unwanted snowfalls have hit home.

My assignment then is to travel to them every couple days this week with grain in pails and hang out with them and talk “softly” to them – get them in a mood to “want to” follow me whenever they next see me again. This, because I will be the one to lead them to the second pasture as my hubby takes the tail-end and pushes them to me.

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We visited them today and realized we hadn’t been visiting them enough over the summer…they are a goofy, jumpy, flighty bunch of girls. I’m trusting that by hanging out with them quietly and serenely with my pails of grain and soothing conversations we can all become the best of besties and that they will behave with charm, grace and compliance during their short journey next Sunday.

Sparkle

There comes a day when you just have to dress yourself up and head to town. And such a day happened this week. There was an early morning breakfast meeting in town featuring an inspirational entrepreneurial speaker. A farm girl has no trouble getting up at 5AM to get to town for a 6:30AM Meeting. I’m so glad I did too.We heard from Rachel Mielke, CEO and founder of Hillberg & Berk. Check out her website and you will see why I came away oh-so-inspired….www.hillbergandberk.com

She not only crafts a line of enchanting and sparkly jewellery ( which she began humbly at her kitchen table in Saskatchewan), she is an enchanting gal in her own right and encourages us all to find our own inner sparkle.

And so, I came away from the breakfast meeting that morning inspired to find that inner sparkle and infuse positivity upon this ranch. This ranch where we toil and chore and struggle through droughts, extreme weather, BSE, political directives, regulations, consumer misconceptions, market prices and all the uncontrollables that drive this agricultural industry that is our livelihood.

What better way to signify this personal agenda than to get me some of this jewellery from Hillberg & Berk! I was thrilled to find out our own local jewellery store carries her collection and I could acquire some sparkle earrings right away. I love love love to shop local so big thanks to Vermilion Jewellers.

Her collection includes many many colours and shades but I chose vivid red…the color of empowerment, action, courage and determination. I find I have to count on these qualities out here on a daily basis.  My chore time attire of coveralls and Daniel Boone Hat will now be enhanced by my new red sparkle power “balls”. Because if a woman ever needed to be empowered, it’s those of us on the ranch working alongside their husbands and families as we care for and feed our animals in as safe and humane way as we possibly can.

 

Photo Challenge-Variation

Variations on a Theme is the official photo challenge this week put forth from the team at wordpress…the engine behind the world of bloggers. My domain of agriculture never fails to provide me a response to these challenges.

This time it’s our young heifers. Normally they line up nice and orderly to the table for their morning “breakfast” but here comes my variant. Not content to just come and dine this little cowgirl literally came UP to dine!

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A Snow Day

Back in the days when I was working and I had a half an hour highway drive in to and back from town, there came a day now and then that would compel me to wish that I still lived in town.  The dreaded country SNOW day. Because I would hunker down and head into town along with my rural peers. There was no way I was going to be the pansy that stayed home, while everyone else found their way into town and put in an honest day’s work! I do recall, with absolutely no fondness at all, the terror-filled white-knuckle journeys these proved to be.

When the dreaded SNOW day hits, like today, I’m relieved to have the “privilege” of staying home. But now, the dreaded SNOW day means “extreme” chores. Every little task just becomes ten times harder as the wind whips through the coveralls, blowing snow stings the face and eyes, the trudge back and forth to the routine spots feels like a marathon through the accumulating white stuff. You know, it may look fluffy and puffy and even pretty but no, it feels like cement especially as we push our way back and forth to the troughs with our barley chop pails. Oh how I wish we still had oats in the bin to mix chop….this barley is blasted heavy stuff!

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I protest too much though. A day like today, reminds me just how much our animals rely on us. We started the morning feeding our young heifer calves and they were absolutely delighted to get out for breakfast. It had been a long snow-filled night for them and it’ll help them tolerate the long white day ahead with a full belly of barley and pellets. I see my dog Patty was overly excited to escort them to the dining area!

Today of course every pen needed bales replenished. Thank goodness for a warm barn and plenty of cats to cuddle with as I waited for hubby to come back and forth with more and more bales for me to cut twine from and to open and close gates and to fill and refill chop pails. I was actually contemplating the title for this blog post as “Chore Girl Fitness” or something…….

The most rewarding ending to our day though was to bring in our cow herd from the far east field…another big group of gals that had endured a long, dark, blizzardy night waiting for their next feeding time. They needed no calling and as soon as they heard us in the tractor from a distance, they were on the move!

 

All our critters are tucked away in the corrals close to home and we can rest knowing they are safe, sheltered and fed. Let the snow come on!

 

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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