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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From Inside The Cattleliner

I believe that my next photographic accessory purchase will be a go-pro camera device to wear upon my head to record my daily ranching adventures. This time of year means we start bringing home our cattle from the pastures and when you’re in the midst of the action, it’s next to impossible to be doing selfies and catching the “procedures” for future viewing pleasure.

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Last weekend found me perched inside the alleyway of the catteliner, straddling the runway whereby below me our bred heifers would be running up into the upper deck of the trailer. Barely hanging onto my little phone, my only photographic device at my avail, here’s my view as I’m alongside the gals snugged into the upper tail end on the liner.

 

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That’s my right foot and leg precariously perched on a ledge (a similar stance was going on with my left leg but I was too anxious to have figured out to hold my phone horizontally for a full view) as the heifers were being chased on below me. Imagine a bull-rider about to sit on the back of a bull…yep, that would be the picture….

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Why am I here? Why…to prevent the gals from coming back down that runway after being so cleverly chased on by hubby and the kids outside.
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How does this old rancher gal hold back a bunch of 1200 pound bred heifers? She waves her little blue stick, by golly! Appears to have worked too…had them all quietly lined up.
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Unfortunately, I only earned half marks though. Apparently I was supposed to be counting them as they clambered on below me….really?
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My Faith

Part of keeping a blog is staying regular with one’s posting. A strategy towards that end is to have a scheduled (somewhat) feature that keeps one focused towards that end. To me, a feature on this blog must also represent what is important and meaningful to me. There are five “F’s” that guide me personally and keep me grounded on this earthly journey:

Faith – Family&Friends – Farm – Food – Fun

All in this order. Because it is my five “F’s” – I give myself permission to have a double-F as #2.  Therefore, in light of the most important of my “F’s” – FAITH….my new feature will highlight scriptures that, again, keep me grounded and help guide me through this challenging agricultural industry we have chosen as our livelihood.

Touring With The Trucker

From time to time I will tag along with my hubby on one of his trucking runs as he tours back and forth from north to south and east to west within the province. He took me down south the other night with a load of cattle that had to be dropped off at three different feed lots.
What would normally be a routine exercise for him, turned into a “Gilligan’s Island” type of adventure…you know the one where the guests head out for a three-hour tour and end up shipwrecked for years and years.

Ah well, I exaggerate now…..
Our adventure began on the delivery to the third feed lot and it was approaching 1AM and it’s dark. It seems dear hubby didn’t really know the exact location of the last feed lot. He hadn’t delivered to this site for years and he would have approached it from a different direction than what we attempted that night. The disorientation begins!

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Imagine the degree of difficulty in turning a semi-truck and cattleliner around in the dark, on unfamiliar country roads and even within the city of Lethbridge…..yes, he turned that creature around in a parking lot and even pulled a redirectional u-Turn in the middle of a major roadway within the city. I believe I recall he backed that unit up five different times as we tried multiple directions in our search. And we still had 16 animals on board!

Still lost by 3AM….so we parked ourselves and tried the sleep-thing in the driveway of another feedlot hoping that daylight would bring on some early-riser workers and we would get some directions to our last drop-off point. Yes, still loaded with 16 yearling calves stirring and moving around in the trailer we’re attached to whilst we try that sleep-thing.

Once the beauty of daylight and civilization returns….the lost find their way and the hungry animals get to their feed bunk. Turns out we were only a couple kilometres away from our destination!

Our journey home was less eventful so I grabbed some environmental shots as we rumbled northward.

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There are a ton of power poles in the south. These mammoth giants string their way all the way to the north but they are far more prevalent in the fields down there…. they are what is taking us away from good old fashioned coal power-generation. Also along our route we pass one of the last standing coal plants….Sheerness Generating Station. Not quite sure what to think about all of this and what it means for our province into the future.

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Of course, we couldn’t get all the way home without one more little piece of excitement. We met up with a wide load….a really wide load…on a small secondary highway with really no shoulders. Again, my hubby amazed me how he can park his huge true and trailer unit on the precipice of the “shoulder” as we let this beast go by.

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I was dropped off at home and hubby carried on for another trucking adventure on his own. Somehow, I don’t think he has these kind of episodes when he’s travelling solo. I think I might have jinxed him on this short trip which happened all within 18 hours from start to finish. I also am cured of any thought of getting my Class One License and going trucking!

The Search Is On

Woke up to a gray, cool windy autumn day. “Perfect!” I’m thinking. I can finally get at the farm books!!! Got the kitchen table all set up, the coffee on and before I settled into anything, being the responsible rancher wife that I am……I headed out to the fields to check on our bulls and a few cows and the horses who are all on the home quarters here with me.
Gasp….all I found were the horses and two bulls in the field where they are ALL supposed to be. That would be 11 bulls, two cows, two heifers and two calves.

Oh lookee here! A broken down fenceline on one side of the field!

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and a decimated/demolished gate on the other side!

So I take to the search on my quad through our other fields and can’t find them until the farthest field – the one we brought them out of many weeks ago. Most of them are all back there peacefully sitting together by the slough just happy as can be. But by my count…not everyone is here!

 

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Back to the search to find, in yet another field, pacing the fenceline, on the wrong side of the fence, a lonely bull, one of our newest ones, anxious to find his buddies and brothers.

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Patched up the holes as best I could with my trusty wire stretchers, hammer and staples…locked up the critters where I can find them….and….the morning is gone! Is it any wonder why then, that the farm books generally end up getting done into the midnight hours?

On The Road Again

Back in November of 2014 when I started this blog it was with the intent to relate the adventures I would encounter and endure as I would be alone with the critters and the chores while hubby was out trucking for days and sometimes weeks on end.

Well, shortly after that declaration, my dear hubby decided to retire from trucking and we’ve just spent almost a year and a half home together. I must admit, I’ve had it pretty easy!

Until a week ago….he bought himself a big truck … he’s back on the road again and Flicka Rancher has to pick up the slack.

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So now it’s my job to check on our cows in the pastures closest to us. My swamper, Patty came along for the first time and was great company for the eight hours of touring the pastures and driving the highways and gravel roads.

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Thankfully, every animal is happy and healthy and probably the biggest adventure endured was getting stared down by our bull when this cowgirl took the opportunity to utilize the “facilities” in the bush!!

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Moving Bales Home

We picked today to move our hay bales from field to bale stack. I timed a full cycle just for fun because there is an element of teamwork, cooperation and throttle work that goes on. A cycle of time to which I was hoping I could improve on as I got bolder and bolder with the throttle variable.
The components of our bale-moving cycle involve hubby loading the bales two-by-two from tractor to Mac Truck (our Old Faithful) from the field.

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Then he proceeds to the bale stack in yard a mile away while I jump into the same tractor and follow him back.

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He unloads at the bale stack….

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Where my dear dog Patty waits for my return and we have a short but pleasant visit during the unloading.

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Then back I follow him, now empty, as we return to the field of bales awaiting us for the cycle to continue. You see, we just use one tractor and one truck and one hard-working husband and wife team.

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A full cycle times out to average 36 minutes, each load is 14 round bales and we completed 14 of those round trips.  When you’re going back and forth and back and forth well yes, you start keeping track of statistics, by golly!

We still have another field to empty of bales which allows the grass to keep growing as it is doing so beautifully this year….but for now we have a yummy short rib supper in the crock pot waiting for us back at the house. It’s time to call it a day!

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Girl Power

What do two cowgirls do on a roundtrip tour on the Alberta highways to pick up bulls , load ’em up and head on home within 9 hours of traffic, torrential rains, glorious Alberta sunny skies?

Why…..we turn off that big old highway..park the bulls….and find ourselves some ice cream!!!!!

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Today Flicka Rancher and her favourite, one and only, ever-so-helpful step-daughter Shelby had the privilege of picking up three of our bulls at one of our pastures….4 hours away and along with help from Carol (the Mrs owner of the pasture out there-her hubby out haying) we loaded up those three big boys, turned around and came home to finish off our 9.0 hour truckin’ shift.
Got some more REAL practice backing up the trailer again, gets a wee bit “easier” every time. The REAL practice makes the learning so much more meaningful.
Thinking I might just volunteer for that one again!!! I like the ice cream part!!!

Photo Challenge – Morning – Day Three

I elected to use the Photo Challenge – Morning more as a “Morning Story” for Day three. Today…we check pastures and for sure that means we treat cows and calves. We have come across some incidents of foot rot more so this very moist year and so we need to get going early in the morning!!!

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So, my job is to corral the animals that hubby brings in on horseback. I wait by the corrals in the very abundant grass and weed growth pacing back and forth to capture these critters…..this groundwork can get wet!!! I need to aspire to the horseback position!

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We have fairly rudimentary corrals out in the pasture for this type of thing but it’s certainly a step-up from just roping a sick animal and tying her to a tree. Our old chute system from the home corrals has retired to the north pasture.

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The cows come in nice and peaceful

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But the bulls have to show up in “wrestle-mode”. Always has to be drama with these fellas .

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However
I got ’em corralled

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Our morning story.  In our pasture, almost an hour away, we rounded up and treated three cows and one calf and loaded up two rascally bulls for home all before noon.

Countrified Blessings-Cheerful Labor

I feel so blessed to have a step-daughter, who happens to be a brilliant teacher [subsequently has the whole summer free] and best of all is ready, willing, cheerful and able to rake hay.

She has happily taken over this task for me this haying season and is having the time of her life [I think] working alongside her dad in the fields. She’s on the rake a few swaths ahead of him while he’s working the baler.

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Couldn’t be a more countrified blessing than your children wanting to work on the farm. Here she is negotiating with her dad to keep going instead of his suggestion for her to “call it a day”. Yes, we are blessed!

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