Tough Little Guy

We had some calves born later than the rest to mom cows we thought were “open”. Hah…well, the joke was on us! Happily,  they all calved on their own in the pasture and raised some sturdy little critters.  These young’ns have had to endure some awfully nasty wintery days since the white season hit us and I do mean “hit us”!

One fella in particular has touched my heart and even the hubby’s…so we will plan to keep him as a bull. As soon as he was born I knew I wanted to call him Joey. So now when he grows up big and bold here on the farm – he will then be called Big Joe.              

I see by his heavy hair coat here, Mother Nature has provided the way for him to tolerate this frigid and challenging winter season. Another way he kept warm was to cuddle in amongst the huddling cows as they do during a blizzard. He would have been snug as a bug in the middle of that group in the picture above.

Not to fear Joey…the balmy days of spring and summer are soon here!!

My Farm Is My Gym

In a single day of chores I have put in squats, stretches, quad work, climbing, lifting weights and a whole lot of cardio from walking, walking and more walking. And the best part? A whole bunch of fresh air!

My workout equipment!

The second-best part? I get to have my dogs accompany me everywhere…and they do accompany me everywhere I go.

Heading out to move cows to next field.

So really, what dark, noisy, sweaty old ( or even bright and new) gym can offer all that?

The best gym mates ever!

If it weren’t for these lovely ladies and the rest of the herd I suppose I’d have to take up housework!

I do love my job!❤

Leader Of The Pack

I wrote about Delia awhile back here on my blog…March 13, 2019 “No Sale”. She was the one lone cow we brought back home after our herd dispersal and since coming up “open” that year, she has definitely earned her keep. She produces a calf consistently for us now, her last calf (born 2021) we have kept as a bull.

But more than all that, Delia continues to charm us just being the character she is. As my title suggests, she is always the gal at the front of the line, leading the pack.

Or first one waiting at the gate to come in for pellets or water…there she is at the front of the line. Or at the feed trough, there she is…placing herself in the same spot of the first trough at the front end of the trough.

Or how about when we come into the field in the side by side with pellets…she’s not only the first one to follow or greet us…she practically hops in for the ride!

Needless to say, she keeps us entertained and amused. We look forward to many more years with our delightful, double-tagged Delia.

Been Gone Too Long

I see ( and I knew without looking) that it has been almost a year since I last posted to my blog. That’s not good. This is my diary of sorts…my journal of farming activities…the part of my life that defines who I am to the core. Why would I abandon this?

Exactly…..I won’t abandon this. We’ll just say I have been on a sabbatical from “blogging” for a few months (whereby I have been anything but sabbaticall-ing….what does that term mean anyway?)

Sabbatical means a “paid leave”….hah-hah….guess we can’t call my blogging absence a sabbatical then as I’ve been anything but “paid”!

Suffice it to say…I am back to my blog. Sabbatical is “over”.

Succession

My post will be short and sweet today because what could be better than letting pictures tell the story – so much better than words sometimes.

We couldn’t wait to suit up our granddaughter in her chore-clothes-birthday-present from us and put her to work! It’s all about having a succession plan…..🥰🧡

And so the day begins…

Let’s start with a little lesson in chore-girl-fashion from Grandma.
…along with some cow-whispering lessons from Grandpa.
Learning from the master
Lovin’ on the baby calves
“…don’t worry Grandma – I got this!”
Day of chores + fresh air = great appetite.

What a great way to start April 2021 on Berg Farm & Ranch!😊

It Starts Here

After last week’s post, it occurred to me that between myself and my husband and others like us in the cow-calf and cattle-hauling industry….well, we’re at the base – the foundation (as opposed to “the bottom”] of the food cycle. The cycle that brings your food from farm to plate.

We raise cattle and keep them fed on grass and fresh water. We watch over the good will and nutrition of our breeding herd so they in turn bring forth healthy, thriving calves which later a cattle-hauler like my trucker-hubby loads up and takes on to a feed-lot….. so the cycle can go on and on.

I feel very privileged and honored to be a steward of this lifestyle…even on these cold, wintery challenging days. To be responsible for the well-being of these precious animals that in turn contribute to providing one of the most efficient and high-quality proteins around.

And so we tend to pamper our herd. Pampering – means keeping the feeders full, refreshing the straw bedding after a snowfall, vaccinating against disease and maintaining a watchful eye over all for any changes in behavior or signs of discomfort. I guess, in the end this isn’t necessarily “pampering”….just good management and we take a wee bit of pride in being part of the process to bring healthy and nutritious food to your plate.

A big cozy straw bed sheltered by trees and a wall of bales for sleeping comfort.

Weaning

You know…for years…we have weaned our calves on a busy weekend when the husby is home just long enough to get the deed done with whatever help we can muster up on said weekend. Then, he hops into the big old Kenworth and drives out of the yard leaving me and the dogs with a yard full of bawling, stressed out cows and calves trying their best to get back to each other through gates, and fence lines and corrals.

This year I was not worried about weaning day at all because husby was going to be home for the WHOLE day and not only that – the days thereafter!! He would finally see what chaos he leaves us with when he heads back on the road….back to the off-farm job.

So I took the time to take this little video of the calm and quiet of the last day our cows and calves would be together. I was planning this post in such a way that my video capture the following day would be loud and chaotic and full of bawling and howling moms and babes.

Well, the joke is on me…..guess these gals were good and ready to say goodbye to the children. Peace and harmony prevails on our ranch today already. The expected bawling usually goes for exactly three days straight…but all they can give up is what you hear on this peaceful little video.

Return of the Fox

I find I am getting excited and anxious to welcome back our mating fox pair. It may or may not be “obvious” in the image below, but look closely for the stretched out “u” that represents a well-worn path leading to a hole at the base of one of the spruce trees along our windbreak. This tells me they’ve come home and getting ready to mate.

This has been their den in earlier years but not for some time. She had them under one of our steel bins last year very close to the house but I doubt I would be that lucky two years in a row.

So, I will be crossing my fingers, eyes and toes that I get to observe and photograph and just hang out with a precious fox family in a few months time.

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…. The above post has been sitting in my “draft folder” since December 27, 2019 in the hopes I could deliver a post featuring that our fox pair did indeed mate and raise a family of kits. I’m ecstatic to write today that they did and they did indeed make their home under these trees of our shelter belt…again, not far from the house.

I’ve been highly distracted from ranch chores with these cuties running around but once again, self-isolation shows its benefit-side because I now have all the time in the world to blend my photog life with my ranch life!

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When It Rains

There are numerous high-value assets here on the ranch. During my years working and living this amazing life I believe I have identified our top three – but their order of importance varies over the seasons. They are:

– a live healthy calf,

– a reliable, functioning tractor,

– a good solid three day rain.

As of last night, we are about to experience the latter and we are sure happy about that. (My regrets to the grain farmer at this time)

I also tend to unnecessarily stress a bit about those calves after a long rainy and windy night…that they’ll likely get separated from moms in the weather drama and when I hear the early morning bawling in the field it just reinforces my state.

Calves know best to lay low until momma comes a lookin’ for them.

But I have to remind myself yet again that the bawling is the seeking out for each other and a momma will always sniff out her babe. Peace and harmony soon returns if I just leave things alone.

It’s now a day to watch that rain gauge fill and listen to the grass grow…it’s a happy ranching day!!