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!!

 

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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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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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 Four

On our ranch, Morning means our precious hard-working, intelligent, gentle and  sensitive border collie, Patty gets to come into the house for a little AM visit to start everyone’s day on the right foot.

She works so hard for us with the cattle that we like to give her a little appreciation and now we’re all hooked on the morning habit, including Patty.