Goose Sequel

It’s probably time to record a goose update. Between the gander and hubby and myself, we’ve been babysitting “our” nesting momma goose vigilantly throughout her 28+ days incubating her eggs.

Yesterday she hatched!!!! I couldn’t wait to get home from the office and check her out with her goslings. There was only one little fella that would give me the pleasure of popping his little head up …. The rest she kept closely concealed.



The following day, after hatching, is when she should coax them from the bale and take them to the closest water source. This crazy goose has me so mesmerized that I set the alarm for 4:30 this morning to be the first to witness this amazing event. But there she sat, snuggled down with her goslings … not looking like she meant to go anywhere.

Chores got underway and a couple hours passed. I went to check again, camera and binoculars strung about my shoulders and my worst nightmare….nobody was on the bale! I was feeling pretty disappointed that I had missed this “little show from nature” and then as I started heading back to the yard I saw a sight that completely devastated me….a pair of adult Canada Geese in the slough and no babies. Not again you two….why can you never succeed at this family-making thing? Why does that coyote or that hawk always win…year after year? We tried so hard to make conditions perfect for you and here we go again!

I decided I better get a picture of the empty bale so I could illustrate this sadness, but this time I walked instead of taking the quad. I walked dejectedly along too, when all of sudden, right there in front of me was the sweetest sight to behold….our goose pair with their entire family of seven goslings being guided to the southern most slough in the other direction! They, happily, had me fooled.


I continued to follow them right to the water and witnessed the first swim of the little ones. One tiny gaffer couldn’t quite keep up so it was comforting to watch the gander – his daddy – patiently wait for him, all the time ruffling his rear feathers as if to tell him…”hurry up!”


Finally, after five years of trying, trying, trying….our faithful pair of Canada Geese has their first family. The Lucky Sevens I call them. They are now as safe as they can be in their water-sourced home in our south field. We can count on them to continue to return here annually. You can bet we will have the bale condos set up and ready for them smack in the middle of this pond so the dangerous waddle in the field can be eliminated altogether.
Oh, and that pair I saw earlier? We figure they are a newly-matched Mr and Mrs who we anticipate will occupy the second bale which we will also set up in this pond. The more the merrier!!!


Being more involved with ranching duties means being involved with more of the unpleasant but necessary tasks. Like branding our replacement heifer calves. Hubby caught a shot of me working the brand on my prize tan heifer. I had picked her out as a keeper when first born. I love being able to identify her from the rest of the dark red animals in our herd. She’s one of those “pretty” animals.
So I was temporarily concerned about being the one to be applying her permanent mark….but then again….who better than I to be just a wee-bit more on the gentle side. I paid attention to rocking the brand with just enough pressure to evenly distribute the brand and after the few required seconds, I think I did a passable job. I was pleased that she didn’t struggle in the squeeze chute during the procedure. I’ll be less nervous about this part of the ranch chores in the future.
Branding is more important than ever now that the value of our animals is so high. This ensures our ownership is intact should we ever suffer loss or theft. We use an electric brand now that moves the process along so much more quickly and efficiently and humanely. In the past, using hot irons for each separate image on our brand…the L, the Z and the bar (-), would have required three separate applications.
The “girls” got a real treat after the branding session. They finally got out on grass from the pen they’ve been sharing for months. It’s such a pleasure to see them out on the range where they are meant to be.

A Good Time

The talk around the industry now is “it’s a good time to be in the cattle business”. It sure is, prices are the best they’ve ever been, people still buy and eat beef for top-quality protein, the optimism is high. Yeah, sure it’s a real good time.
In my mind though, it has always been a good time. I love raising cattle and being a steward over our precious lands and water resources. I’ve loved the cattle industry maybe even before I married into it eighteen plus years ago.
What could be more purposeful than raising animals towards supplying the food chain of the world. What could be better for the body and soul than to put in a good long honest day of hard work … feeding, watching over, nursing and treating these innocent animals that are always there for you?


We have persevered through the BSE crisis, Ecoli scares and multiple droughts, all the while totally believing in our cows. I ” buy in” to the vision my husband has always held….COWS COME FIRST…it has guided us through the worst and now the best. Love these critters.


Over a year ago now since I retired from the office job, high on “the list” was to go through every room, every closet, every drawer to purge and throw away and de-clutter and clean and throw away some more. But of course, life events took me away from such an activity until this morning …. when we found a pool of water forming in a storage room in the basement and man-oh-man did I move!

Admittedly, initially I was grumpy, grumpy, grumpy as this meant I would be stuck inside moving items from here to there, shop-vacuuming up water, moving stuff from here to there. It wasn’t looking like a good start.

If I have my preference, when I am home for the day, I prefer to be outside choring and hanging with the critters. However, once I started pitching I started to feel so good…that kind of good one feels when you really de-clutter, when you finally start asking…”Why have I kept this …. and this … and this … back here in the corner, up here on the shelf …. Good grief how does this clutter develop?

Indeed the best remedy for procrastination and inefficiency is to de-clutter….thanks to a mini-almost-disaster, I finally got past those two ill-advised states of being. Look out house (and garage) – things are going to fly! Certainly putting my wagon to good use.

Variety Pack

It was a Flicka Rancher kind of day today. In between the laundry….


I helped pull 16Z’s calf with Cowboy Husband [mom and calf look like each other!]….


mended the fence line….


watched over two calving cows while Cowboy went to town for his eye appointment. Of course they start to calve when he drives out of the yard!


So happy to have them successfully deliver on my watch.



Back to do a little more fencing…


And so, like many other Flicka Rancher days….supper didn’t happen!


Our goose momma has moved in!!

Back on March 27 I wrote about the story of my hubby setting up two straw bales in a newly formed slough in our field to attract a goose pair that has returned to our area many years in a row. They must have approved of the facility because here she is!!

The day previous we noted that the pair of them were actually doing a little home inspection and we were trusting they liked the look of things.



Personally, I am ecstatic that they have settled into this environment. It’s the safest one yet that they have availed. Surely, this year we will see some goslings from these two. As much as I’d like to check on her every day, I will respect the rules of nature and not approach, intrude or pester her over the next 28 days which is the official incubation period. At this point now, she does not leave the nest. Her faithful mate, the gander, will patrol the area and aggressively chase away predators and intruders…the likes of me, if I get too close!

Be watching my blog during the week of May 11 for scenes and stories of new life of the soft-feathered kind!

Gentle Assist

The hardest part of calving is after-calving. It’s the days, weeks and months ahead whereby we work to keep the little critters alive, safe from predators, free from disease and well-fed and nurtured. Most of the time the calves jump up a few minutes after birth and head right to their mother’s teats and begin to suck. That first drink, and hopefully  that happens within the first hour, sets the tone for the health and ability to thrive for the young one going forward.

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On occasion though we have a challenge. This fella from 8U cow is blind. He had a hard birthing experience which may have affected his vision or it may just be his fate. But for these first days he needs a little gentle assist from us to find those precious vessels where he can access his mother’s milk. Eventually we expect he will be able to sniff her out and do this all on his own. We sure will keep this pair close to home. For now, we’re quite willing and able to help him along.

Of course, any animal that gets this kind of special attention gets his own name. I call him Ugo.


Room With a View

During the frenetically-paced days of calving, my kitchen becomes my Room with a View. Just to the east of our yard is a small field where we have our cows living close-by. So here I can check on the girls while I do the dishes, prepare our rare meals, or even the more rare activity of baking. This site also is my head-quarters for record-keeping and tag-making. I so love my easterly view.




There just seems to be no time nor energy by day’s end to sit down at the computer and write to my blog during this challenging calving season. Snowflake came up to greet me today though,


as if to remind me that “Hey Girl! Use your mobile app and show your friends and followers how well I’m growing!!”

Catching Up

I missed my Thursday Blogging activity last week and my husband actually is on my case to get at it tonight before another week passes by. My reaction? Hey, he really does care what I’m doing here every Thursday maybe?

So I have two story-lines to relate which will help in the catching-up theme I’ve adopted for today.

1. Very happy….no, make that ecstatic to report that my one and only cow, Puddin’ delivered a beautiful, healthy heifer calf just a couple days ago. She came during a spring snowstorm and so I’m quite willing to accept the name my husband immediately called her….Snowflake.I love her white under-belly and white legs….she’s going to be a showy gal.

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2. I’m working on another story which I hope turns out as happy as the above cow-tale. Year after year in the spring we have the same pair of Canada geese that return to the ranch to nest and try, try, try to build themselves a family. Yet year after year they fail in some way either because of their own bad decisions on where they nest or circumstances beyond their control like coyotes and hawks finding their eggs or the young’ns before they get to water. Suffice it to say they just have no luck. So we thought we would attempt to steer them towards a more successful nesting environment and hubby Peter planted two bales in the very middle of a nice clean slough in our field to the south.

We figure these are perfectly enticing as a nice safe option for our gander and his mate. They’ve been flying around the property scoouting things out over the past few days. We’re just crossing our fingers that “the Mrs” will approve and settle in soon.


I’m thinking if I were a goose, this would look pretty idyllic! I get into researching the behavior of Canada geese each year about this time. Apparently, they do like elevated sites to nest in which would be around water. As I say…..idyllic!