Branding

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?

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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.

De-Clutter

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….

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

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mended the fence line….

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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!

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So happy to have them successfully deliver on my watch.

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Back to do a little more fencing…

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

Nesting

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.

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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.

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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.

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Snowflake

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,

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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.

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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!

My Cow

Out of the over 200 cows we have collectively, there is one cow that is my cow and mine alone. When we acquired her a few years ago in a pen of heifers we bought from elsewhere [something we no longer do as all our females are home-grown] I took a liking to her right away. Her brown and white patchy blotchy look is called “brockle-face” and to me, that means she has character. I also thought of vanilla and chocolate pudding right away for some reason and she soon came to be known as Puddin’.

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We’re watching her closely these days now as she will be the first to calve out of the cows.She’ll probably end up being a week ahead of the others because she got to be with the bulls first having lost her calf from illness quite early on during last year’s calving season. Every single year she has had a male calf, she has yet to bring me a female like herself that we can keep in our “home-grown” young herd.

This is why she gets a special place in the blog tonight. By next week I am truly hoping I can write about her and her new heifer calf. I want to keep the Puddin’ Family keepin’ on!

However…………….

I do have an appeasement if she happens to grace me with yet another male calf. He will eventually go to market and be converted to cash, which will then be converted to a new camera lens for Flicka Rancher.