Hide and Seek

 
Never would I have imagined that a normal day of errands and a road trip to pay the annual property taxes would present such a fascinating experience! I grudgingly set out with chequebook (and camera, of course)in hand. I would normally only go as far as the mailbox and mail the darn thing to the county but in view of rotating postal strikes and October 31 deadline looming near, it behooved me to strike out on the tour and hand deliver our precious property taxes payment.

Almost to my destination, I see three black specks in the field to the west and I know right away they aren’t cows.

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They see me and start to dash. As I get closer I find they have made a home in a culvert and almost get out of sight. I drove off the highway and perched myself quietly in the truck until two of the three re-emerged and watched me right back just as quietly. We sat there for quite awhile and I snapped off a few frames totally delighted with my find. They appear to be healthy yearlings without a momma….but just in case momma was deep inside the culvert, I remained in my truck.

I think I just might pay our taxes this way every year!!

Bull Power

Some of the chores Patty and I get assigned to around here can be fraught with danger and excitement.

We had been pushing/walking the herd into the home field until these two yahoos decided to go at it. That was my que to back up the buggy and wait and watch at a distance ’til they worked it out or wore themselves out. My hard workin’ Patty though, still tried to do her best to keep them moving along.

The reason she and I had the job of moving critters today was to get those bad boys close to the sorting pen so they can be loaded up and taken to market. It’s time for them to go down the road after a few good years of fathering a number of great calves. A bull’s productive life on our ranch runs an average of five years. They have a good life with us…well-fed, pampered and never given too many “girls” to over-work themselves. Their “working” season runs from July to September. Otherwise they only have to graze, rest and sun themselves under the great big beautiful Alberta sky. Trouble is, when they get to the end of their years with us, they seem to get cranky and pick fights all too easily with each other.

And now the day has come to say farewell to these two…it’s definitely time…they’ve crashed through a pen and tore up a fence in recent days. I’m quite ready to say good-bye.

Although I say that now, when it comes to loading them onto that trailer, I know I’ll be a bit sad. I always am whenever my animals are taken from the yard for the last time.

Heifer-Quieting – Day One

Loaded up the feed truck with tubs and pails of grain and headed west to our pasture to visit those lovely heifers. What a beautiful warm October week I have been blessed with to take on this mission. To think that just barely a week ago we were blanketed…no, almost buried under 9 inches of moisture-filled snow just flabbergasts me. But this is just how Alberta can be….blink or sneeze and our weather will do a full 360 turn!

My first solo visit out to these girls was not without it’s anxious moments…which is not uncommon for me and my predicaments. As can be seen by the deep tire tracks in my short video clip, I almost got my big old 4×4 stuck in the soft moisture-soaked terrain of the pasture.

 

Happily, the heifers came from the other end of the pasture to my voice…my non-descript call that has morphed into what you hear in the clip and what used to be “cu-bus”. As I said, non-descript word and non-descript sound but they do recognize me and they do come a-runnin’ from way across the field. THAT was a reward to start. I chummed around with them for a bit while they snacked and even had a few gals come up for a selfie with me (see above).

The weather continues to summer-ize for the next few days so hoping for drier conditions at next visit and even more besties in my domain.

P.S. I should maybe clarify that what you may have heard me say at the end of my video was not “a swear” but rather I was declaring “as they should”.

Goofy Girls

I have an important self-imposed assignment this week. I have taken it upon myself to quiet down our herd of bred heifers that are presently out on their own pasture an hour away from the homeplace. We want to be able to “quietly” trail them from one pasture to another pasture next Sunday, along a public gravel road, to get them to the corral system we use to eventually load them before the real winter snow arrives. We have become highly motivated to start this “moving” activity since the recent, unwanted snowfalls have hit home.

My assignment then is to travel to them every couple days this week with grain in pails and hang out with them and talk “softly” to them – get them in a mood to “want to” follow me whenever they next see me again. This, because I will be the one to lead them to the second pasture as my hubby takes the tail-end and pushes them to me.

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We visited them today and realized we hadn’t been visiting them enough over the summer…they are a goofy, jumpy, flighty bunch of girls. I’m trusting that by hanging out with them quietly and serenely with my pails of grain and soothing conversations we can all become the best of besties and that they will behave with charm, grace and compliance during their short journey next Sunday.

When We Get Quiet

Sometimes things go horribly wrong and despite our valiant and often heroic efforts we simply can’t save a calf or a cow in distress.

I used to cry and mope around for a day when we’d suffer a loss. My hubby would just get quiet. And now too, after 20 years of this lifestyle, I have learned to just get quiet.

It’s the best way we can mourn and collect our thoughts to be maybe better prepared the next time or if not our fault, to help us to “cowboy/cowgirl up” and concentrate on the rest of our herd and responsibilities that never end. We get tougher on the outside…but “the quiet” keeps us soft and caring on the inside.