Here’s the deal….after hubby’s last cow/heifer check around 8PM…off to bed he goes and I stay up to do the 9PM until midnight’sh checks.
This is productivity time, right? When women have a stretch of uninterrupted hours….we accomplish things!
For me, it’s email catchup, laundry, tidying up, cow-checking, baking, meal-planning, bill-paying, blogging, cow-checking, revisiting webinars I registered for but wasn’t able to attend “live”, photo-editing, Oilers hockey to watch, record-keeping, cow-checking……
Sometimes sad things happen here on the ranch. Whenever animals are involved, you can bet you’ll experience some grief from time to time. This is especially true for someone like myself. I get very attached to practically every living thing around here!
We lost our very second calf born out in the cold just as calving was barely getting going a few days ago here. This was the first calf for this heifer and she is a lovely, quiet animal. Every good rancher wants to keep a healthy, lactating cow doing just that. So we needed to put a twin on her. Of course, we have none in our herd, so hubby reaches out to his network and locates a buddy with plenty of twins on hand already.
This means we take a road trip the very same day and pickup a lovely little quiet heifer calf. She got the whole back seat of the truck to herself and traveled like a seasoned tourist. Thank goodness, as otherwise she would have been hogtied…I can’t bear to put a sweet animal into that discomfort.
Needless to say, her entry into our herd on this sad day of loss certainly lightened my day, especially so when momma took her on like a champ and the little gal was able to suck away and right away.
The irony of this whole episode occurred next day when we received 2 sets of twins from 2 heifers one after the other. We are blessed!
Our calving season 2023 is underway. According to the calving record book calendar…..it wasn’t to be happening until next week. I know, I know….mother nature has her own calendar and we continue to be humbled by it year after year.
The March weather is giving us grief and challenges. We are grateful for our big hip-roof barn for sheltering mommas with their newborns but unfortunately we haven’t been able to heat it due to some technical hiccups with our ancient heater and the inability to get the propane company delivery truck out here to fill our propane tank! We have to call and deal with someone in a call center most likely in the maritimes (or from their bedroom – who knows these virtual-work-from-home-days??!!) What a beautiful and welcome sight – when that propane truck finally drove into our yard!!
Meanwhile, and this is a first for us, we had back to back twins delivered from a couple of our first calf heifers in the midst of this chill and these challenges. Always exciting to have twins come along – but at the same time, they provide another subset of issues on top of the normal calving and feeding routines for the rest of the herd on a daily basis. Will the mother accept them? Even if she does, will she have enough milk to feed both? (Especially a concern with first calvers).
This little twin was telling me she could use a little more to eat…so I have a warm supply of milk replacer always on hand to help out. Bottle babies are a little more work but it’s sure rewarding to have them need you now and then.
There are probably more rewards than challenges during these long days and nights of calving. Tonight we celebrated the warmth of our barn since that welcome visit from the propane truck and hung out there while our heifer calved peacefully in the pen beside us.
Confession time….I like doing chores. But when the husby is home from trucking and he takes over doing them, I feel disjointed, out of place. I realize I really do miss doing those chores and hanging out with my critters.
So, I insisted that I help out too-even though this is when I really should be catching up on “the books” but where’s the fun in that?
Those first two paragraphs have rested in draft form in my blog since last year January 2022 and wouldn’t you know it…the very same scenario exists this year.
I set about capturing selfies as we chored together recently….this in itself is a rare event as he is on the road so much more. I felt the need to document this day because it somewhat defines “my why” for blogging. I feel the day will come when I may need reminding of my joy on this farm and ranch.
“Where did you go for your anniversary this year?” To the corral, of course!
Another question I can answer with full confidence is….” When was the last time you went downhill-skiing?” That would be 24 years ago. The first weekend in January of 1999 when we went skiing in the mountains with our plan to ski and elope.
The plan was successfully executed and subsequently we find ourselves 24 years later out in the corral vaccinating our herd on our anniversary day. And I don’t mind admitting I don’t miss skiing at all!
The task load has been lightened however in recent years with the presence of stepson and his girlfriend joining us in these corrals. I am so grateful for them and how they enable us to keep on keeping on with the lifestyle we so love.
The primary “thing” that makes me “Flicka Rancher” is that I’m the one responsible for the chores when trucker hubby heads out of the yard. Being married to a rancher /long haul trucker means being on my own lots and lots and ultimately here alone to take care of our ranch and all the animals.
I’ve had to learn alot of things “on the fly” and via frantic phone calls or texts to the trucker on the road. Not always the best way to learn things but when do we ever have the ideal environment in this event called “life” and in particular “life on a ranch”?
So, my blog story will be short today as I just wanted to share one of my favorite sights in the whole wide world.
Seeing him drive safe and sound into our yard after a long week away through blizzards and icy roads.
P.S. I guess it’s not so bad being on my own over the past challenging days when trucker hubby brings me treats “from the road”!! This is a favorite sight too …. and tasty!!
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!!
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!
The second-best part? I get to have my dogs accompany me everywhere…and they do accompany me everywhere I go.
So really, what dark, noisy, sweaty old ( or even bright and new) gym can offer all that?
If it weren’t for these lovely ladies and the rest of the herd I suppose I’d have to take up housework!
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.