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 Three

I elected to use the Photo Challenge – Morning more as a “Morning Story” for Day three. Today…we check pastures and for sure that means we treat cows and calves. We have come across some incidents of foot rot more so this very moist year and so we need to get going early in the morning!!!

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So, my job is to corral the animals that hubby brings in on horseback. I wait by the corrals in the very abundant grass and weed growth pacing back and forth to capture these critters…..this groundwork can get wet!!! I need to aspire to the horseback position!

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We have fairly rudimentary corrals out in the pasture for this type of thing but it’s certainly a step-up from just roping a sick animal and tying her to a tree. Our old chute system from the home corrals has retired to the north pasture.

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The cows come in nice and peaceful

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But the bulls have to show up in “wrestle-mode”. Always has to be drama with these fellas .

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However
I got ’em corralled

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Our morning story.  In our pasture, almost an hour away, we rounded up and treated three cows and one calf and loaded up two rascally bulls for home all before noon.

Photo Challenge – Numbers

So fitting that this week’s photo challenge should be Numbers

Seems that’s all I’ve been dealing with this past week as we gather, sort, record, sort again, load and take our herd to their separate pastures for the summer from our home base.

We are meticulous about keeping record of every cow and where she is and what bull she will be with by recording their precious Numbers.

 

 

Off The Grid

Missed blogging on my designated Thursday yesterday so I was thinking I would post a short explanation today instead. Looks like I’ll be off the grid for the next few days as we gather, sort, vaccinate, brand, and then sort again all our cows and calves as we prepare to send them out to pasture for the summer.
But, then again, I might just post some scenes of the whole process if it doesn’t get too crazy. After all, I do have this fancy mobile app to blog by!
But maybe too ambitious of a thought….it’s taken me two hours now to get at this short entry and we’re not even chasing cows yet!
The scene is peaceful for now as hubby and I work to prepare all the little details before the “rodeo”!

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Hard to believe but for all intents and purposes our “calving season/calving capers” has wound down to this handful of faithful cows due any day now. We don’t need to check on them every two hours as had been the case during the beginning weeks of our adventures. We are content now to let these girls do it on their own. After all, they’ve done so successfully for many years now.

I did however have a little short-lived excitement this week when hubby brought in Dilbert from the field. From the slough actually, which is where he had been lying in. He couldn’t stand up and his mother was certainly not able to assist.

Dilbert has been “slow” from the start. He is “different”. He has small eyes and big dumbo-elephant-like ears and it took quite awhile before he took to naturally feeding from his momma. We’re not sure what set him back on this day to be stuck in the slough but whatever the reason, I was ready with the bottle and nursette and ultimately to be his caregiver. There hasn’t been a year yet that I haven’t had some little character to fuss over.

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But this episode turned out to be short-lived. I guess it was my few hours of TLC that encouraged him there was hope to carry on. By the end of the day he was standing on his own and able to navigate, albeit unsteadily, around the pen. By morning, I was out of a job and he was happily reunited with his momma…health returned.

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Thankfully, hubby agrees that we should keep Dilbert and his mom close to home this year instead of the pasture. After all, he’s a little bit slow and he just might need me yet!

 

 

 

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Calving itself has it’s own level of stressors and concerns but I find that the “harder” part of calving and raising cattle is keeping the little critters healthy, thriving and ultimately alive! 

This little gal [ears drooping, lethargic, barely able to keep up to mom] needed to be brought closer to home for treatment. Yes, we care for our sick animals with proper medicinal intervention and close observation throughout. To my mind, this is humane treatment of the animals in our care who depend on us for their well-being. I would much rather provide effective antibiotic medicine and see our little calves return to their energetic selves within a few days than have them needlessly suffering and dying in misery in the fields.

 

 

 

Calving Capers 12

I find myself at somewhat of a loss for words when I consider just how close we came to losing our entire home and ranch this past week. Just a mile away from us a raging bush fire was out of control and rapidly growing, fuelled by gusty 70-75 KM winds and heading our way!

My husband and other neighbouring farmers quickly got into action by hooking up their tractors to their discing machines and racing to the surrounding fields to work up the ground around the menacing flames in an effort to contain the inferno. The entire community of local and surrounding volunteer fire departments wasted no time either in getting on scene, working together along with the farmers and ranchers to save all the surrounding properties.

I wasn’t even home when all of this was happening. I was at a photography convention in a city five hours away! When I got the call from my husband, as he headed out to the “war zone” with our own tractor and disc … well, all I could think of was his safety and our animals. What do you do to protect 400+cows, calves, bulls, horses, dogs and cats? At that point, and for the first time in my life, photography meant absolutely nothing to me. I just wanted to get home.

Instead I was encouraged to stay where I was, of course I would be no good for anyone driving alone in a panic for 4-5 hours. Cooler heads prevailed, the community proved themselves as heroes and the fire was contained and controlled by midnight.

The aftermath from a close call such as this is extreme gratefulness and a further enhanced appreciation of our home and livelihood. We came so close to losing everything in a matter of minutes. Our diligence towards safety is heightened as we continue to face a very dry spring with daily winds and no hint of moisture for sometime yet. It is most comforting to know we have such a great community that will jump into action and work together for everyone’s safety.

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And so….my husband and I have made a pact, a promise to each other for next year’s calving season . No more conferences, seminars, curling bonspiels, conventions or long trips away from home from mid-March to mid-May. We need each other’s support and joint efforts on-site  to run this operation safely and effectively during the critical calving season. Because, through wind, rain, snow and even fire…the calves just keep coming!

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The day has settled down

The night is still

There are no winds, not even a breeze

Hubby is sleeping until his 2AM shift

The world is mine on the ranch

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Out in the darkness a cow will moan in search of her calf. The calf will reply with a soft cry of his own.

Silence returns

They have found each other once again

 

THIS is my favourite part of calving…the Midnight Shift – My Shift

The stars, the moon, my cows at rest … my world

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