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!
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.
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.
After last week’s post, it occurred to me that between myself and my husband and others like us in the cow-calf and cattle-hauling industry….well, we’re at the base – the foundation (as opposed to “the bottom”] of the food cycle. The cycle that brings your food from farm to plate.
We raise cattle and keep them fed on grass and fresh water. We watch over the good will and nutrition of our breeding herd so they in turn bring forth healthy, thriving calves which later a cattle-hauler like my trucker-hubby loads up and takes on to a feed-lot….. so the cycle can go on and on.
I feel very privileged and honored to be a steward of this lifestyle…even on these cold, wintery challenging days. To be responsible for the well-being of these precious animals that in turn contribute to providing one of the most efficient and high-quality proteins around.
And so we tend to pamper our herd. Pampering – means keeping the feeders full, refreshing the straw bedding after a snowfall, vaccinating against disease and maintaining a watchful eye over all for any changes in behavior or signs of discomfort. I guess, in the end this isn’t necessarily “pampering”….just good management and we take a wee bit of pride in being part of the process to bring healthy and nutritious food to your plate.
You know…for years…we have weaned our calves on a busy weekend when the husby is home just long enough to get the deed done with whatever help we can muster up on said weekend. Then, he hops into the big old Kenworth and drives out of the yard leaving me and the dogs with a yard full of bawling, stressed out cows and calves trying their best to get back to each other through gates, and fence lines and corrals.
This year I was not worried about weaning day at all because husby was going to be home for the WHOLE day and not only that – the days thereafter!! He would finally see what chaos he leaves us with when he heads back on the road….back to the off-farm job.
So I took the time to take this little video of the calm and quiet of the last day our cows and calves would be together. I was planning this post in such a way that my video capture the following day would be loud and chaotic and full of bawling and howling moms and babes.
Well, the joke is on me…..guess these gals were good and ready to say goodbye to the children. Peace and harmony prevails on our ranch today already. The expected bawling usually goes for exactly three days straight…but all they can give up is what you hear on this peaceful little video.