Calving Capers 2018

The days are drawing near whereby the calves will soon begin to come on our ranch. Each year as we personally get a little more advanced along the timeline of life we push out our calving start date later and later – in hopes that weather will be warmer and more favourable. In hopes that we will rule out the spring storms. In hopes that we can make our calving season a little more graceful on our aging bones and ligaments.

As I write tonight, we are experiencing the usual wet snows that start and stop day in and day out and frustrate our efforts to put out straw bedding for the cows comfort along with some other minor frustrations. But these are small inconveniences in the overall scheme of things because we value the beautiful moisture these types of snows provide. All I can think is how green our pastures can be if this keeps up.

As the calving season approaches we make sure to walk amongst our herd and in particular our group of heifers – the gals with the letter “D” tags – born in 2016. We want them to be as used to our presence as much as possible so we can safely move amongst them if they need our assistance during this new adventure about to enter their lives. Ideally, we trust we have made the proper bull choice and the deliveries will come naturally and without incident. But until then we stroll amongst the girls.

A Snow Day

Back in the days when I was working and I had a half an hour highway drive in to and back from town, there came a day now and then that would compel me to wish that I still lived in town.  The dreaded country SNOW day. Because I would hunker down and head into town along with my rural peers. There was no way I was going to be the pansy that stayed home, while everyone else found their way into town and put in an honest day’s work! I do recall, with absolutely no fondness at all, the terror-filled white-knuckle journeys these proved to be.

When the dreaded SNOW day hits, like today, I’m relieved to have the “privilege” of staying home. But now, the dreaded SNOW day means “extreme” chores. Every little task just becomes ten times harder as the wind whips through the coveralls, blowing snow stings the face and eyes, the trudge back and forth to the routine spots feels like a marathon through the accumulating white stuff. You know, it may look fluffy and puffy and even pretty but no, it feels like cement especially as we push our way back and forth to the troughs with our barley chop pails. Oh how I wish we still had oats in the bin to mix chop….this barley is blasted heavy stuff!

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I protest too much though. A day like today, reminds me just how much our animals rely on us. We started the morning feeding our young heifer calves and they were absolutely delighted to get out for breakfast. It had been a long snow-filled night for them and it’ll help them tolerate the long white day ahead with a full belly of barley and pellets. I see my dog Patty was overly excited to escort them to the dining area!

Today of course every pen needed bales replenished. Thank goodness for a warm barn and plenty of cats to cuddle with as I waited for hubby to come back and forth with more and more bales for me to cut twine from and to open and close gates and to fill and refill chop pails. I was actually contemplating the title for this blog post as “Chore Girl Fitness” or something…….

The most rewarding ending to our day though was to bring in our cow herd from the far east field…another big group of gals that had endured a long, dark, blizzardy night waiting for their next feeding time. They needed no calling and as soon as they heard us in the tractor from a distance, they were on the move!

 

All our critters are tucked away in the corrals close to home and we can rest knowing they are safe, sheltered and fed. Let the snow come on!

 

On The Road Again

Back in November of 2014 when I started this blog it was with the intent to relate the adventures I would encounter and endure as I would be alone with the critters and the chores while hubby was out trucking for days and sometimes weeks on end.

Well, shortly after that declaration, my dear hubby decided to retire from trucking and we’ve just spent almost a year and a half home together. I must admit, I’ve had it pretty easy!

Until a week ago….he bought himself a big truck … he’s back on the road again and Flicka Rancher has to pick up the slack.

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So now it’s my job to check on our cows in the pastures closest to us. My swamper, Patty came along for the first time and was great company for the eight hours of touring the pastures and driving the highways and gravel roads.

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Thankfully, every animal is happy and healthy and probably the biggest adventure endured was getting stared down by our bull when this cowgirl took the opportunity to utilize the “facilities” in the bush!!

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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!