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.
“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.
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.
There are numerous high-value assets here on the ranch. During my years working and living this amazing life I believe I have identified our top three – but their order of importance varies over the seasons. They are:
– a live healthy calf,
– a reliable, functioning tractor,
– a good solid three day rain.
As of last night, we are about to experience the latter and we are sure happy about that. (My regrets to the grain farmer at this time)
I also tend to unnecessarily stress a bit about those calves after a long rainy and windy night…that they’ll likely get separated from moms in the weather drama and when I hear the early morning bawling in the field it just reinforces my state.
But I have to remind myself yet again that the bawling is the seeking out for each other and a momma will always sniff out her babe. Peace and harmony soon returns if I just leave things alone.
It’s now a day to watch that rain gauge fill and listen to the grass grow…it’s a happy ranching day!!