Bull Power

Some of the chores Patty and I get assigned to around here can be fraught with danger and excitement.

We had been pushing/walking the herd into the home field until these two yahoos decided to go at it. That was my que to back up the buggy and wait and watch at a distance ’til they worked it out or wore themselves out. My hard workin’ Patty though, still tried to do her best to keep them moving along.

The reason she and I had the job of moving critters today was to get those bad boys close to the sorting pen so they can be loaded up and taken to market. It’s time for them to go down the road after a few good years of fathering a number of great calves. A bull’s productive life on our ranch runs an average of five years. They have a good life with us…well-fed, pampered and never given too many “girls” to over-work themselves. Their “working” season runs from July to September. Otherwise they only have to graze, rest and sun themselves under the great big beautiful Alberta sky. Trouble is, when they get to the end of their years with us, they seem to get cranky and pick fights all too easily with each other.

And now the day has come to say farewell to these two…it’s definitely time…they’ve crashed through a pen and tore up a fence in recent days. I’m quite ready to say good-bye.

Although I say that now, when it comes to loading them onto that trailer, I know I’ll be a bit sad. I always am whenever my animals are taken from the yard for the last time.

Heifer-Quieting – Day One

Loaded up the feed truck with tubs and pails of grain and headed west to our pasture to visit those lovely heifers. What a beautiful warm October week I have been blessed with to take on this mission. To think that just barely a week ago we were blanketed…no, almost buried under 9 inches of moisture-filled snow just flabbergasts me. But this is just how Alberta can be….blink or sneeze and our weather will do a full 360 turn!

My first solo visit out to these girls was not without it’s anxious moments…which is not uncommon for me and my predicaments. As can be seen by the deep tire tracks in my short video clip, I almost got my big old 4×4 stuck in the soft moisture-soaked terrain of the pasture.

 

Happily, the heifers came from the other end of the pasture to my voice…my non-descript call that has morphed into what you hear in the clip and what used to be “cu-bus”. As I said, non-descript word and non-descript sound but they do recognize me and they do come a-runnin’ from way across the field. THAT was a reward to start. I chummed around with them for a bit while they snacked and even had a few gals come up for a selfie with me (see above).

The weather continues to summer-ize for the next few days so hoping for drier conditions at next visit and even more besties in my domain.

P.S. I should maybe clarify that what you may have heard me say at the end of my video was not “a swear” but rather I was declaring “as they should”.

Goofy Girls

I have an important self-imposed assignment this week. I have taken it upon myself to quiet down our herd of bred heifers that are presently out on their own pasture an hour away from the homeplace. We want to be able to “quietly” trail them from one pasture to another pasture next Sunday, along a public gravel road, to get them to the corral system we use to eventually load them before the real winter snow arrives. We have become highly motivated to start this “moving” activity since the recent, unwanted snowfalls have hit home.

My assignment then is to travel to them every couple days this week with grain in pails and hang out with them and talk “softly” to them – get them in a mood to “want to” follow me whenever they next see me again. This, because I will be the one to lead them to the second pasture as my hubby takes the tail-end and pushes them to me.

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We visited them today and realized we hadn’t been visiting them enough over the summer…they are a goofy, jumpy, flighty bunch of girls. I’m trusting that by hanging out with them quietly and serenely with my pails of grain and soothing conversations we can all become the best of besties and that they will behave with charm, grace and compliance during their short journey next Sunday.

The Search Is On

Woke up to a gray, cool windy autumn day. “Perfect!” I’m thinking. I can finally get at the farm books!!! Got the kitchen table all set up, the coffee on and before I settled into anything, being the responsible rancher wife that I am……I headed out to the fields to check on our bulls and a few cows and the horses who are all on the home quarters here with me.
Gasp….all I found were the horses and two bulls in the field where they are ALL supposed to be. That would be 11 bulls, two cows, two heifers and two calves.

Oh lookee here! A broken down fenceline on one side of the field!

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and a decimated/demolished gate on the other side!

So I take to the search on my quad through our other fields and can’t find them until the farthest field – the one we brought them out of many weeks ago. Most of them are all back there peacefully sitting together by the slough just happy as can be. But by my count…not everyone is here!

 

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Back to the search to find, in yet another field, pacing the fenceline, on the wrong side of the fence, a lonely bull, one of our newest ones, anxious to find his buddies and brothers.

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Patched up the holes as best I could with my trusty wire stretchers, hammer and staples…locked up the critters where I can find them….and….the morning is gone! Is it any wonder why then, that the farm books generally end up getting done into the midnight hours?

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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Moving Bales Home

We picked today to move our hay bales from field to bale stack. I timed a full cycle just for fun because there is an element of teamwork, cooperation and throttle work that goes on. A cycle of time to which I was hoping I could improve on as I got bolder and bolder with the throttle variable.
The components of our bale-moving cycle involve hubby loading the bales two-by-two from tractor to Mac Truck (our Old Faithful) from the field.

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Then he proceeds to the bale stack in yard a mile away while I jump into the same tractor and follow him back.

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He unloads at the bale stack….

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Where my dear dog Patty waits for my return and we have a short but pleasant visit during the unloading.

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Then back I follow him, now empty, as we return to the field of bales awaiting us for the cycle to continue. You see, we just use one tractor and one truck and one hard-working husband and wife team.

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A full cycle times out to average 36 minutes, each load is 14 round bales and we completed 14 of those round trips.  When you’re going back and forth and back and forth well yes, you start keeping track of statistics, by golly!

We still have another field to empty of bales which allows the grass to keep growing as it is doing so beautifully this year….but for now we have a yummy short rib supper in the crock pot waiting for us back at the house. It’s time to call it a day!

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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!!!