Archive for the Category » Cows «

I Don’t Know Where To Start

There are so many things I’ve wanted to talk about lately and I haven’t found time for any of it. I need to look back through all the pictures I’ve taken to remind myself what we’ve done. I finally got the garden written about. I haven’t mentioned any of the chicken adventures, or the corn planting, or what ever else there has been.

Some how I missed corn planting. But it’s planted and getting rained on. Hopefully it will be warm enough for it to come up. The home made GPS worked beautifully, even if the John Deer planter didn’t hardly work at all. Yay for John Deer. We will stick to Case.

Planting Potatoes

It is supposed to be done on Easter weekend. I don’t know who decided that or why but it’s the rule. We didn’t quite make it. But on Tuesday, once the weather finally got nice, we planted potatoes. And by we I in no way mean me. Mostly it was The Goblin Child and her patient father. I spent most of the time trying to keep 8 from walking on the freshly planted rows.

The Goblin Child is getting old enough that she was really good help. She was gentle with the seed potatoes and was able to do exactly what needed done. 8 tromped around like the big boy that he is galloping happily across rows of planted potatoes and tossing the seedlings into holes.

Poppy finally had her calf! On the late side as usual, a nice healthy, so far, hold our breath and cross our fingers that he stays that way. Now we are only waiting on our heifer to calve. Blue is open, again, it will be good bye to Blue as soon as I can get her to a sale barn. The Goblin Child is mad about it but this is two years in a row, she has to go. The other cows had theirs and everything is good.

Our Cowgirl Strikes Again

We started the day bright and early, 8 likes to wake us up by six on any day we would otherwise be able to sleep in. We scarfed down a delicious breakfast and Tanna arrived to help sort pairs. 8 went out in the tractor to help the men feed and us girls saddled the horses. The Goblin Child wanted up behind Tanna and I rode Coyote as usual. We got them sorted in record time, they quite literally ran out the gate. The Goblin Child clung tight and was a real trouper not complaining all the way though.

 

 

Once in the lane they needed to go all the way out to the farthest pen, clear at the top of the hill. I got off to get gates and decided not to get back on. I had gotten off and on so many time I was clean out of cake, Coyotes reward for letting me on again, and baby calves can be much easier to move on foot. Leading Coyote along behind me I looked over at Tanna and The Goblin Child double on Onna and realized I could do something about it. I put The Goblin Child on Coyote.

 

 

At first he got to stand and eat at the trough while we tried to get the calves to move. Then I would grab a rein and bring him along a few steps then let him eat, try to convince calves to move. As we slowly progressed up the hill The Goblin Child began to move Coyote along by herself. Once we reached the circle at the top I turned her loose to push the cattle through the gate with Tanna. Poor Coyote. He put up with it for a little while then said that he was done, he’d had enough. Please save him.

 

 

After closing the gate I climbed on behind my saddle and let The Goblin Child steer us home. It was terrifying. Not just having a small child who had no control in charge of my hot, grouchy horse, not confined in a small area but on the way home, but also sitting right on his haunches. He’s bouncy. I thought for sure I was going to fall off.

After unsaddling I turned Coyote loose to graze, surely he deserved a reward for putting up with all that. The guys had been planting oats and I was going to keep a very close eye on him to make sure he didn’t get into the planted field. I forgot he was out there. As we were getting ready to leave that afternoon I remembered Coyote. I ran out the door frantically searching for him. Behind the house I caught a glimpse of his butt disappearing behind a shed. Running back there I found The Goblin Child leading him to the gate. She informed me that she was putting him away for me and indeed she was. What a good, big girl!

Little Cowboys

The Goblin Child sometimes wants to dress up as a cowboy, I always tell her that she IS a cowboy so no matter how she dresses she is dressed up like a cowboy. She doesn’t quite grasp the nuances.

Today as we wandered around the yard trying not to be blown away by the howling wind we found a calf laying in a corner, trying to hide behind a ceder tree. The pens are next to the house but the cows are not actually against the house. The calf was a long way from any prospective mother. We debated about which way to try to take him back and decided to go through the yard to the gate behind the house.

I told The Goblin Child that I needed her to be a big girl and help me, lots. She climbed the fence and ran for the gate. I crawled under the tree and flushed the calf. He ran right where we needed him, through the yard fence and towards the gate. I held him in the drive while the tiny little Goblin Child put all her strength into pulling the big heavy gate off its support block and into the howling wind. As she struggled the calf would run towards her as he paced the gate looking for a hole. She would leap back away from him shrieking a little in fear, then went back to hefting on the gate. Finally she was able to pull it back far enough to allow the calf to squeeze through on his next pass. What a brave girl. We had him.

We called the powers that be to make sure there wasn’t a reason for him to go anywhere else then put him back. It was 8’s turn to cowboy. For him too the urge to chase cattle was tempered by fear. He wanted to get that calf but needed a little backup.

Ignoble Dismount

We have been making a habit of sorting out the pairs of Fridays. Tanna comes over and we spend most of the day horseback. Sometimes we even have enough energy to work with Rusty afterwards, not very often though. Today was different. Today her brother was going to a branding with his horse and would have the trailer on. She was able to convince him to bring her horse over. Then he decided to come play too!

With Tanna riding her horse that left Princess Onna free for The Goblin Child to ride. I bundled her up toasty warm, long underwear, scarf, hat under her helmet. Last time she got cold and wanted to go ride in the payloader with her father. Last time she was riding double with me on Coyote, I must admit it was easier without her help as much as we enjoyed it.

Tanna’s horse is Jerry. Jerry was my mare that I showed on a decade ago this year, time does fly. It was nice to see her again. She and Tanna are doing very well together. Her brothers horse is a big young quarter horse. A sorrel to match the other two, Coyote and Jerry. We were all nicely matched, he is a flaxen even, except Princess Onna of course.

The Goblin Child and Princess Onna did very well together. T.G.C. even enjoyed the trotting we had to do to get around a couple of calves. But soon enough she got cold. Apparently I didn’t bundle her up enough. It wasn’t entirely a bad thing Princess Onna isn’t the funnest horse to pony and combined with the deep mud in places having them along mad life a little difficult. It was great the she got to come as long as she did though.

There were quite a few calves born over the last week and with all of us out there we made quick work of them. My cow hating husband was working mostly on foot as his dad rode around on the four-wheeler with 8 in front. I would wave at 8 as he went by and, from his position laying down on the gas tank, he would grin back at me.

There are lots of gates. Lots and lots of gates. They would be more convenient for me with horse friendly latches. This is a four-wheeler outfit though and being handy for me would mean unhandy for those guys on their four-wheelers. Opening and closing these gates from a horse requires leaning way down off the side and spending lots of time fiddling with chains run down, around, or over.

I should mention that my cinch is never tight. Coyote and I consider touching his stomach to be tight enough, and that’s at the start of the ride. I lent him to a guy once, and only once, who threw his saddle on and yanked the cinch tight. In protest Coyote threw himself to the ground. He is clear in expressing his opinions.

I was heading back to the others and pulled the gate closed behind us. It latched in a corner, requiring a horse to curve into the corner to reach. I leaned over and stretched. Despite my constantly loose cinch even corner gates aren’t usually a problem, as long as I pay close attention to balance. I was leaned clear out reaching to wrap the chain around another gate and I felt my saddle shift. I pushed back but it was too late. I was up against the fence so I just grabbed hold, no problem. I hooked an arm over the guard rail and hung on. It dug into my side a little, hurting just a bit. I rearranged and pulled my feet out of the stirrups. Or tried. My mud boot was well wedged. Not stuck hard but I was right up against him and didn’t have room to pull if it didn’t slide out easy. I finally wriggled around enough to get both feet on the ground and keep my saddle from ending up clear under his belly.

Now my saddle was well stuck on his side. I glanced up once in a while to see if everyone was watching my fiasco. They appeared to be busy. The cinch wasn’t tight enough to hold the saddle on but was to tight to let me pull it back up. I yanked and tugged then went around to the other side and repeated. He wanted back to the others and was done standing still. As he circled I tried to loosen my cinch without letting it fall into the deep mud. I pulled then went around and pushed, finally it rolled back to the top. I snugged the cinch up, a little and climbed on.

I thought no more about it until afternoon as I rested during the kids naps. My side hurt. I ignored it but it kept getting sorer. I asked my not horse person husband if there was a bruise there or something? He was horrified, there was definitely a bruise. A big one. As not a horse person he can never understand why I love something that causes pain more often than not. I was rather impressed that my brief moment of hanging on the guard rail, apparently the sharp edge of it, left such a beautiful purple bruise.

It was a good day though we got most of the calves out and put Tanna’s brother to good use. It didn’t even rain on us!

 

Life Lessons

We all piled on the four-wheeler and rode along to check the cows. As soon as we pulled into the corrals, there was a cow about to calve. We sat and watched, the children were hilarious. 8 kept saying baby, baby, baby. The Goblin Child was full of questions, most of which you can hear in the video.

I have more video of her cleaning him up later it is >here<.

 

The Aftermath And A Knight In Brown Carhart

After I left off last night we went to bed. All day the lights had been flickering and we heard reports of people with no electricity. But we still had light and they never went all the way out, at least not for long when they flickered so we didn’t do anything. As soon as we got settled in, warm and comfortable, the lights went out.

As we discussed the ramifications of that and the probability of them coming back on, probably not, and what should be done about it, the lights came back on. It seemed unlikely that they would stay on but we had also thought it unlikely that they would come back so what do we know. Still we decided that we should be prepared just in case. And my brave husband headed out into the great dark white.

I lay in bed awhile until the guilt of being warm and comfortable, and the uncertainty of wondering if he was ok and what he was doing, became too much and I got up to look for him out the doors.

He had gotten in his blazer, it started no problem but wouldn’t go into four wheel drive. He started my pickup, she always starts and was already in four wheel drive, I had been out driving around earlier. The windows were froze and could not be seen through. Starting the defroster he left it and went to try the blazer one last time. It went into gear! He drove it around to the front of the house and it stuck in the deep drifts covering the road. He walked the rest of the way down to the quanset and got the payloader. The door was drifted shut. He rearranged vehicles until it would fit out the other door and plowed the yard out, pulled the blazer out and put it back in it’s parking spot, then used the payloader to haul the generator back to the house along with jugs freshly filled with gas. Then parking the payloader in the qunset, backed in so it could dig its self out if needed, he walked home into the wind visiting with the curious horses who followed him along his way.

So, because of the work he went to preparing us for the worst, the electricity stayed on all night. 8 even slept through the night! We were moderately well rested the next morning when my Carhart clad knight was up and at it bright and early again. Walking through the snow back to the quanset he got the payloader and did some more plowing then went to find his parents who had holed up with his sister for the night after driving off the road in zero visibility.

He plowed her driveway and called around to see if anyone knew who’s cattle had drifted into her yard in the storm. They had found a large open shed and the shelter they had drifted seeking. There was a horse out with them who herded them back towards the shed when they started to wander. Apparently they had come from across the highway and down the dirt a ways, yet another reason not to be out driving in white out conditions, hitting a cow would hurt.

Then he, his father, a friend and a neighbor went to find the pickup. The neighbor had picked up his wife’s niece the night before and gone back to pull her car out already that morning. She had passed her turn before sliding off the road, unable to see it for the snow and he had a hard time finding her, she didn’t know where she was. When they reached the pickup it was precariously balanced between a metal post marking a culvert and the sharp drop off of the culvert, on the west side of the road they had been north bound on. A few inches to the side and they would have dropped the wheels into the culvert and hit hard. It took some fancy maneuvering with the payloader to get it lifted off the culvert to where it could be pushed out. They ran into other neighbors also pulling the car of elderly parents out of the ditch a little farther along. Everyone must have decided to go driving.

When he finally got home late in the morning he scarfed down a quick breakfast then went to finish plowing. The cousins came over and everyone went out to play. All day was spent sledding, climbing and playing out in the deep drifts hopefully they will sleep well tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Christmas Blizzard of ’16

Not what I originally meant to write about. I will get to Christmas as soon as I can.

The morning started with rain. Freezing rain. There was a sheet of ice on, everything. Then little pebbles of snow and when The Goblin Child was getting her book read at nap time I had to stop to go check out the noises coming from outside. It was large wind driven hail.

That was when I went to check on the horses. My hard working husband had opened the gates earlier so they could get to the barn. They are not smart, they stood huddled behind the wind break. I have been working with Rusty on learning to go out around the wing fence and it payed off, he came running with the other two not far behind. I lead them up to and into the barn where they could be warm and dry. Onna refused. Coyote and Rusty came in but it didn’t last. I left feeling better that they knew the barn was open and they could go in if it got worse.

Immediately after I got in, it got worse. The hail turned to fine powdery snow. Visibility dropped to nothing and the drifts began to grow. Late in the afternoon I went out again. I had filled the bed of the pickup with hay in preparation and I backed it over to the barn. After going in the passenger side door because the drivers side was froze shut. The windows were covered with ice and the snow was blinding even if I could have seen out. Backing blindly across the yard was interesting to say the least.

When I got over there I was disappointed not to see the horses. Silly ponies, they were back out behind the wind break again. Wading through the snow a hand over my face to block the wind I walked out to them, convinced them to come around the wing fence again and lead them to the barn. Even Onna came in without hesitation this time. I forked the hay from the pickup in the door and spread it into many piles so everyone could eat. In their snow masks they presented a terrifying sight.

I left content once again that they were warm and safe and dry. I didn’t lock them in.

Tonight my fearless husband braved the storm again to shut the shop door that got left open when the in-laws took a pickup to go visiting for Christmas. He offered to check the horses for me. Of course they weren’t in the barn. I gave up. I wasn’t going after them again. They were in the barn, they knew it was open, they even had hay in there. Apparently they didn’t think it was too bad out.

Hopefully come morning the wind will have let up. Hopefully we will find the animals all healthy and having survived the storm. The cow heard is in the corrals with good wind break, as long as everyone came in. The calves aren’t as well protected. And the horses, well, they had their chance. The in-laws are at the cousins house, not heeding blizzard warnings they drove home in it, left the pickup in a ditch somewhere in between and managed to make it the rest of the way with the cousins. They wisely didn’t try the drive.

Getting Ready For Christmas

We have been busy around here lately, getting geared up for Christmas and with life as usual. We went in to the school over the weekend with my hard working husband to set up some microphones. The children, one in particular were more than happy to help with the sound test. I hope she continues to be as enthusiastic once she’s old enough to be in school programs and plays.

 

 

That night we stole Ava and took her along to look at Christmas lights and a live nativity. It was supposed to be a quick trip and we’d have her back for the dinner they were attending. We looked at all the lights, they were very pretty, then drove to the beautiful little country church that was having the nativity. It’s the same one that we love to go to for their candle light, with real candles!, Christmas eve service.

We pulled in and parked. Over a little hill, down a path lit with tiny white lights was the manger scene. Sheep, cattle and horses flanked the barn where a very cold group of angles, wise men and of course Mary and Joseph stood. It was lovely. And so was the propane heater blasting as much warmth in on them that it could. Not expecting it to be a get out of the car sort of thing I hadn’t bundled the children as well as I should have, it hardly slowed them as they checked out the sheep. We don’t see very many of those. Then they petted horses. Then everybody went inside to warm up with hot chocolate and cookies!

Inside the children ate and ran and played and generally created havoc. It was so much fun, and we stayed so much longer than we meant to. Ava never did make it to her supper. We probably wont be allowed to take Ava again or be invited back to the church, but they and we loved it. It really is a great little church I think we should try to get over that way more often.

 

We got all dressed up for church and decided it was a good time to get Christmas pictures out of the way. Here’s a sneak peak as they helped get ready.

 

We were glad for all the dressing up once the service was over and it was time once again for the kids to close. We were sitting in the middle and had a pretty good view for once. So of course she went and stood in the back. If you look really close you can see her between the two girls in the front row.

 

When It’s 15 Degrees What Do You Do

Play at the park and eat green chilly stew!

Sorry that was bad. But we did do both. Everyone was complaining about the cold but when we got the pickup, car also thought it was too cold, and went to get The Goblin Child from school it was so nice out! There was no wind and the sun was shining.

After lunch we ran to the grocery store and while paying and eating their suckers they asked to please go to the park. I said no. I had plans to go home get bundled up in snow suits and really warm clothes to go play out on our swing set.  But it was so nice out. So we went to the park.

They were bundled with hats and gloves. I was wearing a sweatshirt. So I figures that as long as I was warm they were probably fine. It was exactly what they needed, so much pent up energy. They ran and played and climbed and chased each other. It was great but after about an hour we were all ready to get home.

 

My recipe for green chili stew:

Cook a roast in the crock pot, well covered with water and with all the trimmings, carrots, potatoes, onions whatever sounds good. Eat roast for a couple of days. When you’re tired of roast smash any remaining vegetables to a pulp, they will add healthiness and thickness. Get in there with a fork and fingers and shred the meat well. To the remaining water from cooking the roast add a couple of cans of green enchilada sauce, green salsa, roasted green peppers, a can of tomatoes and chili beans. Let cook all day serve with lots of shredded cheddar cheese and Fritos.