8 August 2023

11th Birthday

Larely, while the Goblin Child has been happily riding around ON her horse, she has been saying how nice it would be to go on a trailride. I point out that she is in fact currently trailriding.

That doesn’t count of course. She wants real trails, beautiful and scenic and somewhere she has never been before.

We have two horses. Three of us. There are trails nearby. But getting there and figuring out the logistics is daunting.

Finally it occurred to me that we could manage that. Fort Robinson isn’t that far away. They offer trail rides. One of which goes up into the buttes. She could have her trail ride and I could get a bit of revenge. Don’t like riding your horse here at home? Here, how do you like these trails 😈 as we climb the steep terrifying buttes.

It rained all night long and we woke up to a cool damp morning. I was worried they wouldn’t be giving rides.

Telling the kids we had to get some shopping done I drug them out of the house. We drove through the town with the stores and out the other side. I thought they might be engrossed in their tablets and not notice where we were going. Instead they were happily looking out windows. And still never questioned that we had passed the store I had said we were going to.

Pulling up to the fort we were supprised to see a neighbor of ours get out and beat us to the ticket line. She was signing up for the next available traileride for her kids. We signed up for that one too. Plus a jeep ride to fill the time between.

The goblin Child had texted one of her friends about something completely unrelated. It was a huge surprise when the friend texted back that she was at the fort, and they, she and her family, were going to be taking the same trail ride we were!

Wow, what a small world.

We toured one of the museums. Took our jeep ride. It was very pleasantly cool in the open top jeep as we wound up the buttes. Lunch in the restaurant, buffalo for everyone! Then it was time for our ride.

The trail horses were the usual tired, bored with life, and sick of people. I got a big raw boned sorrel who came with the warning to watch him and not let him bite the horse in front. My son got a cute little bay roan, rabacino? who walked so nicely right behind. My daughter got a long lanky grey who fell in line next to her friend. They were clear in the back of the line.

We started out across the gentle rolling hills. I fell into conversation with the girl leading the ride. She was a horse girl, of course! who also loved her milk cows. We had a lot to talk about. I remembered to look back and check on the children once in awhile. Every time I did my horse took the opportunity to reach out and bite the lead horse. Then we started climbing. The trail went straight up for quite a ways. The horses panted and climbed dutifully upwards. We stopped occasionally to let them rest.

The trail was mostly wide and not terrifying. Not even to me who is terrified of heights when horseback. A couple of places got narrow on steep side hills but we all survived. It made me think how nice it was not to be riding out flabby out of shape horses. They would never have made the climb. At the very top of the butte we stopped to admire the amazing view, and let the horses breath a bit. I took the chance to get my phone out and get the few pictures I did get. My horse took the opportunity to bite the horse in front of him.

Then it was time to start down.

At first the trail was gentle, winding down along the sides of the hills. Then it took a turn straight down. Holding my breath and tensing I let my horse know how terrified I was. He stumbled a little. I forced myself to breath, deep and regular. Then made muscles relax, as much as I could. I thought about how embarrassing it would be to insist on getting off and walking. On a guided traileride. On a horse who had packed all sorts of non horse riding tourists in sandals and shorts down this same hill. That was enough to make me stay on. Each slip on a loose rock made me gasp and cling tighter to the saddle horn. Each time we brushed against a sharp yucca I was sure it would be the last straw that made him take off bucking down the hill.

Not surprisingly, we made it to the bottom without incident.

Back on the gentle rolling hills I was able to breath again. To check back on the children riding behind me. My horse too the chance to bite the horse in front of him.

We all survived the ride. My son was exhausted. All that long slow was a lot more work than zipping around on his little mare in the yard. My daughter had a great time coming up with stories with her friend. They had decided on the worst case scenario for the ride. Her story goes like this:

Your riding along on your horse and the horse gets bit by a rattle snake. That makes the horse buck. You fall off the horse, over the steep cliff we were riding along. You get impaled on a tree on the way down. A mountain lion comes along and eats your legs as you hang there. Then you catch on fire!

Luckily, none of those things happened. But think how fun if they had.

She enjoyed the ride greatly, but doesn’t think it would be worth it to work on steering her own horse so they could go do it together. It was more fun on a horse she could just sit on.

Dang kids.

4 August 2023

Dragon Flies

At first I thought they were birds.

It was surprising to see so many swooping and diving in the yard. After that brief moment of surprise I realized they couldn’t be birds. They were dragon flies!

Huge and black they filled the air space of the yard. Enough that I would be scared to walk through the middle.

The children came out briefly when I called them to come see. My husband stayed longer. Our patience was rewarded as we noticed the small bugs. Golden brown they glowed nearly golden in the setting sun. They seemed to be hatching? They were flying up from the grass of the yard, hundreds of them. We could see them as they came up. If we looked close. Then we would see a dragon fly swoop towards them and snatch them out of the air. Occasionally one would slip past the gathered hoard and find its way to freedom.

It’s always fun to see all the dragon flies. I know, in abstract, that they are wonderful for controlling mosquitoes and other insects. To get to see them swoop down and attack, to hear the occasional clatter of wings as they crash together as two go after the same bug, it brings the abstract to reality.

31 July 2023

Crop Dusting

They’re flying, spraying the corn today. Corn root worm beetles are eating the silks. The spraying isn’t done lightly or often. It’s expensive. I hate to see it. No one ‘wants’ to do it.
I also can’t stand to stay in the house while they’re flying.
It’s part terror. I grew up watching La Bamba. I’m always sure a plan is going to crash on my head, or my house. I have to know where they are, so I can run away.
And partially fascination. Those guys are crazy. He’s going UNDER the power lines! It’s amazing to watch that skill level. Going under or over, he misses the lines by a foot or two.
Sometimes they don’t miss. I have good reason to be afraid as they fly over our house.

 

6 July 2023

Ghost’s Guinness World Record

Ghost has set a Guinness World Record!

Most tricks by a cow in one minute. She did stay, come, self rope, spin, bow, stand on pedestal, fist bump, kiss, ring bell, and say yes.

We made our attempt in early March. Guinness carefully takes three months to give results. Unless you’d like to pay more. So we had to wait patiently until now to find out.

Interview CBC radioΒ  https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/ghost-guinness-smartest-cow-1.6895706?fbclid=IwAR1oDf15syzyBtSbPgzpwxbNXZF3P5NBp6HlryHFQVR2ekU50mBy51pGVj0

Guinness https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/730746-most-tricks-performed-by-a-cow-in-one-minute

News paper story https://sheridancountyjournalstar.net/news/item/5403-a-cow-named-ghost-and-her-owner-megan-reimann-secure-their-spot-in-the-guinness-book-of-world-records

 

 

 

Category: Cows | LEAVE A COMMENT
5 May 2023

Hail Like Snow

My dad has been here visiting for the last few days. It’s been great.

But I’m glad he left. Or at least glad he left when he did.

Mid afternoon clouds began to build. Thunder rumbled in the distance. It started sprinkling lightly. No big deal. I went out and played with horses. The laundry even finished drying.

Then the lightning started for real. We sat outside and watched. The lightening was coming to the ground, it looked like just over the hill. Then it started to rain for real. The kids blew bubbles and chased them in the rain. Giggling and wet. Then they shrieked with joy as a few hail stones pelted them.

The joy occasionally turned to pain as large stones hurt!

Eventually the fun wore out. It had been hailing for a long time. Some of the stones were big! And still it hailed. It would come in sheets, heavy and hard. Luckily there was no wind even though the clouds circled and swirled overhead. I stood and watched, texting friends, taking pictures. Fascinated by the storm. Then I realized my feet were getting wet. The water rushing down the road like a river was also filling our door step. Hail stones splashed in the river that was our road.

The sprayer kept fertilizing. He had been going all day. The fertilizer needed watered in anyway. In the beginning we hoped the rain would be enough to soak it in we now hoped wouldn’t wash it away. He came flying through the yard once. I thought he was giving up. But no. He was just moving on to the next field. A little hail wasn’t going to slow him down. Not until he finished the job.

Once the rain and hail stopped for a few minutes 8 and I went out to explore. We looked at the cows, then saw white hills in the distance. They were white, looked like they were covered in snow. We saw the water flooding through the corrals, coming down from the white hills in the distance. We drove over to see the snow. Needed 4wheel drive to get through the inches of hail covering the road. Stopped to look at the waterfall of water rushing over the road.

We had been lucky to miss the worst of the hail. As bad as it had been at home I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like so close but so much worse than we got. Our first real rain of the year and what a rain it was. Outside it’s still coming down. At least it isn’t hailing any more.

 

3 April 2023

Stupid Cows

The weather has been very clearly predicted. For the last few days all we’ve heard about is the coming storm. Snow predictions measured in feet, howling winds, nights with temps around zero.

It’s the middle of calving season. As much as we all want grass and some moisture for the coming year, no one wants this.

The weekend was spent getting things ready. The heavies, the springers, the cows closest to calving, are already sorted off and in a pen with good shelter, close enough to keep an easy eye on. I saddled up and made one last trip through the rest, pulling anything that looked remotely close to calving. Even one who I’m pretty sure is just so obese that everything on her jiggles. I don’t actually believe she is bred, but better safe than sorry.

Once all those were in we went through them all again. Looking carefully to try to choose between the ones who look like they could calve, eventually, and the ones who are teetering on the brink. Those were brought in even closer into the best possible protection we have. They were tucked away with plenty of feed and straw bales to bed down on. I was gratified to find two new calves in there the next morning. We had selected well.

Then a cow calved out in the usual calving pen.

Dang it. How do they do that? No matter how closely you look them over there’s always one who calves the day after you sort, in with the ones you didn’t choose.

Although it snowed all morning, the afternoon was clear. The calm before the storm. I went to brig the pair in. The cow saw me coming and started pawing when I was half way across. This was going to be fun. It was a pleasant surprise when she picked her little heifer calf up and walked quietly and agreeably across the pen. Because of course she had the calf on the far side. I got ahead of myself thinking how good this was going.

We got to the mud puddle at the gate, because of course there is a mud puddle at the gate. The calf stopped to sniff and it all went to heck. The calf hooked onto the fourwheeler and would only follow me, not her desperately calling mother. And only when I was going away from the gate. Not if I drove in the direction I wanted them to go. The mom was getting grouchy and looking me very intently in the eye. The other cows were minding their own business trying to eat. Until we disturbed them and they had to get in on the fun.

Finally getting the calf between the fourwheeler and the fence I was able to give it a shove, move her a few feet ahead. Then I’d pull the fourwheeler ahead to catch up. Then shove the calf along again. In this slow leapfrogging manner we made it through the gate. As soon as I puled away the cow came running.

We were almost there.

I closed the gate behind the pair and asked them to keep going. The cow, head high, looked me in the eye and said no. I stepped through the mud puddle to ask them to go. I felt a slight tug. Before comprehension set in I set my foot down and felt icy water through my sock as my bootless foot sank down into the muck.

My boot had stayed behind with the last step. I was nose to nose with a grouchy cow, ankle deep in muck, wearing only one boot.

Apparently the noises I made at that point were scarier than anything I had offered up until then. She showed that she really could get her calf to move if she actually wanted to and off they went. I was forced to chose between putting my ‘muddy’, we all know there’s a lot more in that muck than mud, foot back in my nice clean boot and hopping back to the fourwheeler half shod.

I shook my foot as clean as I could get it and put my boot on. Now the cow would be in the warmest safest spot I could get her to. I hope she appreciated it. On the cold drive back to the house I was starting to think I should have left her!

28 March 2023

Small Miracles

Miracles don’t have to be huge and flashy to have a huge impact. Sometime the small whispers and touches of God are barely even noticeable. Until we realize what it would have been like without that small touch.

Going out to feed on a cold frosty morning I was met with two new calves. One with a close, attentive mama, was up bouncing around.

The other lay in a frosty shivering heap, as his mama napped near by. I got her up and bothered her, hoping she would get defensive of her calf, start licking and helping him get warm. She shook her head at me and laid back down as soon as I left. He shivered harder.

Back with proper tools this time I rolled him into the sled. She shook her head and yelled at me but didn’t come close enough to make me use the hammer I had ready just in case.

Bellowing loudly she chased us to the gate. If she had shown that much interest earlier I wouldn’t have needed to be taking her calf in the first place. As we got to the gate I started to wonder how this was going to work out. I had left it open so I wouldn’t have to stop, but how would I keep her in once I got out? It wouldn’t be fun having her ‘help’ as I got the calf into the warmer.

As I pulled the 4wheeler through the gate, the rope connecting the sled to the 4wheeler came untied. Right in the middle of the gate. I cursed it in my head. What a terrible thing to have happen. Then went to pull it through by hand.

Because I was there pulling it slowly by hand I was able to shut the gate as the calf came through. I was able to chase the mom back a little bit and keep her from coming through the gate. I was able to close the gate on her nose as she tried to follow through. The rope had come untied at exactly te perfect spot to make everything work perfectly.

It’s those tiny, sometimes barely even noticeable, miracles that make the huge differences. The calf and I both survived. He is getting warm now. I will go get his mom and bring her in so they can have another try at this whole mothering thing. Maybe he’ll be able to help himself out a bit more and make it work this time.

God is good.

Calf pictured is not the calf in question. This calf we pulled out of a heifer. It was huge, bigger than Pansy. Up and doing good!

9 March 2023

Beginning of Calving ’23

It started today. The first calf was born.

We were feeding. One cow wandered off away from the corrals. She was ready. It’s a bit early still, a week or so before they should be going for real. The weather was nice, cool with snow flurries. Which is better than freezing with howling winds.

I was going to bring her into the corrals so we could watcher her better, get her in easier if there were problems. By the time we finished feeding and I got back with the 4wheeler the calf was almost out. No sense in moving her now. Then she was done.

The calf was tiny, no wonder she had him so quick. I made sure he had his head up and she was licking on him, then left them alone.

A child has been home sick all week. She seemed better this morning, but she seemed better yesterday morning and they sent her back home before noon, so we kept her home today.

I went back to check on the calf, he hadn’t moved, hadn’t stood yet. He was going to have to come into the barn. I came back and got the no longer quite so sick child and made her come with me. She could help get the calf in. And be there to call in help if the cow ate me while I tried to help her calf.

We got on the 4wheeler together, drug the sled along behind, and went out to the cow.

I would rather not get my child killed. She had orders to get out of there first if anything happened. On the 4wheeler of course. Get a safe distance, then call for help if anything happens.

Then I went back for the calf. I grabbed a pair of vice-grips from the tool compartment. They were as good a defense as anything. With the sled between me and the cow we met eye to eye as I reached for the calf. She bellered, I tapped her on the nose with the pliers. I grabbed a leg and drug the calf into the sled. He limply slid in. I stepped back and got to the 4wheeler. She sniffed her calf.

It had worked so nicely. We had the calf. I was alive and uninjured. Both good things. We started for the barn.

Pulling the calf behind on a sled is nice because you don’t get covered in filth like you do with a calf draped across your lap. But mostly because the cow can see and smell the calf as it moves along in front of her. That way the cow can follow the calf and they both get to the barn at the same time and you have the mom there to keep with the calf.

She missed the memo somewhere.

She followed sure enough. In full coyote mode. Screaming and stomping she attacked the sled as soon as it moved. One rope broke loose and the sled trailed crookedly with only one attachment remaining. I went faster, maybe it would hold and we could get ahead of her before she killed the calf. She pounced again and the sled broke free. She stood over calf and sled, head high, snorting. My daughter was in tears. The ordeal had scared her terribly. She begged to get out of there, away from the crazy cow.

It wasn’t like we had too many other options. The cow stood over our sled like a lioness over her kill. I wasn’t going to try to get the calf out from under her. We drove back towards the house as I tried to think what we could do. The calf had been cold and was going to die if we didn’t get him warmed up.

We’ll come back with the pickup I told her. You can stay in the cab. For some reason that made her cry harder. Fine, she could stay at the house.

At the house I got my rope, the one Ghost and Rusty usually play with. Today it would be pressed into real work. Pansy jumped in the pickup too. She might as well come along. A dog would either get me killed or distract the cow if I got in trouble. I prefer to be optimistic.

Wincing as I drove over cornstalks in my pickup I got back to the cow. Backed up to the calf. Climbed out the passenger side door, more distance from the cow looking on warily. Climbed into the bed of the pickup with my rope. The calf wasn’t as close as I thought, but I wasn’t going to go through the whole ordeal again. I dropped the rope. Fought with some cornstalks. Gave up on getting two legs. Pulled the slack tight and gave the calf a pull. The one leg gave me enough heft to pull him up to where I could reach down and grab the other leg. The mama wasn’t too upset. She wasn’t hitting the pickup. Just calling nervously. I pulled the calf over the tailgate and eased him into the pickup bed.

Then looked out at the mom.

I could probably hop out and get in one of the doors without her getting me. Or I could climb in through the window. It looked pretty tiny. Shedding my winter coat I decided it was worth the squeeze.

The mom stayed with the sled.

Back at the barn I forced my reluctant child back outside. We wrangled the calf over snow drifts and through buried doors and managed to get him inside. Then we rubbed him down good, got the heater going on him, and went for colostrum. She did a great job of helping out even through her fear and reluctance. She’s never going to want to stay home sick again. School was far preferable to this. But I appreciated the effort, even if it was unwilling.

With the calf out of immediate danger, I went back for the mom. Hooking up to the sled I found a way to convince her to move away from where she last saw her calf. This time she didn’t try to kill it. It would have been nice if she could have refrained earlier. For now they are together in the barn. When, if, the calf is able to stand by himself we will make sure he can nurse. Now it’s time to wait and see what we can do.

And hope the next birth goes more smoothly!

22 February 2023

More Cold Weather

Pansy says it’s cold out.
After coming outside with us briefly this morning to feed and retreated back into the house. There she huddled on her own personal couch until we covered her with her blanket. She hasn’t moved since then.
It’s -4 outside with the wind howling. No idea what the windchill is. Just cold. It’s spitting snow but doesn’t look like we’ll be getting the 12 inches or so they were predicting.
That’s a good thing. Popcorn, Ghost, and Acorn are in the barn, as are the goats. I need to go check on them after we eat lunch. I blanketed Popcorn last night because we knew it was going to be miserable. She stood quietly to be blanketed. No need to tie her, she wanted her blanket.
I will switch them out with the horses later, give them some in the barn time.
Tomorrow is supposed to be colder then we’ll be back up around freezing for Friday.
Category: Dogs | LEAVE A COMMENT
15 January 2023

Dog Nest

I was going to write a post about how our dog is crazy. She has made herself a nest. Her nest is perched high on a snow drift outside the front door.

She hates having to be outside alone but when she has to be, she sits in her nest and chews on the random items she has collected there. She has ripped some branches off trees, found a deer skull, her favorite ball that was so fun until her huge teeth popped it, and now she has some piece of a dead cow there. Her collection she has brought home and stored there.

That seemed weird. And gross.

But tonight topped it all.

I walked around a corner to see her chewing on…Β  something.

It wasn’t one of her toys. She will select stuffed animals sometimes. Or clothes. Sometimes the most random of things. I thought I should investigate.

Reaching down I got hold of it. It was slick and rounded, long and narrow, very wet from dog slobber. At first I was somewhat afraid it was a turd. It was gripped between my fingers and I was worried. It was the right shape. But where did she get it from?

Looking closer in the dimly lit room I saw, a hoof?

It was a hoof! A tiny little hoof attached to a leg. It had to be a calf leg? A very tiny baby calf leg. I thought back to the time I saw her walking through the corals proudly carrying some cleaning. I thought at the time that it was odd that there would still be some around from last year. It did cross my mind that maybe one of the cows miscarried. The storms were hard on them, the ice is slick, and sometimes it happens without outside cause even.

I didn’t think much more about it. It happens. Nothing I can do, no way to fond the cow.

But this.

How long ago did she find this leg? She had not just come in the house and hadn’t been carrying it earlier. That means the leg has been in the house. Somewhere in the house. A tiny little leg, from the knee joint down. The whole thing fit in her big mouth. That must be how she got it in the house in the first place.

I think I’m going to be sick.

And the house is going to get scrubbed.

That dog needs to go live outside!

 

Category: Dogs | LEAVE A COMMENT