Sunday, February 28, 2010

Easy Sunday

I was hoping nothing out of the ordinary would happen today. Then I felt I could go back to my smartass blog posts about some subject that at least I felt was amusing. From the emails I get and the comments I get from people in person (yes the blog comments still are not working) are varied and so are the people who read the blog on some type of regular basis. Some people ask for more of the everyday operations and others like it better when I try and twist something in my day into something humorous. Still others like when I talk about the serious part of life and how that plays a role in my day. Then there are the people that do not say much about the blog but email me offers of hair growth, weight loss and various items to enhance your brain. At least I am guessing it is to enhance your brain because the email says, “As a man, would you like to enhance that certain part of you that could use some extra growth?” anyway …..

It was once again sunny and beautiful here and close to 60 degrees after frosting a bit overnight. I was pretty slow at leaving the house this morning being it was Sunday. I went to feed the yearlings and babysitter cows and that went well. I have noticed that neither mother nor daughter that were separated the other night stray from each other much now. I then went to feed and check the special needs cows and the fall pairs. I needed to feed two bales today so I fed the first one and tagged two new calves there. Then I went back and loaded the second bale and fed it. The cows and the calves looked nice in the bright sunshine today and I was just about to leave for the main group of cows at Basin City.

I then noticed one calf that was born February second walking among the herd and bawling. I also noticed that the calf seemed a bit shrunk out. I knew his mother was a old cow and I though maybe she is in the other pasture or maybe she is in the feeding line and I just had not seen her. I walked through the cows and she was definitely not in the group. They have lowered the big canal level the last few days and I thought I knew where she might be. I decided she had found her way around the end of the fence that led to the canal since it had been lowered. It was a nice day so I decided to take a walk, find her and put her back in.

I could not find her where I thought she might be so I decided to walk through the thicket of locust trees. After spending time walking through them I still had not found the cow. I decided that maybe she had jumped the hotwire and was on the side hill of the hill pasture. So I got in my pickup, left the cows and drove the canal bank where I could get a good view of the side hill. There was no cow on the side hill and I was really puzzled where she might be. I decided to drive back to the cows and walk through them once again; surely I had just missed her. As I crossed the canal bridge driving back I found the cow. 5027y is an old black brockle face cow that my dad had bought years ago. She is really easy going and raises great calves. This past fall at culling time I decided to keep her one more year. She had a nice calf and stayed in decent body condition and I was glad she had.

Just like how sometimes nature can be so inspiring Mother Nature can sometimes be one cruel bitch. I cannot determine why but for some reason 5027y had left the earth for that big pasture in the sky. I felt bad but also knew that sometimes things just happen and the focus of my day had now changed. I went to Basin City and fed, checked and tagged a new calf there. When I returned the girls helped me get the orphan calf caught. Tonight he is resting comfortably with a full belly of milk from a bottle. He will now be a bottle calf unless some cow loses a calf over the next few weeks then he may be grafted onto a surrogate mom. So much for an easy restful Sunday.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Redroot pigweed aka Amaranthus retroflexus.

Today’s picture is calf 0027y (new bottle baby) when he was 2 weeks old.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy endings

As devious as I am and as torturous as I sometime like to be I was in a terrible quandary today. I was toying with the notion of posting something about today without even mentioning the calf that was missing last night. I know how much I agonized over it and could not subject you good people who read this blog to the torture. For those not in the know today’s post won’t make much sense unless you read my post from yesterday.

I was tired and tried sleeping about 12 a.m. this morning. All I could think about was the missing calf and how frustrating it was to not know where it was or what had happened to it. I finally fell asleep but then woke up about 2:30 a.m. and decided I should go see if there was anything new. The mother cow was still walking and bawling and there was no sign of the calf. I had now pretty much resigned myself that if I found the calf, finding it alive was not likely. The sky had cleared from earlier and the temperature was dropping. I knew my chances of finding it in the dark after all my previous searches were small. I went back to the house, filled the coffee maker and went back to bed and slept fitfully until 5:33 a.m. It was still pretty dark but I knew soon I would have enough light.

I made my coffee, filled a big mug and drove out to the home place pond. I had decided that I was going to search the banks of the pond, then the canal and then from where I last saw the calf outward in circles. I had walked about an hour and had found nothing. Several times I saw shadows in the grass or other things that I thought were the calf but it never was. I had Festus with me thinking he would cover more ground and possibly find the calf. The cow would run towards me every so often, see I did not have her calf and then would go back to looking. I just about was done walking the canal as the sun came up. Festus saw a muskrat in the ditch and started barking at it. This caused the cow to again come running towards us at a very rapid pace and through some very thick and tall grass.

The cow stopped immediately at one point, turned her body 180 degrees and put her nose down. It was 7:21 a.m. and the sun was up and it was a beautiful quiet morning. My heart raced thinking she had found the calf but I still doubted it was alive. The grass was so thick I had to walk about half way to the cow before I could see what was going on. There was her calf, standing next to her on the opposite side, sucking her teats and wagging its tail like crazy. I was ecstatic, excited and almost unbelieving but also very happy and relieved.

I then left the cow alone with her calf and practically skipped back to the pickup. I am so glad that this time things had went well without a sad ending. I drove over to take their picture and noticed there were both four wheeler tracks and pickup tracks in the tall grass very close to where the calf had be laying. I knew that no matter what the rest of the day had ahead I would be happy and thankful.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Columbia spotted frog aka Rana luteiventris.

Today’s picture is the happy to be reunited mother and child.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Where o where

I usually start these posts with at least a general idea and a general direction. This post will play out over the next several hours. It may have a happy ending, it may not be happy at all. Hopefully it won’t end without a final answer but that is yet to be seen. It is 6 p.m. as I type this portion Friday evening.

This all started this morning in the rain. It had been raining most of the night and has rained pretty much all day today at some level. The yearlings and the baby sitter cows are here on the “home” place and also have access to the “Dixon” place. The area is 300 plus acres of mostly tall Russian ryegrass pasture. Blog post “The babysitter” on January 26th has a picture that will give you some idea. Yesterday one of the babysitter cows had a new heifer calf which I tagged and had suckled and received its colostrum from its mother. Colostrum is the first milk a calf gets and it is very important in that it has many natural antibodies the calf needs to start life well. Last evening the calf was with its mother and all seemed well.

This morning the yearlings were scattered all over the 300 acres and were in several small groups. I am guessing they traveled in the night because of the rain and found shelter under many scattered trees across the place. When I arrived with the feed they all came to where I was from several different directions. I noticed cow 2037w did not have her new calf with her. I was not all that concerned because she had been sucked and I guessed the newborn was napping somewhere comfortable and her mother would return after eating some hay. I made a mental note and went on with my day. I fed and checked the special needs cows, tagged two new calves there, fed the fall pairs and then built a bit of hotwire fence around the triticale circle.

After lunch I went to Basin City, fed and tagged two calves. I had one cow that was outside the fence and it took over an hour to walk her back from where she had traveled to. I came back home, checked the two new calves from the special needs cows and then drove through the yearlings and babysitter cows. 2037w still did not have a calf with her but she seemed unconcerned but I decided I should find the calf before dark. I just spent 3 hours on a four wheeler in the rain and still have not found the calf. The cow is walking around now bawling too and can’t seem to find her baby. It is now 6:26 p.m. and I am headed out with the spotlight and a high degree of anxiety. I will update this later.

It is now 8:32 p.m. after two hours of searching I still have found nothing. The cow is still traveling and looking but now seems more frantic and is no longer concentrating on one area. I am really frustrated and questioning my decision to let things be this morning. Now I am second guessing whether the cow had really been sucked, or were her teats wet just because of the rain. The not knowing is the worst of all. Finding the calf dead would not be pleasant, but it would be preferable to the not having any idea. I still have some slight hope because the cow was not looking all afternoon. That tells me she bedded down the calf at some point and it is still there. At some point the calf should get hungry though and stand and bawl. If this happens the cow will surely find it. I am starting to think maybe something like an accident happened like the calf slipped into the ditch but that is a total guess. One positive thing is the temperature is relatively warm at 42 degrees but there is still sporadic light rain. I am going to try again in a bit. It does not make sense that the calf would be on the Dixon place but I am going to look. The issue there is the whole thing is tall thick grass and I do not want to run over a sleeping calf. I will be back again later.

It is now 11:21 p.m. and nothing new to report. I will take another round around 3 a.m. Sorry for the downer post but sometimes life is just that way.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Northern Pintail aka Anas acuta.

Today’s picture is one of my incorrectly tagged calves who decided the hay would make a nice bed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Twist and shout

What a gorgeous day here in Washington. Temperatures rose to close to 60 degrees and the sun was shining. There is little doubt spring has arrived early in the Columbia basin. Yesterday I saw the first Sandhill cranes of the season and today I saw my first rockchuck or yellow bellied marmot out and about.

I really love this time of year, the sun rises early enough that you can get something done in the morning but late enough that you can get up at a reasonable time and still see the sunrise. It also gets dark late enough you can get something done in the afternoon but early enough you are tired but not totally exhausted at the end of the day. I know that many people really enjoy watching the sunset and I do as well but I would much rather see the sunrise from a whole optimistic point of view. My dad used to say, “Those who enjoy a really good sunset have obviously never watched a really poor sunrise.” I tend to agree with his assessment. There is just something magical about the start to a day, especially a really great weather springtime day like today.

Nothing of note happened during the morning checks and feeding of the yearlings, fall pairs and special needs cows. There was one new calf belonging to a cow I bought about a month ago and that was a good start to the day. They usually sell spring calving cows in this country with an April 15th or earlier calving date but too often they end up calving in late May. So I was glad this girl was on time and had a nice calf as well. The cow is solid black and so was her calf which was a relief as well. Too often cows you purchase that were supposedly bred to a “black” bull have a calf that looks something like a porcupine crossed with a zebra.

After those chores I came home and did some online banking and email checking. I also watched about 34 seconds of the “healthcare summit” and wondered how bored someone would have to be to watch it all. From what I saw the healthcare summit probably did nothing more than cause a few suicides from people who before watching the summit felt life could not get any more dull. I also wondered if a “summit” of any type is allowed in somewhere like Sun Valley. Is it possible to have a summit in any valley?

I received some good news today for the special needs cows and the fall pairs. They will be able to stay on their cornstalk fields at least two more weeks. There are not a lot of stalks left but at least with a bit of supplemental hay they can stay put until the Triticale is hopefully ready to graze. The main group of spring calving cows is going to have to leave and come home soon which is sad because there is still quite a lot of feed there. I really miscalculated this particular field. The cows are still finding some actual corn kernels. I confirm this through my CSI (cow shit investigating) investigations I do each day. You can tell much about a cow’s nutrition level by paying some attention to the fresh excrement they pass.

At the main group of cows today I was having a difficult time finding one calf that was born yesterday. The mother seemed unconcerned and had been suckled at some point but I still wanted to find the calf. I know my dad was shaking his head because he always said if a cow is not looking for her calf it is because she knows where it is and to leave nature alone. My concern still got the best of me and after driving around and looking on foot and in the pickup I decided I needed to look with a horse.

I keep one horse there at the main group of cows in the stock trailer just for situations such as this. The horse is named Onda Reco and is buckskin in color. She was named Honda Recon but some wear on the gas tank has changed her name. Onda is a great Japanese quarter horse and has only bucked me off twice. As I was riding Onda today looking for the calf I drove right into the middle of a huge whirlwind or dust devil that was dancing across the field.

As I was being slapped in the face by corn leaves and dirt I thought about one of the last movies I watched at a theater. That movie was “Twister” which in my mind was not very realistic and one reason I have not been to the theater in years. Remember how the one tornado could blast apart a barn and put a Holstein cow into the air? Yet not once did it even raise the shirt or much less blow the shirt totally off of Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) or Dr. Melissa Reeves (Jami Gertz). It was either a totally fake movie or the twister was gay but anyway I am off topic. I finally found the calf and then headed home to finish the day rolling up wire.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the North American porcupine aka Erithizon dorsatum.

Today’s picture is calf 0904g which to me is a perfectly marked and colored calf in my unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

well sh*t

Today was just one of those basically non eventful days with just enough events to make life interesting. I checked on the special needs cows this morning and my four calves with wrong tags. Maybe that was just not a good way to start the day for me. I then checked and fed the yearlings and the babysitter cows which was fine but uneventful.

I then took off for Connell to meet with a representative of a major ear tag company. I needed to set up the tags for our fair steer “weigh in” in a few weeks. I also am going to tag the replacement heifers with electronic identification tags and likely this year’s calf crop before they leave the ranch. I won’t go into my personal feelings positive or negative about the discussion of National animal identification because that is a discussion I have had 3,879 (estimated) times too often. I do think there are some potential advantages to having your cattle sourced and age verified and identified as such. I also feel this is a free country and it is up to the individual producer to decide on their own how they want to implement it if at all. I have decided to take small steps towards this idea but with measured caution. Our vet shack is too full of tags and other items that were one time in vogue that never became mainstream or useful.

I also had to go to the Grain Growers to pickup some protein/mineral blocks. I then purchased some herbicide to spray some noxious weeds here on the ranch. The county weed board is going to do some spraying for me if I provide the herbicide which is a positive for everyone. I then met my bride for lunch and although I had a mushroom burger I had no premonitions about the impending bad news to arrive later in the day.

I traveled to Basin City and fed and checked the main group of cows and tagged two new calves. One is a real whopper bull calf with perfect black goggles around each of his eyes. Pictures coming soon as I had no camera with me today. I then traveled back home and fed and checked the special needs and fed them as well. Once again I had to stare at those four calves that are tagged wrong and try to keep my composure. I decided that since they are all healthy and doing well I needed to be more appreciative. I then returned a phone call to my local Natural resources conservation service NRCS. The NRCS is a government agency that provides technical support and sometimes cost share on different agricultural projects that enhance wildlife habitat, help stop soil erosion, improve water quality and other environmental issues. For the most part they are a good agency as far as government agencies go.

I had applied for an Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) cost share project last year. I was really hoping that this would be the year it was approved and funded because we have been applying for this for several years and have been tremendously close to approval. Once again I was not selected which really was deflating. I am the first one below those projects that were approved and if for some reason they have more funding or someone above me opts out I may still have an outside chance. I am not holding my breath. Even if I was approved part of the process has a nearly yearlong backlog so nothing would move quickly anyway. *sigh*.

After hearing this bad news I went home and finished removing the water pump from the Massey. I figured since I was in a bad mood anyway I might as well do something I do not particular like doing. I finished removing the pump after sunset but before total darkness. As I was walking towards the house I heard a noise above which boosted my spirits. The first of this year Sandhill cranes were flying overhead and landing in the home place pasture. I will talk more about them in a later blog but they did help make a not so great day better. They made me remember who I am, what I do for a living and how lucky I am to spend my days close to nature. They also reminded me that no matter what happens in daily life the world keeps spinning and the sun will rise again tomorrow.

I am supposed to be in Olympia serving tri tip sandwiches to our state legislators tomorrow but there is just too much to do here. Thanks to those who do travel and handle that task tomorrow. I will take the duty of helping to ultrasound the bulls at the bull test station next week in trade for those who cover things tomorrow in Olympia. Everyone travel safely and do not let those legislators that are idiots get you down tomorrow.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Sandhill crane aka Grus Canadensis.

Today’s picture is the inside drivers door of the black dodge and why when you give a calf a ride you always face them rear to the door. For those who do not know that is not banana pudding, it is calf digested milk.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thats wrong, damnit

I know, I know, I know, two missed posts in three days. Last night this old house which seems to be something to constantly test my sanity tested me yet again. I will not go into details but when you live in a house with three women and two of those women are teenagers, you are not allowed to say, “Sorry I can’t fix the plumbing issues tonight because I have to do my blog post”. I guess it would technically be allowed but the resulting castration would be a permanent burden that I am unwilling to bear.

Today was another great day and seven new arrivals hit the ground. I am not a perfectionist at really anything but one thing I do really work at having correct is my calf tagging and the information related to each calf recorded correctly. I am also a bit of a stickler about the numbers on the tags being a certain way and I really despise tags that are not perfect. So far this year I had been doing pretty well. Although too many calves have not received their tags I have made each one and have had few issues with bad numbers or legibility. The only issue I know of so far this year was that one tag was applied without a birth date written on the back but the birth date was recorded in my redbook. So up until today I have not had the need for any mental therapy related to tag issues. Yes, I did say up until today.

I adjusted my schedule a bit today because my uncle Fred and aunt Edie and their granddaughter Josephina (excuse the spelling if it is wrong) were bringing up some feeder hay. They thought it would be nice for Josie to see some baby calves. Josie is about 18 months old and as cute as can be. I find most children somewhat unattractive until about a year of age or so but Josie is one of the few I can honestly say has been a cutie pie since she arrived. So anyway, the first thing I did this morning was go check and feed the fall pairs and the special needs cows. There were two cows with two new calves lying very close together. One cow I had been fretting over because her teats are a bit large and I was glad to see which ever calf was hers had been able to suck two of the four teats down nicely. After that first time it usually is no longer an issue. I was not sure which calf belonged to which cow so I gave them a bit of hay and went on to the main group. I was sure before the day was over I would know which cow went to which calf.

As I was feeding the cows I noticed two other cows had calved as well but they did not have their calves with them. One of these cows is number 8044y. I would rather face a loaded .44 than tag 8044y’s calf within a mile of her. I know this through years of experience and finding out I can run like a gazelle, well a fat gazelle, if a 1200 pound cow is chasing you, especially if that cow is 8044y. When I finished feeding I went on foot with my tagging supplies hoping maybe I could find the calves in the forest of Black locust trees while their mothers were busy eating. I found them both but like the others they were lying about 10 feet apart and both were totally black with no indication of whom was the offspring of whom. I made the tags, applied them and hoped my 50-50 chance of them getting the correct tag was in my favor. I then left and went to meet the relatives.

We took Josie out to the babysitter cows and calves that are with the yearlings. There was one new calf there and Josie loved it and was even saying “baby” and pointing. When her grandpa picked up the calf and put it up to the window for her to see her love of babies totally wavered. Maybe she just wanted grandpa to put the baby calf down because when that happened she seemed to be all happy once again. We fed the yearlings and since we used Freds truck I had to borrow his knife and unless I left it on the dash of his truck after feeding I am not sure where it is. Thanks to all three of you for enjoying part of today with me.

After lunch I went back to the special needs cows and decided who the first two new calves belonged to and tagged them feeling pretty secure about my choice. I then went to Basin City to check the main group of cows. All was well there and the two new calves had cooperative mothers and were separated by quite a distance so I was quite confident in my tagging . I then headed back to the ranch and decided I would check the special needs cows one more time to see if my earlier tagging was correct.

Very quickly I saw that the second two calves I tagged were wrong. I growled a bit but made a scribbled notation in my redbook and really hoped I had been right with my other guess. The other two calves and 8044y were together in a cluster of Black Locust trees. Luckily she was standing over the calf I had tagged for her and I could see the other mother about 40 yards away. I decided to pick up the other calf and take it to its mom just so that nobody got confused. 8044y watched as I picked up the other calf and began walking away with it. I had traveled about 15 yards when the calf I was carrying let out a bawl. The next 35 minutes was spent dodging 8044y through the trees as Festus and I took turns hoping 8044y would chase the other. The other cow picked up the calf I thought belonged to 8044y in the meantime. Finally the calf let out another bawl and when 8044y turned towards it I made a beeline for the pickup hoping Festus would step on a tackweed so I could pass him. I am thinking maybe I should get an oxygen tank and mask installed for calving season.

The last thing I saw before leaving was each cow tending to and being suckled by their respective calves that had been tagged incorrectly. Four calves born at the special needs cows today and four calves tagged wrong. Some days there just is not enough beer, whiskey, Wellbutrin or Prozac.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Black Locust tree aka Robinia pseudoacacia.

Today’s picture is cow number 3921g and her heifer calf number 0921g. One of the few calves that were tagged correctly today, at least I think so.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Can you ear me now?

Sorry about the missed post yesterday. It was more an issue of computer problems than anything else. Today was a gorgeous day but the temperature is dropping tonight. The temperature rose to 53 degrees today but supposed to drop to 23 tonight. It was a great sunny day though and my family and even some of my extended family were able to spend some time enjoying “calf watching” today at feeding time. Thanks to nieces Alex and SalliRose and Aunt Desiree for sharing some of the morning with us.

In my Friday post I mentioned “Rabbitears” an old Brahma cow who had a new calf. There were four Brahma cows Dad brought home from the auction many years ago. Brahma cattle and Brahma cross cattle are popular and abundant in the southern United States but not as common here. They do well in the hot summers and are very resistant to many insect pests but they do not like the cold winters much. These four cows have all been good producers over the years and they have always been some of our favorites because of their unconventional looks and really docile (yes really) temperaments. Rabbitears is the last of the original four here on the ranch.

In December of 2008 we had quite a bit of snow and very cold weather and Rabbitears seemed to really show her age. I told the girls that no matter what 2009 would be her last year here. I had firm plans to sell her in the fall when her 2009 calf was weaned. It is always a hard decision to cull an old cow who has been a good producer solely based on age. Often these cows have other issues related to age that make the culling decision. Milk production lowers and calf growth will suffer, they do not rebreed, they have structural issues etc. The only thing wrong with Rabbitears is that she seems to go into each winter in thinner condition than the last and she seems to move a bit slower on cold days. Her calf production and calving schedule has stayed consistently good. To my recollection she has always calved in the month of February and I know she has been here at least since 1996.

Dad had a theory that some cows just earned the right to a natural death on the ranch because of age because of years of production. While I appreciated his idea I felt there was a time when you just had to cull a cow, send her to town and let her provide the public with wholesome and nutritious protein. I grew up consuming many of these types of cows and I would never sell anything into the beef chain that I would not feed myself or family. Although the cow is old she can still make safe, wholesome and nutritious ground beef. These older beef cows on our ranch have lived their whole lives only consuming grass and other plant forage. These cows have never been given growth hormones and contrary to what the media will tell you have never been massed dosed with antibiotics. The only time they would have ever been given ANY antibiotics is if they had some type of issue such as pink eye or foot rot. I know that sending these cows to be made into meat after years of ownership may sound inconsiderate to some if you have ever watched an aged cow die a natural death that was not quick or had to euthanize an old cow to put her out of a painful situation you would likely have a better understanding. Anyway, off the soapbox.

When I did the fall culling of 2009 I decided to stay true to my word and send Rabbitears away along with several other cows that had various issues including age to auction. It was a tough decision but one I was sure was correct. When I counted the cows to sell I had two more than the truck would hold. I bet you cannot guess who got a one year reprieve. Rabbitears and 6047y who was the mother to one of Samanthas show steers last year. Rabbitears did better this winter because of the mild winter and I was pleased that was the case. She is a bit on the thin side but now that spring grass is right around the corner I am sure she will be fine and raise her calf wonderfully. As a bonus she had a heifer calf that looks almost just like her. We will very likely keep her calf as a replacement heifer next year and the 203y family tradition of long ears, deep Brahma bawl, calm temperament and good production can continue into the future.

Today’s real environmentalist species is Green foxtail aka Setaria viridis.

Today’s picture is Rabbitears cow number 5203y and her new heifer calf 0203y.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hotter than a coon dog on a bare leg

Today was just an awesome day. I really cannot think of anything that did not go as planned. There were also a few nice surprises throughout the day which really made life interesting and fun. The first thing I did this morning was return the Cat loader I had borrowed yesterday. It was about 33 degrees and there was a north wind. The trip was about 8 miles and top speed was going to be around 10 mph. I did have a full mug of coffee and my coveralls on so I was pretty confident I would survive. The trip was cold none the less and when I got to my destination I was glad to start the pickup and get the heater going.

As I waited for the heater and the engine to warm I started thinking about different sayings I have heard over the years related to how cold something is. I am sure many of you have heard “colder than a witch’s tit” and many others have probably heard “colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra”. The best twist on this I have ever heard was my 5th and 6th grade little league coach who used to say, “Colder than a witches tit in a brass bra on the shady side of an iceberg.” I decided to spend some time finding the origins of this saying online this evening.

The saying itself is from the 1600’s and was basically related to the fear of witch’s and Satan and their followers at the time. The articles were interesting but basically boring so I will not numb your mind any further with the details. What I did find in my research was several other sayings related to cold that I found amusing and hopefully useful for the future. One was the “colder than a well drillers ass” which I had heard in the past but now know the origins from back in the day when wells were hand dug. The best one I found was, “colder than Rudolph’s balls in a headwind!” I decided to make one up myself today and I decided that “colder than Elin Woods’s bed on Thanksgiving evening” might work.

I then started thinking of other sayings that would fit something in the day. I tried using my loader tractor in a bit of a different way today to load the hay bales onto my flatbed. I had stacked them flat and wanted to see if I could get underneath them with the bucket and not have to use the forks. Well it worked pretty well, in fact it worked slicker than eels breeding in a bucket of snot. As I went out to feed the yearlings today one of the family’s favorite cows had a new calf with her. This cow is chocolate brown and usually has black calves. Today she had a beautiful gray heifer calf with her. The calf is prettier than melted butter on a stack of hotcakes. This is much better than a woman I saw in town yesterday who was uglier than the east end of a horse headed west.

As I finished feeding I noticed another cow that is babysitting the yearlings was not with the group. “Rabbit ears” is an old Brahma cow that I reluctantly kept one more year at the kid’s insistence. I do not know exactly how old she is but she was a calf when Moses wore short pants. I found her alone at the far east end of the home place pasture with a long eared light yellow heifer calf that looks just like her. I will get a picture of her to post tomorrow. I did not tell Dakota about either new calf but tonight we made a drive through the pasture on the ruse that I needed to check on a calving cow. When I shone the spotlight on Rabbit ears and her new baby Dakota was as grinning like a cat eating crap out of a hairbrush.

Today’s real environmentalist species is the white tailed jack rabbit aka Lepus townsendii.

Today’s picture is calf number 0801w and her mother 5801w. Notice how mother and child have matching muddy legs from crossing a ditch.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I got nothin'

Oh boy another day and time for another blog post. What will I ever post for today? Sometimes I go through a day and have a million things I want to post and can make it come together into some central topic. Some days I have lots of good or humorous thoughts but they are not interconnected and they are hard to put into words in the “style” of how I usually do the blog post. Some days there is just nothing, not that nothing happens just nothing funny, out of the ordinary or dramatic happens. Today was one of those days.

I should learn to appreciate these kinds of days more than I do. The fact that nothing dramatic happened should be looked upon with happiness not scorn. There were three new calves today and one has some really cool markings on his face. The pictures I got do not do him justice so I will have to catch him on a better day. His mother got me a pretty good lick as I gave him his selenium shot and like so many others he is tagless. Luckily with his markings and how his mother looks there will be no mistakes of which cow he belongs to. It was a bit chilly this morning 28degrees and I had to move a Cat loader about 8 miles to unload a semi load of hay so I wore my coveralls for the first time in ages. It did make the mid 40’s today and was once again sunny and nice. See, all kinds of exciting blog stuff.

I was going to write about how much I dislike feeding and especially buying hay but that post needs more work. I will say that each time I took a load of four 3x4x8 bales off the truck with the loader today I knew it made my bank account another $260 lighter. I really hate buying hay this late in the season but it has been a pretty nice winter overall so I need to hold my tongue. I was very happy with the quality of the hay and although it was much greener and had more leaves than my cows are used to they did seem to enjoy it. Usually when I buy hay it tends to look much like bundled firewood but with less green color and less leaf than a bundle of firewood. I am always worried that nice green leafy hay my scare my cows. I am getting a load of grass straw delivered tomorrow that should more closely resemble baled sticks.

I did spend a bulk of the day removing the water pump from the Massey tractor which for me was a royal pain in the ass. The nice thing about these kinds of projects I tend to regather my scattered hand tools. I am one bolt away from having the water pump removed. Of course this particular bolt is in a place that does not lend itself well to the size of my arms. This made me wonder if any mechanic has ever become a vegan just so he can have skinny arms to make life easier. I also wondered if anyone has done a study as to the number of people who become mechanics that had traumatic head injuries as a child. Why the hell anyone would want to spend their life dealing with broken down equipment is something I suppose I will never grasp. I am sure a mechanic who saw me with my arm shoulder deep in a cow doing a pregnancy palpation has his own ideas about head injuries.

I guess that leaves me at nothing to post for today’s blog. I guess I will just share an internet story I found tonight that I found amusing.

A cow has been put in prison after it was blamed for a road accident in Colombia.
The cow was wandering along a road in Giron when was hit by a woman on a motorcycle.
The woman was not badly hurt but police decided the cow was a danger and 'arrested' it.
Officers were unable to find out who owns the cow and are keeping it in the town's prison.
A police spokesman said: "If it was a person who caused the accident, he or she would be behind bars, so why not a cow?"

Apparently there is no open range law in Colombia. This makes me wonder if in the nursery rhyme “The cow jumped over the moon” if that cow was from Colombia and had recently consumed some illicit drug or if she was just naturally athletic.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Prairie falcon aka Falco mexicanus.

Today’s picture is of six calves that were enjoying the sunshine today. They were acting pretty sure of themselves and cocky until I let Festus out and then they high tailed it to their mothers.