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.