Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor day, and the labor that goes with it

I am really going nuts here; 4 posts already in September when that was the total for the whole month of August! It just sometimes flows and is easy to post here and at other times it seems to be the last thing I want to tackle.

Sunday did not start off much better than Saturday. The calf with scours belonging to the first calf heifer died during the night. I really thought I had caught it soon enough and that it would make it. When the consolation is, “well luckily I had a cow die yesterday and leave an orphan calf” you are really looking for the silver lining. I brought the heifer in and let the orphan calf suck her out yesterday and today and will continue this hoping for a successful graft.

Losing the cow Saturday is something that given time I will get over. I know that it was just mainly the law of averages and we had been on a stunning streak of calving success and it was just due time for a difficulty. Losing the calf to scours is something that I feel rests squarely on my shoulders. I made a decision to keep the fall calving heifers in the corrals to calve this year. The decision was based on many factors. I decided that since we would be so busy with fairs, irrigation and life in general that at least the heifers would be confined to somewhere that if assistance was needed it would be easy to provide. The downside was that it went against my better instincts as a stockman.

Much of the industry will disagree with me but I think that if first calf heifers are bred correctly 99.9% of them should calve on their own without assistance absent of abnormal birth presentations (breech, leg turned back etc). I also think that the best thing for a first calf heifer prior to calving is a steady dose of exercise, which does not happen when living in a corral and fed daily. I damn sure know that a calf born out on the range is exposed to fewer pathogens than one born in a corral. Armed with this knowledge I made the choice to calve them in the corral (what a dumbass). My concern for the “potentials” deluded my judgment for the “reality”. That pisses me off as I look at it in retrospect.

I would have been fine if I had not failed in my follow through procedures. I should have moved these pairs to range (pasture) within 24 hours of calving. When something presents itself for the first time or when it is beyond your control I can get past it fairly quickly. When it is something that falls apart because I am too big of a F**kup to do what I know the correct process is I dwell on it and rage inside. I feel directly responsible because damn it I am not a 14 year old kid just dealing with my first calving season. Learning from mistakes is part of life, making the same mistake twice is a FAILED life lesson, my father taught me that! The saving grace for my sanity is I know that a few times he made the same mistake twice and beat himself the same way I do. I miss you being here to slam shit around and cuss with me Dad.

I need to thank Christine and Dakota for working their tails off this Labor Day weekend with me. I know some of the things you had to see and face this weekend were not something that a lady should have to face. I love you both so damn much and you are truly what keep me smiling when it seems there is no reason to smile. If the public had seen these two women work this weekend especially today they would have their own top rated reality show. Moving pipes, making French toast, sorting cows, clipping steers, or feeding bulls these two ladies have what it takes!

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Pacific Treefrog aka Hyla regilla.

Today’s picture is 5288w with her new brockle face bull calf born just before sunset on a beautiful Columbia Basin evening.