Monday, March 03, 2014.
Forecast? Cold. The day begins.
The heifers ran home, drank, and ran back to the pasture!
Monday, March 03, 2014.
Written Monday, March 03, 2014,6:33 AM.
Central Missouri. Monday, March 3rd 2014. -2F ‘n -21F windchill. Terrain ‘n stock covered in frizzle from Saturday night and Sunday. These Frizzle coats are a great thing. The frizzle is a blanket or barrier to help protect the stock from some of the harshness of the wind and the windchill. Pecking away at the keyboard here, sipping Dunn Brother’s Guatemala coffee. Thinking, wondering, hoping that we get rain someday soon. Rain to thaw the ground, rain to soak the soil, rain to grow some grass. Sun and timely temperatures to grow some grass. The long dry drought spells covering years have taken a tremendous toll on the grass stands here. All the fluff of rotating your cattle, don’t graze it past 4″ tall/short, don’t be on the land when conditions are extreme. You know, all that great advice and recommendations go out the window when the drought comes, stays and doesn’t leave. This little piece of range land got a timely rain in April 2013 and was enough to grow some grass for grazing and haying. The year before in 2012, I had to race like the dickens in May to mow off the “hay fields” before the scorching temperatures and the dry conditions took the sparse grass and rolled it into brown sprigs. Barely a normal 1/3 of a hay crop. 2013′s hay crop was better but the quality was down. The degree of weeds on the hay ground and the pastures was unbelievable. From weedless in 2011, to some weeds in 2012 to a full-blown weed festival in 2013. Kept telling myself to just mow and graze it Tammy. All that work with using Grazon, Forefront, Remedy, Grazon Next, Remedy Ultra, PastureGuard, and Chaparrel may seem down the toilet and that your are starting over, but stay the course, wipe those tears from all those toils, and just take care of what you have. Even if it is curly dock, daisies, wild carrots, thistles. My lushious weed crop came about because I had my back up against the wall and was buying hay from everywhere that hay could be found. Most of the high quality hay was “put up right”, “from sprayed areas”, “all good grass”. And, high $$. Well, I knew better, knew it was crap, but I was not ready to cull the wheels off of 17 years of genetic progress. So I bought that crap, fed that crap, knew I’d have weed species I’ve never seen before and knew that “Dear Dow” could take care of that crap’s offspring in due time. If you have “xx $$” to spend on growing grass and if you have a choice between commercial fertilizers and commercial chemical “weed getter ridders”…your great bang for the “xx$$” is the spraying of the fields. Yet, experience will give you this – wisdom. Wisdom gives you the lived hands-on experience of the spray’s effectiveness – timing of the application, weather conditions in the weeks after spraying, the applicator’s expertise (or lack thereof), and availability/dependability of a spray rig service. The weather conditions in 2013 made spraying less attractive simply because the forecasting of rain to grow grass was minimal. The forecasted temperature for the growing season and the summer was “HOT”. I did not spray the entire place in 2013. I opted in April to go the commercial fertilizer route. I am glad for the choice I made but it sure was teeth grinding painful to see all those damn weeds. I did some personal spraying in August to test “fall application of Grazon Next” on some ground that I had mowed down to regenerate the daisies. The idea was to see if I gave those daisies new growth could I kill the dudes with Grazon Next and then get some fall grass seeds to sprout if I got some fall sprinkles. Interesting results. A few sprinkles came, the days got shorter, the nights got longer, the Grazon Next was applied to those “fresh daisies” and they slowly curled up and turned brown. And little sprigs of grass appeared. We shall see what is there come March when it warms up. Oh…it is March. Frost in the ground here is interesting. Though it has been polar vortexing for months, the degree of frost and the depth of frost is interesting in that it takes “moisture” to make frost and it takes “moisture” to drive the frost deep into the ground. Our lack of moisture has put a whole new spin on frost and frost ratings. Anyway, back to growing grass. I will be once again giving my preference to being a good steward of the land and my 1st priority will be spraying. What will the forecast bring for timely temperatures, rains, and sunshine to grow grass? If it all works out, I will put a high priority on Grazon Next + Remedy Ultra (or whatever they name it this year). I am happy with the Dow Chemical products and very grateful to the semi-retired Rodger Benson for coming to inspect and visit back many, many years ago. He is a wealth of information, always a phone call away, and am proud to call him “friend”. Thank you Rodger. And folks, take a bit to follow this link and then trot over to “Like” Dow’s FB page. They have some interesting reads. ~Hopin’ 4 Rain 4 Grass 4 Cows
Written Sunday, March 2, 2014, 4:44 PM.
10″ snow? Nope. Frizzled for several hours. But the N cold front must have won the weather war overnight and pushed the Gulf moisture around and made it stay S. But she’s a cold ‘un…that N wind and N Arctic air pushed the temps down to single digits earlier than anticipated. About 7F while out feeding and foto’in. A frisky NNE wind and the WC was in the upper below zero teens to a -20F at times.. Cold enough to freeze the inhaled air to your nose whiskers! Cold enough to toughen the red rouge on the cheeks. Feelin’ a tinge chapped. You can really tell how the cattle bunched and held up during the night. Once they bunched and huddled they barely moved. You can tell by their faces and sides as to which part of their body was to the frizzle and wind and which parts of their bodies were down wind of the frizzle. Pretty tough gals. Nothing was showing stress other than the 1st calf heifers. Their water source was a spring under a cedar and it was frozen solid. Had to jockey the new bull to a different place for a few days so that the 1st calf heifers can come on home for H2O. I’d say they are past thirsty and will possibly venture into the wind to come home for H2O before nightfall. IDK…it’s pretty darn cold, they have 3/4 mile to travel home and back to the cedar patch where they are fed and will hold up for the night. Been a rough, cold winter for the 1st calf heifers and they are in pretty decent shape. Probably not milking much anymore but the calves look okay and not too far behind the other calves. Kudos to the sisters for hangin’ in there. Going to be really interesting to see how they calve this fall. They are either AI bred or “not cycling”…lol. Will be excited if they are all AI bred to War Party. ~Cold But Good Day
Written Sunday March 2, 2014, 8:21 AM.
“Being President is like being the superintendent of a cemetery. There’s a whole lot of people under you, but no one is listening.” –Bill Clinton.
~Moral? We need to take the reins up and begin firing them all, some of them, a couple of them, well, maybe the majority of them? Start over? Take the U.S. Tax Code and burn it. The laws of the 1920′s-1930′s, et al, are a moot point. When you learn to live through years of drought and your life depends on grass and grass depends on water and you get “neither”…then you are forced to change. You don’t sit around crying about where is my gov’t to save me, send me $$ (well, some do/did this)…no, you change. You grab your data, you look at your stock, you keep those data numbers and eartag numbers on your pickup dash and you make note of what do the numbers say, what do that cow do, who will stay, who will go. You last as long as you can and you begin to peel away at all the progress made, and you suck it up and do the hard stuff. Apparently, the ability for the majority of the people/politicians is to just scream for more, more, more. Bill Clinton was a lot of things, everybody has their own opinion of him, but this quote is “dead on”. The way I see it is that the majority of the people are being marginalized. There is a clear separation that continues between classes. If I were 22, I would not see all this. But when I was 22, the folks older than me saw it. I was too busy hitting the road to make things happen. Now, at 55, I understand. I just hope there are enough people age 22 to ignore all the downsides and are out there busily making things happen. A good example is Nebraska’s Chuck Schroeder and his new role at the University of Nebraska with the rural initiatives. If we could replicate that work 50x’s over…now that would be exciting. And maybe we are. Maybe I am just missing it because I am fixated on genetics of cattle and feeding the world from the little piece of Americana that I live on. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I am just missing it…that when I listen to the news or pick up a paper that I am narrowly hearing and reading the poor stuff and missing the good stuff. I am going to keep on trying to live positive and keep the pencil to the pad and push for excellence in all that I do. Might be or remain hard to do, but by gosh…I am still 22 at heart. Alleluia! I still want to competitively challenge the sisters to raise good calves and stay above breakeven…regardless of the challenges that God and Mother Nature team up to give us. Going to feed iced up cows now. Then, feed ‘n clean up those barkin’ cowdogs and pups. The winter has kept me from getting my pups started early for my cowdog production sale but they love to go to stock and make their presence known. You gotta luv and admire the strength and ability of your cowdog genetic program when they want to work “and” want to listen. Last night it was frizzlin’. Today so far? Escaping the worst, I think! Time to feed Levi, clean him up and get outside to take on another day. Church was cancelled but I’ll still be piddlin’ around in the presence of The Lord. ~Amen. Rock On.
Photos from Saturday night when the frizzle was beginning.
It is Wednesday AM, the day after Levi’s surgery to remove the dead palate bone (see Sunday’s pictures in a post below this post) and here is the look into his mouth. I just fed him again at 10 AM, let him outside to go blow his nose, do his personal business, back in and I flushed out his nose and nasal passages with a chlorhex solution. His spirits are good, the pain is being managed with Tramadol. He is doing really good. You can find dozens of photos of Levi’s journey to healing by scrolling back through the posts. From shattered to wired, casted, to mending ’til now. Three weeks from now we go back to attempt a new palate hole closure procedure. Levi has been going to the University of Missouri Vet Teaching Hospital in Columbia, MO. A big thank you to Dr. Meadows, his staff and students and now Dr. Mann and Levi’s newest student “Charlie”. ~Go Levi
Written Sunday,February 23, 2014, 8:38 PM…
Well, 6 AM Monday morning and Cowdog Levi gets the, “Load up”. We are taking his mom Ms. Hawk with us. Destination = Univ. of MO Vet Hospital and a visit with the surgeon team headed up by the soft palate specialist. A few weeks ago the dental doc team removed 3 upper right teeth to pull the skin/flap over Levi’s palate hole. The stitching did not hold and the tension on the hard palate bone was so great that it caused some additional bone death. The little tiny round holes you see in these photos are from the suturing that held the longest. The hard palate bone ended up dying (so to speak) and will have to be cut back some to the point of where the bone is still living and viable. But, given the fact that his palate, nasal cavities, main artery, and bridge of his nose/face was completely destroyed and nothing but itty bitty splinter pieces…I’d say he has done well and is one very lucky dog. I am taking MommyDog Hawk along in the event that she might be a donor candidate for soft tissue grafting for Levi’s upper soft palate. We have a few options and no clue at this point what our next step is. But Levi and I have enjoyed several days of no new surgery. We shall see what tomorrow holds. His spirits are good and he’s been a very patient patient. It sounds like another long day. ~Finger’s x’d all goes well.
~~Update – Monday Evening…
Little message in my box just now…Jeremiah 29:11-13 – For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. ~Had to leave Levi behind. I sure hope these words came today as an intentional guide for Levi and me. He was happy to head out and “very unhappy when I left him”. Hard 4 both of us. Our next few -> several months are going to be tedious & difficult…it appears.
~~Cowdog Levi…Back Home!~~
Updated Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 8:43 PM
Went late this afternoon and picked up Levi. He was ready to get out of the Teaching Hospital. All in all I was ecstatic with the news from the doc. Levi is being prep’d for the next round of surgery. He had to have 3 teeth taken out of the upper left jaw. Removing these teeth will allow for a flap of tissue/skin (if you will) to be used to pull to the right to help cover the hole in his palate. 3 teeth on the upper right were taken out a few weeks ago and an attempt was made to use that flap to cover the palate hole. It is a long stretch and the tension was too great and the palate bone that was sewn to did not hold. The reason the hard palate bone did not hold was that it was a piece and completely dead and detached from living bone. And, as it turns out that was wonderful news. The dead bone was dead for some time and the tissue around and close to it has healed in great shape. So the soft tissue doc simply pulled and removed the dead bone. The x-rays show about 1/2 or a little more of the palate pieces have healed back to form bone and just the front part (in yesterday’s photos) was dead. Taking the dead bone pieces out was a little painful, but great news that all the healing occurring so far in the nasal cavity/cavities is good. Perfect! So, Levi is in pain with the 3 extractions and the little bit of surgery on the palate. But, all in all, I am happy…very happy. As it turns out, his home care has contributed a great deal to his healing so fast. The area has been kept clean enough to allow healing and to not have hardly any down time for infection or negative things occurring. Lord knows that is truly a miracle…given that Levi’s face was destroyed, crushed and nearly ripped off. I was really bummed and sad driving home yesterday…leaving him there, the less than hopeful initial discussions. Today, whole new ball game. 3 weeks of healing from removing the 3 teeth today. Then back to take a crack at taking the right and left skin/flaps to close the hole in the palate. Eating tonight was a bad experience so we had to go back to “milk, Ensure and crushed Tramadol”. The food smoothie from the blender did not work. It hurt once the puree got into the nasal cavity. So, we put it in a bowl to save for later. Milk+Ensure+Tramadol is what’s for dinner and breakfast and lunch! Sleeping like a baby now. Levi’s soft tissue doc is consulting with a pediatric soft tissue/dental doc at the Medical School. Pretty neat to have vets and people docs consulting with each other on Levi. Palates are palates. ~Way to Go Levi!