Archive for October, 2012

Do you want to have a fun place to eat this Sunday?  Yes!  I thought so!

Come to Russellville, Missouri ‘n right along the highway is the Lutheran church.  We are having our annual (40th yr.) turkey and ham smorgasbord.  There’s a word you don’t hear anymore…”smorgasbord”.

We have a few hundred pounds of potatoes to peel, cook and mash.  Dressing to make, turkeys to massage, wash and bake!  5 days of work so that we can feed several hundred people!
Call me if you want to be on the crew to do the potatoes, bake the dressing, and slowly warm up the turkey.

We have a lot of fun so if you are into laughing and having fun…come on over!

!!…lol (smilin’)

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I am at the end of my fall calving.  Any cows that were at places without facilities I simply gathered them up and brought them home to a lot.  I had one here, one there and it just was easier and more efficient with my time to bring them home.  Plus, from a lifetime of experiences in the calving department I also know that the most issues I have are at the beginning of the season and at the end of the season.  So, call me, “The Paranoid Calver”…yep, that’s me!  The kinks, quirks, oops, bobbles, dang its will pop up the 2 weeks before “the start” and the last couple weeks of “the end”.

Saturday I was trying to get some more dirt work done and 3437 began “the pacing”.  I had 2 autogates open so that I could traverse from the wean lot to a pasture where I was using wean lot dirt/compost/road rock to fill in a hilly fenceline that was washing out from cattle foot traffic.  So of course, 3437 kept snooping around the autogate going to “the pasture”.  You could just read her mind, “I’m outta here!”  I had Ms. Hawk and Ms. Ducchess in the tractor with me for those “just in case” moments.  And a couple of times, I invoked the autogate guardians who were snoozing at my feet on the floor of the tractor.  So handy!  “Psst, psst… girls ‘look’, watch, watch the gate.”  The girls perk to attention, looking at the door and ready to head down the tractor steps to go to the gate and watch it while I do my thing and they patiently keep an eye on 3437.  The cow and the cowdogs just look at each other and then the cow turns and “paces” into a different direction.  This went on for a couple of hours.

Then, as 3437 began the next phase of parturition I thought, “Here is my chance to try to capture the birthing process so that I could share the experience with my less than rural friends.”  Of course, 3437 was already at the water phase!  But, I hurried off to the house to get my camera.  By the time I got back, 3437’s water had broken so I missed getting that photo. But, for the next hour from 1-2 PM, I stood near the tractor or moved to another spot to take pictures of the unfolding event…the gift of life coming to its next phase of its being.

Enjoy the pictures!  I enjoyed taking them.  It never gets old or tiring to see a new life arriving.  Especially when it happens without a hitch!

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Sometimes things just seem to pile on to the point of disbelief and suffocation.  I have some friends from Arapahoe, NE that just need a few extra “prayer mentions”…even if from folks they do not know.  2 brothers and their parents and all their family.

The parents…dealing with cancers and extended health issues.  1 brother…Stage 3 colo-rectal cancer and in TX for next phase of diagnosis, options, treatment(s).  Other brother…both knees operated on and replaced…and trying to support ‘n care for his parents and brother.

If you would, just mention to God that the Anderson families appreciate God’s care.

Still droughted out here, but Wed. Oct. 17th…late afternoon we got a teeny shower of rain and then this gem.
Peace to the Anderson Family…just believe in God.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012 –

Suppose to sing, “The Lord’s My Shepherd” in church today but had to call to let them know I’ll not be there.

I had left early this morning to do a few sketchy chores.  And had this nagging feeling to go check the cows up N.  No, things are okay…no, go.  So I went N.  Took Ducchess & Hawk…for some nagging reason.

Counting, counting.  Hum, short the red cow.  Looking, looking.  There she is…tail cocked up.  Get closer…calf’s hind feet are out.  O Lord.  Looks long gone.  Well.  Guess we’ll gather a group of pairs and take her to the lot.  I would be LOST without my cowdogs.  Handling some pairs, gather them to a group, put the dystocia cow with them and off we go.  I am so blessed to have some teams of cowdogs that are savvy enough to turn snarly cows, not injure calves and then respectfully take the cows and calves to the lots.

What a relief to have such great help.  Go to work, not cause trouble, think about what they are doing, do their job without tweets, listen, pressure when needed, back off when needed, thinking on their own.  My job?  Get the gates, drive the pickup, feed them good food, clean their pens each day.

What a life we live together!

I was one shocked gal when I turned the calf’s hips sideways, it came out, hit the ground and took a gasp for air!  I was totally convinced this was “an overbaked” situation and just get the calf out, tend to the cow, sob a little, kick myself…but, that gasp, a blink of its eye…I was on Cloud 9.  It is doing really good.  She cleaned it up, it was pretty dry in 2 hrs. and I helped it up to see if it had any hing leg issues, striped some milk for it, fed it a tad and left them be.  Fingers x’d I can take it back to the pasture later today! TTL…my shepherd.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012 –

Here’s how to end a day!

I was hoping she’d get done in the daylight so that I could get some pictures for my cousins and their little ones.  But, “no cigar”!

So, the next best thing was to do a sequence of photos as we passed the time.  It is really pretty out tonight.

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Love is in the air…doo, doo, dee, doo, doo…

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Saturday, October 21, 2012 –
So, this is my version of “Stop and Smell the Roses”…love the cattle business and pretty Fall days!

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Many moons ago, I used to love my jaunts across the Dakotas.  Open country.  Rugged cattle.  Stout horses.  Amazing warm season grasses to raise their stock on.  Large beautiful skies…day ‘n night.  Little towns with great places to eat and visit with the locals.  Cattle, cattle, cattle, horses, horses, horses, grazing, grazing, grazing…great topics to talk about.
The life ‘n times of parts of ND have really changed in the past few years.  I have a friend traveling that country off/on now.  I’ve told him about this place, that place, the steaks, the old dependable places to eat!
Guess what?  It is like a time machine has hit parts of ND.  10’s of thousands of people working the oil/gas industry.  You cannot find a room to stay.  You wait in line for an hour to eat a great steak at a great place.  It takes “a long time” to get from one end of a town to the other.  Cattle are leaving the country in droves.  Ground pays more with row crops than livestock.  The average age of the ranchers (it’s like this all across the USA) is “up there” and they are tired, worn, don’t want to afford the cost of raising cattle, don’t want to be out in the cold calving/feeding…etc.
The kids are working “more lucrative jobs”.  It’s just change, isn’t it?  We see this everywhere.  The larger sized ranches ‘n farms become smaller in size.  The original faces we used to see when we went to town are now lost in a sea of unfamiliar faces.  We used to know everyone…now we know no one.
I feel for you ND.  I really do.  I’ve seen the same things occur in my lifetime in Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, heck even parts of Missouri.  Progress?  Change?  Good?  Bad?  East consumes west.  West consumes east.  Heck, the term “Midwest” used to mean the central states of the USA.  Now, it means anything W of the Appalachians or anything from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border and clear over to western Colorado!
One day I had to chuckle when a news feed was doing a story about Northern Michigan and they referred to it as “in the Midwest”.  I thought, “Oh my, since when?”  It’s just change, right? Well, one day last week, I had sent a friend to look at some cows.  He could not find a room, rooms were $130 on up, I gave him 3 places to look up for some great food and it ended up the waiting line was 45-60 minutes, he went somewhere else and the steak was “um, okay I guess” and $35, and it took forever to get anywhere if you had to drive through a town.  Businesses are busing in people from other towns.  Wages…well good for the ones earning, difficult for the employer.
And one really interesting tidbit…one town has a Wendy’s that is the highest grossing sales store in the entire North American continent.
Here is my hope.  I hope the fracking and oil industry does not leave the water table damaged.  I hope the tremendous northern genetics cattle do not totally disappear.  I hope those big, stout, dependable ranch horses don’t disappear.  I hope the North Dakotan way of life does not disappear…along with their beautiful ranches.  But.  We are seeing “change” and it appears to be a tidal wave pace.
P.S. – The issue of fracking is a global concern inititative by many groups and nations. The concern is the long-term impact upon the water reserves underground.  I wonder?

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Well…it’s a good thing Murphy’s Law paid me a visit yesterday!  Had all the events of yesterday been delayed ’til today, I’d be one sad little Indian.  So, thank you Murphy’s Law for coming yesterday.  It made the shower of today a blessing and not a curse!

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I love it when Murphy’s Law pays me a visit…reminds me that I am not bullet proof or Wonder Woman but that I am capable of thinking through stuff to get stuff done.

I enjoyed the debate last night to the point that I departed early…seriously, we are in a world of hurt.

I went to check my heavy heifers and found a new little bundle of joy nursing. The heifer was giving her placenta the flip-flop, gulp treatment.  Perfect.

I went to the Windmill pasture to the trap to check on the cow that I locked up at 5. She was still not done…hum, I was glad I have locked her in for the night.  I watched a bit and she was still pacing, chewing her cud, some straining.  Had the signs of “not good”.  She wasn’t dilated, not a care in the world really.  But, it was not a situation to leave until more “head facts” were gathered.  So, I got out the spot light.  Plugged it in.  Nothing.  Hum, wiggle, wiggle, ah light, oops no light, ah light, oops no light.  Then, a faint bizt…?, fuse.  No flashlight, ah…the cell phone.  Put in a fuse.  Phone charger worked so it had to be a short in the spotlight.  Put it back on the floor…forget this.  Turned off the pickup so I could listen to the cow’s sounds to get a clue of what stage she really was at.  An hr. goes by and she begins to do the “pre-moo”.  Good, at least she’s not over baked.  Another hr.  She’s lying, stretching her pelvis, moo’in.  I am watching paint dry.  BUT, I am so durn glad I took the time to lock her in for the night.  Wisdom can be a great asset! It’s now 2:30 AM.  Decision time…feet are big, she is not going to get this done on her own.  Time to go home and get the trailer.  Go to back up…no cargo light!  OK, fine. Isn’t it amazing that in the pitch black of night, no cargo light that I get within an inch of spot-on!  Hooked up, plug in the wiring.  What?  No inside cargo lights in the trailer?  OK, fine.  Go to the house and get a flashlight…which should have been in the pickup in the 1st place.  Off we go.  Back up to the corral gate…bingo, 1st try…perfect.  Mosey the cow to the trailer. Um, of course she does not want to load.  I whistle for Hawk.  Hawk is behind the cow, I am at the trailer gate.  Wait, wait a few minutes…she loads.  Phewee…this is too easy!  Off we go for home…oops, call the vet and get him out of bed and by the time I get home, he won’t be too far behind.  The vet is totally dead to the world in a deep sleep.  I hang up…I wonder, “Did he finally click and wake up?!”  Get home to the corrals.  Hop out to turn on the lights at the chute.  Back up to gate to unload cow.  Set all my gates so that she can just stroll on up the alley to the chute.  Cow heading to chute…this is going to good!  P o w …2 halogen lights go out…1 to the chute alley, 1 pointing to the rear of the chute back gate.  What??  Of all the lights, I really need those 2!  OK, fine.  Put cow in the chute.  Pull pickup around to the lot and shine the lights to the chute.  Hum, not enough light. OK, fine.  Trot to the machine shed to get the 7320…you want light? Here, use this!  Here comes the vet.  I let him know that the lights blew out!  We laugh.  I set the gates.  I apologize for calling him out of bed but I didn’t want to tackle the deal by myself because of my stitched up index finger.  Not to worry…all goes well, the calf pulls pretty easy.  He’s not missed 1 gestational meal.  His mother is one heck of a cow and has done a great job here…she is 10 now and never  had an ounce of trouble.  But, stuff happens…chalk it up to the drought and being fed hay and blocks since June.  The calf is not that big in frame just obese.  But, I had waited just the right amount of time to let her dilated and not have him stressed and swollen.  But being obese, he is slow to breathe. And, she had been trying really hard to have him so he obviously had some headache issues.  I drug her up and turn her out.  She acknowledges the calf but strolls on by.  OK, fine…it’s not 10F and windy, it’s 55F and windy.  Big difference!  I leave her alone, put the tractor away, take the pickup and trailer to the house, and get the 4-wheeler.  Go back to the corral to tidy up and make sure the calf is improving.  The calf is not improving, the cow is strolling, straining.  I tidy up. She’s still strolling, straining, mooing.  I fiddle with the breaker box to see if I can easily troubleshoot the “no lights” deal.  Nope, it must be bulbs.  OK, fine…I’ll deal with that later.  Its 3:45 AM…I am going home.  6 AM I am up and leaving.  It is to rain today.  Yeah! (OMG…durn drought, I need rain but maybe later!)  Calf is still not doing well.  Cow is still strolling.  OK, fine.  I milk her out. She’s got the thickest, prettiest milk.  Of course, he’s not really interested in eating but I feed him anyway.  It is beginning to drizzle…WAIT?…could you please WAIT!  Durn drought, fine…rain!  I go feed hay and everywhere else is in good order…TYL!  Back home, put the calf in the loader bucket, transport him to the barn, set the gates, and take his mom to the barn. OM…what a day.  Guess since I have now had a bit ‘o breakfast and it’s coming on to 2 PM CST…guess I will venture to do the rest of my 7 AM chores.

Thanks Murphy’s Law…what a pal!

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