Posts tagged ‘calves’

Springing Heavy , Making, and Bumping Hard

Aww, spring when a young man’s fancy turns to love….and a cattlemen’s turns to judging teats and the back ends of cows!

Springing heavy – picture a very pregnant lady and you get the idea, heavy with life and anticipation.

Bumping Hard – cows vulvas loosen and swell to allow for easier birth and “bump” against the tail. When you see this you know it’s within the month, if not sooner.

Making a bag – udder is filling with milk. stage 1 – just the teats, stage 2 – teats and small amount in udder, stage 3 – teats and udder full, stage 4- teats and udder tight and full – real sooon!

We don’t have the facilities to bring every body up close to our house in a yard. They are out on the range and on their own. We have only had the joy of seeing calves born about 3 times and only once out in the pasture. Of course, if we come across a cow having trouble we’d help, but even checking our cows every other day to daily when they’re all calving, we just don’t see them all.

This little brockle faced heifer is our first of this year. cows



This is the way we ship our cows, ship our cows…

(Title sung to tune of Here we go round the mulberry bush.)

This weekend we spent two days of 10 hours a day working our cattle. We shipped our calves to market. Translation: 500 miles, 6 round trips to Willcox, 4 lunches from drive thrus, and hours for the guys in the saddle and me in the Polaris crew calling and trailing our cows. They are trained to come when we call them so it’s easier than it sounds though not so “western” as the movies. The neighbor generously let us use his corrals as we are gathering and shipping from our forest service lease. Unfortunately, one group of calves got in a tussle Saturday night and let themselves out into his fenced yard (old corrals – the post was rotted). Extra hour spent fixing it. So much for making it to church! The calves did well at the sale. Next….new babies any time.

We are privileged to grow food for your table and ours. Daniel took the photo of the burger, he knows where his food comes from lol!


Smoke Signals

This past week we organized a yard sale for my daughter as a fundraiser for a summer ministry trip. After a successful sale, we visited the local convenience store. One of our neighboring ranchers leaned in the truck window and said, hey, that smoke’s on us. What smoke? Oh great!

Well after regrouping and dropping leftover stuff in a hurry at the house, we headed up to the hills, forest service land. Yep, smoke rising and some fire crews all ready on scene. Now, I wouldn’t have been too concerned but we still had some cow-calf “pairs” up there. Well, we called and they were standing on the road watching all the commotion. Got them in a neighbors corrals. Headed home, hubby got home from work, hitched up the trailer, and away we went again. Wouldn’t you know it, they refused to load! Too much noise and helicopters flying overhead. Turned them back out since the fire was heading away from and uphill from our location. If we’d needed to we would have trailed them down the road on foot, but we didn’t. Caught them up and they loaded fine two days later.

Actually, I wouldn’t have minded at all if the hills would have burned – no houses in danger, little wind (unlike the day before), and we’ve already been discussing having a prescribed burn with the forest service. But…since we haven’t completed the NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) consultations and have a written burn plan, out it went. 10 acres total so really minor.

Ironically, the NEPA is working against what the land really needs. Burning occurred naturally much more frequently than it does now, about every 5 to 10 years. It reduces weeds, invasive brush, and keeps the ecosystem healthy with an influx of nitrogen into the soil. When we don’t burn, catastrophes happen as the fuel load gets huge. Yellowstone in the 1990s or our own Rodeo-Chedeski fire would be examples.

My first reaction was to go into emergency mode due to our cattle’s safety and our neighbors homes. Most folks do when they see flames or smell smoke. However, next time you see smoke, after you make sure no ones in danger and take a big breath, consider how fire can be a tool to improve our landscape. What is that smoke signal really telling you?

First Fruits – Easter, Resurrection, and Spring Musings

Been thinking lately about spring, Easter, and the Resurrection. The pale green buds on the trees, little chicks, and newborn calves all point to spring and new life. Every year it’s always a joy to see the first calf following mom on wobbly legs. As we look toward Easter Sunday (or Resurrection Sunday if you prefer), they all remind me how the “whole earth is full of His glory”. Even the seasons and new life remind us of His sacrifice and the turning of death into life. This week  is Passover and then First Fruits three days later. Yes, that means Jesus was raised on the day the first fruits offering was given at the temple. He is the first fruits of the promised resurrection. Gotta go plant my garden…literally and figuratively. What are you planting this year?

Mired in the Mud

In response to recent articles from Rolling Stone and MFA, I confess sometimes we are mean to our cows. We have dirt tanks or cattle ponds that go dry in between rains. As they dry up, they get mucky and if the cows get out to far, they can get stuck. Stuck in cold, sticky mud up to their bellies usually means only their head is sticking out. So, around the neck a rope goes with the other end attached to a truck, utv, backhoe bucket, or saddle horn. No, one person alone cannot lift a 800 to 1000 pound animal out by themselves. Then as slowly as possible the cow is literally drug by the neck out of the mud and far enough away that when she gets up she won’t fall back in. She will be gasping and choking and skinned up, but alive instead of dying a slow gruesome death to thirst and hypothermia a few feet from water. If she’s been in there along time before we find her, she may get hoisted with the backhoe and cargo straps onto a trailer and taken to the house. Then we start cow physical therapy hoisting her up and down till she can stand and eat. Unfortunately, by this point, a cow that’s down too often stays down and dies. This year alone we lost 4 calves to the mud pit and one cow. We check our cattle a minimum of once a week and often every day. We fence the waters and close the gates if we know they’re getting mucky. Still, it happens and we do our best, but if you’re unfamiliar and were filming, our best efforts would appear cruel. Please, find out the facts.

While Mom’s Away the Boys will Play??

While I’ve been gone training for Annie’s Project, the boys (dear hubby and youngest) built a new set of pens in our waterlot. This will help us work calves, tag and brand, while they’re younger and it’s a little less stressful on them and us. IMG00322-20130509-1339

Graduation Day – June #2

Graduation Day - June  #2

June graduated to joining the main herd…hence the new brand on her rear and tag in her ear. She grew really well with the extra nutrition the grower and finisher provided. Without it, dogie calves stay little and runty looking since mom isn’t around. She will run with the big girls now. Next up….a calf next summer (we hope).