Sunday, January 23, 2011

October 2010-Year in Pics

I count 350, how many did you get??

Oh what a wonnnnnderful world!

Neighborhood gossip
Ark, anyone?

moving weanlings

hitching a ride


Friday, January 21, 2011

Brains and Brawn

Tuesday I went to clean stalls. Bruno accompanied me. He has decided lately, that he should be spending more time in the house watching over me, than out back, so Cletus stays outside, which is his choice. It makes it convenient, as it is impossible to train the pups when they are together. I just wasn’t prepared for how intelligent these dogs really are.

Bruno’s habit, when we go out front, is to walk off out of sight, while I beg him to come back. Not anymore. Two trips to the barn on a leash, now he heels so close he pushes me off course, OFF leash! He met the goatlings and suddenly, he is a total Livestock Guardian Dog. It has been difficult to get him out of the stall, as he plants himself between goats and gate, a formidable opponent for any predator.

Prissy, as usual is being a TOTAL drama queen. She will NOT let the babies nurse and it has been necessary for me to milk and strip her twice a day. This takes both Randyman AND myself, with her head locked in the stanchion. I have never seen anything kick quite like she does. We brought “Sonny”, the buckling home and put him in a playpen, to spend the day trying to get him drinking from a bottle. Bruno followed me home with him and spent some time in the house with us again. Sonny figured out bottle feeding pretty nicely, then also figured out how to jump on and off the furniture. Cider desperately wanted to give Sonny a ‘lickin’ but Bruno snarled at him, and made him step aside and keep his distance. Up until that moment, Bruno had ALWAYS been submissive to Cider. The two little does remained with Prissy, I was hoping they would be able to nurse. Bruno returned to the barn and spent the night with them.

This morning at 5 a.m. (which was MUCH too early for me, as we were at a ‘Company Party’ last nite, which the boss put on for crew, on his own birthday) Scarlett had twin does. She did a good job, and handled things all on her own. Bruno and I only assisted in drying them off. Again, Bruno planted himself in the straw, wanting to stay with the new little family. I convinced him he could just lay in the aisleway, and I returned to the house, to feed the first 3.

Cletus, well, Cletus still acts like a big puppy, which he is. When he sees Bruno, Cider and myself walk by, he begins howling, and doesn’t stop until I return. He doesn’t mind being alone as long as he thinks I am in the house, but he doesn’t want to be left behind either. Nevertheless, it is HIS job to guard the remaining sheep and calves. He’s just not mature enough and ready to guard young stock.

The wind totally flipped the sheep’s shelter over so I went out to disassemble it, hoping we can get it back together. The ram was making me nervous, following me much too closely and enthusiastically everywhere I went. I managed to get them into the next corral, hoping they would be happy munching on some weeds in there. Cletus went with me, and he just kept going til he got to the barn. That was the last I saw of him. When I stepped back into the first corral to work on the shelter, the sheep came thundering at such high speed I couldn’t shut the gate. I managed to lock them in the chicken pen, where Wooly proceeded to get abusive to Pet-ewe-nya. As she took a couple of blows and tried desperately to avoid him, I noticed the size and shape of her in comparison to him. It looks to me like “Tooney” is pregnant! I am hoping for an early March baby. Looks like Bruno is gonna have his hands full this summer!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

September 2010-Year in Pics

Looking toward Little Alvord Pasture

Headquarters from Elk Field

A different pair! Pronghorns

Riding along thru the pastures, I ran across all kinds of wild life. However, with my camera hanging on the saddle horn, it was difficult to get it unwound and turned on, and focused in time to catch any of it on 'film'. Several rooster pheasants had flushed out in front of us, but disappeared quickly. I was so excited to sneak up on this one and catch this shot! ....I crept closer...only to find out it is part of a log. I cannot tell a lie. Darn!

A mere shadow of myself.

Falling tree...

The Light in the Darkness

Nothing like a good romp in a mud puddle!
Bruno & Ewe-ness
Curing soaps
The cavvy coming in for saddling

Guarding at 6 months

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

August 2010-Year in Pics

August 2010 was fabulous. Lots of flowers, fresh veggies, critters and more very special company!

The pups found a new charge...

Abby feeds chickens...
Elmo feeds calves.

Think she knows she's cute?


Blue Skies

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kids Will Be Kids


January 10, 2011

Prissy the goat is due to kid for the first time, in a few days. Scarlett is due 2 days later and looks like she will have multiples. But then, they can fool ya. Priss could go into action anytime now, and she is fat and unhappy. Her gut sticks out on both sides like she swallowed a dinner table sideways, and her bag is pretty darn full. It takes her awhile to lay down and she is rarely comfortable when she does. She takes this out on the stall floor, pawing and grumbling. Typical of late pregnancy, in a female of ANY species.

We have the closed-circuit camera up in the barn, so I can watch her from the house, in case she runs into problems. Just being a first time mother could be a challenge, as it has been way below freezing here, and if she doesn’t figure out what is going on, the babies could be at risk, so I will trudge on up there, over the ice, with my little goat midwife kit and help out where I can, if needed.

Meantime, life on the ranch goes on. Its been an exceptionally cold January here, and with 6 to 8 inches of ice everywhere, the cattle can’t get to any feed, so the guys have been extra busy hauling hay and feed to nearly 9,000 head, daily. I got roped into driving the big  tractor a couple of times, but I try to avoid that at any cost, as I have ‘tractor-phobia’. I wasn’t aware of this until recently. Funny how you always learn things about yourself you never wanted to know.

January 13, 2011

Dolly is back in her ‘prom dress’ as it is hard for her to gain weight in the extreme cold. The pups, sheep and calves don’t seem any the worse for wear, even though temps have occasionally dipped below 0. The chickens have been spending their days inside, as a small hawk has decided to park himself on top of their run everyday. I need to put the dogs on him, as it is rude and unacceptable behavior. Sometimes neighbors can be so annoying.

The little building across the way is being revamped as a house for our nephew, who is one of the cowboys here. A pipe broke and we found over 2” of standing water in every room. I spent 8 hours with a shop vac, sucking water up, in an effort to save the hardwood floors and the kitchen cabinets, which had not yet been installed. I had reasonable success. His birthday is today, so I got a cake made (Boston Crème Pie, actually) and am making Mexican cuisine for the rest of the ranch, to celebrate.

January 14, 2011

Things are finally thawing today, so a small river is once again flowing thru our back yard and down the road, making trips to feed and water challenging, but not nearly so much as the ice had been. Instead of slipping and falling, now I merely have the boots sucked off of my feet in mid stride. Always a pleasure, when you have been up half of the night watching a very unhappy, pregnant goat on camera, just in case she needs help. Poor thing.

January 15, 2011
I am exhausted from having no sleep. The boss’ wife had an iron to give me, as mine, being 30 years old, gave out. I would go get it, but they are out of town for the kids wrestling tournament, and I hate going in their house when they are not home. I am not feeding puppies for them, so I will just wait.

It has taken a lot out of me to get all the animals fed in this heavy mud. Had to go out 4 times to straighten Dolly’s prom dress. Constantly running in to check on the goat, as she has been up, down, rubbing, pawing, and generally miserable. Gonna be a long night. I just want to lay down.

6:00 P.M.
I manage to get the animals fed. I had to drag a 500 lb leppie calf, out of the hay, as she got thru the fence again. She doesn’t lead worth beans, and it has done nothing for my disposition. I manage to get dinner on the table and flop out on the couch.

9:30 P.M.
OH MY GAWD! The boss’ wife just called to ask how the dogs were! I thought they took them with, but now that I think of it…why would they? I run up to the house to let out the 2 Jack Russells who have now been locked up for 15 hours and apparenlty only possess bladders and colons good for 2 hours. The 4 puppies don’t seem terribly hungry, so their mother must have a little milk still. I feed them anyway and find a note from the boss’ wife that she is changing their formula and going to feed them 3x a day, not 2. It rings a bell. I vaguely remember having this conversation with her. What the heck? Am I having a stroke, or has my brain just totally checked out? I search the house for spots that need to be cleaned up, and I spend the night sickened with guilt over the dogs, hoping the boss’ wife can forgive me. Prissy the stupid goat is playing her games again, and pretending to be in labor. I waste most of the night observing her.

January, 16, 2011

Much of the same today. There is a roaring river going past our house and the entire back yard is underwater. I have to wade out to feed the animals. I drive up to the boss’ to feed puppies, and the 4 WD slides around in the mud. I stop by the barn to check the goats. Prissy is sleeping peacefully, and Scarlett, has done nothing to show that she is due to have babies in only 3 days. Priss is due tomorrow. Her ligaments are soft, she’s changed shape, her bag is huge…it could be anytime. It irritates me to see her sleeping.

I spend 2 hours with Priss, as she was grinding her teeth, panting, and generally acting like she was dying. I have my ‘midwifing” kit ready and in the barn. I am totally wiped out, but will stay here, in case she needs me. As quickly as she began, she stops, and goes to sleep. She is a total drama queen. Afif, our friend the chef, is visiting the ranch for a month and asked what we would like him to make. I am seriously thinking goat.

January 17, 2011

The drama queen is at it again. The calf is back in the hay again, as well. The rain stopped, but the wind is horrendous. They say all roads leading to the ranch are closed as they all washed out last nite. Randy proceeds to get stuck 7 miles away, feeding cattle.

I grumble at Priss all day. She has REALLY sunken ligaments now, and can’t possibly hold out much longer…I think. I clean her stall once again, and re-bed it with more straw. She relaxes and takes a nap, while I go home to do laundry. Afif comes to make dinner with me at 6 pm, and I check the monitor. She is in LABOR!!!

I arrive at the barn to find her screaming. She is frightened and clearly in pain. I come in to help her to find she is delivering the kid tail first. I do what I am able to assist her without causing injury and actually feel bad for her. It has to be the MOST uncomfortable way to do this. Once delivered, I clean off his face and swing him a little bit to clear the fluids from his nose and lungs. I set him in front of her to dry and she is instantly in love. 

It is always the most miraculous thing, to see an animal give birth for the first time…a few minutes later, she cries again and ANOTHER baby arrives. Randyman helps me dry this one off, and I realize I forgot to bring her warm water for molasses/water to up her calcium and give her a little boost. No sooner does he head back to the house, then she she gives another little cry. Number THREE slides into the world like a batter to home plate. All 3 babies are strong, and in good shape. They are on their feet within minutes, vocal, active and hungry. She is NOT happy about them trying to nurse or indeed about anyone touching her THERE. As Randyman holds her I milk out some colostrum in a bottle to insure the babies all get some before the hour is up. They clinch their jaws together like  pitbulls. This is not what they are wanting. Deciding that 3 of them, to 1 of her, is likely odds in their favor, we leave them to do battle. Within the hour, all 3 babies are happily nursing, and Prissy has conceded to stand quietly for them.

Not yet sure, as it was kinda dark, and I was kinda tired, I think there are 2 does and a buck. Welcome to the ranch, Stormy, Windy, and Sonny!

July 2010-Year in Pics

Riding the summer pasture at Stonehouse Meadows

Early morning gather

"Does this feeder make my  butt look big?"

"The ditch by the tomatoes needs to be a little deeper...."

Bonnie & Clyde....attack of the baby ducks

If I could see me through your eyes...
4 months old
Ready to vaccinate
The "Stonehouse" of Stonehouse meadows
Top of the mountain in late July
Inside the cabin at Stonehouse
Taking a break-Stonehouse
Its starting to grow!

The beauty of creation. Even a nasty old thistle looks good to someone.