Thursday, April 26, 2012


Two of my 2010 bottle calves were bred early last year, so I could use them as foster cows for the leppie calves that come in. “Rio”, who was delivered by cesarian from a dead cow, was found walking around with a half born dead calf. No telling how long it had been, it got hung up on the pelvis and she was unable to deliver it. Luckily, the vet was here that day and removed the calf and doctored Rio. She looks a little rough, but hopefully, in a few months, she can be bred again. 
The other cow, Cholula, was the first leppie we found out on the desert during 2010 Cow Camp. Both these calves were raised alongside EmmaLou, often nursing her mother, DollyMoo.
I got them both halter broke and fairly gentle so we could use them for nursecows.
Cholula delivered a dead heifer calf day before yesterday. I was devastated.

Rio is still looking a little poorly, after her birthing trauma. I spoke to the boss about her condition and he asked me to worm her. This is simple enough, I just had to draw 50cc of Pour-On into a dosing syringe and squirt it down her back. This SHOULD have been an uncomplicated procedure, don’t you think? But then, put ME into the equation and it might just turn out a bit differently.
I grabbed the syringeful of wormer, talked to the Maremma’s and jumped on the 4 wheeler because Rio and Emma were at the very BOTTOM of the pasture.
We zipped on down there and by the time I made it, they were just on the other side of the biggest irrigation ditch in that particular pasture. With the syringe securely clenched between my teeth, I zoomed down the bank, across the ditch and...
The snow is melting on the Steens now, sending down massive amounts of cold water from the melting snow. It’s threatening to come over the roads and it's filling up all the creeks and irrigation ditches here. Randyman had just cleaned out all the ditches so I figured it was plenty safe to  drive over...except the water brought down LOTS of silt. I was speeding across and just as I was sure I made it up the other bank, the quad stopped instantly. I groaned, and managed to get myself off without getting wet and muddy. 
We went ahead and took care of Rio, then she and Emma and the dogs headed over with me to extricate the quad.
Emma offered to drive if I would push...but she couldn’t get the hang of starting it.

The pups checked things out under the ‘hood’ and couldn’t find anything wrong.

Em and Rio tried pushing with Bruno giving instruction, to no avail. The back tires were just sucked into the mud. It wasn’t going anywhere.

Fully as discouraged as I was, they left...and left me on the other bank with Cletus.

 walk up THERE.

I followed the ditch down a ways to where it was narrow enough for me to jump across with my little short legs. 

The  Maremmas were kind enough to escort me, although I could hear them snorting and ridiculing me in  doggie language.

It isn't THAT far, but it IS uphill, over SEVERAL ditches and not much fun,when you have RA. I made it to the Octopus tree for a rest.
The trip from there to the corral is a lot more doable.
I checked on a new orphaned calf that I put in with Cholula, or “Lu” to nurse. 

She doesn’t like him much. She thinks he is a little parasite.

He looks to me, more like a caboose, as he chases her around latched onto the refreshment bar. When she is really tired of him, she picks him up on the end of her muzzle and tosses him. She doesn’t run him down to hurt him or anything, so I am not afraid to leave him there. He just has to eventually wear her down until she relents.

Meantime, I supplement him with milk from Emma just to make sure he doesn’t dehydrate. I need him to stay a little hungry and keep workin’ on Lu so she will let down and increase her milk supply.

At the moment, he’s resting up for his next assault.

Meantime, back on the ranch, the water keeps running down from the mountain and the water levels in the ditches keep rising. 

Randyman comes home for lunch and I inform him that "Yeller" is stuck in the ditch. He is worried it will wind up underwater if we leave it long, so we head down that way (on foot again) to get him out. It takes two of us awhile to get it unstuck and out of there, but then, we find ourselves still on the other bank, unable to get it back. I ask how we will get it home and he said "We will just go around."

So, I climb on behind him and we bump and bounce down the fence line to the gate. We follow the lane the horses take up to the ranch and proceed over the first big, wide, water crossing.


We sink all FOUR wheels in the silt.

Randyman always wears heavy duty lace up boots. I usually wear tennis shoe style flip-flops. Therefore, I got to be the one to step off and push. The water was up to my knees. I have no idea why I bothered to roll my pants up. He decides it will be best to back up instead of proceed forward. We are low on fuel and it stalls several times before going into reverse.  Did I mention WHERE  this water run off comes from??? Snow. It's from the snow on the mountain. It's cold. Very, very cold.

We finally get it started, I have ahold of the rack on the front and am pushing hard while Randyman guns it. The quad FINALLY gains traction and shoots out of the water, jerking me out of the mud and taking me with it. Letting go would never occur to me during an incident like this one.  I manage to avoid landing flat on my face in the mud, but Randyman laughs anyway.

I climb back on, and we head through the horse pasture, mind you, the pastures here are hundreds of acres, this is no small jaunt. We go putt-putting along, bouncing and jouncing through dips, bumps, bogs and brush. I hear giggling and squeaking, and am somewhat annoyed to realize its ME, making the noise. We go about a mile across the pasture to a spot where we can finally cross the water, then head a mile BACK to pick up the road on the other side of the crossing we couldn't cross before we tried to cross and I became cross.

Randyman dropped me off to make lunch while he filled up the tank. I thought about how much fun that was and pondered where else I might be able to get "Yeller" stuck.

Can't blame a girl for trying, can ya?


  1. Well, I'm glad you didn't bite through that syringe in the excitement.
    I had to giggle at the visual of you gripping the front rack and suddenly lurching through the air...
    You need a winch, girl. But I guess there's not always a handy tree around.

    The little Caboose is so appealing, how can Cholula resist those eyes?

  2. He is a little like a piranha. Definitely no trees in the lane, but dang that water is COLD!!

  3. Petey, I love the way you descibe your adventures! LOL, I really started laughing when you discovered YOU where the one making the noise! :) (And the cross, crossing, cross thing.) OMG I bet that was COLD water. Thanks for the morning chuckle. Here is hoping you are warmand dry now. Hugs....

  4. All I can say is, "hehehehehe!". Kinda sounds like a fun time to me. Staci, Stubborn Hill Farm

  5. Just another "day in the life", right? My goodness, but you never seem to have any dull moments at all! That leppie calf is a cutie - he looks determined.

  6. What is a leppie? Sounds like you had another full day of excitement. I had to laugh at the visual of you hanging on and not thinking of letting go. I love reading about your days.

  7. A leppie is an orphaned calf. I get about 30 of them a year here, for various reasons, as the boss runs several thousand mother cows. Sometimes the cow dies, other times the calf gets lost, or she rejects her calf. Sometimes they are older cows and don't make enough milk or have a bad bag.

  8. Hi. Usually I read these before the older D does and tell him about it. Alex commented the other day, "I thought cowboys always wore cowboy boots." Your situation in the mud and water is a good illustration why we don't. Nothing worse then a high cowboy boot full of water and silt. If you have good humor the day is usually as amusing as it sounds to tell later but getting a machine stuck when your trying to finish a job before it rains is no fun but I like reading about the other guys adventures in the mud. That water isn't just's freezing cold. Dex

  9. Good point Dex! Now, explain it to the kids here, who have ruined countless pairs of boots opening gates here, as they are always flooded in the spring! Dumb machines...a horse would at least get itself out, eventually! My toes finally thawed out this morning, i think. Good hearing from you!