Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It's A Girl!

SushiMoo had her calf. It was another heifer and she is HUGE! That's good though, since Sushi had no problems delivering her and she'll be for sale. I just call her "Big'Un".

TheMan has been leaving the house at 3:30 am every morning lately to rake hay, so I have to go out and feed by myself. After situating the rabbits, feeding the bottle calves, letting the sheep out, saying good morning to Bruno, I went thru the gate to feed Sushi and my old Paint horse who is in the next corral over. I noticed Mr Potamus was laying in Sushi's corral but didn't think much of it. I fed her and wondered where she'd hid her calf...after all, the corral is 90% dirt now, so I figured she must be hiding behind the weeds towards the far end. I walked down there, but no calf. I looked around thinking maybe she'd gotten through the fence into the next pasture, but realized she wasn't bawling and neither was Sushi. At any rate, I knew Mr Potamus would protect her, wherever she had gotten to. Still, it bothered me that I could not find her. As I walked up to say good morning to Mr Potamus who was still in the same place (this should have been a red flag, as he ALWAYS gets up and comes to greet me, with his whole body slowly wagging) I noticed an old tire I had put over a large hold he had dug a year or so before...we call it his "man cave". Through the tire, I saw a small face with large, frightened eyes. Somehow, Big'Un had slipped backwards through the tire and was stuck underground in Potamus' mancave. He lay by her just keeping her company. I moved the tire and after some effort, managed to extract her from her dilemma. She was a bit stressed, but none the worse for wear.

57 meatie chicks arrived today and I am still waiting on the rabbits to kindle. I'm not even sure they are bred, since it has been so hot this summer and I am no good at palpating, since this is all new to me. I am hoping and praying I don't flare on processing day as these chicks are going to be a large investment. However, as they are not nearly as reactive as laying hens, they may serve to teach the Heathen not to chase chickens. He's very good about the ducks, but they aren't as erratic.

We dispatched "Old Ugly" who was one of our 'alarm clocks' and the hens are much happier. He had really torn them up, ripping most of the feathers off of their necks and backs. At first I thought maybe it was mites or parasites, until I realized the roosters weren't missing any feathers at all. Already in 2 days I can tell a difference in the health of my hens.  Having more than one rooster is never a good idea. In fact, the only reason I still have one, is because I'll be incubating the eggs next year. We'll be whittling the numbers down to 6 chickens this winter. DummyDuck is sitting on another huge clutch of rotten eggs. I have yet to work up the courage to remove them after the last debacle. Meantime, the other mama duck is taking care of 7 babies that survived from 2 different clutches. The drake had been killing them so I evicted him. Last I saw him, a chicken was chasing him across the pasture so either he has found new digs, or fed himself to the ranch dogs. No way to know for sure.

The sheep are fat and lambs needed weaning a long time ago, but so far, we haven't got it done. We'll be picking up a new ram next month, so that will be nice.

The Happy Heathen has been a source of daily entertainment. He's so smart and so crafty that he has both myself and the man in stitches most of the time. Lately, he's been stealing my shoes. I got up the other morning to just one shoe and told him he had to go find my other one. He just sat and looked at me defiantly. I argued with him, but of course, he never changed his mind that I could see. I stepped out to get the milk replacer for the calves and saw my shoe around the far corner of the house. Resigned to having to walk across the wet lawn to get it, I went in and finished making bottles. I opened the door to find my shoe on the doorstep. I thanked him profusely for bringing it back. Yesterday morning, again, I had only one shoe. I went through the same routine with him, but instead of sitting and staring at me, he would wag his tail and jump on the bed. I was irritated as I could not find it anywhere. I figured I would have to go feed barefooted, which is no fun here with the sharp rocks and stickers. TheMan rolled in just before I left. I told him about my shoe and he said 
"I thought I saw it on the bed this morning"

Sure enough, it was stuffed underneath the quilt. Very funny, Heath.
I was late getting up this morning so my little K9 alarm clock bounced up on my chest, pinning me and giving nose and eyeball kisses until I relented and got out of bed. If I am not up by 8 am, he will torment me until I am. I honestly am more attached to him than any dog I've ever owned and that is not said lightly as I have had some amazing dogs that meant the world to me...but Heath has made me his whole world. He doesn't beg for me to throw something or even to pet him, he climbs up on my lap several times a day just to 'be'. I don't know if he is fulfilling a need he has or not, but it sure does a lot for me. He learns at a phenomenal rate and has an almost sinful amount of personality. I rarely shed a tear anymore for Cider as Heath has come so far in healing my heart.

Heath meets SushiMoo

Heath meets the sheeple

A conversation with Thyme

That doesn't take anything away from the Maremmas. They are just as amazing and wonderful as ever. Just the other night, I was trying to get Sushi in, while her calf was only 12 hours old. She refused and so I decided to wrangle the calf in so she would follow. I kept a close eye on Sushi as often newly fresh cows can become aggressive if you get between them and their I never saw the big black baldy cow coming at me, until I heard Potamus bark. He raced in between us and took the hit. She knocked him off of his feet and began crushing him with her head. I let go of the calf and began screaming at the cow, looking for something to hit her with and I tripped and fell next to Potamus. Bruno charged in and held her back until we both could get to our feet and out of the pasture. I was afraid Potamus might have some broken ribs or internal injuries, but he seems to be fine other than bruising. We did manage to get Sushi and the calf confined and that is where they will stay until I take her calf off of her to bottle feed next week.

Best of all, my oldest son and his family are coming for a visit. I can't wait to see them! The grandkids and foster kids will all be here and I hope I can make it a special time for them. I am pretty sure that homemade ice cream and flaming bananas is gonna be on the menu.

Looking forward to the cooler days of Autumn and hoping the fires are all out soon. Most of the PNW is on fire and the smoke in the valley has been pretty bad at time, although we are fortunate none of the fires are too close to us. Most of the ranch crew is gone though, with all the heavy equipment helping to fight fires from California to Washington. Praying for the safety of all concerned and for better days to come.


  1. Great post. I am in love with Heath, too! And Thank Good for the LGDs. A charging, angry cow could do some real damage. Sure glad that Potamus is o.k. Big'un looks just like Mom. Sushi seems to be a great cow for you. Praying she will not have the problems her Mom did and that Big'un is not as hard to wean as sushi was.

    1. I am VERY grateful for the LGD's. They've saved my bacon more than once!

  2. Heath certainly is growing into a handsome young man!
    Glad you had the big guys around to intervene with the cattle. I'm sure you're going to have a great family visit; try to not overdo it too much :-)

    1. I've been super fortunate to have the dogs I do! I'm looking forward to the visiting, and hoping the kids will pick up some of the slack, since I will have to cook and clean more :P

  3. Congratulations on your Big'Un! She's lovely! I love reading about your adventures, although I'm sorry you had to do something so strenuous as saving Big'Un from the Man Cave. I hope you suffer no ill effects.

    Dear Mr. Potamus, taking the hit for you. I'm thankful he was there to do it, though.

    Have a marvelous visit with the kids and grandkids and stock up on pint-sized hugs!

    1. Still doin' ok. Back and wrist pretty sore all the time but I am getting it all done! :) Potamus and Bru both, are for real, life savers