Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
It snowed, snowed, and then snowed some more.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Our Day Off

Rogers job
On a ranch you never really have a day off because you always have to take care of of the critters. Ruffles and Mr. Rowdie really protest if they don't have their meals delivered on time!

After we get done feeding we will try to get everything that we needed to do during the week done in one day. Everything that breaks down needs to get fixed so that you can use it next week, and you only have one day to 'get r done', that would be Sunday - Our day off.

This morning I could hear Roger out back making a lot of noise, I didn't bother to look so I didn't know that  he had dismantled the entire front tire part of his truck. Now I will be honest with you, this makes me very nervous, because Roger does not have many - if any organization skills, so he usually forgets where all the part and pieces are so that he can put whatever it is he is working on back together. As hard as I try to overlook this tiny, and I might add costly little flaw, I do know that it is the root cause of the graying in my hair.

Organizing my parts.
Anyway after listening to the banging and the  colorful words for a couple of hours, I popped my head out the door and asked him to start a heater in the shed where the 4 wheeler is at. It was one of the  victims of the very rough country out here a couple of weeks ago. I had ordered the parts and pieces that the Suzuki guy said that I needed and he had ended our conversation with this very reassuring words, 'I don't think it is that difficult to fix this'. So I dress according to the job as I always do. I knew that there were 2 little bottles of black gunky stuff, which means rubber gloves up to my elbows that ripped on the first lug nut. As I walked by Roger he started to laugh, but I just though to myself, 'I'll just show him'! Besides I already knew that he would never get his project back together, he never does!

Those dang balls!!
It may have taken me several hours to do the job, but after I reassembled my parts in the reverse order in which I had removed them, my job was done. I only had one very nerve racking moment when Roger came in and started moving my parts around, but he could tell that I was getting nervous so he stopped touching my parts. I was stuck for a while when the little balls fell out of the round thing, since they fell out instead of me removing them I wasn't sure how to get them back in the round thing. This is when Roger thought it would be cute to take a picture of me all greasy and confused. I really have no idea why he said
confused, I actually spend a lot of time confused, that's why I am so organized!!!

Roger has a box of parts and a missing wheel.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The heifers head up Main Canyon - a four day ride.

Buddy is ready to go!!!
Day 1: Well today was the day that the 1st calf heifers started up to Main Canyon, where they will become moms. I was on Trotter and Roger was on Jason and then there was Buddy, Button and Rusty, we started out around 9:30 am and figured it would take most of the day to get them to the next fence line but we had Buddy! Clay is planning on it taking 4 days to move them to the house - not if Buddy has anything to do with it!!
Yes, that is the great white being naughty.

Buddy is an Akbash dog that is used for protecting sheep, but a year and a half ago Buddy was left out here by the sheep herders. Some how Buddy found me, and decided that I would make a good mom for him to have. Well ever since Rusty showed up, Buddy has had to stay home because of the behavioral difficulties that Rusty has had when it comes to herding but today I let him go. Buddy had a lot of built up hostility, because he thought that the heifers should be moving at a record breaking pace which made for a short day. We were at the fence line by 12:45 pm.

Heading back to Willow Creek.
I do have to say that ever since I bought Rusty his super charged shock collar, he has become a very well behaved cow dog. I don't think that I had to yell at him one time today, but that could have to do with the fact that I was trying to get Buddy to slow down all day. Then there is Button, she just does what I tell her, I swear it is just like having kids!!!

Roger getting Jason ready. 
Day 2 - It is freezing this morning, Roger wanted to stay home, but the heifers can't be left unattended they somehow always manage to get themselves into trouble. I left Buddy home this morning, he was licking his feet from the blisters this put on them yesterday from being in high gear all day, and I have to say that the heifers must have known that he wasn't there because they weren't moving as quickly today.

As we were riding from Trail Canyon to the end of the road where we left them yesterday, I had to do the one thing that makes me say 'there are times when I really wish I was a guy, especially when it is only in the 20ies', so we stopped. Roger gets off and looks up the cliff and there were a pair of elk antlers laying there. We have never found a pair, and we have never just came across any antler laying out in the open, but there is a catch to finding antlers first thing in the morning and that is that you have an antler stabbing you in the back the rest of the day.

Sink Hole
We found our heifers all in a bunch. Actually they were still working on their beauty sleep, so we got them up and started for Trail Canyon. In Main Canyon, there are sink holes, some are pretty small but some of them can hide a pickup - don't ask me how I know this - but cows have been known to fall in them and it takes a small army to fetch them out. Today we got lucky, one of the heifers walked right into a hole, just as she disappeared from site, the rest of the herd must have thought for sure that a monster had just ate her for breakfast. They all turned around and took off, well that scared both Boss and Jason because they took off and were running in front of the heifers!!! I was caught by surprise, Jason never loses his composure, but he quickly realized how foolish he must have looked because he stopped and watched  Boss and the heifers run back down the road. I was thinking that I should have had the camera instead of Roger!! While I was waiting for Roger to get the herd under control, I went back to see where the heifer was at, she was standing in the hole looking around trying to figure out were in the heck she had just went to. I climbed in behind her and pushed while she climbed and got herself back on solid ground, I think she was fully awake by the time she got out of the hole. 

Time for a fire.
Button and Rusty on the go!
After our rough start to the day, the sun came out but the temperature stayed about the same and the wind was blowing very hard. We decided to stop and take a lunch break and warm up, so I pulled out my always handy toilet paper and matches to start a fire. Just about the time I got a  fire going a full blown snow storm came over the cliff and put out the fire, so we climbed back on the horses, quickly regathered the heifers.  I let Button and Rusty pick up the pace for us. About that time I asked Roger, 'Did you shut the gate at Crows Roost?' You should have seen the look he gave me, then he informed me of the distance back to the gate, the current weather condition, and that he didn't want to go back. Well I don't know what he was thinking, I already knew all of these points, but I sure wasn't going back because Jay had made what he calls a 'Princess Proof Gate' which I can't close, so the gate couldn't possibly be my problem.
By the time Roger caught back up with the rest of us, we were making our way around the last corner to Trail Canyon, but he didn't seem to appreciate the fact that our day was over. I was thinking that it might have had something to do with the snow that was stuck on him, but I was thinking about a warm cup of coffee and getting warm. That was before he got us stuck on our way back to Pine Springs, so I made him lead the horses while I used my Book Cliffs off road mud driving skills to get the truck back on the road and headed home. Just an average day in Main Canyon.

Heading to Pine Springs Canyon.
Day 3 - a very easy day. The herd of heifers waited for me at the Trail Canyon Loomix tank, and it was a good thing because I waited around the house this morning so I could call Ty Evans and see how Fergie is doing.

Julio, he is quitting tomorrow!
Roger went to Willow Creek to get a load of hay, so I went solo today. That was until Burt brought Julio down to help me, I appreciated the thought but Julio was not much help. He was whining worse then I was yesterday from the cold, so I let him stay behind at Pine Springs to wait for Roger to come by and pick him up. What I didn't know, was that Roger was stuck down the canyon and the wait would be for 2 hours and I had the matches so he couldn't start a fire!!!

Tomorrow we bring them home, only 7 more miles to go.

Jason, Button and Rusty warming up.
Upper Main Canyon

Day 4 - I drove the truck and Roger walked behind the heifers, easy way to finish off a long trip. We were told that we couldn't do it, but the heifers had been practicing on Willow Creek since they wouldn't stay where they were suppose to be, and practice makes perfect. Now the calving process starts, long days and nights ahead!

Our 2012 1st calf heifers, and 2 stray steer calves!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The lazy days of fall have come to an end.

After a couple of months to take it easy and finish up some projects around the house, calving season has begun and the lazy days are over.

Madi at the controls
We started feeding hay to the cows in upper Willow Creek and the 1st calf heifers. We have spent a couple of weeks sorting the heifers out of the cows so that we can bring them to Main Canyon because you need to watch them and help them get their first little calf into the world, alive. This year Roger and I have decided that we both will get up together, ok he decided not me. I don't really have a problem with him getting up every 3 hours during the night, while I stay in bed to make sure that I stay warm and cozy! Now he is wondering if his decision was a good one, because I fall asleep on the way home from the creek and he has to get out and open the gates. I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too, especially when the cook is tired!!

The first couple of days the guys must have been out of practice from loading hay so that it will stay on the truck as it bumps over the frozen cow patties, because they had to reload to twice per load the first 3 days in a row. Since I am the driver, this can be a bit irritating, because the bales fall down on the cab with a loud bang, so I decided on the 4th day to load the hay on the truck and they could throw it up to me. Being raised out here, I have learned how to load hay so tightly together that you can actually spin your truck around on the slick ice and only have a few bales fall off, so after showing the guys up on the 5th day they have been doing much better at getting the hay on the truck. Even out here there are
the male egos to deal with and every once in a while
you just need to rough them up a bit!!

Roger and I were feeding Sunday, and we were really looking forward to a nice relaxing day laying around and napping, but no - we can't have that. As we are feeding the heifers, I was thinking that some of them were missing, like about half of them, and yep they were. They had decided that since the snow had melted and the water was running in the creek again that they would go visit the cows, maybe the cows were getting better hay on their side of the fence. So after we feed, we then go back to the corral and get the horses, load them up and go back up the creek to sort out the STUPID heifers again. We somehow managed to get all but 15 out and back on their side of the creek, then we slapped together a make shift fence on the creek bank that we were hoping would hold them until Monday when we could get a heifer tight fence built, but no - they just walked over the fence, through the creek and back in with the cows so they were sure to get the better hay on Monday morning. Tomorrow we are going down to sort them out again and haul them to Main Canyon!! I have really decided that cows are some what smart animals, but I don't know for sure at what point their brains develop because I am pretty certain that it isn't until well after they have had their first calf. Someone should do a study on this.

For those of you who are on Face Book, you know that something happened this past week. I won't go into details, but we had made a quick trip into Vernal last Friday to pick up supplies, and on our way home we came upon an accident. It has been a hard scene to forget. I would ask for all of you to say a prayer for the family of those involved. I want to thank the 5 guys that stopped to help us.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This week I lost a good friend, Granny Cow

I have thought about this all week, but I decided it is a part of ranching. Part of life is death, and all good cows must die too.

This story started last January, when it was so cold that if a calf was born and the cow didn't get it up soon enough, that calf would get frost bite or freeze to death. It was during this cold spell that I became the mommy to Ruffles, Raisin, and Patch, but there was a little calf and her mommy that were so special. I named this little gal Destiny and her mommy became Granny Cow.

I first came across Granny Cow on the Leech Place and she came up to me and was moo-ing, I don't know how to describe it, but it was different, so I followed her to the side of the canyon wall. Laying there was this little calf, and I could see that she had frost bite pretty bad, when I got off of Trotter to see her, you could smell it, rotten flesh. I tried to get her up, but she couldn't stand, so I lifted her on Trotter and started across the field with her on the horse and the cow walking beside me. Most cows would have flattened you for just being to close to her calf, but Granny Cow knew that her calf needed help. This was the beginning of a very special relationship between Granny Cow and myself. After I took the calf to Main Canyon and started treating her I would hold her up so that she could nurse, then I had Roger make me a stand for her but this made it impossible for Destiny to suckle any longer.

About a week after Destiny came home, I got Tyson who was a huge calf that must have had a very hard time being born, and Bozo and he was a pretty big calf also, and Mr. Rowdie. I was making 3 bottles and 3 gallons of calf milk 3 times a day. I would feed calves from 6:30 am to around 8 am, and then I would start working on Destiny's feet and legs which would take another hour and half. I would get done just in time to start over with the noon feeding. At first I had all the calves in the same pin as Granny Cow, and one morning I noticed that Granny Cow was trying to get the two big calves to suckle her, she was licking them and moo-ing to them. That cow was so thankful that I was trying to safe her calf that she was willing to help me out, and a huge help she was, a full source of prepared milk.

Little Destiny lived for about a month, and then the infection got to bad for her to fight any longer. I can remember the morning that I went up to the calf pin, and she was laying there with her mommy standing there next to her, I sat down and she put her tiny head on my leg and both Granny Cow and I just stayed there until she died. I was crying and Granny Cow kept licking her, then Granny Cow looked up and walked over to the other calves and started feeding them. A few weeks  later, that cow took those two calves and raised them, when I would see them out on the range, she would always come over and say hello'. Trotter even got use to her coming up to us and hanging out for a while.

This week I found Granny Cow laying on her back in a ditch. I don't know how long she had been there, but I was so sad to see that she had died all alone and no one came to help her. That cow was a rare kind of an animal, most cows are out to hurt you, but Granny Cow was so kind, gentle, and most of all loving. That cow had a good soul, and I know that I will miss having her around here.