Home Sweet Home

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

Friday, March 30, 2012

Why We Love What We Are Doing!!!

There have been many 'Happenings At Main Canyon Ranch' the past couple of weeks. Our days and nights are never ending and the heifers are calving on an average of 4 a day, and most of them are doing it on their own so we only have to check them two times a night if you go to bed at midnight, which is so much better then having to be awake for most if the night pulling calves!!!

We get up in the morning and start our day with a few cups of coffee and the sound of Zina calling for her morning loving and bottle, Zina has become an only child this week because Midnight got herself a cow mommy, or she is working on getting herself a cow mommy. I thought for sure that it would be love at first sight for the heifer, but I guess she can't see the same beauty and personality that I see in my little one. After our consumption of coffee, we start our feeding routine and moving the new moms and their calves out to the pasture. Then we load our horses and saddles to head to Willow Creek to move the cows up to Crows Roost, which is a short nine mile trip with the loves of your life. Then it is back to Main Canyon to do the nightly feeding chores and check the heifers and put them in the corral for the night. Sounds simple and it looks good on paper, but in real life it goes like this......

Roger is nice enough to get up and make the coffee while I lay in bed with the covers over my head smelling the coffee thinking that surely it can't be morning already!! Zina is crying in the window insisting that I come feed her now, and of course since she doesn't have a tongue it takes about 20 minutes to feed her even with her newly modified bottle that just pours the milk down her throat. Then by the time I get Zina spoiled for the day Roger is ready to go feed the bulls and the heifers in the meadows,  I can smell the coffee and it sure does smell great!!! When we come back from feeding, I have to do a quick check of the ready to pop heifers while Burt helps load the horses and throws the saddles on the truck to head to the creek to move the cows that have mastered the art of going no where. We stop by the house to get the dogs and this is when I finally get my cup of coffee that is now cold, then we go out to the truck and argue over who is driving. Driving isn't considered a privilege to us because the one that doesn't drive gets to enjoy some of that stuff you call sleep.

When we arrive at the creek the driver is irritated at the sleeper so tension is high before we start with the most irritating cows (my loves) alive. Jay and Clay will have around 150 cows and new calves sorted out for us and already at the head of Main Canyon, so all we have to do is push them up to Crows Roost and close the gate. Then the next day we push them to Trail Canyon and close the gate, and on the 3rd day we push them up Trail Canyon to the top of Winter Ridge. Yep that's how it is planned out, but when it takes an hour and half to get the cows and calves around the first corner, across and little stream, up a tiny hill, and one rider is already upset with the other for not getting to sleep, well this throws the team work off just a bit. By the time the sun is setting and you haven't even made it 3 miles, you have wasted your entire day because the ever so nice cows will just turn the calves around and take them back to the green meadow within an hour and you have just spent 8 hours screaming your head off trying  moving them the same distance. You know............ .........sometimes you just want to shoot them all.

They may be cute but they are STUPID!
Always feeding time.

Just for the record, we love what we do and we are looking forward to summer when we can finally get some sleep.

Rusty is so tired after a day of trying to move cows!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Our New Little 'Wee Ones'

This week has been a busy and very tiring one around here. We started moving the cows off of the creek and onto the mountain for the summer, and I had become the proud mommy of 3 bum calves  in one day.

Trail Canyon
Moving the cows comes natural to Roger and I by now, we are so use to riding that our behinds don't even get sore anymore. The horses on the other hand all go through that spring fever bucking test that they seem to think you need  to take every spring, even if you have rode them most of the winter they still want to make sure that you are qualified to ride them for the upcoming year. I am very proud to tell you that I have passed our riding test with flying colors, Roger on the other hand..not so much!!

The first day was a good day, we moved the cows about 20 miles and left them at Crows Roost for the night. There was around 30 new calves in the herd but the moms keep them moving right along so we had an early day and got back to the creek around 5:30 and home by 7:30. The next day we went down from Main Canyon to regather our cows and move them up to Trail Canyon. As we got to Crows Roost there was one cow that had just had her calf and another calf laying off by itself bawling like crazy, so I figured that either it's mom had went back to Willow Creek while it was sleeping or she had went further up the canyon. When I rode over to the calf, I could see that it had blood all over it's face and something was wrong with it's mouth, but when the calf saw Rusty it jumped up and shot off up the road like a rocket. I commented to Roger, 'I wonder what happened to that calf', but just shrugged it off. By the time we got the cows all back together this little calf was still pretty jumpy and wasn't looking for it's mom and there were no mom's mooing to her. I told Roger that I was going to ride back and check for tracks at the fence to see if a cow had gone back, but there were no tracks on the fence line and the only cow there was the one with the new baby.

I named her Zina.

By this time, I had decided that mom was no longer around and couldn't figure out where in the heck she had went to but maybe she had fallen into a sink hole. When we got to the bottom of Trail Canyon, I refreshed my roping skills - which I haven't used since the 4-wheeler had removed my arm, but after a unbelievable amount of attempts, and the calf feeling sorry for me, she ran into my loop. After Roger stopped laughing, he got off and grabbed the calf and he looked up with the strangest look and said 'it's tongue is gone!'.  I jumped down to look at the calf and it's face was torn up, it's lips had holes in them and sure enough, it's tongue had been bitten off. What I didn't see were the bite wounds in her neck. When a calf if really bawling, they stick out their tongues about 3 to 4 inches, and this tongue was took off right at where it would have been by the nose of the calf, the whole thing was gone and her head was really warm. If a predator bites an animal, they are so infested with germs that the cow or calf will run a high fever very quickly, so I then knew that the cow had been killed by either a pack of coyotes or lions. I put the calf in the horse trailer and finished moving the cows up to the next fence line.

Buddy always baby sitting.
It seems that while I was gathering up this little gal to take care of, Clay and Becky were on the creek with our vet, John Mathis. Two of the mother cows had fallen on the ice and broke their legs, so John had come out to C-Section the calves. After we got home and had cleaned up our wee one, Clay pulls up and open his tail gate and unloads 2 wet, freshly delivered babies, so my porch had just become a nursery again. Clay said something about them being a 'little' premature so they would have to eat during the night, I am thinking - what about my sleep!! Well our calf was quite an eater even with her missing tongue and the calf that was suppose to be the most premature was willing to suckle, but the other one wouldn't suck so I tubed her. At the 11pm feeding, the one calf wouldn't suckle so I tubed her again, then again at the 3 am feeding. The other wee one had already gotten up and was stumbling around the porch leaving her deposits everywhere, but the 2nd calf wasn't really trying to get up. At 6 am, I had Roger help her up and she was walking but she still wouldn't suckle, so I tubed her again. I didn't want to leave her, but we had to go finish moving the cows, Clay decided to go with us so I could get back sooner to the calves. Every thing was going as planned until we came across a downed tree and a drift of snow about 3 feet deep, then it was slow motion for several hours.

Getting the calf to stand.
By the time we got home this calf had taken a turn for the worse, she was having a hard time breathing and was very weak. I ran in to call Dr. John and the phone actually worked, but when it was time for him to call me back I had no service!! This can drive you crazy at times. I emailed my friend, Debbie and had her call the Dr. back and relay the message. It was a down hill fall from then on. The wee one made it though the night and into the afternoon of the next day, but she no longer would even try to support her head, I had to go check the heifers and by the time I got back to the house, she had passed. I can't tell you how bad I feel when I can't help the wee ones, they are so defenseless, innocent and trusting. This is where I have been told that I need to be tougher, but I just love them all. Dr. John told me that she was just to premature to make it one her own and that there was nothing more that I could have done for her, this still didn't make me feel any better.

Left, riding up the back side of Winter Ridge.

Right, is Midnight cuddling with Shadow. Shadow was fading pretty quick.

Clay taking a herd up the draw to the top of Winter Ridge.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Well Deserved Nap.

The calf is the tiny dot by the rock.
Just as I was ready to get into bed and sleep the night away one of the heifers was starting to calve at the 11 pm checking. I was a little surprised because I had looked at them around 7 and I didn't think any of them would have their little ones for a day or so. I don't like being proven wrong, but you would think that I would be use to it by now!!!

I go back to the house and try to stay awake until 1 am, hoping that she would have it by then. I signed into Face Book thinking that would help me pass the time. My friend Joleen sends me a message saying that she had just saw on the news that there was an armed man headed out this way, that woke me up quite a bit. You see, for all of you that think I am some brave country chick, well you are so far from being right. I am afraid of the dark, big time afraid of the dark!

The 1 am arrival.
Being the smart person that I think I am, I did what most women would do, I went and woke up Roger so he would know that he was going to be accompanying on my rounds through out the night. He managed to mumble something that sounded like, 'you'll be ok, the moon is out'! Now this is not what I wanted to hear.  By this time it was around midnight, so I assume the pouting mode and go lay on the bed and fell asleep, out like a light. I woke up at 2 am, hurry and put on my calving attire and make it to the front door, then I woke up enough to remember something about an armed idiot running around out here somewhere so of course I go back to get Roger, who didn't even mumble
or move, so I settled for Buddy. After all he loves me!!

The 4 am arrival.
I run all the way to the corral, dragging Buddy who has decided that he needs to sniff every darn bush so that he can pee on just the perfect one. There is no time for peeing when running from a gun man in the middle of the night, what the heck is this dog thinking. So we get to the corrals in record breaking time, the calf is up nursing and mom is doing fine. Being the good cow woman that I am, I decide to run through the rest of them just to make sure that all is good, and there was another heifer with the feet sticking out walking around. Since this is a 'G' rated blog site, I can't repeat what I really said, but in short it was something like, Oh my heck you have got to be kidding!!! So Buddy and I take off and run back to the house, to find that Roger didn't even move an inch,
how awful is that!! I decide that I will go back around 4 or so.....the
lights goes out again.

Arrived at 8 am, minutes old.
At 4:30 am, Roger comes out to see why I am sleeping on the couch in my clothes. He scares the holy crap out of me, I jump up screaming, Buddy takes off running down the hallway and Roger is standing there looking at me like I am the craziest person he has ever seen!! Now that he has my heart rate racing to the max, I put back on my calving attire, grab my 'guard dog' and flash light to risk my life again to go see if the calf and cow are still alive. I can't believe that I over slept again. I sprinted up to the corral, they were both doing fine but what in the heck is that other one doing in the corner, yep there was another one with the feet just starting to show. I just stood there thinking that I am way under paid for my job, but oh well Roger can come back and check on this one when he feeds in a couple of hours from now while I sleep in until 7:30!

I don't know if I was just tired or if I had decided that I didn't care if the gun man was out here, Buddy and I walked back to the house and I flopped back down on the couch and the lights went out again. After all, I have to be up at 7:30 so I can feed the bulls and the rest of the heifers in the meadow. Why would I need any sleep!
My 5 to 7am nap!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Good With The Bad...

I have been told that I need to be tougher to be able to handle all that comes with this life style. I don't really agree with this statement, I don't ever want to get to the point that it doesn't bother me when something or someone dies. This month has really been a tough one for me, and just when I thought I had 'put things behind me', this morning it all came right back to the surface.

Walking the heifers to the corrals with Rusty and Button.
A few weeks ago we were coming home from Vernal, I was text messaging my friend from Kansas catching up on all the latest gossip then Roger said 'Oh no!' We came up on an accident, it was very bad and where it was at we didn't have any phone service. Although we did our best, along with the other 5 men that stopped to help, there was nothing that we could do for the gal that was hurt the most, and all we could do for the other gal was try to keep her calm and warm. There are so many more details that I can't yet talk about yet, but the whole thing really took the wind out of my sail for quite a while, and like I said just when I thought I had 'put it behind me', this morning brought back the sights, smells and sounds of a mess that was out of my control.

Last night Roger and I went out to check the heifers around 11 pm. I knew that heifer # 40 was ready to calf, she just had that look. So got up and went back out at 1:30 am to check her again. Now for the life of me I can't figure out why after being out here for over 30 years, my dad hasn't modernized this place one bit, no lights, no heat, and not a clean place to calf these heifers at. So this is where you will have to use your imagination to put this picture together, I am just going to tell it the way it really happens.

Looking at backsides!!
I see the heifer laying on her side pushing, the feet are out but no head. A calf comes with the front feet and the head will be laying on the legs just below the knees, if you see feet without the head then you push the calf back in and reach in and find the head and get it coming out with the feet. Since the heifer was laying on her side, there is usually no way to get them back up on their feet to walk them to the calving shoot, so you strip down to your shirt, pour anti bacterial dish soap all over the back side of the cow and calf. Then you get right down behind the cow in the gunk that comes out of the cow and start pushing, the cow is pushing out and your are pushing in, since the cow out weighs you by about a 1000 pounds, this is not an easy thing to accomplish if you get it accomplished at all. I was not able to reach in far enough to find the head, after about an hour I finally could feel an ear but I still couldn't pull the head around. I would say that a couple of hours had passed and the calf stopped moving, so I made the decision to just try to save the heifer. This meant that I had to saw off the legs to see if I could then push the calf back in to get the head out, but the calf was so big and the hips of the heifer were to small to get the legs and my arms past at the same time. I kept hoping that Burt, Clay or Roger would come looking for me, but Clay didn't show up until around 4 am, by then the heifer was barely breathing. We rolled her over on her other side to see if that would take the pressure off of her lungs and heart but it was to late, we had to put her down. The tender part of me kicked in and I just sat by her and talked to her as she stopped breathing - all the memories of the accident came flowing back - I cried and I hope that I always will........
A happy sight to see.

Later in the afternoon, we had to sort the heifers again. As we were sorting, I noticed that the little calf that was born the other morning was playing with her mommy, and that the heifer was letting her suckle. Just when you are feeling bad about loosing one, you get to see the rewards of seeing a calf that will be raised with her mom, because even with cows there is nothing more important than being loved by a mommy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

One Tough Little Gal

Cute Little Gal.
Last night I knew that heifer # 42 was going to have her calf, she had put it off for several days and you could tell that it was getting very painful for her. When I was walking her into the alley for the night, her calves feet were showing, so I figured that she would have it within a few hours. Nope, she somehow managed not to have it until around 3 am, it finally fell out, a cute little gal.

Since I was tired I just figured that the heifer would 'like' her baby, after all, how could she not!! Man was I wrong. I went out in the morning, ok, a few hours later, and she hadn't even cleaned it off. The calf was laying there shivering, so I ran back to the shed and got a feed sack and ran back and dried off the calf, just thinking, 'well maybe she didn't know what to do', so I picked up the shivering, wet calf and carried it over to the heifer. Oh My Heck, the heifer waited for me to put it down and get it to stand up and she came charging towards us full speed. I thought she was going to bunt me, but wrong again - yep wrong twice in such a short period of time, can you believe that......she hit that little calf and pile drove the calf into the manurery mucky mud. Man I was sorta wishing that she had hit me instead of the calf, but a whole lot thankful that she didn't!

I ran over to the calf thinking for sure that it was dead, I know that I would have been, but it was laying there blinking it's big eyes so I picked it up and dried her off again. She quickly recovered from the body slam and started trying to suckle all of the heifers in the pasture, so I decided that if I got the rest of the heifers out of the pasture, then she would have to claim her calf. Now to my amazement, I was wrong again. This time the calf was trying to follow her across the snow so she turned around and planted the calf in the snow bank, a 2 ft bank of snow and I had to dig the calf out of the snow. Once again, the calf was just blinking and looking around, she must have been wondering why everything disapeared. Not wanting to be wrong again, I decided to leave the heifer alone and just take the calf to the coral and wait for Roger to come home and then we would put the heifer in the shoot and make her feed her calf. Even in the shoot, she was not nice to the calf, but it finally got to suckle and get some warm milk in her tummy.

Clay said that sometimes the heifers don't like their calves for a couple of days. We are suppose to leave the heifer and the calf together in the corral until she 'takes' the calf. I just hope this happens quickly, because I wanted to bring the calf home and keep warm and safe tonight! What a way to start the calving season with the heifers.....

Here's mom, where's the calf?