News From The Ranch, Episode 937

It’s HOT!

Stinkin’ hot!

Triple-digit stinkin’ hot every day.

And very, very dry . . .

We need rain badly.

The price of hay has gone ridiculous (making me wish I had some to sell!).

All of our babies are finally here. No more pregnant mommies. Every single one of them healthy and happy, which makes us very happy, too!

Triple-K was the last to pop. She hid that baby really well.

Baby? What baby?

Oh, THAT baby! Would you looky there!?

At my friend, Cindy’s, suggestion, the new baby has been dubbed Calamity Jane.

Oh, and lest you think Triple-K stands for something else, it really stands for “Katy Kitchen’s Kow” because we got her from my sister.

Have I mentioned we need rain?

And that it’s stinkin’ hot?

Big Dan had a major setback after his kidney ordeal, and spent all last week in the animal hospital. While at first, Gidget didn’t mind him being gone, she eventually missed him, and demanded to know what I’d done with him. And she’s serious!

We came real close to losing him, but our vet never gave up on him, and Big Dan is home now, and although he’s not quite back to his normal playful carefree self, he’s hopefully on the mend for real this time. I feel like I should bake the vet some cookies!

Big Dan wasn’t the only one in the hospital last week, either. My Cowboy suffered a mild heart attack last Monday night, and had to take a helicopter ride to the emergency room. He’s also home now and on rest for a few more days.

I’ve had enough of doctors, and hospitals, and not getting to quilt!

And the heat . . .

And the lack of rain . . .

Did I mention how dry it is?

Thanks to all of you who sent messages and well wishes and missed me! It’s nice to know someone worries when I disappear for a bit.

I’ve got lots of things to tell you about, so I hope to get at that over the next few days.

How have YOU been?

Published in: on July 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm  Comments (7)  

We Had Visitors!

That rarely happens around here.

Usually because there’s not that much to see, and not a lot going on, especially when it’s really hot or really cold.

And it’s been really hot lately.

And dry.

We need rain. Badly.

One of my high-school classmates, Cindy (and we won’t say how long ago that was) lives in the city, but still owns a farm up here, so she brought two of her three kids up with her to spend a week doing things at their farm.

Things such as cleaning up brush, and mowing, and stuff like that.

I’m glad she didn’t invite me to her place!

I told Cindy before she came up that if the kids wanted to go horseback riding, to just bring them on out.

So when they got settled in, they called and said they’d like to ride.

When it’s this hot, we do our riding early in the morning or right before dark, to make it easier on the horses (and the cows, if we’re working them). OK, and easier on us, too!

So they came out early the next morning, we got the horses all tacked up, and off they went.

They took turns, and Sarah went first.

She’s mounted . . .

She’s moving . . . (Bonnie’s a good “babysitter”, and was displaying that trait quite profoundly at this moment. She always takes really good care of her passenger.)

And they’re finally off!

I told Cindy not to worry, Sarah wouldn’t get bucked off — because bucking takes way more energy than Bonnie wants to expend!

After their trip around . . .

. . . I think she was getting the hang of it.

Then it was Mark’s turn.

Bonnie was completely astounded that she had to go for a second round. That never happens! She took Mark through the gate and right into her “parking spot” to be untacked.

Not so fast! She ended up having to make that other round so Mark could have his turn.

They must have had fun, because they came back the next evening to ride again!

Cindy brought me some red squares for my red & cream checkerboard quilt.

And they made me this darling scissors fob, complete with a cowboy boot on it! I love it, and it has already made my embroidery scissors much easier to locate on the mess of a table I work on.

I talked to Cindy after they got home, and Sarah already wants to come back. “Mom, they said we could come back any time!”

We did! And we meant it.

They’ll be back up in July sometime.

Bonnie will still be here.

Published in: on June 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm  Comments (3)  

News From The Ranch, Episode 906

Springtime here at the ol’ ranch is just speeding right along.

While we’re still waiting on several more calves to arrive, we’re sure having fun watching the ones we have. They’re just so cute, and it’s even cuter when they all get to playing together.

My Cowboy refers to them as the Kindergarten class of 2012.

Sophie’s baby has finally been allowed to come to the feedlot when everyone else does. I’ve named her Jenny. If she really IS a Jenny, she’ll be our next replacement heifer. Isn’t she cute with milk all over her face?

Skunk has a darling child this year, and it’s turned Skunk into a poor, harried thing trying to keep track of him. Thankfully, the Babysitting Club helps her out, or she’d have had a nervous breakdown by now.

When we went out to do chores yesterday morning, we could see YingYang hanging way off by herself, and suddenly she laid down right where she was. Within 10 minutes, she was back on her feet, with this by her side! It looks just like her — isn’t that adorable?

Spring is certainly the time for all sorts of babies to arrive, and there have been several litters of kittens born in various and sundry inappropriate spots around the place.

Callie gave birth to two in the hay manger. Bubba turned out to be a Babette, and spouted out three in the barn’s alleyway. There’s a litter under my studio floor that I can only hear, but can’t see or get to.

Scarlett O’Hairy decided that she’d like to have hers in a bucket in the mudroom. So that’s exactly what she did.

A few days later, she moved them into the far corner of the mudroom. It did allow her a bit more space to nurse them and take care of them.

However, their eyes came open, and they became a bit more mobile, so . . .

Scarlett moved them to another bucket. That’s one way of keeping them from getting away from you!

We’re up to four bulls in the bull pasture now. The neighbors bought a 2-year-old named Slick, Jr., and turned him out with the big boys and Ferdinand. It only amplifies the singing that goes on from that direction.

Someone drove past our place and saw all the bulls out there, then went and said to our neighbor, “They’ve sure gone and put out some money for bulls this spring!” Leslie just laughed, and replied, “Um, three of those bulls are mine . . .”

Ferdinand is the only one that really belongs to us. We just keep them all together at our place until it’s time to put them in with the cows. It’s a convenience of running a cow/calf operation where you and the neighbors help each other out. But it sure would be nice to think we had that kind of money!

Speaking of money . . . and Leslie . . . he calls me Mildred . . . because My Cowboy calls me Mildred (after my grandmother, so I don’t mind in the least), and he does it so much that now Leslie always calls me Mildred, too.

The other day, I sat down at my sewing machine, and looked up at the whiteboard hanging on the wall in front of it, and saw this:My belly laugh for the day, courtesy of My Cowboy!

Good advice, too! Don’t let yourself get caught up in any of those dangerous quilting scams!

And the best part of my recent days was getting to see BOTH of my daughters together at the same time — not once, but twice! We call them The Bling-Bling Twins (or Kim and Khloe, whichever fits the moment) . . .

Other than that, I’ve been quilting . . . a LOT . . . and that’s what’s happening around here. I hope you’re all having a wonderful spring as well!

Published in: on May 7, 2012 at 10:34 am  Comments (7)  

Dear Cowboy

While you’ve been gone the last few days . . . leaving me to “woman” the ranch alone . . . without adult supervision . . . lots of things have happened.

I thought I’d fill you in . . .

Skeeter killed a muskrat. It’s still laying in the yard, like the prized possession she feels it is. Only now it also stinks to high heaven.

I went to a quilt show with my friends, Rose Marie and Ginny. It was storming, so I couldn’t work at home anyway. I’m sure you understand. I’m calling it a business trip.

No new calves were born. But . . .

Skunk’s baby slipped in the mud while frisking and fell down. Shortly after, Skunk also slipped in the mud and fell down. I still haven’t decided which of them was funnier. Thankfully, no one broke a hip or anything.

I got the postcard you sent me — thanks! I’m still awed by the fact that you can pull that off while traveling. I’ve never mastered the skill of sending postcards in a timely fashion.

Oh, and because of all the mud, your horse no longer looks like a palomino. It’s not my fault.

He (your horse) has also put Bonnie and PeeWee on an exercise program. He makes them run circles in the arena every morning just after breakfast.

And the cockle burrs in his mane? Also not my fault . . .

Hey, at least he’s still wearing all his shoes! I think . . .

Oh, and I loaned out your livestock trailer. Blueberry was furious that I let someone take it while you weren’t here to say it’s OK. Skeeter wasn’t too happy about it, either.

A new litter of kittens was born underneath the floor of my studio. Seeing as how they’re out of my reach, I won’t be able to try and save them. I can only hope they have a good mother, but that’s also highly unlikely.

Heck, I’m not even able to save the big ones. DJ got run over and killed in the road on Thursday. Broke my heart. His brother, Batman, is still trying to figure out where he went. That also breaks my heart.

And the indoor Royalty all think I’ve done something with you, and are thinking you’ll never return. But Big Dan has been enjoying having your side of the bed all to himself!

I spent one day with my daughter, and although she did take me to the mall, she didn’t actually make me shop. But she did make me do her mending.

I went to my cousin’s daughter’s wedding. But since you weren’t here, I didn’t go to the reception. I’m socially inept enough without trying to do things like that alone.

I spent one evening at my cousin’s house to wait out the tornado watches. Given that he lives 2 blocks from the tornado sirens and has a basement, and I’m a total storm coward, especially when you’re not here, I opted for a visit with him over cowering in the bathroom with the cats. I embroidered while watching a movie on his TV, which took my mind off the bad weather.

Your mother called once . . . to tell me they were getting hit kinda hard by the storms up there in Iowa. Which made me realize I’m fast becoming my grandmother. She was a worrier . . .

And I only worried more when you called from Laramie and I looked at the web cams of the deplorable road conditions . . . and to think I’d been glad you hadn’t driven through Nebraska the night before because of all the storms!

In amongst all that, I did get some work done, believe it or not.

But I’ll sure be glad when you get back home . . .

Love, Mildred

Published in: on April 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm  Comments (2)  

Weekend On The Ranch

After off and on storms and rain all week, the weekend turned out absolutely gorgeous.

And thankfully, none of our cows calved during all the rain.

But first thing Saturday morning, Sophie decided it was time. She went off into the woods by herself.

So My Cowboy and Chip, the Wonder Horse, along with their helpers, Blueberry . . .

. . . and Skeeter . . .

. . . kept a close eye on her all morning. By noon, here’s what we had!

Finally, a playmate for Big Jake! You can see Jake in the right side of the picture below, trotting along in front of Mom, acting like a big boy . . .

This is Sophie’s first baby, and as is usual for all first-time mothers, no one is allowed around that firstborn child for awhile! So she hasn’t brought the new one to breakfast yet. But she will . . .

While My Cowboy rode through the rest of the herd to check on things . . .

. . . I had lots of help taking pictures.

I would have had more help, but Scarlett O’Hairy decided to stop and rest halfway out there, and didn’t finish making the trek. She just patiently waited for all of us to come back. Why make that effort unless you have to? “I’m still wearing a winter coat, for pity’s sake!”

And of my three normal helpers, you’ll notice once again that there are only two. Guess where the third one was?

This morning, the guys had calves to work. So when they were done with that, they brought the bulls back home.

Sadly, Dan the Man passed away last fall, peacefully in the pasture, but Willie and Slick have returned. And . . . there’s a new boy to take Dan’s place. This is Ferdinand . . .

We turned them all out into a 20-acre area that has lots of fresh green grass. Slick and Willie immediately settled in and started grazing, singing the whole time. I so wish you could hear the noises that would accompany these pictures. I always laugh so hard!

But Ferdinand trotted all over the 20 acres like he was planning to make some great escape. He’s not nearly as mature and calm as the big boys. See him in the upper right of the picture? Yeah, that’s him taking off like a blue streak.

Meanwhile, due to the concert being staged by the big boys, Fancy Pants came running from the far side of her pasture to see what all the commotion was about. Nothing escapes the attention and watchful eyes of the Lead Cow in Charge, make no mistake about it!

After everyone got settled in, the guys took off to go find something else to do. Which gave the Helper Dog a chance to cool off. It’s hot out there today!

Published in: on April 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm  Comments (4)  

News From the Ranch, Episode 885

Up until it started raining a few days ago, I had been spending lots of time outdoors. I would go out to do chores, and end up playing with all the animals, kissing my horses’ noses, petting the cows, feeding the bottle calf, giving the dogs “cookies”, and playing with all the cats. Everyone seems to be needing lots of belly rubs lately! (even My Cowboy)

Speaking of whom . . . he recently had 8 flat tires in a 17-day time frame. I’m sure that’s a new record or something. And a 9th one just a few days ago. About halfway through all this, he put an entire different set of tires on the truck, then ran over something and punctured one of those. Some of them were on the livestock trailer, so it’s obviously time for a whole new set of tires on the trailer, too.

Dolly has calmed down considerably, although she still won’t let me come real close.

Although YingYang is mostly over her initial snit regarding Skunk, Skunk is still a bit ostracized whenever YingYang is close by. It seems they’ll never be best of friends, if they ever were.

For a few weeks now, we’ve had a bottle calf in the barn that we got from my sister. I named him Chester. His mommy got mastitis and couldn’t feed him, so now I’m his mommy, and I show up with a bottle a few times a day, and all is well in his little world.

The weather was so wonderful for awhile there, we decided to put Chester in with Dolly during the daytime, so they could make friends. Chester loves the fresh air and sunshine, and he and Dolly eat together and lay in the hay piles chewing their cud.

The only difference between them is that at chore time, Chester still wants his bottle, and Dolly just looks at him as if to say: “You big baby!” Even though they’re nearly the same size, Chester is about 3 months younger than Dolly, so really, he is still a baby! My baby, for now, anyway.

My Cowboy cornered him and gave him his eartag one day.

My Cowboy was doubtful about the number I chose (13), but I told him it’s a lucky one! Chester just looks mad about it. I guess he didn’t want any jewelry, either.

Oh, and see that horse in the background? Yeah, that’s PeeWee. While we were busy with the babies, he decided to let himself into the yard and start grazing. Why waste all that new green grass? He wasn’t too happy when we put him back in, either. He kept pushing at the gate as if to say “Ahem, I wasn’t done yet!”

I recently had to take the old girl, Dandee, to the vet. Somehow, even though I can’t imagine her being rambunctious any more at nearly 15 years of age, she managed to rip off one of her toenails.

This particular day, we moved her to a different location for a change of scenery since the weather was so wonderful. Her tongue says it was downright hot! We have to keep her chained up all the time now because if she wanders off, she can’t come back. Going out uses up all her energy, and then she’s stuck and can’t come back home, poor old girl. We’ve had to take the truck and go get her more than once. Oh, how I love this sweet old doggie!

Big Jake still doesn’t have any more playmates yet, but the way it’s been raining and storming the last few days, I’m thinking that’s a good thing.

And tonight, when I went out to do chores, one of the kittens was missing. I noticed, because the three youngest toms are chore helpers, so if they aren’t helping, something’s wrong. And I only had two helpers.

So I started looking around, thinking if he didn’t turn up by the time I was done, I’d have to widen my search. Then I heard distressed kitten cries from inside the barn. I looked up, and there was Batman, in the rafters — and he could not figure out how to get down.

I had to actually go get the ladder and climb up and rescue him! Now I know how those firemen feel when they rescue kittens from trees. And I wonder if Batman has learned a lesson . . .

Published in: on March 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm  Comments (3)  

Family Feud

There’s trouble in the barnlot lately.

YingYang (she had that name when we got her, unfortunately) has decided that she is mad at Skunk.

Not just a little mad . . .

FURIOUS!

My Cowboy and I were standing in the feedlot after fixing fence the other day, just standing there talking, leaning on the fence, when all of a sudden YingYang let out a horrible beller and started chasing Skunk.

Things had been fine just a moment before.

They had been standing at the hay ring together without any issues.

But suddenly something was terribly wrong.

She chased Skunk all over a 15-acre area for a good 20 minutes.

The chase slowed to a walk at times, since they got tired of running, because they’re both very pregnant, but YingYang wouldn’t let Skunk stop completely.

Triple-K and Allie both joined the chase to see what was going on.

Fancy Pants, the lead cow, finally realized what was happening, and took off out of the feedlot bucking and snorting. She ran to where they were so she could referee, but it did no good.

YingYang was still mad.

Eventually the entire herd decided they needed in on it, too. So they all ran around together for awhile.

It finally ended and they all settled back down to graze.

My Cowboy and I just looked at each other.

I said: “In all my life, I’ve never seen anything like that.”

He just shook his head. “I’ve seen bulls fight and chase, but I’ve never seen one cow get that mad at another one for that long.”

Me: “I wonder what Skunk said to her to make her so mad?”

Him: “She probly said, ‘Granddaughter of Bodacious — can’t even buck. I’ll bet they sold your son for hamburger — he ain’t no rodeo star. You ain’t nothin’ like your granddaddy — buckin’ bull (snort).'”

Me: “Yep, that’d do it.”

Thing is . . . it’s days later now, and YingYang is still mad at Skunk.

FURIOUS!

She singled her out of the lineup at breakfast this morning for some more chasing.

Makes me wonder if they’re ever gonna patch things up.

I’ll keep you posted . . .

Published in: on March 17, 2012 at 11:34 am  Comments (4)  

Finally, A Baby!

Seems like we’ve been waiting a long time for our first baby to arrive. Back when the weather was crappy, we were hoping the mommies would wait, but once it started getting nice . . . we were ready for them.

Last year, the neighbor boy, Sam, had lots of trouble with his calving season; this year, he’s hoping for less trouble. We’re hoping he has a better year as well, poor kid.

All the guys have been keeping a real close eye on all the mommies.

The same day Sam’s first two cows calved, our first baby of the year made his arrival as well.

Mom brought him to breakfast first thing. He’s about 7 hours old in these photos.

My Cowboy took advantage of the fact that he came to the feedlot with Mom, and gave Big Jake his “jewelry”.

As Mom looks on to make sure all is well . . .

Big Jake decides “I don’t. Want. An earring!”

Oh, the indignity!

After breakfast, Mom took him into the paddock and put him down for a nap.

Two hours later, he went missing.

Then it started pouring down rain.

My Cowboy walked and walked, looking for him.

Mom bellered and paced, looking for him.

He finally turned up, way too far from where he should have been.

But it made Mom happy.

And apparently, Big Jake thinks it’s all a game, because he’s been playing tricks like that on her ever since. He’s makin’ her crazy!

I’ll be glad when at least one more baby gets here, so he’ll have a playmate that might help keep him out of trouble . . . or be a partner in crime! Time will tell!

Published in: on March 16, 2012 at 10:51 am  Comments (6)  

Meet Dolly

Barely bigger than a full-grown Labrador, sporting a yellow ear tag, white eyelashes, and a temper that would put an angry rattlesnake to shame, and missing one toe, the newest resident at Prairie Moon Ranch is this little gem.

I’ve named her Dolly.

She was a gift from the neighbor.

My Cowboy called as he was on his way home from said neighbor’s: “You might wanna meet me at the gate. I’ve got somethin’ on the trailer you might be interested in.”

I throw on my coat that’s covered in milk-replacer powder, my stocking hat that the bottle calf has slobbered all over, and my short chore boots, one of which has a hole in the bottom so that my sock gets soaked every time I step out the door, and trudge out to the gate.

I’m sure one glance at my ensemble made My Cowboy want me even more than he usually does. I may or may not have also been wearing baggy sweatpants . . . I’m a looker!

And I had a cake in the oven at the time . . .

He backs the trailer into the loading chute, and opens the trailer door. Skeeter can hardly stand it, because she knows it’s something new and it’s her job to keep it in line from the get-go.

My Cowboy told her: “OK, Skeeter, look out. She’s not very big, but she’s feisty.” He swung open the middle gate.

With a loud bawl, this little white-faced calf comes shooting out of the trailer and down the loading chute, bucking all the way, Skeeter running in front of her like the devil himself was the one doing the chasing.

It happened so fast, I didn’t even get a picture of it.

We put her in one of the catch pens, and while My Cowboy was fastening the gate, she charged him! She let out a beller and ran up behind him like she was gonna attack, but without actually touching him, she stood behind him and shook her head and bucked and fussed and bawled like she wanted to just kill him — this little tiny thing threatening the 6-foot-tall cowboy. We laughed so hard.

He said: “Yeh, she’s mad at the world, and thinks she’s big stuff.”

I said: “What are we supposed to do with her?”

“Well, Leslie said to tell you ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Birthday’. He says if you can keep her alive, she’s yours and you can do whatever you want with her.”

“Does she eat on her own, or do I have to bottle feed her?” (Envisioning the battle that would prove to be . . .)

“She eats just fine.”

“What happened to her toe?”

“My only guess is that the bulls got to fighting, and ran her over. It’s healing up OK.”

As we’re standing at the fence looking in at her, she charges My Cowboy a couple more times. I said: “She sure hates you!”

He muttered something about typical female tempers, and I suddenly remembered the cake in the oven and took off for the shack.

Dolly will be living in the catch pen for a few days, and I’m going to see if I can get her tamed down some before we do anything with her.

It could turn out that I may have to start wondering about gifts from the neighbor, and what he’s trying to tell me . . .

Published in: on March 4, 2012 at 10:12 pm  Comments (8)  

Pyromania

My Cowboy was working on my sister’s farm yesterday, and came across a brush fire.

I will begin by saying that the fire was indeed intentionally set . . . by my brother-in-law . . . who has been referred to by my sister ever since as Dumbass. But I’m sure he never meant for it to get out of control like it did . . . and professes still that he “was never worried about it.”

But it did get out of control, and it involved all the neighbors, arriving in their trucks with shovels and rakes, and it involved a call to 9-1-1, followed by the arrival of several tanker/sprayer trucks, and more men with shovels and chain saws.

And thankfully, no real damage was done, and in fact, it’ll actually be good for the pasture that burnt off. It’ll save them having to burn it off some other time, right?

But this incident also brought to mind the time My Cowboy decided to do an intentional burnin’ on our place a couple years back.

He mused for awhile about heading out west to burn off some of the back pasture, and I mused back that I thought he otta wait until I got back from town so I could help if things went wrong, but you can guess what happened anyway, can’t you?

I got back from town, and the pasture was indeed burnin’, and things looked to be going all right, but there was no cowboy in sight, and the fire seemed to have left our place and hopped onto the neighbor.

My phone rang. It’s My Cowboy: “Well, wouldn’t ya know, it’s been as quiet as can be all this time, and just as I’m about done, the wind picks up? I’ve called Leslie to see if he cares if I just go ahead and burn his off while I’m at it, since that’s what’s gonna happen anyway.”

Me: “OK, just so I know all’s well.”

But it just so happens that the volunteer fire chief of the closest town to us lives about 2 miles from where My Cowboy was having his fun, and he saw the smoke.

And he called out his team of volunteers, and they all raced in our direction, being positive that something was terribly wrong and help was needed.

To burn off Leslie’s pasture, too, would take the fire all the way to the nearest gravel road to the north, and by the time the volunteers arrived, that’s about where it was at, and would stop on its own.

The volunteers skid to a stop on the gravel road, jump out of their trucks, leap the ditch and head up the hill, and when they stop to look up, what do they see?

My Cowboy . . . stick in one hand . . . blow torch in the other . . . grin the size of Texas on his face. “Howdy, boys!”

“Oh, it’s you . . . ”

But it IS good to know that help is so readily available, even when you don’t call for it!

Published in: on March 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm  Comments (5)