Sometimes all you can do is laugh, that and wish you had your video camera. A few days ago we were walking through cow/calf pairs while feeding. We do this every day looking for anything that is out of sorts— a cow not being sucked, a calf with a downed ear, anything breathing funny or not feeling up to par, a calf that might be hungry, or anything else that is not quite right. And let me tell you, the calf that looks under the weather and wimpy seems just the opposite when you decide to rope it to take a closer look.
Pine found a calf he wanted to check out a few mornings ago. It was lying around looking peaked, and then he pulled out his rope. The little bugger took on new life. He was off like a shot leaving the roper holding an empty loop. I have talked about this before, but being on foot and roping a calf in the middle of a bunch of cows and calves is WAY harder than it sounds. It is also very entertaining if you are the one that is just watching and carrying the med kit. The Wild Child and I were the watchers, and laugh-ers.
Per the Wild Child’s account, “Granny! You should have seen it! It took Dad about 20 minutes to rope the calf!”
That might be an exaggeration, but it was funny for way longer than 20 minutes. Pine got the calf lined out, threw his rope, and caught the calf even after a sharp duck to the right. That is where things started to get funny. He jerked his slack, but not before the calf ran all the way through the loop only to be caught (barely) by one hind foot. Because of the sharp duck to the right, the rope tripped up the calf and rolled him even though the loop slipped off the one tentatively held foot. Then the guffaws really started. Pine threw himself his full body length (6’3.5″) diving like a volleyball player trying to save game point. And save game point he did. He caught the calf by the hind foot and held on, all the while getting blasted in the arms and shoulders by the little bugger kicking like a mule trying to free himself. At this point, a good helper would have been there for backup. Pine didn’t have any good helpers. As the leg slipped out of his grasp he looked around to see where his backup was and found that his handy helpers (the Wild Child and I) hadn’t moved from our original spot. We were bent over laughing. Best cheap entertainment we had for days.
All ended well. Pine caught the calf with his next loop, and without the help of the Wild Child and her rope. The baby just had a little belly ache so we just watched him for a day or two to make sure all was well. He was fine the next morning.
Until next time… JARW
If you saw my pigsty, I mean my house, you would wonder if there was even a soap box around. However, today I am digging one out to stand on it and shout! MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
The USDA comment period for allowing importation of beef from areas of Brazil ends on April 22nd. As of today, 04/11/2014, there are ONLY 673 comments. What the heck? We have over 673 cattle producers in South Dakota alone. Why are people not responding? Why are we granting the USDA the opportunity to potentially devastate our way of life, our income, our passion for agriculture, and our LIVES without even commenting and trying to put a stop to it?
If you are unaware of what is going on, the USDA is proposing to import beef products from areas of Brazil. Why does it matter, you ask? Well, let me enlighten you. Foot-and-Mouth Disease!! Here are some articles that I have written in the past few months.
I have also written a past blog post about this issue, FMD.
This is a very, very serious issue. The USDA is playing roulette with the future of agriculture in the United States. Please, please, PLEASE… don’t allow it. Here is the USDA LINK to the docket. Take a minute and comment on the proposal. Please let the USDA know that you DON’T WANT BEEF IMPORTS FROM BRAZIL. In addition, please contact your legislators and let them know your thoughts. Here is a website to help you out with contacting your legislators.
We have become a nation of complacency. Please make a difference and comment. Please.
“There is a significant Latin proverb, to wit, Who will guard the guards?”—–Henry Wheeler Shaw
Until next time… JARW
We have officially been calving for 127 days. Well, it seems like it sometimes. We have actually only been calving for 55 days, but who’s counting right?! Especially with all the fun we have had! The last heifer calved two days ago so we are DONE with heifers! YAY! The weather over the past few days has been absolutely glorious. I am LOVING the sunshine, meadowlarks singing, sprouts of green grass, baby calves running, playing, and bucking, and the amount of time we are getting to spend on the back of a horse.
We spent two afternoons putting out more pairs and then sorting cow/calf pairs into one pasture and heifer/calf pairs in to another pasture. It was much-needed therapy for not only me, but I believe for Pine, Kate, and Papa. There is something soothing about sorting a pair out of a bunch and sending it towards the gate. I love every aspect of it from finding the right pair, the sounds of the horses, the cows and calves bawling, the smell of the leather and horse lather, the calmness of the whole process, and especially watching three generations (my husband, father-in-law, and the Wild Child) all working together towards a common goal.
Spring is here. The horses have all pretty much shed their winter coats… we help by brushing it off in clumps every morning. The cows are scratching and scratching…
using the fence as their scratching post while jerking out staples and stretching wire. Everything is seeking out green grass. I’m loving it.
We are fixing fence, pounding staples, watching calves and kids grow with the sunshine and fresh air, and loving the sounds and sights of spring.
Until next time… JARW
It has been a long couple of days. A winter storm blew through dropping 8-10 inches of wet snow accompanied by blowing wind. The drifts are everywhere, and they are deep. It is tiring trudging through drifts up to your knees, some over your knees, and then there is squishy mud down underneath the snow so you are sinking and slipping in it all. It makes for tired muscles.
The cows must have realized there was a winter storm going on. The first night they cooperated pretty well and we didn’t have one calf UNTIL about 5:30 a.m. on Monday morning. After getting all the sheds cleaned the cows started calving in full force. By yesterday afternoon the sheds were filling up pretty quickly. Pine and Gary were trying to get some snow moved yesterday afternoon so we could get around better. The girls were watching the drop bunch and putting in anything that was calving. I was walking through all the pairs in the lots to make sure nothing was mixed up and every baby was eating and doing well. As luck would have it, at dark last night I found a calf that had been bummed by his crazy momma. I stopped Pine in the tractor to find out where he wanted me to put him to get some milk in his belly. We ended up packing him out of the lot in the tractor bucket as the drifts were too deep to get to where he was at with anything else. We put him in the horse barn and the girls fed him a bottle.
By this morning we didn’t have one open spot in any shed. We were so glad for sunshine and warmer temps so we could get all the pairs put out and the sheds cleaned and re-bedded. It was quite a process. The WC filled the tagger, as is her usual job, Pine tagged and kicked them out, and I got them put in the next corral. It isn’t as easy a process as it sounds. Some of the cows are awesome and just take their calf and head to the gate. Those cows get a BIG atta-girl! Others are not quite so cooperative. They take off while you are trying to get the calf going in the right direction. Then when it seems like the calf is going well the cow comes blowing back and bellering looking for her calf. This scares the poor little bugger and he usually turns and runs the other way. Honestly, I usually end up cussing like a sailor before it is all over.
Old Flops calved last night. When Trent came to give me the low-down on what all had happened during the night as he was headed to bed (at 4:00 a.m.), he said “You’ll be glad to know that Flops calved.” Then he laughed. I told him to laugh away as he would dislike her as much as me after a few months. Flops drives me nuts. She isn’t mean, isn’t wild, isn’t ornery, isn’t much of anything actually other than a complete pain in the tush. She will be the first one through the gate when you are moving pairs and head to the first batch of green grass. There she will sit there munching away until you are trying to push the last bunch of calves through the gate. She will pick this moment to suddenly remember that she doesn’t have her calf. She then turns and runs towards the gate, bellering all the way, scattering calves everywhere, scattering cows everywhere, and making us all cuss. She does it over and over.
We walk through the pairs every single day. Nothing pays much attention to us, except Flops. We will walk through the pairs and she won’t notice us for most of the time we are there. Then she will spot us, start her bellering, start running around trying to remember where she left her baby, and by the time it is all over she will have EVERYTHING stirred up. I cuss her every single time I see her. Pine laughs and says “Oh she isn’t that bad.” Then when she has everything running willy nilly he is cussing her too. Damn ole Flops.
After everything was bedded down for the night, after we made sure all the bellies were full, and after we had moved as much snow as we could get moved yesterday, we all headed for the house. We were tired, wet, and some of us grumpier than others.
Pine said he was showering and heading to bed if I would check until Trent got back. I wanted to watch some basketball anyway so the deal was made. He was standing in the kitchen finding a snack when the WC wondered aloud where she should sleep for the night. Pine said “I know where you WON’T be sleeping!” She had crashed our bed the night before when we had an overflow of kids in the house, and believe me, she is the ONLY one that got any sleep. She stood there, calculator in hand, punching in some numbers and concentrating on the screen. Then she looked up at him and said “The way I figure it, Dad, you are one million percent grumpier than I am.” Out of the mouths of babes…
Until next time… JARW