Hard work. Big Rewards. Bigger blessings. Life on a South Dakota ranch.
Looking Forward to 2014
I’m ready for the new year. I’m excited to see what secrets it will hold. I’m looking forward to seeing what avenues open up to us in our business and personal lives. I’m anxious to see what paths my adult children choose. All-in-all… I can’t wait to turn the calendar to January.
We bangs vaccinated our replacement heifers a week ago. Bangs disease is the common name for brucellosis (contagious abortion). Brucellosis in cattle causes abortion or premature calving in the affected cows. Infected cattle are also difficult to get re-bred and often become sterile. Bangs vaccinations must be done by a veterinarian so our tried-and-true veterinarian, Dr. Don Beck from Fallon County Veterinary Clinic, came and spent the morning with us. We always enjoy working with him.
The calves look great. It is always fun to watch them grow… the calves that we raised and poured our hearts and souls into; the calves that we KNOW, and KNOW their mommas and daddies. These are the calves that we drug in to the barn if they were born outside when it was too chilly. These are the calves that we made sure were up and nursing quickly to ensure their best chance at good health. These are the calves that we helped stand up when they struggled, helped suckle if they didn’t know how, and helped make sure their moms LET them suck. These are the calves that we hauled in to the house to get warm if they got chilled and babied along in the barn when they weren’t taking off like they should. These are the calves that we walked through every day while feeding to make sure they were staying healthy and getting well taken care of by their mommas. We will get to watch these replacement heifers grow and they will be artificially inseminated in May of 2014 for calving in the spring of 2015. The circle of life continues.
The coming 2-year-old heifers that will begin calving in less days than we wish to think about are home getting fed well and preparing for their first calves. These heifers are like a bunch of kids. They are so curious. As you can see, we didn’t have the panels up on the back side of our yard yet at our walk-out basement. The heifers enjoyed exploring our yard and seeing what was going on.
The left side of the fence is my garden spot. They fertilized that heavily for me. The right side is my back yard. They fertilized that, also.
The tree on the right side of the picture is in the corner of my yard. The heifers are coming down the path that leads over south where they are fed hay in the mornings most days. They can’t resist trailing down the road to the houses and corrals to see if the horses left any hay or pellets lying around. They also will go in the machinery shed and investigate, and have been found standing in the vehicle garages if there is an empty bay while a vehicle is out.
Here they come again from over south. This is mid afternoon. That is usually when they are ready to take a little jaunt to see what kind of trouble they can get themselves into.
The next three pictures show the heifers coming down the road into our house. They are also spread on a feed ground up on the top of the hill if the weather is nice. Then they trek down the road instead. Here you can see that they are stretched along the road single file and will follow the road down and around the corner to the corrals, too. They just can’t stay away.
They like to rub on the bushes outside my yard fence and scratch on the branches. They like to rub on the girls’ school cars and have been known to rub a mirror completely off. The dogs stay busy sending them back over the hill. It won’t be long until they are brought in to the calving lot. Then they will be put back out in this pasture after they calve. They then bring their calves around the yard to see what’s happening. It is always fun to watch the newborn calves bucking around outside the yard fence.
Not many days until calving starts. The curious heifers now that make me laugh won’t be quite so cute then when we are checking them every two hours around the clock. I better enjoy them now.