Thursday, March 12, 2015


Where does time go?  2015 seems to be flying by like a jet.

February had us vaccinating all the cows and calves.  Here is our work crew.  The finger in the photo belongs to our chief cow whisperer and photographer Cindy.

Everyone has a job to do.  Mark, my honey, moves the cattle into the sweep and then into the narrow alley that puts the cows in a line up to the chute. He is the one who has the most direct contact with the cows and is in the most danger of getting kicked or ran over.

Alongside the alleyway is Cindy, where she whispers to the cattle and gives them nibbles of grass and a squirt of wormer down  their backs (but not the animals that will be eaten this year) and takes photos.  She multi-tasks.  She is talented like that.  Unfortunately, I could find no photos of her.  I guess she's not into selfies,  but she's kind, cute, blond and is married to this sweet guy.

Troy is our son's  buddy, who has also become our friend.

Troy and Eric work the cattle chute.  The cattle walk through the alley, past Cindy, and into the chute.  Troy closes the chute's door behind them and then  Eric works the lever that catches their heads.  Troy then quickly pulls the lever that makes the chute squeeze up onto the animal's sides.  The squeezing keeps the animal from moving around and also seems to calm them down.  Sort of like Cindy's whispering did while they were in the alley.  After they are caught Troy lifts the calves tails to find out if they are male or female, so we can prepare. 

Next,  Eric uses the bolus gun, that isn't really a gun at all, and  gives the animals their pills.

 The bolus gun is a long empty tube that you place big vitamin/mineral pills in.  Once the long barrel is in their mouth and down their throat you pull a trigger and the big pills slide down into their stomach.   We give our animals selenium and a magnesium/copper boluses.

I  hand Eric the loaded tagging tool ( sort of like a piercing gun)  and the calves get earrings.  This year females' have red tags in the right ear and males' white tags in the left ear.   It makes it easier for us to identify them from a distance. 

Jo, our DIL,  is always ready with the sharp needles and loaded syringes and gives  vaccination injections to all the cattle and also a tetanus shot to all of the little bulls that are going to become steers.  Which gets us to our next step.

Eric and Troy put on a special rubber band around the little bulls' testicles.  This cuts off the circulation and eventually the testicles fall off and they will then be steers.  The calves, not Eric and Troy. 

My job is quality control and letting the animals that have been handled back out into the holding pen. I don't do much.   I keep a book and write everything down and make sure everything gets done.  Jo helps me with this too.

We give a big thanks to our cattle crew.  You guys are all the best and we appreciate you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hope of Spring

The weather has been warm and sunny.  Nice and warm days for starting seeds, pulling weeds and mowing the lawn.  The garden calls loudly during these pretend spring days of February.  I have to always remind myself that we tend to get snows in March and that I shouldn't plant too much in the garden.  But dreams of growing things and aesthetically pleasing outdoor designs still fill my head.  Of course, my dreams for the garden never are completely fulfilled because it's hard work and the elements don't always work in my favor.  But I love the dreaming all the same.  That bud of hope that bursts in my heart is still beautiful even if it never does get to open all the way.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sunny January

We had very low rainfall for January, only a couple of inches.   February is trying to make up for it and right now it is bucketing outside my window.  Hence, why I'm taking the time to blog something.  I'll miss looking back at the end of the year if I don't post something.  Anything.  Even if it is poorly done.

Blogging is a great way of storing memories for us, and the older we get the more important that is!  We like looking back over previous years and being  flooded by them.  Often the photos or words have hidden memories attached that are just for us.  We try to encode them in the posts,  like spies. 

Here is a selfie taken just north of us on January 1st and it is loaded with memories for us. 

Our beaches are often empty of people and this year instead of going off on a tropical vacation, we've decided  to  have mini getaways each month.  So far, our beaches, seem to be our chosen location.  They are a beachcombers delight with miles of hiking on the sand or on trails along the headlands,  accommodations in hotels or camping,  microbreweries  and wine tasting.   Perfect. 

On the last day of January we headed to the beach again and participated in the Trinidad to Clam Beach Run.  It has been a very, very, long time since we've done fun runs and I've never done one with so many people.  It was a blast and we might be hooked on a new activity. 

We also journeyed to visit all our grandkids this month.  Poppa and I had to take the Vegas grandsons  hiking in Red Rock.   Our oldest, at 3,  is already able to hike a few miles with no complaints.  Future Hiker of America.

The twins are doing super and here is a photo of me and Liam... or is it Maddox?  You've seen one you've seen them both.  They are absolutely identical.  So cool.  They are super social too and adore watching and laughing at their 20 month old brother Zane.
Here are all 3 of them watching the super bowl commercials.  Zane loves cars!

Back on the ranch we had our first daffodils bloom and munched on tasty greens from the garden while perusing seed catalogs for our summer bounty. 

I got  kisses from my all time favorite little heifer, Sassy

I've always wanted a riding cow and here I'm desensitizing my prospect to my weight.  First of January I turned the 3 orphans out with the herd and they are all doing well.  Like any empty nester though,  I am doing less than well.  I miss my babies, but it is best for them to learn how to be cows with cows, not me.   Luckily their herd circles past my house at least once a week and I get my cuddles in with my favorite little gal. 

We butchered a couple hogs this month for some neighbors and are planning on getting 3 more butchered in a USDA facility this month for the store and farmers market sales.  The hogs are free roaming and can go anywhere they like, but they often like to loaf in the barn.  They are a bit lazy.  I have begun closing up their feeder, so they have to forage more. They were just eating to much of our profit with that expensive organic grain. 

The horses are happy running free, but they always run on over when we show up to check on them.  It is such a mild winter, so far, that they haven't required any supplementation. 

The cattle haven't really needed much supplementation either, but we try and feed them once a week so that they don't forget us, and to make sure everybody is ok.  It makes life on the ranch so easy when the cows come when we holler.  This is Harley  and an unnamed cow.  It is shocking, I know.  She's the all black one.  Any suggestions?

This cow, Lanai Moo, was named by a reader from Hawaii. 

Eric and Jo's amazing lab, Spice, had puppies in December and we sure enjoyed all the puppies antics.   The kids have sold most of the litter, but if you are interested in getting very well bred hunting dogs, they have 3 little boys left. Spice hunts upland birds, water fowl, and also tracks blood trails of wounded animals, and last but certainly not least,  she also opens the fridge and retrieves beer for HER humans. 
This buck cracked me up.  Instead of running away when he saw me,  he peed.  So, deer do pee in the woods.  Of course, so do I.  It's only natural. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Week 52

The road ahead and the road behind stretch in a line; one direction a dream and the other a memory.  Right NOW is where we try to live, one step at a time. 

It's been a good year.  I haven't enjoyed doing the weekly blog posts because it took what was a fun, creative pursuit to a diary style chore.  Won't do that again, but I will keep posting now and again about our life on the land.  It's a good life, full of beauty and truth and authentic living as well as quite a few piles of poop.    We are very grateful for all of it and we thank our faithful for following along.   Bertha and Dan and Bill and Juanita, thank you for your feedback.  We thank our neighbors too who come up to us and are appreciative to have a connection to the ranch across the creek. 

The hogs are huge and expecting to farrow in April.  The cattle are happy chewing their cuds on our sunny, green, prairies this week.  One of our kitties found a new home and the horses are enjoying living large and running free.  Acres spread out around us for exploring.   Life is Good. 

We wish you enough.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
 copied from enlightened consciousness