Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cornish Cross Chickens at 4 Weeks

Here is what the little cornish cross chick looked like upon arrival at about day 2 of its life. Cute.

Now here is a chick at 4 weeks of age. Not so cute anymore.
Almost completely covered with
feathers and quite a handful.
As of tonight they will be without a light for heat.

I have moved them into the big house that has a little door to the outside world.
Not that they care much. So far, no one has been brave enough to go outside.
They just sit and look outside or enjoy the rays of the sun shining in.

During the first 2 weeks
they ate one 40 pound bag of organic chick starter\grower.
In the last 2 weeks they ate two bags plus 5 pounds of a new bag.
So, total food ingested thus far by 29 birds is 125 pounds.
They are now drinking 4 gallons of water a day,
plus whatever they drink out of the automatic waterer.

I have only had to clean their pen out once so far,
but I know that this will change very rapidly,
because the more they eat the more they poop.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Eric got Spice as a puppy and has enjoyed training her. As well as retrieving ducks, she has a lot of other tricks too. She is a smart and obedient. This winter when we were dog sitting for Eric and Jo, she would even discipline the other dogs when they tried to get on our sofa. It was cute and a big help. She is a good friend and we all enjoy having her around the ranch and look forward to seeing what caliber of hunting dog she develops into.

Sunday Stills

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Like Mother Like Daughter

Here is a mother and daughter duo that hid during our recent roundup. The one on the right is the mother. She's smart. But I'm smarter. I found them hiding under a big bay tree and coaxed them into a near by portable pen. From there we hauled them in the trailer to our holding pen. They had two nice big boys. Funny thing is that one was marked as a heifer and it still had its testicles. Someone made a mistake last spring! We put the bull through the chute and we used the big bander and he is now back running around our ranch till next time. I think that he will make someone an excellent steak or burger.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bull:1/ Tj: 0

I never work with the bulls. They are big, I am small. They are fast, I am slow. I am scared and they know it. I do fairly well with the cows and calves. Honestly, they could run me over just as easy, but for whatever reason, they don't intimidate me much. The bulls do. But, this evening, pushed for time and over confident, I broke my rule and one big bull could have broke me.

It was a long day. Got up at 5:00. Fed the animals around the house, posted a new blog (OK, I am kind of sick). Sorted and loaded calves. Took the calves to the auction. Hung around town until the sale, watched our calves sell (they did well) got the check and put it in the bank. Yay. Delivered ground beef to our local restaurant, ate dinner there, picked up our mail and drove towards home. Almost home and the truck died. Eric and Jo were following in their truck, so Eric delivered Jo and I to the ranch, unhooked his trailer, picked up a new fuel filter and went back to tow his dad if necessary.

Jo and I walked down the mountain to where the front cows were penned to sort out some that we decided to not preg check tomorrow. There were some bulls there too. First pen we sorted went smooth. No problems with the cows or the two young bulls.

The guys showed up, our truck was running with the new fuel filter installed. Yay. However, after loading bulls up to take to bull pen, truck won't start. Boo.

It was getting dark so we headed to the middle barn to sort those cows while the guys figured out the truck. Put some hay in the sorting pen to coax the cattle in and then got started sorting. First cows cut off easy as pie. I was thinking that Jo and I were really good at this. Women Rule!

Then Clay, our old, sweet, gentle spirited bull decided he didn't like his cows leaving. He started getting agitated. OK, I thought, I will just move him into a different area to get him out of my way. Broke the bull rule again, but hey, I did fine last time. He started walking well for me, then later balked. I let him go back to the cows. I tried sorting the cows around him again and he got agitated once more and headed down the walkway. I decided to make another attempt to move him to another pen. This time when he decided to turn around I tried being just slightly forceful and I shook my paddle at him. He walked a bit further. Yeah, I thought. I'm the woman.

Then he turned around and walked right at me. Good time to jump on the fence, I thought. Only my legs were tired and I twisted my ankle and I did not land on the fence but right along side the fence with a big bull staring me in the eye. Without even a wink or a how are you he bumped his big, black head right in my thigh. I fell down, I think mostly from fright. From somewhere I heard a girlish scream. The bull walked right over me carefully and I swore I heard a chuckle.

I could have died or been broken or something. Instead, I am just a little shaken. Thank you Lord.

The guys showed up and they got the bulls out and then I did sort the cows. Very poorly I might add because I was still full of nerves and my poor cows could sense it. And I might have been a little sharp with my family. Oh well. Live and learn. And suddenly both of those seem very important.

Summer Round Up

It is just starting to get light outside and I am taking a moment to have a cup of coffee before we head over to the corrals to sort the calves from their mothers. We haven't been keeping gentleman rancher hours the last few days, but as of Monday evening all of the cattle were gathered. Well, there was the one little mishap with 2 spring calves that got away and Eric the Bold getting ran over and the panels welds didn't hold and they broke across his knee and then there was another mishap he had while we were banding a big bull that I missed gathering in the spring that flung his head and somehow Eric again got his arm smashed and twisted and it could be fractured and I lost my phone. But still, all the cattle are fine (they followed me in record time) the fall calves look pretty good and soon we will load the trailers and head to town. We took one load in last night and the animals seemed happy to enter into the coastal weather as it has finally (yay) become hot here. Tomorrow the preg check will take place and then all the cows will be turned out and I can quit being their hay slave. They bellow and I beckon or perhaps it is the other way around.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Our kids might have flown the coop, but our ducklings stay close.
And they sure are cute taking their bath.

Mark says they are enthusiastic but not very smart.

They think Kate is their personal body guard and I have a suspicion Kate thinks they are dinner.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Get You Cowboy Boots On

Today is our local Rodeo in the Redwoods, AKA Garberville Rodeo. It is very small and fun. Parade in town at 11, Jr. Rodeo and Kids Games at 1:3o. Steak barbecue starts at 4:30 followed by a PRCA Rodeo at 7. I got these flashy boots at a second hand store and have been wearing them for years. They are comfy and fun.

I will probably be wearing them too for gathering our cattle, which starts tomorrow. UGH! I should enjoy gathering, but I don't. Every June we sell some of the fall calves at the Humboldt Auction Yard (saving others for next years grass finished beef). I hate the mamas bawling for their babies and the way they all trust me and follow me into the pen. Well, it is good they trust me because it keeps their stress down and what used to take a week to do, now takes 3 days. One day I bring in the west ridge herd; the next the front herds and on the third day we go out and push in or capture in portable panels the ones who got missed. But I don't look forward to this work at all. I don't think I am cut out to be a cattle rancher. At least not the selling part. Hahaha. I like the raising part. I'm good at that. Of course, we couldn't do the raising part very well without the selling part. There is always a catch somewhere.

But for this morning I am going to enjoy the sun and work on our Three Sisters Garden, which consists of corn, squash and beans combined in hills. And later, The Rodeo.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lovely Water Lillies

We have a lovely gold fish pond that was originally built back in the 1930's. It has a little bridge that Kate likes to stand on to watch the goldfish from. Ironically, I feed the fish dry cat food.
When we moved in here, I dug out the old pots with the overcrowded lily bulbs and re-potted them.
They bloomed that June.
And they continue to bloom every year since. Soon I will need to re-pot them again. If you would like some bulbs and live nearby, let me know.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Raising Cornish Cross Meat Chickens

This was the size of the meat birds on day 2 of their lives.

Here is a chick on day 14. Quite a lot bigger.

Out of the 30 chicks, one died, I don't know why. Usually though, I lose a few, so its death isn't unusual. So far, the chicks have eaten one 40 pound bag of organic chick starter/grower.

On day 2 they bounced around like pin balls but now they move at a more sedate pace. I only use the 250 watt heat lamp for night and it is now hanging 22 inches above the floor. During the day I use a plain 100 watt light bulb. Soon I will discontinue the heat lamp altogether. Which will be good because the generator has had to run most evenings for a couple of hours to keep our batteries charged up. (We are completely off the grid and generate our electricity from the sun and water.) They will be moving into larger accommodations soon and will have access to the outdoors.

Another update coming at day 28. I bet I will have to use 2 hands to hold one then.

To view my first post on Raising Cornish Cross Meat Birds click HERE.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Craigslist Anonymous

There is an Alcoholics Anonymous and an Overeaters Anonymous and apparently their is a Sex Addicts Anonymous that a certain senator will probably be attending. But I can't find a listing for Craigslist Anonymous. It might be needed here.

The trip to Montana (Country Cowgirl was correct) was to buy some firewood making equipment found on Craigslist and on our recent trip to the bay area for a wedding we came back with a cattle sweep, alley and chute. Also, found on Craigslist.
Here the Craigslist addict busy searching for a good deal. Check out the glasses. I think he thinks they give him power to find the 'good deal'. They must be working.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lani Moo says HI

(Cow named by Momma Em who used to blog from Hawaii, so give the Moo to o sounds)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Where in the World?

I found these following photos on Mark's camera after he was missing for a couple of days. I am not sure what was up, but apparently this man was involved.

And they traveled through some pretty amazing scenery apparently.

But it looks like he might have been thinking about me once. Check out the sign.
All of the photos appear to have been taken at high speed. Perhaps he was being chased?
I'm not sure. But I am glad he is home.
And he has been sawing logs ever since. It must have been a heck of a trip.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gardening update.

The potatoes are doing well. They are just starting to bloom.
The tomatoes don't look too good. Still a little yellow and small, but with the recent warm up I am sure they will improve.
Flowers here and there are beginning to bloom and I moved out some flower starts from the green house today and got them planted too as well as 24 bell pepper plants. What are we possibly going to do with that many bell peppers.
Happy gardening! Happy Day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Day in the Sun

The sun finally came. YES. Full days of sunshine and 70 degree temps are lined up in a row on the accuweather page. It has been a long winter.

One of my favorite things to do in the sun is ride around checking on the cattle. It isn't important or anything, but it sure is enjoyable.

The cows all seem glad to have grass that is finally full of vitality. By 10 am they are already having their first coffee break, AKA as chewing their cuds. When the grass is weak, they spend a lot more time eating. These cows name's are Peaches, Emma and Purty and their calves were laying in the shade behind me.

This calf got his first kiss from Kate. Kate loves to stand still and call in the unsuspecting for a brief kiss before she goes in for a little grip. Of course, the cows are on to her, but their older calves are fair game. But not the babies. I don't let her play games with them and their mamas would come after Kate even if I did let her. We have too many coyotes and most of the cows defend their youngsters.

These are the twins that were born this spring. (We are bad ranchers and haven't gotten everyone on the same calving schedule.) These two really got us mixed up when they were first born. We saw one at a time with the mother, but not together. Then a few weeks later, saw both of them with their mother and we had another cow that apparently was missing a calf. Mark thought it was a case of calf nabbing. We have had over maternal cows take on the calf of a less than maternal mother. I sat around watching and waiting and eventually all was accounted for as the missing calf showed up and we realized we had a set of twins. They are cute and they do everything together.

No ride would be complete without a stop to lay in the grass and do a little posey picking. Ahh, summer is coming. Hallelujah and AMEN.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


We never installed any kind of statistical device on our blog. We were afraid it might change what we write about. Our primary purpose here is to remember and keep track of life and to share it with others. We think of our audience as being those we know or come to know through their blogs and comments. But this all changed recently when I noticed the tab that is entitled, 'Stats'. Apparently, we no longer need to add this program. I clicked it and discovered that people from all over the world have checked out this little blog. (BTW- Where is Bhutan?) This feels me with a bit of trepidation and wonder. Really? You like to see what we are doing. Wow. Neato. Awesome. And apparently quite a few people each week, averaging about 50, would like to know how to cook mountain oysters. Type in 'how to cook mountain oysters' on Google search and this is what you'll find. Top hit. Amazing.

Then I discovered the URLs and websites that referred folks to us and I was surprised again.

Our number one reference was Google, because of those mountain oysters I presume, but I also discovered that the Northcoast Journal has us listed on their blogwatch. Pretty cool. The Journal is a free local paper that is top rate and takes an in depth look at many issues that are important to the north coast. A couple more local blogs that refer to us are the Redheaded Blackbelt and Sohum Parlance II. Kym, a red haired black belt, who is also our neighbor, has a very popular and informative blog. During the Japanese disaster, she often posted news ahead of the syndicated stations. Sohum Parlance is fun to read for political views and the lively comments. And a big thanks and shout out to Mikey in Arizona as she comes in second for references to our blog. Mikey must have a huge following. She lives a crazy life with her hubby Wade and adorable daughter Mercy. Most posts are about horses, dogs and all the bizarre things that make her life great. A new blog I follow is 5 Starr's Farm and I feel like I could really be friends with this blogger. If only she lived on this side of the mountains. I love her photos and her down home sentiment. Another supporter is GunDiva. She is a gun shooting, horse riding, and tale spinning gal from Colorado who has many fantastic stories from her days as a dude string leader. I encourage you to check all these blogs out.

Stats. Who knew? Now I just have to be careful and not let it influence me. Too much.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Horse Sales

Rosa came to Eric and Jo from a neighbor a year or so ago. She turned into a very safe and sound trail horse. And last month she was sold to a vet from Brookings, Oregon. It was great knowing she was going to a responsible and knowledgeable person.

Eric and Jo are now in the process of selling Belle.I have to admit I am in love. I have always had a sweet spot for a horse of color. I once had a pinto named Spot. He was a unregistered tobiano built like a jeep. I also housed and trained a registered chestnut paint overo named Jack for my 4-H group. Jack turned out top notch and took many a child on a turn around the ring.

Eric knew Belle would catch my eye. He got her from a friend of a friend who hadn't really ridden her in years. Eric and Jo have been putting in some time on her and have discovered that she is very well trained. She needed a little hoof care, and still a little weight loss, but other than that she is pretty much good to go and easy to catch and easy to love too. I am hoping she can go to another good home. And I am trying to fight the inclination to make her mine.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Raising Cornish Cross Chickens for Meat

Day 1 for me Day 2 for the Chicks:
Early morning phone call from our postmistress that the chicks have arrived. Picked them up and brought them home.

Each chick get individually taken out of the small cardboard box and little beaks gets dipped into water. It is important to make sure that they all drink well as they can be dehydrated. Soon, they begin drinking from the gallon waterer on their own. This year I am adding vitamins to the water called Broiler Booster. It is supposed to help your birds stay healthy without the aid of any medications. All 30 chicks look very healthy. I ordered them this year from Belt's Hatchery in Fresno, California.

They all run around my little homemade brooder area like pin-balls whizzing in a pin ball game. I use shavings for bedding. They find the organic chick starter and begin eating. In a couple of weeks I will switch them to a higher protein feed to help prevent leg problems and I will add some small cross boards or chicken wire to my handmade feeder to keep them from wasting feed by scratching it out and pooping on it.

I have a 250 watt red heat lamp hanging about 17 inches from the ground and they huddle underneath for warm before taking off for more food and water. For the first week the temperature should be about 95 degrees. Then each week I will raise the light up so that the temp. fall by about 5 degrees per week. The red light casts an eerie glow, but it is supposed to prevent the chicks from pecking each other.

Here is a short video of the chicks. If you look at the light fixture, you will see that it has bars across the bottom. This is to help prevent fire if was to fall into the bedding below.

To get an update on the birds at day 14 click HERE.

P.S.: Ever seen a steer nursing on a horse? Check it out.