Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No Time Like The Present

To blog!  It has been another busy busy year. 
As I have settled into being a ranch manager, I have transitioned from a sit in front of a computer person to a being outside person.  Both certainly have pros & cons.  I do miss my office friends & being around people in the hustle & bustle of the big city, but then I go outside & sigh in relief of the quiet beauty of my ranch life.  I no longer hear the sounds of sirens, honking horns, garbage trucks banging dumpsters at 3am or the constant buzz of traffic.  I now hear the bawl of a calf, the howl of a coyote, the hum of a train that's 3 miles from my house, the bray of my silly donkeys & the bellow of a bull trying to attract the attention of a lovely lady.  It hasn't been easy and just when I feel confident in my knowledge, I learn something that lets me know that what I do know is a drop in the bucket of what I need to learn.  Good thing I am thristy for knowledge!!

It was an unfortunate year for the Chevy, the utility trailer & the Mule.  A scary wreck that left all those vehicles totalled.  WB & I were ok - I had minor scratches & a bruise & WB walked away clean.  He did get a new truck.  His first Ford ever & is loving it.  We had a few things done to the house this year.  Installed new windows in the dining room & repainted.  The biggest improvement was getting the fireplace operational again.  Before our central heat was installed, that fireplace heated the front half of the house.  Most of my childhood winter memories include sitting in front of that fireplace.  It's like having a beloved old friend come home again.  Just lovely.

We are not National Lampoon's, but we certainly are an Animal House!  Lots of outdoor & inside animals to take care of every day.  Counter clockwise on the photos.  Miss Ruby & her new buddy, Cash, are grazing in Bandera after a rigorous ride in the hill country.  Below the steeds is one of the not so unusual whatever I thought I was going to do today just changed days.  How this momma found a t-post clip & stuck it in her hoof, I will never know.  Off to the vet she went.  Of course that involves getting all cows in the pens, sorting her off, letting all cows out, loading her in trailer & the list goes on.  It's not like I can pull up to her with the trailer & tell her to kennel up!  She is perfectly fine now & certainly enjoyed the extra food rations she received while in recovery.  She said she could do without the 3 giant antibiotic shots, but I told her it was for her own good & to deal with it.  The middle, top & bottom right are of my sweet Annie & her gang.  My little bottle baby has gotten so big.  She has also changed color.  I'm not sure what color she is going to be & right now, she is red, white & black.  Who knows, maybe she'll be tri-colored her whole life.  She is with all the calves now & is my ring leader as I can call her name & she comes to me bringing the rest of the gang with her.  It's funny to watch.  I was walking across the pasture to open a gate yesterday, purposefully not calling the calves to me, when I hear this quiet thunder of hooves getting closer & louder.  Those rascals saw me & just came running over to see what I had to eat.  I confess that I did have some cow cookies for them because I'm a sucker & just can't help it.  Feeding them those range cubes makes me giggle because they are just too funny - all noses & tongues when the cubes come out.

I mentioned that we have inside animals & here are two of them.  Dog is too well mannered to get on the bed, but Flopsy (in the back) & Mopsy (in front) aren't as well behaved.  The do so love to get in their dad's bed & lounge the day away.  He usually blocks them from jumping up there by opening the lid to the chest at the foot of his bed.  I think he forgets on purpose because they are very good snugglers.  Below Flop & Mop is a picture we took at Murphy's in Winchester.  I made some new & wonderful friends this summer when I was a counselor for a girls horse back riding camp in the hill country.  We had a fun night & gave two Irish folks some great memories to take back to the Emerald Isle.  The middle picture is pretty obvious - RAIN!!  We needed it so badly & went it came it did so as if to make up for lost time.  Everything turned green again & all the outside animals were super happy to be eating grass. 
Since I am in the Queen of Non Sequiturs, the last two pictures make perfect sense to me.  Top right is the birthday cake my awesome boyfriend made for me.  Very yummy.  He even decorated his house with birthday banners & streamers for me.  Very fun.  He is pretty wonderful, but I am totally biased on that subject.  The bottom picture is of the land clearing that has been going on out here.  They are finally done & we are seeing pasture open up that hasn't been seen in about 40 years.  Since the rains & rye grass planting, all of that dirt is now green with native grasses & that sweet winter rye.  My cows are in heaven.  I burned about 23 huge brush piles & still have more to go.  The last ones are going to be difficult as they are close to trees we saved.  It will take just the right weather conditions to burn them - I need a day with no wind & possibly a heavy fog or light drizzle.  I'm not always the most patient person, but the perfect day will present itself & we will burn, burn, burn those last piles.

I am off & running again.  Maybe I can sit & blog again before the end of the year, but it is doubtful.  My feet itch to get outside & enjoy this beautiful weather we have right now.  It is winter in Texas though & the weather will most certainly change & change quickly.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all if I don't blog again before 2014 comes rolling in.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Raining on the plains in Spain, but windy in Fayette County

The wind is blowing like sixty today.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised as late Winter/early Spring is forever & quickly changing.  I'll take a few more cool days before the heat comes waving in & settles for the summer.  This wind is just crazy though.  I think I have more shingles in my yard than on the roof!! 


Mr. Peepers doesn't seem to mind it too much though.  He hangs out in his little shed or lounges in the sun where the house blocks the wind.  He hasn't quite figured out the dog door the way BB did, but he is learning.  He likes to lick it so the flap is very clean on the outside.  BB used to stick her head through & beller her brains out letting you know she was hungry.  Mr. Peepers isn't as pushy, but he lets you know in his own quiet & reserved way. 

I had to get a picture of these ladies.  They look like they are resting, but actually they are practicing their high-kick routine.  Not sure when they will debut their show as we have yet to work out all the details.  It would seem that they & their manager are very demanding & there are all sorts of stipulations on what they want in their dressing rooms - molasses, fresh grass, grade A hay & their own water trough.  Diva Brahmans - just what we need around here!!

Since we are stalled out on our fence project until we get the dozer crew out here to clean up the line, this was our project.  We built a new rack to hold all our steel & PVC pipe, re-bar, sucker rod, etc.  The original one was built in 1950something, reinforced in 1980something & was not too far from complete collapse.  It took us a week to sort scrap from keep, tear down the old & build the new.  I chiseled out the notches for the support boards & used the torch to heat the cross supports for crimping.  Kinda fun to do all that & the rack is loaded again.  Of course, now my back is out of whack due to all the bending & lifting.  The chiropractor says it's not too bad & I do already feel better after my first visit to get straightened out again.  Hopefully with alignment, time, patience, ice, exercise & Advil, I will be back to walking & bending like a normal person by the end of the week!
Here's to a wonderful day & hoping we don't get blown away!
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

It's calving season y'all & I love this time of year.  All those cute little babies are hitting the ground.  Here are Belle, Jingle & Chiquita & they are very busy helping me count calves.  We have a lot of them to count so it is a must to have a list of their tag numbers.  If not, it's sort of like trying to count a swarm of hummingbirds.  Just when you think you have them all, you have to start over & it gets confusing!

Here is one of the little precious babies.  She had just been born only hours before this picture.  Momma was standing close by but didn't seem to mind that I gave her a little pet & checked her plumbing to make sure she was a she & not a he.  She is also one of the ones that I still have yet to get to come to the pens so mommy & baby can go to the nursery pasture instead of the labor & deliver pasture.  I'll get them next round up as we are only 1/4 of the way through our calving.

I'm not very happy with mother, Freckles, here. She is already teaching her silly little girl how to cross the cattle guard.  Two years ago Daddy & I had to twist, pry, strain & pull Miss Freckles out of a cattle guard.  It was the first time I'd every heard him say the B-word!  We were both afraid she'd have a broken leg & we'd have to shoot her.  Thankfully, it didn't turn out that way.  I fussed at Baby Freckles & she ran off.  I guess the grass under the cattle guard is much sweeter than the grass in the pasture. 

Meet Mr. Peepers.  His mommy ended up going to market because she had no milk to feed this little guy.  He's my first, & hopefully only, yard calf.  One might think he is doing a great Gene Simmons impersonation but actually he is just hungry & ready for his bottle.  He has a good appetite & always lets me know if I'm a little late with his meals.  He hasn't figured out the dog door yet like BB did, but at least I don't have to wrestle him to the ground to get him to eat like I did that ratty little Rusty!
We are busy building fence, counting calves, praying for rain & watching the grass grow.  I'm off to get calf, horses & cows fed before heading to work on taking down an old fence.
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Geographically Confused

I have had the good fortune to spend the past few weekends in the Texas Hill Country.  I love the area where I live, but the rugged beauty of that area is just breath taking!  Here, Ruby & I are taking a little break after a long & arduous trail ride in the park. 

I'm back home again & Missy, the escape artist, has met her match in my trailer.  WB was trying to go visit some neighbors & she wouldn't stop following him.  This was the best way to keep her around the house & out of the yard where she just loves, loves, loves to dig, dig, dig.  I think she enjoyed her little ride down to the barn & then she was off & running again.

Back in the Hill Country again for a calf sorting & penning clinic.  As you can see, my calves are very nervous & upset from their 3 hour ride in the trailer.  The clinic was so much fun.  I learned a lot & strengthened my riding relationship with Ruby.  Now I want to work cows on horseback here so I can see if it was all just a fluke!

These pictures never do the colors justice, especially when using your phone camera, but what a glorious morning it was.  I have pictures of the calf clinic coming & will post some of those when I get them.  I'm looking forward to going back again in June for another clinic.  The calves might have other ideas on that one, but they will get over it as their accommodations there are first class!  Added bonus for them is that they get lots of hay, feed & range cubes while on their little calf vacation.
It is cold & windy here this morning & almost time to get layered up so I can get unpacked, de-poop the trailer & get all my gear stowed away.  It will be a day full of laundry, feeding of animals & getting ready to get all the cows up on Wednesday for vaccinations & pregnancy testing.  Fingers crossed - everyone is pregnant so that we have lots of sweet babies hitting the ground in the Spring! 
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jacket Weather

Finally!  We have some fall-like weather around here.  I had to dig out jackets & hoodies so as to stay warm.  How cold is it??  Feels like it's freezing, but only 50's & 60's.  Oh yea, I am a true Texan!  If the temperature dips below 80, it's time to bundle up in a sweater & build a fire!!
The above picture is a little reunion between Dog & Rusty.  They haven't seen much of each other since Rusty left the yard this summer.  Looks like a kiss, but actually, Dog is licking the milk off Rusty's face!  Rusty is still a big pill, but he knows the breakfast lady (me) & comes dashing over.  I'm in the process of cutting back on his milk since it's about time to wean him.  Sniff, Sniff.  My little baby is all growed up!

Hody has stolen one of Rusty's bottles.  I told Hody that it was a little early to be hitting the bottle & he should seek help for his drinking problem, but he doesn't listen.  You'd think he could hear just fine with those giant ears, but noooo!  Stubborn ass!!

These are the newest residents of the ranch - Jingle (on left) & Belle.  We adopted them last week from the Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society.  Their foster mother received them on Christmas Eve thus they received their yuletide names.  They are so cute & super sweet.  Hard to believe that some idiot just dumped them on the side of the road to run wild & starve.  Their foster mother, Angela, is a lovely lady who helped them trust people again.  Now all they want is love & treats - well, treats & love only if they can't get treats!  BEHS is a wonderful organization that rescues horses, mules & donkeys from abuse, neglect & starvation.  If you can foster, donate or adopt, go check them out on-line or visit them at their upcoming Expo in Austin on October 20th.

Ah Ha!  See, it is jacket weather out there.  It's starting to warm up now, but it was cold enough that even Mopsy wanted her little coat on while riding in the Kubota.  Dog is an old hand at bumming around with his dad, but Mopsy is new to the adventures & seems to love it.  What can I say, we live in a bit of a zoo & I wouldn't have it any other way.  Our lives wouldn't be nearly as full & warm & our clothes pet hair free!!
It's going to be another day of shred, shred, shred out in the pasture.  That goat weed has got to go.  The dove & rabbits aren't too happy with me, but the cows are going to love it once the rye grass starts sprouting.  Of course, it won't sprout if I don't get finished shredding, disking & then planting!!  Just waiting for some sunlight to go get started.
Happy Day to you!!
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