Family

Lately, According to My Phone

Do you ever have a time when you’re like, “WHAT have we been doing lately?!” because the days run together and you don’t remember what you did yesterday vs. a week ago?

I hope so, otherwise it’s just me. I always go back through my pictures on my phone to try and delineate time when we get busy. Here’s what’s been happenin’, according to my trusty electronic appendage.

new-haircut-car-selfieWhen we go to Town, we always do allthethings since we’re there, so yesterday before my doctor’s appointment, we got rid of Wacey’s mullet and he did so well. I am super proud of him because usually a haircut is an ordeal. I mean, worse than shots, worse than having to stay inside, worse than…well, anything. I’m not kidding. He screams like you’re poking him with a branding iron the second that cape goes on. It’s quite alarming. But this time, we talked about getting a haircut, and he cried at the beginning but then decided playing with a tractor was a better idea and even let the stylist use clippers on his neck (!!!) and oh man I’m so proud. So, we got frosted lemonades from Chik-Fil-A and took a selfie to commemorate the occasion.

2156cThis is a cow. Just in case you were wondering.

2242cHere’s a calf and her mama–see how their eartags match? The cow’s number is 2242C, that E number on the calf’s tag is the calf’s number, and the “QST” on the top is dad’s sire code.

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Spotted: one bearded cowboy and one moose hat-wearing toddler out of his mind with happiness feeding cattle together.

excuse-meI was opening the gates of the pens to let the girls out to morning feed, and this cow just kept inching closer and closer, like “Hey. I’m hungry. There’s hay out there. Can I eat that hay? Can you move? I need that hay. Hey, you’re in the way of the hay. YOU’RE IN THE WAY OF THE HAY. You’re in the hay way!” Don’t worry, I did in fact move, and she was in fact the very first one to get some of that hay.

gauchoThis fluffy nutcase turned FIVE YEARS OLD last week and I can’t believe it. We got him in Montana when he was just a puppy and he is the best dog in the world. We’re best frands.

hay-baleSome of that aforementioned hay, hey.

hayOne measurement of calving season is watching this haystack dwindle. The smaller it gets, the closer we are to having all the heifers calved. Spoiler: we’re not close.

making-tagsEar tags! I pre-make all of Bert’s ear tags to save him time since he doesn’t have help in the day (and because his handwriting is tiny. I mean, miniscule). I explained a little bit about what all those numbers mean above, but to continue: the tag on the left is the back of a tag, and that calf has already been born, so reading the back of the tag will tell you that it’s a bull calf, born January 21, has a heart girth measurement of 30″ (this is how we “weigh” the calves), and his mother is 2490C, which means she’s a red cow. We move the year letter around to indicate the breed. For instance, on that second tag, having the letter in the second place indicates that it’s an Angus pair, and if the number were to start with a letter, it would indicate that it’s a Charolais. Every ranch tags differently, and this is the system that works for us.

mama-and-babyA mama with her brand-new baby all snuggled in the hay!

new-mamaAnother very brand new mama! Bert had just pulled this calf (it had a leg back) and this is the first time this mama is meeting her baby! It’s always nice when they recognize the calf as theirs and go to tending to it right away, as pulling a calf can sometimes be hard on the mama and it can take her awhile to get her bearings. This calf is doing great, by the way!

So, apparently, our life right now is cows, and hay, and also cows, unless we go to town, in which case it’s selfies and slushies.

I don’t hate it. Not even kind of.

I wouldn’t say no to a slushy+cows combo, but most slushy slushes seem to de-slush by the time we make it back to the cows. Ah, well.

On The Ranch

Twins!

Over the weekend, Bert had his first set of twins in four years! The other cowboys have all had several sets of twins each year, but not Bert. He was surprised because he pulled the first one due to it having a leg in the wrong position, and it was pretty normal size–usually twins are smaller–and lo and behold there was one more in there, who was just as big! I feel for that mama, and she was a champ carrying two such big calves full-term.

It’s pretty warm here today, so after breakfast Wacey and I got ready and took a walk down to the barn to see the new babies and hopefully help Bert feed since apparently tractors are Wacey’s current major love language. I even had the incredible foresight to bring my Nikon! I did not, however, have the incredible foresight to check the battery, so I only got a few pictures before it died. Baby steps. Baby steps.

Both of the twins are girls, which is nice because–fun fact alert!–when there is a pair of boy/girl twins, the girl twin is sterile because the hormones of the boy calf affect her reproductive development in utero. They’re called freemartins, and they are otherwise completely normal, but as they are sterile we have to ship them to the feedyard for beef, even if they turn out to be a nice enough heifer to keep in the herd.

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Gah I just love baby calves! These two are so fluffy and cute and I can’t even handle it, and I love that they are basically strawberry blondes (Charolais mama, Red Angus papa). The younger heifer will get an eartag today, as we weren’t expecting to need two!

twin-mamaThis is their mama, and she’s outside having breakfast. The twins will stay in the barn until they’re both big and strong, especially since it’s supposed to get cold this week. They should be ready to go outside soon, but we’ll keep them close for awhile. Plus, as is often the case, this mama doesn’t have enough milk to feed both babies, so Bert is bottle-feeding one until a foster mother becomes available. When that happens, I’ll be sure to write a post about the grafting process and how we help foster mamas “adopt” a new calf!

(To be fair, though, we had a cow raise both of her calves last year (W555 is a milk machine, apparently) and we got to see both of her girls at Bangs vaccinating last week and gosh they look good!)

I love twins. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because they’re fairly unusual or maybe it’s because it’s two-for-the-price-of-one cuteness, but they are so much fun. Grafting to a new mama can be a lot of work, though, especially with heifers, so hopefully Bert gets lucky this time.

In case you were wondering how happy Wacey gets when I say “Shall we go down to the barn and see Daddy and the cows?” this is it. He loves it. Also had to get that pre-haircut bedhead on camera because gosh it’s the greatest, even if there is a mullet back there.

bedhead

Happy Monday! May your coffee/tea/caffeine choice of the day be strong and delicious, may your kids’ naptimes be long and full of whatever you need them to be, and may your kid not poop in the bathtub like mine did twice last week.

 

Friday Favorites · Fun

Less Formal Friday (okay, Saturday) Faves

I had almost a whole “Currently” post written, and went back and re-read it, and holy complaining, Batman! I’ve hit the point in my pregnancy where I can’t quite keep a handle on my feelings (and there are so many feelings), and things have felt a little out-of-control and stressful lately, but I don’t want that to be the new normal for the next few months. It’s so easy to fall into the deep, dark pit of “I hate everything.” But, I don’t like being in that pit, and it’s not fair to my boys for me to be in that pit.

So I scrapped that post, and instead I’m going to share some positive, happy things, although I am a day late and a dollar short. Ah, well.

Oh, baby things. They never cease to give me the warm fuzzies. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these bibs! We loved having bandana-style bibs for Wacey–they seemed less bulky and easier to manage, but I was washing all of his baby clothes for Bub and most of them are so milk-stained that I think we need new ones. In my search for non-stupid bibs, I came across this etsy shop and I’m in love! I tend to dress my babies in plain onesies, too, so these are perfect.
bibs

We don’t do “push presents,” but I am gifting myself a pair of new moccasins (I’ve talked about them before, I know), because my old ones are shot and since I’ll be living in mocs from the moment we leave for the hospital to the moment I feel like a human again, I think it’s an appropriate investment. I know a girl that got a BMW as a push present, so this isn’t quite on that scale, but they do look prettttty cozy, and I love the blue. After the spend-spend-spend of the holiday season, I am trying to be so much more mindful of what I spend money on, but I’ve done my research and these are perfect. Now, LL Bean, please have a sale. Love, me.
moccs
Women's Wicked Good MoccasinsWomen's Wicked Good Moccasins
Wacey’s SECOND (what?!) birthday is in a few short weeks, and I’m so excited about the present we got him–a sandbox! He got so many gifts for Christmas that we didn’t feel the need to go crazy for his birthday. I found this one for a great deal at Target, and yes, it’s a little cheesy, and I would have preferred a wooden one, but it’s going on our deck (to help mitigate the rattlesnake situation) so we needed one with both a bottom and a cover that’s easy to move around. We’re not doing a big birthday party, but we’re going to spend the day doing what Wacey wants to do. I’m envisioning balloons everywhere, chocolate donuts for breakfast, spending most of the day at the barn, and a trip into town for frozen yogurt and chicken lo mein.

Or just six hours in a tractor. You know.
sandboxValentine’s Day has never been a big holiday for us since we’re always calving, but I have to admit that I love Valentine’s candy. I’m trying hard to cut back on the sugar as it exacerbates these wild mood swings, but when I do indulge I love to have a little heart-shaped box of chocolates, or some conversation hearts. I’m also really interested in trying Halo Top ice cream as part of this new effort!

I also picked up some craft supplies today to make a few Valentine’s banners for around the house, and I’m so looking forward to some pink festiveness in this house full of boys!

Also in the less-sugar realm, I’m back to drinking more tea instead of Starbucks Via Refreshers as my caffeine source. I don’t know why I ever stop drinking tea, because I really do love having a mug of something hot, and the no calories/no sugar (I drink it black) is really a big bonus. I have a couple go-tos (Bigelow’s Plantation Mint and Constant Comment), and I discovered that Amazon carried their Green Tea with Mint so I ordered a big box it’s so good. I love mint tea, my tummy loves mint tea, my mood and head love caffeinated mint tea, we’re just so happy together. My favorite decaf option is, of course, Celestial Seasonings’ Peppermint.
green-tea

You know what else I love? Finding new shops to follow on Instagram, new podcasts to listen to, and new books to read. New additions: Southern Fried Chics Boutique on the Insta; Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and Pantsuit Politics for podcasts; and Hidden Figures, Sudden Death, Evicted, and the Magnolia Story are on request at the library. The latest episode of the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey featured Anne behind Modern Mrs. Darcy, and expanded my must-read and must-listen-to list exponentially!

And, of course, I’m still living in my jogger sweats. If you’re pregnant, get you some. Seriously.

I hope your Saturday was wonderful!! I am not going to talk about politics much here, but I will say that I hope your day, regardless of what you did or who you voted for, was about being proud to be an American, and the rights that we are so blessed to have in this country, and not about being hateful. I hope that we can all be tolerant of and kind to one another no matter what–I hope this also extends to your friends and family who voted differently from you!

On that note, it’s Documentary and Dessert night here in the Johnston household, so we’re keepin’ it classy with Milk Duds and Oreos with a side of a documentary about ISIS. I know, it’s hard to not be suuuuuper jealous of and intimidated by our rockstar lifestyle.

….#parentlife.