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.

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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.

 

On The Ranch

The Pitfalls of Looking Ahead

Happy Monday! We’re recovering from a fantastic weekend over here–we kicked off our festive weekend early and went to Denver Zoo’s Zoolights on Friday and it was so. great. So far, it’s been an annual tradition, and we’ll definitely keep it up. This year was especially magical because we tried our best to avoid the enormous crowds we encountered last year, and by either accident or design, it worked. I bought tickets in advance, we arrived an hour early so that we could get a parking space close to the entrance and so we could go in right when they opened, and enjoyed almost two hours of walking around an entirely non-busy zoo. We had hot drinks, a baby who couldn’t even talk he was so busy looking at everything, lovely not-too-cold-but-frosty-enough weather, and gosh it was perfect!

The rest of the weekend included wrapping gifts to White Christmas during a gloriously long naptime, a solo store run involving Starbucks, and a family frozen yogurt outing (there’s a frozen yogurt place less than fifteen miles away and I’m SO glad we discovered it!!! It’s one of those a la carte deals where you do our own toppings and all the pregnant ladies put your hands up) and watching the final rounds of the NFR. We haven’t turned off the tree in three days and we even got a little snow yesterday morning before it warmed up to a balmy 40 degrees. *contented sigh*

Bert also helped me work on my office space downstairs (I’ll show y’all what I have going when there’s more going, haha), and I was updating my 2017 calendar with appointments and commitments we already  know about, like the millions of doctor’s appointments in the third trimester. In doing so, I realized the heifers are due to calve in about six weeks. Which means we’ll have calves in a month, maybe less.

….what.

Calving takes me by surprise every year, I’ll admit it. I think because I willfully ignore its approach because, eight calving seasons in, I know what we’re in for. Baby calves are the best, but they are a lot of work. Additionally, because we have so many cows and also AI most of our cattle, we’re very busy until June.

Oh and we’re having a baby human in March. There’s also that. Gosh we’re out of our minds. In a good way.

But one thing that you can’t deny is that baby calves are suuuuper cute. Photographic evidence below (in various states of filtered–excuse past me, some of these pictures are quite old)! I won’t post too many, as I don’t want to burn you out before this year’s crop, but come on. Baby calves. Just “awwwwwwww” with me, k?

Okay.

dsc_0068This is Bill. He was one of our special cases and lived at the barn for quite awhile. See the notch in the tag? It indicates that he’s been treated for sickness.

dsc_0085At birth, each calf will get a tag. On this one, S053 is the sire (dad) number, the 2327A is the dam (mama) number, and 2035C is the calf’s permanent ID number.

stellaThis is Stella. She had a broken leg. Hence the cast.

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dscf0170This is Heart! She had her first calf this year, and now lives on one of the other divisions.

dscf1312rosieThis is Rosie, a dwarf calf that we had in Montana. She was itty-bitty (less than 20 pounds when she was born, the normal is between 60 and 90) and came to live with us in our dog kennel since she was bottle-fed. She’d follow me down to the barn every morning and gosh was it cute.

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herfiesThis cow didn’t like me taking pictures of her. Like at all.

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These two babes were best friends–even when they were out of the pens, they were always together. Or, maybe it was one of those situations where your mom is friends with someone so you have to be friends with their kid. Either way, it’s pretty cute.

I hope your Monday is filled with plenty of holiday cheer, or at least doesn’t suck. Less than two weeks until Christmas, we’re pretty excited round these here parts!