Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Breakfast, at 2 pm...

Yup, I just came back in the house to have breakfast!!! Not my original yummy (but now yucky) oatmeal, but a pot pie that I microwaved! It says that it's organic, but it is in this paper, fake tinfoil thingy that cooks it. I don't think its very good for me. But, it was hot, fast, & filling.

You see, after I got up @ 6am, (I went to sleep well after 1am & Squeak was up 2x last night, & J got in bed with us around 4, so NO SLEEP) I readied all the munchkins for school, including Squeak. You see, he gets to go to daycare 1 or 2 days a week, at the old School gymnasium. I then checked out the Jeep @ the shop. Clutch is OUT!! EEK, it is going to cost me!

Picked up the White truck from Honey, and took the haybale he had on the back home, so I could feed the cows. I went out and fed then I came in & started some yummy Oatmeal (walnuts, rasins, pecans, & a touch of real maple syrup). Honey calls & says that the guys are ready to load hay in 15 MIN!!! And I'm at least 20 min away & have the wrong truck to pull the trailer.

So, I totally forgot my yummy oatmeal, ran into town, unhooked the hay trailer, rehooked it to the Dodge, & headed to the hay pile. We loaded 2 trailers & headed for the house. I had to try & unload the trailers with the unroller instead of the spear on the back of the tractor. IT DIDN'T WORK VERY WELL!! To say the least! I tore up nearly every bale, & it took forever! And I had 2 guys watching me. It drives me NUTS when I can't do something right, & there are spectators.

Unloaded the first trailer, & called Honey to bring me the White truck (it has a hay-spear bed on it). Started unloading my trailer, & Honey arrived as I finished. Well, at least he came & didn't complain!

With the next loads, I used the White truck to unload the bales. Worked pretty good except for the coughing and dying parts... Really, the fuel filter appears to be clogged & so it coughs and sputters, has no power & dies. AACK!

If it has a "dipstick", I'm gonna have problems with it today! (Men & Equipment; supposed to be funny, but true)
Honey says, If it has Tits or Tires, it will give you fits! (cows, women, & equipment)

After I unloaded the next round, I fed cows 3 bales, tagged a couple of calves, fed the inside cows, watered (it over flowed, flooding a stall, while I was haying).

Oh, I forgot to mention that our big Spring Special Sale (ABS Beef Semen) ended today, & all the orders had to be in by 1pm. So, inbetween all of these things, I ordered about 250 units of semen in 5 & 20 unit orders @ a time.

Then, I came in the house to "finish my breakfast". I think I feel like Abby! I need to stay home more. OOps, I can't. Tomarrow, I have an oil change @ 8am, and get to pick up our Front End Loader (for the tractor, & would have been REALLY handy today!) Thursday & Friday, I get to haul pigs.

Oh well, as much as I have griped today, I LOVE MY LIFE!!! I wouldn't change it for anything! I love being a Ranching Mama, & a stay at home Mama!

Mmmm, this nasty for me pot pie tastes good!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Horse Time

I thought through this blog this afternoon, as I was 160 acres away from the house and any other human. Now, 160ac may not seem like very far to some and huge to others. But, when you're on a good horse, it doesn't really matter. Right now, its enough land, and we own it (almost, the bank still owns some).

You see, I had a rough afternoon, and Honey threw me on the horse to go check cows. A good ride always puts me in the right frame of mind (a pleasant, happy one). I took 'Koda today. He's our "new" stud.

We bought him last spring at the Pitzer sale. When we got him home, we took him for a ride only a couple of times before he went out with the mares for the rest of the summer. Last fall, we were still in the dirtwork stage, and didn't have our pens at the barn finished, so we didn't ride him much either.

Now that the weather is nice, and we are calving, we've been taking Koda out to check calves each night. During the school week, that usually means that I do chores with the kids in the truck and Honey takes the horse out to check cows.

Since we haven't ridden him much, each time is an adventure. You see, we are still trying to find out which bit fits him best. He is pretty sensitive. We started out just throwing Honey's regular bridle on him. He rides his big ranch horse in a correction bit most of the time. WOAH! That was waaaayyyy to much for Koda. Barely a touch to the reins, and his head was in his chest. Next, we threw on the next bridle Honey grabbed. It had a broken, twisted wire with a very small gag (1/2 inch, you might call it a slide) and short shanks (about 2 1/2 inches). This was ok, except when Honey went to rope anything. Koda would start backing up when Honey was just trying to hold the calf, so I could tag. Then, we threw on the next bridle which is a Heart shaped twisted wire. The Ring just has a little curve in it (like a heart), so your reins don't slide all around like with a ring. This seems to work pretty well. But, it isn't legal for us to ride him 2 handed in QH shows (which I really want to make my goal this summer). So, we are now out of bits already on bridles, and trying to decide what we want to put him in next. I know I want something with a little bit of shank (so it would work better for roping than the current bit). Any, suggestions???

Now, on to the actual ride! IT WAS WONDERFUL!!! Koda is such a great mover! Once we got through the mud, I was out on open pasture. AHHHH!! Can you feel my shoulders relax?? What is better than a great ride on a beautiful horse? Nothing! Koda is a beautiful bay roan, and has quite the pretty head. (I have plans to get some good pics of him this summer) It took about 2 seconds, and I had him collected in to a pretty little pleasure horse trot! EEEK! Koda is a CowHorse. But then why, you say, do I want a little trot? Well, you see it's because I CAN. He is a great mover, and we then extended his trot to cover some ground. AHHHH!!! More fun and relaxation! Then I let him into a nice lope. And got to the back fence. No cows back here. So we turned around and I let him out. We ran for about 20 acres and then relaxed right back into a nice little lope again (think reining, what I REALLY want to do with him besides Working Cow Horse).

We checked out a couple of lone cows with new calves, and found one in the process of calving, I wrote down her # (didn't have any paper, so I texted it to Honey) and went on to the next group to check all of those calves. They we all doing fine, & I was enjoying myself, so I took a nice little long trot around the pond. Just to check for cows at the bottom. Yeah, that's why I did it, to check for cows...... Not to stretch him out again and go down a hill and around some brush, Yeah that's why.

Then we crossed the creek again. Remind me to have Honey cut down the blasted THORN TREES! (Honey Locust trees) They are right in the middle of the crossing, so I just had to ride him down the side of the ravine to see if there was a different crossing. Never mind the fact that I know there isn't, and I had just come through the only crossing to get ON the far side. I just had to check. So, I took Koda back to the crossing and made him walk down into the water, & then let him jump out. We trailed through the rest of the cows at the bottom of the front pond. Wow! We have a ton of really great calves so far!

Then, here come the next 3 challenges for Koda... THE MARES! You see, we have "his" mares out in this pasture with the cows, and he WANTS them. He doesn't care if they are bred and ready to foal... THEY ARE HIS! He wants to talk (whinny, or scream) to them. So, I took a little time to school him and let him know that it is NOT ok to talk when someone is ON his back.

Then we went across the road and checked the next group of cows. Our custom cows that have NEVER seen a horse. That was much less horsey. Just a bunch of walking and watching to make sure they weren't going to stampede away from me or come and try to "eat my lunch" (that's Momma talk for trying to hit my horse and knock me off).

Did you enjoy your vicarious ride? I enjoyed it all over again!

I hope to let you enjoy some more rides with me this spring!! If you want to hop along with me you can follow me on Twitter! (check it out over on the sidebar and click!) I tweeted while I was out back riding! I had to keep up with the springtime birds you know!! : )

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Personal Interests that Conflict

Well, after my last rant - er- post, I've discovered that most of my bloggy readers agree, that the decision of how to grow and the specifics of growing are quite conflicting. If you get to grow fast; you have debt. That's not good in my opinion.

Right now this is my main conflict. I don't want more debt, and I don't want to compromise the comfort of my animals (the future ones).

I have decided one thing, I am not going to cry (literally, this conflict has had me in tears) over milk that hasn't been spilled, before I even drive to the store to buy the proposed spilled milk.

So, I will try to blog more tomarrow about the details of what we have and what we want to have accomplished.

Now, I'm off to bed. I have to load "big, fat, stinky pigs" (J's description of gilts & cull sows) at 6 am. Oh yeah, I have to chore before I leave too, cause Honey will be getting the girls ready for school in the AM.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Conflict of Interests

Sitting here (procrastinating) patiently waiting for my little Squeaky Man to fall DEEP asleep before I make too many weird noises cleaning, and putting away dishes & laundry.

These thoughts have been weighing on my mind very heavily for the past few days and in Honey’s mind for years. Literally, he has been talking about a FeedLot seriously for at least 7 or 8 years.

So here it is….My EXTREME conflict! We want/need to expand our operation to bring in more income so that Honey will not have to work in town. This means 2 different things will have to happen. (I am so conflicted, that I am tearing up talking about this)

Scenario 1 - We expand our old-school feeding operation and raise more beef in a natural setting, and sell more breeding stock (heifers, show calves or bulls). The main question is how do we really expand our beef sales.
Scenario 2 – We expand in a different way and build a cattle confinement feedlot for ~500 head. A completely enclosed, covered, confinement feedlot. We would bed the pens with corn-stalks and have a dry bedding mound for the calves to lay on. We would also probably try to allow double the "animal space" per actual head of calves. Thus giving them more room to move about.

I am very conflicted. You see, I am an “educated” rancher. What I mean is that I have an Animal Science BS degree from Iowa State (honey has an Ag Studies degree too). I have been taught all of the benefits of confinement feeding. This is a small list of benefits
1- Increased feed efficiencies (thus decreased feed costs)
2- Less chance of manure (nitrates) leaching into streams and contaminating them
3 - Increased “comfort” of the animal (THIS ONE I CAN ARGUE BOTH WAYS!!)

The list may go on and on. (I will expand and update later today as I think of them, but I have to get this blog out of my head, and out there for y’all to comment on, please)

Here is a small list of the benefits from continuing in a very “Old Fashioned” way of growing our operation slowly. Meaning that we will continue to grow slowly and increase our beef sales, bred heifer, show calf, and bull sales. Scenario 1
1 - Less impact on the environment (I can argue this both ways, this benefit is just from reduced numbers in one location ON the ground not tearing up the sod)
2- More direct relationship with the customer that has our beef on their table.
3 - A more natural environment for the cattle (pasture when we have grass, and more room to grow)

Well, these are my thoughts for now, and I’m sure that I will have tons more to come, as we really delve into this more and figure out what details we will decide upon, and what path we will take to pursue expansion of our operation.

I will prepare you that I do not mind talking dollars, and I WILL share some of our financial details.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why I am WIERD

Yup, I admit it I am WIERD with a capital W.
Why? Well there are tons of reasons, so I will give you a little list.

1 - I will do anything for my kids
When J. was in preschool age, we enrolled her in a Lutheran preschool 30 min from the house (because I couldn't stand our local preschool, headstart) So, in order to get her to school on time at 8 am, I had to get up at 3 am to load my pigs at 4am, and get the drive finished to be in the right town and my pigs unloaded by 7:30 and get J to school by 8.
Yup, I will work my a$$ of for my kids and will go WAY out of my way to have them benefit and grow to be great people. That is why I will also be Home/UnSchooling them next year. I have also let them pick out their clothes since they were 2. This is also sometimes very embarassing, but they learn to match, and be themselves, not a clone of a model in the clothing store. That and A.Cowgirl wore pink from the time she was 2 until last year. We are talking some form of pink every day, and sometimes (alot of the time) pink, from head to foot.

2 - I love to WORK outside.
I mean it! From head to toe dirt, sweaty, mud encrusted outside workout is my kind of exercise. I like to get work done, and I like to work (of course) with the horses and cows.

3 - I do NOT believe in the "D" word (d.i.v.o.r.c.e)
The important part is that my husband doesn't either. We don't believe in the word and don't say it.
With that said, I do have 3 reasons (from Dr.Laura) why I would believe in or recommend it (after tons of work and prayer). Adultery, Addiction, or Abuse. In my view, all three of things have totally removed all trust and broken the covenant with God. Honey and I, have vowed to work through anything and everything to make our marriage work. We also believe that seeing their parents working through any issues that may arrise will strenghten them and lead our children to also have successfull marriages.

4-I like getting dirty - (see number 2) But, I used to be a prissy, dolled up, hair curled out to there, Rodeo Queen. (I have to find a picture, so we can all laugh at my 90's "Queenie" Hair.)

5- I am not a very good "homemaker"
I don't decorate, I'm apprehensive to put a hole in the wall, and I generally just do the basics of clean kids, clean place to make food, and clean clothes.
I do like to bake, just not very often. But when I do, lookout cause there will be tons of sweets for weeks to come.

6- I did not grow up on a "real" farm or ranch.
I grew up on a 19 acre homestead with horses. I still have the first pony (he is 14.1 &1/2 hands) we ever owned. Mom & Dad purchased him for me when I was in 5th grade (I was about 10, I think & Kenneth is now 25).
I bought my first "Show Horse" when I was a Sophmore in High School. I showed him in everything, but I really loved showing in Trail Classes. We didn't have shows with cattle classes around us, and Trail provided the most detailed maneuvers that did not require an expensive, great moving horse (that kind of $ was not an option for me). I traveled with a lady that was great at Trail and was her groom and hired girl. I loved it! I went to Congress, Paint, Palimino, Buckskin and Quarter Horse World Shows. She won all of them except the QH World title at one time or another when I was traveling with her. I learned a ton from her and people around the shows. And I got to ride some amazing horses, not all were just Trail horses.

I feel very lucky to now live on a Ranch because "now my horses have a purpose". And I feel very lucky to give this opportunity to our children. And I can't imagine my life without horses and Cattle.

7-I am a KLUTZ!
I mean, I am truly un-coordinated. I can't throw a ball, catch one, or run with any coordination or speed.
The only place I am coordinated and somewhat athletic is on the back of a horse.

Have you ever heard this blonde joke?

What do you call a Blonde in a Mall?......................................A Pinball

Yup, that's me. Imagine the IA State Fair. Showday in a crowded indoor (airconditioned) resturant (The indoor Campbells in the Cattle Building).
I walk in, bump into someone "OOPS, I'm Sorry". Then I back up and bump into someone else! "OOPS!, I'm Sorry". We wait in line a while and I get my tray, start walking BUMP, "OOPS!, I'm Sorry!" (Whew, my drink wasn't filled yet, so I didn't spill it). Sit down at our table, and then get up to fill that drink BUMP, "OOPS!! I'm SORRRY!".

Fill my drink, and trying to be really careful, I slowly walk to our booth, looking both ways and being VERY cautious. I sit down, and reach for a napkin, AND DUMP MY DRINK in my Dad's lap!! "OOOPS!!! I'm SORRY!!!" Seriously, I bumped into 9 people within the 20 min that we were inside! And, I spilled my drink on my Dad!

We like to joke in our house, that we don't worry about the kids spilling milk, 'cause Momma always spills it first!

Also, never ask a Blonde what time it is when she has a full cup. Yes, you guessed it, I will always look and thus spill my drink!

Well, I think that's enough WIERD-NESS for now, but I know there are wierd-er things about me... I let you know when I think of another (or 7 more)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I have a TOILET!

Yeah!!! I have a working, FLUSHING toilet. After my mom, TWO plumbers, and much anxiety over having to put in a new septic system, I HAVE A FLUSHING TOILET.

It's fixed, and it doesn't leak, and I can pee AND flush!

Don't you love the small things in life!

Confession, I have an Outhouse.

Well, I have a little confession to make. We have an Outhouse, and we are too busy to fix the indoor toilet (and get it to work right). And, we live in southern Iowa, where everyone is laxidasical (i can't spell) and plumbers don't really worry if you don't have a functional toilet.

The Outhouse was made by my wonderful Dad, for our "South Ranch". Because there was no house, and thus toilet on that Ranch. We have 2 girls, and squatting to go was getting really messy. (think little girls peeing on their clothes like EVERY time we were down working @ the South Ranch) Our Outhouse is FANCY! I mean it, really fancy. It has 2 holes, with seatcovers and such. A light, sunroof, two separate toilet paper dispensers, 2 coathooks, and an extra "pull rope" for little girls to pull the door open with.

We obviously moved the Outhouse to the new Ranch this last summer, but we never really set it up. We didn't dig a hole and we just set it down off the trailer when we moved it.

Now to the toilet issue. A couple of weeks ago, we thought the base, seal, ring gooey thing was bad. It was a little damp around the base. I had a wonderful, friend all lined up to come and fix it, but I said that WE (my mom and I) were going to take up the toilet and replace the floor first. OOOO NOOOO! Honey didn't want to replace the floor. (Momma stamps foot!) "Then you take care of it!" "I will!" Honey says. Well, its a day later (hence bringing up the Outhouse issue) and Honey finally pulls up the toilet. Seal isn't that bad, but the toilet sits IN THE KITCHEN for another day until Honey sees fit to put it back down. In his defense, we have had about a dozen calves in this time and he works 7-5 in town. And I can't lift the heavy toilet onto its proper place. That and the kids, pigs and calves and dogs, oh my!

So, today, the toilet is in its proper place, but it still ISN'T working!! UGH! Sombody save me!!
Oh well, I'm wierd. The Outhouse doesn't REALLY bother me, except at night, when a little girl has to go, or I do. Oh, yeah, I just make Daddy take them. Maybe he'll remember to help me fix it tonight.

Btw, I think a little someone flushed something they weren't supposed to, and its stuck in the crook of the toilet. EWWW!!

Oh, and the Outhouse will stay, but its supposed to go on the other side of the road, by the Arena.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A. Cowgirl's Special Day

WOW! I can't believe that 9 years ago today, I became a Mom! My world has changed SO much since then! When you are pregnant the first time, you are excited, and think you know what being a mom will be like, but you have NO clue!

You think you know what type of discipline you want to follow, and how much you will love your child. But, you don't. You have no clue about REAL discipline, real mothering, and REAL Love.

I have grown so much! SHE has grown so much!! (well a little anyways) Like the day she became a REAL Cowgirl. Yikes!! That added about 50 gray hairs to my head (thank God for being a blonde, so nobody knows I'm gray, sorry for honey, he's almost more salt than pepper)

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY CowGirl!! I hope you have a great year! I'm so excited to see how much we can learn together!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A rainy day in Calving Season

Well, here it is, the beginning of March, and we were successfull last year. Or should I say, the bulls were successfull last year.
You see, while Honey worked for "the top of the hill ranch" (bloggyname for the previous operation), we moved our cows to calve in late April-May. This was so that in the event of a calving emergency, I could get help from my honey. Because during their calving (March - April) I would not see my husband for days at a time, and the hired men were also way busy!
So, last year, we decided (due partly to the CRAPPY weather) that we would not AI (artificially inseminate) our cows, and just throw the bulls in early. This would group the cows together, and breed a good bunch of them to calve in March.
Well, we were successfull! We have had a total of 8 live natural (bred by the bull) calves so far in the past week or two. Thus, the picture! We are now in full calving mode. Meaning, that laundry will be sporadic! And, I will be scrubbing floors daily! You see, we are having awful, warm, cold, rainy weather. And NO, its never warm when it rains! Therefore, we have been warming calves anywhere we can.
The laundry room, the truck, the bathtub, if its warm, and dry, we've probably had a calf in there before. Last night, I had some running to do, picking up some corn stalk bales and getting fuel, etc. Guess who went with me? The girls, Squeak, and a bull calf. Yup, inside the cab. On my front floorboard getting all warm and toasty! Were the girls supprised, no. They know we had to warm him up, and its normal for them. Ahhh, the life of a country kid.
Then, we had a new houseguest in the laundry room before bedtime. This little fellow had fallen into a creek, and couldn't get out. And, a new guest this morning. (the picture is of 404's heifer calf).
We will, be DNA testing some of these 100+# calves to see if one bull is throwing all these big, dumb calves! He doesn't get to stay. Cause big calves have more problems getting here, and when they do, they are lazy and slow to suck (thus earning the title of DUMB, with a capital D). In addition, we might have a TWINNER. we have had 5 sets of twins. And this creates a whole nother group of problems for a ranch of our size. Usually, one or both twins are small and weak, or dead. So, if any of y'all have a small operation (20 cows or less) and would like to have twins, which can be more profitable in that setting. Talk with me in August. Because no matter what, we will have a mature bull to sell.
Crazy as it is, I LOVE MY LIFE! And the next two months will be crazy busy! Yeah, but we will make some great BEEF!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

WOW - Last week, and Eating Cookies

Well, we've had a long week, and if you read my sidebar, you'll see that I've been sick. But, I'm better now. The Jaegermeister did the trick. What, you ask?? Well, an old cowboy remedy for a cold is Jaegermeister (it's a black licorice liquor, like 90 proof). At the first feeling of a cold, take a shot or 2 of Jaeger (at bedtime, instead of Nyquil) and you'll sleep like a baby and wake up feeling great! Seriously, I gag at the taste, but IT WORKS! I took some (3/4 a shot) Thursday night when Beau came in the house, and within a half hour my plugged up head (that wanted to explode) was relaxed, and within 1 hour, I could blow my nose. I slept the entire night, and woke up able to function on Friday. Today, I have no sign of a cold at all! AHHH! I don't like the sinus drainage, plugged head, sore throat feeling.

Tuesday, I was able to go to the semi-Annual garage sale for the Des Moines Cloth Diapering group. FUN! I didn't find any snap diapers to fit Squeak, but I enjoy getting together with other like-minded moms! And, we talked about the current legislation in Iowa regarding legalizing Midwives. If you have any interest, I would definately urge you to check out the Friends Of Iowa Midwives blog. They have all the details there, and anything you could do to show your support would be great! I strongly believe that everyone should have ANY birthing option available, and with the support of a Certified Midwife.

And, after the group, I stopped by a new retail store for the natural Mom, Little Padded Seats. They just opened their retail store in Valley Junction, but they've been on-line for quite a while. I found some of THE cutest snap diapers for Squeak! That way, this summer, he can't take his diaper off during nap, and do his stuff all over his crib. Shopping therapy, after monday's frustrating day!

BTW, I have a good blog in draft about Tuesday morning's activities on the ranch. Will be posted soon!

Thursday, I hauled pigs. Friday I hauled pigs, & delivered some eggs to Kim! I love it when I get to stop and visit. And she doesn't even kick me out for being piggy stinky! : )

Saturday, well what can I say except temporary INSANITY! It rained Friday night (1 inch) so we couldn't do much work. And then we went crazy! Honey and I took the girls to Kids Fest. Yup, nutz! Imagine 1000 kids and their parents. Kids all hopped up on candy that they pass out at every booth, blow up slides and obstacle courses, and did I mention the crying, screaming BRATS? HUH? I usually don't tolerate other people's kids very well. Let me correct that, I don't tolerate bad parenting very well. And Honey? He doesn't at all! We say that he is "allergic to people". And he is HIGHLY allergic to brats and lazy parents! But we survived. And the kids had fun. Squeak had fun with Grandma at her house, teaching the puppy how to pee on command by pulling her tail! Yikes!

Well, we did have one crying episode. (So here's your laugh for the day.)

So, we are at the end of 2 hours of Kids Fest, standing in line to spin a wheel and see if they win a small prize. We had just gotten a cup of cookies. [Back up a second in time, at the last booth, J was having a problem saying Thank You, and I told her that she would give "it" back if she didn't say Thank You right away.]

Honey gives A. a cookie, I get one, and J gets one. Guess who didn't say Thank You before she took a bite? Yup, J didn't. So, I take her cookie and feed it to Daddy. She starts crying. I explain that she didn't say Thank You. She nods understandment, and slows down to a sniff. Honey, asks her if she would like a cookie, she says yes and takes one. And THEN TAKES A BITE. HUFF! I take the cookie, and eat it. She is now back in HUGE tears and sobs! "Well", I say, "you didn't say Thank You again". She cries for a minute and Honey once again asks her if she would like a cookie (there are now only 2 left). She takes one, (both Honey and I are silently praying "please say Thank You", I don't want to eat another one of your cookies) then, she looks at us and says "Thank You" (hiccup, tear, sob, bite). Thank GOD! We wanted her to learn, but we did not buy the cookies for us! But lessons must be taught (and the cookies are good, so it didn't kill our tastebuds to eat one or three) even if it does break your heart.

Then, a woman walks over to us and says "What are you doing to make that little girl cry?" Huh? I turn around and see that it is a wonderful woman I haven't seen for about 5 years, and she has a smile on her face. Cause she knows I wouldn't really want to make my child cry. But, she had been watching the whole thing from the side, and found it amusing (I would too if it wasn't my child, and it is funny today)! And, she needed an opening line to talk with us (cause she forgot my name, I remembered her first name 4 hours later).

Don't you love being a mom? I do, tears and all!

BTW, we are still eating cookies, because the GIRL SCOUT COOKIES are in! YUM!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Animal Rights people should visit my ranch

Yup, That's what I said, and I MEAN IT!! Anyone who thinks that most ranchers/farmers are mean to thier animals, needs to come to our Ranch!!

After the day I've had I'll chew em up and spit em out again!

To put it lightly, today was a rough one. But, I haven't cried, yet. (uh oh, the eyes are getting wattery)

Honey usually does AM chores, and this morning was no different. He was done before 7, and decided to run out back to check those cows on the 4-wheeler. (Yes, we have one of those nasty things). I was getting kids fed and ready for school. (Squeak included, since its monday).

J reported that Daddy was back, and he was grabbing a bale of hay with the tractor. He stops in the house, tells me Scooter's down in the pond, and we need beet pulp (high energy) and HOT water. I load everyone, grab some stuff, and take the Dodge out to the big pond. S%$T! The tractor was on a hill and ran low on Diesel, so he had to shut it of before it ran out (shoulda loaded the tank yesterday and filled it then). We pushed and shoved, and moved her so she was level.
It is now 8am, so, we head for the house, load J's snacks (cause she's the snack girl ALL week), load the diesel tank, and head for town. Honey calls the Co-Op and lets them know he's not gonna be in (THANK GOD!!).

We drop the girls of 1 min early, and I let J's teacher know that I won't be volunteering today. I then look at my clothes...Oh well! (note to self, make sure you have other boots handy when Honey needs you, DO NOT WEAR OSTRICH in pond MUD, everything else will wash). Drop Squeak at his school, and go to get diesel.

We formulate a plan to feed hay, get some energy into her and then make a cow sled to get her to the barn. So, we pull her up out of the mud. While we were in the house, we grabbed Honey's pump (from his Steer Jock Days) and 4 gallons of Hot water, Colostrum (energy), and 2 gallons of Fruit Punch (all the High Fructose Corn Syrup). We pumped her with 2 gallons of H2O and the other stuff.

Then we head back to the barn to make the sled. A piece of plywood, two 2x8's later we have a fancy dancy cow sled (I hope I never have to use it again!). We use the tractor and slide her onto the sled and strap her down. The sled works great to glently glid her to the barn (she was about 40 acres west of the barn). Now what? Well, we get the heater and throw a tarp over her to heat 'er up.

Breakfast time (it is 11:30). When we get back outside, we decide that she isn't warm enough, and we head to town for some LP. Yup the little tank that goes under your grill. We have a torpedo heater that works with LP, and we didn't think we had enough.

Shure enough, we fire up the torpedo heater, and she finally stops shivering.

We decide that while we keep an eye on her, we'll set the next water-er. Yeah!! It is pretty tricky working in a very tight area! This water-er goes in the middle of one of our pipe pens, so we can water two pens, thus the not much room.

Then, we have the fun part of ponies and colts "helping". In other words, their noses were in the way, the ENTIRE TIME! Leroy, what a pest. That pony is going to have a ton of fun with the kids this summer!!

After we checked on Scooter, we then decided to sort off heifers/steers for the auction this week. All the steers went, and heifers stayed. We checked nuts, and decided to just send the spring (2008) calves. Wow! We only have 8 left to send!!! YEAH!! That means I'm doing a better job of selling beef! (send me a note if you want any GREAT beef that should be harvested in late June) We get to keep 11 spring heifers. We decided to wait on the fall calves, because their nuts haven't fallen off yet.

The girls got home and Scooter was still hanging in there, so we picked up Squeak. Got home. Scooter was gone. We chored, and fed kids, and here I am. Still TRYING not to cry.

You see when a cow has a NAME (not just a number) it is a bad thing when we loose her. Scooter was a great old registered Angus cow that we bought in our first group of Sweeney cows in 2000. She has raised at least 4 cows that are in our herd right now. She was a pet. AND She was ON The LIST. That means, she got to die on the Ranch (not get culled to the sale barn).

And she did. We did everything to care for her! THIS is why I DARE any animal Rights person to stop by our ranch. If they think for one minute that we don't take care of cows. THEY ARE WRONG!! When we stopped in town earlier, more than one guy mentioned that the cost of a bullet was cheap, and she probably wouldn't live anyway. TUFF! We tried, and tried some more to save her. But sometimes a 16 year old cow just dies, no matter what you do. That's why most people cull them before they're 8. But Scooter, she was on The List.

And now, I'm going to go cry, and go to sleep.

I promise, the next blog WILL be funny!

ps, sorry for any typos or wierd phrases. I didn't even re-read this before I posted. (couldn't see thru the tears anymore)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Busy time of Year

Well, this time of year is pretty busy. But wait, we only have a SMALL group of cows calving right now! We still have another 80 or so cows in the pasture behind the house!

Oh, well! Right now we are down to crunch time with preparing for calving, and finishing the barn, caring for the new calves, getting the '08 calves ready for the sale barn, trying to sell more beef (so I don't have to take those calves to the sale barn), and dealing with puppies and Rosie trying to wean them, and kids and "school issues"

I am excited that our beef business is expanding rapidly, and I don't have to take 2 more calves to the auction. I'm also excited about how the colts are growing, and becoming tame and loving attention. If you need a puppy, horse, or BEEF; drop us a note.

The school issue should be resolved soon. I have met up with a couple of GREAT Unschooling Mamas, who have greatly improved my confidence! If, J still has "behavior" issues at school, she won't be IN school until the end of the year. I STRONGLY believe that she has been labeled as the "bad kid". Any sort of issue, in a location where the teacher can't hear, is J's fault! She IS NOT A BAD KID! She's bored, and she speaks her mind! I have always said that she will "tell you where to go and how to get there". She has spoken her mind since she could talk, literally. I don't want this independence taken away from her. So, if school isn't helping her, it is hurting her!

Now, I haven't decided exactly what form of school we will be doing at home. But it will involve some "curriculum" because Honey thinks it is necessary. I think that they will thrive and GROW, not just stay stalled as A has in school. A will do a TON of creative writing (because she just isn't doing enough at school to encourage this passion), J will do all sorts of creative learning methods, that don't require sitting still for an hour at a time.


Almost forgot our new additions to the Ranch!! We went into the Co-Op after school on Friday for a new chick for each of the kids (Squeak included!) and ended up with 10 chickens. Yup, you guessed it! The husband who thought the chickens weren't a good idea, MADE us get 10 chickens. Same said husband now wants to build a fancy "portable coop" for the chickens. Yup, about a month ago, he said that "Chicken Tractors" were silly, didn't want to listen to me, or pay attention to my plans. Now he is designing the coop, planning the coop, and taking over the coop. Gotta love men!! Oh well, he is on board with the chicken thing, and excited to have them! He even Loves the eggs! In our new group are 2 broilers. We are also looking forward to the barred rock hens from Runnin Roan!

On the bloggy front, SORRY I haven't been posting much. I do have several blogs brewing in my brain. Some are now in draft form, and pretty funny!

Oh, and RanchGirl is gonna be a Momma! YEAH!!