Monday, January 26, 2015

AI'ing at 7UP

We bred cows at Terry & Debby Anderson's 7UP Ranch last Tuesday & Wednesday morning.

Terry & Debby live just down the road from us in Stanfield, so it's easy to do chores and check the calving heifers & cows first thing on the ranch, and then head over to their place.  This year we set up a double AI barn and a single (using a Y) and brought cows down one alleyway and sorted into the two boxes.  RJ, Clint & Tyler bred and I thawed for both boxes.

7UP always time breeds their cows the third week in January, and I think we've helped for the past 4 or 5 years now.  RJ is in charge of the project, so we just show up both mornings to help thaw & AI.  The cows are CIDR'ed ahead of time, and any heats are pulled off ahead of time and bred by RJ.  The majority of cows though are bred on a time appointment.  While we gave every cow a GnRH shot, most didn't need it as they'd shown great signs of standing heat.

Terry & Debby mated their mature cows to four bulls this year - Premium Beef, Absolute, Trinity & Beef King.    Terry would load three cows in the alleyway, find their mating and then call out the sires to me.  Then I would thaw the lineup Terry called out, we'd load the box in the same order every time and we'd go about our business.
I posted on Facebook the first morning we bred that the AI'ing was Efficient, Paced & Professional.  And while we play a large role inside the box in making those things happen, Terry & Debby play a large role too. 
Both are detail oriented, quiet around the cattle and they are prepared.  The mating sheet was color coded & laminated so even when it started to drizzle - Terry could efficiently and quickly call matings to me.  The cows were in great condition, and had ear tags that were easy to read.  The crew horseback (Shout out to Justin & others!) sorted the cows from the calves quietly and efficiently so that when the cows came to the barn they did so calmly.

Tuesday was beautiful - sunny & with just a slight breeze.
We didn't get quite so lucky on Wednesday morning - fog & a cold mist socked us in but we kept at it and in short order the cows were bred and back with their calves eating hay.  My 'real' camera stayed tucked in the pickup, but I captured a few shots from inside the barn with my cell phone.

The lead up to the barn.
We hope for a successful conception rate for the Anderson's!
- Success is Reason Enough -

Friday, January 23, 2015

5 on Friday.

We're still in the thick of calving and work has been super busy - so while my posting has been a bit random, and we're short on sleep - I wanted to post a few things today.
So in keeping with the {random} thing - here are 5 things that I'm loving this week!
1. Young Cattlemen's Tour
I spent today in Washington on the Young Cattlemen's Tour along with over 200 young cattlemen and women. 
Four tour buses. 
A great day of tours & educational seminars. 
And two hundred young, intelligent and motivated people who want to make the cattle industry better.
I'll post a full set of pictures next week.....
2. Taking the easy route.
Speaking of cattle & beef....I have been using these new Slow Cooker sauces for cooking pot roasts and am HOOKED.
Hooked as in hook, line & sinker.
These little pouches add so much flavor & ease to cooking a roast in the crockpot - and if you aren't using the slow cooker liners - JUMP ON THE DANG BANDWAGON!
Sometimes the easy route is also the sweet route.
3. Let me keep my fork.
Thanks to Amanda Spoo for posting this on Facebook -
The best is yet to come....
4. It just makes me smile.
Goofy cow.
But it totally makes me smile every time I see this picture.
5.  Welcome to the family!
And probably my favorite news of the week is that Henry asked my sister Lindsay to marry him last weekend and she said YES!
We are so excited for these two - and can't wait to watch their future continue to unfold.
Love always wins.
Happy Friday friends!
Keep living the dream!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Our 1st Charolais Calves of 2015.

Our Charolais cows have started to calve!
We've had three heifers calve so far, and two cows.  I haven't had much luck getting pictures of the heifers, but I did picture the cows & their calves today at lunch when I was out checking.

039L was the first Charolais cow to calve this year.  She was also the first last year....this is Lolita's mom!  And while her heifer calf isn't as chromed up as Lolita was,, she's still cute!

And then last night when I went out to do the 9 pm check - I saw that this cow had calved....

I'd love to tell you who this cow is - but the truth is I cannot.


This cow has a blue ear tag and her number has faded right off of it - it was the same way last year too.  So when she calves (I think I saw her first last year too) I just tell Clint the blue tagged cow calved - and he knows who that is.  He told me her number last night as I was climbing into bed, but at that point I was focused more on my head hitting the pillow than remembering an ear tag number.

But she had a heifer calf too - and let me tell you, she is protective of it!

I think I'll be especially thankful for the calf catcher when I tag & weigh it this afternoon.

I would have no problem in saying that all of our Charolais cows are gentle - in the spring, you can almost walk right up to them in the field.  But when they  first calve, they are mama's first - and I can appreciate and respect that.

Especially if it means they take good care of their calf and we don't have to mess with it.

Of the first calf heifers that have calved, we've brought two to the barn.  One needed some assistance with her calf - Clint wasn't sure if she wasn't feeling super hot when she calved - and she didn't want to give a lot of effort to pushing when she calved, even though her calf was small.  So she stayed in the barn for a few days while we gave her a round of antibiotics.  The other heifer we brought in since she calved on a super cold night and we wanted to make sure her calf got enough colostrum.  She probably would have been ok, but we figure the heifer barn is there as a tool - and we might as well use it.  I also personally think that it's easier to give calves the best start possible, even if it takes a little bit of effort - rather than "let them be" and then battle health problems later on.  I feel like I never pack my camera into the heifer barn...probably because when I'm there, it's usually for a reason - chores, bringing in a pair, etc. so no pictures of the heifer's calves. 

But I'll try to picture and post them later when we turn them out with the rest of the pairs.

Plus - it gives me a reason to get to write another post about our Charolais babies.  :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dot, Dot, Dot.

Alert - this is a puppy update.

I hate to say that we're the kind of people that treat our dogs like family;
But let's face it.

We are the kind of people that treat our dogs like family.
Our dogs go with Clint to work every day, and if we travel they usually go with us too. 
 They're both Border Collies, so the primary purpose is for them to work (well, Leo works - Dot will when she's older) but they also live inside our house with us (in the mudroom....and sometimes in the living room when we're eating dinner, lol) and we just love them. 
And because they're such a big part of our lives,
And because this blog is for me to document what happens in our lives,
And because Dot is growing like a weed -
You get a Dot update today.
She's a typical puppy right now.
She loves shoes and chewing on soft cushy things - like expensive insoles, blankets and pant legs.
She is spastic - look a squirrel! 
She is a sniffer! 
Homegirl loves to sniff anything - the ground, new born baby calves, new people - and she loves to lick the milk off of baby calves that I bottle feed in the office.
She thinks it is a game & looooves to run away from me when I desperately need her to come to me so I can put her in the pickup.
I am the "jail lady" - if I'm trying to catch her, it usually means that she's getting put in her kennel for the night, put in the calving barn office so I can go tag calves, or put in the pickup so she will quit eating afterbirth!
Afterbirth is a dog's love language.
Too bad it is NASTY!
I call her Dotter, and it always sounds like "daughter".
She plays hard....and then sleeps hard.
She loves Leo - snuggling up against him in the pickup, playing with him or biting at him. 
Leo likes Dot too - but he's also figured out that she can't go down stairs, so when he gets tired of her; he heads to the basement.

And most importantly - this little puppy has written her way into our little family.
Afterbirth eater & all....

Monday, January 19, 2015


Well, we're one week in to calving at Double M, and almost half of the first calf heifers have calved and a quarter of the second calf cows have calved.
All of the heifers and half of the second calf cows were all synchronized and artificially inseminated, so we expected half or more of them to calve around their due date.  Both groups are part of Genex's Progeny Test, which means we AI'ed a third of them to a proven bull, and two thirds of them to a young sire.
The heifers were AI'ed to Thunder and McCoy.
Thunder is a proven bull, and McCoy is a newer bull to Genex's line up.  From the calves we've had so far, I would be comfortable saying that McCoy is a good heifer bull - he certainly stands up to what Genex calls him; a "Bet the Ranch" heifer bull.

Now we just need the rest of these ladies to calve!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Last light.

There are evenings when work at the office or on the ranch takes you right up until sunrise, and then right past.
As the sun falls and the night begins to get dark, we head to do chores at the barn - extra twin calves are bottle fed, more twin calves suckle the two Jersey cows in milk (as of yesterday we're at 5 pairs of twins and counting), and the pairs that are stalled inside for one more night get fed and watered.  Guys in pickups with spotlights attached drift through the fields adjoining the barn looking for heifers who might need some assistance.  In a good night - chores are it.  Once they're done, we head back to the house for dinner and a quick nap before the 9 pm check.

  But on some nights, like a few we've had this week, you feel like you could have hosted a calving school at the barn.  In two hours Clint cycled three heifers through the pulling stall - a set of twins, one mal-presentation and a third and final heifer who just didn't have it in her to push.  Once the calf is pulled, and the heifer's received a shot of Oxytocin, colostrum is milked out and the calf is bottle fed (so that we know they get colostrum) before being placed in their own pen with their mama to be licked off and loved on.

Back at the house, dinner consists of warmed up leftovers that are eaten in an easy chair so you can kick your feet up and rest for a few minutes before heading back out to check.  But before; a load of laundry gets thrown in, the floors get swept but dishes stay stacked in the sink until tomorrow.

There are days when there just isn't enough time; so priorities take precedence.

On a ranch, the cows always come first.  Always.  And calving time is just one of those seasons where the work usually outnumbers the hours available to complete it all in.  So sleep is sacrificed, and we just keep on going - doing what we can.

It's just the way it is.  And because we love this life, we'll keep on living it.

Hopefully we'll live it well.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Calling the cows.


I was looking through my draft posts this morning and realized that I'd written this on Dec. 29 but never posted it. 

I usually have two or three draft posts going - my month end post where I post pictures I love each week, and post on the last day of the month and then usually another post I'm working on but isn't "just right" yet.

So even though we're smack dab in the middle of calving, I'm posting this.  We have a three day weekend coming up, and it is my full intention to get pictures of these heifers and their new babies!  But for today - I'll leave you with a few pictures of the {Expectant Mothers}.

And Cookie.

I think I'm mostly posting this post late because of Cookie. He's become the ranch mascot here at Double M.  :)


We're getting closer to calving, so the guys have started to split the feedings for the bred heifers.  Eventually, they'll get to just feeding them once a day, in the evening but it takes a bit to get them transitioned to that.....{Hangry} applies to cattle too.  :)   So for now, the bred heifers get fed 1/2 of a feeding in the morning, and then we turn them into the second 1/2 in the late afternoon. 
I hadn't moved the bred heifers by myself yet this year, and I wasn't sure they'd follow me.  The AI pasture is maybe a half mile long, and I was just in a pickup so I knew that there wasn't a chance that I could "push" them with the pickup.
So I started calling.
That, and a few honks of the horn - and all of the heifers came running.
I shouldn't have worried.
They're not stupid - and they knew well enough that if they follow a pickup or truck, feed is usually involved at the end.  :)

Cookie - our lead steer - was in the lead and showing the heifers the way!
Cookie was born in the Fall of 2012 to Creamy, a Jersey we bought from Terry & Anna that had been bred to one of their Corriente bulls.  He's kind of become the Double M mascot, and he always gets put in groups of cattle who need to learn the ropes.  He looooves people, and if you stand at a gate and call his name - "Coooookkkkkiiiiee!" - he'll come running, and then the rest of the group follows him. 

His horns are getting so big!

All I had to do was stand at the gate, and call him - and he went right through.
The rest of the heifers weren't far behind, and they were excited to get to go to the hay we had laying out for them from the morning.

Clint & Wade bought a small set of Hoodoo bred Charolais heifers this summer,  The fall's went to Wade & Cara in Nevada, and the spring's came to us here in Oregon.  We have some older cows who are 12-14 years old and have reached their prime and as much as we hate to cull them due to age, Clint figured we'd better have a plan in place for when they needed to go to town. We picked the heifers up right before we left for NFR, so Clint just branded them and turned them out with the rest of the bred heifers last week. 
It's fun to see a few white ones in a sea of black. :)

They're a little smaller than we'd probably like them to be, but hopefully they'll catch up and calve right along with the rest of the group here.

They're learning the ropes here at Double M, just like the rest of the heifers.
Winter is a prime time to teach the heifers to come when they're called, and I was glad that they came as well as they did when I called them.
I bet they were happy too.....when they all went through the gate, found the hay, and put their heads down to eat.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Water works.

We worked and pregged a small set of cows at the White Corrals this weekend, and Teagan asked for a syringe to play with while we were working.

Turns out Patsy normally gives her an automatic syringe - without a needle of course - and I just gave her a 12cc disposable syringe. 

There's a water tank in a little holding area right behind the where we work cows, so she went to work filling it and squirting the dogs.  They got tired of that after awhile - and none of us wanted to be squirted - so we showed her how to write with water on the wood walls.

Jack wrote her name and she thought that was pretty cool!

It's always good to have a little fun while you work!