Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Breeding at 7-UP

Some people get excited over a new car, a new boat, or a new snowmobile.

Us....we get excited over new cattle equipment. :D

This summer, Clint & RJ bought a new breeding box and have been using it for breeding projects this winter.

It's been a great investment. It's handy, quiet and efficient.

Cattle walk right in, stand, and when the job is done, they walk right on out.

Rarely is there any banging, thrashing or kicking from the cows.

Low Stress = High Conception

It's design fits three people and all of the {stuff} you need to breed cows.

And it keeps the wind out.

That's pretty important when you live in Eastern Oregon! :D










This week, we've spent the past two mornings in the box at Terry & Debby Anderson's 7-UP Ranch helping them time breed their cows.

Kevin Hughes helped RJ and Clint breed, since there were so many to do, and Jesse and I pulled the semen. Terry & Debby had also put together a great crew that brought the cattle to us.






And really, whether you're breeding cows, or completing some other task....

When you're surrounded by great people,
working efficiently towards a common goal,
what more can you ask for?

Success is Reason Enough.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thankful, even in the trying moments.

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” - Dale Carnegie

While we never lost hope, I'd be lying if I didn't say we had some trying moments over the past few days.

Wednesday night, we had a nasty ice storm hit us and it finally (FINALLY!) left our area Saturday when "The Great Thaw" began.

The ice and all that it covered looked pretty....but only if you didn't have to be out in it.

I was able to close our office for two days so that my employees didn't have to risk traveling on the ice. But unfortunately, we can't tell the cows that there's {Adverse Weather} conditions, and ask them to stay home and carry on.

Rather - the weather just makes things that much more difficult. Especially if you're a heifer about to have her first calf. Not shoes I'd want to be in.

So we worked to make their lives a little more comfortable...even if it meant our lives were a bit more uncomfortable.

I just kept thinking to myself...

It could be worse.

And to focus on the positive, I just kept telling myself -

I'm thankful for:

- A warm calving barn. So warm, when you opened it's garage doors to the outside frozen world, steam came rolling out.

- Small bales of barley straw light enough for me to lift and jostle by myself.

- Enough big bales of straw to bed down new baby calves. I know we slept better knowing they had a warm, dry place to lay.

- Chains. Lots and lots of chains. On the 1960's feed truck, on the pickups, on the 4-wheelers, on the feedlot mixer trucks, and on our feet.

- Jack, who checked heifers at night so we could get a few hours of sleep, pitched in to feed extra groups, showed up when we needed an extra body, and who picked Clint up a pair of stretchable ice picks that went over his shoes.

- Tumbleweeds. I've never been more thankful for those tumbleweeds, who even when covered in ice, were the only thing it seemed like in the fields that provided enough traction to walk on.

- A washer and dryer that kept turning out clean, dry clothing.

- A calf cart that slid easily over the ice and brought cold, wet new babies and their mama's to warmth inside the barns walls.

- Heifers who were calm enough to come into the barn with just a bit of coaxing.

- Extra calm heifers who didn't mind doubling up with another pair when we ran out of stalls. In a barn that's supposed to hold 13 pairs, on the worst night we were able to safely nestle 24 pairs out of the weather.

- Water troughs that didn't freeze. (Well that's not really true - some did freeze - but not so heavily that they weren't easy to chop through, or run a hose to.)

- Friends who called or stopped by to see how we were doing.

So while I only captured one picture, the memories, lessons and continued love for my husband after an unexpected four day weekend live on.

But I'm glad the ice didn't.

Here's to clear skies, healthy calves, and more days that look like this:



PS - For those of us who know what it means when someone says "You really know you love your spouse when you can work cattle for an entire day, and still love them at the end of it", be sure to check out today's Beef Daily blog!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Preparing for the Winter Olympics.


Ice skating anyone?

We had freezing rain move in Wednesday night and since then, it's left a few inches of ice build up in it's wake.

So much ice, that even areas that aren't flat - like the pastures - are like skating rinks too.

Just with hills.

Too bad the cows and calves here don't know how to lace up skates. ;)

With heifers calving, this weather has been a bit tough on them. Thankfully there's a nice calving barn that we've been able to get new babies into - the calf cart works great on the ice....it just slides along behind the Rhino - and we've been able to get them warmed up before they head out to practice for the Winter Olympics!

Stay safe and warm friends!

And on two feet. Don't be like me and fall on the ice.

I now just take to crawling when I have to go a long distance....that or scooting on my rear.

But you won't find me posting any pictures of that!
*grin*

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Calving out of their tails.

When you have little boys that are spending the day with you,

and you live on a ranch that also has a feedlot,

with trucks, and tractors, and cows that are calving out of their tails ('wink'),

it's easy to keep them entertained.








We had a great Friday with Mason and Mack.

We made time to watch a few silage trucks get dumped, delivered cupcakes to everyone working that day, and then wrapped up the day by helping Clint go around and check heifers that were calving -

After which we were told that Mack went home to his parents

- who also have cattle -

and asked

"Daddy, why don't we have cows that have babies out of their tails like Clint?"

Out of the mouth of babes. Priceless. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Patience

Patience.

I had told Lindsay last weekend on the phone that I needed to pray for patience.

Clint started calving heifers last week, and while it happens every year, I had somehow forgotten how hard the start of a calving season can be.

Normal every day duties like going to work, making meals, doing laundry and cleaning house still have to get done. I also have a husband who's busting his tail to make sure that his normal work (feeding, doctoring calves, etc.) gets done along with the added responsibility of calving.

And right now - he's calving heifers.

If you haven't been around cattle much, I'll tell you this:

Heifers calving for the first time can be a little unpredictable.

They usually need a bit (or a lot) of extra care.

Vets sometimes have to be called.

Calves often have to be pulled, or grafted and cared for.

And our sleep patterns - well they become more like a newborn parents.

There are no 8 to 5 hours when it comes to ranching.

(Which makes me very thankful that I get to go to my job and have a schedule.)

But I'll just tell you this -

It's all worth it.






And I'll tell you another thing - this man is worth it. He loves his job, and cares deeply about doing it well.

And I'll help him however I can - even if it's just riding along with him to open gates during his midnight checks.

........

So while I may not have a {word} for 2012;

I do have one for January.

Patience.

Patience to know that I might not get everything done.

But the important things will get done.

And the rest....well, hopefully I'll have tomorrow for those.

Here's to patience.

Who knows - it might just be my word for February......March too.

But the cows should be done calving by April, so I'll have a new word by then.

Which is good....patience has never been my thing.

Here goes nothing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Four things.

Hello 2012. You've been a great year so far.

So excellent in fact that you've left me little time to put together composed thoughts. Not that I'm complaining....just saying.

Instead of not posting anything this week....for lack of words that comprehend with one another, or time, or energy....I thought I'd just share four things I'm loving right now in this first week of 2012.

I'm hoping the next week of 2012 brings my thoughts back together!

This punch.
I've adapted this recipe to use limeade, but this is a great punch to serve and can be a great mixer for mixed drinks too! PS - It's yummy. You'll be glad you made it.

This makeup.
I don't think of myself as high maintenance but I guess I do like to look nice when I walk out the door. And in October 2006 (yes, I specifically remember the month...it's that life changing) my friend Becky introduced my to Bare Minerals. And my skin has sung songs of Hallelujah ever since. The makeup while a little on the expensive side at first, lasts FOREVER and my skin kinda loves it. I'd never bought the eye or foundation primer before this week....but when I found it on the Last Chance site I took the plunge and can I just tell you how AMAZING it is! Seriously. Loving this stuff.

This blog post.
Because if you've started 2012 with a resolution to eat healthier, I can imagine you're feeling the same way Melanie is. Read to the very end. You'll be thankful for the laugh you get. :)

This weather.
Seriously - while in the back of my head I know if it sticks around we'll have some serious problems this spring - I've still been enjoying it. And with the first calf of 2012 on the ground as of yesterday, I think the heifers calving will be enjoying it too! (Plus, it makes it a lot easier to get out of bed at midnight to check heifers, or help feed in the mornings when it's 40 degrees outside!)