Wow, it's only 10:42 am on Friday, Good Friday that is, and I already feel like I've worked a whole day and I'm ready for bed!
Here's a taste of how crazy things can get around here at times. Thankfully not all days are like this. If they were, I'd have a hard time saying "One day in the country is worth a week in town!"
Yesterday we were busy preparing for the 200 chicks that were coming today. We had to run to town to get pine shavings (litter for the brooder). Then we had to get the brooder all set up which means partitioning part of it off to form a smaller area to contain the chicks in one area and gathering all the feeders and waterers.
We also had to sort cattle for a brand inspection. We sold three of our bred Lowlines to some people in Missouri and she was driving here yesterday and then would leave early this morning. We also had a cow give birth to a calf around supper time last night. Dan the Man was keeping his eye on the pair to make sure everything was going okay.
The weather quickly started to deteriorate and the wind, rain and snow showers came. Just when things were starting to get dried out around here, we are again faced with more mud than we would like. It's so muddy around here you need four-wheel drive to get around in our yard. This by no means is good calving weather.
Meanwhile Jo Ann from Missouri arrived after her long journey to drop off her trailer so she could drive to town to get a hotel for the night. After visiting with this delightful lady and sending her and her two pups into town for a well deserved rest, Dan the Man went out to check on the new mom and her calf. Not long after he left and just as I was getting settled onto the couch, Dan the Man returns telling me to gather blankets because the calf was going to need some help. Right away I knew it was going to be a long night. (Have I ever mentioned that I generally go to bed no later than 9 pm, that is if I can stay awake even that long!) It was 8:30 pm or so and really the last thing I wanted to do is go out in the rain/snow, but that's what had to be done.
"Good bye warm sweet couch, I will return sometime. Hey would one of you cats mind warming a spot up on the bed for me so it will be toasty warm when I finally get to lay my head down!"
I gather the blankets and donned my winter muck gear and headed outside. The cow was not "taking" the calf and if we didn't get her somewhere warm and dried off she was not going to make it. We took the four-wheeler out into the pasture where the cow and calf were. Of course they were at the very bottom of the field, furthest away from where we wanted them to be. Plan "A" was to place the calf in this "calf sled" that we have and pull her behind the four-wheeler with the mother following us.
We got the little girl in the sled and started towards the shed. The mother cow could have cared less that we were taking her baby. Stupid mother... ugh! Dan the Man even tried to call her with his "calf in distress" call. He is very good at that. I guess you are born with such talents as that when you are a 5th generation rancher. When I try to do it, I sound like a sick seal! Generally, a good mother cow will follow you where ever you take their calf, but this ding-dong was totally ignoring us and her calf.
Dan the Man is very patient in these matters and kept trying to convince her to follow us, but she just would not. So we implimented Plan B"He finally gave up on the mother so we put "Plan B" onto action. Which as to take the baby, without her mother, into the heated shed to dry her off and get her warmed up. While I rubbed her down with towels to dry her, Dan the Man went back to the house to mix up some colostrum for her.
Let me tell you, it is not an easy task drying off a calf. Those who have done it know just what I am talking about, but for you city slickers let me tell you what it is like. The calf is not just "wet." "Wet" doesn't begin to describe the gooey mess that is covering the calf. Remember they just were born into this world out of their mother's womb which is full of amniotic fluid which is wet, sticky, a little bloody and just plain ole messy! So to say you have to "dry" off the calf is kind of an understatement!
Dan the Man returned with the colostrum and we gave it to the little calf to get her going. But it didn't help. She pretty much had given up I think, but we weren't ready to give up yet. We dried her completely using our dryer (hair dryer for cows when we are showing them) which warmed her up, but she didn't respond much even after she was completely dried. We worked on her for at least an hour and a half. By 11 pm Dan the Man decided there wasn't much else we could do for her. We would keep her in the heated shed and see if she would make it through to the morning.
Exhausted we drug ourselves through the mud, back to the house and our bed. And my faithful kitties warmed a spot for me! 5 am was going to come much to quickly but we had to get up early so we could get Jo Ann loaded and sent off with her cows on her way to Missouri. She wanted to get an early start so she could drive all the way back home. I hope she has good weather! For those of you who know our cattle, she bought Black Hawk, Tequila (Tekki) and 39a. All of whom are bred.
Loading the cows wasn't all that easy since our driveway is muddy and Jo Ann has two wheel drive. We ended up hooking her trailer to our truck, loading the cows in the trailer, then driving the trailer to Jo Ann's truck and unhooking the trailer from our truck and hooking it up to Jo Ann's truck.
"I'll miss you girls! You make sure you mind your manners and behave! Write home when you have time and let us know about your new babies and how the weather is in Missouri. I hope the wind doesn't blow as much there as it does here!"
Unfortunately the little calf from last night didn't make it. This is the part of ranching I don't care for!! Makes me so sad when we lose a calf!
While we were loading Jo Ann I noticed we had another calf! This one was up at least and Dan the Man would have to make sure she was okay after we got Jo Ann loaded and he got the cows fed. After we sent Jo Ann on her way, Dan the Man went off to feed the cattle and I went off to pick up the 200 chicks that were waiting at the post office for me. You can see the next post about the whole chick ordeal. I'll do a separate story on that.
So now it is a little after noon and since I started this post another cow has had her calf and I am happy to report that it is up and sucking. Dan the Man had to move the other cow and calf into the shed since that little girl isn't doing all that well. Hopefully the mother will get her cleaned-up and the calf will start sucking.
Jo Ann just called and she made it to North Platte which is about 220 miles from here but Black Hawk had her baby in the trailer. Dan the Man is one the phone with her now giving her instructions. I pray that she makes it to Missouri and God lays his protective hand on the new baby. Black Hawk is a great mom, so Dan the Man is pretty confident that everyone will be fine. Dan the Man just said "Well, Jo Ann ended up taking four home instead of three. Now she'll have a story to tell everyone!"
When it rains, it pours!
That's it, I'm exhausted and if I keep writing on this post, chances are something else is going to happen. The sun is trying to shine, it's snowing and the wind is blowing.
Time to draw the lucky winner of my first official give away! I'll announce the winner later tonight after we back from the Good Friday Service at church!
I AM thankful that it is Good Friday.
28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
PS as I post the last picture it is hailing! Gotta love Springtime weather in Western Nebraska!!
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