March 17, 2015

Crazy Busy Days

The barn is almost done, but the cows won't wait! Sunday we had our first calf born and once they started, they just keep coming.
Monday the crew finished pouring concrete for the inside of the barn. I can't wait to give you a tour... it won't be long now! It was a super busy day, and I wasn't able to finish all I wanted or needed to do. I had to take care of the kids too! :)

We are only doing half of the barn in concrete. The one side is where the tack shed and vet room will be, and the other part of the concrete is for saddling the horses and will help keep the dust factor down.

One little chore I had to do was remove all the salt and mineral tubs in the last pasture we were in and move them to the new one. Flat beds tend to be slippery and I lost a tub of salt. At least it was just salt. Not even four bucks for 50 pounds. Most of it stayed in the tub. That was lucky!

We've switched the replacement heifers' corn mix feed for cake; a protein supplement. They've been growing really well and we don't want to put too much weight on them. I was late caking them, but better than not at all. Now I'm out of cake and didn't get to town to get more. Too much on my plate sometimes.

Tuesday after the feeding chores, the Little Ranch Hand and I hauled off some trees the Ranch Hand cut down so we can build a fence along a tree line to prevent the cows from having their calves in the trees. Plus when we go to move them they hang out in the trees knowing they can hide. The fence will make calving and pairing out a lot easier. Most people around here have their tree lines fenced off.

We got 'em cleaned up!

After that we went out to check the cows. That's when I discovered the second born calf. Sadly it was dead. I don't know if it needed pulled, the cow stepped on it, or if something was just wrong with it. Immediately I started blaming myself, and engrained it in my brain that calving season is in full swing and I need to check my cows more often. The cow was a first calf heifer and they need special attention. We didn't have time to sort out the heifers the day we moved them so they were mixed in with the rest in a big pasture. This makes checking them a little more difficult. So the first thing we did when the kids got home from school was to put up an electric fence pen and go get those heifers.  I was not letting that happen to me again. I am ready to pull calves if I need to! With three of us on horses we all went after one heifer each. I tried to get two or three, but that's a waste of time. One at a time, slow and steady. Not too much pressure or it doesn't go well. At one time I glanced over my shoulder to see both of my kids chasing heifers in different directions and thought, " This is going to take forever, maybe until dark." Then like magic we all got our three in. I left one kid to guard the ones we'd gotten in and keep any out that weren't suppose to get in. Then the two of us went after some more. They would switch off being the guard and getting a heifer. After that it worked like clock work.

While we were out there we discovered another heifer that had calved. Nice small calf. This is THE cutest sight in the world. When a newborn calf nurses his mom for the first time and she's licking it and loving it up! Not the clearest picture, but she wouldn't let me get any closer. I think I need a better camera.

I am so proud of these two! We worked together and got the job done. I sent them in to help get the little kids started on supper and to shower. I finished the electric fence and got in just as it was getting dark. I'm taking a huge risk by not having electricity running through the wires tonight, but they seem pretty happy with their fresh bale of hay in a bale ring, and a Crystalix tub, (more protein supplement). We'll see what tonight brings as I will be checking them around ten and then at two. I now have yet another job, night calver.

When I got in, the big kids were putting the little kids to bed for me and I found this note on the counter with my supper. I ate it before I remembered to take the picture. I have great kids. They are learning how to be responsible and helpful. And I could really use that right now.

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