Archive: March 2014
posted by Chelsea
My parents were here this weekend. They planned to watch kiddos while I went to work, but I ended up not working and so… we all got to hang out! Buck and I even managed to get away on a couple of romantic excursions… you know, tagging calves. What could be more of a get-away than tagging?! Especially with blue skies, sunny weather, and the idyllic setting of a pasture full of cows and calves…
I prepped the tagger, carried the log book, and primed the bander with little green rubber bands (for the bull calves). Buck roped. He always offers to let me rope, but once you catch a calf there’s a lot to deal with, namely a mama cow who isn’t real impressed that you’ve roped her baby. Some mamas are more low key than others. The ones who aren’t low key are the ones who ruin all the fun for me. So… I let Buck rope.
And deal with the ornery mamas. Like this one…
…within seconds of this picture she came running, with snot flying and head shaking, at Buck. I stopped photographing. And started running. Truth be told, I was hiding behind the “Mule-y” (ATV we do our checking and tagging rounds on) and Buck quickly joined me. The cow missed him and well, he’s just speedy like that. Fortunately, her calf was a heifer so all she needed was a quick tag and Buck could let her go…
…so her mama could take her far far away.
Other mamas aren’t nearly so protective. We tag the ranch calves with the same number as the mother cow so it’s imperative we know which calf goes with which cow. And sometimes, a mama leaves her sleeping calf so she can go get a bite to eat. Usually a mama won’t get too far away, but occasionally we’ll catch a calf…
…then spend a few minutes waiting for it’s mother to show up. And typically speaking, if we have to wait awhile, the mama isn’t overly concerned about her calf. This mama finally showed up…
… and while she was concerned, she definitely wasn’t going to get aggressive, in fact, she’d rather just back up and wait to see how the whole thing played out.
came with us to tag on Sunday (girls were skiing with my folks!) and while he was on my back…
I thought about which category of mama I fall into. And I have to say, I fully understand this one…
..except I wouldn’t have missed. ;-)
posted by Chelsea
Lucy learned to drive the feed truck,
While on a “binki” she still liked to suck.
She’s always been her dad’s right hand gal,
And her little sister’s all-time-best pal.
She’d rather tags calves before school starts
Than fill out monotonous chore charts.
She loves a calf with a brockle face,
Especially one she might be able to chase.
Lucy often explains the meaning of a “springy cow”
To which non-rancher types often voice, “wow?!”
The “birds & the bees” are simple and true,
From the cows & the bulls she’s taken her cue.
She’s a responsible, Type-A, oldest child,
And with her siblings (and dad!) she loves to play wild.
She’s determined and strong with her high pony tail
and she’ll eat anything, even spinach or kale.
Lucy’s energy stores never run dry,
No matter how hard we all try.
We call her our energizer bunny,
And her sense of humor is witty & funny.
She’s on spring break this week
And with it, an adventure she’d like to seek.
Lucky for us there’s work to be done
And lucky for her she’s able to do it in the sun!
posted by Chelsea
If you’ve been around CC for very long, you’re already aware of the fact that I love PG Tips black tea with cream and (raw) sugar. My girls do, too. It’s an important part of our life, particularly our fall/winter/spring life. If there is the slightest chill in the air, we need tea.
It’s a treat. It’s a distraction. It’s a way of life.
So… since Cooper is getting “older”, you know, quickly approaching his 2nd birthday, we decided to introduce him to our tea time. We were strategic…. we took it outside because while he thinks he’s a real pro without a sippy lid, he’s actually not.
The girls were pretty thrilled to include him in our afternoon habit. We all watched on to see what he’d think of his mostly cream and sugar (with a little bitta tea) combination…
We’re pretty sure he enjoyed every drop…
once he started…
he didn’t even bother coming up for air…
And when he finished his, he checked to make sure no one was looking so he could start in on Katelyn’s…
We have another tea drinker on our hands, folks!
Posted by Chelsea
I got up in the usual fashion… Alarm clock, snooze, alarm clock, whine that the morning shouldn’t be here already, roll out of bed. Pour coffee. Then, I made some really awesome bacon (nitrate free baby!) and eggs (farm fresh baby!) for the family and while they ate, I found Lucy’s long sleeved white shirt (the one she HAD to wear) buried under a pile of clean-ish clothes, pulled her hair back in the high pony tail she can’t live without and even managed to change Cooper’s diaper before I wrangled our 3 offspring and had them loaded in the car to take Lucy to school. I was nearly out of fuel and my window was icy, very icy. While I know I’ve bought window scrapers, I can never seem to find one when I need it and so I tried to use a credit card (one I recently qualified for! Because I register for credit now! Like a real live adult!) to scrape the windshield. It didn’t work and we were in a hurry. I couldn’t roll the frozen window down to look out and see where I was going so I drove to the fuel tank with the door open- just a little – so I could “be safe” and see where I was driving. I fueled up, headed down the hill, checked cows, dropped Lucy off at school, then headed back up the hill. At home I turned on some music, threw in what was going to be my first of many loads of laundry, then called my mom to update her about a summer surprise (shh) I’m working on for Buck and whilst we were chatting I could hear water running in the downstairs bathroom? The closer I got the louder the water and upon arrival I found ALOT of brownish-blackish-nasty-ish water bubbling out over the bathtub and the toilet. Super not cool. I, of course, verbalized the situation to my mom who said something to the effect of, “Oh! *poop*!” To which I said something to the affect of, “*Poop* is definitely what appears to be overflowing out of my bathtub.” To which she said, “OK! Bye!” I called the plumber. While on the phone to the plumber’s secretary, I could hear call waiting over and over and over again. For some reason called ID wasn’t telling me who was calling over and over and over again. In addition to the buzzing of caller ID, Cooper was screaming and following me as I tried to walk away from him. Confession- I appeased him with fruit snacks. 2 bags. Katelyn, too. (No, they were not farm fresh, baby!) I got off the phone with the secretary who was going to try to get a plumber headed our way. And I figured out the number of the recurrent caller and called back. It was Buck, calling from the house closest to our cows. Seems he couldn’t get ahold of me?! He needed colostrum for a calf who was possibly a twin or possibly had a negligent mom. The kids and I whipped up some calf colostrum, then grabbed a bag for the other items Buck requested…. an extra (hand held) radio, extra ear tags and a tuber. I added an apple and cheese stick for all of us. Back down the hill we went. We met up with Buck who wanted us to go with him to figure out the calf situation. Cooper prefers to walk by himself (here’s a not-the-same-day-but-if-you’re-still-reading-you-deserve-a-visual-picture…
but he’s slow and aimless. So, I tried to hold his hand to speed him up and keep him on track. He threw a fit. I picked him up. Fit continued. I was carrying Cooper’s flailing self in one arm and the bag with radio, tags, tuber and snacks in the other. I was a good 50 yards behind Buck. Needless to say, while I was good and sweaty by now, I was less than helpful in the calf situation. Katelyn (here’s a not-the-same-day-but-if-you’re-still-reading-you-deserve-a-visual-picture…
tried to talk sense into Cooper. It was to no avail. Once I was close enough to yell to Buck, I did, and told him I was going to leave the bag for him, but go home to make sure and not miss the plumber. (A lot of time (much more than it’s taken you to read this!) had passed by now.) In the same fashion as we walked into the field, we walked out- quite a bit of flail. Eventually we made it back to the car and back up the hill (it takes about 25 minutes from bottom to top or top to bottom). I quickly went inside to check the phone messages, but apparently before we left, Cooper turned the answering machine off (only button he can reach from his vantage point on the floor). Which wasn’t exactly super handy because the called ID showed the plumber tried to call twice while we were gone. I called back, no answer. Fantastic. I put Cooper down for a nap. The plumber drove into the driveway! Yay! He used a lot of big plumbing words like “main line” and “soft plug” and “toilet paper is bad”. Katelyn and I drank smoothies while he worked and assisted as necessary- ran water here and there, stuff like that. He said he doesn’t put paper (as in the toilet kind) in his toilet. Hmmm… I think we’ll just try to use less, I mean, I have limits. Anyway, he fixed the problem. He left in time for me to wake Cooper up (so wrong! goes against all things maternal!) so we could go get Lucy from school. Down the hill we drove. Picked Lucy up. Then back up the hill we drove. And as we drove, we discussed the fact that no, not just “bull-dogs” can breed other dogs, but any un-neutered male dog. I’m so glad my kids ask the big questions in life and that at least for now, I have the answers. We got home in time to get dinner started- I had plans to delight my family and make biscuits and gravy. I had all the biscuit making supplies out when I remembered my oven isn’t working. Rah! About this time Buck came in and said he’d make his specialty, sausage-cheesy-noodles for the kiddos. I jumped in the shower, donned my scrubs and rushed out the door and down the hill. Since I was driving by, I checked cows, including the calf and it’s negligent mother from earlier in the day (remember that?) who were now in the corral so the cow could figure out that SHE GAVE BIRTH (to a calf!) THIS MORNING?! They seemed to be getting acquainted alright so I headed on into town. I left my car at the shop (needs rear brakes!) and picked up our pickup (just got done being worked on!) then ran to the grocery store to grab a couple of staples to take home with me the next day, then to the hospital where I made myself at home in the sleep room for the night in preparation for a potentially laboring mom, as in the human kind. I was wiped out and went right to sleep…. and while I would have gladly jumped out of bed for a baby on it’s way into the world, I’ll admit I was thankful for a full night’s rest. My alarm went off at 6:30, I rolled out of bed, grabbed the groceries I stored in the staff fridge along with a cup of fresh brewed coffee and headed home.
So… to the blessed folks who have asked me, “What exactly do you DO out there on the ranch?” Umm… mostly I just twiddle my thumbs.
Posted by Donna
It is said that a picture’s worth 1,000 words so I will let these exquisite forms of art speak for themselves.
OK, 1000 and 3!
posted by Chelsea
Calving is in full swing. In honor of the swing, I thought I’d hold a quick little cutest-calf-contest. I’ll provide the pictures and also be the judge. Basically, besides reading and viewing, you’re off the hook as far as participation goes. You’re welcome.
Starting the contest, two cuties- not twins, but likely related. No special markings, but cute and awfully cuddly looking, nonetheless..
Next in line, a baldy. We love a baldy around here. (We have a lot of solid black, so a baldy is special just because it stands out.) This baldy is especially adorable and is therefore in the contest…
Speaking of baldy, take a look at this one…
So cute, isn’t he?!
White is especially cute, but that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with solid black. I always love when calves play in their mama’s hay and this little guy is thinking about it (after his photo shoot!)…
This next calf has an unfair advantage. His mom is my favorite cow and he has some really cute markings and it’s really unfortunate he’s not a heifer because I really wanted to keep
her him as a replacement…
Do you see the two white “socks” on his back feet? And the white eye lashes? So cute!
At this point, you might think the last calf was the winner. I didn’t say that! I said he had an unfair advantage. BUT after a very small amount of deliberation, I decided on a winner. Very strong genetics are on his side, he’s the cutest “bull-calf” around, and not a calf on the place stands a chance when compared to this kind of adorable. This years award goes to this little guy…
In this case, I’m… the photographer. The commentator. The judge. AND the mama. No contest!
~posted by Donna
I’m a northern girl at heart and I truly adore mountain living. But for the first 20 years of my life, my parents took me and my sisters to white, sandy beaches for vacations.
So let’s just blame them for my addiction. Carrabelle Beach fits in nicely. It’s got the hard-packed sand
and the fine white sand
so I get to choose which one I’ll walk on each time. Most days I just leave the flip flops in the car and dig my toes into that soft, warm, white bliss.
Some days I wear my running shoes and jog along the water line on terra firma.
As I walk, there are bird tracks to be studied
and small pieces of driftwood to consider collecting.
As I jog, I play tag with the waves the tides control.
When the sun shines on the swelling ocean,
diamonds wink and shift and reappear elsewhere. Ducks (and other shore birds) bob and cluster together.
I like to imagine how feverishly those webbed feet are paddling below the surface in order to stay in one place so long.
And the sandpipers look like characters in a Charlie Chaplin movie, silent, moving mechanically.
Beyond the shimmering salt water and the two kinds of sand,
sea grass waves to passersby, tall and stately, a predominant seashore mascot. Sea grass and dunes are a desirable duo. Beyond the amber grasses,
pine trees stand sentinel over the beach territory, like babysitters trying to control their errant charges:
To the waves: “Don’t go out so far.”
To the sand: “You’re going to get all dirty.”
To the grasses: You’ll catch your death of cold in this breeze.”
To the birds: “How many times do I have to tell you to stay out of the water?”
But together, it all works.
The hum of the waves as I walk on velvet and my eyes scan a very straight, very distant line on a horizon which is, who knows where.
It all satisfies something deep in my soul.
Life’s a beach.
posted by Chelsea
A couple of days ago it was snowing. Here, you can see, through our living room window, Buck on his way into the house (delighted look on his face because he just pegged both daughters with large snowballs) and in the background, note the fresh snow he used to accomplish that task…
Then, it started to rain.
And it hasn’t stopped.
Not exactly ideal calving weather.
The kiddos don’t seem to mind. Katelyn is so happy to have a reason to bust out her umbrella (next to yesterday’s sleds!)…
she can hardly contain herself…
Cooper, who lost his hat and put it back-on-backwards all “by his own” (as we say at our house),
not only didn’t mind the rain, but suddenly turned into a 17 year old.
This next look on his face, this little bit of mischief, little bit of sweet, little bit of ornery, lotta bit of fun… in combo with the backwards hat…
…has 17 written all over it. And suddenly, I’m less concerned with the weather and more concerned about stopping time.