New Mamas and Wannabes

I just had to share this! As I was driving into the Wild Hermits part of the ranch, I saw our tenant messing with a cow. Hmm, I thought, some of those cows looked pretty bagged up yesterday (yeah I talk rancher talk to myself).

Sure enough, when he left, I saw this shiny new calf he’d just tagged. Hooray! It’s New Mama time here! These won’t freeze to death for sure.

Brand new baby!

It turns out there were two new brown calves, but the mama blocked my view when I drove by. Lucky, I found that baby in a photo of the other pair.

There’s another baby hiding at right. Moo!

I found the cool magnifying glass thing in my photo tools. Handy.

Wannabe

I guess the cow hormones must have drifted over to the chicken coop, because Blackie has gone broody. That means she wants to hatch eggs. Last week Kathleen and I managed to remove one.

Thanks, Internet!

Yesterday and the day before, she was not happy to have me poking at her, but today I just used both hands and managed to remove four more green eggs from her. I only got poked badly twice.

I read that they stay broody 3 weeks, so I hope my hand makes it through two more. I also hope she eats and drinks enough. They only leave the nest once a day. Poor Blackie. She’s all hormonal.

That’s Blackie in the middle of this picture from back when I had more chickens.

(The remaining 6 chickens are still fine! They love the cube!)

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Leading Horses to Water

Because I don’t take my phone on trail rides (just Sara’s old emergency flip phone) I have no photos. So, enjoy these paintbrushes and cattle while I brag about our horses.

Get us out of here!

But wait! I have sad calves to share! These little darlings got weaned and wormed today. Much mooing is happening now. Sniff.

What’s happening? Where’s Mom?

On to horses

Today we went on a much longer ride than usual, all the way to the far end of our property. To get there, we had many obstacles to face, and I’m happy to say both Apache and Spice were very brave. Continue reading “Leading Horses to Water”

Ranch Life. Not for Wimps

Yesterday I went to feed the horses but they would not come down to where we usually feed. They whinnied from the end of the narrow passage to their water trough.

We aren’t coming any closer, thanks.

I gathered their feed tubs and turned around to go get food. There I saw a very sad sight. A poor cow had died giving birth. Poor beautiful mama. I won’t share photos.

No wonder the horses would not come up. Even food didn’t convince them, so I took them their food.

Thanks for Indy, Human Mom.

Then I heard it’s harvest day for the sheep. Well, that’s their job and all, but sigh.

You really toughen up and remember life is hard when you live in the country.

But here are happy cows and green grass.

Cattle Torture

Our personal land is surrounded by the Wild Hermits land that we share with the neighbors. We rent that land out to the Vrazels, who have many lovely cattle in two or three pastures (I think they took a fence down to make a really big pasture).

Hello. It’s cold and our eyes are runny. Please ask your dogs to go inside.

Usually, the animals are way over by the creek, or on the far end of the big pasture. But today, they decided to torture our dogs by grazing on both sides of our fenced-in back yard.

Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark.

The good news is that our fence now actually holds all the dogs except Vlassic, who can slip through. The bad news is that means the dogs can stand right in front of the cattle and bark their little barkers off for way longer than either Lee or I can stand.

With them on both sides, and some irritated mooing, the dog frenzy seemed likely to never stop. Brody barked the most (duh, he’s a cattle dog), but Carlton was right behind him, adding play bows to show the cattle he LIKES them.

They actually like him, too, since we’ve seen them play with each other when Carlton isn’t fenced in. It’s rather cute. He goes after cattle; then they rush him, and back and forth. These are mostly heifers who have been around them their whole lives.

Please don’t make me charge at you, says the big white one. Babies are hiding at left.

The new Charolais bull who was brought in to do some natural baby making, however, does not seem fond of the dogs at all. He bellowed at them, and gathered all his ladies and their babies around him in a most manly fashion. What a protector.

Mom, make them shut up.

Meanwhile, Alfred just sat on the porch. He guards those cattle at night. He isn’t going to bark at them.

Ah, ranch life. Torture by cattle.

In Praise of a Dog

It was very nice of the humans to get this giant dog bed for me.

Let’s recover from my downer of a post last time by looking at a beautiful animal that can defend itself, good old Alfred the Anatolian Shepherd.

I walked into the living room at the ranch last weekend to see Big Al stretched out on the new couch, and he looked so beautiful and peaceful that I couldn’t bring myself to ask him to move.

I look wise. That’s all that matters.

He’s looking pretty good other than a couple of burrs in his ears, and is feeling so good now that he is on a daily glucosamine and pain medication regime. It makes me so happy to see him romp and play with the other dogs. Something that large acting like a puppy just has to make you smile.

You guys, I was napping. (There were no non-blurry photos of them playing.)

Since he’s feeling better, he’s a lot more patient with the younger dogs, and will sit there and bat at them as they crawl all over him, like a very patient elder statesman.

He isn’t all that old, probably a bit over 2 years, but his size and dignity lend him a kind of gravitas.

Hope you little dogs are having fun (even though Carlton is NOT little anymore).

He does great work keepying the coyotes at bay (and they do like to get close), and at the same time, he’s very kind to the cattle behind the house. He knows he is protecting them.

About the Cattle

I just have a little aside about the other dogs and the cattle. Brody the cattle dog and Carlton the extremely white fellow love to chase cows. Well, the ones we have behind us now have been there for many months, and they are wise to the dogs.

When Brody goes after them like a rocket, they turn around and look at him like, “oh, him again,” eventually herding HIM back to the fence, where he barks as if he’s in command.

We like a little fun. Not too much, though.

And the cattle have developed a game with Carlton. He will chase them back about twenty feet. Then they will chase HIM about twenty feet. Back and forth they go until someone gets tired. The cattle are really obviously playing, which usually they don’t do once they get to a certain size.

I know the dogs aren’t supposed to make them run, so they will be more marbled, but these are mama cows who get to hang around a long time. They can have a little fun, I think!

A Winter Ride

Today was beautiful, sunny and cool, but not cold. It was a perfect day to saddle up the paints and explore the big pasture.

Sara and Spice survey the cow pastures. The ranch house is in the distance.

Apache was amazingly well behaved as we warmed up, but Spice had a hard time when Sara went to mount her and the men working with unhappy bulls decided to turn them loose. So much yelling and mooing!

But she was fine after that, and we checked out many interesting things, including delicious sedge in the wet spots, Mandi’s house across the road, many pretty heifers, and a fascinating stick.

Things that interest horses are very different from what interests us!

I was both chagrined and happy to realize I’d forgotten to leave my phone at the tack room (because I don’t want to fall and break it). The light was golden and bright in the late afternoon, though, so having the camera let me record these moments.

Happy Saturday, everyone.

Why, Yes, It IS Hot

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The weather app says it’s hot.

After a period of vaguely okay weather, with some rainy days and nice things like that, it is now extra-July here in the middle of Texas.

Combine that heat with all that Saharan dust, and people are staying indoors in droves. In fact, if I had a Gratitude Journal, my only entry this week would say, “Air Conditioning!” I’ve been dealing with most annoying asthma symptoms all week.

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Be careful out there.

Mandi was trying to paint the inside of the house she’s remodeling this week, but it doesn’t have air conditioning yet. She now has heat exhaustion.

I’m being careful and plan to feed horses and chickens at sunset, and will probably drive over there rather than walk.

Continue reading “Why, Yes, It IS Hot”