Happiness Is a Brown Calf

I was sitting in my office when I got a text from Chris. It had a photo. I was confused.

Why is Kathleen feeding a tiny calf? Where is she? Why is there a yellow sticker on it?

I asked questions. Like what kind of cow is it? A bull. Where does it live? The back yard. Does it like dogs? We’ll see. Thanks, Chris, I thought. What the heck?

Vlassic was also confused.

Well. Chris went to the sale barn and bought a bottle calf, to cheer Kathleen up. She likes to hand-raise calves. How about that?

Yes, he made Kathleen happy.

So, he borrowed Ralph’s trailer and brought baby Rip home. Well, first they got a halter, a food dish, calf formula (isn’t that just cow milk?), and such. And Chris used our horse panels for a temporary fence. Okay.

Gracie and I were also happy to meet Rip.

I came home and enjoyed all the bonding and stuff. Kathleen is an expert. She held him and cuddled him, and he took a nice nap.

Nap time.

To get him to drink more, she had to make him stand up. He’s a little drowsy. Tomorrow we will get him electrolytes.

He really needed to stand up to eat. They get pneumonia otherwise.

I enjoyed feeding him. I’d never fed a calf before. I fed a little kitten a bottle once, and that’s it. Happy World Breastfeeding Month to me!

Mmm. Milk.

I sure hope baby Rip makes it. Kathleen and Chris say they’ve nursed calves in worse shape before. The guess is that he was a twin or lost his mom. Poor fellow. He will have fun with our crew, I hope. The dogs love his poop, which was not a thing I expected.

In any case, that livened up the day. Oh, so did this. It was still soft when they found it, near where Rip’s crib is.

That’s a healthy snake.

He should do fine, according to the professional family bottle calf raisers. The dogs like him, and Alfred and Clarence the guard rooster will take care of him.

I’m a scrawny baby.

Bumming with Bovines

I am just going to share what makes life worth living these days, and that’s my charming ranch companions. It’s really fun to go for walks with the cows (and horses). You’re reminded that humans are just part of this world, and that every other living being is also out there having adventures.

I didn’t have a bovine traffic jam this afternoon, but probably because I walked.

Reminder of going to work yesterday.

Instead I enjoyed the greetings of my favorite heifers, who are now getting ready for babies of their own. As always, the great and bold 18-1 came right up to say hi. She’s just a golden cow.

Even the clouds love her.

After greeting her and the others, I checked on Apache and Fiona. Apache seems to be gradually improving, even when I let him out to graze a good while every evening. On the other hand, now Fiona seems a little stiff. My plan is a thorough foot check tomorrow.

Apache and I have fun on our walks. I sing him songs, and that gets him walking faster. Perhaps he’s trying to escape the singing. In any event, I’m happy he’s getting exercise and I get to pet and love on him.

Look! You can see his ribs!

On the way back, I was wiping the sweat off my eyes, and saw a brown blur over by the cabin. Hey, that’s a heifer on this side of the fence. She must have jumped the cattle guard.

I went up and saw it was good ole 18-2! She has a cute blonde tail. I said, “You know you aren’t supposed to be here!” I swear she gave me the same look Penney gives when she’s guilty. And she ambled over to the cattle guard and jumped over!

I did it. I’m proud.

Tyler V says she’s done it before. It doesn’t hurt anything for her to be over there, unless she breaks into the silage or something. She couldn’t get away, because there’s a gate farther down right now.

18-2 stands majestically in her field.

My guess is that when she’s full size and all pregnant, there will be no more jumping. I do enjoy this group of young ladies I’ve enjoyed since birth.

Solstice Tidings (Why I Have Wet Feet)

The Winter Solstice here in North America is a favorite day for me. I know the days are getting longer, which is good. But I also like to stop and savor the pale sunlight and see what winter is bringing to the ranch.

So, since my horseback ride was canceled, I took the dogs out to check the moisture levels in the ponds and springs. We all had a good time!

There went a bunny. Gone now.

For it being damp and chilly, we ran into lots of wildlife. A flock of chopping sparrows was irritated by the dogs and flapped and flitted, which sent a rabbit dashing away. A little peregrine falcon twirled above us making its little hawk sound.

Poison ivy berries. Don’t eat them.

And hooray! Yesterday’s quarter inch of rain was plenty to keep our newly active springs flowing nicely. I could even hear the water trickle along. Vlassic caught a crawfish but wouldn’t let me get a picture.

In between pounces.

I decided to find the larger spring that’s feeding our stream. We tromped around and could see where the arroyo was still just damp and not flowing, but I got my feet so wet and my shirt so full of burs that I gave up. I’ll try again in January.

Hey cow!

I came back by the pasture and enjoyed watching Penney and Vlassic play with cows, which is always fun. Not a bad way to start a new season.

Oh, those pesky pooches! Moo!

Get ready for adventures! We’re on the road right now. A week with just my husband is coming up! I’ll get caught up, read, knit, and hike.

The wild blue yonder beckons.

Have a cool Yule!

Do You Have a Favorite Calf? I Do.

Here’s the whole family of cattle I can see from the house. I hope those clouds bring some rain.

Yesterday, I’d been lamenting that all the mamas and babies in the cattle herd had been put right behind our house, but I never got to see the cute little spotted calf I’ve been enjoying since the day they were born (still don’t know male or female).

I think it may be a female.

Today, though, I noticed that they were all in the back tank/pond, which still has a good amount of water in it, bathing and mooing. There was also a bonus creepy cow staring at me from within the willow trees. She looked menacing.

Continue reading “Do You Have a Favorite Calf? I Do.”

Entertainment on a Misty Day

Cattle want to come in and hang out with us.

Still wet here. It feels like walking on a sponge when I go outside. At least the mist cleaned off the horses. Fiona the donkey is still preset grubby. Maybe next week we can groom!

So, since we couldn’t do much outside today, we looked out the windows. The Vrazels’ cattle decided to hang out near the fence. The calves are so cute.

Of course, right after I took the picture, the dogs noticed they were there. Brody really doesn’t like them near the fence. He lets them know.