Sure, I Relax

It was nice to get home from work and think about what’s eternal.

One thing is learning. I’m loving the book I’m reading, perhaps too much. The person who wrote How to Be an Antiracist has managed to clarify all sorts of muddy questions and gut feelings I have about race, class, and political systems. Perhaps this is not the most relaxing book ever, but it makes so much sense that my brain feels tidier or something. More on this when I’m done!

The other eternal thing is life going on about its cycles. I’m surrounded by birth, death, old age, and metamorphosis every day. The new calf, Nicole’s son who will arrive in a month, the lady in Cameron who died in the fire and had cooked all those burgers, Lee and me, a butterfly. I treasure all of it!

Now to stop writing so much and share photos of what relaxes me.

Tomorrow will be Rip’s week-a-versary.
He liked head rubs.
Gulf fritillary.
Happy to enjoy our golden years (ha ha) at the Hermits’ Rest.

Happy Farming

Everyone is finally settling in at the ranch. All the chickens seem to get along fine now that they’re free ranging. And a sign of this happiness was we had a three-egg day today, the first since Lacy Legs passed a few months ago. I’m grateful to whichever new pullet is finally laying!

New hen, Bertie, and Fancy Pants!

They are tons of fun to watch outside, and are friendly as heck. I gave them a big overripe tomato this evening, which led to great joy.

And little Rip is hungry as heck, which is great.

Mmmmilk

He even sucked on my finger today. He has a cute little black tongue and is quite gentle. I obviously could not get a photo of that, so here are his milky little lips.

That Didn’t Work as Planned

Two things didn’t work out quite as planned.

Freeing the Chickens

First, we decided it was time to let the chickens out to eat some bugs. You know, the whole free range thing. Of course the first thing happened was Clarence the super stud went after Bertie with a vengeance. What’s cool is that Bruce came to her rescue.

Bruce is about to go after Clarence for his unwanted advances.

That led to the two roosters going into the pen and chasing each other, flying around and such. All that got everyone in a tizzy. Poor Hedley the little Roo-ish one got chased outside and hid with Henley.

Hedley did manage to get some grasshopper eating in, along with Springsteen.

Eventually the three bravest birds started going after bugs, Bertie, Fancy Pants, and Gray Greta. The guinea just loves her fluffy, white buddy.

Fancy Pants finally has a chick to dote on, even though it’s her size.

They all went out some, but it wasn’t the mad dash to freedom I’d envisioned. Probably because it’s hot outside and the chicken pen has all the shade.

Free ranging, baby.

The part that DID turn out well was that when I got home from horse activity and went to shut them back in, everyone was roosting quietly. And! Clarence had gone to his outside roost! He thinks that’s his house! Hooray.

I’m not always chasing everyone under the henhouse so I can strut around crowing in victory. Just sometimes.

Walking the Calf

This afternoon Chris and I went out around the property looking for trees to potentially transplant near the house. We found some cool Osage orange trees we might take cuttings of, and lots of cedar elms.

Osage orange or bois d’arc (bodark)

We also enjoyed seeing herons and egrets, including a little night heron!

Blue heron and great egret.

We heard shouting. That’s weird around our house. It turned out Kathleen had come home from work and decided to take Rip for a walk after his bottle of milk. We finally saw them. It appeared a lot of his walking was lying down.

A girl and her calf.

We got back to the house and I went to check on them. Rip was ensconced in some tall grass, slowly munching.

I’m camooflaged.

I chatted a while, took pictures of some bugs and plants, and discovered it was time to go see Sara and feed horses. So I left them, right where I found them.

This dragonfly is camouflaged.

Just before I left the horses, I got a text. Kathleen never got Rip to move, so Chris came and got them. He picked up the calf and put him in the back of Hilda the utility vehicle.

My Uber is here.

Chris says Rip finished his milk and went to sleep in Hilda! They had to make him wake up to go back to his pen. Nope, that’s not how Kathleen had planned for their first walk to go!

But, I think we all actually had fun today.

Game Cams Are Fun, as Are Calves

I may have mentioned that we got a game cam to check on what was attacking the birds. We finally got it going and ran it for a few days.

This shows me and Kathleen sneaking up on the chickens.

I have to say I’m impressed with the quality of the pictures you get. I didn’t save many, but I’ll get more tomorrow. The fun ones are giant chicken heads and flying/stretching. Look at Gray Greta!

Look at my wingzzzz!
Wow. This is late at night.

We did get one intruder.

Chris checking for skunks at 9:14 pm. Eek!

You can see they all line up on one branch. Actually most night photos show Bruce on patrol. Good Bruce. I’ll get more to share later. But aren’t the photos good?

Stretch!

Little Rip

I was glad to see our skinny baby bull calf made it through last night. He slept a lot today, but perked up enough to play with Gracie a bit.

Friends.

Like with a human baby, early poops and pees are important. He got in the groove this evening and peed three times. That means he’s hydrated.

A calf has to go when he has to go.

The poor fellow is still a bit unsteady on his legs, so getting up or down is hard.

I was trying to lie down, but I think I’ll get back up.

He really has long legs. Kathleen spends as much time as she can with him, and he is bonding well.

Rip’s shelter.

She even made him a little shade house. Soon he will have a nice place to live, so he will be fine. Can’t wait until he meets Fiona.

I gots spindly legs.

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.