Thursday, March 15, 2012

Home Cooking and How Did We Surive Growing Up

I feel like we are living in the early 1900s.  I recently found out that I have Mal-absorption issues.  I can't eat anything with fructose ( most all fruits, honey and sweeteners).  If you are fructose intolerant, you  can't have fructans which are found in wheat and rye  I am also gluten intolerant.  I also flunked the lactose test. It wasn't even that hard a test :(
It is almost easier to tell you what I can eat that what I cant. 
I am cooking a very healthy diet for us.  We eat fresh meat, (nothing processed), potatoes, vegetables and homemade freshly baked bread.  I can have table sugar in small amounts, so desserts are also homemade. 
When you look at our current diet, it is very similar to how we ate growing up.  We didn't have convenience food or soda.   We were a "meat and potato" family.  Mom always had a garden and I remember that the carrots were the best freshly picked,  some dirt still on them!! 
How did we survive growing up???  The things we did would have us in foster care today and our parents in jail.  How sad is that.  We never got hurt very bad and neither did any of our friends.   I always rode on the tractor with dad when I was little and it had NO CAB.  The fenders were an awesome place to sit and there was a handle there too.  There was no such thing as seat belts or car seats, gulp!  Would I ever put a child in a car today with out one, NO. 
We always stood up in the pickup seat next to dad.  I was driving a tractor when I was 4.  The Farm Labor Laws wouldn't even know where to start with that one.  Dad would put the tractor in low gear, and throttle it down to a fairly slow pace.  I would stand up so I could maneuver the big steering wheel and drive while he pitched hay off the wagon.  My job was to drive and not hit any cattle.  The clutch was the old hand lever engaged style on our John Deere 620.  This was after our team was gone.
 We lived too far from town to take swimming lessons and probably couldn't afford them if we were close enough.  That didn't stop us from building makeshift rafts and going out on the sloughs.  I shudder
to think how deep they were. I was terrified of water but went with my brother anyway.  Mom strictly forbade us from going rafting, but we figured what she didn't know didn't hurt her.  Evil Smirk.  What rotten kids we were.
My sister and I could find lots of entertainment too. Our favorite was teasing the rooster.  It didn't take long and he was mean to us!  He would wait for us to come out side and chase us down to attack us with his spurs an beak.    I think all three of us got in on riding calves behind the barn even tho that made dad angry.
My brother and I also had our go cart..... a 1947 pickup that we took the acetylene torch to and cut away everything but the chassis and engine.  It was just like an oversize go cart.  But, you had to lean out to see where you were driving, for some reason, and I remember running through fresh cow deposits and it flying into our faces.  That took the fun out of chasing the gophers down.
Some fun mischievous memories, but that was pretty much how I rolled.
Until next time,
Thanks for stoppin by 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rainy Days and Memories

I had hoped to get some more pictures taken today.  I wanted to try and capture the serenity I feel in watching God's little creatures at play.  It is 45 and raining. Some of the calves are still playing but I don't want to be out more than I have to.  Call me a wimp!!  Humidity eats into my bones anymore.  I never did like a "wet" cold after living in a dryer climate.  I think I will bake some bread and stay warm.
I was visiting with an old friend the other day and remembered the Double Diamond Ranch in North Dakota.  That is the ranch that I wrote about earlier. 
I have always laughed about believing in 6 degrees of separation. However, if you live in South Dakota there are only 2 degrees of separation. 
When we left the DD, we went to Belle Fourche, SD and I was working in Spearfish, SD.  I met a lady there that had horses and needed some started (initial training).  My ex-husband at that time was taking in horses.  The lady, her family, and I became good friends.  She told me many of her life stories and she had quite the life.  She began telling me about coming back from Tuscon, AZ ( a great memory for another time) and she had a job in Anchorage, Alaska.  She didn't have a lot of money, but had an idea.  Her job was to be the Equestrian Trainer for the wives at the Military Base.  She and her 16 year old son (the friend I was visiting with) decided to buy horses and ride from Billings, Mt to her new job.  They were to arrive in time for the Diamond Jubilee in Anchorage. While she was telling me this story, she mentions that she purchased Tennessee Walking Horses from the Double Diamond Ranch in Rhame, ND owned by Calvin Miller.  I couldn't believe what she had just said!!  What a small world.  She was one tough lady, having grown up on a Thoroughbred ranch near Broadus, MT. She definitely knew good horses and how to handle one.   I have so many good memories about her and the people of the DD Ranch who I am also friends with yet today.
I better stop or I would write  many pages of memories.
For now, thanks for stoppin by.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A beautiful March day and calving photos.

It has been another beautiful March day.  I can't believe it was 70 degrees and will be so for the next several days.  What a winter this has been.  I love to watch the new calves run wind sprints and have head butting contests. Sunshine does make everyone feel great!
I promised to upload some calving pictures, that our daughter snapped,several days ago.  I am going to try in this blog.  Here we go!! 
The top photo is getting the pulling chains half hitched around the calf's front knuckles.  Then we just apply steady pressure and work with the heifer.  After the calf is born, a piece of straw is quickly inserted into each nostril and wiggled around to make him/her sneeze out some of the "slime" and get breathing.  This heifer happened to have another calf in her when Jim reached back in to check.  The process was then repeated.  The new mother is then put into the pen with the calves to lick them so they dry off and then getup and nurse.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures or found them educational. Tomorrow I hope to get some pics of the calves playing.
PBR is on, so for now thanks for stoppin by.  



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another Great Day

I haven't gotten to post for a few days.  Calving has been keeping us busy along with other chores.  I have some pictures that I am going to get uploaded soon.  They are various photos from working cattle to the birth of calves. 
Last night was another long one.  Two heifers calved, one unassisted and the other needed help, so it was 3 A.M. when we got back to bed.  It is still muddy here so everything still goes in the barn to calve.   Mud sucks the life out of the poor little creatures.  I would hate to come out of a 101 degree water bed into a 28 degree world, land in slimy mud and have a 30 mph wind hit my wet body. They are survivors if they are dry, but mud is nasty.  
Two years ago, we calved out 125 heifers and it rained for 10 days in a row.  We lost 16 calves that spring. There is not much scarier than a mad, new, mother staring and bellowing at you while you're  standing in mud up to your knees.  You are just trying to get her calf on the sled and into the barn for it's turn in the hot box and keep it alive.  She only see's you as a threat to her baby and want's to go into kill mode.
 I haven't had my boots sucked off in deep, thick, cold, gumbo clay and felt so helpless since I was a little girl.  They stuck and tried to stay behind with every step, even if I walked with an "oar" to push off with.  I still remember how much my toes hurt from crunching up trying to hold my boots on.  Awesome weight loss program!!
So glad we haven't had to relive that again.  The heifers this year are also much tamer, except for about 40 head we purchased in December.
Today, we hauled the 80 steers home from the other place.  They were poured for lice,, implanted, and weighed.  The weather was beautiful and all went well.  We got everything home, worked, and returned in 4 hours. Victory! They had an average weight that was a bit more than we expected, so that was an added bonus.  Another perk from the awesome winter weather we had!
My dog, worked well again today. I love to train working stock dogs and have been letting him do more this winter. Max is a Catahoula Leopard and is a quick learner.  While working cattle he is usually by the chute and then helps me bring cattle to the tub.  When a calf leaves the chute, he really wants to follow it out of the working area and to the holding pen.  Sometimes he puts a too much pressure on, so he had been banned from doing that.  Today I caught him looking over his shoulder to see if I was watching as he was slowly following a steer out.  I was and he saw me watching him.  He knew he got caught.  Too smart for his own good.  Just like a kid.
Well, it's close to midnight, time to check the girls.
Until next time, thanks for stoppin by.   

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Life's Miracles

I haven't gotten a chance to blog for a few days.  Our daughter came down for the weekend.  It is always great to have her come home.  She has been away from the Ag scene for quite some time, but got a taste of ranch life again this weekend.  We had our second set of twin calves in two days. She was out in the barn to help "pull" the second set.  This heifer was on the smaller side and when we got the first calf into the world, my husband reached in just to make sure things were ok.  Oh snap, there was another calf in there. The first calf was of decent size for a heifer's, but the next one was even bigger.  We also got him into the world without incidence.  I am amazed at the pounds of calf that heifer produced.  The poor heifer was so overwhelmed. Her hormones were cross wired, so she was a bit of a dozer, plus she had two little sea legged monsters trying to get up and come at her.  They just wanted to get their belly full, but she didn't know which way to turn and who to doze,lick,doze etc first.
The first set of twins was a  miracle.  I truly believe you can't work with livestock and have any doubts about our creator.  We had a super witch of a cow that came on one of the semi loads of calves to be sold to help pay freight.  She was called "Early Pregnant".  We got her around late Nov.  The plan was to calve her and sell the calf and take her to the weigh up sale.  This cow was nasty.  Well, early pregnant didn't mean she would calve in Dec with some of the other early pregnant cows we bought.  The vet missed her due date by a couple months.  We had to put up with her all this time.  However, nothing happens outside of the Lords plans.  When she calved, it was twins and we got the little heifer away from her.  I was sure she had stepped on it, in her wildness and was pretty sure it wasn't going to live.  I got some milk and tubed it into her stomach.  Then I put her in the hot box for an hour to take the chill of the wet mud off.  When I got her out, the only thing she could do was roll her head around.  We got the bull calf away from the mother cow also and got milk into him.  I took the heifer into the pen where the bull was and laid her down.  The bull calf started to moo. 
This is the part of ranching that is the hardest.  I had to leave the barn and was pretty choked up.  That all happened about 7 P.M.  When I went out to check the heifers at midnight, I walked through that barn.  The heifer was sitting up!!!!!!   I came to the house and got some milk in the tube bottle for her and the regular bottle for the bull.  Ironically, the heifer drank half of the regular bottle and before I was done she was up and walking.  The bull was still stubborn and he got tubed again. 
When we saw the witch had calved, we placed an add on craigslist to sell the calf.  We had a call within an hour, and three more after that.  The first call was a lady that had adopted 2 children and was looking for a couple of calves to get the little ones involved in Ag.  When they came out to look at the calves the next morning, the little girl said "I like girls" and that was good since there was a heifer and a bull.  
We put up with that wild witch cow until the time was right for her to have those twin calves.  Those little adopted kids must not have been ready until this week. 
That is why I love our way of life.
We've got another heifer calving and I need to go take a peek.
Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just a short post for now.  Hubby had to run to town for parts and I am waiting on a semi load of feed.  When I say a semi load,  that is the big trucks with the long trailers you see going down down the highways. If I sound too simplistic and boring by explaining everything, it is because I know some of the people that read this blog do not understand anything about agriculture or my terminology.  That is part of my goal for this blog is to educate people about the beef industry, along with my adventures down life's path.
We sorted off another pen of cattle this morning.   We are going to sell 64 head on Sat.  The prices feedlots are paying for the weight cattle we are selling (actually all weights) are historically high.  I guess we are playing High Stakes Poker kids, since we also had to pay a lot more for these calves last fall. 
That is one of the jobs we do here.  We buy light calves in the fall, usually they have just been separated from the cow and were taken to the sale barn. This is called un-weaned.  These calves need a lot of watching to find any that may have an ear that is hanging low and they are not bright eyed and curious.  That usually means they are sick and need an  antibiotic shot. They get tender loving care to keep them healthy. I joke about this place being the  critical care unit.  We get a lot of very light weight calves and they come from a lot of different ranches.  It is a lot like sending your kids to day care when they are little and don't want to go.  They cry (stress) and catch a lot of colds due to all the germs from every other kid there.
We feed these calves until Feb. or March.  We feed them a low energy diet that is high in roughage (hay) and lower in grain so their body structure grows and not so much rapid muscle growth and fattening.  What we do is called Back Grounding . After feeding them for a few months we start selling them off in bunches that look similar to each other. Feedlots usually buy them. The feedlots put them on a high energy diet and the calves grow at a more rapid rate ( pounds per day) this is called Finishing Cattle.  Finishing because they will be ready for harvest after about 100 to 150 days. 

When Jim gets back from town, we get to sort those wild heifers that I have been talking about, work them (they will go through the tub, alley and chute for vaccinations, and poured with lice killer) !! :-)  I better check myself for a fever since I am excited to do that@@.  Truth be told, I have always gotten a little excited to get to handle the rank ones or watch others do it.  Come on, you can't tell me you don't go to the car races for just the races and not the wrecks too!!
I love technology, I can blog and listen to my sales too.  Right now I have Belle Fourche Livestock on via live video stream.  I would guess about 75% of the sale barns do that now.  I especially love this sale since I lived in Belle for many years.  My friends and family work at the barn (sale barn)  I can flip over from the blog when the auctioneer says "watch" ____ and see what is going on. Watch or Heads Up means LOOK OUT
Some times the cattle get excited in the ring.  The ring men, guys who work down in the sale ring to move the cattle around so the buyers get a better look, or pull one out of the herd because of a size or color difference, etc. Anyway, the ring men are behind protective barriers while the cattle are trying to get them so they can use their head to pin them down and push them around and stomp on the person.  Many people have been killed  by cattle doing this, or getting kicked.
I had to scurry up the fence 3 or 4 times to get away from mean steers  while chasing calves into the tub today so they could be retreated for lice and worms.  It is important to do this, as lice are always a problem with cattle if they aren't killed intermittently.
Well,  I need to get ready for the FUN?? @@
For now, thanks for stopping by.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day everyone... anyone out there.  My husband took me out for supper last night after I got home from hauling cattle.  He also gave me a beautiful necklace.  Today was another eventful day!  We re-vaccinated the 39 wild steer calves that I talked about a few posts ago.  If you didn't  happened to see that post, these were miss,  scratch miss,  these were totally unhandeld cattle.  When I loaded out at the same sale barn yesterday,  workers said the owner had not done anything with his herd since 2002.  I handle cattle very quietly and slowly. No pressure when ever possible.  Never look them in the eye, unless you have a death wish, with highly excitable cattle or new mothers.  Today, I was slowly letting these steers easily flow out of the holding pen and over to the working tub (the tub is a 1/2 moon shaped, solid wall pen that has a sweep gate, to guide cattle into the 20 foot alley, that connects to the chute that restrains the animal).   I had just gotten a draft out of the pen and was starting to move them to the tub when, quick as a wink, one of the steers was next to my face and above my head nearly clearing the pen gate.  It happened so fast there was nothing I could do. He came down and I gently convinced him (ok, I got lucky that he went the other direction and not over the top of me) to go with the rest of the them into the tub.  I only had 4 close calls today.  I consider that a victory!  I am getting to old to be racing up or thrown over fences any more :)
I have always loved bulls.  A couple years ago I was loading out 5 bulls to go to the sale barn.  These big old boys (1800 to 2000 pounds) had walked all the way from their pen  up to the load out alley so quietly.  First rule of working with any animal is RESPECT.  I was walking behind them, near a fence, when I heard snot blow and  saw the biggest of the bulls had turned like he was a baby calf bucking in the sunshine. One move and he was 180 degrees end for end. He was also helping me over the fence.  I really didn't need it as fast as I was moving, but he beat me to the top rail and tossed me over just for fun @@.  I got my self gathered,  the bulls gathered again and on the second try they just sauntered into the trailer as easy as my dog jumps into my pickup.
Tomorrow brings more cattle sorting, and it's midnight so I better go check the girls (bred heifers).  Until next time...  thanks for stopping by.