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Monday, January 31, 2011

magnetic appeal...

So my good friend has opened my eyes into another adventure (crazy idea)....and gotten me excited about a new show lately...Meteorite Men! And while loving to rock hunt and since we have talked often about finding some alien meteorite or some other such bizarre find, we always imagine the Fame and Fortune that comes with...

So I went out and purchased these incredible little magnets that help in determining if its possibly a meteorite......if they were any bigger...I think one would hurt ourselves. Boy do they pack an attraction.

Just think, it COULD happen and we could find a meteorite that is worth thousands and thousands...and if it happened to of landed on something leaving a huge hole, well then, you times that by 100 (seems the collectors like the meteorite that has left its mark). I do live in a pretty wide-open unexplored territory out here in the middle of nowhere South Dakota. Land Land and more land to roam and wander and every so often we do find something really really cool! Sometimes its a fantastic rock or interesting shell fossil or its just rattlesnakes and wildlife. You can guarantee we see a fantastic Sunset and we typically share a beer and some gourmet sandwich my partner-in-crime is famous for. But always we happen upon a really interesting person out there doing the same thing we are and the conversations we have about meeting new friends gives us plenty to remember and talk about. Summer is just around the corner and I hear those rocks a calling....I do like the sound of Meteorite Women myself!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

If I were a Zoo Keeper....

...I would NEVER take a day off!! I would fret and fret, but enjoy every day.

It would be something I looked forward to everyday...the Keeping part.

Since I lost a calf a week ago, I had been looking for a replacement calf for her. She is Jersey, but with my work and it being Tax Season, my hours are long and I don't have the time to keep her fresh. A calf was going to be the best option and also make her well again. I know they get depressed and are so full of the Momma hormones...that either milking or a baby to look after was the best idea.

So I got this crazy idea to call a Dairy Farm I bought my very first 2 Jerseys...some 8 years ago.

It's a couple hours drive, but if I could get a baby steer calf reasonable, it might work.

So I called my Father, who likes adventures and is bored bored bored...and he does live a little closer to the Dairy Farm.

He had to wait for someone to get there when he arrived and then they took him through their facility to show him the calves. (He still hasn't quit talking about it.) He said she had at least 50 calves all in individual pens inside this open air barn facility. The calves all had tiny little huts they were housed in and they all wore a blanket over them. I know the steers are not kept long and they are sold for veal pretty quickly. So my Dad decides I need a calf that was just born that morning. They taped its feet together and it was to ride in the back seat of my Dads car. is awfully cold out....and he doesn't have a pickup with a topper....But it was still a funny sight to see.

When he arrived I hurried outside to get the calf set up with the momma cow. My Dad was telling me that this calf was huge!!! I mean really HUGE! And it was! It took up the entire back seat..but wait...What is that on the floor?? Another calf??.. but half the size. Seems my Father needed to strike a bargain and since it was a trip to get a calf....two was a better deal. So she did a deal! Who could turn down an 80 year old talker like my DAD?!

and fun for granddaughter and her family stayed with me this weekend...

Now I have had a couple days to try to get Momma cow to take...but it may of been too long. She just isn't cooperating, but when I went to check cows last night at midnight and was worrying about the new calves being too cold...(it was -11 degrees when I went down to the barn). I was just about to the corrals when I noticed one of my other Jerseys cleaning something!! Gad that girl is quick! I had just checked them some 5 hours earlier and she didn't show ANY signs. She not only had that little bull calf cleaned and standing but it was already nursing. Couldn't believe the little bugger was so hardy when it was SO cold out! This one is really a thriver! I brought it into the barn and put piles of hay and made the inside pen large enough to house 2 Mommas and the now 3 babies. This last cow (Maple) is one of my easiest milkers and allows me to milk her anywhere and anytime. I did try the smallest of the purchased calves to nurse on her, but she KNOWS which one is hers. I will definitely milk her in the evenings when I do chores and feed at least one of the calves. I am going to keep the little hostein babies right in with all the big girls and try something different and hope they are like those little angus calves and steal supper on occassion. Otherwise, I will be bottle feeding, either goats milk or any extra milk I can get from Maple.

One thing I teased my Dad about was "don't pick anything that is cute!" I knew better, but it was fun to tease. I know I will ultimately butcher these two purchased calves for ourselves...but I can guarantee they will have a large field to romp and a plenty comfy life up until then. Better than their destiny was at the dairy. I can't wait to be sitting on my deck this summer and watching out into the pasture and seeing two big healthy spotted babies dotting the horizon. I will be giving the neighbors something to talk about in my "Angus Only" cowboy county. They will have a happy enjoyable life here. And when it's time to say "Thank You" and they will feed my family.... I know I did my best!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

my luck ..

been watching and attending to one of my 4 yr old Jerseys, Louise. She was due on the 12th. She waited until this Saturday and when I noticed she was passing the plug, I put her in a pen in the barn with lots of straw. Left her to progress with labor. Everything seemed to be moving fine. When I checked her a little later, I saw two feet and lots of pushing. Didn't take me long to check her out and reach in to find just front sign of a nose. She was completely dialated and I could easily feel that the head was flipped back completely along its own spine and heading the wrong direction. I pushed calf back into the uterus, hoping I could fish the head back into the birth canal. While I tried many times, I knew I needed help and started calling on my trusted neighbor. Even while he was at work and they were selling thousands of cattle....he still snuck out and came to help! I can't thank him enough. But still, while I stood and let the Momma cow lick me clean and kept her still, my neighbor was literally up to his neck trying to turn this baby. It took some time, but he was able to get the head shifted and brought it around to be able to pull this calf correctly. Sadly though, the calf didn't make it. This is my first ever birthing mortality with any of my cattle. While I have lost a few bottle calves....and I realize I will invariably lose one while calving...I still feel pretty defeated. Such a perfect little heifer calf from one of my best Jerseys. Sometimes life can just punch you in the face! and while it might take a few days to accept, I've been known to take a punch or two...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

inside a SD Blizzard

on the Last day of 2010...snow.
A couple scenes from inside a Blizzard during New Years Eve, that I am sharing today.
Seems the weather relates to a mood. Two days of blizzard wore heavy and "Huge Thanks" to Skid Steer starting and Son helping with snow doesn't seem so overwhelming. At least I didn't have any cows calving during the worst of this storm. Keeping an eye on one....make that two, correction....three...and they appear to be closing in on a day midway in January! (Yup I know...its almost mid January!) So it's time to start the fretting! Wind chill last night dipped to -40 last night and temperature bottomed out at -14. I (by hand and brute strength) rolled a partial round bale down to the entrance of the barn and pitched fork by fork into the back of the barn. All the while the 13 cows crowding around me wondering what fun I was having... Mark my words though...those Bulls are keeping company with the horses and they will weather JUST FINE!! ( I made the barn area bigger and invented a walkthru gate for the Bulls for their own haven). I wasn't thinking about consequences last year about now and put them with my girls. Needless to say, my Bull heated up things a tad and calves are coming fast and EARLY!! Last year we were having one of the worst blizzards in years at Christmas and the bull was not holding up well with the horses (who wouldn't let him into the all). Now I am punished with "much to cold to be calving!" This year WILL be different and the Bull/Bulls won't be in with my cows until June! So now, I foresee warming a calf or two before the pellet stove. Now my goats were warm and comfy and I had forethought to put extra hay inside their housing for feeding when the weather cranked up outside! I locked them in and they stayed toasty....but the boys...another story. I had to shovel and scoop to even get to them and then I found them bellys deep inside their building full of snow. Seems the snow whirled and swirled and found any spot INSIDE to drop. I padded the building with hay and then checked again that evening..scooping out what I could. I don't have a door on that one, and next year ......again....I will revise!! Always something...