Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Fine, Frosty Morn

On the way out to feed and check on Alf this morning, took a quick snap of a frosty sunrise

Don't forget to click the pix!

That Was Fast

There is a reason why Millie's kids all have 'fast' names.  First there was Turbo, then Speedy, Zoomie and now Asteroid.  It's an "A" letter year and I couldn't really come up with a 'fast' name that started with an A, but there is a bull I'm quite familiar with, and if you follow the PBR, you probably are as well.  Millie would be the female bovine equivalent of Asteroid - if someone were to get on her back in a bucking chute, they too would be lucky to walk away 3 or 4 seconds later after picking themselves up off the ground.  Millie's kids quite literally hit the ground running.  Today, fellow cattlewoman Sharon came over to look at the bull boys and see the first arrival of our season Alfie.  Her, Ho Dog and I ran the puttputt around admiring the boys for about 45 minutes and talking cows.  On the way back to the house, we stopped by to see Alfie and I remarked that Millie was due any time now.  Sharon has been in the cattle biz a LOT longer than I have by a mile, and she looked at Millie and said sure, probably a few days or so.  But I know better.  Millie is the mistress of misdirection.  I saw her switch her tail a few times more than normal, and I knew.  Sharon headed back to her ranch, and 30 minutes later when I went out to feed the boys, right in the exact spot she'd been when we had just seen her, a small black calf wobbled to his feet and headed for the faucets.  Classic Millie.  Dale got back home and we deployed the just hours before revamped weigh sling and got the little bugger's weight while he wiggled and Millie mooed anxiously.  You don't work with Millie's calf solo, not unless you have a good health plan.  Not necessarily a mean cow, she's a great momma cow and very protective of her little ones.  I pity the predator who thinks it can mess with one of her calves.

By the time we got out to weigh him, the little guy was zipping around mom in circles, with the occasional side trip to see his 'older' half brother Alf and try to get him to get up and chase him.  Alf had a full stomach and was sleeping peacefully, trying to ignore the bovine gas molecule pinging around him.  I have a feeling these two are gonna have a lot of fun together

15 minutes old

Let the Calving Begin!

I really need to have a talk with LeeLu again about the Ranch Rules of Calving.  NO calving after dark, in the rain/snow/sleet/wind/frost or before your due date.  She broke all three rules last night.  It was dark (8 pm), it was COLD, and she's not due until Thursday.  But, all's well with her new son Alfie.  Zamora has a baby brother, and a fine young bull calf he is.  Morgan Rivers Alfa is his 'official' name, 83# is his official birth weight, and Millie for some reason seems to think he belongs to her.  She's lookin' mighty close too, doing some tail switching this afternoon, but she also seems to think that Alfie belongs to her, which doesn't make LeeLu very happy.  Once Millie calves her own, she'll forget all about him.  I hope.

At least after the 27 degree start to the day (with a heavy frost, first one in ages), the sun came out and it rocketed up to 50 by 3 pm.  So Alfie got to start his first day of life in a way most late winter calves rarely get to, with a big dose of sunshine

12 hours old with momma LeeLu

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Three Sons

It was a big morning this morning.  In the brisk 34 degree temps under pretty cloudy skies, I went to work sorting and moving cows.  First, young Zazu needed to get back out with the big girls so she could learn how to be a girlie cow instead of a tomcow.  That meant that it was also time for Roar to leave the ladies and join his three sons out in the south pasture with Pony and Pepperpot the goat.  So, first I got Roar isolated in the feederbunks to contain him.  Then, it was on to penning up the sheep in the barn to keep them out of the way and also from going out the open gate into the north pasture.  Next, Miss Zazu thoughtfully walked out of her side of the feederbunks out into the maternity pasture all by herself, which made it easy to shut the gate and pen the little boys in.  Then, I walked Zazu up to the gate and out into the north pasture without much of a fuss.  Shut that gate, go and open the gate into the maternity pasture from Roar's side of the feederbunks (you simply can't have too many gates on a working ranch), enticed him out with a bucket of grain, opened the gate for his sons on their side of the feederbunks into the maternity pasture, and off we went down to the working arena and from there, out into the south pasture with Pony and Pepperpot the goat, where Roar got reaquainted with his boys and Pepperpot tried to show Zam who the boss was (and silly bull calf, he was buying into her bluff).  After the expected fussing and bellowing and chasing around from everybody, the boys wandered down the pasture to snack and poor little Zazu wandered the centre fenceline, crying for her boys to come back to her.  It's like weaning all over again.  Zazu's momma Sapphire, a few weeks from calving, could have cared less that her daughter was back with her.  Oh so typical of the mother-daughter relationship

Zinger poses a bit oddly but at least I had a decent, not busy background for a change

Daddy Roar, studiously ignoring his boys now that all the horseplay was over and it was time to eat

Zinger and Daddy Roar
Roar and Zinger, who is about to get into trouble...

...and for good reason

Zamora, Zinger, Roar and Zenda, four butts on parade against a dramatic sky and the lone Legacy Oregon White Oak tree

Baby Zenda shows off his major chunky butt.  He's the spittin' image of his ol' man Roar

Roar and son Zamora

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Funny Faces

Okay, so for a bit the sun was out and it was all shiny and blue outside, but then, by the time I got finished with the barn stuff and out to the pasture, the normal moving clouds had arrived.  But, it was still a nice day out, altho a tad cool at 43 degrees.  I was checking puffy cows due in about 10 days when Vicky Cristina, Liza and Hilda wandered over to make sure that if I had a treat or a camera they would be first in line, as always

'Ewwwww, yuck!  Don't kiss me Vicky!  Who do I look like, Madonna?'

Vicky C, Liza and Hilda poking her black head into the frame.  God, don't you love those fuzzy ears!

The four youngsters - Zazu standing behind the boys, Zamora (black), Zenda and Zinger

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Now THAT'S Purple

With all the glorious sunshine of the past few days, the greenhouse has gotten quite warm and the fuschias are blooming like mad, as are some of the pansies I stuck in there during the deep freeze in January.  This monster was just begging for a picture, so I obliged

A Kind of Rainbow Day

As has become the usual thing this winter, the forecasted rain didn't really arrive after all.  But, there was enough misty stuff mixed in with batches of sunshine to put up a rather nice double 'bow this afternoon.  The left leg of the 'bow hit right about the stump of the giant old oak we took down a few years ago but alas, only a pot of dormant chrysanthemums was found on the spot

Hilda heads for the water tank, oblivious to the spectacular 'bow above her

You can just see, if you look closely, where the 'bow ends

Double 'bow

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sunny Cows

It's a rare winter's day in Western Oregon that sees such blue and sunny skies, and the cows were taking full advantage of it.  It's getting a bit scary, tho - we are SO far behind, water-wise, that either we're going into the summer dry season in a state of drought or somewhere between now and Memorial day we're going to be making up the approximately 8" deficit we're running.  Either way, it's not pretty.

But, no matter - we'll take the sunshine for now, no complaints

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Goodbye, Lambies

On Friday, Marcos called to let me know he'd be here today to pick up most of the sheep.  I figured I'd better go get one last shot before that happened, and on Friday the sun arrived for a brief but much appreciated welcome.  Which of course meant that with all that wonderful sunshine out there, the sheep choose to remain in the shade.  Must be a bit afraid of that light blue sky and the warm sunshine, seeing as how none of the lambs had actually experienced that sort of stuff before.  But, Marcos just left with Patty and her daughter Winnie and Aprille and her twins Rowdy and Reba.  In April he'll be back for Gillian and her daughter Racie - I'm keeping her son Rango, the black and white spotted ram lamb - and also Twyla's son Gene, who will become his herdsire.  It's pretty neat that he's starting up his own herd of Katahdadorpadoviots using our stock.

With that, we are looking forward to getting our new girls home in late March.  Dove and McKay are from Mickey C's Dot Ranch Navajo-Churro herd over in Scio (http://www.dotranchchurros.com/) and they will be the beginnings of our own little herd of spinning sheep for my fibre lovin' pals all over.  If you've ever admired a good Navajo rug, I can guarantee you that it was woven from Navajo-Churro fleece.  Her website is extremely informative and well worth a visit.  If you remember, we also picked up our new hens from her a few weeks ago.

On the cow side, they are gettin' mighty puffy out there.  I hope that LeeLu crosses her legs and waits until she's supposed to pop because she sure looks awful close up for a cow not due until the end of the month.  And this time, I can't be that far off because I do know when Roar got his women back

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Brilliant February Sunset

Just because it was really spectacular, especially the cloud cap on Green Peak

Happy Feet, Doofy Dog

My happy feet, warmly encased in a pair of hand-knit, hand-spun, hand-dyed actual wool socks made by the woman who gently convinced me to sell off most all of my mutt sheep and invest an obscene amount of dollars into two Navajo-Churro ewes that have wool she can spin, knit and weave.  Many, MANY thanks to pal Shelly of Encinitas (near San Diego) for these special socks.  I am changing my will to make sure I'm buried in them.  And yes, doofus Sybil is there to make sure I notice that she has not yet ate these socks, altho she'd have to eat them off my feet to do so and that will not be happening so long as it is barely in the 40's out with snow forecast tonite.  But they do sort of match her eye

Friday, February 1, 2013

Brave New Chicks

Yesterday I released the new hens from the coop to start free ranging around the barn and pasture.  Today, they discovered sunshine and cow pies.  I'm sure they think they've died and gone to KFC, I mean chicken heaven

Last Lamb

Patty was the perfect ewe in that she had her little girl Winnie around noonish, in the gentle sunshine and relative warmth of the day.  I was wondering about Scooby the Holstein steer - did I really get them both when I banded him or did he somehow have a little tryst with Patty, because that little girl sure looks an awful lot like a baby Holstein.

And with her arrival, we are done lambing for the season, possibly the second shortest lambing season for us ever.  Next come the calves, starting at the end of the month!

Newly arrived

Just a few minutes later, the first attempt to stand.  Look at that face!!

Almost, almost....

Yep, made it!

If that ain't cute, you ain't breathin'

With her half bro Rango, another Holstein looking lamb

Love the flank spot!

Proud momma Patty

Sheep Shots

For your enjoyment, a few shots taken today while that bright light in the sky was overhead (I think it's called 'the sun')

Rango and Racie, joined a the shoulder apparantly.  Two weeks old

Aprille and daughter Reba post cutely.  Rowdy is at the milk bar and out of sight

Flossie's son Winston, Rowdy, momma Aprille and sister Reba

Group shot, with Patty at far right, a few hours from her delivery

Stick a Pin in Her, She's Done

My best ewe, Twyla, gave us a nice set of twins Wednesday night.  Like almost everyone, she waited until it was good and dark and cold to pop out Gene and Ginger in short order and without much ado.  Ginger was first to make an appearance (black ewe lamb) and was up and nursing within a few minutes, until mom went down to bring Gene into the world (white ram lamb).  Following the dance theme (Twyla is named after Twyla Tharp), I went with Gene and Ginger.  I know, it should have been Fred and Ginger but I didn't see the little guy as a Fred.  Besides, it's the Pacific Northwest, it rains a lot and anyone remember a really great movie called 'Singin' in the Rain'?

It doesn't show so much here, but that is one puffy ewe.  Patty (white with black bullseye butt) will be lambing on Friday
Gene (white) and Ginger (black).  I posted this shot specifically because in the background is Aprille with her two outriggers, Rowdy and Reba.  Yes, Rowdy pulled thru and Aprille's milk came down AND she did decide that since the little morsel was going to live anyway, might as well claim him.  He's a scrappy little guy, Rowdy is

The PuttPutt is NOT a Taco Truck

So try explaining that to a bunch of perpetually hungry cows.  They hear/see puttputt with the trailer, they start drooling.  And it tends to make it hard to get the job you're doing done.  Here, I was picking up fallen limbs and such under the trees in the north pasture so that I could drag the harrow thru there and spread out all that yummy organic fertilizer (yummy if you are a plant or chicken, not so much if you're human).  Ruffie of course led the charge up to the trailer, but what she didn't know was that the Ol' Man was in the seat.  She did figure it out pretty quick.

I eventually got all the sticks picked up and the ground dragged nicely, mostly without their help.  Sometimes I wish I had cows that didn't think they were big pets and I could work out in the pasture in peace and solitude instead of fending off big ol' tongues and everyone wanting an ear scratch or rifling my pockets for treats.  You know, stuff that normal cows don't do

Hilda being ultra silly

Rummaging thru the trailer, seeing if maybe I hid a treat or three under all the sticks

Uh oh.....

LOVE the look Ho's giving LeeLu here!  Don't know how well it'll show up, but it's one of those eyeballs sideways looks

Aw, whaddya mean I can't get out and bite 'em?