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cow pattie with heart

The ever-present cow pie, constant companion of the farmer/rancher, is often considered the bane of the farmwife’s existence. A few years ago, while cleaning up the remnants of a particularly fragrant “pattie” (as my good friend Lin Harris calls them), I gave some not-so-serious thought to the subject. As with other areas of country life, we farm gals eventually learn to take the good with the bad and laugh about it. Here’s to the cow pie!

 

 

A Piece of Advice from the Cow Pie 

Flat and round, greenish-brown

I lie in wait upon the ground

for some poor unsuspecting sole

that doesn’t realize there’s a toll

for wand’ring through the pasture.

 

I’m the per´fume cowboys wear,

the stylish mousse that’s in their hair,

the emerald dust on country brooms,

the tainted jewel of laundry rooms.

 

So, if you covet country life

and want to be a cowboy’s wife,

don’t forget, I’ll be there, too

on more than just an errant shoe

that wandered through the pasture.

By Barbara Lukow

A bit of mystery sprinkled with a lot of labor has dominated our thoughts and hours here on the farm these past few days. Last Sunday afternoon, a thoughtful neighbor called hubby to inform us the heifer in our back pasture had just delivered. A quick assessment of the situation revealed the heifer in question had, indeed, delivered a beautiful little bull calf. However, by the time we arrived on the scene, she’d decided the new arrival was NOT hers, and claimed another calf in the pasture!

Thankfully, the newborn had an “I’m-gonna-survive” attitude from his first breath. He jumped right up and went after his first meal, but momma butted him around like a punching bag. It didn’t take long for hubby to decide we’d have to isolate the baby. Proud momma quickly calfnapped the other calf, settled him in a nice grassy spot in the pasture, and watched us with a murderous look that said, “I’ll take whoever comes near my baby!”

Although it’s not uncommon for a young heifer to reject her baby, we’d never seen one claim a different calf in the process. Bewildered, we worked until we could get momma separated, loaded her in the livestock trailer, and hauled her and new baby to the corrals, where we put her in the chute and tried to get her to feed her offspring. After throwing herself around, kicking and stomping, and finally collapsing in the chute twice, we decided we’d better feed him ourselves. Exhausted from his effort to stay alive, her baby, already a little hero in our eyes, gladly ate the colostrum mix we put in a bottle, and settled down for a nap.

That was just the beginning….more to come. 🙂

 

 

Verrrry busy week on the farm. A week ago, hay was on the ground, a cute, new baby calf stood in the corrals, and hubby was busy in the fields. Sunday morning, things began to get a bit rough. Something happened to the calf during the night…perhaps momma stepped on him. Anyway, baby died that morning. Then came the news that another rockslide had covered the irrigation canal that serves the entire lower valley. The day got busier and more hectic as we hit the fields – yours truly baling, hubby hauling – to beat another storm supposed to hit that evening. We finished in the fields late in the afternoon, and around dark, headed out to get water run in tanks in the two pastures that don’t have automatic waterers…no ditch water, and the cows were getting thirsty.

Around ten pm, Jim’s nose started bleeding. We couldn’t get it stopped. Worked with it till around 11:30. I finally took him to ER. Around 1:30 the ER Dr. recommended packing it. I’m thinking if he knew what he knows now, Jim wouldn’t have agreed, but had to stop the bleeding. After explaining the tampon-with-a-balloon type apparatus, the Dr. inserted it and gave us prescriptions for antibiotics and pain meds. We got home around 2 am.

Wednesday morning, following two days of miserable head and tooth pain, eyes and nose “weeping,”  Jim was ever so thankful to have the air released from the apparatus and the packing removed. Ugh!

Things have settled down a bit, and thankfully, no more nosebleeds. We are glad to have the hay up and hoping for good news on the irrigation. So many people depend on it.

Never a cloud without a silver lining: We’ve enjoyed more Bible reading and discussions this past week; also enjoyed corn-shuckin’ yesterday in the backyard, had fresh cucumbers, corn, and squash casserole for lunch, and are enjoying the new crop of grapes. Plums are almost ready. God is good!

The Twins

Image

These cuties were born about a month ago. The next day, we moved them and their momma from the pasture (neighboring dogs were chasing the babies). We’ve had about eight sets of twins so far, but this is the first set we’ve had where one is male and the other female. I grew up on a farm and never knew a thing about Freemartinism. Hubby explained the condition to me when these sweeties came along.

If you’re confused by the term, here’s what I learned. The male and female fetuses experience a joining of the placental membranes on about the 40th day of pregnancy. An exchange of fluids results, causing both babies to develop some of the characteristics of the opposite sex.

The FEMALE is called a Freemartin because female calves are affected far more than the males. Most experts say 90% of female calves born twins to a male are infertile. The male calf may have reduced fertility, but isn’t usually infertile.

These are beautiful babies; time will tell what we have. Appears we can actually test the female if we want to. The momma is  fantastic; feeds both babies at the same time.

You can read more about it here.

Have you ever had a bull/heifer set of twins? If you have, I’d love to hear from you.

 

Summer Changes!!

Prayers for rain in our area have been answered! Nearly every evening we get a small shower. It’s making it tough for some folks to get their hay put up, but everyone is thankful for the moisture, anyway.

It’s good to be back blogging again. I somehow convinced myself to return to the classroom this past school year. It was fun, but I’m ready to take up the pen start writing!

We’ve had a busy summer. My dear mother-in-law passed away two days after school finished. After the funeral, Jim and I took a short trip to Colorado country…crossed seven passes in five days, I think it was. Beautiful country, but the Pine Bark Beetle and some kind of webworm are creating havoc with the pine and aspen.

I’m in the process of updating all my blogs.  They can all be accessed here. Looking forward to hearing from you-all!

Fluffing??

That’s right! Fluffing.

It’s been a tough haying season in the valley. Bunches of farmers and ranchers are struggling to get their hay up without getting rain on it. So far, we haven’t harvested any of third cutting without some damage.  Above, hubby is “fluffing” rained-on hay — turning it over, fluffing it up — to allow it to dry faster. When rains hit nearly every day, it’s the only way to speed up the drying time. Hopefully, the weatherman is wrong, and we can get this field baled before it rains again!

We do have much to be thankful for, however. Just last week, folks from Texas bought a huge load of our hay. Ranchers there are so in need of our thoughts and prayers.

Hummingbirds!!

At least nine hummingbirds visit my two feeders daily. There may be more; no way to be sure. The females look so much alike, there could be more coming than I realize. I’ve seen seven at one time and knew of two (specific characterisitcs) that weren’t there. My favorites? A male with a very dark head — black or possibly dark green — white collar, and grey body. I suspect he’s a Black-chinned Hummingbird. The other is probably a Rufous —  rufous crown, tail, and sides, with a white breast.

These tiny birds are among seventeen species of hummingbirds that visit our state while on their migration trail, according to one blog I read. They are fascinating, to say the least!

Up and feeding shortly after the sun warms the morning, the largest number seem to visit around 8:30 or 9 in the morning and again in mid-afternoon, although there’s rarely a time you won’t see one or two whirring about the patio area. The Black-chinned one comes into our yard from the south, while many others seem to find refuge in the nearby pear tree. The Rufous doesn’t seem as large as some of the others, but holds his own…a little scrapper!

A large variety of feeders can be found in stores. Mine are both quite simple with four feeding holes. The food is simple to prepare: one part sugar to four parts water. The mixture should be boiled to get rid of chlorine and deter the growth of mold (see the “how to enjoy hummingbirds” link below).  I don’t use any special boxed mix, and lack of the red color you see in so many feeders doesn’t seem to discourage visitors to my feeders, since both receptacles are usually filled each morning and empty by dusk!

If you’re interested in inviting a few to your yard, you can find more information on the following blogs and sites.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/269490/hummingbirds_in_new_mexico.html?cat=8

http://www.hummingbirds.net/index.html

http://howtoenjoyhummingbirds.com/hummingbird%20food%20recipe.htm