Standard Ranch Birthday Weekend

I’ve been very busy this past weekend as it was my husband’s birthday and all his family came back to the ranch to celebrate!

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It’s been awhile so I’ll just catch up on what’s been happening:

Thurs. evening we took the cow in to have her calf pulled that had its head back (see post A Vet Call for the Calf with its Head Back). They say in majority of these cases the calf is weak, if not dead. Ours was dead. We brought the cow home and she took to a twin calf like chickens to corn. The little calf was my bottle calf for a whole 8 hours. I had already named him, we named him Colbert. After Steven Colbert, a comedian who has a slight ear deformity….

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The calf’s ear wasn’t frozen, it was just floppy. We don’t really know what is wrong with it, it’s just floppy. Some calves are born special. There was some debate as to whether or not we should name him after my sister in law’s new love interest. She didn’t find that as amusing as the rest of us.

Fri. we brought in all the cows from the meadow and put them in the calving lot. It’s nice to not have to sort heavies anymore! But I guess ranching law says when one job is over, another starts. My husband spent the afternoon in the tractor draggin chips. Family arrived that evening.

Sat. was a family day. We only did essential chores of tagging calves and feeding. I was excited to show my sister in law how I’ve trained my horse. Call it lazy, but I find it pointless to walk to the barn, get a halter, walk across the corral, halter my horse, then walk back. Now I go to my horse in the corral, jump on bareback and give him a little kick. Maybe it’s the oats waiting in the barn, but he’ll take me right to the barn. I can even make him stop if I want. The goal is to ride in the arena bareback and bridleless by end of summer.

Showing off my horse whispering skills, it’s so hard to keep a grey horse clean…..

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I saddled him up for my sister and her friend to go ride. My sister’s friend is pretty awesome, for a girl who grew up in a big city, she has the making for a great cowgirl. I love seeing how much she likes the ranch and getting dirty helping us out. We need more city girls like her!

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Somewhere throughout the course of the day my husband pulled a muscle in his back while picking up a calf. That is never fun.

In the evening we turned off the TV and banned things like computers and Ipads (don’t have to worry about phones as we don’t have cell service here). We played a game together that was a cross between charades and taboo which was good for a lot of laughs. I love family time.

Sun. we got up early and saddled our horses to bring in the heifers and their calves. We usually brand the heifers in a small group and take them to a pasture separate from where the cows will go prior to branding. We like to do this when the siblings are home because it is nice to have the extra help. With my husband’s back being hurt, he branded and my father in law castrated. My father in law had his doubts about the abilities of a lawyer (my brother in law) and three little girls being able to wrestle all the calves, but we’re not wimps. We got the job done. My sister in law had the camera so I’ll have to wait for her pictures and I’ll write a blog in more detail about it another day.

Sunday was long, after we branded, we noticed my sister’s old barrel horse had somehow hurt himself and cut his neck. We took him into the vet to have him stitched up. Our old vet was in the clinic (yes, on a Sunday). Part of me wonders if he’d even been home since we saw him last when we brought the cow in on Thurs. He said he did two more cesareans that night and didn’t get to be till 9 am.

We celebrated my husband’s birthday at lunch and opened some presents, he got an Obstetrics Pull-over top for pulling calves, a funny card and some money from my parents, some snickers, an electric skillet, a DVD, and a horse. Yes, a HORSE! Lucky.

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The family left Sunday and we still had a calf that wasn’t nursing in the calving lot. With my husbands back hurt, this left the 108 pounds of brute wife to pickup the calf and finesse it into the back of the pickup to lead the cow into the corral (did I note I had to unload 1000 lbs of salt and mineral before I could do that to make room in the back of the pickup??). We milked the cow, fed the calf, and put them in the stall. Then we put out pairs into the horse pasture.

Today, I am sore. Today was a spring blizzard. Not too cold, but a lot of blowing snow. The calf was nursing on its own, the horse is healing up. We fed, tagged, and brought a the cow in that had been to the vet for a shot of antibiotics. It was nice to have a slower day, my body needed it. I baked my husband a chocolate cake with caramel-pecan filling and we sang him happy birthday as he blew out the candles.

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