Wednesday, February 23, 2011


  • You have barbed wire as a decoration in your house.  (In my case, in more than one location)
  • You will eat a sandwich cut by a knife that just 30 minutes ago was used to clean out the horses hooves.  Of course it has been cleaned, just wiped on the Hub's jeans right after he used it on the horses...
  • You have a section in the linen closet for "Calf Towels"
  • You have had calves in your bathtub, necessitating the "Calf Towels"
  • It isn't unusual to see the Hub's driving around with a calf on the floorboard of his pickup on a cold day to warm it up a bit before returning him to his momma
  • You never take a trip over the 4th of July, just in case you can cut wheat
  • You plan your wedding to be after wheat harvest, with enough time to work all your fallow, but before drilling time.

  • The Hubs never accompanies you to your Grandma's birthday party in Nebraska the last weekend of March since we are calving.
  • The biggest meal of the year you prepare isn't for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but for branding day.
  • If your shirt gets covered in mud/hydrolic oil/chemical/cow shit it's ok, if you dig thru Hub's pickup you will find another one for the day. 
  • A tailgate makes a great table for a summer time lunch feast.
  • That feast consists of a loaf of bread, a package of bologne, and a bag of chips and there are no plates or silverware.
  • You, nor the Hubs, has ever gotten the free Birthday steak at South Side since you both have July birthdays and are likely in the field until late at night.
  • You have farm dogs and house dogs.
  • You will never own a house cat, cuz those nasty stinky things belong in the barn
  • You buy 2 bags of cat food a year for the barn cats, cuz damn it, they'd better earn their keep by mousing!
  • You would never consider spending $15/day, every day, for your food, but will do it for the sweet 22 year old horse that has been teaching the kids to ride.
  • There are chaps hanging on the wall in the living room

    If you know how to rotate photos, please let me know
  • You know that not only do you look cool in chaps, that they also protect your legs AND keep you warm when moving cows horseback when it is cold outside.
  • You have taken dishes out of the dishwasher so you could wash calf bottles when you run it instead.
  • You know that when you are farming in the same field as either your Hubs or his Dad, you'd better announce that everything is ok and you are just stepping "out" for a second.  Because if you don't they are sure to catch you with your pants down as they come rushing over to see what is wrong with your tractor.
  • You are secretly excited to run for parts 100 miles away because you will pass a grocery store on the way and be able to stock up again.  Plus it means you will get to listen to some FM radio for an hour or two...
I bet I could think of these all day!  Any others you want to add???


January 2011, not sure which storm this was

Monday, February 14, 2011

Things I Did Yesterday

  • Steam cleaned the living room, hallway, and basement.
  • Rearranged said living room.
  • Fell down the stairs to said basement with the steam cleaner.  Finding many more sore points today.  Ouch. 
  • Planned to take kids to ride their horses.
  • Got to the farm and ended up helping Jas build the new windbreak for the soon to be new corrals.  Our old water bed is being recycled for this project, see:
  • I got to haul water to our cows.  I really love to put our cows on cornstalks.  I really don't love to haul water every day.  Lucky for me I haven't had to, my father in law enjoys this task.  I got to yesterday.  In the mud.  In a heavy two-wheel drive pickup.  I was warned not to get too close.  It took me 4 tries to get close enough. The girls didn't seem to mind.
  • I lost my boot in the mud.
  • I was told later that Jas and his Dad had bets on me calling to say I was stuck in the mud.  Thanks guys.
  • I wondered if Maggie was really dead.  She plays dead well, don't ya think?
  • She was like this for at least 5 minutes
  • I loved on Mags for a bit, so she wouldn't have to be so pathetic for attention.
  • I tried unsucessfully to figure out why my Dish Network has no signal.  Need to call them...
  • I decided we would watch the first couple episodes of The Cosby Show on Netflix. 
  • I spent the first couple episodes of The Cosby Show explaining that yes, the show is funny, and yes their clothes look funny now, but didn't look that funny when I was a kid.  I also had to explain what a pager was and how it worked.
  • I decided we were all going to bed early.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Calving Season is Almost Upon Us

My husband is a planner.  And everything must go according to plan.  If not I deal with a grumpy husband.  For as often as his plans change unexpectedly, you would think he might have learned to be more flexible.  Not so much.  Sigh.  I however, have learned to deal with the grumpies.  Most days.

In December of 2001 we were asked if we would like to buy an older friend's last 8 cows and their calves.  They were registered Red Angus, big beautiful cows.  Their calves Red Angus-Hereford cross.  The calves were currently in a feedlot and had been since they were weaned.  We chose to buy the 8 cows and heifer calves.  We planned to raise the calves to add to our herd.  We were told the cows were due to calve at the end of February. 

Everything was going swimmingly until the end of January.  The cows were still on cornstalks 9 miles from the farm.  A nasty storm was coming and we went down to hay the girls.  And there it was, one wet and almost frozen, ginormous calf.  This was definitely NOT part of the plan.  We weren't ready.  We didn't have the cows at the farm with the barns.  We didn't have colostrum.  And we weren't sure what to do.  We knew it was too cold for that wet baby and we'd have to take him with us.  Momma thought our plan was terrible and let us know that it was NOT OK with her.  We decided it was safer in the pickup, so he drove up next to the calf, opened the door over his head, grabbed his poor frozen ears and pulled.  He came flying into my lap.  I wrapped the big calf in towels in my lap.  (I later learned that he was 128 pounds, that was more than I weighed!) As soon as I melted the ice from his tail he proceeded to pee all over my lap.  At least that was still warm....  We have great neighbors that brought us colostrum to feed him with and we checked the cows every hour after that for more calves and moved all the girls home the next morning.  I got to spend the whole night hearing about how this was not the plan.  I told him we had a new plan.  Sometimes talking to him doesn't help.

Fast forward a year or so.  It was time to pelvic measure our heifers we bought to see if we wanted to keep them.  There were 2 that were on the very porky side.  Jas blamed that on them being part Hereford.  I had other ideas, but kept them to myself.  Heifer #1 measures beautifully.  Heifer #2 a wee bit smaller than we'd like, but will work.  Heifer #3 is BRED and should calve in a month.  Heifer #4 good sized pelvis.  Heifer #5 BRED.  Apparently they were NOT in a feedlot with other heifers and STEERS.  Once again, this was not the plan.  I wish I had a picture of the look on his face to this day as the vet announced bred.

In the 10 years since then our herd has changed quite a bit.  We have gone from 8 all Red Angus and Red Angus-Hereford cross to 25 Black Angus-Gelbvieh cross.  There is one exception, Daisy.  She is a Red mostly Gelbvieh.  Sky used to say that was my cow, because she was different.  Briez has claimed Daisy as her own.  She was a bit ticked that we wouldn't load her up and take her to the National Western Stock Show so she could show her.  Our cows are bred to calve the last week or so of March now.  They are still out on corn stalks and we plan to bring them home at the very end of this month.  Assuming all goes as planned and Jas gets the corral rebuilt. 

Yep, that's right.  He tore out the entire corral just before calving.  It will be bigger and better when he rebuilds and he has spent every spare minute that he is not chopping ice, feeding hay, doing other chores, driving his truck, and being a Dad on cutting the pipe to size.  But seriously?  What if the plan changes???  I hope he gets a bit of luck soon. 

The other night I knew something was bothering him, so I asked what was up.  He had been to check the girls and noticed one of our 2nd or 3rd calf heifers had a bulging red bag starting to stick out her rear.  NOT GOOD.  Obviously, it is way too early.  And they are not at home in the, ahem, corral.  She showed no other signs of eminent labor, but the bag was enough to know she had a problem.  Jas has a tendency to blame himself for any and all problems.  He was worried that maybe there was too much nitrate in the corn stalks, or he had missed something.  I told him there was probably something wrong with that calf.  Sure enough, he found the dead calf yesterday afternoon.  He said it was probably in the 45 pound range, fully formed toes, spine, and tail but the head "wasn't formed right yet."  He said it had very little bone structure and no eyes...  It is soo sad at our house when we lose a calf.  We will keep the cow another year, but if this happens to her or her 3 sisters we purchased again they will go as a set.

That's enough rambling for the day.  Stay warm!  A balmy -45 with windchill here....

Not Loving Oprah Promoting Veganism

This picture says it all  There is no way all 378 staffers can go a week without ANY animal products.
No Such Thing as a Vegan