Insta-Lately

Happy Easter! We’re having us a lazy Sunday morning over here at the Johnston house, so I thought I’d throw open the windows and show yall what’s been going on the last couple of weeks around here. Instagram still hasn’t lost its novelty for me, I won’t lie!

ImageThis was two Mondays ago, the girls decided to congregate at the bottom of our driveway and send me off to work for the week! My Monday Morning Welcome Wagon.

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This was in response to my friend Anne’s picture on Insta of her super cool tennis shoes she wore for some Spring color at the vet’s office where she works. I didn’t have tennis shoes or Springiness in my step that morning (same day as the above picture. Notice the snow), but I decide to wear my fuzzy moccasins one more time before it got too hot to wear them! Mom got these for me for Christmas, because she saw her friend’s twelve-year-old wearing them and knew they’d be right up my alley :) I’m taking it as a compliment. Spakles? Check. Pink? Check. Comfy? Check. Perfect for me, and pre-teens everywhere!

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This is my favorite picture from this last Instagram round! The cows knocked down our fence and were grazing in our backyard the other morning, and I thought it was so funny! The grass is just starting to grow so the girls are hunting that green stuff like crazy. Or, they just needed a new location for their book club that week. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. See that little black dot halfway out of the right side of the frame? Duckie just couldn’t resist cows in the yard!

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Same view, different animal. There’s elk out there!

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Branding, of course!

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This is Henry. He was born a couple of days ago and very kindly let me take a picture of him :)

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I’ve been taking the dogs on walks a couple mornings a week before work–it’s hard to get up that early, but SO worth it. There’s nothing more peaceful or calm than the cool of the morning, the sun coming up and the birds singing. And then the dogs dive-bomb a group of geese and all you hear for the next ten minutes is the frantic honking of geese. Wouldn’t change it :)

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It’s definitely Spring in Colorado, because we’ve had some crazy weather the past couple of weeks. This was just the other day, when we had some really low, fast-moving foggy sorts of clouds. This picture totally doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea. This was Thursday. Friday it was like, 70 degrees. I love Colorado.

 

ImageWeekly Starbucks shot. Quinn got me the coolest glass cup, and so I just had to get a frapp and take a picture. Because that’s what social media is for, right? Taking pictures of everything in your life ever and sharing it with the world like it’s the first time anyone ever has done it and pretending people are interested?

ImageThis little guy was too weak to nurse his mother, so Bert fed him with a bottle and helped him stand for a few days. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it, but Bert’s pretty sure he was born with some kind of congenital issue because he was so weak, and he was oddly bony and entirely devoid of fat and just very strange-looking. Definitely not completely normal. It’s still sad, though, because you want to save all of them, but there are some who just can’t survive outside the womb, no matter how hard you try.

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These guys will be the subjects of my next post. Clockwise from left, we have Fleur, Neal and Flour!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you all had a wonderful, peaceful Easter with your family and friends!

 

Our First Branding of the Season

Our first branding of the season this weekend! We just did a small group, but it was still a lot of fun. I love branding because it really does mean it’s springtime (even though it’s currently snowing right now!) and that the baby calves are getting big and strong, and summer’s on the way. Plus, Bert works with a really great set of guys, so everything ends up being pretty enjoyable around here, I think :)

ImageI love coming into the barnyard and seeing all of the pickups and trailers and horses. 

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he guys bringing the cows into the pens to sort the calves from their mothers. I didn’t help gather this time because I was home getting everything together and making breakfast!

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f I had a better zoom on my camera, you’d know why the guys call this a “mustache outfit!” Bert and I went out for dinner after the bull sale a couple of weeks ago, and our waiter told Bert that his mustache was “EPIC.” Because it is, folks. Truly!

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taking the forks. Here was use North/Nord/Branding forks instead of team-wrestling all the calves. Keep going to see a picture of how they work!

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nother variation: some people use hot irons, like these, heated either directly over a fire or with propane. Others use electric irons on extension cords. Hot irons get hotter and are a little more traditional, but a bigger pain to set up. 

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aiting for the action to start. 

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ot hot hot!

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nd we’re off!

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art is demonstrating how a fork is used! His feet stay roped while the fork keeps him laying down and still. That rope is attached to an inner tube so he doesn’t gets jerked around.

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urrying to get to the next calf in between needle changes!

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osh holding down the fort (and the calf) like a boss, as usual!

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ert throwing his first loop of the day. Everyone’s always a little rusty at the first branding, but I thought everybody did really well!

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ren’t his new chaps just fantastic? His dad made them for him, he makes such cool stuff! These are batwing-style chaps, and Bert’s pretty much always wanted a pair. I need to get a close-up shot because they have these gorgeous scalloped edges. This was his first time wearing them, so they’ll look even neater when they get worn in a little.

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his is one of the guys’ sons. He’s only TWELVE! Can you believe that? I can’t. He’s super handy, and this little mare that he rides is one of the coolest horses. They’re such a good pair.

 

One down, many to go! We’ll have another one closer to summer for the younger calves (and the ones who aren’t born yet), and all the other guys will have at least one branding each, if not more. I’m glad to get this one under my belt because this is the first time I’ve ever cooked by myself (with prep help from my sis!) and so I was pretty nervous! But, even though I made waaaay too much food, no one died and most of the guys had seconds, so I think it was a success. W

We had blueberry muffins (this recipe is dynamite! I add extra blueberries and a little vanilla) and cinnamon rolls for breakfast (with lots of black coffee), and lasagna (major thanks to my Aunt Marcia for her recipe!) with garlic bread and salad for lunch. Dessert was brownies, and my go-to blondies recipe (I use milk chocolate chips instead of walnuts). Not exactly traditional “branding food,” but I wanted to do something a little familiar but still delicious for my first try. Whew!

After we were all done, everything was fed and all the stuff was hauled back to the house, I made some curtains, cooked some more and scrapbooked a little.

Just kidding. I went home, took off my boots, and fell asleep on the couch. 

Ranchy Martha Stewart will have to wait :)

 

Darkwing Duck Rides AGAIN

Have you ever heard the saying about “Bad Things Come In Threes?”

Of course you have. You don’t live in a hole, because holes don’t have wifi and you have to have that to read this.

In my experience, this has been true. Usually it includes a run of things that fall into the same category–bad things involving cars, for example. Or falling. Or jobs. You know. But sometimes, it involves a dog who keeps trying to do themselves in through a series of unfortunate accidents.

Or are they?

Of course, dogs can’t talk, but I understand from the jumping and tail (okay, nub)-wagging, and general air of comfortable superiority that happens when said dog is the only dog in the house allowed on the furniture because she’s also the only dog in the house that’s small enough to fit in our armchair, that she is happy. She meets me at the top of the driveway every day, nub a-waggin, and loves to run and play and chase things and eat dead stuff. I always thought that living on a ranch would be a good life for a dog. No fences, lots of cows and smells and adventures. I keep her in raggedy old socks and tennis balls, her food bowl is always full and she has her choice of her water bowl, three toilets, the horse water or the creek.

But there are some circumstances that have arisen that make me wonder, because, Duckie, you seem to be meeting with a series of unfortunate accidents that could all potentially result in death.

First, you impale yourself on an unknown object, almost puncture your intestines and have to be rushed to the veterinarian. On a Saturday.

Then you jump through some ice and almost drown yourself in a pond. This was a Sunday. No correlation in the days.

Then you somehow open the door with you secret opposable thumbs while Mom and Dad are stuck at the barn and eat an entire tray of mouse poison. This was on a Saturday evening.

(I know you’re not supposed to put out poison where dogs can get it, but they’re not allowed in the house by themselves, and I was hoping the flour-ruining rodent in question might want a snack while we were out before I came home to put it away.)

Causing your mom endless grief. But on weekends only, it seems.

Don’t worry, everyone, we made her drink some hydrogen peroxide so she puked up all kinds of green goop, so she is just fine.

TMI? Maybe, but for those of you with dogs that’s what you do if they eat most kinds of poison. But make sure you put them somewhere that has an easily-cleanable floor, because they may not throw up right away, but they will eventually, and it will be gross. Relieving, but gross.

But I mean, come on, Duck. I thought you liked us. I thought you were happy here. You have toys, and friends, and I sneak you human food at least every other day and don’t even always get mad when you chase the cows.

Hopefully, this is the last of Darkwing Duck and we won’t have any more near disasters.

Darkwing Duck is her daredevil alter ego.

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Instant-Gram

My #1 favorite thing about having a smartphone–even more than the cessation of the looks and jokes that my old phone used to get, and more than the cool features and having internet and apps–is Instagram. I. Love. Instagram. Love it!

(I also anticipate loving GPS, since I have a terrible sense of direction and get lost all the time, but since I haven’t had to use it yet, it’s not my favorite. I know my way to work, Starbucks and the barn, and that is my life at the moment.)

I love having a camera with me all the time—we may or may not have picked our phones based upon the camera—and I love the filters! So, each week I’m going to do an Instagram recap here on the blog. For some of you, it’s going to be a little repetitive since we’re Instagram buddies (friends? Followers? Stalkers? I don’t know the lingo), but there’s not enough room on Instagram to tell the story behind the picture, so maybe it won’t be so repetitive!

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This is the first-ever picture I took with my camera! This is one of our younger calves with his momma on the pivot right behind our house. I just love how those strawberry-blonde cows look—they’re so pretty. I’ve titled this one “Moodonna and Child.”

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When I drive home from work, I have the coolest view of what starts Bert’s 20,000 acres. Everything you can see, as far as you can see, in this picture is part of the Bijou Basin camp, which Bert’s in charge of. Isn’t it pretty? Just wait till it’s green!

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The girls! I took this standing on top of a bale on the back of the feed wagon while we were feeding the yearling heifers last weekend. You can just see the other bales on the back of the wagon in the foreground. They sure love that alfalfa hay!

They came running as fast as they could from all over the pasture, and if you’ve ever seen a cow run, you know why that’s so funny. If you haven’t, then get thee to the nearest livestock emporium and find a running cow because it’s got to be one of the most awkward running situations of the four-legged animal kingdom. Especially because when they’re happy or excited, they’ll sort of do a little kick or a buck while running and it’s awesome because they’re already so uncoordinated that adding that extra burst of physical bada-bing makes them look like boulders with legs trying to do something gymnatistically-inclined.

The one exception to this rule: every now and then, you will see a cow jump a fence and clear it. Most of the time, if a cow tries to jump a fence she ends up getting caught in it and breaking at least one wire if not the whole shebang. But sometimes, every so often, a cow will display an ability to jump a fence thought only to be present in the thin-legged, hoofed members of the wild animal kingdom like moose and deer.

(Not elk. Elk just crash through everything and leave giant, gaping holes in fences wherever they go.)

Bert came home one day in Montana and told me this story about how they were gathering heifers, and one of them jumped the fence but he couldn’t even be mad because “she ran toward the fence at a dead gallop, and without missing a beat, tucked up her front legs like a hunter-jumper horse, threw her back legs out behind her and soared over the fence and cleared it by at least a foot. It was the most graceful thing I have ever seen. It was amazing.” He still talks about it!

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Duckie and Gaucho are best friends. Jay and Duckie play together, but Duckie and Gaucho chill together. She licks his ears and lays on him. He stares and lets her have his treats if it comes to a fight, and by fight I mean any kind of situation where she expresses that she would enjoy ingesting aforementioned treat. Which is always. Which is okay, because Gaucho is fat. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

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Oh, Gaucho. He helps me get ready for work in the morning by either laying right in front of the sink where I need to stand, or sitting in the middle of the bathroom floor and rolling over when he thinks he’s being neglected. Oh, and he stares at me just like this the entire time. It’s no wonder people are afraid of him—he looks crazy! Okay, maybe it’s a small wonder because he might look like he’s about to slash your jugular, but really he’s trying to make you notice him so you’ll pet him, because if his staring doesn’t work, he jumps on you or leans on you really hard.

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This was my drive to work Thursday morning. Can you believe all that snow? Eight inches of soggy, slushy, wet spring snow. While the moisture is great, the drive was so bad. Those are the days when I’m happy I have 4-wheel drive, and I pity the fools who are stuck in the bar ditches. I only say fools because they wouldn’t have ended up there if they hadn’t been going too fast.

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And then, because I can’t help but be a little stereotypical, is my Starbucks from Friday. I only allow myself Starbucks on Mondays and Fridays—Mondays to kick-start the week, and Fridays to finish strong!—because otherwise my spending on Frappucinos and delicious things that Quinn makes up would be exorbitant. While having a barista for a sister definitely increases the “Cool By Association” factor, it also increases “Possibilities for Things to Spend Money on at Starbucks,” which relates conversely to “Money.”

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We’ve had a long weekend of breeding the registered yearling heifers, and this was Bert pulling the straw for the first cow we bred on Friday night. The semen is stored in straws in a tank filled with liquid nitrogen. You pull them out, thaw them in warm water and then load them into a special A.I. gun.

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This is Bert breeding said cow. Very basically, the semen is inserted into the uterus via the AI gun, which pushes it out of the straw once everything’s in the right place. You can’t just stick the thing in there, let ‘er rip and call it good, there’s a method to getting the semen to the right place. While I know the basic concept, I haven’t been to AI school (yes, they make that), so I’m not the one to tell you precisely how it’s done.

So there’s the first round of Instagram pictures! Thank you for reading!

Also, my washing machine drains into my sink sometimes. Isn’t that obnoxious? It is.

Bull Sale

Last Monday, Bert and I both took off work to go to a bull sale in Fort Collins. Bert used to work for them, and our friends Ann (here’s her blog!) and Ryan (who goes by Ernie, sometimes—growing up, they were Bert and Ernie. Cue the “awwww!”) had a bull in the sale. They live in Nebraska and came out, so we wanted to go visit them and support their bull!

A bull sale is an auction where they sell bulls and usually heifers and/or cows, too. They put out a catalog with all of the information about the animals. There’s a set of numbers called EPDs that pertain to everything from growth potential to mothering ability, and prospective buyers peruse the catalog and pick out animals to bid on based upon what they’re looking to add to their herd. Each animal is run through the ring, where they walk around and people bid on them. Bull sales are usually pretty fast-paced and exciting, and it’s fun to follow along in the catalog and see what things are going for. This particular sale had a lot of different kinds of bulls-Black and Red Angus, Charolais and Stabilizers, which are mixed-breed bulls. Stabilizers are this particular producer’s strong suit (as opposed to the ranch in Montana where were worked, which sold exclusively Black Angus), and Ann and Ryan’s bull was a stabilizer. He did really well, and I was proud to know someone who put such a nice bull in the sale! It was fun when their bull was being bid on, because the numbers just kept going up and up and I was so excited for them! Here’s the big guy in action:

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It was a nice break from work, and a nice day with Bert. Since calving season has been dragging on and on, we haven’t really been able to do much together outside of working together on the weekend, except go to our favorite (tiny!) Mexican restaurant in the next town over on Saturday nights sometimes. Someone has to check the heifers every two hours, so we have to stay close. We also (drumroll, please!!!) joined the 21st century and got smartphones! I’m going crazy with instagram (follow me @cassidyamelia! I’ll follow you!). I even hashtagged something last week. Whoa.

I’m excited about the Instagram, too, because it makes it easy to get great pictures to share with you all here any time, anywhere! Weekends are going to be hectic for awhile (breeding season has started and we have our first branding in two weeks!!!), but I’m going to do my best to post at least twice a week because there’s so many things going on! Spring’s the best.

Darkwing Duck Rides Again

Living on a ranch means that there are animals all over. Some of those animals, of course, are our trusty canine friends! I’m sure you can imagine with this many animals, and this many things to get into, we usually become pretty good friends with the local veterinarian. I loved our vets in Montana–we had one for the cows and one for the dogs, and if we had a question we could call them up and they’d tell us if it was serious or not, and what to do if it was something we could take care of ourselves.

For instance: when Jay broke his jaw, I ran into the vet at the convenience store in town that evening while I was buying Jay some baby aspirin. We thought it was just a broken tooth, but I described his injury to Kelly, who said “No, you’d better bring him to me first thing in the morning, I bet his jaw’s broken.” It was. Or the time that Gaucho got kicked by a bull and peed blood for a week. I called Kelly again and he said it probably wasn’t a big deal, the bull likely got a kidney and it was going to have to heal on its own, anyways, so a vet visit would be pointless money down the drain. He was correct. The boys have had their fair share of maladies and ailments, because other than the jaw and the kidney issues, Jay got hung up in the tractor and hurt his foot really bad (he got “John Deere-d” and Gaucho got an infected tick bite that smelled like a rotting corpse. Then there was the time that Jay weighed 25 pounds and Kelly’s wife diagnosed him and we got him healthy again, and then when he overheated and almost died last summer. He also ran away for two days, and Gaucho got some nasty something from old afterbirth he was munching on and, shall we say, would have spent a month in the bathroom had he been human. As it was, he slept outside.

And then there’s Duckie. Little Duckie girl, who’s last visit to the vet to sew up the hole in her side cost more than the other disasters combined. Well, whew, dodged a bullet there! She didn’t die, right? All’s well that ends well.

Until the aforementioned “all” decides to practically drown herself.

There we were, me and mom, out on a sunny Saturday afternoon taking the dogs for a walk around the ranch. We stop at the barn and talk to the guys, who are all there to put away the heifers that had come back from the cutting on the semi that morning, and go on our merry way. La la la, what a nice day! Dogs are playing and running, and chasing geese, having a grand old time

Chasing geese. Wait. The geese. Are on the pond. That until very recently was frozen solid. And Duckie’s running out onto the ice to get the geese. And then…

Whomp. There she goes, through the ice. There we go, at a dead run, to the pond. I, of course, and freaking out at yelling for her at the top of my lungs, because that’s what I do when animal disasters happen (it’s actually horrible, I really have to stop that. It’s embarrassing, in the end.).

We get to the pond, take off our shoes and socks (why?!) and Duckie’s scared and getting tired of paddling and trying to get out because the ice is too thin and slippery for her to crawl out.

In we go. It’s slippery and disgusting and mom’s got hold of the back of my shirt so I don’t slide in too far, and it’s cold, and I’m scared that Duckie’s going to die. I’m sure we looked like two psycho yahoos, but I just couldn’t let her die! And she wouldn’t swim to me, she just kept swimming father out and I’m mumbling incoherently and it’s a mess and we’re both freaking out.

But she finally swims to me and I grab her and throw her onto the bank, where she doesn’t even have the courtesy to look grateful that I just snatched her from the jaws of a cold, watery grave. She just shakes, and runs away.

Really? That’s all I get? Not even a little lick, or a nuzzle? Nothing?

Now I can fully appreciate how utterly disgusting that pond is. And how black my feet are. Ugh.

So, we decide that the walk is over, since we’re wet up to our armpits with goose-s**t water and Duckie almost just died. We squelch our way back to the barn, barefoot, where the guys are standing there. Wei’re embarrassed but not really because we’re so over this right now. Bert takes us home. I wrap Duckie in a towel in the mudroom, and mom and I both immediately take showers.

Bless you, builder/remodeler of this house, for putting in three bathrooms with showers.

So that’s the story of how Duckie came closer to dying that I prefer in less than a month.

I guess guys were all in the truck ready to come rope Duckie and drag her out because surely we wouldn’t jump in after her. (When he looked at us, absolutely flabbergasted and said “You got in?” I said that yes, of course, because I couldn’t watch her die, and plus, when you spend $800 on a one-year-old dog, they’re obligated to live for at least another year.

 How did they know something was wrong? Well, Decky said “Bert, your wife just took off runnin’, I wonder if one of your dogs got a goose!” and Bert said that no, something must actually be wrong. Why? “Because Cass hates to run.”

Lord.

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Oh, Duckie girl. How I love you :)

Another installment of “Things I Never Thought I Would Have to Worry About”

We’re having guests over on Saturday afternoon to see the ranch, so I was working outside yesterday trying to get the place cleaned up a little, since it is a ranch and we have three dogs and something is bound to be in the yard that is either embarrassing or alarming. I used to think cleaning up the yard consisted of a little raking, sweeping and trimming of things. At our house, it’s trying to collect what looks like the same amount of bones as the Elephant Graveyard scene in the Lion King, and convincing the husband to put the dead animal carcasses somewhere other than in plain sight of anyone that rolls in the driveway. “Welcome to our home, please don’t mind the corpse.”

On the same note: I hope aforementioned guests don’t judge me, because I have all sorts of framed things sitting on the floor all over the house. Last time my mom was over, she was like, what’s up with that? Well, what’s up with that is our house is like, 100 years old (literally) and we have plaster walls that require special screws and anchors, and hanging pictures is work. So I put them near the spot where I’m going to hang them, until a fit seizes me, probably late in the evening sometime, to hang everything up. To quote Bert “Why do you always go crazy with house stuff at like, 10:00 at night?” Well, because that’s the crazy time, my friend.

Where do I put all these cowboy boots?!? I mean really, whoever designed our mudroom obviously wore exactly one pair of shoes, and they were moccasins. And, they didn’t have a certain puppy named Duckie who likes to, ahem, modify boots by taking off the top third if they’re left on the floor. She also enjoys modifying hats, rags, and coveralls. “Boots too tight? Hat too hot? Rag not raggedy? Not enough movement in the bottom of your coveralls? Call up Duckie Johnston—your ranchwear modification and flowerbed re-allocation expert since 2013.”

Is my car going to fall apart on these washboard-y roads? And when it does, will it make a sound?

Will I ever get the wisk back that I loaned to the calving season effort? It’s heaven for mixing colostrum, but I like that wisk!

If we buy a colt from Texas, how are we going to get it to Colorado? It’s sort of like “If you give a mouse a cookie,” but with 4 legs, diesel fuel and a lot more expense. More along the moose-and-muffin lines, but not quite.

Should Duckie smell like that? Wait, should I smell like that?

What is that brown smear on the sofa? No, really, what is that? I don’t want to know, but I do because I’m curious about how it got there. Smear, what is your story?

Whenever we go out, I plan what I’m wearing based upon the ranch season. For instance, in calving season, I never wear cute shoes or non-jean pants or non-pants at all, because if we leaving our house, we’re going to stop by the barn to check on the cows, and inevitably if I look really cute something needs pulled or messed with. Sort of like when Bert and I pulled a calf a couple weekends ago and I was wearing my workout spandex because I just happened to meet him at the barn during my walk. Oh well. That’s what OB gloves are for, right?

Also, everyone thought that Duckie got attacked by a coyote or a mountain lion when she had her cone on. At least she’s got a reputation as a fierce fighter now, right? Hopefully the other dogs in the neighborhood don’t come to challenge her street cred, since she isn’t actually a fierce fighter.

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Playing Catch-Up with the Camera

We’re back in business! I have a lot of pictures that haven’t been posted. This set is from a day a few weeks ago when we gathered all of the yearling heifers–375ish–to the pens because they were being used for a cutting competition. So, we gathered ‘em up and shipped em out!

It was an absolutely gorgeous morning, not too cold, and it was a treat for me since I spend a lot of time at a desk these days.  It’s been a big adjustment, so on the weekend it’s nice to get out with some animals and move a little! And then, come Monday morning, I’m so sore I can’t move at all, so I guess it all evens out :)

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Once we got them gathered up and into the pens, the boss’ daughter and I kept the girls pushed up the alley so that Bert could sort off what he needed. When you’re shipping cows by semi truck, they’re divided up into groups within the inside of the trailer, because the trailer has a lot of different compartments. The truckers know how many animals they can fit in each section to stay under legal weight limits. So, Bert would sort off however many were needed–6, 12, 10, whatever–and push them up to the boss, who would push them up into the truck. This can be done horseback or on foot, but almost everything at this ranch is done horseback, which I think is pretty cool.

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Jay came along to help, because he’s very important. And has a tongue like a spoon.

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He can’t be bothered by humans when he’s working. Nevermind that he’s not actually working in this picture!

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The truck would drop off a load every time it came to pick one up, so it was all a rotation of cows on and off the truck.

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This is Hart! I’ve been trying to get a picture of him forever, but he always runs away! His momma’s a Hereford, and he was our first non-solid baby. We have a legion of speckled and bald-faced calves, now–I’m hoping to get their pictures this weekend–but Hart was our first! When we were in Montana, I missed having differently-colored calves, so I’m a happy camper :)

More to come! I’m posting this before work, so I need to get my hiney in gear and get my bedraggled self into something resembling a presentable human being. Happy first day of spring!!

A Calf-y Sort of Day

Hi! The new computer hasn’t arrived yet, but I took the iPad with me to check cows with Bert today, So I have some pictures!

Update: I wrote that on Saturday, and then the gosh darned satellite internet wouldn’t publish the post. But, The new computer arrived yesterday, so get ready for more posts, FINALLY!

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This guy’s hanging out in the hotbox–Bert and his friend Josh pulled this little guy on Friday, but he’s pretty slow and got chilled in the night.

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It’s a cold, grey, frosty day here in Peyton, Colorado.

You might notice that we have some different colors in the heifer herd now–the boss brought Bert some more heifers that were originally due to calve with the cows, but the guy calving the cows is having a rough year and the heifers were just adding more issues so Bert said bring ‘em on down! It’s been a hard year for everyone so far, what with cold and calving issues, so the guys all help each other where they can.

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Bert takes two night shifts a week, so the vet room doubles as a bedroom.

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ost of the cows that they brought Bert are Charolias and Charolias-Red Angus cross, and their calves are ahhhdorable. We surprised this guy in the middle of a nap.

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treeeeeeeeetttttttcccccchhhhhh! One sign that a calf is sick is that he doesn’t stretch when he gets up. Usually when they get up and have a good, long, tip to tail stretch, they’re feeling pretty good!

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Mom! Mom! There’s weird people! Mooooooooom!!!!”

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hite momma, red calf.

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ow this calf. This calf is my absolute favorite. I couldn’t get super pictures, but you’ll get the idea. He’s a strawberry blonde Hereford-looking calf with a white stripe alll the way down his back! He looks like someone threw flour all over him and it stuck.

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Cones of Shame and a Box of Soap

I know it’s been forever–my little Mac laptop has finally expired so I haven’t had anything to write on! Luckily, my lovely sister loaned me her wireless apple keyboard to use with  my iPad, so we’re back in business! No pictures for awhile, until we buy a new computer, but that will have to be put off in the interest of keeping the budget happy. A certain little black dog–I won’t mention whose, or which–decided to impale herself on some unknown object–my money’s on a t-post, antler or buried farm implements–and had to have an emergency visit to the vet last weekend. 

Our dogs don’t get injured during normal business hours during the week. They get injured when you know the vet’s going to charge you eighty bucks just for walking in the door.

But, thankfully, she escaped a torn abdominal wall and just needed stitches and a drain to keep fluid from accumulating in the wound.

Which was $800, mostly due to anathesia since it was quite a big hole in her little flank and needed lots of attention so they had to put her under for a few hours.

We’re still not mentioning names, though. This is an anonymous little black dog. 

Long story short, she’s alive and happy, especially since she ditched her cone somewhere as yet unknown to the rest of us. We know it’s outside. And that’s all. 

We have bad luck with cones–Gaucho once blew one to smithereens when he bailed off the four-wheeler to bite a bull in the face. To his credit, he did get the bull turned. Not to his credit, he wasn’t supposed to help at all. Just watch. 

What’s worse, a ditched and lost cone (Elizabethan collar, if you want to get really fancy), or an in-a-million-piece cone? Who knows. If I were a hashtagger, I would hashtag #ranchdogprobalems or #toosexyformycone.

But I’m not that hip. Sorry. 

So that’s what’s going on here. That and snow. Lots and lots of snow. But, from what I’ve seen from the news and heard from girls at work, we’re in much better shape than the Deep South, so I’ll take it (and my four-wheel drives vehicles) and like it!

On that note, I’m introducing a new blog post concept: Soapbox Saturdays.

Today’s Soapbox Saturday topic: unbearably slow drivers on rural two-lane highways. 

Dear all of you people who fall into the above category:

I am not a crazy driver. In fact, my dad made me pull over so we could switch drivers on the way home from Montana because apparently I drive too slow. But. Let’s say the driving conditions are good. Let’s say that the speed limit is a moderate 65-mph. Let’s say there’s a big, wide shoulder and lots of places in which a worried driver could pull over to let other people past. Let’s say the speed limit is posted obviously and in multiple locations along the route.

And let’s say that someone is driving slower than molasses in wintertime. 

Why, oh why, you people, do you choose to drive ten or more miles an hour under the speed limit? And refuse to pull over to let others pass, even when the line of headlights behind you stretches longer than a college macroeconomics lesson? Why, when the driver behind you (who is not even tailgaiting you, by the way) finally breaks down and does something she’s never done before and honks at you and flashes her brights to let you know that this is getting to be a little excessive?

It’s dangerous, folks. And it’s annoying. And if you’re that scared of driving on the highway, then don’t. If you must, then put your hazards on so we all have confirmation that you’re thoroughly freaked out, and pull over every so often to let others pass. I understand driving slower in poor conditions. I understand being nervous to drive on the highway. I understand being unsure about two-lane highways, because I suppose they can be intimidating. I suppose I even understand driving like a butt if the guy behind you is being, well, a butt. I don’t understand ignoring posted speed limits and letting cars pile up behind you when the driving conditions are good and the driver behind you is taking deep, calming yoga breaths and focusing on the good things in her life in order to avoid not becoming a butt.

Why not pass, do you ask?

Because it’s busy enough that time of evening to make passing impossible. See? I did have an answer to that.

When you live in a rural area, there are some tradeoffs, like a longer commute. Don’t make a longer commute unbearable by driving an unconscionable amount below the posted speed limits.  

There it is. My Saturday Soapbox.

I could have chosen extortion by the veterinary industry, due to the fact that it seems to cost roughly the same amount to put a forty-pound dog under as it does for a small human, but I’m glad my little girl is okay and it could have been much worse.

In the wise words of my dear husband “Well, at least it wasn’t a horse.”

That, folks, is very true.  

On that note, have a lovely Saturday night. I’m watching the Hobbit, planning this month’s menu, and having an exciting Saturday night all around.