Archive for December, 2008

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Rain, rain and more rain…

December 29, 2008

I hate doing chores in the rain more than the cold, especially when it is raining sideways!  I think the animals, especially the goats, hate it more too since they are fed outside and have to stand in the rain to eat.  Goats do not like getting wet!

My goats love to eat our fir trees, in fact we have had to wrap chicken wire around all of the tree’s in their pasture to keep them from completely girdling them.    So my plan on Christmas day was to take the pick-up and collect a few of the free left over Christmas trees.   But the truck wouldn’t start.

So the following day I decided I could at least fit some branches or a small tree in the back of the van and drove into town to see if there were any free trees left.   I drove by the Teen Challenge lot just as they were starting to tear it down.  I asked for branches, which they gladly gave me and in the course of the conversation, I persuaded them to deliver the entire lot of left over trees to my house.  So now I have several dozen Christmas trees piled up by the goat pastures.    The goats seem to be enjoying the new found bounty, and the larger trees will be cut up to fire wood to donate after the goats strip them.   (We don’t have a fireplace or wood stove.)   Certainly a better use than just out right burning the lot of them!

Maggie & Matilda don’t seem to like the rain all that much either and have holed up in their shelter for a good portion of each day.   Unfortunately the wind has blown the haystack tarp a bit and rain got into a corner of the haystack and several bales are moldy and completely ruined.  I’m not sure yet of the extent of the damage, and with the high winds we are having untarping and retarping isn’t an option until the winds die down.

I’m going to have to start regularly supplementing their feed with alfalfa pellets, an expense that wasn’t in the budget!  Ah well, that is the life of a “rancher” there are always unexpected expenses and unexpected joys too!

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More winter weather

December 20, 2008

We had a bit more snow yesterday, but it didn’t last long. I did manage to get out and take a few pictures during chore time.

Mattilda - the one that hopefully is due in July

Mattilda - the one that hopefully is due in July

Hawthorne Berries

Hawthorne Berries

Farm across the road

Farm across the road

The boys having a little extra breakfast

The boys having a little extra breakfast

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Still Freezing!

December 17, 2008

Yesterday the temperature never got over 30 despite being sunny all day.  Today it is slightly cloudy and warmer, although if you look at the wind chill factor it is actually colder today.    Snow mixed with rain or freezing rain is in the forecast for our area through Sunday so I don’t expect it will be getting any better for awhile.

I couldn’t break the the ice on the cows water troughs this morning so I had to haul hot water from the house to soften up the ice enough so I could break it up and toss the chunks out of there.  The ice was 4-6″ thick on their troughs and on the goats smaller troughs as well.

In all I hauled almost 80 gallons of hot water and another 20 of cold water.    I know a stock tank heater would elimante the need for hauling, but we so seldom get weather like this that I hate to spend the money on them.

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Snow!

December 15, 2008

We had a light dusting of snow overnight. A pretty rare occurrence in our usually mild climate. It was a first for many of the animals on the “ranch”, and I don’t think any of them appreciated it one bit!

At 9am it was still only 24 degrees, so I had to haul hot water from the house to help soften up the ice on the water troughs enough to break it up.

Here are a few pictures from this morning.

Sunshine - our herd sire

Sunshine - our herd sire

Mame - our blue eyed girl.

Mame - our blue eyed girl.

Millie & Sunshine

Millie & Sunshine

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I survived the rodeo

December 5, 2008

First of all, yes I know I should have planned things a little better when I tried to loosen the heifers halters, especially Maggies.   I guess I was lured into a false sense of ease with Matilda because she was so easy.  At any rate Maggies halter was off and I needed to get it back on.

Maggie tolerates my presence because I bring her food and treats.   She is not what one would ever call a friendly cow.   So why do I keep her?  Mostly as a companion to Matilda and because I am hoping I can yet change her attitude and even more importantly that she will eventually give me a heifer calf.

Moving on to this mornings rodeo.   I brought them alfalfa pellets as a bribe and distraction and managed to get a rope around Maggie’s neck without too much trouble.  Then the real fun began.  To get a halter on her I have to get up close and personal with those horns of hers.  And she does like to use them!

She wasn’t purposefully trying to hurt me, but she sure didn’t want that halter back on.   We had a bit of a shoving match and at one point I had her on her knees, but eventaully I was able to wrestle the halter back on her and get it buckled.  It does fit much better, but as soon as I can afford it I will be ordering custom Dexter halters from Thomas’ Dexters.

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Gratitude, Wishes & Challenges

December 1, 2008

It’s that time of year to think of all things we are thankful for.  I am thankful for our little ranch and the opportunity to expose our children to a rural lifestyle.   They certainly seem to enjoy the animals and helping with chores and all of that is a part of building their character.

On Thanksgiving day the weather cooperated long enough for us to get the last of the siding up on the cow shelter.  They seem to appreciate the additional protection from the weather.  I still haven’t gotten around to drawing blood on Matilda for the pregnancy test – yes I’m a big chicken.  🙂   At least I haven’t noted any signs of heat in her, unfortunately I haven’t noticed any clear signs of heat in Maggie either.  Hard to judge when to breed her when I can’t figure out her cycle.

I noticed that the girls halters were getting a bit tight so I decided to adjust them.  Matilda let me adjust her’s with minimum fuss, but Maggie managed to slip her halter and I haven’t been able to catch her since.   I think I’m going to have try alfalfa pellets and see if that will distract her long enough to get a rope around her neck.

It is also this time of year that I start wishing for a “real” barn so I could do most of the chores inside – especially the milking chores.  But real barns are expensive, and we really don’t have a good place to put one since we live on a ridge and level ground is pretty much non-existent.    But it is nice to dream about one anyway.  🙂