We drove off the ranch yesterday to head to the bluffs to check on Patrick’s cows. We branded them this weekend and took them to new pasture and then bam, a blizzard hits when we least expect it. And that’s just tough on the sweet baby calves.
Snow was still falling by evening and blowing across the road.
When we got there, they seemed very spry and excited to see us.
We got out and looked everybody over. They were a little frosty but everyone looked good and healthy.
But looking over the pasture, there wasn’t much grass peeking through and nowhere for them to lay down to be protected from the cold ground. That’s where we come in. Patrick attached 2 chains to the pickup and the hooks on the other end locked into the hay bale so I could pull it off the stack.
We dragged it over to the cows and Patrick got out to cut the strings.
The girls were a little impatient! I backed the truck up unrolling the bale while Patrick helped to pitch off the hay to them. When the bale got smaller, I stopped the pickup and jumped out to help. We pushed the bale and rolled it into the trees so they had something warm to lay on and be protected from the wind.
By the time we were leaving, the calves made their bed on the fresh hay while their mothers were chowing down.
Warm and toasty. Well, not really. But at least they are covered in leather!
We checked on them at about 5 this morning and they still had a lot of hay left and the entire herd was bedded down on the hay. They looked good, just a little cold. We’ll roll out another bale this evening for them to help them get through this crazy weather. At least the sun has finally come out. That should warm them up a bit.
Just another day in paradise y’all!
This is the first of our cows to calve. The calf I showed you last month was born to a heifer (a first time mother cow).
Yesterday I got back from doing chores and could tell that this experienced cow-momma had a belly ache. She had separated herself from the herd and nested by the fence. She was up and down, ringing her tail, arching her back and pushing hard. This lasted for two solid hours. Poor lady. The whole time I kept my eye on her I was cheering her on quietly but thanking the heavens this wasn’t me. It was a struggle but she finally dropped him on his head, stimulated him with licks and when I left her, she was helping him get to his feet to suckle.
I love this time of year.
The snow melted off as quickly as it arrived. I’m glad the ground got a drink before the wind picked up.
I love that in these wide open spaces, you can see the shadows of the clouds from miles away.
We woke up to a blanket of snow this morning.
Squaw Mountain is barely visible from here.
The clouds are full and heavy.
The cows are rooting around in the snow to get to the grass.
By the looks of this girl, I don’t think they are hurting. I’m not sure if she could fit another bite in that belly.
We couldn’t fit another bite in ours either after feasting with family this past weekend.
I hope you had a fulfilling Thanksgiving break with family and friends.
It was a pretty sunrise while the guys were getting ready for preg check. I got my papers in order and headed down to the cows. We had a successful check and had a great lunch before heading them up into the hills.
We got them through the first gate and up the main road. You may recognize this road from the fall scene I called Country Road. Not so colorful this time of year.
Got through the second gate.
There is always one that thinks she needs to go on her own. She’s a non-conformist.
Again she separates from the herd.
But Patrick can always show them the way.
Patrick was the gate getter.
If you keep them spread out a little and stay at a steady pace, they tend to travel better rather than keeping them bunched up and moving fast.
Sometimes the sound of a swinging rope will straighten the girls up and keep them moving.
We were heading straight west into the hills and into the sun.
I had to shade my eyes just to see the road.
It’s quite the climb up into these hills and we’re prefer they stay on the road. But as always, a few tend to go their own way.
Patrick and I took a group into what we call the rock pasture (this whole place is rocky, not sure why this one is so special) and down into the canyon to water. The other cowboys took a group to the river.
We went back and checked on them the next day and their bellies were full and they were very content. The ladies will enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday in the hills.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week. Thanks for hanging out with me here at our home on the range. I am so grateful for each of you.
Yesterday we preg-checked the cows. Poor girls. But we had great success and then wore them out even more by trailing them up into the hills. It was a steep climb at times and they were glad to get to the river.
I played cowgirl yesterday and this weekend is full of photo shoots. I like wearing two different hats. Let’s just hope I don’t get confused and start herding my portrait clients up into the hills or start asking the cows to stand by that tree and smile!
Have a great weekend my friends and keep smiling! xoxo
We had a crew out to help us move the cattle across the Plains this week.
The guys saddled up as the sun rose and I prepared the truck with water, lunch and simple amenities that the guys may need during the trail.
I drove to the first gate and waited for a couple hours. Then, on the horizon a couple of miles in the distance, appeared a cowboy and a few cows.
They trailed down the hill with one cowboy leading the way and the others bringing up the middle and rear.
The cattle filed in along the fence line and Patrick counted them as they went through the gate.
They stayed together and kept a steady pace as we crossed the vast landscape. Some calves tried to run back but the cowboys encouraged them to stay with the herd and with momma.
The air was cool and calm for almost the entire trail. But toward the end, the wind picked up and it got warm, fast.
Once we got into the final pasture, the guys led them to the windmill for water. They have to be shown where water is because if you just leave them alone, they will drop their heads and start eating. You have to let them know where the water is and leave them there so they get their bearings and know where the essentials are.
By now, the wind was howling, the heat was rising and the dust was blowing. I could barley hold my camera steady.
I put out the lunches on the tailgate and got the guys fed and watered. The horses had some time to graze while we ate but we weren’t quite done yet. There was one cow that just couldn’t make the long trail. She’s an old lady and had trouble keeping up so we left her at that first gate. We made our way back to get the trailer to load her and her calf and chauffeur them to the pasture with the others..
It took a little convincing with a short chase and a rope. They finally got them both loaded and off to the pasture with the others we went. They will enjoy this pasture until it is time to wean the calves in October.
It was a good day without any casualties or injuries. And it was long day that started at 4am and went until at least 4pm. Then back to the ranch to unsaddle the horses and finish up chores until dark.
Phew! So glad it’s Friday.
See more images from this shoot HERE.
Our crew from back east took charge a couple of weeks ago and branded the last batch of calves.
They led the mothers and calves out of the calving pasture,
over the hill,
along the fence line,
and into the branding pen.
They sorted the mothers from the calves and led them out of the corral.
Reagan and Marley were great spectators.
These guys were also in the audience. They snorted and stared and were as grumpy as ever.
And then the roping began.
Tommy and Hillbilly worked hard and did a great job of bringing the calves in so they could be vaccinated and branded quickly.
Once they were down, the ground crew swooped in and had them up and at’em in no time.
A couple of days later, the cowboys and cowgirls led the herd up the hill so they could wait for the trucks to take them to the Laramie Plains
One little one tried to get away but Patrick and Jack guided him to the rest of the herd.
They went right in to the corral, with the encouragement from those on horseback, and waited.
On the last day of their visit, Marley’s mom and sister went shopping so we decided to have a photo shoot.
Marley was a fantastic model and we had a blast taking her “cowgirl portraits”.
We dodged a few raindrops and had moslty cloudy skies. But the sun popped out every now and then and we were dolloped with some lovely light.
All in all it was a great visit and even though we put them to work, I hope they enjoyed it!
Even if it doesn’t turn out quite like you expected.
This loving mother cow gave birth to a calf that doesn’t look much like her. We’re thinking the neighbor lady must’ve had one of her bulls come onto our cow during breeding season last year. Doesn’t matter, true love knows no color.
A few things…
We woke up to a beautiful blanket of snow on the ground this morning. We’ve been desperate for moisture.
It’s busy ’round here. I’ve been more of a cowgirl than a photographer lately and I miss my camera.
I fixed that this morning ’cause I miss y’all.
I have some stories to share and hope to find time to write them. There is one in particular that had our family howling over Easter lunch. I’m not much of a writer and there aren’t too many pictures to go along with it but I’ll make it work somehow.
Our little Pinrow has a new cow mommy. Yay for him. Sad for me.
We had a new shipment of heifers and calves this weekend. You see, heifers (first time mothers) don’t really know how to be a mom so they’ll let any calf suck. There were times down in the corrals while we were sorting them, that a heifer had a calf on each side and one in the back suckling. “Nobody’s gonna go hungry in this herd!”, Patrick said. I stood there in shock. Bunch of hippies I say.
Mother cows that have done this a few times will kick and headbutt a calf if one other than hers tries to suck.
The gobblers are gobbling daily.
And strutting daily.
We wake up every morning to the song of the meadowlark.
I was finally able to capture the elusive Merganser Ducks in the pond this morning.
This couple is always around but so difficult to capture. I sneaked up on them this morning.
Geese honk constantly. It’s become annoying. At least they are photogenic.
I’m working on a project for a client where I’m adding color to black and white landscapes. I think it’s going to look good and I hope to share some of that with you when the job is completed.
In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had to pull about 4 calves out of mother cows because the calf was either backwards, too big or the cow was weak after pushing for too long. Eeeesh. Sometimes when I use the word “we” I tell you that I use it loosely. Usually “we” means Patrick but here lately, I’m in it up to my elbows.
I have good friends flying in tomorrow for a visit. I can’t wait. ♥
It’s hot and dry and we are in full calving mode.
The pregnant ladies enjoy cooling off in the pond.
The ladies that have calved are in the brush or in the willows, most likely to try to hide from us.
But we find them every time.
Once their calf has gotten up and sucked, we step in to vaccinate them and give them a shiny new earring with a number that matches mom’s. Once they’ve gotten up from that, mom hums and leads her calf away from us.
While we were tagging another calf, the cow in the distance in this image came running up thinking we had her calf. It wasn’t hers and she ran off from us in a panic. We found hers seconds later and Patrick bahhhed like a calf until she came over the hill.
It took her a minute but she soon realized we found her calf. She came over, claimed it and we tagged him and sent them on their merry way. I bet she’ll keep up with him after that episode.
Now this lady was scary. I mean flat out mad. So I stayed in the rhino.
She was so mad she would bellow and holler with her tongue hanging out and slobber flying everywhere.
Patrick had to swat at her with the plastic paddle. She was so mean and oh so mad. We barely got out of this one alive. Cows are mostly mellow creatures but once they have a calf, they can be dangerous.
Here are some peaceful and rather cute babies and mommies portraits.
I’m quite partial to the red and white spotted cuties.
This calf is one of my favorites.
I love this time of year.
The weather has been dreamy here lately. The snow has melted into ponds and streams and the cattle are enjoying the sunshine and warmth.
My favorite part of the day is our evening drive around the meadows checking on our soon-to-be moms.
Canadian geese have flown in and the turkey’s have returned, strutting their stuff for their potential mates.
We’ve even spotted a geese couple bedded down, showing some love. Most geese couples stay together all of their lives. I wonder is this is the couple I spotted last year with their babies.
Spring Equinox is tomorrow. I know we’re in for some more winter weather here in finicky Wyoming but I’ve enjoyed being outside every day all day these last several days. Happy Monday everyone, I hope you have been able to enjoy good weather in your part of the world.
Apparently the heifer is. She busted into the corral where her calf was and he sucked her dry. We talked to the vet and he said to just leave them together and just see what happens. He’s still rather skinny but seems happier than before and gets up on his own. Maybe he’ll be okay after all. Most times human interference in cases like this is for the best but this is one of those times where we’ll just have to leave them together and wait and see. We are not completely out of the dark but we’ll leave it up to nature.
After a tumultuous week, here’s hoping for a good weekend.
The babies are landing, the babies are landing!
But it’s not all sunshine and roses. We had to pull 2 calves in a 12 hour period this weekend.
And it’s only the beginning.
On Saturday night, a cow was bawling around the meadow for a couple of hours but couldn’t have her calf. Patrick got her in the calving barn and could feel that the little one had not entered the birth canal. She needed assistance because it was definitely time. We put on shoulder high gloves and helped the calf enter the world. Now, I have only attended this procedure one time before but this time I had to help. It was breathtaking and nerve-wracking. The cow took to her calf and they are fine and in the meadow with the others.
Then Sunday morning we had a heifer trying to calve but was having a hard time. We got her in the calving barn and this one was much more difficult. Being a first time mom, she didn’t know what was happening. All she knew was that her belly hurt and these people are strapping hardware to her rear-end. The calf finally entered the world and it took a little while to get it breathing. The heifer didn’t know what to do with this thing lying on the barn floor so we left her alone. I peeked through the window a few minutes later and saw that she had finally gone over to it and was licking it clean. GOOD sign. But when we went back a couple hours later, the calf had not sucked. NOT GOOD. Patrick milked the heifer and we bottle fed the calf to get it through the night. Momma was a kicker and we think she was kicking it off of her milk bag. Finally this morning, there are signs it sucked and the heifer is being VERY protective. We’ll go down a little later to tag it, check the sex, and put them out with the rest of the cows.
Until then, Imma take a nap.
[Pictured here are calves and cows that have birthed naturally in the meadow. The special cases haven't had their portraits made just yet. Been too busy bringing them into the world and I don't think you want to see those details.]
Musical meadows continues. Patrick moved the ladies even closer and they are eating it right up.
This meadow flooded when the river was so high and he couldn’t put it up for hay. So let the grazing begin!
They also like dips and sips in the river. That water is a little too chilly for me but more power to you girlfriend.
Oh…and one more thing.
At sundown yesterday, we put Kate and her filly in with the others. As you can probably imagine by the picture above, there was a lot of rootin’ and a-tootin’! She tricked them by going through the open gate to the neighboring meadow and Pepper, Alice, and Poco were running wild trying to get to them. It’ll be interesting to see if they’ve figured out they don’t have to be separated. In the meantime, don’t get kicked!
I love this image. And I loved our time with the Wilson’s.
Click on the yearling longhorn above to view a complete gallery of the longhorns that you’ve seen here over the past couple of days. I hope you’ve enjoyed these images as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing them with you.
We look forward to visiting again and next time Linda, we’ll stay for the brownies.
This cow is Patrick’s favorite. He likes her coloring and the rings around her horns. The rings, as you may have already guessed, tell the age of the cow. This girl is thirteen this year.
Kaylynn(sp?) stood proud and beautiful, even with a sprig of hay hanging out of her mouth.
Um hey pretty lady. Who does your makeup? It’s gorgeous dahling.
I had to put the wide angle lens on for this shot. She was following me closely, probably with the hope I’d feed her some cake.
This dark beauty was by the creek the whole time. She was uninterested in her guests.
Scratch that itch babe. You know she’s hitting the target because look at her tongue!
At the end of our tour, the sun went behind the clouds and it got colder. These yearlings met us at the truck but were a little shy and didn’t stick around long.
We had a great time visiting with the Wilson’s and the cattle and look forward to going back when it warms up!
I’ve been pawing at Patrick to take me to the Wilson Ranch for a while now. Every time we head up Hwy 34 to the plains to fix fence, I can always see their cattle way off in the distance.
So he finally called them up and they invited us to come up Saturday afternoon. I was thrilled!
Not only because I was going to be up close and personal with award winning Longhorn Cattle, but they are calving right now!
These little angels are born smaller than the average calf so during calving season, the mommas and babies are enclosed in a high fence pen. Coyotes just love the smell of a fresh born calf and can snatch one away before momma even knows what happened.
These cows are fairly gentle but knew quite well that we were strangers.
A few of them kicked the dirt but fortunately no one charged us.
The baby beauties are born with only nubs on their head. (Lucky for the momma, am I right?)
Some are born solid white and will develop their coloring over time.
They were all pretty curious and happy to pose for a portrait.
It’s amazing how aware and careful they are with their horns.
This little one is loving her scrub down. Notice the tongue!
I love her calf bucking in the background. There was a lot of that cuteness going on.
At a couple weeks old, they start munching on little bits of hay.
Look at the little nubs coming out. And I just love those ears!
Inside the calving barn, the family brands grace the wall.
Stay tuned for more. The next stop is with cows that are yet to calve. They were sunbathing by the crick (creek).
Phew! This was a very eventful and COLD weekend. Like 10 degrees and below cold.
We got our first calf. Ironically from heifer #1, a first time mother on Saturday.
Poco’s filly started eating hay. She would eat a few bites, and then go suckle. So cute!
Yep. Those are icicles on her little ears. It’s THAT cold!
Kate and family had “no comment” and went on to find a spot to lay down.
As if we weren’t cold enough and covered in 5 inches of snow already, we woke up to a our first deep frost of the year on Sunday morning.
So we moved the cows from the pasture across the river…
…to our backyard.
Then Patrick went to feed the bulls a couple pastures over and the tractor broke down.
So we had to tow it back home. Him driving backwards in the working tractor and me steering the broken down tractor. Not easy. And not my favorite adventure thus far.
We walked into the house just before dark. I put a couple more logs on the fire, wrapped up in fleece head to toe, opened a bottle of Chianti, and enjoyed my couch and the Grammy’s.
I’m not a sports person by any stretch of the imagination but I did enjoy the Puppy Bowl VIII on Animal Planet yesterday. And when the Super Bowl strangely ended up on our TV (I guess Patrick wanted to know the score or watch the sexy commercials) I stepped outside to enjoy the pink and blue Wyoming sunset.