Raging winds whipped through Wheatland all day yesterday. On my way home from a shoot yesterday evening I watched the clouds change as fast as I turned the corners. I had to stop and capture this one.
When I pulled into our drive, I got out of my cozy car with Bob Dylan blaring “Hurricane” , to place panels over the cattle guard that keeps the cows where they need to be. The wind pushed me right into the panels and into the dirt and manure. I recovered quickly, no biggie, and parked my car in the drive. I gathered my equipment in one arm load and our dinner for the night, a large veggie pizza from Pizza Hut, in the other hand. Patrick was holding the door open with a big smile welcoming me home when a huge gust of wind ripped the pizza right out of my hand and into the dirt and manure. It laid there face down, like me a few minutes prior, while tears started to stream down my face. This was the icing on top of a very long day. I have obviously not adjusted to dealing with the wind, but I’m not discouraged. I’m still learning.
There was a little snow today but it didn’t stick. It’s hard to say when the last snow falls around here, it varies from year to year. Usually it doesn’t fall this late but you never know. It was chilly and windy so I stayed inside and watched movies. At sundown I joined Patrick in the shop to help clean up and take out the trash. It was a nice and mostly uneventful day.
There has been a steady rainfall here since Wednesday. The cows are wet and grumpy.
I’m not so grumpy because when the sun finally comes out, there will be some beautiful green landscapes to photograph.
Patrick has to watch over the irrigation ditches and create dams in the river so we don’t have a flood.
The water is high and the Laramie River is rushing. It is beautiful.
The wind is howling tonight and snow is in the forecast. Looking forward to what Saturday has in store.
Yesterday we branded 68 calves. We did most at the South Ranch and a few of the wilder ones at the main ranch. It’s always tough to watch the babies be split away from their mommas for their shots and the 5C but it’s only for a short amount of time. When they are released back into the meadow, the mommas are able to find the babies quickly. They mother up and get as far away from the corral as possible.
Remember Munchkin? I finally spotted him yesterday and he’s doing great! He’s too small to be branded yet but he’s nice and healthy.
His momma doesn’t let him out of her sight. She’s taking great care of him. Unfortunately that can’t be said for all the cows out here.
On our way home from the South Ranch we saw lightning in the distance. It was a nasty storm over Glendo and it was headed our way.
We got home just in time before the sky fell. And I mean it poured, thundered, and hailed like I’ve never seen before.
While looking over the grounds today to make sure there was no damage from the storm (there was none thankfully), we came across this horn. Deer lose their horns in December and start sprouting new ones almost as soon as they lose the old ones.
I think this is just the beginning of a stormy spring.
Beauty, sunrise to sunset.
There’s nothing like:
Turkey’s gobbling at sunrise.
And playing peek-a-boo with the hens after breakfast.
And peek-a-boo after lunch. You can’t see but she could not fit another bite in her belly.
More peek-a-boo with wildlife. (can you tell I miss my nephew?)
And sunsets over the mountains.
With a bluebird chirping us along the rocky trail.
I do believe springtime has arrived in Wheatland my friends.
New Arrivals at the Dakota Ranch:
This view is overlooking the South Ranch, a few miles from the main ranch.
We are having many new arrivals everyday and the milk has come in for most of the moms. Except for #3220. She wants to be a good mom and she keeps an eye on her baby but she just isn’t producing milk. Que rancher:
He was so very hungry.
He’ll be fine now. Debbie and John, the folks working at the South Ranch, will feed him twice a day so he’ll get nice and round.
At the request of a few of Matilda’s closest friends, here is a post to let you in on a day in her life on the ranch.
She likes to wake me up about this time to watch it with her. Patrick is already up and out the door feeding cows and horses.
I know I’ve shared that shot before but I love it, and it’s almost an every day thing.
She caught a mouse the other night and played with it for a while. She woke us up at 3am and we’d had enough of the running and jumping. Patrick had to end it and ‘Tilda was bummed out. She enjoys the chase and would have killed it eventually but we just couldn’t wait any longer. She forgot about it after a while and finally settled down. Now she crouches and hunts a lot more often than when we first got here.
You gotta have a big stick:
Don’t worry, he isn’t hurting the calf…or the cowboy. Patrick has to keep the momma away so that John can give him his tag and shots. If she wasn’t shooed away, in Patrick’s words “She’ll eat your lunch… it’s serious”.
That’s her baby and nobody messes with Baby.
Number 6000 has just given birth to this little munchkin. He’s a preemi and we didn’t tag him this day because we weren’t sure he was going to make it.
She’s a good momma “you can tell” Patrick says. She’s very concerned for her baby and didn’t let him out of her sight the entire day.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Patrick works so hard. It snowed last night and calves are being born left and right. He worked from about 1:30 am until about 7 this evening watching over the little ones and their mommas. They can freeze almost immediately after birth on a snowy night like that. He has to warm them and get them upright and suckling quickly if they can’t do it on their own.
PS: as of today, I’m told Munchkin is doing just fine.
Clearing the air:
I’ve gotten this same question from a few perplexed readers so let me answer those here. Yes, that was a big moving truck, er um semi, and yes I moved out of 2200 sq.feet of house in downtown Macon. BUT, that semi was not only full of my household goods, but 6 other households as well. I did however have almost 300 numbered items that included boxes and furniture. My brother and his lovely family were able to take a lot of our inherited antiques to fill and decorate their new home in Macon. Yes, I do have a lot of stuff but remember that not only was it household items that I moved, but my office and studio equipment as well.
Here is a shot of the truck crossing the bridge into the ranch that dad wanted to see. He wasn’t sure it was going to happen but doggone it, Terrell got it through. And the bridge was the least of their concerns.
I have to give a shout out to my girl Terri for the back breaking packing and organizing she helped with on my birthday weekend. Thank you to Tabitha and Stephanie for their help keeping me sane at the very end. How are the plants Steph and Ken? Dad was going to kill me if I tried to stuff one more thing into the Honda for the ride out here.
I’m still unpacking.
Busy turkeys, Busy cows, means Busy Rancher:
While the calves are being born, the turkey’s are getting down to business if you know what I mean. First I’ll show you the turkeys. This guy was strutting his stuff!
After hanging out with these feathery creatures, we traveled over to see this lady give birth. It was a little messy and she’s a wild one I hear. I stayed back and watched the whole thing from afar. I’ll spare you the graphic shots and just share the sweet ones.
Notice her eyes. She watched me the entire time. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them either. The first 10 seconds he was on the ground he didn’t take a breath. Neither did me or Patrick.
He is just minutes old and she is licking him not only for cleaning, but to stimulate him to get up and suckle. I was ooohing and awing and she looked right at me and mooed really loudly. She wanted me to leave.
I stayed long enough to watch him stand and look for the pocket (teat). Then I left them alone to bond.
Yesterday was moving day. The GIANT truck showed up with all of my stuff. I used AIM Movers by way of the Trading Post in Macon. They were fantastic! It was tricky getting the truck in here but Terrell the truck driver made it happen without any complaints.
My crew: Eric, Terrell, and Lewis
I had to go into town to lead them into the ranch and lead them out as well. I took this shot with the mountains behind them. This is the view when driving into the ranch. Minus the truck of course.
This is what I have to look forward to now. And this is just one room. You don’t realize how much crap you really have until you move.
The night before moving day I watched a momma cow give birth and photographed it until she got sick of me hanging out. I’ll share the less graphic shots soon. I also shot some turkey’s strutting with feathers fanned out and all. But as you can see from the shot above, I have others issues to address. Will update soon!