Uprooted Magnolia

Early Arrivals

Posted in Calving, Photography, Ranching, Thankful by leahyetter on February 16, 2011

As I mentioned yesterday, we came upon 2 bundles of joy at Patrick’s place.

This little guy is one day old.

He’s already up and running and as you can see by the drop of milk on his mouth, he’s already sucked.

This calf is only an hour or two old. He was trying to stand by the time we got to them.

But the problem was that she had him across the icy, raging river. She has to cross back over to get to the feed and that means the hours old calf would have to cross as well. We raced home to get the waders so that Patrick could get to the other side and help the calf. But by the time we got back, she had already crossed. The calf was still on the other side balancing on the icy edge. She raced back over and led him to a shallow spot. Before Patrick could get the waders completely on, they were crossing. It was an absolute miracle that the calf made it without going under, but he did. It was a close call to say the least.

Everyone is safe and sound and now it is time to prepare for 300 or more calves to arrive. Let’s hope their mommas are a little smarter and have them on dry ground, away from raging waters.


 

Rollin’ the Hay

Posted in Photography, Ranching by leahyetter on January 12, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the bluffs. The girls think they’re still hungry.

While Patrick visited with the neighbors, the cattle surrounded the tractor and just stared me down. Look at the drool on #41. The stares from # 80 made me shiver. She followed me around expecting a hand out.

Even the neighbor’s Corgi stared me down waiting for instructions to start herding.

We finally got going and they couldn’t get to it fast enough.

It was like we rolled out the red carpet or something. They walked all over it thinking the next layer will be better than the last.

They finally stopped. And pigged out, as usual.


Backhoe Brian

Posted in Cattle Roundup, Photography, Ranching by leahyetter on January 4, 2011

This is a Charolais cow. Pronounced Shar-lay.

They belong to the neighbors.

As with any creature on earth, sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side. And on this particular New Years day, our hay stack was looking really tasty to these cows.

So tasty that we saw this girl jump into the stack and got herself stuck.

And I mean stuck…trapped.  With the 3 feet of snow surrounding and in between the stacks, the pig couldn’t get out.

Patrick called the rancher in charge of these cows and he said he’d be right over with the Backhoe. “Whats he gonna do with the backhoe” I ask. “I guess he’ll scoop her outta there, I dunno” Patrick answers back with the same curiosity in his voice. It’s getting darker by the minute. Pretty soon we see the headlights in the distance and sure enough as we were herding the cattle with the pickup, here comes Brian sliding the corners with the backhoe. He was hauling butt. I didn’t think a machine like that could go so fast.

She did eventually jump, scoot, and roll her way out of the hay stack to join the others.

They both discussed the plan of attack in the 10 degree evening.

Of course, I’m shooting out of the truck window. It’s too cold to be out there in the cold and windy mountain air!

An we’re off…. with Backhoe Brian in the lead. Once reinforcements arrived, they got the ladies where they are supposed to be.

The guys discuss the fences and how they are in good shape…can’t figure out how they keep getting in. But I’ve seen them jump so high, they clear the fence when we’re trying to herd them through the gate. Shoot, she jumped into the haystack. But nobody asked for my opinion. Oh the life of a ranchers “wife”. Sheesh.


Dusk

Posted in Cowboy, Photography, Ranching by leahyetter on November 24, 2010

His eyes as blue as the sky.

His heart as soft as a well-worn saddle.

Sun-drenched hands covered in dust

guides his horse that leads the cattle

through meadows and open pasture

into the hills at dusk.


The Girls Are Back In Town

Posted in Cattle Roundup, Ranching by leahyetter on November 17, 2010

That’s right! The cowboys got the girls home safely from the Laramie Plains this past weekend. They spent a couple days in the meadows beyond the main house and today Patrick and I got them closer to the house and corrals.

Yeah, that’s me driving the tractor baiting them in with a bale of hay. Patrick and Shadow are behind them pushing them through the gate. When I got out of the tractor, they were so excited to see me.

Just look at the expressions on their faces. Pure joy to see me. It has nothing to do with the yummy feed in this pasture. No, uh uh.

Heads down ladies, we can catch up later. You’re skin and bones, eat eat.

Ha!  Skin and bones my a**.  Look at those bellies and winter coats.

Ahhh, so nice to see you again girls. I’ve missed you.

Thursday all three hundred fifty something of you will be peeing on a stick. So rest up, it’s time to see how the bulls did this summer. See you ladies at 6am!


Have Hay? Cow will Follow.

Posted in Cattle Roundup, Ranching by leahyetter on October 21, 2010

Wanna know how to get cows to surround and follow your truck? Put hay on the flatbed.

Stick a cowboy up there with a pitchfork and drive slowly. Be careful not to throw him off while pressing the gas and the shutter button on the camera at the same time.

And even though hay has been pitched out for them to munch on, they continue to follow. I guess they think the next forkload will be better that the last.

Or they think I’ve got yummy cake for them to eat from my hand.


 

Where Did All the Babies Go?

Posted in Cattle Roundup, Ranching, The Ranch by leahyetter on October 13, 2010

As I mentioned yesterday, the cowboys rounded up the cattle at the home place for shipping on Monday. This is part of the weaning process and it just has to be done. They are all led into the corral and the mommas are let out while the babies stay in. The calves are then loaded into a semi and taken to new pasture. But even a day later, some mommas still haven’t left the corral in the hopes their babies will come back.  If they only knew that this too shall pass. They have brand new bundles of joy in their bellies.

And then we have mommas that don’t mind that baby is gone. This one is enjoying the tall grass and frequent sips from the chilly Laramie River.


 

The Inconvenience of Much Needed Rainfall

Posted in Ranching, Stormy Skies by leahyetter on October 12, 2010

It hadn’t really rained here in Wheatland in 52 days(who’s counting?). But on the first scheduled day to gather cattle off the Laramie Plains for shipping, it poured. And I don’t mean a few raindrops here and there this past Sunday,  huge drops were coming down and blowing sideways.

Even still, we left the ranch at 5am with horses in tow and made the trek to the Plains in total darkness. But alas, mud puddles were forming and our tires were spinning on the dirt roads. There was no way the semi trucks were getting in there.

So we went into town, had breakfast and were home by 8am.

I took a nap and watched the rain come and go all day long. During the breaks, I did what I do best in times of ranching frustration. I went out to document this phenomenon.

Monday was a bright and sunny day on the ranch so they gathered cattle at the home place with hopes it would dry out on the Laramie Plains. Today, Tuesday, the cowboys left at 5am but once again because of overnight rainfall, the roads were too hazardous for the trucks. Needless to say, we’ve got some frustrated cowboys and I’ve decided to stay out of it and write to you guys. I’ll let you know if we ever get our cattle out of there.


 

Lessons Aplenty

Posted in Cattle Roundup, Horses, Ranching by leahyetter on September 14, 2010

I learned many things last week and weekend.

Among them is how to ride and work the horse for herding cattle.

Stand up in the stirrups! Tighten the reigns!  Hold onto the horn! Just get off and walk doggone it!

It hasn’t really been that bad, Patrick has been very patient with me and is a great teacher. I still have a long way to go before being even good at it and I’m enjoying the process.

When you’re out like this for hours at a time, you have to stay hydrated. And when nature calls, well ladies you find the nearest shrub out of sight of the others and take care of  business.

So it turns out that the most important lesson I learned this weekend was never, and I mean NEVER squat in a patch of Stinging Nettles.  Yeeeow!!!


Horses, Cattle and Wyoming Sunsets

Posted in Cattle Roundup, Ranching by leahyetter on September 13, 2010

This weekend and even today has been busy with collecting scattered cattle on horseback. Several pairs and a couple bulls were deep in the hills and the only way to get to them was by horse. Patrick and I mounted up, climbed the rocks, gathered,  sorted and now everyone is where they need to be. Phew!

We’ve certainly had some gorgeous days and even more gorgeous have been the sunsets. I captured these on the way home from getting groceries last night.

The clouds were so colorful. Patrick slammed on the breaks and while groceries hit the back of our seats, I hung out the door to capture the absolute beauty.

Menemsha has beautiful sunsets and we’ve got them too. There’s nothing like that big sky covered with streaks and swirls of colors that you just can’t  find in a box of Crayola.


Busy buzzy bee

Posted in Home, Nature, Ranching, Wildlife by leahyetter on July 27, 2010

We’re not the only ones that work hard around here. Remember my Sunny Flower? Well here she is this morning getting worked over by this honey bee.

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Just another day of…

Posted in Home, Ranching, Wildlife by leahyetter on July 26, 2010

work work work. From sun up to sun down, the chores must be done.

We’re baling and stacking hay at the main ranch these days. Patrick drives the tractor. I drove the truck and trailer full of hay bales yesterday.

The head ditch needed cleaning from beaver and flood clogging. It’s time to get water flowing into the meadows to grow a second cut of hay.

I can’t go on without mentioning that we dodge buzztails regularly.

Putting shoes on the horses can be challenging. I think I was more in the way than helpful but Patrick got them done successfully. The rocks out here are tough on their hoofs and shoes are necessary for an evening ride through the hills.

Then sometimes we get to watch the moon rise over the meadow,

and through the trees.

That is only if we’ve finished the days chores and if we haven’t fallen asleep face first into our dinner plate.

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Fawns in the Hay

Posted in Home, Ranching, Wildlife by leahyetter on July 18, 2010
When Patrick cuts the hay, the babies come out to play.

fawn in our front yard

These twin fawns and their momma bedded down in the meadow out front.

nursing fawns

But now that the grass is short, they’ll need to find a new location. And they will, in the meadow just over the next fence. I’m sure we’ll see them again.

doe and her fawns on the move

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The Laramie Plains

Posted in Cattle Roundup, Nature, Ranching, Wildlife by leahyetter on July 13, 2010

The cows are spending the summer on the Laramie Plains and we go check on them from time to time. I use the term “we” loosely because Patrick goes  way more often than I do. But I like to think I do some good on these trips. Hey, I’ve got cows eating cake right out of my hands remember? Anywho, we see a lot of wildlife in this wide open space and I can’t help but share some of the beauty with you once again.

Twin Baby Antelope waiting for momma

Triplets!

The cows were happy to see us. They gobbled up the salt and mineral. They look really good and tubby out there.

Yum!

The bulls were not so happy to see us. They never are.

Staring contest with a bull can be scary.

But it didn’t stop them from attempting to get their groove on.

He's asking her if she wants to "see the inside of his truck".

Patrick spotted these guys as I got out of the truck to open a  gate.

Bucks Running Wild

And I almost stepped on these. Thank goodness Patrick saw them before I became Godzilla and destroyed their town and family.

Grounded Birds Nest

As we were leaving, we finally spotted our first state flower of the year.  You know it’s summer when you finally see Indian Paintbrush.

Indian Paintbrush, the state flower

more Indian Paintbrush

This guy needed to check us out before we went through his gate. We said hello and went our separate ways.

Curious Horse

It was a good day.

Trailing to New Pasture

Posted in Cattle Roundup, Ranching by leahyetter on July 2, 2010

This was my view ALL morning long.

And then this. I had to get away from the rear-ends for a while.

Then, and only for a moment, my view became this.

But then back  to the cows. We’re trailing them from the Bealy to the Harris for new pasture.

The haze in these 2 images is dust from sheet grass. When we were done, we were covered from head to toe in this dust.

This bull strayed away from the heard so John had to round him up and bring him back to the ladies.

It took a long time, it was hot and the ladies were not happy with that long trail. But I hope they appreciate where we took them. They gotta love this grass!

Freedom!

I love this pasture. The locals can’t believe we’re looking at grass so green in July. So hot, but so beautiful.

3am, Wednesday Morning

Posted in Nature, Ranching by leahyetter on June 30, 2010

Do you know where your cowboy will be?

While I’m sawing logs, mine will be baling hay.

He waits until the dew is just right on his already 80 acres of cut hay and then bales it into round bales. Being on top of the moisture measurement prevents mildewed hay. Round bales do best to keep mildew at it’s lowest but some ranchers make square bales. Those are best for stacking and transporting for selling.

I’ll take him some lunch mid-morning. I might find him sleeping in the tractor. I’ll keep you posted.

*Yawn*

Branding Day, the storm before the storm.

Posted in Branding, Calving, Cattle Roundup, Ranching, Stormy Skies, The Ranch by leahyetter on April 21, 2010

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.

Here, mommas are bawling for their baby.

Smoke fills the air while they get their 5C.

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.

Munchkin, aka # 6000

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.

Munchkin and momma.

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.

This is our front deck covered in hail.

The yard this morning was covered in hail.

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.

Deer Antler

April snow capped mountains across a green meadow on Rabbit Creek.

The calm after the storm.

I think this is just the beginning of a stormy spring.


Busy turkeys, Busy cows, means Busy Rancher

Posted in Calving, Nature, Ranching, The Ranch by leahyetter on April 3, 2010

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.