In the Tetons, we saw some amazing species of water fowl at Schwabachers Landing. Schwabachers Landing is a boat landing located a few miles south of Snake River Overlook, along the east shore of the Snake River.
We also saw a lot of little baby ground squirrels. They were everywhere and weren’t all that shy.
I wish I knew the official names of the water fowl that we saw but I don’t recall. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable but I didn’t retain the names of them. Dad may have written notes on them so I’ll check with him. If you know, feel free to name them in the comments!
Our first calf arrived on Friday and he was born to a first time mother. When Patrick saw the heifer in labor that morning, he got her into the barn for privacy and so that we could assist her if she needed it. She labored for about 3 hours until we saw hooves. We gave her 30 more minutes to have it on her own and sure enough, after a long and loud moo/grunt/squeal, he entered our world. I went in a checked on her and she was laying upright and very tired. The calf was alive and just laid there quietly. It was obvious that she didn’t know what happened or even saw that she had a calf. I gave her some water and left her alone to rest. About 10 minutes went by and she stood up. When she turned around and saw this little slimy bundle, she started humming loudly and was licking him like crazy. She was immediately in love and so energetic and exited. This excitement and mothering doesn’t always happen, especially with heifers. But this lady loves her baby and is taking such good care of him. We are happy and relieved that this was a calm and happy birth. We have a few more heifers to calve out and several cows to calve. We’re just getting started and I pray this will be a smooth calving season. And so it begins…
This Mother’s Day weekend was a rainy and snowy one. But last weekend the weather was perfect for a cattle roundup and branding. Below are images of that day.
After saddling the colt , he saddled his horse for the round up.
The boss got some help from his daughter with buckling up his chaps.
Making final adjustments to the cinch.
Discussing the route for gathering cows and calves.
Before branding the calves, we worked/doctored the cows in the barn.
Getting the horse ready for roping calves.
We start them young out here in the wild west.
Hot irons sit and wait. The flames are powered by a propane tank.
It was a nice day with friends, old and new. After the calves were all branded, they let them out of the corrals to mother up. By early evening, they all found one another and are doing great.
If you’d like to see more from this day, go to my website HERE.
Thanks for looking… 🙂
Do not go where the path may lead,
go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
We weaned the calves off of momma yesterday. We kept a few to replenish our herd and the rest went to market. It was a beautiful morning. All in all, it was a very good day.
Since we have such a small herd, we had two cowboys bring them in on horses while Patrick and I stayed on the ground to get gates.
They came right to Patrick because he has the yummy cake. We’ve been chumming them in the last few days and they like us. A lot!
Weaning is hard on the calves (and me!). The five heifers we brought home are bawling for momma. They’ll be better in a few days and I make regular trips down to see them, talk to them and try to help them feel calm. I wish I knew how to play the trumpet. I would play it for them. But for now, they just have to deal with my singing. 🙂
Thunderstorms hung high above us this weekend. The cornfields are really enjoying the rain.
We took the cows to the hills for summer grazing.
I think they’ll enjoy it. The grass is up to their bellies.
While leaving, we found ourselves in a horse race.
As we slowed down to let the horses “win”, Patrick spotted a baby antelope in the tall grass.
He crouched, trying to hide from me.
But no such luck. I had my eye on him.
We drove on and when I looked back, I saw momma coming to care for her young.
Aside from the mosquitoes, this is a wonderful time of year in Wyoming. 🙂
A good friend of ours from back east came out to Colorado on a business trip and drove up to wonderful Wyoming to stay with us for a couple days. Phil went on a tough journey with throat cancer last year and we are excited to see him doing so well. Our celebration and delight called for an old west photo shoot. We love you Phil!
Branding season is upon us and that means cowboys as far as the eye can see!
Our neighbors have been a huge help while we adjust to our new location. They came to my rescue one morning when I found a newborn calf clinging to life. They heard the stress in my voice over the phone and came right over. But that’s a story for another time.
Anyway, last weekend before I had to travel to Laramie for a shoot, I had the opportunity to photograph the gather and some of the branding. Here are some shots from that morning.
They have a larger herd than us and helped us a few days before to brand our little grasshoppers. Neighbors helping neighbors. That’s what it’s all about. Am I right? 🙂
Have a great May Day folks! Hang baskets of fresh flowers on the doorknobs of your neighbors’ houses. Dance into May. It’s finally warming up!
Momma loves baby.
These guys are keeping me busy! And I love it. 🙂
On this Tilda Tuesday, we have a very snowy Tuesday. Roads are closed and Patrick says they are a mess. So here I am as usual, home all day to watch over the girls and their babies. I just hope they don’t drop any new calves in this mess. Normally the mommas hide their babies and I have to look for them just to make sure all is well. But this morning they are all bunched together with babies in tow.
Such a cold walk across the meadow.
I don’t think this little one is thrilled with his first snow storm.
It should warm right up tomorrow and we’ll forget all about today. I hope.
What a relief! The snow started melting Monday afternoon and soaked right into the ground. We are grateful for the moisture and grateful that the weather warmed up for our first calf to be born. This little girl arrived yesterday afternoon. You know how you can’t watch a pot of water to boil? Well, after being home and checking on the ladies 4 or 5 times a day for the last couple of weeks, she decides to give birth while I make a quick run to town for a haircut. I came home and there she was, cow #2 came to a boil and popped out a healthy calf. While I was checking on these two, one of the heifers was ringing her tail. She had a belly ache and I knew it wouldn’t be long for her. She was simmering. Two hours later she had a successful birth, which is not always common for a first time mother cow. With the arrival of these two calves, I am able to breathe a sigh of relief. We have a week or two until the rest of our small herd starts calving. ♥
Saturday was sooo snowy. The sun was behind the clouds and so was my mood. Ranching is tough and sometimes lonely work, especially in blinding snow and freezing temperatures; any rancher/caretaker reading this knows what I’m talking about. It is a full day of constantly checking on the well being of the cows and horses, pitching frozen hay over the fence to the heifers, and breaking ice so they all can get a drink. Where loose hay is frozen to your cheeks and tripping over frozen cow turds is the norm. Having to climb over the corral fence with a twenty pound bucket of cow cake because we forgot to make a temporary gate for us to enter and exit safely. In constant worry that a calf will be born and not make it through the freezing night because we haven’t finished building our calving barn yet. All while Patrick has to be in a snow plow for over 10 hours on the interstate making the roads safe for drivers who feel the need to be driving on the roads during a dangerous blizzard. (Yep, those folks are out there… and you may be one of them. 😉 )
And then, Sunday morning, the sun was there outside my door. Although 6 inches of snow still lay there glistening on the ground, the sky was blue and birds were singing. Patrick was home by 8am and we were able to spend the day feeding, watering and tripping over frozen cow turds together. We even ventured across the river and hiked around our bluffs to enjoy the peaceful scenery that surrounds us.
I didn’t shoot much this weekend because the ranch work had to be done and I had to stay focused. As I’ve said before, I only pretend to be a cowgirl, I’m really just a photographer. But this weekend, I was a cowgirl first.
I’m happy to report that we are still here with all our fingers and toes and happy to see the snow dripping off the roof today.
Ahhhh, is it spring yet?
The heavy snow has melted and we have puddles all over the meadow. This morning I started my daily rounds of checking the ladies. They are in their last trimester and calves will start landing next month. We have two heifers (first time mothers) and I have to keep an even closer eye on them. The cattle are good about coming to me because they think I’m there to feed them. It gives me a good chance to count them, walk through them and just basically look them over. I can tell when they are close to calving just by looking at them as they walk away.
Once Patrick finishes the fence surrounding our house, we will bring them closer to the house so that I can check them easily. Plus, they tend to cross the river to have their calf and that becomes dangerous for the calf when she decides to cross the river back into the meadow to graze. Therefore, I like to keep them close.
This is our first year calving at our place and my first year of doing it mostly alone. Since Patrick has a day job, it’s up to me to monitor the process. I thankfully have a call list if I have problems and Patrick can’t get here. Time to break out the shoulder-high gloves and chains. (just kidding)
The pressure is on so wish me luck!
On Monday, I finally made it out of our place to meet an 11 day old precious baby girl and provide her first photo shoot. I drove 140 miles round trip on slick but mostly dry interstate. Easy. And the shoot went very well.
It was this half mile jaunt home that was most difficult. My little Honda Civic wasn’t too happy about the snow-packed road. But she got me to our entrance and I took the ATV the rest of the way home. Of course, I’m sure it didn’t help that I stopped the car to shoot this image. I probably should have kept the momentum going but I’m glad I took the risk. The sun was setting on such a gorgeous day, it had to be recorded.
P.S. Here is the same shot (a little further down the road) at sunset last fall.
A Golden Eagle took off from the trees and into the falling snow while we fed the cows this weekend.
This is what happens when we ring the dinner bell (me hollering “come and get it girls, woohooo!”).
You betta get out of her way!!
“Why do I live somewhere where the air hurts my face.”
A friend posted a meme on Facebook yesterday with that saying and it couldn’t be more appropriate. Our temperatures have maintained a steady below zero temp for days now. It is sooo cold. I’m not complaining because I know there are places in the world much colder but after we came in from feeding the cows, the hair that was exposed from underneath my hat was frozen. Solid. Like I could have just broken it in half. And my face hurt.
Don’t let this bull and his harem intimidate you. I’ve got something they want and they are waiting patiently for the rest of the group to join us before we spread out the cake.
We rolled out a bail and Patrick pitched out even more. There is only one pitch fork down there so I told him I’d take pictures while he pitched hay. It’s only fair. 😉
Most of the river is frozen. As always it’s tempting to skate across it but…I’m smarter than that.
I’m not sure when this extreme winter spell will break but I’ve got photo shoots and a printer workshop lined up this month. I’m very much hoping for some nicer weather in the coming weeks. Frozen fingers are crossed!
It’s not hard to round up the cattle these days. We give them cake at least every other day and they love it. Their heads go down quicker than you can call “come cows” and when they pop their heads up after snorting and grunting with pleasure, they have a snow mustache. This cake keeps their digestion up to par which keeps their metabolism up which helps them be warm-ish. We had temperatures in the negatives last week and it has been too cold to go out unless absolutely necessary. It is supposed to warm up this week into the 30’s and 40’s, and believe me when I say that I am ready for 30 degrees. It will feel like the tropics after what we’ve been through.
Have a great start to your work week. Stay warm and I’ll be in touch!
We went a few days without rain last week so the muddy roads up to the mountain dried up and we were able to retrieve the cows, bulls and horses this past weekend.
They don’t seem to miss their babies much. They were running and bucking and excited to see us. Well, excited because we had treats to lure them in.
Little did they know they were going to be tested at the vet for pregnancy and it would make for a long day.
The road on the way to the cows overlooks a couple of ranches and the moon was still up that morning just above the hills. We started pretty early.
After positive test results, we delivered the girls to our meadows to graze below the bluffs for the winter. So glad to have them home.
I did not photograph the gather of the horses. If anyone knows about horses who have had all summer off to do what they want when they want in the mountains without anyone else telling them what to do, then you know what a challenge it can be to gather them. I’m not sure my blood pressure has ever been so high. Bless Patrick for his patience and determined nature. Gray, Alice and Si gave us a run for our money but after an hour or so, we finally loaded them into the horse trailer. But not without some difficulty.
This is Gray. He’s a good ranch horse otherwise, but he challenged us this weekend. Oh, and Crazy Alice? Well, she does not get to grace the blog again just yet. She’s the Mare among two Geldings and you know who is boss. The next step is to catch her and remind her who is the real boss. That should be interesting.