Friday, March 27, 2015

Hanging out...


It's a breezy day in the country today -- let's say stoutly breezy.  In fact, downright Windy!  I needed to wash work clothes and kitchen laundry, and since there's sunshine and a "breeze," I'm all about hanging out.  I've always been one of those lazy renegade clothesline people who leaves her pins on the line to weather and wear, but after this winter, I'm going back to the clothespin bag.  I found that the old pins were leaving greasy, black marks on my clothes.  Pooh!

I made myself a simple clothespin bag out of one of the legs of my old favorite jeans.  I found the good tutorial at Gwenny Penny and did everything she did except instead of the cute pocket, I added a well-worn and well-loved embroidery from an old dish towel that my daughter embroidered when she was a little girl.  I had been saving that dish towel and using it for years, and today it got a new purpose --  a decoration for my clothespin bag and a sweet reminder of those 5 li'l chicks of mine who were the best helpers ever!  They were known to help hang out the laundry or take it off the line when a dusty wind was coming or when rain clouds were looming.

This isn't much of a pretty little sack, but it's a worker and it's practical.  I added a little clip to the belt loops so I can slide it down the lines as I pin the laundry, or I can clip it securely closed and hang it on one end of the clothesline when we have a stout breeze like today so the pins won't spill out. 

Are you a line dryer or a tumble dryer?  Or both?  Tell me your tips and tricks.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Calvies galore! and more to come...









Most of the first-calf heifers have had their babies with a dozen more left to calve.  Then we begin calving the mature cows.  We brought them home so they are in nearby pastures so we can check them easily and keep tabs on them.

I am so thrilled that we've had some early, spring rain this week!  Yesterday morning we awoke to rain coming down.  I captured .3" of rain in my cute, garden rain gauge.  The utilitarian rain gauge is cracked.  This morning we had more wetness to report and tallied up another .25" of rain.  Every little bit adds up here on the prairie.  What I love about this good land we live on is that it takes very little moisture to produce the native grasses that grow here.  Our annual average rainfall is about 11-12" per year.  Not much, is it?  But it is enough.  I'm hopeful that the rain keeps falling and the sun keeps shining.  Actually, it's perfect when it rains at night and the sun shines in the day!  I'm all for that!  Have a happy day!
........................................................

The friendly cow, all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple-tart.


~Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Vernal Equinox!

 This is what it is looking like here on the first day of spring.  Not very green or cheery, but warm.  No daffodils, no tulips, no rainbows.  Mostly it's just brown with a hefty wind blowing the dirt around, but hey, it's still spring, and I'm excited that those greengrass days are on the way.  I'm seeing little shoots of green poking up through the dry grass, and the sharp points of tulips and daffodils are  just now poking through.  Hooray for Spring!

 Sue is enjoying her rides in the caker pick-up these days.  It's much warmer than it has been and that makes riding in the back much better.  After we feed the livestock and we're on the road into the house, Sue and Charlie jump out and take a mile long run home.  I think it's one of their favorite parts of the day.

The lambs are all docked now and they're growing like weeds! They feel so good with this warmer weather, and I love to watch them jump and frolic around just like you would see in the storybooks.


Hubs had some FSA stuff to do at the county seat yesterday so I decided to ride along with him.  We decided to call upon the aging aunts who lived there while we were in town.  Aunt Virgie who lives in senior living and Aunt  Betty who is in the nursing home were both so excited to have visitors, and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up with them too.  Now that I am a smartphone user, I was delighted to be able to share some photos of our grandchildren with them.  I had some photos of sheep on my phone too and Aunt Betty was particularly fascinated with those.  Several years ago we bought 50 head of ewes from her when she was going out of the ranching business.  So the sheep that you see in my photos are descendents of Aunt Betty's flock.

The visit reminded me how very important it is to call on old folks.  They really do love hearing from us or having a visitor pop in now and then, but don't assume, like we did, that these old folks don't have anything to do!  We were tickled when Aunt Betty reminded us that they were playing Bingo at 2 and it was her favorite game.  We had just arrived at ten minutes till.  We got the stink-eye from several old ladies who were presently seated at the table and ready to play.   We were holding up the game. It was a short visit, but sweet.  I was reminded how much my own parents always enjoy hearing from me, either by phone or in person.  I hope that when I'm an old lady, my children and nieces and nephews will come visiting me too.

Wishing you a Happy Vernal Equinox.  Equal daylight and equal night.  What did your first day of spring look like?  

Friday, March 13, 2015

New arrivals daily!

American Robin (wikimedia commons)

Redwinged Blackbird (wikimedia commons)


Western Meadowlark (wikimedia commons)

Fluffy (our tomcat)

So many feathered arrivals and more on the way, and yet one furry arrival who did not come from so far away.  Fluffy, our tomcat, has come back to the barnyard.  We saw flashes of him up at the lambing barn, but he would not come to our calls. He hid and played shy.  He has come back around us again and I'm wondering why?  He often goes out for the summer.  I'm thinking I have figured it out -- maybe.  First off, it's spring and there might be a pretty little she-cat he's interested in.  And the other reason that I hope he is home for is mice.  I don't know how it is where you live, but where I live we have a large mouse and rabbit population.  One might call it an explosion!  The barns, the granaries, the chicken coops and around the homes -- mice everywhere.  I have always been one who is quick to throw some mouse poison out, but now with the little grandchildren around, it is just not safe to do it.  So I am hopeful that Fluffy is home to catch mice.  We have  three other feral cats around -- Shadow (a black cat that is here and there like shadows on the ground), Boots (who was raised in the chicken coop years ago), and Mr. Darcy (a friend's cat who always ran astray decided  the country life might be best).  All make a living on their own.  

Yesterday I had my daughter get on the Facebook Buy/Sell and ask if there was anyone with cats or kittens to give away.  I need some good mousers!  She has found me one so far, and his owner said he's a good mouser.  I think cats are my safest mode of mouse and rabbit control.  We'll find out.  I'm going to try to find a few more.

On another note, we've had beautiful, warm weather.  It's been fantastic for docking lambs and calving heifers.  It's a pleasure to be out and about when your work is outdoors.  We are noticing, however, that our lack of winter snow has left its mark.  The dirt blows and blows.  There is no moisture in the soil.  I'm hopeful that we'll get some spring rains soon.  Until then, I'm getting my daily dose of sunshine and my attitude is cheerier than it has been.  The robin call:  cheery-up cheeri-o makes me smile too!


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Feed my sheep....

 ....and while you're at it, feed my cows too!
 

I loved seeing this morning's setting of the moon while the cows walked up to the feed ground.
The sheep were waiting at the gate for the tractor and for the 
pick-up truck to bring them some breakfast. We didn't disappoint them.


 We are all done lambing except for one ewe who has yet to have her lambs.  
We turned her out with the others.

 It has turned pleasantly warm these past couple days. 
The ewes and lambs are enjoying the sunshine and warmth.
Me too.

Can you pick out Baba Blacksheep?  
She's outstanding in her field.

After chores, all of us went up to the Old Shed and docked the early lambs.  My goodness, but we had some big lambs there.  They were hard to hold. There were 66 ewes and they had a total of 102 lambs.  That's a lambing percentage of 154%.  Not bad.  We'll see how the rest of the bunches dock out.

Thanks for stopping by.
I hope you're having a pleasant day.
We are!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Calvies...



 The first baby calves were born today!

They were born to heifers (first time moms).  We are just about finished lambing with only eleven more ewes left to have their babies, and now we are starting in on calving the heifers.  They require a little more attention and care since they are having their first babies.  Birthing is the name of the game around  here!

This photo looks a little distorted since I took it through a crack in the wall of the barn. This pair was experiencing their first time nursing, and so I didn't want to interrupt them or distract them in any way.  Both calvies and mamas are doing well. 

It's been a cold, cold week here so we've been busy keeping the ewes and lambs fed and watered and sheltered until we get through it. There has been a lot of mucking pens and carrying water buckets and hay.  I feel like now that we are nearing the end, I am finally in shape!  Perhaps I should hire out?  It sounds like the weather is going to shape up and warm up for us later this week.  It'll be a good reward!  I look forward to seeing little lambies and calvies skipping and playing in the sunshine.  Are you ready for some warm sunshine too?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New grandbaby girl!

Lyla Mae is waving hello to all of us.
Today is her birthday.
She was born early this morning at 2:26.
She is 7 lb. 10 oz. and is 19" long.
Mom and Dad are well and happy.
Lyla will join her sisters Bee and Rootie Tootie.
We're all so excited and blessed.




Monday, February 23, 2015

Lamb hospital....


Jody's Lamb Hospital was open for business today with three invalids in for starvation, dehydration, and hypothermia, and all three were dumped on the doorstep by negligent mothers.  One lambie was a twin and her brother was loved and she was not.  She needed good, sheep colostrum which I happened to have in the freezer.  That perked her up in a jiffy.  Then she needed to learn to stand and  walk before she could go back to the barn to the bum pen.  Another of the lambs was chilled down and starving.  Some warm milk, a heat pad, and a good rub-down fixed him up.  The other was in fairly good shape so he was fed some milk and went back to his mama.  Needless to say, those bad mothers all have a big, red, paint mark on their heads and backs and will leave the ranch in the summer.  Two of these lambies will join one other bum lamb who has been in the bum pen at the barn for several days.  Their names are:  Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.  Of course, you know these as rabbit names from Beatrix Potter, but lambs look cute like bunnies and so they should get cute names too, don't you think? 


The ewes are lambing right along with 15 of them in the barn who lambed in the last 24 hours.  It is supposed to be very nice tomorrow so all of the new moms and babies will get to go outside to pasture for some sunshine and frisking about.

On a sad note, Sam the Speckled Sussex, who was our rooster, died.  I'm not sure why, but he was acting very strange this past week or so, not wanting to go into the coop at night and wandering about aimlessly away from the hens which was very unusual.  I'll have to add on a cockeral chick to the baby chicks order at the feed store.  So it goes.

I hope you are staying warm wherever you are.  I have had an all-day roaring fire for two days straight;  it has been so cold here, but no snow so I can still wear my cowgirl boots to the barn.  Today was better -- up to 38* -- but it was cloudy and the WIND was crazy-wild and made our so-called warm day very chilly. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A cool find...



In our trade-town we have a monthly market downtown called Saturdays On State.  (State is the name of the main downtown street).  It's a vintage style market with lots of repurposed furniture, antiques, old west things, Pyrex and even some handmade knitted and crocheted things.  It's a lot of fun and we ranchgirls try to take that one day a month and treat ourselves to a day out shopping and eating lunch out.  This time I scored a really cool 1950s vintage floor lamp.  I spotted it immediately amongst all the other very wonderful stuff, and I just knew I would be taking it home.  The lampshade alone is worth around $60 to $75 on Ebay, but I got the entire lamp for $58.  I felt it was very fair.  It's heavy duty and the fiberglass shade imprinted with feathers looks so fitting in my ranch home.  At least I think so.  

  

The bug-a-boo in the lamp was the fact that it had this ginormous light bulb in it that I was sure could not be found nowadays.  I asked the seller about it and she said she thought I could replace the entire guts of the lamp.  I knew that could be an option, but I thought I'd try to hunt down the bulbs.  Nope.  Nothing.  When I got home I figured I'd order a kit for the lamp, but then FirstBornSon had a better idea.  He said I should try to find an adapter for it to screw into the socket base where the bulb was screwed in.  I found that my lamp had a "mogul sized base" and I needed a "medium sized base" so I checked on Amazon and sure enough, they had an adapter from mogul to medium for about $5.  Easy fix!  I was thrilled.  I share this with you so that if you ever come across a really wonderful, old lamp that has a huge light socket, buy it, and get yourself a $5 adapter.  Easy to fix!
 

 Here's my own little quiet corner where I read and drink my coffee each morning, and sit and reflect each evening.  I set the lamp right next to me to provide a little extra light when I need it.  The log is my side table.  Usually my favorite coffee mug sits there.

It has turned cold here again.  We're just 2* tonight.  Pretty cold for little lambies to be born.  Thankfully we have a good barn that is bedded with a heavy layer of straw that insulates against some of the cold.  But tomorrow is a new day, and it sounds like it will warm up and the sun will shine.  We will take as many ewes and lambs out as we can tomorrow.  It's all going pretty well.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy Birthday...

It was Honey Hubby's 53rd birthday today.  Some of our kids and grandkids came for a pancake supper with bacon and side pork.  It's a family tradition to request your favorite meal for birthday supper.  It was sure good.  The big Ta-da was the Pineapple Upside-down Cake.  I didn't have the proper pineapple rings called for in the recipe, but I did have pineapple tidbits and marchino cherries.  It worked just fine.

The lambing has been in a slump these past three days, but I know it won't last for long.  We're expecting a change in the weather, and that usually means the babies come in a wave when that happens.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's a coincidence, or maybe it is the weather.  Today we had a good number of babies born, and we have one bum lamb.  She was a twin.  The mama ewe loved one, but not the other, so I'm her mama now.  She's a good lamb and took to the bottle right away.  There's a chance we might find her a new mama yet.  We'll see.

OnlyDaughter is waiting on her baby which is due March 5th.  She's feeling very heavy-with-child just now.  We're waiting for the phone call that tells us it's time to pick up the children when Mama goes into labor.  There's a family contest, guessing what sex the baby will be and on what day he/she will be born.  I guessed February 28th, boy.  Hubby thought it would be ok if the baby was born on his birthday, but we're running out of time for that at 10:00 pm just now.  It would have to come fast!

Hoping all is well with you.  Thank you for stopping by.

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