Saturday, February 28, 2015


Today my Uncle Curt and Aunt Cathy had a celebration honoring their 50th wedding anniversary. Because of the cattle I couldn't take time away to travel to Washington State for their celebration. 

Happy 50th Curt and Cathy!

Also this weekend my neighbor Jan is in Vancouver, Washington moving her daughter back to Kalispell. She would have liked me to help them move, and to drive the moving truck back to Kalispell.  But again, I can't because of the cattle.

I could have even combined the two events, if not for the cattle.

The cow with the bad leg is still limping.  Even more today.  Again, nothing looks swollen or wrong.  I am hoping the extra limping is because her leg got stiff since she is laying around more.  The only times I saw her move was after she got up.

Daisy was frustrated with me this morning.  She is not like that cat in the recent video where the cat plays dead to avoid going outside for a walk.  Daisy is the opposite.  She wants to go for a walk outside.  She wants me to come outside and do stuff.  

Yesterday we had a strong cold wind. Daisy spent much of the day inside.  Today the wind was just a light breeze and Daisy was ready to play.  I had stuff to do inside the house this morning and Daisy was very talkative trying to convince me to come outside with her. 

The short time I was outside Daisy rolled all over around my feet.  She picked up all sorts of dead grass and dirt and was quite filthy.  I tried to brush her off as she rolled around but that was dangerous as she then wanted to play with me and started to bat her paws at my hands as she rolled around.  The problem was that she started to get carried away and her claws came out.

Later, when I returned from grocery shopping I found a dead mouse in front of the door.  Daisy had taken her frustrations out on the poor mouse.

But Daisy was happier after I returned home as I then spent time outside splitting logs.  She checked out this and that near where I was working.

How many boards are there Daisy?

I had to sneak back to the house to get my camera as she would follow me everywhere.  Halfway through splitting logs I took a break and walked out to the pasture to check on the large hay bale the cattle have been feeding on.  Daisy wasn't to be seen.  However when I returned there she was sitting waiting for me.  She wasn't too thrilled I had 'left' her.

When I finished splitting logs for the day Daisy wasn't to be seen.  However two minutes after I went inside the house there she was scratching at the door to be let in.  I may not always see her but she keeps an eye on me.

Right now she is using part of the computer keyboard as a pillow and sometimes the F keys go off changing my screen.

While the logs are dry, having sat for a couple of years, I still want them to sit longer after being split to completely dry.  I'll use them for firewood next Winter.

I had to re-stack this pile a second time as when I had put the last log on the pile for the day the stack tipped over.  I was able to jump out of the way and not get hit.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Another bad leg

Last Saturday I let cow #40 back with the other cows now that her foot has healed.  Yesterday I discovered cow #20 was limping.  Something is wrong with her front left leg.     Cow #20 is the cow that had an abscess back in 2013.

I tried to divert her into the part of the corral with the calves when she limped into the corral to eat. But she was focused on getting to the feeder to eat with the other cows so I quit before she really screwed up her leg.

Today Dan stopped by to help me herd the cow.  The cattle were all locked in the corral and between the two of us we were able to quickly herd cow #20 into the part of the corral with the calves before the calves got out of that section of the corral.

We couldn't see anything wrong with her leg and foot.  The leg is not swollen and there doesn't appeared to be anything stuck between her hoof.  Mostly likely she stepped on a frozen cow pie or an uneven frozen piece of ground and injured her foot or leg.  I hope that is all it is as I don't want another large vet bill.

At least cow #20 will now have less walking to eat and drink and less jostling and hopefully will quickly heal.

This steer was unnerved by me squatting down to get these photos, and after checking me out, ran off.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Water heater on demand

I signed up for my local electric co-op's peak demand program for electric water heaters.  I get a $4 rebate each month if I allow the electric co-op to turn off power to my water heater during peak energy use times.

During peak demand times Flathead Electric must purchase additional power at a higher rate from their supplier. If Flathead Electric can spread their energy use out more evenly they can avoid going over their demand allocation and hitting Peak Time Events. When they can avoid going over demand allocation they avoid paying the higher cost for power which means lower rates for everyone.

This morning an electrician came out and installed the water heater load control unit.  He also upgraded the very old wire coming up from the floor to the water heater and also placed the new wire in the metal tubing partially seen in the photo.  He also added a switch so I don't need to flip the breaker to turn off power to the water heater.  All at no charge.

Saving money and saving energy - what a combination!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fixed corral gate

That corral gate that slipped off the other day...  I fixed it today.

I couldn't get the main bolt on the hinge to tighten enough to squeeze the hinge tighter and stay up on the gate. So I drilled a hole through the gate below the hinge and put in a bolt so the hinge won't slide down. That should fix it.

Buddy the bull stood in the corral and watched me for a while.  So I had to keep one eye on him.  He behaved.  But I don't trust any bulls.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Moved a cow, and more

Now that the snow melted in the corral I could see the cow that had a sore foot is walking well on bare ground.  So I decided to let her back with the cows.  Yesterday I had pulled out another large hay bale to the north pasture.  Early evening when I let the cattle out of the corral to get to the hay I noticed two things:
  1. The gate separating the corral into two sections was now off the lag bolts, but still standing upright.

  2. The cow was near the gate.
How the cattle got the gate off the bolts is a mystery. The upper bolt points down and the lower bolt points up so it should be impossible to remove the gate unless the upper clamp is lowered. I had to get a wrench and lower the upper clamp in order to re-install the gate on the bolts.

Since the cow was near the gate I opened it and then stood holding the gate to prevent the calves from walking through it.  Several calves were more interested in rubbing against me.  It was raining lightly and the calves were wet.  Soon I was wet.

The cow just stood there.  She would not move.  I could not leave the gate to encourage her to move.  Finally I gave up.

The next morning when I fed the calves and cow, the calves went right to the new hay and the cow remained laying close to the gate.  First I had to turn off the water filling the water trough. Just then a Jehovah Witness couple drove up and wanted to talk.  I was polite. But when they were trying to tell me the world is getting worse I corrected them.  No, there are less wars than there were historically.  Less people are dying in wars than historically.  They tried to play the 9/11 fear card with terrorism on the increase.  I corrected them.  What about the increase in disease?  I reminded them they were old enough to remember when polio and measles were problems, and now those diseases aren't.  Health-wise things are better for humanity.   I challenged them on other of their 'fear' topics. No, there aren't more natural disasters.  The news does a better job of reporting them so it appears there are more.  And historically more people died in natural disasters than today.  I didn't agree with them when they told me the real ruler running the world was Satan.  Are they Jehovah Witness or satanists?  I bit my tongue.  I told them things in the world are better than they have been in the past.  While there are problems and challenges in the world, things are good. They left me their pamphlet.  I didn't read it.  I'm not into fear.

By the time I got back to moving my cow she was now at the feeder eating hay with the calves.


Late morning I checked and she was alone while the calves were still eating.  I was able to leave the gate open then walk behind her encouraging her to move.  She went through the gate and out to the large bale to join the other cattle.  Beulah was laying down but she immediately got up and walked over to check out the 'new' cow.  Beulah is the boss... or at least she thinks she is.

I noticed the cattle had spilled hay out of the feeder.  *argh!*  I couldn't go and put the loose hay back in the feeder as you can see Buddy pulled his head out of the hay, turned and gave me a look when I moved closer.   Would you approach Buddy and adjust his hay?