Friday, May 22, 2015

Cows in heat, the next day

What a difference a day makes!   Thursday morning the bellowing cow stopped bellowing and is happy and content.  I also let Beulah out of the loading corral and she went to work on eating hay from the hay feeder.  No more signs of her being in heat.

I think cow #60 was in heat Thursday as she often stood next to the fence near the bull.  Once in the afternoon she had a look on her face that made me think she was asking me for a little alone time with the bull.  But, while she can bellow her instance on getting more hay (she positions her throat just so to make a loud piercing honk), she was quiet today.

Buddy is getting blue balls.  Most of the day he stood along the fence moaning to the cows.  Poor guy.

Daisy spent all night outside last night.  Never came when I called for her at 2m when it was time for bed.  I checked at 6:30 am, 7 am, 7:30 am, 8 am and 10 am when I finally got up.  She came at 10:30 am and chewed my butt for not being around when she wanted to come in the house.  Then the food in her dish didn't completely cover the bottom.  So I heard about that until I filled her dish up.

The females on the ranch have been giving me griefly lately.

An added bonus...  several items in my homeless collection line of pants.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cows in heat

This afternoon the red cow was bellowing ...and bellowing  ...and bellowing.  So I had to go out and see what was up.  She was eating hay and between mouthfuls was bellowing over at her calf laying in the loafing shed.  I checked on the calf and she was ok.  She got up and walked over to drink some water.  Her mother followed her bellowing at her.

I waited and watched.  The calf ignored her mother.  She lazily walked around the corral.  When her mother wasn't stuffing her face she was bellowing at her calf.  What's wrong?

Donna stopped by.  She agreed both mother and the calf appeared to be fine. Her opinion: the mother was coming into heat. Why she was taking her frustration on on her kid and not paying attention to the bull is a mystery.

Beulah, on the other hand, was humping other cows when she could.  Otherwise she would stand near the fence or gate to tease the bull.  The bull could get his head through the gate if he turned it sideways, which he did.  Beulah stood far enough away that the bull could barely reach her to take a sniff.  I was afraid he would break the gate.  I walked over and found the gate was bowed. 

I got a short section of field fence and wired it to the gate to prevent the bull from getting his head through the gate and bending it further.

Beulah wasn't interested in going into the loading corral.  When Donna stopped by we 'got lucky' (as Donna says) and quickly got Beulah and her calf into the loading corral for the night.  Let her cool off in there.

Meanwhile the red cow keeps bellowing.  I have a headache now.  I hope she is over this by morning.

Don't ya just love females in heat? 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Harrowing done

Finally.  FINALLY!  Finally it is done!!!  Finally I finished harrowing the hayfield and all the pastures.

I started way back on March 24th.  Naively I thought... "I hope to get most everything harrowed this week."  ( It took me almost two months!

Since I got an earlier than normal start I decided to do some extra stuff.  First off I decided to really harrow the hayfield.  That meant after I drug the harrow once around the hayfield I then went over the entire hayfield again this time driving in tight circles to ensure I went over the ground multiple times.

I only went over each pasture a single time.  But once I was ready for the pastures I decided to clean up the pastures a little bit to have less stuff to drive around.  That meant combining some piles of branches into fewer piles.  I also decided to de-limb a few fallen trees and to cut the ends of some fallen trees to make their footprint shorter.  I also trimmed some lower branches from live trees.

As I moved from the south to the middle pasture, then to the north pasture my efforts increased.  While I had partially de-limbed a few fallen trees in the south pasture, I de-limbed all the fallen trees in the middle and north pastures. I hadn't planned on de-limbing the last tree to fall in the middle pasture last year, but when trimming a few branches I realized now was the time to de-limb the tree.  The tree was partially dried, but not completely dried.  If I waited until later the branches would harden as they completely dried.

For lower branches I also trimmed more and more trees as I moved from pasture to pasture. From a few trees in the south pasture, to half or more of the trees in the middle pasture, to almost all the trees in the north pasture. Part of this was because the cattle had eaten needles off some lower branches in middle and north pasture trees.

For weeks now I thought I would be done in a day.  Some days I got no pasture work done due to other events.  Sometimes I only got a few hours of pasture work.  On days where I got a full day of work done I still didn't finish.  I kept thinking only a few more trees to trim, but then I would find more trees and branches.

I used a step ladder to reach some branches at the tree trunk for branches that hung way down.  For some trees I started to climb the tree as I found dead branches.  For a few trees I was way high up in the tree following dead branches.  I was so high I could look down on a roof of a two-story house.

Finally I trimmed my last tree Tuesday afternoon, and two hours later had the harrowing completed.

Here are 13 photos of some of my pasture work:


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Turkeys, geese and eggs

Odds and ends of Spring photos...

In April a flock of wild turkeys wandered through the yard, out to the hayfield and then to the pasture and towards the river.

Also in April a goose had eggs on a small island in the river. Several other times I had seen a lone goose wandering around the middle and south pastures.

When kicking some clumps of old hay that the cattle didn't eat out in the pasture I found this very large egg under a clump of hay.  Donna has turkeys and she said this egg is larger than a turkey egg.

Later, when digging up and cleaning the manure and hay mix in the corral I uncovered another egg.  While a large egg, it was much smaller than the previous egg I had found under the clump of hay.  I was surprised the second egg was in one piece under the hay and manure muck in the corral.  I left the second egg sit in the back yard and a few days later it was gone.  Most likely a magpie took it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Relaxing cows

While I brought in a hay bale for Buddy and the steers, the cows and calves relaxed in the loading corral.




A 33 second video of the cows relaxing.  On the right side notice the cow rubbing her neck on the grass.  Then number 7 starts rubbing against the calf table.  Mama is in the foreground.