Saturday, April 25, 2015

Oddments and endments

It's about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. I'm cold and shivery but warming up and drying off. The thunderstorm that arrived an hour ago was filled with cold, wet rain which I got to enjoy rather enough of.

All in all it feels like today was a day reasonably well lived.

I started early this morning, out checking cattle and calves with the first kiss of the sun. I don't always start so early but I had a birder scheduled for a ground nesting tour at 8 a.m.

No new babies overnight, which was fine, but I had some concerns about one calf who was born last Friday.

By the time I'd finished checking cattle it was time to go pick up the birder. I should have taken a lot of pictures but I always get caught up with showing and telling and forget to take the snaps. I did get a horned lark and her nest, but then I put the phone away.

My birder's name was Josh. Nice young fellow from Florida, raised on a dairy farm and now a wildlife biologist. Wife and six year-old son. On assignment in Wyoming, saw my tour info on one of the birding web sites. Two nose rings and a big jangly earring. A bit disconcerting but I'm getting used to that stuff. The new hotness I guess.

Josh was surprised at the up and down on the ranch. "It looks so flat from the freeway," he said. We hiked about 4.5 straight line miles with a cumulative elevation change of about 3,000 feet. Nice little workout.

The topic has come up here in comments (Juvat!) and I've promised a post, but this isn't it. Here are a couple of pics though, taken in the canyon area on the north side of I-80, the part we call the "North Googie."

But I digress.

After we finished the tour I returned to poor little calf 520. Way to wobbly and weak. Neglected. So I snatched him up and took him to his mama. She seemed happy to see him and let him nurse.
She was a little sore in her left front quarter (of the udder) though, and kept pushing him away when he hit the sore teat.
With three out of four good ones, you'd think cow and calf could figure it out, but sometimes it's a challenge. Little 520 was weak and wobbly enough that eventually he just plonked himself down. He'd got some milk down his neck though, so I left the pair alone in the hopes that he'd perk up and be persistent.

I got a bite of lunch, then decided to go get the mail. On the way I stopped to take a picture of the blooming grape hyacinth and a giant dog.

While I was petting the dog, what to my wondering ears should appear but the syncopated thumping of a Phrog's big brother. Could I be hearllucinating? Nope. The dog saw it first. Following a slow pass down KIBM's runway, an Ohio ANG $#!+hook landed on the hammerhead and dropped its ramp. The OD paint had faded to that snappy army lime green, which made me think it might be a "D" model.

Three crewman scampered down the ramp and scurried around "checkin' stuff." That was for show though, and you can't fool an ol' helo bubba. One by one they drifted off downwind and watered the flowers. Which gave me time enough to zip over on the Gator and record the visit for my kind readers.

Put a smile on my face it did!

In the meantime, ol' 621 had a baby, a pretty red heifer.

For the remainder of the afternoon I tinkered with fence and kept an eye of 520 and his mama. She drifted away, he stayed put. By late afternoon the predicted storm was moving in and I had to make a decision. In general it's best to avoid intervening and let the cow and calf work it out. But this little guy was just too weak and I didn't want him to get a cold soaking on top of everything else. So I picked him up and relocated him to the barn. Unfortunately I shaved the timing a bit close and ended up getting a good soaking. But I kept the calf dry!

I got a bottle into him and left him inside out of the rain and with a full belly. I'd have got some pictures but I was too soaked. Get some tomorrow.

And now I'm warm and dry with my own full belly, contentedly listening to the thunder and the drumming of the rain on the roof. A pretty good day.


  1. Heh. Bird watching.

    You've got some big birds out that way!

    1. You're right. I hadn't thought that all the way through. My birder missed the best one of the day!

  2. Most of my favorite things, minus my grandkids & horses. How is 520 doing? We had a bunch of bummer calves one year and the Cowman brought them home for me to raise. I killed one with too many electrolytes too fast. Might have lost him anyway, but it was A hard lesson.

  3. Thanks Brighid. He's having a rough go, a lot more malnourished than I thought. Kinda kicking myself because I mixed his mama up in my mind with another cow. Should have checked. This cow lost her calf last year when she was a first calver, should have watched the pair more closely. Had to tube some milk into him this evening. I think he'll come around. Still got some spark in him.