7 March 2018 – Sunny and 35°
Once again, another month has slipped by. My brother told me, “February is the longest, shortest month.” And I must agree. It seemed pretty long, especially when the temperature would not creep out of the teens, yet it went by so danged fast!
We had one day that reached nearly 50 degrees, and we have water front property as a result! Before we built our house, our neighbors, Cowboy and Linda, had told us that often in the Spring we would have a huge run-off of snow melt and that there would turn into a river running through our property. We didn’t see that last year, but watching it develop this year was pretty cool. The water flow began early in the evening as just little pools developed here and there. Then the pools joined up, and pretty soon there was a flowing stream. By morning, you could hear rushing water from our porch. We talked about going rafting down the thing, but you would have to duck at the pasture’s edge or you may lose your head to the barbed wire.
We had some cow drama in February. We helped our neighbor, Ned, round up his large herd to bring them closer to his barn for calving. When we went out to the field to round them up, there was one large, pregnant cow laying in the middle of the ice. Her back feet were sticking straight out behind her and when she saw us approach she attempted to stand but was unable. She kept crawling on her front legs but her back legs kept slipping on ice and eventually she became too tired to even try to move.
Ned went and got his tractor, and someone else brought a trailer and after about an hour of trying to get straps under the big girl, we finally got her hoisted into the trailer bed.
We drove her back to Ned’s barn and set her in some warm hay. She still wouldn’t stand but she did have an appetite and kept eating her bedding. Ned was not hopeful about her recovery. He spoke with the vet and had figured she had either pulled her back leg muscles or broke her back from falling. This was really discouraging because she was about 8 months pregnant and really a sweet and gentle cow. He determined to give her some pain killers and see how she made it through the night.
The next day, she was still laying in the barn. Ned and his crew hooked her back up to the straps to try to give her a chance to stand and hoisted her into a standing position. She was wobbly at first, but after a little time passed, she was able to support herself! Eventually, she was walking around and eating. We decided to call her Grace because it really is quite a miracle that she survived that whole ordeal…..and also we are being a little sarcastic about her “graceful” ability to walk on ice.
We also had some cow drama over at the High Lonesome when our cow, Marzee, decided she might want to have her calf on the warm weather day. She was laying around in the shed, which was the only dry spot in sight. Her breathing was labored, no pun intended, and when we looked at her milk bag it really looked full. We call this “bagging up” and it usually happens just prior to birth as the cow’s milk comes in to feed the impending baby.
We followed Marzee around for two days, trying to round her up and get her in the pen each night because the ground was soaked from the melting snow. Despite the warm daytime temps the night temperatures were still in the single digits, so in the evening, Dave and I would put on our 21 pieces of chore clothing and go try to find her and push her back into the corral. Fortunately, she is a really gentle and sweet girl and will basically go whichever way you want.
On the 3rd day, Marzee looked back to normal. Her bag was normal size (relatively) and she wasn’t heaving anymore. Do cows have false labor? I’m guessing they might, but also realizing that I really don’t know very much about cows or calving. We are getting quite the education out here on the range.
Dave’s latest project has been building shelves in the garage so he can have a work area and we can get more organized.
We picked up a load of cottonwood and had a load of pine delivered so we can be sure to be warm for whatever is left for winter.
Dave and I spent a day splitting and stacking…..phew! That wood really keeps you warm.
That is about all that is new from the Holler. We are looking forward to spring and Dave even saw a blue bird today! Pretty soon the meadowlarks will be out there singing and the bees will be buzzing, and Pilot Dave and I will be busy catching up with all the things that have been put on hold by the snow that has been here since mid-December. Today, the sun is shining and we are going to spend the day outside.