10 July 2018 – HOT and sunny, highs in the mid 90’s
Last week, Linda and I were looking at the new bull, Koozy, and the other ladies he had been paddocked with for company. We put him in with the two “open” cows and an 1.5 year old heifer. This was because the cows with calves need to stay away for awhile, and the yearling heifers need to also hold off on breeding as they continue to grow for a couple weeks. Plus, we don’t want a bunch of heifers calving in March as the weather can be pretty snowy and cold. Anyway, Linda said, “Look at Muzzle’s bag!” Muzzle is one of the cows that we thought was open. Muzzle’s bag was blown up and her teats were pointing straight out. She was full of milk and that could only mean one thing. Muzzle was about to calve!
This is a strange event for Stagecoach Springs. The bull was not in with Muzzle or any of our cows nine months ago (cows gestation is 283 days, nine months). This would have been the end of last September, and the range cows, and bulls that border our properties were also gone. Somehow, Muzzle got pregnant at the end of September….hmmm….I think she snuck out and went to the bar one night! Either that or the new bull works really fast!
On the 7th of July, Muzzle gave birth to a little bull calf. He is beautiful with a white face, like Muzzle, and a red coat, unlike Muzzle. Whoever the baby-daddy is, he sure made a cute little calf.
I said it was “immaculate cow-ception”. Christmas in July. Rancher Dave said we should name him “Mack” for im-”mack”-ulate conception. Clearly we have been getting too much sun lately. Linda and Cowboy liked the name and were quite pleased that they have another member to add to their herd. A July calf is not ideal, but he should be big enough and weaned and ready to go to auction by November. Meanwhile, he gets to live his young life in paradise. And Muzzle will be starring in the next episode of “I didn’t know I was pregnant.”
Yesterday, Monday, at 6AM, Rancher Dave, Sheriff Joe and I headed up to the north pasture in the truck with a trailer full of empty pallets. We began driving through the pasture dropping off pallets in locations to stack the bales of hay we had baled the evening before. Cowboy Dave showed up shortly after in his tractor and as he drove the tractor around, Rancher Dave and I stacked bales on the pallets so we can easily move them into the barn when it is complete.
154 bales later, we were done with the north pasture. We stacked the pallets close together and put tarps over them in case it rains before we can put them up.
At 8 AM, we headed over to the high lonesome, hooked up the cattle trailer and moved the bull and Dairy Queen out of the paddock and up to the middle pasture, which we are calling Pebble Beach because after haying it looks like a golf course.
We decided to move the cows and the bull from the paddock up to the field, first because the haying is complete, and second, because they have been inundated by flies in the paddock. With a new baby, the flies can cause quite a problem as the big cows are constantly stomping and kicking and could injure him. Also, flies can cause problems to his exposed umbilical cord and his eyes. Up on Pebble beach they can graze, they have tons of shade, and they can catch a nice breeze to keep the flies away. Next, we went back to the paddock and loaded up Rose, leaving Muzzle and Mack behind because we didn’t want little Mack to get squished in the trailer.
Then, we separated momma and baby and the two Daves went to work on the calf. Rancher Dave tackled him, I held his head and Cowboy Dave tagged his ear and banded his you know whats. Mack is no longer a bull, but a steer.
We then moved Muzzle and Mack up to Pebble Beach. We will round up the rest of our herd and move them all up there next week sometime. We then had to move a water tank up for them and fill it with water. Logistics are maddening!
Typical Monday morning…..then we had lunch.
That afternoon, the two Daves decided that it wasn’t quite hot enough to guarantee someone had a heat stroke, so they would go ahead and mow the southern pasture. They finished up around 4PM.
It looks like some good hay and we will let it dry today and rake and bale tomorrow, hopefully, if it doesn’t rain.
In between typical Monday ranching shenanigans, we had two loads of gravel delivered for the inside of the barn. We are hoping the barn will be done today so in between typical Wednesday and Thursday ranch shenanigans we can start spreading it on the barn floor and then start moving hay in there. Then we can continue with the typical weekend ranch shenanigans.
On the docket for next week will be more haying. We are actually going to get two cuts out of Cowboys field at the High Lonesome. This is incredible for South Dakota but it looks like the nitrogen fertilizer and the many days of rain in June really paid off this year. Then we will cut and bale our neighbor Sheri’s yard and pasture. When we finally get done with haying this year, it will be time to shovel snow!
We will also be rounding up our cows from a neighboring pasture and putting them in with the bull. That will mean we won’t have babies (except possibly Rose and Diary Queen who are with him now) until the 28th of April. That is unless we have any more July surprises. I am planning on trying to extract honey for the first time in the next couple of weeks. The bees have been really busy!
The garden is in full bloom as well. This is the part where I am kinda holding my breath hoping there isn’t a giant hail storm or an infestation of bugs or who knows what. I really am hoping to get a lot of tomatoes, onions, and peppers for salsa. I want to can pickles again this year and I am really looking forward to a lot of potatoes. Every day I give bags of lettuce away, and Rancher Dave is getting really tired of eating a salad with every meal. The lettuce won’t last much longer with the heat and then we’ll have to find something else to eat.
The days are flying by, as they typically do when there are lots of things to get done. Hopefully everyone out there in reals-ville is having a great summer. As I write this, Rancher Dave just came in and said it is hot enough that the mowed hay from yesterday is dry and ready to rake and bale, so I guess it’s time to throw on the old hay clothes and get out there and get something done.