Search

Hoten Holler!

Month

January 2019

A Blustery Day

26 January 19 – Sunny and Snowing??? High in the 30’s and crazy wind

The Holler is once again covered in white as we have had several dustings of snow in the past few days.  The temperatures really haven’t been too bad, but the wind is really howling which makes the snow drift and also makes it seem much colder than it is.

img_7948
A beautiful morning for the morning feed!

One consequence of all this wind is the effect it has on the “lanes” that Rancher Dave cleared in the snow.  He clears the lanes as a place for us to feed the cattle so the hay doesn’t get wet and there isn’t a lot of waste.  The wind has caused the snow to drift over the lanes and consequently, there has been a lot of wasted hay.  We decided to remedy this problem by picking up an extra feeder from Cowboy Dave.

img_7950
Rancher Dave uses Babe to haul the feeder back to the Holler.

We have too many cows right now to feed in one feeder.  They just end up fighting and the less aggressive cows don’t get any food.  Rancher Dave used Babe and brought this other feeder over from the High Lonesome so we could have “slots” for everyone.

img_7953
Cows at the old and new feeders

This seemed to help with feeding, that is until the cows decided to wait by the feeders at feeding time.  It is nearly impossible to get in there with the Mule while they crowd around and greedily try to get all the hay while we try to put it into the feeder.  Our cows are usually nice and gentle, but when they are hungry they get really pushy. They remind us of all the crazy  people at the buffet line on a cruise ship; they want their biscuits and they want them NOW! They have no fear of me or Dave, but they really don’t like Sheriff Joe  growling and barking at them. We have been working on the “sit/stay” command to keep him in the mule because while his intentions are to help, he really just creates more chaos.  Rancher Dave and I agree that steady, calm demeanors and a lack of chaos s the best way to deal with 20 hungry cows!

img_7951 (2)
Cows at the new feeder

 

We also put out a new mineral lick to keep them all healthy. It seems like the cows like to prank one another after evening feeding.  The big joke is to trick one of the cows while she is immersed in the lick.  While she is intensely licking away, they all slowly and quietly sneak off to the north and into the woods to shelter for the night.  Inevitably, the lone cow looks up from the lick and appears to freak out.  “Where did everybody go?” The lone cow starts running around and mooing until she gets a whiff of the herd, or she gets eyes on everyone hiding in the woods.  Then she will slow to a walk and start lowly mooing as if to say, “Ha ha, very funny guys.  You got me!”  It is quite funny to watch and strangely enough they seem to prank a different cow every day. You may be wondering how good can cows really be at hiding in the woods, so I ask you, have you ever seen a cow in the trees?  I rest my case.

Meanwhile, we are burning through a ton of wood to keep the house warm.

img_7945
A significant amount of wood remaining for hopefully not a significant amount of winter remaining.

We are still pretty full up in the wood shed despite reloading the wood box about every three days.  Also, we keep the house in around 75 degrees!  We decided after living in the camper for nearly a year that we don’t have to be cold. After working outside and coming in from the cold, the warmth of the wood stove feels so good that it makes you just want to pass out!

img_7944
A well deserved nap after a cold day of chores.

 

Looking forward to February, we will probably need to buy some more hay because we are feeding four more cows than we had anticipated.  We are also planning on starting on building a hay loft in the barn.  We also have to get ready for calving season, although April is the first expected due-date, you never know if someone will show up early!  And, as my Mom and Dad would say, there is only one more full moon until Spring!

img_7936
The barn in the frosty trees.

 

Two Weeks In…..

15 January 2019 – Cloudy and 32

I cannot believe we already are two weeks into the New Year.  Anyone else still writing 2018 as the date?  Dave and I have been keeping busy with typical ranching duties. While the weather has been warm, it has been windy.  We even busted out the old ski-goggles to keep the hay out of our eyes when we were feeding!

img_7887
Rancher Dave wearing ski goggles to feed….it was really windy!

Dave got the round baler unroller up and running.  The roller runs off of the tractors 3-point connection and rear hydraulic system and uses the two spears to pick up a big round bale.  Then, when the tractor is driven across the field, the bale is rolled out on the ground making it easier to feed the cows.

img_7922
Bale Unroller picking up a big round bale.  This is pre-paint coat.

After fixing it, he painted it blue to match Babe.  Immediately after painting it he came in the house and looked out the window and saw Maverick, the barn cat, crawling all over it.  So now it has a nice new paint job with some kitty prints, and Maverick has blue paws. Blue paws are the hottest new trend this year, we’re told, all the cats are doing it.

We have been enjoying an unusually warm January, with temperatures reaching mid to upper 40’s in the day and only mid 20’s in the evening.  The water in the barn doesn’t even freeze, which has been great!  Of course, all good things must come to an end and we are looking at single digits and more snow this weekend.  We cannot complain; it is January in the Dakotas after all!

We added two more cows to the combined herd.

img_7908
Cowboy Dave checking out his new cow.

One of our neighbors is getting rid of her stock and they both seemed like a good fit.  Smudge, who is related to Domino, is Rancher Dave and my new (old) cow.  Nina (pronounced NINE-UH) is Cowboy Dave and Linda’s new lady.  Now we have four of the neighbor’s old cows and I think we should call them the Golden Girls.  The addition went better than last time and there were no big bar brawls or picking on the new girls.  Who knows what sets these cows off?

img_7921
Smudge looks just like domino except her eye makeup is smudged whereas Domino’s is a perfect circle.

Anyway, Cowboy Dave took Mac, his off-cycle calf that was born in July to market today.  He was finally weaned and ready to go. After we loaded Mac into the trailer, Hugo, the young bull that was keeping him company was left all alone at the High Lonesome corral.  I guess he didn’t like being left alone because he went completely bonkers. Our plan was to use cake to lead him over to join up with the rest of the herd, but he decided to start snorting and kicking and throwing his head around, even charging at us.  He is probably 700lbs now and the sight of a 700lb bull running angrily toward you in the snow is a little disconcerting. Anyway, he was too riled up to figure out where the rest of the cows were so we had to reattack.

Rancher Dave went all the way back to the Holler and grabbed some cake to lead the rest of the herd to poor, lonely Hugo.  The whole herd came running after him in the mule because they view it as the “cake wagon.”  We thought Hugo would be happy to be reunited with everyone, but he immediately got into a big fight with one of the larger cows.  After a few tense minutes everyone finally settled down and quit brawling.  Cows have more drama than any soap opera!

All the animals around here seem to be on edge today.  Later in the afternoon, the FedEx guy showed up with a package and who knows why, but our big bull, Koozy, decided he hated the FedEx van.  He was in a pasture adjacent to the driveway gate and he was pitching a fit, snorting and screaming at the poor Fed-Ex man.  Watching this from the house, we wondered if the delivery guy was even going to get out of the van.  I’m not sure I would have, but he did and when he delivered his package Dave said to him, “I think he likes you!”  I said we were going to get him a red cape to wear in case he wanted to hone his bull fighting skills.  I don’t think he was too amused.

Meanwhile, the coyotes have been howling and yipping all day and night.  This drives the dogs crazy which in turn drives us a little crazy.  I wonder if the animals are sensing the impending snow storm or if maybe they’re just grumpy because the Dallas Cowboys didn’t win their play-off game.  It makes sense to me that ranch animals would cheer for the Cowboys.  Hmmmm….clearly the animals aren’t the only ones losing their minds around here!

That’s all that is new on the Holler.  We hope everyone is doing well out there in the real world.

img_7913
Joey and I snap a selfie in the truck.  

 

The Great Calf Escape of 2018

1 January 2019 – Sunny and 4 degrees (-19 Windchill)

Happy New Year!  It is going to be hard to beat 2018.  We were sad to see it go as it was such a busy and productive year for us, but we are looking forward to more progress and adventures in 2019.

We ended the year with a lot of snow.  The forecast was for 1-3 inches on the 30th, but it snowed that whole day and most of New Year’s Eve. We probably have between 8 and 9 inches of snow on the ground.  It is beautiful, but the clear skies last night made the morning bone-chilling cold.  Or as we like to say, “quite refreshing!”

IMG_7867
Rancher Dave breaking ice in the stock tank

The cows all took shelter over in the loafing shed and the barn at the High Lonesome.  Our barn is full of hay and we don’t have it set up with a corral for the cows yet, so it is nice that they can find a warm place to hide out when the weather gets extreme. While it was snowing, we decided to feed them in the bunks in the corral.

IMG_7846
Cowboy Dave checking out the herd eating in the bunks

We prefer to feed the cows in the field because when they are all cooped up and squished together someone always gets ticked off and a bar fight breaks out.  There is a lot of head butting and snorting and pushing in a small space.  Add the snowy/icy conditions to that and there is potential for someone to get hurt.  When we feed them in the field, they seem to leave each other alone and enjoy their meals.

Once it stopped snowing, Rancher Dave used the snow plow to create a lane in the field where we could put out hay, and this morning they were back to eating in the manner they (and we) prefer. Most of the cows came running through the field, but three of them decided they didn’t want to make the trip, even for dinner.  So they “ordered in” and we fed the remaining three in the bunks.  Apparently, they preferred to stay in on New Year’s Eve.  Too many drunken revelers for them I suppose. They have us trained pretty well.

IMG_7868
Plowed area in the field with hay set out for our spoiled cows.  Holler and the barn in the back.

We did have some excitement on New Year’s Eve.  As I mentioned, we have a young bull and a calf penned up over at the High Lonesome because we are weaning the calf from his Mom.  The young bull is there for company.  Before the afternoon feeding, Linda was cooking in her kitchen and noticed two calves running through her yard!  She and Cowboy Dave ran outside and closed the gate before they could escape to the road and back to the herd.  They tried to walk them back to the pens, but the calfies were not having it. Cue the Benny Hill music.

IMG_7861
Shuffling around in the snow trying to catch up with escapees

At around the same time, Rancher Dave and I were headed up the driveway for the afternoon chores and feeding.  Obviously our priorities changed at that point and the four of us went about the business of catching the escaped hoodlums and pushing them back into the pen.  This was really fun in the blowing snow and ice, but we worked together and got them back where they belonged.

IMG_7860
The two culprits apprehended once again

It turns out, someone had left a gate open after morning chores. Since Rancher Dave and I do the morning chores, it was pretty obvious that  one of us was responsible for leaving the escape route wide open.  It didn’t really matter, we all needed some exercise and the calves enjoyed their little rebellion.  I suppose there are more exciting New Year’s Eve stories, but we kind of prefer a tamer night on the ranch to a wild party in the city.

IMG_7838
Red Barn, White Snow, Blue Tractor.  

We hope everyone out there has a fantastic New Year.  Stay warm! It beats the other options.

IMG_7872
The herd enjoying the cleared field for breakfast.  Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

J.C. Brae

Country Music Artist

Homestead Diaries

Finding joy in red dirt, rusted hinges, and wide open spaces

On the loose

Living life in pursuit of ten feet tall, still!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

Jolyn Young

Writing (and laughing) through life

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time

Life on a Colorado Farm

Life on a Colorado Farm (All Rights Reserved)

Cowboy Wife

Tidbits from life on the range

My Last Best Place

The pleasures & perils of horsemanship, marriage, and owning a small farm

%d bloggers like this: