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Hoten Holler!

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October 2019

October Snow……Again

20 October 2019 – 34 and snowing

We have some wacky mountain weather going on here.  This morning, the sun was shining and Dave and I worked outside wearing jeans and sweatshirts.  I went running this afternoon and ended up in short sleeves.  About one hour after I returned, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees and now it is snowing and blowing.

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It looks like the white thumb of death just north of us!

Fortunately, it is supposed to go back into the 40s tomorrow with lots of sunshine, and 50s for a few days after that.  Since my last post, the weather has been really nice and we have been outside enjoying every last drop of it. We finally finished building our corral. Dave and I agree that this was one of the most complicated projects we have completed since we moved here.  First, we had to decide where to put the corral.  We debated about terrain, wind direction, proximity to the house, access for a trailer and all sorts of details.  We settled on the east side of the barn.

Second, we weren’t sure about the best way to set up the panels and the head gate. We consulted with friends, family, books and the internet to come up with a system that would allow us to separate cows and calves, and result in an alley to run them through the squeeze chute or into a calf table.  Also, we wanted to build in an accessible way to load cattle into a trailer.  We debated and debated, drew our ideas on paper, moved panels and moved them again. This is the corral.

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Rough sketch
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Reality

Third, we completed the “barn yard” by clearing out some of the large rocks and boulders and putting down gravel.  Now the corral is accessible with alleyways on the north and south side of the barn.  We can also drive the tractor through the barn to get back there and clean out manure.  Once more, Dave and I are happy for the snow to have a break from moving rocks!  Anyway, we are super excited about completing this project and will keep you posted about the functionality of the corral.

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South side alley
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East side sans rocks and with new gravel

After we separated out Shiner, the steer, and sent him to the market with the neighbor, we moved the four heifers we intend to keep into the new corral.

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Andie, Cupid, Fatz and Lucky

These four girls, all born in April, are as quiet as little church mice.  We haven’t heard Moo-One from any of them. They are really warming up to us, though.  Of course there is always one piggy in the group and this group’s piggy is Fatz.  She is already eating cake out of our hands and I joke that she is Dave’s new girlfriend.  She follows him around constantly nosing him to see what he’s up to…..or if he has any cake in his pocket.

Our plan is to keep these girls in the corral tonight so they are secure during this little snow storm.  Tomorrow we will release them into a pasture that we fenced off this summer, which we are calling the Maternity Ward.  We wanted a pasture close to our house.  We also wanted it to be about two acres so next spring we can move the pregnant cows in, leaving them just enough room to graze while limiting their wandering space so we can check on them when we expect calving.  The extra fenced off pasture will prove to be helpful in the fall, too.  We are keeping these four young heifers here while they are being weaned from their moms.  The big ladies are being kept in a pasture at least two fences away to prevent them from breaking through the fence and finding their kids.  This will need to go on for at least a few more weeks until the moms lose their milk and the babies stay off teat.

In addition to taking care of our facilities, we helped our neighbor separate his calves for market.  He has a much bigger operation than us and we ended up working nearly 300 calves.

It is always fun to participate in this neighbor’s operations because we learn a lot and we end up very grateful that we only have a handful of cows.  We do appreciate the cowboy lifestyle and enjoy watching them round up their herd on horseback.  Maybe one day we can participate in that part too.

Everyone here is doing well.  The Sheriff recovered from the pulled out toenail and has returned to his mischievous self.  He cannot stay out of the dirt.

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Sheriff Joe in the gravel pile

This dog loves, loves, loves getting as dirty as he possibly can.  I try to brush him or towel him off before he comes in, but he has very long fur and when he stands in the sunlight wagging his tail, he looks like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.  I think I could rent him out for Halloween parties as a fog machine.  Except instead of fog, it would be a dust machine and his wagging tail would just create and blow dust all around the venue.

Okay, that’s about it this week from the Holler.  We’re in for the evening by the stove watching the snow blow around and looking forward to tomorrow and a few more days of sunny warm weather.  We hope everyone is having a great October!

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October sunrise

 

October Snow

12 October 2019 – sunny and 26 with snow on the ground

We had the typical 10th of October snow storm.

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View from the deck on Thursday morning

It was quite a drastic change in temperatures as the high on Tuesday was in the 70s and then it snowed and dropped to 14 degrees Wednesday night.  The Sheriff seemed to be the only one that was really happy about the snow.

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Sheriff Joe Loves the Snow!

It isn’t all that bad, though.  We were able to get some bales of hay out for the cows and as we had been expecting the weather to change, we wrapped the beehive in tar paper.  Because of the rapid change in temps, we decided to bring Maverick, the cat, in from the barn for the night.  I brought him into the mudroom a few nights last winter that were bitterly cold and he meowed the whole time.  This time, however, he was super quiet and slept the whole night.  He did seem ready to get back to the barn the next day.

Speaking of animals, Maverick has been taunting the Sheriff quite a bit.

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Want to come down and play?

It all came to a big head when Sheriff Joe decided to go after the dang cat and while sprinting across some rocks, Joe tore out his toenail.  He didn’t stop, however, until Maverick was stuck up a tree. I think Maverick was singing that Bob Marley tune while he hid out in the tree,  “I Shot the Sheriff!”.   Hoten Holler drama.  Anyway, Joe has been pouting ever since because his toe hurts and maybe his ego too?

Dave and I enjoyed the warm weather earlier in the week with a visit from my Mom and Dad.  We put them to work and split some wood with the new splitter.

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Ranch Transportation
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The whole family splitting wood

We got to have some fun, too. Dave went to help a neighbor with his cattle round up, and Mom, Dad, and I got a front row seat from the truck.  It is really neat to see the real cowboy stuff that happens in this country.

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Neighbors round-up on horses and using ATVs and Trucks

We were also happy the elk returned for a visit both nights they were here.  They had left for about a week and we thought they were gone for the season, but they decided to come back so Mom and Dad could watch and hear them.

It was so great to see my folks, but they left (fled) just ahead of the snow storm.  Today is supposed to get into the upper 40s but the wind is howling and it is pretty miserable working conditions outside.  We are supposed to climb back into the 50s next week which will be nice, and hopefully the right conditions for taking calves to market.

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Shiner is #4 with the white face.  All the calves are getting big!

 

We have decided to keep the four heifers, Andie, Cupid, Fatz and Lucky.  The steer, Shiner, will be going with a neighbor’s calves.  We loved this little guy, if you remember he was the really listless one that we didn’t think was going to make it. It turns out he is just lazy, and has turned out to be really big and healthy.  Still, we aren’t in the business of keeping pet steers, so off he goes.

The following week we will be sending some of the older girls to the auction.  Also, Boohaa, one of our original cows  is going. She has been exposed to a bull for a full year and hasn’t gotten pregnant. She is a real sweet girl, but again, that’s not part of the business plan. This isn’t the fun part of raising cows, but it has to be done and we tell ourselves that they all had a good life here on the Holler where they were spoiled with beautiful green fields, shelter from the snow, and lots and lots of cake and head scratches.  Also, if we were made of hay I’m sure they would have no problem eating us or sending us to auction.

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Marzee and Shiner in the background

Well, that’s it for this week.  Stay warm out there and we’ll try to do the same!

 

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