1 November 2019 – 31 and snowing, and sunny

I can hear some of you out there saying, “Well what did you expect when you moved to South Dakota?”  This is the answer to me talking (not crabbing or whining…yet) about the snow this early in the season.  I still am enjoying it, although snow this early makes everything a little more difficult.  It makes us wonder if we have enough wood in the shed, if we have enough hay for the cows, and if the bees have enough honey to make it until possibly mid-May.  It’s not like we have much choice in the matter so we will just plow forward and feed the cows when they need it and burn the wood when it’s cold.  The bees are another entity, and if it looks like spring will be delayed, I may start feeding them some sugar in late February.

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Heifers wanting some breakfast

In between snow we have had a few decent days. Dave did some amazing work on the head gate. This is going to be really useful when we have the vet out to give shots or if we need to do any minor medical treatment to any of our girls.

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BEFORE
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AFTER…..Nice job, Dave!

We took our remaining older cows to market.  It was hard seeing Marzee, Boohaa, and Domino go, but it had to be done.  Dave took this picture of them after off-loading at the market and he said to one of the Cowhand girls working there, “It’s normal for people to take pictures of their cows, right?”  She laughed at him and said sarcastically,  “Oh, yeah, perfectly normal.”

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Ugh.  Bye girls.  You are very good cows.

We moved our original cows and Hunny into the northern pasture to keep them away from their weaning babies in the Maternity Ward.  We call this older group of cows “The Mayflowers”  since they were all born in May of 2017.

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Cherry Bomb and Triple Sticks at the lick on the north

There was quite a bit of nice green grass still in this pasture when we put them out and the girls have settled in nicely.  We have been feeding them when there is snow on the ground, and we had some really cold October temperatures this week (negative 4 one morning) so we had to bust ice several times a day.

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Big chunks of ice, too big for October! Looks more like February.
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Rancher Dave getting the spud to bust the ice

This pasture is across the road from a neighbor’s pasture, who is leasing her land to another local rancher and his cows were super curious when we put the Mayflowers in across from them.  He has one cow that is very “rangey” or wild, in our opinion.  We call her Horny-Toad because she has big horns and she jumps fences. She also spooks very easily whenever we’re around and runs away from us bucking and kicking.  Sometimes she charges a little, but if we just stand our ground she runs away again.  She looks like the Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull and she always jumps the fence whenever we are moving our cows.

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Anyone remember this old commercial?

This time was no exception.  When we put the Mayflowers in the northern pasture it took about three seconds for Horny Toad to jump out of her pasture and jump the fence into ours.  She immediately began picking a fight with our cows.  Our cows are really docile and kept running away from her. They looked at us as if to say, “Who is this lunatic in our house?”  They need to buck-up and push back at her, but they won’t.  I am actually quite happy they are the pacifists they are because Horny Toad could really hurt one of them with her horns.

Dave and I tried to push her back out several times, but she just keeps jumping the fence and coming back.  After it snowed, we called the rancher and asked him to get her out because we are already feeding early and we don’t need to feed his cow, too.  He obliged and came by the next day, and moved her back to her pasture where he put out additional hay and she stayed for two more days.  Then, this morning, she was back out on our North pasture, although separated by cross fence from our girls for now.  The rancher said he would come get her and take her away this weekend so we all (Dave, Me, Hunny, Trips, Dozen, Cherry Bomb, and Valentine) are  hoping she goes back to her place!

The four heifers in the corral are fattening up and still not mooing for their mamas.  We call this group of heifers the Brambleberries because they were all born in April and that’s what blooms in April.

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Rancher Dave feeding the Brambleberries

One snowy morning, The Sheriff and I went to check on the Brambleberries and when I walked around the barn I didn’t quite recognize what I saw in the corral.  I originally thought I saw some giant peacocks, but quickly realized that it was a rafter of turkeys.  (I had to look that up but that’s what you call a group of turkeys!) There were so many turkeys, it looked like the audition line for a Chantix commercial.

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Chantix Turkey

I could not believe the size of these birds, some seemed four feet tall.  As I was trying to wrap my brain around what sort of giant critters  were in the corral, the Sheriff immediately realized that these were not our heifers and he shot into action.  He dived under a corral panel and created his very own turkey tornado.  There must have been 30 or so birds and their giant, pterodactyl size wings blocked out the sun as they took flight behind the barn.  In the distance, I saw four black heifer behinds running up and over the hill to the other end of the pasture, frightened by the uproar. Still, not a single Moo.  Never a dull moment here on the Holler.

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Hey Turkeys…..look at my teeth!

Since then, the Sheriff has shown a  little more restraint around the turkeys.  It seems the turkeys always show up after we feed the cows and do the clean up of whatever hay is left.  Now, when we see them, the Sheriff goes into an immediate pointing position, ears up and tail held high in question mark position.  I say, “Joe, see the turkeys?”  I can feel the adrenaline emanating off of the poor dog.  Then I say “Get ‘em!”  And he is gone.  Instead of creating a tornado now, he goes into missile lock on whichever poor turkey catches his eye.  He chases the particular bird around and around, even after it takes flight. (Joey doesn’t actually take flight, but he goes into surface to air missile tracking.)  I think the Sheriff is dreaming of Thanksgiving.

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Sheriff Joe on alert for turkeys.

So that’s about it from the Holler.  We hope everyone out there in the real world has a great November.

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A coyote (right of the top of the tree) running in the snow