Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Grafted Calf

Here are a few of our cows. Mostly mama and baby cows. Just hanging out in this cold weather we are having.


But look a little closer. Do you see something out of place? Something that looks like it doesn't belong?

How about now. Yep, see him? See that dairy calf?

Well....I know what you are thinking, but no. A dairy cow did not sneak into our field of black angus cows during mating season last year.

This dairy calf is a grafted calf.

I had no idea what a grafted calf was either, until a few weeks ago.

My husband came home and said, "Well, we had to graft a calf today." I looked at him cluelessly (which I do often) and asked him to please explain.

He told me that one of the baby calves died when it was born. Seems like it fell in a ditch or something. So that meant they had a mama cow without a baby cow, and that was not a good thing (I still need to ask him why that is not a good thing. Maybe cows can't handle engorgement?) Anyway...

So since they needed a calf for this mama, they went down to the dairy and bought a calf for $50. (Which I also don't understand all the way because then doesn't it leave another mama cow without a baby? Oh..wait...that mama cow is probably hooked up to a milking machine, so it doesn't matter, right?! Maybe I'm slowly figuring this out.)

Okay, so they bought the dairy calf and brought him back to our farm. Then they proceeded to skin the dead calf. Oh how fun. They took the hide of the dead calf and tied it onto the new dairy calf. This way, our mama cow would think it was HER calf because this new calf smelled like hers. My husband told me that they left the dead calf's skin on the dairy cow for a while, so that the dairy cow would be accepted and start nursing from our cow, thus adapting the correct smell.

And wahlah! It worked! Here is our little dairy cow in the midst of our black angus cows and is accepted as one of them, because he smells right. Dumb cows.

Although I was pretty excited about this cause I thought out loud, "Hey, and when this dairy cows grows up we can milk it!" To which my brother-in-law reminded me that it was a HE and not a SHE. Of course. The DAIRY would not want to sell their SHE cows for cheap.

So there you go. And yes, my husband still tells me he loves this new job. Even as we wade through manure, as he sticks his arm in their bums, as he shovels poop, and as he skins calves.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Small Town

I just want to clarify one thing. Our town is not that small. We do have a gas station...
Fully equipped with one pump, softdrinks, and powerade.

AND we also have our very own traffic light....
That blinks a bright, yellow, light at all times.

And I came back. I decided to last night, after my trip over the weekend to be a doula. It's probably a good thing I left my husband here, or else it may have taken a while to get back here. But I admit, the kids and I wanted to see him. Plus, JJ can't wait to ride the tractor again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

You Wanna Go, Where Everybody Knows Your Name!

So we have a "Home Phone" now that we live here. For the past few years, we've only been using our cell phones, so it's been a little bit of an adjustment to having 6 phones ring all at the same time when someone calls our home phone number (three upstairs and one downstaris...okay, so that's 4. It sounds like 6.) I think I've got to turn down the ringers a little bit, to reduce the startle when someone calls us.

But the big thing that I've got to get used to is not having Caller ID. I love Caller ID. You know what I mean? You see exactly who is calling!

Now the phone rings and it's a big mystery!! And I thought that mystery would be over soon after the first, "Hello, this is....." Come to find out, it's not. You see, in a small town, everybody knows each other, so it seems that they expect you to know who they are when they call too! I don't think I've had anyone introduce themselves on the phone as in, "Oh hi, this is Jane Doe calling.." I find thisquite amusing. And I think I've done pretty playing along and acting like I know exactly who is calling. And usually withing a few minutes into the conversation I either figure it out, or pass it onto my cowboy.

The other thing I need to get used to is waving to everyone on the road. It's like, once you get on the main roads in town and all the back roads, you assume you know everyone (which you probably do.) So everyone lifts their hand off the steering wheel as they pass, to wave hello. Unless you are my brother-in-law, then he swerves at you. But I've got to remember to wave at everyone or pretty soon I'm going to be the snobby one. I am making a conscious effort and am doing much better though.



Top That...

So I called my Cowboy last night to tell him that the doula-ing went great, and that the twins had been born. A couple hours later, he texted back, "Just had three calves in the past hour."
Fine. He wins.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Out of Blogging Commission

I have been out of blogging commission, because I have been helping this mommy, have theses babies. Amazing!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My First Time to the Post Office

Our Post Office

It was about 9 o'clock at night when my cowboy asked me if I would go to the post office to get the mail. Yes, we do not have our very own mailbox. Nothing comes to our least I don't think so. I'll have to check about UPS or Fed EX. But so far, all the packages we have gotten, have been left at the post office. So it is true. Everyday we have to drive into our little town to get our mail.

So I asked my cowboy where the key was to our PO box. He told me it was hanging on the steering wheel in the truck, right next to the truck keys. Of course! How could I forget that we put ALL our keys inside of our unlocked vehicles. Silly me.

Then I listened patiently to my cowboy explain where exactly our box was in relation to all the other boxes in the post office. (There must be thousands of them, right?) So I understood why he feared I might lose my way amongst all the boxes....

I figured I would be fine because last time I checked, I could count up to 300. (Total population.)

I drove to the post office and walked in with confidence. I found our box, no problem. I stuck my key in, and of course it did not turn. I looked closer at the numbers and realized I had a dyslexic moment, so I paid more attention and found our correct box. (Out of the thousands, may I remind you.)

I grabbed our mail, got back in the car, and out to the highway. Do you know that it is REALLY dark at night in the country? I mean, you don't get to experience that in the city. Out here I understand what they mean when they say"pitch black." It's very black, and very dark. I forgot to leave the lights on for myself so when I got home, I had to feel my way to back door. That was a scary situation. I just kept thinking about all the coyotes and how they come around to eat the placentas. I hoped that a placenta wasn't nearby, but I couldn't tell for sure. It was too dark.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our Doorbell


This is our doorbell.

It is so neat, huh? There's actually one chime missing. It was so long that JJ could reach it and bang it around. So I took it off. Don't worry. The doorbell still sounds the same. I was afraid it would miss a note, but it doesn't....I'm not quite sure how it does that....but it still sounds the same.

So about the doorbell. A few days after we moved in, someone rung it for the first time. It completely caught me off guard. It took me a second to realize someone was at the door. It was so exciting!

It was our cousin's wife. She is so beautiful and nice, and she was dropping off some medicine for the cows. Our cousin is a vet.

SO she explained to me why she brought a bucket of medicine instead of just a packet. Then she explained that he (my husband) might not need the ice packs but they were giving them to him anyway, and the medicine that was fragile. Got it.

Then she handed me homemade cookies, and warm loaf of bread. My eyes welled up with tears. It was so nice of her!

A few minutes later, there was a second ring of our doorbell. Girl Scout cookie delivery!! Thanks mom-in-law! I love this doorbell!

Monday, March 22, 2010


So we were getting ready for bed a couple of weeks ago when this conversation took place. I didn't post it until now, because, well, I didn't have a house key...
Door Knob
Him: I better get a new doorknob for the front door. It's got a lock on it like a bathroom door. All you have to do is poke it with a nail and it pops unlocked.
Me: Oh great, are you serious? I feel so safe now.
Him: It IS safe out in the country.
Me: It must be...cause everyone leaves everything open with their keys right inside! Like nothing's ever going to happen. I don't know if i can get used to that. Wait...did you just hear that noise?! Like a door opened!
Him: No one's gonna break in cause they know we are all armed out in the country.
Me: Oh yeah? We have a gun? Besides the rifle in your truck?
Him: Yep.
Me: Where
Him: There's a pistol under the bed.
Me: Oh wow
Him: I just don't know if it has any shells.
Me: hmmm. Hun, did you at least close the back doors? (They are usually wide open.)
Him: Yes
Me: Do they even lock at all?
Him: I don't know. Probably not.
Me: I need them to lock so I can sleep at night.
Him: Are you serious?
Me: Yes. Will you please get new doorknobs and locks?
Him: I guess.
Me: Thanks, goodnight.

So, the next time we went to "town," my cowboy picked up all new knobs and locks. He came home and installed them, and wahlah! We are now proud new owners of HOUSEKEYS! Can you believe that? Me neither. This will be something the in-laws will have to get used to. Or I guess they can re-install the bathroom doorknobs on the outside doors, when they get home, if they'd like.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just So You Know...

I have just been educated on a few things, that I would like to share with you.

There IS a difference between HAY and STRAW. They are not the same....
HAY is from alfalfa plants. STRAW is leftover stems from wheat, barley, oats, whatever else.

Just so you know.

AND...we all drive "PICK-UP's" here. Not trucks. Unless it's a big-rig, then you can call it a truck. But everything else is a "PICK-UP" not a truck. Those are the big diesels.

Moving on. When you have to spit, you don't "Huck a logie (low-gee)," you "Hock a lougie (loo-gee)."

And one more thing. When it's winter, and you want to take your car to a big parking lot to drive recklessly and spin in circles, you spin "cookies," not "donuts."

So in case you ever want to come and visit me, now you know the lingo. Because it's very important to know what to say when you have to spit.

Friday, March 19, 2010

More Births!

While I'm on-call for a mother expecting twins any day now, my cowboy is doing plenty of his doula work up here. There were 6 more calves born today! He said that one happened tonight when he went to do "chores." He saw her, and went over to watch. When she saw him she completely stopped pushing. I can just imagine her looking at him and saying, "Um excuse me. Can I have some privacy here?" So he left her alone and came back a few minutes later to find that her calf was born.

I asked him if cows eat their placentas. He thinks that a few have, but most of them don't. So I asked, "Then what do you do with them? Where do they go." He said, "Oh I don't ever go and get them, gross. I just leave them. That way they either dry up or the coyote's come and eat them."

Uh, c...c...c..coyotes?

This is cause for another discussion....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Poor Mama Cows..

It was a sad day today. We lost two Mama Cows...

The first cow, bless her, was the one that kept having the uterine prolapse. You see, before now I didn't understand that a prolapse can happen even before birth, while a cow is pregnant. I thought it was only after birth. But my cowboy explained that it doesn't prolapse all the way, just a little bit. So she had prolapsed a couple of times, and then she tried to deliver her calf last night.

My cowboy, his brother, and his uncle were all there trying to help her, because the calf was stuck. Seems like his head was cocked and he was posterior (facing up instead of down.) They pulled and pulled on the calf for hours. In fact....

My cowboy came home last night and went right to the shower. He told me that he'd had his arm up inside of the cow trying to adjust the calf to get it to come out. Clear up to his shoulder! Oh gross. I said, "I hope you had one of those big gloves on... You did, right?" Uh, nope. He didn't. He said that they didn't have gloves. Barf.

"C'mon honey, it's just blood," he replied.

I told him to shower with bleach. He said he didn't need to. I was already thinking how grateful I was for our new king-sized bed, and how far away he would be from me that night.

Pretty soon, I noticed the smell of bleach. I walked into the kitchen and he said that his arm still stunk even after his shower, so he just used some bleach. He also added, "It's probably 'cause she crapped on me too."

King-sized beds are nice.

Oh, and he mentioned that he cut his finger on the calf's teeth.....

Anyway, back to the poor cow. They weren't able to pull the calf out. The mama cow was still fighting and coming after them anyway. Obviously she didn't think they were helping her. So the guys decided to leave her. Maybe she had enough energy to push that calf out. My cowboy went to check on her a couple hours after his shower and found her and she was still pushing. He set his alarm to go check on her in the morning. I told her that he needed to give her a cesarean. He said he couldn't and that the vet was out of town. Poor, poor mama cow!

Morning came. He went to check on her and she was still struggling...barely. The calf was stuck in the same place, and most likely already dead. So... he had to shoot the mama cow. I would be traumatized. Isn't that just so sad. I mean, sometimes during labor you just want to scream, "Just shoot me!" but you don't really mean it! Poor mama cow!

Then he said he left for just a minute, and when he came back, another pregnant, mama cow had just laid down and died. We have no idea why. She was a little bloated so maybe something was wrong with her or she ate something bad.

So it was a sad day on the farm. At least for me. I don't think it phases anybody else....


Here's what "chores" look like around here!

First, we get in the tractor...

Bo and JJ love to ride in the tractor with Daddy!

We get a big bale of hay...

Then load it onto the truck.

It's SO much fun already!

Then we drive over to the "feeding lot." Hello cows!

The smaller ones get some grain today. Eat cows, EAT!

Hey, what about us?

A mama cow and her new baby calf

Well, hello big cow. I wasn't kidding when I told you that we drive right into the middle of all of them.

This baby was born just a few hours ago!

See, I told ya.

Then the cowboy moves the mama's and babies into their own pen.

Having fun on the back of the truck.

Then they all get some hay! This time JJ was in the truck, so he didn't scare them away from eating.

Then we drove over to feed the mama cows who should be calving very soon. Look. They
even get their very own birthing suite!

And there you have it. COWS!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Beef We Eat

Me: So, what kind of beef are we eating? I mean, do we eat the mama cows that are too old to have babies anymore? Is that when you butcher them?
Him: No.
Me: So do we eat the steers?
Him: Yes.
Me: So what do you do with the mama cows? Do you just let them get old and die?
Him: No, we usually sell them. People still eat them, but we usually don't. That's probably what you are eating in McDonald's beef= Old cows and crippled cows.
Me: Yum.......So you raise the steers for beef? And then you sell them at their prime cause they have great meat on them?
Him: No, we don't raise them to sell them like that. We usually just raise the calves until they're weened and then we sell them to someone else to raise them to their prime. We keep a few for us, to raise for our own meat.
Me: Oh. So what about the bulls. Instead of neutering all your boy calves, do you keep some of them to raise as bulls, so they can reproduce.
Him: No, you have to have a good line.
Me: What do you mean a good line, like a good breed?
Him: No, like a good family line. There are people that just raise bulls.
Me: Oh, so then you buy some from a "good line" when you want your cows to reproduce.
Him: Yeah.
Me: How much is a bull?
Him: Oh anywhere between 1500 and 5000.
Me: Wow.....So how long do you keep those summer, a few summers?
Him: Oh, they last quite a while. But you want to rotate them. Otherwise they'd be coming back to breed with their own children.
Me: Oh...yeah, I didn't think about that.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Last night we had Mini Meat Loaves for dinner...Yum.

Compliments of "Stanley" the Steer



Monday, March 15, 2010

Hello, This is the Meat Shop

The phone rang the other day, so I answered it. A lady on the the other end says, "Hello, this is the Meat Shop. Your beef is ready to be picked up."

Uh, okay. What do I say? We must have taken a cow to the butcher, I guess, so I decided to reply, "Okay, um, let me have to you talk to somebody else about that."
And I handed the phone off to my husband. He knew what was going on with the 500 pounds of ground beef ready for us.

So later that day he drove to "town" 45 minutes away to pick it up. When he got home, we had to clean out and rearrange the four freezers that we have. Yes, I said FOUR freezers so that we could fit the boxes of new beef.

We got three of them organized and then we dug through the fourth one. My cowboy picked up a ziplock bag of red stuff and said, "Hmmm.. I wonder if these are strawberries or if it's a heart."

I stopped dead in my tracks.
"Are you serious? You mean to tell me that we have frozen cow hearts in our freezers down here."

He said, "Yeah, probably. But I think these are just strawberries."

(I don't know if I dare eat frozen strawberries anymore..)

So we continue on. Then he pulls out a new bag of red stuff.. Whew, just strawberries. Soon we were almost done going through the entire freezer. But guess what surprise we found at the bottom?

Yep. He pulled up a ziplock bag with some frozen red stuff and said, "Yep, this is a heart. Definately a heart and NOT strawberries."


But the neighbor's dog will be happy...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

If You Have a Weak Stomach, Look Away Now...

So one of the blogs I like to read now, is She also lives on a ranch in the country, and she seems like a really neat lady. She also has a husband who wears wranglers, so, you know. We are like the same now.

I ran into her blog, not too long ago. It was maybe a couple of months ago that I became one of her fans. My husband and I were preparing to move up here when I read THIS post on her site. It's about a uterine prolapse. Don't know what that is? Well, you can also SEE it on another blog post. (WARNING: If you follow that link you will see the full-on, perfect angle, photos!)

Want to know what it is without seeing photos? Well, It's when, after a mama cow has had her calf, her uterus just comes out. Like, it falls right out of her. Yes, her insides are inside-out. I was mortified! Maybe because I've had children of my own, and just can't imagine that! I mean, can you? Poor mama cow!


After reading that post a few months ago, I talked to my husband about it. I asked, "Uh, does this REALLY happen sometimes? And could it happen to you?! To your cows?"

And guess what he said.


But not very often, luckily. So I thought maybe we wouldn't have to worry about it.

I was wrong.

We were only here a week when he came back to the house and said. "Well, we had a cow prolapse."

I gasped, "You did! What did you do?"

He said, "Well, we moved it to a pen, and she just sucked it right back in."

How in the world? Sheesh, is that possible?You can suck your uterus back IN? I guess so. Phew, so we had nothing to worry about anymore.....

Until a few days later. It happened AGAIN! To the same cow! Fortunately my husband's cousin is a vet. He came and did the dirty work. Isn't that about the craziest, saddest thing you've ever heard of?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Tonight my cowboy said, "So ya wanna come do chores with me?"
Yes! I really did. I wanted to see everything that he did when he says "Going to do chores." Plus I thought the kids needed to get out of the house for a bit.

So we bundled up and got in the work truck....right next to a rifle. (Mom, stop reading.) Yeah, he just had his rifle just hanging out in the truck with us.

Oh and do I need to mention that we didn't wear seatbelts either? I'm thinking that's pretty normal around here.

So off we went down to one lot to pick up the tractor. I found out that the real reason my cowboy asked me to come with him. Not just for the fun but because he needed someone to drive the truck back to the other lot while he drove the tractor over there.

Good thing I know how to drive a stick shift.

So JJ hopped in the tractor with his dad, and me and Bo drove the truck back down the highway to another field where they keep another stack of hay. He drove in by the hay and I waited for him on the road. Pretty soon I turned and he was waving to me, telling me to come in by the hay. Oh, okay. So I drove in and slid all over in the mud. That was my first off-road experience of my life, and I did quite well, I think.

I soon found out that I was supposed to be in there so that my cowboy could load a big bale of hay onto the back of the truck. Ah, it made sense now.

My cowboy left the tractor there, and drove us up to the "feed lot." We got out and the cows were SO scared of our little kids. I couldn't believe it. But my cowboy said that is was because they have never really seen little kids, or don't see them very often.

I was cracking up. Usually my cowboy shovels the hay into their feeding trays (or whatever you call them. troughs?) and the cows come right over to eat. But this time they just stood there watching JJ. He was walking around right where they were supposed to eat. Not a cow budged forward....for quite some time. Finally a couple of brave cows ventured forward to try and get something to eat. JJ moved and they sprung backwards running the whole way. We finally had to leave so that they would eat. I found that quite funny!

Then my cowboy opened up a gate and drove the truck right into the middle of a WHOLE bunch of BIG cows. He stopped and told me to get out and drive. I said, "Are you serious? There's a cow RIGHT there!" He was serious. So I was brave. I got out and ran around the truck, right in the middle of all those big cows. Good thing they were more interested in the hay on the back of the truck.

So then I had to "put it in first,and drive around in a circle the out the gate." Okay, so I did it but I was timid and kept tapping the brake. Meanwhile my husband was on the back of the truck trying to dump hay off as we went. I'm sure I was making him lose his balance, so finally after yelling at me a few times, I figured how to leave it in first, and quit tapping the brake out of nervousness...

Then we were done. Very exciting, don't you think? I might have to do it again sometime. I need to get some pictures to post.

Monday, March 1, 2010

More Babies and Scenery

While my husband helps cows deliver babies, I traveled to a few hours to a different city to help two women deliver babies! I am a doula, and I love it. What's a doula? Check out THIS website for more info.

So I was gone for a few days and many hours of labor. Such beautiful women and such beautiful births. I took the kids with me so that they could visit their grandparents, and we had a great time. Soon it was time to come home. As I was driving back to our new house, I decided to take some pictures to show you what the drive looked like and how it looks around where we live.

Kinda pretty, huh? Even in the bleak mid-winter?

See that white house? No, the one on the right side of the road...

It's getting closer....
You see, when my husband brought me up here for the first time 5 years ago, it was to meet his parents. It was to show me his life and where he grew up. As we got closer to this house, he started to slow down, like we were at our destination.

My first thought was, "How in the world did she raise NINE children in this?!"

Then he said, "Just kidding!" and we moved on...

See this little hill. Yeah, the one clear on the right? You will never believe what the name of it is. And that people in town refer to it all...the... time..

"Molly's Nipple."

I'm serious. Real name. Real landmark.