July on the Ponderosa

Lil’ Cute Cowboy coming nose-to-nose with his first bronc!

July has felt long and short all at once. Seems like just last week I was writing June’s Ponderosa post, but at the same time, there’s also been a lot of happenings this month.

One Cute Cowboy kicked off the month by completely replacing the floor in his stock trailer. This took a few days and evenings, and the finished product was well worth the time spent. It’s as good as new!

We celebrated the 4th of July with family and friends in the park of our small community. We had hamburgers and hotdogs and homecut French fries. Our local firefighters did all the cooking. It was delicious. We threw our big jean & fleece blanket on the ground and ate and listened to the live band. Bratcher wasn’t sure what to think of it all at first, but he warmed up to it. He even got to meet one of his future little classmates!

Guess what else One Cute Cowboy did this month. No guesses? Fixed and built more fence! Haha! As I’ve said before, it’s truly a never ending job. I guess it’s job security, because there’s always fence to be worked on somewhere. He finished up building the hot wire fence for the CRP cattle and got them all moved to their new pastures for the next couple months.

Along with CRP cattle, comes the job of hauling water. Most CRP pastures don’t have a water source, therefore the Cowboy’s have to haul the water to the cows every, single, day. The little rig above is new to the ranch, and has been pretty dang handy. The Cowboys haul water to 3 pastures everyday, and it takes around 2 hours from start to finish. I always like to go haul water, though I haven’t gotten to this year any. It’s always fun to see the cows come in for a fresh, cool drink of water.

It was unbearably hot here for about 2 weeks. It reached 106 for a high and we were over 100 for 6 days! Days like that make me so ready for fall to come around. It’s especially important on days like that to make sure every pasture has water and all windmills are working as they should. This month also consisted of a lot of water checking and more windmill oil checking.

The Cowboys rotated some of the cattle around to different “summer” pastures to give some of the land a break. As I talked about in June’s post, it’s just as important to take care of our land as much as the cattle. God made us to be good stewards of both, for they’re each a living thing and have been gifted to us.

As you may have gathered, One Cute Cowboy is a jack of many many trades! He is also a Superior Livestock representative. He spent part of the month contracting and selling cattle through Superior. July is a busy time because of the annual Superior sale that happens up in the Rockies. The first year we went it was up in Steamboat,CO. The last two years it’s been in Breckinridge, CO. We didn’t go this year but OCC and my dad watched a lot of the sale online on the Superior website. Each year OCC contracts calves for local producers that top the markets throughout the United States. We have some dang good cattle in this part of the country! Be sure and contact OCC if you have some cattle that need reppin’. 😉

OCC did quite a bit of maintenance work on machinery and trailers this month. As I’ve mentioned before, he likes to keep everything in tip-top shape!

He also cleaned out the pens here at the house a couple evenings. It’s important to keep your pens clean of old manure and hay. It helps the animal stay healthier and keeps their immune systems strong. As well as it cuts down on those pesky flies! It’s not just a healthier environment for them to live in, but a happier one!

Here on the homefront we had our first successful grocery shopping trip with Little Bear! Woohoo! This may not seem like a big feat for most, but it was for this little family! We also went to our first church service. He did completely awesome at both! He’s such a trooper!

Well, there are the happening for us in July here at the Ponderosa. Hope you had a good July, stay tuned this August for a special edition from the animals on the Ponderosa!

*ASpottedHeart

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June on the Ponderosa

Well, readers, I’m gonna be real honest with ya, One Cute Cowboy and I dropped the ball taking pictures around the Ponderosa this month. I have a camera roll full of ‘lil Cute Cowboy, but none of the ranch. OCC has been busy, and it totally slipped his mind to take pictures this month as well. So I’m gonna post some random ones from over the last few years while I talk about what all has been going on around the Ponderosa this month.

We started off June with our community’s annual Santa Fe Trail Daze celebration. This was Little Bear’s first parade to watch and he did okay until the sirens and the few semi-trucks that thought it was funny to blow their horns (insert annoyed face here). Poor guy didn’t like that at all, but the rest he was pretty interested in. I guess you could say this was his first “official”‘outing.

OCC finally finished up with all the branding crews, branding a little over 3,000 head in a short (or long, depending on who you’re asking!) 6 weeks.

One Cute Cowboy built a lot of fence in the month of June! He and our nephew spent several days building fence around CRP grass for our cattle to graze this summer. If you’re not familiar with CRP (Conservariin Reserve Program) I talked all about it in my October on the Ponderosa post, when we were taking cattle off CRP. In short, it’s the governments way to (1) “conserve soil, water quality, and provide wildlife habitats by establishing long-term cover on highly erodible land or land in need of conservation buffers that has previously been in row crop production.”

My husband is a bit obsessed with grass and grass quality, and taking proper care of the grass. He spends days figuring and refiguring numbers making sure he’s putting just enough cattle on a piece of land to get the best use out of grass for the cattle while still making sure the grass thrives and is in just as good of shape when the cattle leave the grass. Overgrazing absolutely kills him! He can’t stand to see land being misused and the poor cattle that are left with nothing else to do but overgraze. We must be good stewards of our land just as much as we are to our animals. He takes the ecosystem very seriously, and he’s sure to do his part to make sure this is a better place after we leave it. He’s a total land-lover.

But, back to the fence–they built close to 10 miles of fence…as I’ve said before, when people think of cowboys, I don’t think people take into consideration how much time isn’t spent on a horse. This was one of those months where being horseback was few and far between.

OCC spent a couple days up high on the windmills checking oil and doing maintenance where needed on each one. As one can imagine, this always makes me pretty nervous when I know he’s getting up on a windmill, luckily he has a safety harness he uses, which puts this gal’s mind at ease…somewhat.

The bulls were especially rambunctious this month. We’ve got a few ornery ones that kept getting out to visit the cows in the different pastures. So you know what that means? More fence was worked on! Haha! I’d say One Cute Cowboy wouldn’t consider it a laughing matter. But I say, the bulls get bored and just want to go visit their girlfriend(s) in the other pastures. He doesn’t think I’m funny.

The last week or so of the month One Cute Cowboy worked on different equipment around the ranch so everything stays up to par and runs smoothly when needed.

Somewhere in there, between the hustle and bustle, we took our first family vacation to Red River. I talked all about it in my last post.

That pretty much wraps up the month of June at the Ponderosa! Hope y’all enjoyed! Can’t believe the summer is already about halfway over.

*ASpottedHeart

(1): Conservation Reserve Program

May on the Ponderosa

Well, here we are starting into June. My oh my, how summer has rushed upon us! It’s been in the upper 80’s low 90’s the last couple weeks, which feels insane to be that warm already. But I will say, we’ve had some nice little thunderstorms! We’re always thankful for rain!!

This month has been full of more brandings for One Cute Cowboy. 2,900 calves in 21 days to be exact!

Started the month off with finishing up the branding at the ranch headquarters and has been gypsy jumping around from ranch to ranch “dayworking” (helping other ranches for a short time), all month!

This time of the year is tough on cowboys because not only are they working long hard days but they have to get their normal jobs completed and cows checked and problems dealt with on their own ranches after “dayworking” for the other ranches. Needless to say, they can turn into VERY long days! No one ever said being a Cowboy’s wife would be easy.

OCC had the yearly branding at my in-laws in New Mexico, just on the other side of Kenton, Oklahoma this month as well. Once again, Lil Cute Cowboy and I decided to stay home since it would be hot, windy, and dusty. This mama bear is still a little overly protective. ☺️

The brand on the calf pictured above is One Cute Cowboy’s great grandpa’s brand. It’s been in his family for 5 generations! Agriculture is all about tradition you know. It’s neat to know that the calves have received this same brand for all of these years.

The bulls of the ranch were finally happy to be placed out in their different pastures for the summer. It’s important to make sure and give the bulls and cows a break from one another. Some of the bulls will be gathered back up in July, and some will get to stay with the cows until October.

Speaking of bulls, we got all of our registered bulls delivered this month as well. It’s a good feeling to have them all placed at good ranches .

One Cute Cowboy and I have our own little herd that got vaccinated and branded this month too. Have I ever told you about Mama, the friendly cow? She’s an older cow that Riley and I got in our first herd right after we got married. She is such a sweetheart, she’ll come right up to eat cake out of your hand (she’s actually usually up in your business trying to see if you actually have any cake in your hands to snatch up!) She always throws us a good little bull calf each year, which we’re always happy to see! She’s talked one of the other mamas into coming up to us too. We call this ‘ol gal Sister.

One of the biggest changes this month on the Ponderosa is I went back to work at my 9 to 5. It’s been incredibly hard leaving Little Bear everyday, but we’re getting more of a routine down and learning and growing. I try to remind myself to just be in the moment and not to dwell on not being with him all day. It’s definitely hard on this mama!

This Lil Ranch Kid is growing like crazy and smiling and laughing and just so much dang fun! Our hearts are full here on the Ponderosa.

Happy June!

*ASpottedHeart

April on the Ponderosa

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get April posted. It’s been a busy month for both OCC and I. Please bare with this mama while she gets her blogging-legs back under her. 🙂

Seriously?! It’s May??! How? When?! I can’t believe how time is flying. Oh don’t mind me, I’ve just been at home snuggling little bear and soaking up every second I possibly can with him. With that said, One Cute Cowboy has to give me the run down on what’s all been happening on the Ponderosa.

One Cute Cowboy spent the first couple weeks of April STILL feeding cows, checking calves and fixing fence and beginning to make sure all the fences were good for the summer. That way he’s not having to work on a lot of fence in the heat of the summer months. Some may not think of fences when they think of cowboying, but it’s a constant job to keep up.

We have a few cows left to calve but we finally finished up calving all but one out of 106 heifers. The babies are now out in the pastures with their mamas, learning the ropes of being on the ranch. It’s always fun to see those sweet babies all playing together, running around and kicking. I absolutely love baby calves!

Have I ever mentioned we raise registered black angus bulls? One Cute Cowboy and my dad have bulls available all the time. Before selling these bulls they have to vaccinate them, and test the bulls sperm count, making sure they’re ready to perform their jobs before shipping them out to the customer. They want to ensure they’re sending out the best possible bull they can and to achieve that, they test them and keep their vaccines up to date. To do this, they have to haul all 20 to the vet in town. It’s quite the job since most of the time it’s the little guy’s first trip to the big city! It also couldn’t be done without our incredible vet Rusty Murdock and the gals at the clinic!

In the ladder end of the month it was time for the cowboys to put what they call “cidrs” into the cows that will be AI’d. In short, what this does is it makes the cow more fertile and gives her a higher pregnancy rate along with giving the Cowboys more of an exact date of when the calves will be born because it puts the entire herd in the same time frame of fertilization. The cidr goes in for exactly 7 days and then they take the cidrs out and 63 hours later, on the dot, a vet comes out to AI the cows. After they AI’d, Lil’ Cute Cowboy, my mom (Yia-Yia), and I took lunch out to the cowboys and LCC said hello to the cows…or they said hello to him.

See the little guy in the background? He wanted to see this new little “bull calf” but wasn’t quite sure how close to get. 😉

Cutest little bull calf I’ve ever seen! 😍

In the last weekend/week of April, One Cute Cowboy started helping the neighbors with their annual spring brandings. There are going to be A LOT of them! He gets grumpy, and tired but he lives for spring works! And, there will be plenty of stories to be told of them in June! We also had our first family branding as well!

I’m fairly certain the wind blew 9-0 the entire month of April so needless to say Lil’ CC and I didn’t get out to the branding, or outside much in general. But we did go with One Cute Cowboy to doctor a calf one day…

And went out to watch him trim Rio another day.

And we took a short walk another nice day.

That pretty much wraps up April. All-in-all it felt like an incredibly fast, but packed month. Here we are already a week into May! I just can’t believe it!

Happy Thursday!

*ASpottedHeart

Mama Bear 🐻

I can’t believe my baby bear will be a month old this week! I always thought it was a little silly when I’d hear other moms say this but, Time, slow down already!! I totally get it now, he’s already changing so fast. While I love it, it’s also a little sad because he’s not my little newborn anymore. I never knew I could love being a mom this much. Most of you probably read my Pregnancy Truths post, and know my journey to this point; but even still I never dreamed I would love this stage so much. It can be hard and frustrating and oh-so tiresome, but when this little guy falls asleep on my chest, or his little blue eyes look into mine, I completely melt and it’s hard to imagine life any other way.

Moms, I know I’m not telling you anything new, this isn’t some new revelation on Mom’s loving their children, but it’s a bit of awakening in my own heart that I just want to share I guess.

I didn’t get to share my Lil’ Cute Cowboy’s “full” birthing story last week so I want to share a little more about it with you today.

At 9:30 the night I went into labor, One Cute Cowboy and I had just gotten home from going into town to get supper at Subway. He decided to go check the heifers before coming inside to eat so I went out to the pens with him. There was a heifer whom was clearly having trouble having her calf, so he got her into the chute to pull the calf.

OCC started to pull the calf and was having some difficulty, then the mama went down in the chute which makes it near impossible to continue pulling a calf when a heifer goes down like that. So I was trying with all I could to get her to stand back up while OCC continued to try to save this calf and get it pulled. He asked me to go get a sorting stick, to poke her with,out of the pickup, so here I am 9 months and 1 day over due and I’m at a trot to the pickup so we can get this mama up. (One Cute Cowboy still thinks this is the reason I went into labor.) I got back and OCC had successfully pulled the calf and it was alive and well, but the mama was going to need stitched up. So we got the pickup and trailer and hauled her into the vet to be stitched up and get her back to her calf. We got back to the house around 11:00 and went to bed.

A mere hour and half later I woke up, just like I had been the last 7-8 months, to go to the bathroom, but when I got up, my water broke and I had a really strong and long contraction. I knew the time had finally come! I woke up One Cute Cowboy and he looked at me in disbelief. Haha! Poor guy had been waiting for months to meet his son, and now that it was time he looked at me with a look of shock and said, “right now?!” We got our bags I’d packed a few weeks earlier and headed out the door. Although if you were to ask OCC, he’d say I dilly-dallied. 😏

We said a short prayer together as we left our home and we were on the road to Amarillo. I started having consistent contractions as we pulled out of the drive that were only 5 minutes a part. I must say, at that point OCC and I were pretty scared because they were so close together and we still had a 2 hour drive ahead of us!!! They stayed at a steady 5 minutes apart as One Cute Cowboy drove 90 with his hazards flashing. Praise God for He was watching over us and we made it to Amarillo at 3 a.m.

Once we got to the hospital, time seemed to slow down a bit. They got me in my room and started getting my IV hooked up and my contractions were now starting to get stronger, but still about 5 minutes a part. Something I’d gone back and forth about was whether or not I wanted an epidural. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate needles? Also, I guess I’m a little “crunchy” you could say, and I was torn between not wanting to feel unbearable pain, and wanting to have the full experience of bringing another human being into the world. Let me just tell you, after those contractions started getting stronger, the only thing I could think of is what a saint those women who don’t get epidurals are! I told One Cute Cowboy I had a whole new respect for my Mom who had 3 girls without any medication. So as you may have already guessed, I opted for the epidural and after that, it was a little smoother sailing. OCC and I actually both took naps believe it or not!

About 9 hours later it was time for Bratcher to finally make an appearance. It was the hardest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. The human body is absolutely mind-blowing what it can endure and do! It can be pushed to what feels like it’s limits only to prove to you it can do so much more. God truly did something magnificent when he created us.

When you see that little guy, that’s been inside of you growing and thriving the last 9 months, finally face to face it’s the truest purest form of love at first sight. To know that he is yours is incomprehensible in that moment and there’s an overwhelming feeling of pure joy.

One Cute Cowboy was a complete trooper through the entire process! He never left my side. He got to do his part as well, some pretty amazing Dad stuff! He immediately was handed towels to start drying him off, he cut the umbilical cord, then once he was ready OCC helped measure him, weigh him, and put on his first diaper. A little later he helped give him his first bath. It’s amazing how instantaneously my love also grew for him in those moments.

Now here we are a month later, being parents! My days are all mashed together. Spending most of our time nursing, sleeping, and a little play/reading time each day. OCC and I’s evenings consist of cooing over whatever cuteness Lil Cute Cowboy is serving up and just enjoying being Mom and Dad. One Cute Cowboy has been amazing about making breakfast and supper, cleaning, and making sure LilCC and I don’t want or need for anything! He’s pretty amazing. 😍

Even though it’s incredibly scary to be 100% responsible for another human being, it’s incredibly rewarding to be this little bear’s mama. I thank God everyday for these two Cowboy’s He’s put in my life.

Hope you’ve had a great weekend!

*ASpottedHeart

February on the Ponderosa

February started out moving a few of the cattle off of corn stalks back to the ranch. Luckily we’ve got these portable pens. This comes in super handy, and saves a lot of time not having to load, haul, and set up panels. It’s all right there and you just “unpack” it.

We’ve continued into calving season and having babies left and right it seems. The cowboys are still checking all through the day and night. One particular night, when it was frigidly cold, I heard One Cute Cowboy coming back inside from his 2:00 a.m. check, and I heard him call my name once he came in the back door. I thought, “Oh crap! He wants me to come help him pull a calf. Should I act like I didn’t hear him?” But I got up out of bed anyhow to see if he needed my help, when I rounded the corner, this is what I saw…

This little guy was probably about an hour old when OCC went out to check heifers. Said he was just shivering, and mama hadn’t cleaned him off very good, so he brought him in the house to warm him up a bit. We gave him some colostrum and wrapped him in a blanket, put a heat lamp on him, and went back to bed while Nurse Hershey kept watch on him through the night. She is absolutely infatuated with the baby calves.

The cowboys have stayed busy to say the least. There’s a lot to pay attention to during calving season. You’re not only watching new heifers, but you’re having to watch the cows too as their calving. Just because they’ve already had one or two, doesn’t mean there still can’t be different things to watch for and complications.

One Cute Cowboy tries to ride through the cows that are calving, on horseback at least 4 days a week. You are more apt to notice if there are problems if you see the cow in her natural state, rather than chasing the feed wagon, wanting to be fed. You get a better sense of how she and her baby are getting along and if all is well. One afternoon, One Cute Cowboy called to ask if I’d bring out the drench with some colostrum. There was a mama who had had a hard labor with a pretty big calf, and the calf was real lethargic either from being so big, or the labor being so rough, so it was detrimental to get some nutrients in him to give him the energy to nurse by himself. So I drove out to the ranch and we drove out to the mama and her calf. He then told me, when he rode up on him and his mama, he looked out and there were 4 coyotes laying down in the taller grass, waiting for that mama to leave, thinking the calf would be easy prey. The smart cookie he is, he got the cows closest to them to come up and he fed them some cake near the new baby and mama, knowing good and well, that many cows wouldn’t let those coyotes anywhere near this new baby (or their own babies staying at their sides.) That can be something really cool about cattle, they really are “pack” or “family” oriented with one another. This little guy was so dang cute and he was big! He drank the colostrum right up and you could start to tell almost immediately in his eyes that he was starting to perk up some! I love the hair on a newborn calf, they’re so silky and soft. This guy was so sweet. Luckily he had a good protective mama too. If OCC hadn’t been horseback, he might not have ever seen him and unfortunately, he probably would have ended up dying from lack of protein and electrolytes to get up and have that first nursing of colostrum. A couple days later, One Cute Cowboy rode up on him sunnin’ just as content as can be! Pretty cool to know we helped save a life!

The last couple weeks the cowboys have been consolidating wheat pasture cattle in anticipation for shipping in March.

As for me, I can’t believe it’s already March!! Won’t be long now until this heifer calves out! Haha!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s ranching series! I’m always appreciative of my readers, and always glad to hear from y’all or answer any questions! Thanks for reading!

*ASpottedHeart

December on the Ponderosa

This month started out unusually warm for December. We kept hearing colder weather was coming, but it was hard to believe when you didn’t really need anything but a light jacket to go outside. But then, let me tell you, when the cold hit, it hit! The last few days haven’t gotten above 16-18 degrees, finally the sun is starting to poke out today. If you follow One Cute Cowboy’s instagram, I’ m sure you’ve seen how thrilled he’s been about the colder temperatures.

This month has been all about wheat pasture cattle. Every. Single. Day. OCC loads up a trusty horse, a fueled 4 wheeler, charged fence batteries, his medicine bag, and hot coffee, 7 Days a week to go check the cattle on wheat pasture and corn stalks. He makes his rounds through 6 pastures at one location, then 2 other separate fields, then checks the bull calves that are also on wheat. While he’s at these pastures he also has to break the inch thick ice in the tanks, and check the hot wire fences to make sure they’re keeping their charge. Cowboy roping a steer

This guy wasn’t sick, just in the wrong pasture and had to be moved.

He checks for anything that might be sick, or not looking healthy. Cowboys wear many hats, and one of those hats is unfortunately, Doctor. One has to know what medicine is good for what ailment, they have to keep track of which ones they’ve already doctored, and what medicine they gave them. Some medicines are so strong they can only be doctored once with that particular kind and it’s imperative for the Cowboy to remember what calf the medicine was distributed to.

During wheat pasture season, calves can get bloated on the wheat really easily and really fast. There are several things the cowboys do to help fight bloat. They put out a block called a “bloat” block and they also add soap to their water and keep hay out. The blocks and soap help the stomach continue to bubble and break down the foam which helps the gas escape. The hay offers dry matter which allows the rumen to operate correctly.

Besides checking wheat pasture cattle, the cowboys have also been feeding cake and hay to the ranch cattle. They definitely keep a full schedule in the winter months!

We also got to get away for an overnight trip to see some of OCC’s family for Christmas, and also had a nice Christmas with my whole family once we got back. Christmas was here and gone in the blink of an eye, which always makes me a little sad. But it’s exciting to think this time next year we’ll have a little pup around to unwrap gifts and start some new family traditions.

The cake my niece made all by herself, “Frosty.”

I hope you all have had a wonderful December, and are ready to jump into the New Year with lots of hope, love, and excitement!

Happy New Year! 🍾

*ASpottedHeart

November on the Ponderosa

Wheat pasture month. This is the beginning of once again, a busy season. (It’s all one big busy season really…) This month we started moving some of our cattle to wheat pasture. But not only our cattle, One Cute Cowboy also takes care of a couple of ranchers cattle for them on wheat in the winter time. Usually they want to put their smaller cattle on the wheat pasture, 400-550lb calves, this way some of the smaller cattle are gaining good, healthy weight, and the rancher doesn’t have to take care of them in the winter months.

This guy is ready for the winter, he’s got it figured out–Cow house! Haha!

Most ranchers will have wheat pasture cattle from November through March. So for the next 4 months, OCC will be checking pastures, doctoring sick cattle, checking water, feeding cattle on wheat, and feeding the cows on grass and corn stalks.

One thing a lot of people don’t think about when it comes to ranching is the time it takes to do upkeep on our fences. One thing One Cute Cowboy has done a lot of this month (and will continue to do) is fix fence, build fence, and continue upkeep on fence. What I mean by that is constantly making sure the fence stays hot enough to keep the cattle in, and that means taking a new battery out to the charger every day depending on the fence. A battery will keep its charge for 3 to 4 days. You have to think about keeping your batteries charged when they’re not on the fence as well.

This month we’ve also shipped calves, along with getting some cattle shipped in (to go on wheat pasture and corn stalks.) These are a few of the good-looking steers we got from eastern Oklahoma to go on wheat pasture. One Cute Cowboy and my dad also raise registered bulls, so our little bulls also went to wheat pasture for the winter where they’ll get big for the spring.

We also had a really nice Thanksgiving at my parents. All my dad’s side of the family got together, which doesn’t happen very often. There was lots of food eaten, dominos played, and my personal favorite Scattegories! We played 13 rounds of it, it was so much fun!

My favorite part of Thanksgiving, the cranberry salad. Yum! We are incredibly blessed to live the life we do. One of our biggest blessings this year will be out baby boy in March! We had so much to be thankful for this year!

Hope you all have had a blessed November and I hope you’ve enjoyed November on the Ponderosa!

Happy December!

*ASpottedHeart

October on the Ponderosa

Ranch land with cattle and pond

As promised, I wanted to share what’s been going on this month on the ranch. As I mentioned prior, “Fall works” is the moving/weaning/vaccinating that we do in the Fall. It takes a lot of time and a lot of preparation to make it all happen.

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At the beginning of this month One Cute Cowboy, my dad, and a few other cowboys started moving what cattle we had on CRP back to the ranch. CRP pastures (Conservation Reserve Program) are prior fields that were used for crops. The government has offered the farmer a program to put those fields back to natural grass; grass that either has to be mowed or grazed every three years. Ranchers and farmers will lease out their CRP pastures because if they don’t have someone graze it, by government rules, they would have to pay someone to come in and mow the grass. It’s a win/win situation for both parties. The grass is usually a good home for the cattle and it gives the grass at the ranch a “break” during the growing season to gain back growth so that we can rotate the cattle back on those pastures in the winter and spring; because we want to practice good land management. The cattle aren’t the only thing we have to think about as a rancher, you also have to think about the land and the wildlife and how to better our ecosystem.

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Once everything is back in it’s respective pastures, it’s time to start weaning the calves off of the mother cows. Usually when you hear cowboys talking about weaning day, it’s a day starting at day break and not ending until sun set (and sometimes even longer.) It’s not just separating the mamas from their babies, it’s “working” the calves as well. This usually means giving them vaccines, making sure they’re healthy and don’t need any special attention. After the crazy snow storm in May, and all the rain we received (Praise the Lord!) this Summer, we’ve had an uncommon amount of what’s called foot rot. Foot rot is an infectious disease that occurs in the hoof/foot of the cow/calf. It can cause lameness and pain in the foot if not treated properly. Sometimes this is brought on by dampness, hence all of our snow and rain. This was one of the main vaccines we gave this month. The foot rot vaccine helps to clear up those that have it, and to keep the ones who haven’t had it from getting it.

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The reason we wean the calves before marketing them is because buyers will pay more money for a calf that has been weaned for at least 45 day and received proper vaccinations before shipment to the buyers farms or ranches. We practice “fence-line” weaning. This is where the calf is kept on one side of the fence, and the mother on the other side. This allows for a lower amount of stress on the mother and calf, therefore lessening the opportunity for sickness. They’re still able to see each other, and “talk to” each other by touching noses and licking through the fence.

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Fall works doesn’t end there. Because the calves aren’t used to having to go to water on their own, each evening, the cowboys have to go out and push each pasture of calves to their watering hole, so they’ll start to learn where to go to water. They do this for two weeks along with feeding them a mixture of cake and hay until the calves are used to everything and know where to go. Usually after two weeks, they more than have it all figured out. The cowboys continue to feed though, until “shipping day”. Next Month!

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There are still other odds and ends that have to be done besides just the feedings. There are tanks to be moved, fence to be repaired, fence to be built for winter corn stalks & wheat pastures, and equipment to be kept up and baby doctor visits that have to be made. 😉

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These last two images were literally taken not but an hour ago. One Cute Cowboy working in the shop, well after dark, repairing the wire roller so he can build more fence tomorrow. A cowboy’s work is never done.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my first edition of Life on the Ponderosa, monthly ranching series! Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have about life here in the Oklahoma Panhandle! The next ranching post will be at the end of November. I’ll tell you what all has been going on at the ranch for the month.

 

Happy Halloween!

*ASpottedHeart

Contact Me: aspottedheart@gmail.com or leave a message in the comments.