Rod

Winter On The Grande

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I must say I am absolutely entranced with your photos and life living out there.....can me and my horses come stay with you?! Haha

I hope to one day have my own ranch out in Texas near either Brownwood or Waco. I have family in both cities, but lived in Waco growing up so my heart is mostly set there. I dream of having a successful horse and cattle ranch there by my early to mid 30s. I know it's a big dream but determination and a want for the life of a rancher has me set.

Thank you for sharing!

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I must say I am absolutely entranced with your photos and life living out there.....can me and my horses come stay with you?! Haha

I hope to one day have my own ranch out in Texas near either Brownwood or Waco. I have family in both cities, but lived in Waco growing up so my heart is mostly set there. I dream of having a successful horse and cattle ranch there by my early to mid 30s. I know it's a big dream but determination and a want for the life of a rancher has me set.

Thank you for sharing!

Norcalracer, Never hurts to dream, & I hope the opportunities open up for your dream does come true. But in Texas you are in the heart of the horse country, plus it where the history of the quarter horse began. Best Wishes. PD

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Thank you for sharing your sleigh ride! :yay: :yay: :yay: Your horses are lovely and so is the area you sleigh in!

I've always wanted to ride in a sleigh singing "Jingle Bells" and "Over the River & Through the Woods". :grin:

(I can sing in tune)

The only sleigh around here was up in Tahoe and it was an eight to ten person sleigh pulled by two sets of Belgins on a flat snow covered road.

No dashing through the snow with that set up. :o Singing was frowned upon too.

A friend of mine has some lovely sleighs that have been in her family for years. Sadly, she doesn't have horses to pull them and she won't sell one.

So my dream of a true sleigh ride, might always be just a dream.

Edited by dondie

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Rod 44,

Way cool. I like.

I hope to one day have my own ranch out in Texas near either Brownwood or Waco. I have family in both cities, but lived in Waco growing up so my heart is mostly set there. I dream of having a successful horse and cattle ranch there by my early to mid 30s. I know it's a big dream but determination and a want for the life of a rancher has me set.

That is certainly a worthwhile goal in my opinion. It will not be easy but will be worth it in the end. My advice- save up a nest egg and when the time comes' try to borrow as little as possible. Interest rates on a significant amount of money for land and cattle will eat you alive. And it is almost impossible to pay for land and cattle at the same time. That is one reason why I am leasing land at the moment. I am trying to build my herd without borrowing. All earnings are put back into buying more cattle. When I get my herd together, I'll think about buying some land. It is tough to get started. You need some grit to make it happen. 'course, you may have a rich uncle and it will be easy.

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<p>Well, things have gotten considerably busier at the ranch. Saturday we moved heifers again. Our first heifer calved last week and we needed to get them to the calving pasture before they all calved.</p>
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<p>Here we've lined them out on the road. We had 10 inches of snow last week followed by rain. All the runoff made the roads bad. The highway district had been working on them but Saturday we could only get to within 5 miles of the ranch. We long trotted the rest of the way in. My legs are actually sore from posting that far. I guess that's what happens when you get old. 30 years ago it wouldn't have bothered me.</p>
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<p>The calf of the heifer that had had already calved could not keep up with the herd so we decided to tie it up by the side of the road and come back for it later. Luckily one of the neighbors happened to come by and agreed to haul the calf to our calving pasture. Here my partner is tying the calves legs together so it doesn't jump out of the pickup.</p>
<p>So now we are feeding hay and checking heifers. I've had 6 calve since Saturday. Four live ones, one stillbirth and one ???? The heifer had obviously calved during the night but there was no sign of the calf. There were four coyotes in the pasture when we got there that morning. Humm...</p>
<p>Because of the missing calf we are riding through the heifers 3 times a day and trailering the calvy (ones that look like they will calve soon) down the 12 miles to the barn near town.</p>
Yesterday I found a heifer that had collapsed on the bank of the creek. The bank was about 2 1/2 feet tall and very steep where she lay. She had crossed the creek and climbed the steep bank. She was covered in mud and must have struggled for quite a while getting up the bank. I helped her get up (pulled her tail up while she struggled). She was sluggish and moved off very slowly. I was unsure if she was trying to calve or was fatigued from climbing out of the creek. I roped her and 'sleeved' her and felt a calf's front legs just starting to enter the birth canal. I herded over to the corral, loaded her up and brought her to town. Checked her at 7 pm, 10 pm, 2 am and 4:30 this morning. Still nothing. Since then I've done chores, gotten the grandkids up and ready for school and am getting ready to load up some hay and feed the heifers. (My partner has already left for the Grande).

At 4:30 weather was nice but now it's snowing with 34 mph winds- not going to be too pleasant loading hay with an old loader without a cab. internet says we will have a break in the snow at 9:00. better get after it.

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The snowstorm fizzled. Barely enough snow to cover the ground.

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The old loader (backhoe) we use to load ton bales of hay wouldn't start this morning so I had to jump it with my pickup.

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My usual helper for the day. She is wanting to be a real "cowboy girl". She is my shadow. Goes everywhere with me, rides double on my horse, "drives" (sits in the drivers seat when I've stopped) for me when I am knocking hay off the truck. When we have a big day or have harder things to do she goes to daycare in town. The dog with her is a Black Mouth Cur. I've had border collies in the past and I really like them but I think I like this BMC even better. She is cowy and will work a cow but is not as intense as a collie. She has a surprising amount of "head" and likes the cattle to stay bunched. She will heel but is not super aggressive about it. All of this I like. She also likes the grandkids and spends a lot of time with them.

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I've knocked off most of the hay. Most of these heifers are mine- my partner has about 20 head in with them. There is eight head on the other side of the creek. They stay over there and do not come to the feed ground. They are the little black dots over the bed of the truck.

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Here's a photo of three of our brood mares (on the right). We have been raising our own horses lately. The two colts on the left were born this spring. I have been amazed at their rate of growth this summer. They have just been out eating grass with their moms, no supplement of any kind except salt and minerals. The mares have both weaned them. Their feet have chipped off and we won't start handling them until after we finish calving. We will halter break them in the round pen and desensitize them a little, handle their feet and turn them back out until they are two. We raise colts with benign neglect. Criticism welcome. This is a good way to raise colts. I can defend this method.

Edited by Rod

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I love the escapism of your world because it transports me to a different place and makes me want to live there.

When I was a teen I used to help friends (round up, drive and assist at the corrals) whose parents had several sections of family-owned land in the San Joaquin valley foothills where they ran mixes of Angus and Herefords and a home ranch on two hundred irrigated acres about 30mi away for the calving heifers.

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It's about 6 am and I've checked the heifers and fed the horses and have a few minutes until the grandkids get up for school.

I love the escapism of your world because it transports me to a different place and makes me want to live there.

When I was a teen I used to help friends (round up, drive and assist at the corrals) whose parents had several sections of family-owned land in the San Joaquin valley foothills where they ran mixes of Angus and Herefords and a home ranch on two hundred irrigated acres about 30mi away for the calving heifers.

You can see by my pictures that I also like those hereford and angus crosses. We call them black ballys. They make good mothers and add a little hybred vigor to their calves. I'll cross the black cows to hereford bulls and cross those heifers to black bulls (simangus or balancer) until they stay all black, then start over with herefords again. I've mentioned that I use longhorn x angus composite bulls on my first calf heifers but I don't save any of those resulting calves for breeding.

Love your horses and stories --- hope you are all staying warm.

Actually this winter has been very mild for Idaho.

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I keep a horse at the old barn/corral. This is a mare I call stopper. That way I can catch it easily and ride through the heifers.

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Here's my watering system for the horse. I have to pack water about 100 yards from the creek in a bucket.

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Another picture of my helper and our dog. I was ready to head for home. She wanted to stay longer. I don't know if you can see it in this photo but she has some cow manure on her boot. She won't clean it off because I told her the way to tell if you are a real cowboy girl or not, is that real cowboy girls have cow crap on their boots. The 6:30 alarm just went off. Time to get the girls ready for school.

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I like "black ballys". Our friends called theirs ... bear with me ... it sounded like "black broccoli face" but I'm sure they meant something like "black brocky face".

Totally LOVED the cowboy girls have cow crap on their boots remark!

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Putting black mouth curs on my good farm dog list. Yes I know you have a ranch, but it's my list :). Good with kids is so priceless. I like your helpers tuff country girl attitude. She's pretty cute too.

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Been so busy lately calving those heifers. Short on sleep from checking them every few hours at night. This week I've had to help a couple. Pulled one calf- it was a hard pull. Big bull calf from a small heifer. I think every muscle and organ of the calf was squished coming out. He was unable to stand up for a day and a half. I brought him to the house and put him under a heat lamp in my horse barn. I milked out he heifer and tube fed him the first couple times because he couldn't suck. When he learned to suck my grand daughters fed him on a bottle for a couple days. They were disappointed when I took him back to his mother. Had a little learning curve getting him to nurse her. I had to put the cow in a chute and teach him to find the udder. He is out in the pasture now doing fine. This afternoon my shadow and I checked on the heifers and their calves, this calf came up to us and my shadow got to pet him. It was a big deal.

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I like "black ballys". Our friends called theirs ... bear with me ... it sounded like "black broccoli face" but I'm sure they meant something like "black brocky face".

Totally LOVED the cowboy girls have cow crap on their boots remark!

Here's a photo of some of my heifers. The two an the left are black bally (sometimes called baldy) a cross between a black angus and a hereford, on the right a black brock (or black brockle face a cross between a black bally and a black angus. The more times crossed back on an angus the less white on the face. It is kind of variable- sometimes the white is gone by the second generation and sometimes it persists for 4 or more.




Putting black mouth curs on my good farm dog list. Yes I know you have a ranch, but it's my list :). Good with kids is so priceless. I like your helpers tuff country girl attitude. She's pretty cute too.

Cur dogs were developed in the south as farm dogs. Something to work livestock, hunt with and guard the farmstead. There are a lot of different varieties. I like the black muzzle of the BMC. I just think it looks cool. Jiggs is a brindle- a color that is not very common. Most BMCs are solid red or fawn. THis dog really earns her keep with the kids. She will come in from a day of hard work and then play for hours with the kids. They maul her and she loves it. My collies resented being bothered and were a little snippy afer a hard days work.

My help (oldest grand daughter) is about to get out of school. We are going to ride through the heifers before dark. Have a good day.

Edited by Rod

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I posted a little about Foxy, the old mare the kids rode. Just to let you know that we had to put her down this week. It was hard on the younger granddaughters who had been riding her a lot the past couple of years. I found her laying in the pasture on Monday, unable to get up. Called out the vet and he euthanized her later that day. She will leave a hole around here.

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Foxy, doing what she did best, packing kids around. She was born in 1988- making her almost 26. She had slowed down some in the last year. It was time for her to go.

Edited by Rod

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Rod,

Sorry you had to put Foxy down, but you gave her a good life & she was useful almost up to the end, but the good ones go to soon. I hope you can find another horse that can safely pack those grandaughters.

I liked your pictures, & I can believe heifers calving has kept you on call. Best Wishes going forward. PD

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Thanks for letting us know about Foxy. Tell your Granddaughters we honor her here for the special horse she was. Glad your shadow got to pet the calf you,and your family, have put so much work into already. Love those big deal looks on the faces of our children. I have one Grandchild, so far, from my three. Hope your day is going good as well.

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PD, Heidi ad Indianshuffler thanks for the kind words about Foxy. She was one of the good ones.

Calving season is in full swing. Between the Grande and the heifers we are having about 15 calves per day. I am taking care of the heifers and my partner is managing the older cows at the Grande. The heifers require a lot more care. When they look like they are close to calving we bring them from the pasture to the barn and stall them until they calve. We check on them every few hours in case they need assistance calving. Once they have had their calf we keep them together in the stalls for a day or two so they can bond together and figure things out a little. Heifers are naive and this keeps them from loosing their calves or switching calves (most of the time). Had one calf hide in the brush after we turned them back out to pasture. His mother couldn't find him. On the second day I finally found him and put them back together in the stall. So basically, he starved for two days then gorged when I put them back together. I hope he doesn't get sick. I'll have to watch him for the next couple of days.

One of my projects for the last couple of days has been to graft a twin onto a heifer that lost her calf. Often times a cow can't raise two calves so we take one of the calves and try to get anther cow to "take it". Most of the time a cow will not just take a different calf so we try to trick the cow into thinking the new calf is hers. We have sprayed scented hair spray on the cows nose and on the calf, so she can't tell by smell that the calf is not hers. We have hobbled the cow and more or less forced the cow to accept the calf. We have put the cow and calf together and 'siced' the dogs on them- hoping that the protective instincts of the cow will help her bond to the calf. But we have had the most success by skinning the dead calf and tying the skin on the new calf. We did this a couple of days ago and it has worked so far. This morning I will take the skin off the calf and see if she still likes the calf. If so, I'll give them another day in the stall together and turn them out tomorrow.

Had to charge the battery of the loader again yesterday morning. As I was waiting for it to charge I took a self portrait- I think the kids call it a "selfie". I walked around the truck an saw my reflection in the window and thought it pretty well summed up what I had been doing. Dirty truck window from driving 40 miles a day round trip on muddy roads, reflection of me and the haystack, saddle in the back seat of the pickup, and my grand daughter's pink car seat. What do you think?

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Rod,

I think it looks like a rancher, that works hard putting long hours, so the rest of us can have pot roast hamburger & steak on our plate. You are just part of real America, we have dairy farmer down from me, & his truck wouldn't look much different, he just doesn't have to cover the acres or the miles that you do. Best Wishes. PD

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This morning while feeding the heifers, I noticed one of them did not come up to the feed ground. She kept hanging around a cut bank on the creek. When I finished feeding I walked down to the creek and sure enough her calf had been swept downstream from the crossing and was trapped at the bottom of the bank.

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I trotted back to the truck, grabbed my rope and hustled back to the creek. I roped the calf and pulled it up the bank. Mama was a little upset and was blowing snot on my back as I was turning the calf loose. In a moment the calf was back with mama.

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By the time we left I noticed the pair was back on the feed ground together (6th from the left). All was well.

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I told my shadow to stay in the truck while I was gone. I didn't want her down by the creek while I was busy, especially with a mama cow that was bound to be upset.

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I guess technically, she is still in (on) the truck.

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Rod,

Very cool pictures of the unexpected, that you have to deal with, not something we always get to see up close & personal. But I'm glad your grandaughter stayed close to the truck, so she was safe & out harms. But can't blame her for wanting to get a better view. You live in some very pretty countryside. Best Wishes. PD

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PD,

It seems like there is something different every day. It usually 'aint' boring.

You seem to be a nice guy. I'd bet you would be pleasant company to 'clean out' a big pasture with.

Rod

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I believe you could win a selfie contest. That is such an apt shot of unusual authentic content.

Glad your calf rescue went so well, and you only got mama snot on your back as a result. Nothing more dangerous than an unhappy mama. Did your calfskin coat gambit move convince the other mama cow to keep the calf? Is the gluttonous, days lost calf, doing okay? Are most of your calfs here now?

I see you shadows car seat color matches her boots. I like that color coordination. Must have made you smile in wry humor to see her truck position when you got back. That is quite a shot too, with the mountains in the background, your shadow stands out well.

March has been a rough one here so far. Hope your has been better.

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IS

Everything has gone well. The calf that was lost is doing fine as is the grafted calf. I put them out on pasture and the cow is a devoted mother. We have another calf in the barn being grafted on a cow right now. This one looks like it will 'stick' also. I am about half way through calving my heifers. I shoot for a 2 month calving 'window'. I started on Feb 13th, which was about 10 days early, and I am one calf short of 1/2 done. My partner calves for quite a bit longer time. He is about 1/4 done.

We have continued to have a mild winter/early spring. I think we have only had 6 or 7 nights below freezing so far this month. I hear about all the severe weather the rest of the country has been having and I feel that I should feel guilty about all the good weather we have been having. But I don't, it has been great calving weather. The worry right now is that with warmer weather, the pathogens grow better. Calves seem to remain healthy when the weather is cold. The worst weather for illness seems to be warm days and cold nights. But we haven't had that. Just warm. I'll take it.

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Sorry to hear about Foxy’s passing. Those golden-hearted horses are few and far between. I’ll be praying for the right horse for your grand-girls to come your way.

It was hard when we lost the sweet gelding I got my nieces & nephew. We all cried on that sad day.

My youngest niece has the same “I’ll do what you want…but I’ll do it my way” ethic as your lovely pink-booted shadow. They sure can steal your heart and keep you on your toes at the same time! :rotf: It’s amazing how quickly they go from little girls with manure on their boots to young ladies! My miss-mischief is excited about getting her learner’s permit in April and asked if she could drive my truck when they come down this summer. There is a huge difference between driving straight roads on flat land and driving the narrow twisty roads with steep drop-offs around here. I’m sure there will be extra grey hairs on my head when they fly home in August!

My sister and her family are near Idaho Falls and they were talking about how warm winter has been this year. That can be very good when spring is normally icy cold and deadly to wet newborns. And dangerous when Summer lightening turns trees and pastures into deadly walls of flame. They and family friends near Parma both flood irrigate from the Snake River. Do you have canals to irrigate too?

We’ve used Vicks Vapor Rub when matching up a momma and an orphan (or extra baby).

It sticks like glue and pretty much everything within ten feet of it, smells like Vicks. :sick:

My sister onced used a very expensive bottle of perfume on an Angora rabbit and another doe's extra kits. It worked and she was very happy!

As the owner of said bottle, I wasn't as happy as she was.

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Dondie.

I think that grey hair is standard OP for teaching new drivers. My 13 yo grand daughter is driving quite a bit around the ranch. Mostly because I need another driver at times. I am trying to keep her slowed down. But as she gains experience she naturally drives a little faster and faster. (I keep her off the public roads).

We irrigate out of the creek that is in some of the photos on this thread. We are in the foothills and the first ranch out of the mountains. The ranch has the oldest (first) water rights of the creek. The creek runs Southward out of idaho into Nevada, turns east into Utah, then back to the North into Idaho again. After it reaches Idaho again it is captured in a reservoir that irrigates about 12,000 acres. . Here at the home place in the valley we use the same water from the canal system to grow alfalfa on our farm.

Vick's-- sounds like it might work.

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