A Day in the Life – August

Today started as a quiet Sunday with not too many jobs on the list. We had a quick breakfast and headed out to move a small group of cows to a new pasture. Everything was went well, we found the cows easily and moved them through their pasture to the gate into the next.  Only one cow decided that she wanted to go in a different direction, but she came back through to the others quickly after she realized the herd was leaving her behind.  We chased them down to the water, visited with the property owners and headed on our way to town for a snack while the boys napped.  Last night was a late night of hauling square bales, so both boys were ready for a rest.

We decided that we would check another group on our way home since the boys were still sleeping.  As we were driving to the pasture, we received a phone call to say that the neighbors had a bull and they weren’t sure if it was ours.  Perfect timing, we are only 5 minutes away! Sure enough, one of our yearling bulls decided to venture into the neighbors and seemed quite content with his new group of “girls”!

Back home we went to get the stock trailer, except the last load of square bales needs to be unloaded! We quickly put our show heifer in the barn under the fan, a few hours late, and unloaded the hay.  A quick stop for lunch and then the bull is loaded and back home.

Next, we need to check the fence to see where he got out and to see if any of the cows and calves went with him.  Lucky for me, my parents were willing to check the fence so that the boys had a chance to play. The cows and calves were all in!! The boys and I spent some time playing in the house and then playing outside and checking the garden.

Supper time and then a quick trip outside to rinse our show heifer.  Bedtime for the boys and a few minutes of catch up time and housework for me!

Life on the ranch is never predictable! I wonder what will be on the agenda for tomorrow?

 

Day in the Life – April

April on the ranch is start of a very busy season!  During April and May there always seems to be a thousand different tasks that need to be done and there are never enough days to get it all done!  Between feeding cows, checking calves, branding calves, fixing fences, harrowing fields, planting new fields and turning out cows, the days are long!

On Wednesday, my day started out by finalizing some details the Kamloops Stockmen’s Association Annual General Meeting that was to start at 3pm.  I have been the secretary/treasurer for the Kamloops Stockmen’s for the past eight years and today will be my last meeting as the secretary/treasurer.  I have really enjoyed the position and now it is time to pass it along to someone new.

I dressed and fed the boys, quickly cleaned up around the house ready to go outside into the snow! Yes, snow! We have been getting a lot of moisture this spring and it is still not very “spring” like! Hopefully the weather will warm up soon so the grass will start to grow.

Next, my parents, the boys and I started the morning chores.  Each morning in April, we feed grain to a few animals, feed hay to the various groups, check the last few cows who haven’t calved, and check all the calves to make sure they are healthy.

My mom and I decided that we would put some fresh straw in the calf shelters since it was so wet outside. One of the last 3 cows to calve (14-63) had a nice little heifer calf the evening before and the calf was cuddling up in the new straw.  When we went to leave, I looked up over the top of the hill and I could see a cow who looked like she had recently calved.  We walk up to find 14-63 licking another little heifer calf! Since it was so wet, we put both calves in the trailer pulled by our Polaris Ranger and took them into the barn to dry off.  Since 14-63 is a young cow (this is her second-time calving), we wanted to watch the calves closely to make sure each of them was getting enough milk.  We made up a bottle of colostrum just to make sure each calf had a good drink prior to leaving for the meeting.

14-63 – October 2016

We headed back to the house to quickly change as the boys had a doctor’s appointment in town before the meeting. My dad met us in town after the appointments to take the boys home to feed the bottle lamb and to babysit while my mom and I attended the meeting.

The Kamloops Stockmen’s Association is a regional livestock association representing the livestock producers in our area.  At this meeting, we have various guests attend to update the members on current issues, events and programs. We have a great meeting with lots of informative talks and a wonderful supper!

When we arrived home from the meeting, we did a quick phone call to a neighbor to update him on the meeting as he couldn’t attend and I put the boys to bed. I had a few minutes to finalize some details and answered some emails and went to bed ready to start the next busy day!

A Day in the Life – March 2017

A day in the life, and quite the day it was today!  The morning started by having a quiet breakfast with the boys while doing some laundry, making beds and updating the ranch calf book.   My calf book goes everywhere with me this time of year!

We all got dressed and headed outside in the windy weather and arrived at the barn to my mom and dad putting a cow (7-47) in the cattle squeeze.  She had been calving since 5am and it was now 8am and she was not progressing.  Everything felt normal with 2 front feet and a head coming, so we let her out to give her some more time.  The boys, my mom and I cleaned the barn and I processed the calf from yesterday, as we do each morning.  This involves tagging, dehorning, giving 2 needles (selenium and vitamin A & D) and if it is a bull calf, sometimes castrating him.  We then walked out to the field with all the cow/calf pairs and checked each calf to make sure he/she was healthy and checked each cow’s udder to make sure her teats are all getting nursed.  Sometimes a cow may not allow her calf to nurse one or more teats as they may be sore and if that is the case, we will bring her in closer to the barn to monitor.

Next, we waited in our supply room to watch if 7-47 would start progressing further and finally decided that we must help her as she obviously was not “getting down to business”.  Back into the squeeze and we assisted with the delivery  a small bull calf.  My first comment was “small… this cow never has a small calf”! We let 7-47 lick her calf for a few minutes and then decided to take them into the barn as the wind was very chilly.  That was when things got interesting!! We had previously let a cow and calf into the barnyard who we are having to watch closely as the cow over the past couple years has been getting very protective of her calves.  Needless to say we were trying to get the 7-47 and her calf into the barn while watching our backs! Both of my boys were sitting in the Chariot watching us from outside the barnyard pen.  Our cows are usually very quiet, so this isn’t something we experience often! But suddenly we see more feet coming out of 7-47! Twins!  So, back into the pen she goes.  We put a halter on her while she is licking the bull calf and assisted with the delivery of the next calf, a heifer! Both calves were doing well but we decided to give them a bit of colostrum. The colostrum will help them get going faster in the cold, windy weather and then we can check them again when we get home from delivering beef. Even though 7-47 is 10 year old, she appeared mystified by the fact that she had 2 calves and not 1.  After some difficulty, we give one calf colostrum and the other calf is starting to get up so he should be able to nurse on his own soon.

The boys, my mom and I quickly went home to change our clothes and pack the truck as we had to deliver some beef packages and ground beef to local customers in town at 2pm.  I answered some emails and Facebook messages about Usborne books on our way out the door as I am an Independent Consultant with Usborne Books. We delivered the beef and went to get our side-by-side tire fixed while my dad stayed home to “babysit” the cow herd.  Once we got home, it was time to check the twins again, make supper and put the boys to bed. I was lucky enough to stay in the house while my parents checked the cow herd and the twins.   After supper, it started to snow so my parents quickly went back outside to put 7-47 into the barn.  By the time 11pm rolled around, we had over 6 inches of snow on the ground.

Late nights have been catching up with me so I had a quick nap with the boys and then I worked on entering the daily ranch records into our Cattlemax program.  Cattlemax is an online herd management software program that we use for our cattle records. I wrote this post, scheduled some Facebook posts for the next day and prepared my son’s homeschool curriculum ready for tomorrow.  Hopefully tomorrow will go smoothly so we can get some school done! Time for some sleep so I can be ready for another adventure filled day tomorrow.

Day in the Life – December

Every month for the next year I will give you some insight into my day as a homeschool mom, rancher and blogger.  Ranch life changes every month based on the seasons; therefore, one of the best things about ranching is that there is a lot of variety in our monthly tasks.

December is a slower month on the ranch so this gives us time to catch up on other tasks and get ready for Christmas.  I love our evenings in the house during December but by the time spring arrives, I am ready to be outside more!

I am fortunate as I am not the only one who does the daily feeding tasks on the ranch.  My parents and I share the tasks depending on our schedules each day. Today, I was responsible for feeding the calves and bulls.

Here is an overview of my day today.

6am – We woke up, I made the beds and dressed the boys.  We then did the Elf on the Shelf activity for the day – snowflake making!!  I started breakfast while the boys played.

Elf on the Shelf
Elf on the Shelf

7am – We had breakfast and then I cleaned up while the boys played again.  The boys play quite well together in the morning prior to going outside to feed.

8am – We headed outside to do the feeding.  My youngest was in the backpack and the other helped me move the calves to the feed troughs to feed the grain. The calves have been recently started on grain, so for the first couple weeks we must move them to the troughs to make sure they all come.  After a couple weeks, they will usually meet us at the grain bin.  The feeding of grain usually takes me about an hour with the boys.  We also checked water, salt and minerals and hay for the calves.up close

9am – My youngest was still sleeping in the backpack so I had a quick shower and did some laundry.

9:30 – We made homemade popsicles together, as suggested by my boys.

10:00 – We got ready to go to town for a children’s Christmas party at our local Prairie Coast Equipment dealership , made a quick lunch and tidied up around the house. The boys also did some colouring.

11:00 – Drove to town, went to the Christmas party and then stopped at a couple stores to pick up groceries.

2:30 – Arrived back at home, put the ingredients in the bread machine for buns, played with the boys.

3:30 – The boys and I got ready to go back outside to do the evening chores.  We spent some extra time petting my son’s show heifer.

Grain 4:45 – Back in the house, and I started to get supper ready. We had leftovers, so I had some more time to play with the boys and tidy up before supper.  My husband got home so we all have a visit around the table while waiting for supper.

5:30 – Supper and then we all watched a Christmas movie together.

7:00 – Boys fell asleep. I spent the rest of the evening cleaning house, getting the Elf on the Shelf ready for tomorrow, working on my blog, organizing my photos on the computer, getting a craft ready for us to do tomorrow and doing some laundry.

11:00 – Bedtime!

Check back in January for a new Day in the Life post!