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Ranch Life Adventures

a long day to lead to a weekend

USA | Tuesday, 17 November 2009 | Views [644]

Ever had one of those days that seem to be a week long?? well Friday was one of them.

We woke to a day that was planned to be busy - but not laborious. Mostly bookwork and other house(cabin)work.

As Sara took her coffee into the top heifer paddock to have a relaxing start to the day, the morning was spoiled as she found a number of them had pink eye - 2 of them were real bad - and poor Delores had passed. No time for breakfast, i quickly dressed and we went out to round the rest of the heifers up; one for easy treatment of the sick and to check the rest, and two so that they wouldn't be in the way as I brought in the tractor to remove her remains. Thankfully they were fairly co-operative as we guided them into the pens.

Two days ago when I had put out feed Delores had a cough, but was otherwise was fine - not at all docile like Phoenix had been when she was close to death (thankfully we saved her). Phoenix was from the same herd, and we had treated many of the cows when we found she was sick. So to hear Delores cough we assumed its was just a cough in the recovery process.

I'm guessing you've heard the sayings about assuming right?

Now I knew at the start that I was learning to drive the tractor so I would be helpful whilst Ralph is in Australia - never in that time did I imagine that this is how I would be putting those skills into practice.

Dressed for messy work, and well gloved I went and got the chain and tractor and brought them to Sara in the paddock. Now the driving was fine, and the passing the chain to Sara was fine.

But when it came to touching the legs so chain them to the back of the tractor so she could be moved..... well I'm glad I hadn't had time for breakfast :S It's a strange feeling, to be lifting a deceased animal.I got through it though, we managed to pretty well slide in the back lifter under her head and ankles, and with the chain holding her steady we lifted her to a point where she wouldn't be harshly dragged along the ground.

I hopped back up in the cab and started the long, slow trip to coyote hill, regularly checking my mirrors to make sure my load was still there.

I don't understand this about dogs - why must they lick, sniff, eat and roll in everything smelly and disgusting that they find??  It's rather disconcerting to need to continually shoo Tess away from where we were working this particular morn.

We made it to Coyote Hill. After what felt like hours of driving across the entire property (in reality it was possibly 20mins?). Here is where my skills were practiced - I needed to turn the tractor and gently reverse into a brushy area, all without letting Delores slip under the tires...

I made it in, the chains had held with barely inches to spare between her and the tire Delores reached her final resting place. Once more we were required to push and pull on her legs to loosen the chains. We lowered her onto the ground, again had to shoo Tess away from her. And with that the job was done. We drove back to the cabin, Sara on the quad, I in the tractor.

Drained from the day we went to the cabin, it felt late in the day yet the time was only about 10/11am. We had more work to do, and all before we picked up the boys from school.

We head back out. Armed with syringes, needles and medicines we get stuck into it. Individually running each of the 28 animals through the race. Checking their eyes, snot and weight we (Sara) administered the necessary medications.
We got into a short of rhythm. I would stand by end with the gate shut and wait for Sara to get one into the pens. Then we'd let it up the race. We'd record the weights -and many had gained weight a good sign as they are all rather young still. It was repetitive and time consuming. Even a bit risky as some of the more boisterous ones came through. The ones to watch though were the extremely calm ones. They'd be catatonic, stop thinking and any move they made would be sudden and dangerous if you were in the wrong place.
One guy left his mark on my hand as he jumped, butted and kicked as I was releasing the head catch, butting the lever hard against the palm of my hand, jarring my body -i could feel in the shock wave in my other hand! Thankfully its not as bad as it could've been, I haven't bruised and it hardly hurts - only if i catch it on a particular angle.
The last one is run through. Zevon, he's one of the oldest in the herd, and he's clear. *deep breath* and Done.
Phew another days work done. Now we can stop for lunch. But the work isn't over. As I'm learning, ranch work is never done - you just need to know when and where to stop.

Now the afternoon wasn't quite so emotionally draining. We sorted the beef orders we had for the weekend (I think, man it feels like I'm recounting something from weeks ago, not a mere 3 days ago...)
As Sara left to pick up the boys, i head out in the tractor again (first with Lysol [its like glen 20] in hand for the steering wheel and levers). I put out the bales, it would've been quicker and a little easier if Tess could get the gates, unfortunately she doesn't have opposable thumbs... hehe.
The small bulls were funny, before i even get the chance to finish unloading the bale they're into it, tearing it apart. As i leave i see them, burrowing themselves into the bale coming out with hay all over their faces :)

4pm rolls by and Sara still hasn't had a chance to do any bookwork- we've been flat out since 8am and we still need to do the rounds to check up on everyone.
So we load up some cubes (a little treat for the cows) the alfalfa, the boys and some cameras into Al(the ranch truck) and head off.

Pure natural beauty and some time for photography was exactly what I needed.
We stopped first in one of the empty paddocks, by one of the prettiest dams (or tanks as they're called here) and I scoped the place for a possible picnic spot- :) its a winner.
Its peaceful, the sun was perfectly positioned, not too hot nor cold. It felt reeeal good to do something creative again, we've been so busy that any chance I have to put my feet up - i take it! ;)
I'm real please with how they came out, my favourite is the one of the grass. Eric and Alex had a go at taking some as well - there's some talent there in Eric, with a little tuition and practice I envision that he'll bring up some wonderful photos.

Twas really wonderful to finish off the day that way, coming full circle in a way, as we watched to see if any of our pregnant mumma's will be delivering early.

As we arrived back at the cabin, as much as Sara and I would have loved to just sleep, we soldiered on and cooked up a wonderful risotto with marinated beef cutlets for dinner mm mm mmmmmm :)
We made it through, the boys were in bed and as much work as we could do was done. So finally, after a week our day was done and we could sleep. Sleep to face another long day as we took a beef delivery to Village Foods (a supermarket) on our way to the renaissance Fair. But that's another story ;)

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