Staying Shiny

My life as a Uber-geek in a Bridal world

Being a Farm Girl

So the last two weeks have been crazy and we've put a lot of mile on our little car.  Usually we go to the farm every May long weekend to brand cattle but this year things went a little differently.  Friday (the week before the long weekend) I get a text from J while I was at work that we needed to head out to the farm asap as things had gone bad at the farm.  We rushed out after I got off work and found that things were a bit of a mess.  The cattle where breaking down fences and a new baby colt had been attacked by a coyote. By the time we got there, J's dad had gotten the cattle into the big corral and the colt and it's mom into a stall in the barn.

We got straight to work.  Me, J, B and my nephew T2 went to work sorting the cattle into 3 groups.  One to stay in the field at the farm, one to go to the community pasture, and one to go to the west pasture.  It was going well until I realized that the list I was working off wasn't divided correctly and we had too many cattle in one pen.  It was getting really dark by this point so it was hard to see the tags in the cattle's ears.  We had to give up for the night, but at least we got them settled.  J and T2 did have to do a little hunting to find one mama that had gotten separated from her calf so they didn't break a fence in the night trying to find each other but they managed to do it.  The next day I had to go back to town to go to work.

After working, I headed back out to the farm and found the J, B, T2 and one of our other nephews W just finishing up with the cattle.  The got them all sorted and the cattle for the west pasture hauled away.  Everything was ready to go to brand the next day.  We headed back to the other farm to check on the colt. It was the first time I had seen her and it broke my heart.  The coyote had really done a number on her.  It attacked her rear end and had ripped her up very badly.  Her right hipbone was visible through the wound but she's a fighter.  She was up and walking around and eating well.  And she's gorgeous!  Thankfully she has a really gentle mama so we get easily get into the stall and clean and doctor her when needed.  I love the name B picked for her too.  Because the horses are purebred, their names often have a  bit of their parents name in it as well making it easy to follow the line back. (ie Silver and Gold to Silver Warrior to Warrior Princess)  The colt's mom is names Penny so B named her Penny Many Wounds.  I took some pictures of her about 18 hours after the attack.  Warning, the images are graphic.  The black/dark blue inside the wounds is bactine for pain and to prevent infection.  Just remember, she is doing very well.

Left leg after coyote attack.  
Right leg after coyote attack
Mama and Baby 
Sunday, we decided to brand.  It was a week earlier than we had planned but the cattle were getting restless and hay was starting to run low.  Better to get it done early and move them to the pasture with loads of fresh grass.  The only bad part with this was that the rest of the family had not planned on being out there until next weekend.  They all managed to rearrange their schedules to make it out and by the time they got there we were ready to go.  One of the great parts of my nephews getting older (and bigger!  Holy have they grown) is that they are more than capable of jumping in to help us now. J and B got se up on the calf table while T2 and I made a plan to push the calves.  Usually J and I do this job but it's time for T2 to learn the ropes.  I loaded the calves in the chute and moved them forward and then T2 would take them one at a time and load them into the calf table to be branded/vaccinated etc.  W learned how to vaccinate this year and did a great job.  T2 was so awesome with the calves, who were exceptionally big this year.  He took a good kick in the chest at one point but kept on going with a smile on his face.  We got done in record time this year.  The best part for me was watching one of the dogs work.  Kobe is a two-year-old Border Collie.  She was bred to work animals, but she has had no training with them yet.  The most she has been taught is sit, come and where she is able to wander on the farm and where is off limits (such as the road).  I was to busy working to grab my phone and film her working but it was amazing to see.  No one told her what to do.  She sat in the alley and watched us for the first few calves and then suddenly it was like everything clicked for her.  She would lie in the alley with one eye one the calves in the pen that were finished one one eye on the calf in the table.  When the calf in the table was finished, she would jump up and lead it into the pen with the other animals.  She kept a watchful eye on them and got it in her head that they all needed to stay together in the far corner of the pen.  If one began to wander away from the rest, she would jump and and herd it back with the others.  She never barked once or nipped at any of the calves.  It was amazing to watch really.  Pure instinct.  She's going to be one heck of a cattle dog.

After 3 long days of working with the cattle and the horses J and I were exhausted so we headed back to town.  That night we got the call that a second colt had been attacked.  Thank goodness this one wasn't as bad.  It has a fighter for a mama and she beat them off before they could do too much damage.

Since I already had the long weekend off, we decided to go back out to the farm for the long weekend anyway and do some fix up jobs that had been neglected over time.  Everyone came out with their trailers and tents and we had a very productive weekend.  Me, J and the kids rebuilt a couple of the corrals and cleaned up a bunch of wood that was lying around.  It was so great to get down and dirty and work hard, eat amazing food and sit by the campfire and visit each night.
J and the boys hard at work on the corral
Finished corral

Sunday we decided we had had enough of building fences so we decided to move the horses from the lake up to the other pasture out west.  That involved moving them across the road from the lake, behind the house and into the round pen where we could load them up into the trailer to move.  In the past this hasn't been the most difficult challenge, but with the attacks this year those mares where high strung and skittish.  We made a plan of how to do things and went into action.  
A few of the herd at the lake before we moved them

We dropped of J's sister and one of the boys down the road a little ways to keep them from turning and J's mom and I took our post a little further up the road.  W haltered Penny and brought her out to the gate by the lake to lead the herd across.  That kid was amazing.  Here he was holding this incredibly strong animal who wanted nothing more than to get back to her baby and he kept her under control and kept his cool.  After a few tries we finally got the herd to follow W and Penny and that kid just took off running to show them where to go.  Thank goodness we got them across the road safely as some cars just didn't pay attention to what was going on.  One we got them in the pasture behind the house, things fell apart.  One of the mares was being very uncooperative and kept breaking away and causing the herd to scatter.  Poor W was working so hard to keep Penny under control and she just kept spinning around him and nipping at him constantly.  One of the colts took a hard tumble when the herd turned but she got up and kept on running.  I watched the poor little one who had been attacked take a hard step into a badger hole and open up it's scab pretty good.  As frustrating as it was, it was a thing of beauty to watch.  There's something about a herd of horses running that is just beautiful.  I wish I could have stopped to take a picture.  One of the coolest things I saw was my one nephew outrun a horse.  One of the mares cut from the herd and ran towards him full tilt.  He waved his arms to try to get her to turn but she wasn't stopping.  I thought for sure she would get past him and we'd have to start over but he turned and took off running, got ahead of her and managed to turn her back to the herd and the right direction.  After a while, we finally got them moved and into the round pen where they could settle for a bit and have a rest before we loaded them to move.  Those poor babies were so tired!  They just laid out where ever there was some grass and took a nap.  I took the time to play with Jack a bit and pet T's horse Appy.  
Simple Jack and a baby bunny

I love it at the farm.  I would be happy to stay there all the time!  It's so peaceful out there and I love the hard work.  Here's a few more pics from the weekend.
Our home away from home
The kids decided to make Smores by wrapping the whole thing in tinfoil...
The result of the Smore attempt...
J was playing fetch with the dogs and got the toy stuck on the power line.  B got the tractor to help him get it down. Please don't attempt this yourself.  They are trained "professionals"
The dogs after a long game of fetch...all tuckered out
The view over the lake every night.  This is why I love being a farm girl.


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