Friday, April 25, 2014

Growin' on grass....

I took my pick-up truck out to visit the sheep this morning.  I took them some alfalfa cake.  They came to me, but I think they were just as content to nibble grass, wild onions, and wild parsley.  The lambs are growing thick and stocky, and they are looking more mature all the time.  When they get this size, and even bigger, they tend to look silly nursing their mothers on their knees.  I watched the lambs nibble the tiniest weeds while their mothers ate the big pieces of cake.  Sheep have the neatest little mouths on earth.  They can nibble low weeds that would be hard for us to pull up with our fingers.  They're known for their weed-eating.  If you ever have a patch of land that needs intense  weeding, just hire a band of sheep to do it for you!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New spring arrivals are here!

 A ball of fluff under the heat lamp in early morning.

Twenty-one pullets and one cockerel are amongst the new spring arrivals here.  They arrived through the mail to our local feed store.  I sent OnlyDaughter and her girls, Bee and Rootie Toot to go fetch them for me since Hubby would be late to town to get them.  The littles were thrilled, to say the least, that they would be able to enjoy baby chicks at their house for a little while.

When the chickies got home, I had a place all ready for them with cozy straw bedding and a little sugar water and chick feed.  Of course, there is always a nice, warm heat lamp above to keep things the right temperature for little fuzzball chicks.  This year I ordered:  Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, American Auracana, and Red Sexlinks.  I didn't order a single white chick (or Leghorn) for some reason.  Everyone here made the honored walk out to the coop to see the New Arrivals -- Peach and Toodles and Little Boy Blue along with their mama and new DIL.  It's always a thrill to see the chicks.

I've been going to make a blog post time and time again and either decide there is nothing to say or I decide that I don't want to do it.  It's not that I don't think of you, I do, but the springtime bug has got me and I'm preferring to be out of doors rather than indoors typing on the computer.  We've had some really nice days and so all of us ladies here have been working on our lawns and sprucing up flower beds and veggie beds.  Not that one can do any sort of planting just yet, but it's fun to get things cleaned up and ready.  I felt of the soil in my veggie beds and it's quite cold yet.  Someone once told me that if you can sit comfortably with your bare butt in the soil, it's ready to plant. I did buy my seed potatoes and onion sets.  I cut up the spuds so they could scab over and soon I will toss those in the potato patch.  They can go in early-ish.

The men farmed up a 24 acre spot on the hayfield where we re-fenced last year and are seeding it now with barley, peas, and crested wheat grass.  We're hoping this is perfect timing because we are expecting moisture in just a couple days.  Hubs and I are aerating our lawn.  It surely needs some deep, lovingkindness.  We'll also over-seed it after that is done.

Miss Bee is having her 3rd birthday party today and we're all happy to go help her celebrate.  Papa and I will be taking Peach and Toodles with us.  There will be hamburgers, salads, chips, and angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream for birthday cake!  Wahoo!

Now I must away to the outdoors.  There is more dirt to shovel and fling on the yard.  One more thing I wish to share with you.  If you are like me and have rough, dry hands from being in the dirt and water you will like Salt Scrub.  It's so easy and very effective.  You can use this on rough feet too, but don't use it in the shower or the oil will make the floor slick enough to fall.

Salt Scrub

1/2 c. salt (fine sea salt and course salt)
1/3 c. olive oil (or other oils you prefer)
Essential Oil of choice to desired strength of smell.  (I used lemon oil and lavender oil)

Mix in a small mason jar and stir well.  Set by the sink where you wash up from outside chores.  I wash with soap first and then with the Salt Scrub. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Springtime happenings on the ranch...

 (tulips spearing through the cold soil)

 (Mr. T, a twin and bottle baby)

( First-time mamas and their calvies)

(House finch sat perched on the skull all afternoon.)

Howdy Friends!!
It's been a busy few weeks here -- lots of calves born to their mamas who are first-timers at having babies.  It's been a challenging  month with backwards-born calves and a few heifers that were taken to the vet for c-sections.  We're still getting up in the night to check on them.  Thankfully we're getting close to the end with just four heifers left to have their calves.  

The mature cows have started having their babies too.  They are out in the pastures doing their thing.  We drive out there and check on them a couple times a day or more, depending on the weather.  This past week we've had the springy-est week of all.  All the snow melted off and there's lots of water in reservoirs and green grass coming up.  We are still feeding everything every day because there is not enough green grass yet for good grazing so we supplement with hay and alfalfa cake.  

The sheep went through a bout of illness.  We had coccidiosis in the herd which is a nasty digestive disease, something like getting e coli.  We had to give them an oral liquid medication every day for 5 days in a row -- both ewes and their lambs.  That's about 500 mouths to open each day.  It was quite a job, but now that it is over, the sheep look great and are happily out grazing the pastures.  The lambs are getting so big.

More and more birds are migrating home for the summer -- ducks of all varieties, killdeer, and our most recent sighting was a pair of  Sandhill Cranes.  Just a couple days ago Hubs and I were taking mineral and salt out to all the livestock, and we drove up to a pair of Sandhill Cranes.  What a thrill!  I wish I had had my camera, but no. You can see them here at All About Birds if you're curious.  We usually have few pair who choose to stay with us for the summer.

We have so much water around that the beavers are moving in on us.  This is a rare thing.  There are lots of beaver on the River where there are lots of trees, but not here on the prairie.  Last evening OldestSon thought he saw one of the dogs swimming in the pond next to our house, but on closer examination he found it wasn't a dog.  The critter took a dive under water and there was the obvious big, flat tail sticking up in the air.  We noticed a few young cottonwood trees were gnawed down right next to the water.  This is the trouble with beaver -- tree eating.  As I walked to the barn in the dark at 3 a.m. to check heifers, I  heard a mighty splash right next to me.  I can only guess what it was.  Bah!

Easter is on the way and I've been reading the Gospels, particularly Matthew and Mark so far.  What seems to stand out to me as I read is that everywhere Jesus went, he healed people.  He healed Peter's mother in law, Jairus' daughter, a possessed man, lepers, the lame, blind, and deaf.  No matter where Jesus went, the crowds laid their sick in the streets or pressed in on Him that they might touch the fringe of His cloak, and as many as touched it were being cured.  I wrote in my notebook, "Jesus is The Cure."  He is. 

Thanks for stopping by to visit.  I've missed you.


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