by Tammy Taylor
Summer is officially here and WHEW it’s really heating up lately. We’ve already endured one the the wettest springs in history around here so many of the routine tasks we typically stay on top of have been pushed back for drier weather. Although there are still plenty of muddy areas around the ranch, we’ve got lots to do today so we’ll do whatever we need to do to get the job done. Did you ever wonder what a typical day at our NE Texas ranch really looks like? C’mon with me for A Day At The Ranch…
Knowing all we had to do today I was wide awake at 5:00 a.m. & ready to get the day started. I typically work from my computer in the mornings and as I was hacking away on the keyboard I glanced out the window to my world. The sun was just coming up and the cattle in the closest paddock were all waking up & walking up the hill to graze. Beautiful! As I stepped out on the porch to snap this shot I was serenaded by all manner of birds – their songs all coming together in perfect harmony. Closing my eyes and breathing deeply I was very aware of all my many blessings, especially living and working at a place that speaks to my heart. It’s gonna be a great day!
Today we’re hoping to pregnancy-check several cows in our herd. To test for pregnancy we collect a small sample of blood to mail off to the lab, which tests it for the presence of a pregnancy-specific protein. In preparation for today we’d already rotated the cattle to a nearby pasture so all we’ll need to do today is bring them into the barn paddock, into the pens, sort them and run the cows that we want to check through the chute. Although slated for a PG check, there was no need to check this sweet girl since the bull wanted to be her one & only the whole time we were moving to the barn! I’m guessing she’s in heat now so we’ll check her next month.
Soon the cattle were all sorted and the blood samples were taken, so we moved them back into the pasture. Since we were rotating pastures anyway we pulled the mama who calved last week and blended her & the calf in with this group of the herd. This dam breeds back amazingly quickly and we don’t want to miss that first window of breeding opportunity!
Then we headed to the post office to mail the samples to the lab. While we were out we ran to the hardware/feed store in a nearby town to pick up the rope halter we’ll be using to halter-train one of our prettiest & most calm heifers. I love that RancherMan insisted on buying the pink one for me… 🙂
Then we sped back home where we grabbed a bite of lunch & I spent a little time answering emails, etc. When we saw the other group of the herd coming close to the fence we decided to go ahead & separate two of the animals into a pen close to the house where we could interact with them more easily: the heifer we want to halter break and the adult is the last calving hold-out cow. We figured since cows don’t typically like to be alone we’d pair these two up so we could keep close tabs on both of them at the same time.
After they had settled comfortably in the pen for a bit RancherMan brought the heifer into a pen, slipped the halter on her to get her accustomed to it and worked with her for a bit, then released her back with the mama-to-be. Although this heifer is already very calm, we’ll work with her each day to get her accustomed to being handled so much. It always comes with a thorough brushing and some cattle cake – I think she’s gonna like this routine!
Now it’s time for me to swish inside to whip up a little supper for us. I knew it would be a busy day for us today and that I’d drag in after a long, hot day not wanting to spend time in the kitchen, so I let my slow cooker do the cooking for me. The Spicy Whole Chicken was cooked to perfection, all I needed to do for a healthy meal was add a couple of veggie sides and some homemade bread – DONE!
After supper with the sun beginning to get lower in the sky I get out to the veggie garden for a bit. It’s so hot with the sun right overhead that I use the evening hours to do garden chores, less intense sun rays and a little bit of shade to boot. Although there’s not much produce in the garden yet, I’m struggling mightily with bermuda grass taking over my raised beds this year due to an incredibly wet spring that let it get away from me. So I spend each evening out there checking for pests and pulling grass & weeds, I hope to be able to get the upper hand with daily persistence, but Bermuda grass is a formidable foe. Time will tell…
So there you have it, a typical day here at the ranch. It can be hard, hot, grimy work but there’s absolutely no other life I’d rather live!