What a May Back at the Ranch

It has been a great May back at the ranch and it is only the 19th. We had our first little filly and over an inch and a half of rain.

It seems so strange to have a small colt on the ranch. I have always worked with cattle and had an old horse around to drive them if necessary. It is very different being around a mother horse and her newborn. The mare is more than a little on the wild side so we were tickled when she trotted up to us with her little filly by her side.

Back at the ranch, it is green from the rain. The entire inch and half sank deep into the ground and did not run off. We are getting the entire benefit of the rain and the pastures and cows show it.

The cows are all fat and the calves are sleek and growing fast. The garden in coming on and life is about perfect back at the ranch.

May 20, 2012  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Our Little Filly Back at the Ranch

Mother and filly are doing fine

Our newest addition Back at the ranch

May 20, 2012  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

When Will the World Slow Down?

It seems that things are speeding up rather than slowing down. With income taxes out of the way for both the business, our partners and our personal taxes, things should have slowed down to a more tolerable pace. Unfortunately, this year it seems to just have spring boarded us into even more projects that need to be dealt with.

All but one cow has presented us with her 2012 model calf. Number 4 is due in June, so she has a ways to go. Our six new heifers, including the twins have grown and are ready to meet with the bull back at the ranch. We did manage to get the garden planted this last weekend. I just hope it is not too early and a late frost knocks it out.

While my husband and I are not your standard “preppers” we do believe in being as self-sufficient as possible. We raise beef and grow as much as our own food as possible. The difficulty comes with doing as much traveling was we do. With needing to be across the state to make an income, we have to lean on friends to take care of the ranch while we are gone.

The garden, however, is another matter. We use timers and sprinkler systems to handle the day to day watering and then spend part of the weekends doing the weeding and tending to the fruits of our labors.

It may not be how most people would like to spend their weekends, but it works for us. It is great to go back to the ranch and find squash, green beans and okra just ready to pick.

April 24, 2012   Posted in: Garden, Livestock  No Comments

The 2012 Models are Rolling Out

One of the first signs of spring back at the ranch is finding a surprise package. While you may know the new calves are coming, it is always thrilling to see the first calf of the year. This year’s surprise package was produced by our oldest lady, Malfia. It has been warm for February, and when we went out to tend to chores, there was Malfia with her new 2012 model watching us curiously.

The calf is solid black, and just like his two brothers before him, perfect. I had hoped for a heifer from Malfia this year, but another bull calf is just as welcomed. Cattle prices are setting record highs and his brothers have brought more than we expected.

While Malfia is not a registered Angus, the father of the baby is. We will not castrate this particular 2012 model either. He will make someone a great heifer bull and be more valuable to us to sell as breeding stock.

Within a couple of days of Malfia bringing in her surprise package, Buddy’s Sister presented us with our second surprise package. This was also a beautiful black bull calf. As Buddy’s Sister is a red cow rather than our standard black, he will be castrated and sold as a steer. Right now, steer calves weighing around 350 pounds are selling for over $2 per pound. My father use to say a new calf made it a $100 day back at the ranch. However, with the increase in prices, this new calf hits the ground at twice that making it a $200 day.

Three days later, Sweetheart brought in a prancing baby heifer. So, within a week, our little herd presented us with three 2012 models and more are on the way.

I just hope Goofy doesn’t domino with twins again. Or, if she does do the twin thing, that it is not during -2 and -4 degree weather!

It may be early in the year, but signs of spring are all around us and the 2012 models are beautiful and thriving back at the ranch.

March 5, 2012  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

A Celebration Back at the Ranch

Book Cover for Gran Quivira Rustler

"Gran Quivira Rustler " is now available from Amazon.com

I am having a quiet celebration this morning. My first romance novel was published yesterday at Amazon.com. It seems I have waited for this most of my life.

On a working ranch there are down times when you are waiting for something. It could be as simple as waiting for the sun to come up or waiting for a calf to make its appearance. As a child, I would use my down time to read and to scratch out stories in my unreadable handwriting.

As a pre-teen, my mom brought home an old manual typewriter. I actually fell in love with all of the buttons and would sit at that typewriter for hours. I had finally found a way to make my chicken scratch readable and thus, my true desire to become a freelance writer was born.

With the invention of the word processor, and later, the computer and the internet, I could live back at the ranch yet explore the world without leaving home. I found several avenues to express my thoughts and ideals by way of freelancing. Though I enjoy writing my articles, there has always been the dream to write novels.

It is with profound pride that I have published my first romance novel, “Gran Quivira Rustler.” It went live January 4, 2012 much to my satisfaction and personal delight. Now, I have the inspiration to continue my second novel, “Hostage Hearts” and hope to publish it before the end of the year.

Here is hoping to lots of waiting time during the upcoming year so that I may continue what I love while taking care of things back at the ranch.

January 5, 2012  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Freelance, Ranch  One Comment

Over 30 Days of Snow on the Ground and Counting

December 2011 has proven to be very challenging back at the ranch. We had a total of 3 huge storms which dumped five foot of snow. Now, we still have a good six inches covering the bulk of the ranch, but at least you can see spots on the pasture. The cows have actually begun foraging once again.

While I have lived at the ranch all of my life, I cannot recall a single year where the snow lasted more than just a week or so. This has been very challenging as it means higher feed bills, yet there is hope. I keep telling myself that all of that snow means green grass come spring.

There is the inevitable to all of this snow–the mud. While the pastures are still white, the roads are now several inches deep in boot sucking mud. The mud will literally pull your boots off of your feet as you try to tend to the livestock. What does a person do? Get out of bed early and do chores while the ground is still frozen! It is the only thing you can do when you are back at the ranch waiting for spring thaw!

January 4, 2012  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Livestock, Ranch  2 Comments

21 Days of snow, And Counting

When most people think of New Mexico, they think of arid, desert conditions. However, New Mexico has a surprising number of wonderful ski resorts. Back at the ranch, we normally see snowfall a few times a year. If we do get any quantity, it is usually gone within a week.

December has been unusual back at the ranch. We have had snow on the ground for over 21 days and we are still covered. Three major storms and one minor has kept our ground white.

When you have livestock to tend to, snow can be a major hazard. You have to get out, break the ice and feed everything. This is usually done before you feed yourself.

The benefits of all of this snow are many. Thus far, we have not had to fight the mud to get to the livestock and we know next spring will be green with life giving grass growing across the ranch. Soon, new calves will be arriving and summer will be much easier.

For now, it is a struggle to get up each morning and to dress for the negative temperatures. Getting vehicles started is a chore as is getting to the cows and horses to ensure they are tended to. Then it’s back to the ranch house to cook a huge breakfast to replenish our energy.

One can only look across the high drifts of snow and dream of a green spring back at the ranch.

December 26, 2011  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

Finally, we had a rain

It has been nearly a year since we last had a good rain back at the ranch. New Mexico is suffering through one of the worst droughts in history. We had an inch and six tenths on Friday, and another half inch on Sunday. At least now, we have a chance to get some grass to growing.

The twins are doing wonderfully well back at the ranch. Twin calves are very unusual and to have them born in negative 2 and negative 4 degree weather, we were lucky that they survived. We do plan on keeping them for breeder stock as both are heifer calves.

In the dairy industry, twin calves of the same sex are okay but opposite sexed twins are unlikely to be able to breed, thus they are sold. We have had confirmation of this from several sources. With both of our twin calves being female, we can raise them and stand a great chance of having twins on the ranch in the future.

When you have twins, one thing to be careful of is that they are getting enough nutrition. We feed the mother cow extra rations as well as have the calves on a creep feeder. This allows the calves to get their own special share of grain without the mother stealing it all.

August 3, 2011  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Livestock, Ranch  No Comments

It Feels Good to be Writing Again

It has been a long time since I was able to take my writing seriously. Since way back in February, to be exact. Things have been very confusing and most of this was due to the economy.

Family members have moved, in many cases, a number of times. Finally, things have settled down and it looks like there’s someone to watch the ranch so that I may travel with my husband once again.

Our commutting through the work week makes it difficult to have animals. During the summer, many issues are eased because the cows do not need to be fed daily. There is no ice to break and calving is done and over with. Now, just turn the cows out to pasture and spend my time leaning over the fence to watch the calves grow.

This easier time for raising cows is marred by hot days and the horrible winds. New Mexico is under a severe drought. We are very fortunate that our ranch is understocked this year. We have ample pasture for the cows to do well on. So, we turned the cows and their babies out.

It is just a matter of being sure they have water and that someone is around to put wandering calves back in on a regular basis. Summer is also the time for fixing fences, tending to a garden, and taking advantage of the longer days.  We work hard throughout the week and even harder on weekends. All is in preparation for winter back at the ranch.

June 27, 2011   Posted in: Freelance, Livestock, Ranch  One Comment

Leaning Over the Fence

It is a good day to lean over the fence and watch the calves grow back at the ranch.

Things have been chaotic and in constant turmoil recently. With over 16 moves in the family, I am not sure just what happened this past year. Most of it had to do with the economy as jobs changed and work required different locations. Health played the part in more than one of those moves, but finally, things are settling down back at the ranch.

There are 13 small calves on the place and four more coming in the near future. The calves range in new born to three months old in age. Most are black a coal and you cannot tell one from the other. There are two exceptions, one has a decided red tinge to her and the other has white patches on his forehead. Other than that, unless the calf is nursing its mother, most people would not know which calf belongs to which cow.

The cows have been content to lay about the water lot from just after sunrise until early afternoon. The calves will scatter throughout the herd and most will find a sunny spot for long naps which are interrupted with brief patches of play time and plenty of nursing time.

We have set up a creep feeder for the calves. On many morning, the calves will come running into the corrals bucking and kicking up their heels before diving under the bar the blocks their mothers from following into the pen. The calves will play for a few more moments before checking out the feed pan for their special treats. Once they’ve ate their fill, they curl up in the warm spring sun while the mothers line up along the fence, unable to get to their calves.

The calves seem to really enjoy their peaceful pen away from the mother cows while the mother cows stand bellowing at them from the other side of the fence. It reminds me of a mother yelling at her teenager while the teenager totally ignores everything the mother says.

By late afternoon, the cows are ready to head out to pasture. The calves trail along with them, knowing that sundown will bring another chance to nurse. I am always amazed how the mother cows can forgive their calves for ignoring them, just as a mother will forgive their child.

Yes, it is a great day to lean over the fence and watch the calves grow back at the ranch.

May 10, 2011  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  2 Comments