Friday, December 20, 2013

The Birthday Goat

There is a funny quote going around Pinterest from Duck Dynasty....

So today I made sure Prairie Granny and I became "proper women". Today is Prairie Granny's birthday!  So what do you get a woman who has very few "wants".  You get her a goat!  Well, we're going to share the goat.  I get to do the lion's share of the care and milking and Granny get's to enjoy her. 
So world, meet "Ivy"!
She is a three year old, Toggenburg dairy goat. Togg's are mine and Granny's favorite breed.  She is friendly and sweet and great about riding in the back of my car!  She's expecting babies in the spring.  I can't wait for them and the fresh milk too!

A friend of Ivy's came along to keep her company.  Goats get very lonely without another goat buddy to talk to. The lambs are not sure what to think of their new paddock mates!  But my big boy is very excited that we have a goat again and I'm pretty sure this was a perfect birthday surprise for Granny.
We're off to birthday dinner!
Bye for now,

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How To Meet the Neighbors

My big dogs were naughty.  Very naughty.  They took off early yesterday morning and I couldn't find them anywhere.  Something had been really getting them riled up at about 2:30 a.m.  When I got up, they were gone.  I decided if they weren't back by the time we got home from taking one of the rugrats to a doctor's appointment, I would call the sheriff's department and ask if they had been reported anywhere.

Just as I was pulling out of my driveway, and older, blue, Ford ranch truck pulled up and Chuck rolled down the window.  "Do you have a huge white dog and another dog?"  I confirmed I did.  "Well, they're at my house in the barn.  And they tangled with a porcupine."  I apologized profusely and told him I'd be over to get them as soon as I could.

Chuck and Karen live two and a half miles to the west on the cutest farmstead you've ever seen.  I've always liked their place but had never formally met them or been out there.  I wish I had better reason to go meet my neighbors than to retrieve my rotten dogs.  But they we're so kind and gracious about it and I'm actually kinda glad it happened.  It's always great to get better acquainted with nice folks, however it comes about. 

The dogs sure enough had tangled with that porcupine.  Each dog had a nose full of quills.  I am thankful it wasn't worse than that.  Some dogs try to eat the porcupine and end up having major surgery to remove them from their throat. 

First thing this morning I loaded up 200 pounds of dog and went to the vet.  I wasn't able to convince the big babies to hold still and let me rip quills out of their nose.  Imagine that!  We needed drugs....

But with the help of Dr. Evans and technician Nikki, we got them quill free and they are now sleeping off a good trip in my basement....  Now I'm off to bake my neighbors some, "thanks-for-not shooting-my-dogs cookies".
Bye for now,

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Just The Way It Is

There's a full moon over Tulsa.... no wait.... that was another time and another place.  But "There's a full moon over Geraldine"  just doesn't have the same ring to it.  And it never was a country song....

But there sure is a nice moon over the prairie tonight.

Moon rise to the East.

It looks like it might be a smidge under full.... but who cares?  It was still awesome to see it rise up out of the horizon.

Today has been warm, thank the Lord.  The snow is melting, my world is a soggy, muddy, mess.  The wind has also been blowing enthusiastically for two straight days.  It's the kind of day that has the hay blowing up my nose and down my shirt when I'm out feeding the critters. It just could not be avoided no matter how I tried to get upwind.  But I'm not complaining!  I'll take the wind, slush, ice, mud or whatever.  That's just the way it is.  I get to live here and do what I love to do every single day.  No life is perfect but we all have so much we can be grateful for if we just look close enough....

Bye for now,

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Grumpy One

Hello all,

It sure has been a nice day here in North Central Montana.  The daily temperatures are finally well above zero again after some of the coldest weather we've seen in over 15 years.  The sun is shining and my critters actually seem happy again....

Except one.  I have decided that our farm has our own version of "Grumpy Cat".  But instead, he's "Grumpy Alpaca".  His name is Mudflap.  Maybe he's grumpy because someone gave him that ridiculous name.  I have no idea.  But no matter what, he's a grump.  You can feed him, sweet talk him, pet him, or leave the grouch completely alone and he is still grumpy....

See what I mean?  He reminds me of some people I know! 

It's ok Mudflap.... I still love you! 

Bye for now,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

That One "Special" Calf

I'd like you to meet "Superman".  He is a very distinctly marked calf, with most of his body being white.  So it's very easy to pick him out of a crowd....

I'm not all sure why this happens....  But it seems that without fail, in every herd of cattle, there is one special calf.  It doesn't matter if your herd has one hundred calves or ten, like mine.  There is one calf that stands out right away.  He's the one who will push through the feed room door and just about knock you over, just to see what's in there.  The one who tells his buddies to squeeze through that hole in the fence to check out "greener pastures."  He doesn't care if he's been munching all morning, he'll stand there and bawl real loud, just to see if you'll dish out more groceries.  Or maybe he'll just absolutely refuse to move to the next pasture.... even when the water is frozen solid, there's a blizzard going on, it's -20 degrees below zero and his life literally depends on moving through that gate.  Nope.... forget it.... ain't gonna happen.

That's what Superman was up to on Friday.  I had to move the calves to another pasture due to their automatic waterer refusing to operate properly at -25 below.  The wind was blowing pretty good, so it was kicking up a little ground blizzard.  I was dressed in my super duper winter gear and was still getting chilled to the bone.  The exposed skin around my eyes was burning and I knew I was at risk of frostbite.

I called to my "babies" and they followed me and the bucket of feed I was shaking, right across the road and through the gate.  All but two anyway.... One of them was "Peter".  He's always been a slowpoke at most things. But eventually, he did decided to amble over and through the gate.  Superman was bringing up the rear.  It looked as though we was going to cooperate for once.  He followed Peter through the gate.... But as soon as he got past the gate post, he screeched to a halt and took off the other direction at a run.  He trotted all the way back where he came from.  So I trudged through the snow drifts and fought the bitter wind again.  Got some more feed in my bucket and called, begged and pleaded for him to follow me.  He just stood there.... I tried chasing him.  But with my bum leg from a badly pulled muscle and the snowdrifts, I wasn't making a very good "cow horse".  So I gave up.  I threw a bale of hay over the fence and slammed that gate shut.  Then I had to rig some water up for him for the night.  By the time I got back inside I thought I'd never thaw out!

The next morning, my "special" calf was at the gate, bawling to please go over across the road with his buddies!  I happily opened the gate....

He quickly found his friends up in the corral with the horses and alpacas all sharing a hearty breakfast.  Then he had the nerve to not even say thank-you!

So I leave you with a moo....

Bye for now,

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Chilly Christmas Cheer

Let me tell you, we are some tough folks here in Geraldine, Montana!  It hovered between 15-20 degrees below zero all day yesterday.  But last night was the annual Christmas Stroll bazaar!  It's a fun event where local folks set up a booth and sell things they have made themselves or are representatives for, such as Mary Kay and Pampered Chef.  A high percentage of the booths are yummy things to eat!  Jams, breads, pies, chicken and homemade noodles, cookies.... But there are also some very crafty folks selling awesome artisan products. (Myself included of course.)

I was pretty amazed that even at 20 below, the old auditorium filled up.  The high school music department played and sang carols for us.  Santa came and took the hopeful requests from the kiddos.  We all ate lots of goodies and had great visits with our friends.  The kids got to earn money for FFA, 4-H and the like.  The little kids had the chance to run around and giggle with their friends....

"Santa, I'd like a pony please..."

If your town still has a Christmas social of some kind, I recommend you get out to it!  It's a bit of a long lost tradition that we should keep alive in my opinion. I think it beats an evening at the shopping mall....

Bye for now,

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fifteen Below

This will be short and sweet.  One of the things I never get tired of here in Geraldine are the beautiful skies.  Sunrise, sunset, mid-day, whatever. The sky is almost always beautiful.  Even when it's 15 degrees below zero....

I'll have you know that I stepped out onto my back porch in my jammies and pink fuzzy slippers, just to take this photo for you!

And this one....

There are some very cold pheasants on top of my windmill.

Ok, time for more coffee....

Bye for now,

Monday, December 2, 2013

Oh December

December is here.... the proof is in the white stuff that is falling from the sky. I spent the morning chasing, catching and leading my sheep from their summer pen into what used to be the pig pen.  It has a nice shed and power for the water tank de-icer. There's a big storm setting in today and the ungrateful buggers will be much more cozy in their new pen. 

The first five were pretty easy to catch and move.  Some even got to ride with my big boy in the back of my SUV.  The last two were the hold outs.... They refused to go into the catch pen no matter what!  If they did go in, they ran right back out as quickly as possible!  They didn't want any part of a new, cozy shed and ice free water! So Hired Man Jim and I headed out this morning with a plan.  We set up a temporary fence that was in the shape of a funnel that went to the catch pen.  Sort of like they used to build to trap wild horses.  Once that was set up, we were able to run them in there and shut that gate.  Then it was my job to put a rope on them to lead them to their new home across the farm.  I found it was easiest to catch them after they jumped into their water trough in the corner of the pen.  Then I had nice, muddy, soggy, ticked off sheep on a rope.....

I'll bet you all are wondering why I didn't just herd them across the farm to the new pen.... Well let me try to explain.  I have seven lambs left.  They are all young and not very bright.  The minute a person tries to herd them anywhere, they scatter like ping pong balls on a concrete floor.  Like my Grandpa says, "It's like trying to drive a pig on ice."  Ain't gonna happen.  So they either got to ride in the car, or they got a little lesson on how to walk on a leash.  The hand walking was more like a lamb rodeo than a stroll.  Jumping, running, laying down refusing to cooperate really at all.  So we sort of drag them along until we reach our destination.  Quite a work out for us and the sheep!

At least we were successful. The sheep are tucked in nice and cozy.  The alpacas and horses have a nice warm barn and Prairie Granny gave them all hay.  The calves are munching their hay under their lean to.  The chickens have their heat lamps, heated waterers and plenty of layer mash to keep them happy.  We are ready for this first, December storm..... Now it's time to drink my coffee and eat some pumpkin pie.

Bye for now,