Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 45

No dog attacks this week and Lee,the bull, is fine.  Here he is pretending to be a water buffalo or maybe he is just trying to clear the culvert in his pen.  
Meet Justin, Lee's new buddy.   The boys are getting along well and in about a month they will head out for their job.   Right now, all they have to do is eat, sleep and get pumped up for the ladies. 
These cuties came for a visit and helped feed little Cole.   
All the motherless calves are doing well.   Kia, whose mom died from the dogs, is already very gentle,  and adjusting well to her new digs.   Sassy is, well, fat and sassy.   Her mother is still alive, but not well.
She got acorn poisoning back in September and then lost an eye (no idea how) and then got mastitis and lost the function of one of her teats.  Yea, Life isn't treating her too well. Her digestive system has not recovered and will not recover so everything goes right through her.  She can't gain weight and looks terrible. She is an excellent calfsitter though and all three get a little extra milk from her, so we're keeping her around the barn for a bit longer.   She's also teaching the 2 heifer calves how to be a good mama, which is a plus.   

It is hard for me to get rid of cows.  I don't make the most fiscal decisions sometimes in regards to our herd.  I think of myself a bit as their mother, which is ridiculous.   This week I spent a number of days out checking on my 'babies' making sure they were all okay and trying to head off any dog attacks.   They are all currently fine and accounted for and that's very good. 
These peppers aren't so good.  They are too darn hot!!!   I'm in the process of roasting, drying and then grinding them to spice things up a bit.  Not that things need spicing up too much.   I like it all calm on the western front.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 44

Jo and Eric came out this weekend and helped us bury this cow.  Lakia was her name.  She was a cow that hung around our house.  She knew her name, she came when called. She was a leader and a very protective mother, she would often chase away visitor's dogs.  She knew how to use her horns to her advantage, but it didn't work out for her this week.

It was mid morning and Mark was heading back to the house after delivering some firewood and beef.  He saw a couple juvenile pups playing on the grassy hillside.  He slowed down and whistled out the window and then a whole bunch of dogs started flowing up over the hill,  driving a bit further  he saw Lakia laying head down. He grabbed his rifle and shot two of the dogs that had headed back to the cow.   He counted at least 8 dogs.   Lakia's ears and tail were chewed off and she was covered in bite marks that were oozing blood.   Approximately 15 feet above where she lay the ground was churned up in a circle and you could see where she had slid down the slope.  It was a grisly  scene.   A cow and 2 dogs senselessly dead because pet owners didn't keep track of their dogs. 

Mark didn't see collars on any of the dogs so we assumed they were dogs that had gone feral.  A fluke.  We were concerned the half dozen that got away might come back so we let the cow and dead dogs lay where they were.  If the wild dogs were hungry they would have something to eat and if not it might act as a deterrent.  We were also hoping they would come back and we could shoot them.  They never did come back.

Yesterday our bull , Lee, was attacked by 6 pit bull type dogs. Many of these dogs had collars.  A whole different pack than the one before.  Mark caught these dogs in action and he tried to shoot them, but only was able to wound one.   They all got away.   Lee's ears and tail were chewed on,  just like the cow's had been.  The bull was in a corral so he had protected his hind quarter a bit by backing into a corner of the pen.  He has only a few bites, unlike poor Lakia. 

Eric and Jo  tried tracking the second group of dogs, but couldn't find them.  I've taken to wearing a pistol and Mark continues to keep his rifle close.  We feel a bit helpless.  We wish we could find these dog's owners and shake some sense into them.  Keep your dogs home!

We live in an area that has an outlaw culture.  Many  grow marijuana and keep guard type dogs for protection. The outdoor growing season is over and I wonder if some  just let their dogs loose now as they aren't needed.   Also, this time of year, many people come to this area for jobs trimming the marijuana and perhaps they don't keep track of their dogs.  I don't know.  I just know we seem to see more dogs during the fall and early winter. I've tried to catch them and was successful with a few and their owners were notified and picked up their dogs.  Today Eric told me he has killed dogs on the property.  Seeing the death they leave in their wake, I now say, 'Thank you Eric'.   I too will shoot now,  and I love animals.

That's the whole point.  Animals die when dog's run free. We now have a fresh grave with 2 dogs and one cow.    It's not that only bad dogs or unloving  dogs, or dogs trained to kill do damage. All dogs loose will form a pack and chase, circle up and  kill.  Even my little 10 lb. dog running in a pack would try to take down game.  She might not be very successful, but I know she would try.  Take a pack of big dogs and even a 1000 pound cow is fair game.   Bears are fair game,  wild pigs are fair game, deer are fair game, etc., etc. etc.  I've even been told children are fair game and I know  I haven't felt safe going on my jogs and walks around the ranch.  A pack of 100 pound dogs is a scary thing. 

We've been trying to get the word out that we have a dog problem. We are hoping that some folks just don't realize what their dogs can do.  We are hoping education can stop this problem and until then we are keeping our windows open so we can hear the 'yip, yip, yip' of a pack of dogs on their prey. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 43

A few shots from the phone recording the peacefulness of our week.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week 42

Beautiful morning with fog swirls playing with the hillsides.  I have my dog at my feet and a pen in hand.  Life is sweet.  Water drips from the large, star shaped, tulip tree leaves outside my window.  They make the leaves jump like a startled cat.  There is only a slight yellow tinge to their green announcing that autumn is here.  The recent, and thank God, continuing rains have turned the prairies green.  The grazing animals are happy to have fresh food.  While I missed the peak of our summer garden's bounty, friends and family made good use of it.  Now,  the almost bare tomato vines drop some red, split fruit onto the ground and the peppers, left hanging on the vines, are bright red and ready to be dried or frozen.  My hands itch to dig and pull and put the garden in order.  My nails have been clean far too long.  Perhaps I still have time to add a few chard and other winter hardy plants to our  little garden space.  Household jobs also beckon at me from this day of rest.  Our home got a bit neglected during my month away. Mark had more than enough to do with a day job and a ranch full of animals to tend to and  I'm excited to get back at it.  I love being a 'domestic engineer', and 'ranch hand'. 

I miss my little grandsons.  They are all doing well, by the way.  I miss too the conveniences of city life:  people to smile and chat with, shopping just a moment away and morning jogs on flat, sun lit roads and trails.   But all of that pales in comparison to the reality of this place, this time and the people and animals that live here.  Especially Mark.    I'm happy, happy, happy to be home.