Winter chores

We feed cattle every day. Calves are weaned off and out in the lot east of the headquarters. Supposed to get some snow and wind today, so brought them in from the pasture, east of that lot and locked them in behind protection. They had tore out some fence between the lot and the shelter belt, so after feeding we went and fixed fence. I don’t think any critter is as destructive as calves or yearlings, on fences!

We have the majority of the cows running up west, where there is grass available, but we feed a little hay every other day and the the other day when they don’t get hay they get protein, to keep them in good shape. We need to get them in and pour lice control on them as some are starting to scratch. Also on the calves. Lice aren’t much of a problem until winter, late winter, to early spring… when I was young, if you found a lousy cow (you could tell as they were thin and not looking good) we’d get them in the corral, rope them and lay them down and sprinkle a powder all over them up under and between their legs and brisket/belly. When it gets hot in spring, the lice drop off.. I am not real sure of their life cycle, but if you don’t do something for the cattle, they get poor, the lice suck their blood like a tick, only they are much, much smaller. Just one of the chores we do to help the livestock. I don’t think horses get lice, but if they do, we’ve never seen it here. I do know of cases where people have had tons of ticks on horses.. seems like if they are in timber, like up in the Black Hills, it is more prevalent.

Weather has been mild, for this time of the year.. melting snow and making ice, which makes it hard for livestock and humans alike to get around. I have things strapped to the bottoms of my mud boots, that keep me from slipping. We have two of the saddle horses shod up with non slip on their shoes. When I used to feed all winter with a team, I almost always had to get them sharp shod. If I wanted to use my team now, I’d have to be very careful or get them shod like the two saddle horses. With that stuff on their shoes, they can grip the ice and run over it with no danger. All part of ranching in this area.

Chance went and worked at the sale barn on Tuesday, he left early and called us as he saw a mountain lion just south of us. They come around on occasion. I can always tell when they are around as my horses act real goofy. They do not like lions! I have heard a lion scream a couple times.. pretty hair raising, tho’ they tell me it is just a female looking for a male to mate with.

Cattle work

Today Tate Chance ands I sorted some cattle around, moved most of the bulls down to Tates, sorted a couple calves off the cows that got back in after we weaned and a couple thinner cows off and moved the cows back up the creek. It was windy and raining on us as we moved the cows. Then we had to ride and shut one gates.. sure was thankful for shop shod horse. loping across ice is fun! We got a little damp.

Calves sure are enjoying getting out of the cramped corral. Bulls we kept in are younger and need fattened up a bit. It all went well. Tate and Chance fixed fence on the hog pasture before we let the calves out and I cleaned on the big corral a bit. Sure was fun to watch the calves buck and play across the lot. Feels like spring, but it is just our January thaw. Up in the high 40’s yesterday and about 40 today. Supposed to stay fairly warm for the next few days. I will take it! Sure beats below zero weather and snow!

Older and colder!

I had my annual birthday yesterday. Who would have thought I would live this long?

Colder today. 0 early and probably 10 or so now. Supposed to warm up in a few days. Warming up is relative.. when it gets above freezing we will think it is pretty nice. But our southern friend think it has to be 70 to be nice!

I have been fighting with some vertigo for the last few days, so Chance has done most of the feeding. He and Tate fed grain this morning and then had to make a trip too town, as Tate is doing some finish work on the house and needed more supplies. I and the dogs fed the cattle hay. When it is cold like this it takes a lot. They are not suffering. They spend most of their day eating the hay we put out for them. Then sleeping and digesting the feed, which warms them internally. Some people wonder how livestock can handle the cold. But we need to remember, a cow in good condition and a good hair coat, like these have, is comfortable at 20 degrees. So they are fine. I remember winters when it got down to 40 below and the wind was blowing. The cattle ate what ever you gave them. All of ours are acclimated and used to the temperature extremes. 40 below in winter to over 100 in summer. And they can get behind trees and man made wind breaks and that helps them a lot.. and also getting a big drink of water that is 55 degrees when it comes out of the ground at the well.

Well, here’s hoping for a ‘nuther great year on the high plains!


We brought all the cattle in and sorted off all the calves and are weaning them. Now the cows can regain condition as they will not be nursing a calf, tho’ I really don’t think most of the calves were getting much milk from their mothers. But this way we can feed the calves better so they grow out better. And they don’t have to compete for the food against the cows, who are larger and smarter about coming to feed we haul out to them.

So now we have Moosic to listen to for a couple days, anyway!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

We had Mass at 9 this morning. I played and sang Christmas hymns before Mass and then all joined in for the music during Mass. It was great!

Marianne (my sister) and her daughter Velda are out to spend time with us. All the kids and grandkids will be here today. There are some in the family who wot be here and we will miss them. We have prime rib cooking, as I understand it.

It was a frosty morning. Chance did the chores.

It is going to be a Merry Christmas around here!

Almost there!

The winter solstice… the day with the least amount of daylight. That would be tomorrow. Then the days start getting longer again… and I am all about that. I like sunshine. Especially this time of year.

We have been practicing for Christmas on Red Owl Creek, our musical Christmas show at our local little country hall. It is tonight at 7 and should be lots of fun. Some of the community got it all decorated up. Weather is supposed to be pretty nice. Ought to be great. Hope to see lots of neighbors tonight.

The local schools have been doing their Christmas programs and last night was the one some of our grandkids go to. They all did a bang up job and I could almost hear every word… probably the best program they’ve ever had. They did a skit with the little ones and another with the big ones. It was fun to watch some of those kids really getting into it…

We went to Wall on two different occasions in the past week or so, to watch the other grandkids programs. They all did a great job also. This country has lots of good looking kids and it is fun to watch the really little ones. They are so cute and try so hard.

Warm, not a lot of snow… yeah, this is my kind of Christmas time!

Cowboy Christmas

Well, we just got home for another great Cowboy Christmas Concert at Lead at the Homestake Opera house. Great line up of entertainers and the crowds all said they loved it. We had a couple of sold out shows and one almost sold out. The weather might have kept a few away. Saturday was kind of wintery! I am thankful for our sons and Kass who stayed home and did the chores and sounds like the boys even worked on a well that isn’t working. Someone let the dogs out and fed them and the cats. It is nice to be able to leave for a couple days and not have to worry about stuff at home. Thanks Chance and Tate and Kass and grandkids!

Shilow Huett performed and we did a duet together, she also did some songs on her own and played the piano before the show while folks were taking their seats. Man, sh is handy! She and Sarah Moreland and Chance and I will be doing a Christmas Concert at the Red Owl Hall on the 20th. Sounds like people better get there early if they want a seat up towards the front. This will be our third year of doing it and the first year Chance has helped. Ought to be great fun.