The Spice of Life

Unpredictability is the spice of life and something we are accustomed to in the ranching business. The biggest unpredictability we deal with is the weather. Last Thursday, February 12th, it was 9* and breezy. I remember because J and I ran the bulls into pour them and give them a hoof rot shot. I was glad to lead the bulls in the warm pickup while Rosie helped J follow them in. By afternoon it was in the mid 30’s.

Friday was a gorgeous, blue skied day with temperatures in the 50’s. Our after chores task was sorting off cull cows, so J and Cousin T could take them to town on Saturday. No long johns or heavy coat needed! I always appreciate the days I can get by with one or two less winter clothes layers.

February 19

Saturday, Sunday and Monday brought cold and wind. Monday I went to North Dakota Border Town for a dental appointment and by the time I got to town it was snowing right along. J went to watch the cows sell and came home on slick roads. We got enough snow to cover the ground.

Tuesday we woke up to -2* and howling wind; it warmed to a high of 12*. We were in a wind advisory all day. 25-35 mph winds with gusts up to 50 mph is eligible for wind advisory conditions. Yesterday was cold, but tolerable as we didn’t have any wind.

The unpredictability of this weather pattern makes me feel like I’m on a roller coaster. I’m glad we aren’t dealing with feet of snow and consistent negative temperatures.

February 19

For Valentine’s Day J and I decided to smoke a Boston butt on the Big Green Egg. We invited Cousin T, Janelle and Roy over. We also asked our friends Tad, Kari and their three little ones to join us.

I made another batch of rub with the adjustments J requested. We mixed the new batch with the leftover rib rub. The Boston butt was basically prepared the same as the ribs. The biggest difference we did was let the butt rest. Around 4:30 pm the internal temperature reached 201*. We took the butt of the egg, wrapped it in two bathroom towels and put it in a small cooler. Around 6 o’clock J took the butt out and pulled the meat. It was still steaming hot!

J did a great job with the Boston butt; it was perfect. J is now two for two, I like the predictability for future smoking success.

February 19

I mentioned that J caught a cold on our trip to the National Western Stock Show in Denver. It has been a tough one to shake and he has a lingering cough. Monday he started coming down with more cold like symptoms. Yesterday, he went into the clinic to see what is going on. The PA gave him some meds to help clear up his “walking pneumonia”.

I’ve talked to several people who have had colds and/or coughs that seem to drag on and on. I’m still crossing my fingers I don’t catch it. Following J around the house with Clorox wipes in hand doesn’t hurt my chances.

February 19

Yesterday morning J spotted a heifer that looked close to calving; from our ultrasound data we knew she was pregnant with twins. J said that we would go bring her in after dinner and keep her under watch. When we went to get the heifer in she was actively calving. By late afternoon we had two babies and an attentive mother at work. After supper we put the twins in the hotbox to make sure they were dried off good.

Today and tomorrow we are working on pre-calving projects.

Between the weather and first calf heifers the unpredictability of ranch life will increase. It’s the spice of life, it’s our way of life and we are very close to ready for calving season 2015.

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12 Responses to The Spice of Life

  1. Kerrie K says:

    I didn’t realize you all gave hoof rot shots. Can you tell me what it consists of and does it help i.e. totally prevent, 50% prevention rate or? Thanks

  2. Cheri says:

    Cameron’s mom had walking pnemonia. Yuck. I’m with you, wash my hands till the ski falls off! Ha! And chlorox wipes and spray! Bad time to be sick.
    Is mama heifer taking care of both babies? That is so awesome. Hope your weather warms back up. It’s been gorgeous here. I love checking the 15 heifers we have left at night. It’s so clear, stars everywhere. In the first 20 days of calving we were at 75%! Amazing! And no real trauma. Had 2 upside down. A couple backwards in the cows. But everything turned out great. Couldn’t ask for an easier time calving. 🙂

    Ps. Do you use smoke chips on your egg? We use the hickory ones. Yum! 🙂 brings bbqing to a whole different level with the egg. 🙂

    • Robyn says:

      Sounds like you have been super busy with calving heifers. Great conception rate! Glad to hear calving is going good and your weather is favorable.

      The heifer with twins loves them both! She is a nice little mama. As J said last night “She is worth her weight in gold!” I’m sure we will have to supplement them util we need a graft calf. We had another heifer walking this morning. Our plans to move cattle and bunks got moved fromtomorrow afternoon to this morning. We put the yearlings in the pasture where the bred heifers are and the heifers in the calving Pasture where the calves are, that way the girls are closer to the barn. So, chores took longer and we have a few odd things to clean up this afternoon.

      With the ribs J used apple wood and a small piece of pecan wood. I think he did the same with the Boston butt.

  3. buttons says:

    Oh I send well wishes to J it is tough to be sick and ranching. We have the foot of snow and minus temps. with wind chills of _35celsius and yes we are calving. Well spring is coming I hear then all will be well;) take care OK hug B

  4. Kim says:

    We weren’t so lucky with a set of twins. The mother didn’t claim one of them. But Randy sold the other one to a 4-Her at a discounted price, so it has a happy ending anyway. We have four more heifers to calve and a lot more cows.

    I hope you don’t get the “crud.” I am struggling with a cold right now. I guess I’ll give it a few more days before I go to the doctor.

  5. Nancy says:

    Just stopping by to say “hay.” Sorry you all were feeling poorly. I know what it’s like to have the calving looming ahead. Exciting but tiring all the same. xo

  6. Sandra says:

    I am envious of your 50 degrees. We had 25 today and that felt like a heat wave 😉
    Love your shots 🙂

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