Monday, January 31, 2011

Back at It

I don't know what happens when I go outside to do one little thing and then not come back into the house for 3 or more hours.  This morning I went out to measure a wire cable that broke on the hay hauler so hubby would know the correct length.  I didn't even want to be bothered with such a tiny chore.  It was too early and I barely had enough time to drink one cup of coffee before looking for a tape measure and slipping into the yellow boots.  Once the cable length was determined, hubby took off. 

We are expecting cold weather with the temperatures predicted in the teens.  After hubby drove off, I looked over at the well house.  Some holes needed to be plugged along the bottom.  During last year's coldest spell the main water line broke.  The well house was built around the well and rests on blocks of wood with rocks tucked around the bottom.  Also, since we have a dual water source -- well and rainwater collection -- the main line from the rainwater collection system goes through the well house.  We had a year to get the holes plugged but somehow something else was more important until today, that is.  Since I was already outside, I got the bags of crushed granite to fill in and around the holes and made sure the heat wire is operational.  A flip of a switch turns on both water pipe heaters.

After the well house was secure, I walked the wheel barrow over to the big garden.  Hmmm, why not start digging a trench around that garden so black plastic edging can installed to outline the garden area.  It'll be easier to mow or use a weedeater without destroying growing veggies and melons.  Again, hmmm, think I'll pull a couple of weeds while here along this row.  

I did about 10' on these two rows and the walk between.  I planted corn in these rows last year and was thinking of doing so this year when it occurred to me that something else should be here since corn is such a heavy feeder. 


So, on second thought, I need to weed the rows at the other end of the garden.  The black plastic over the two back rows  is solarizing (killing) the weeds, I hope.  Of course, the weeding in the first two rows is not wasted; but tomorrow or on the next mild day I'll tackled the rows just to the right and to the back of the dirt pile for corn.

Approximately 3-1/2 hours later I came in for brunch, consisting of fresh baked, sliced chicken on whole wheat with provolone cheese, tomatoes, olives, mayonnaise, Grey Poupon, Frito's, and a glass of skim milk.   BTW, I'm behind in weeding the big garden; it was scheduled to be completed by February 1.  I'm tired and off to take a nap.  :D 

Until next time,  God bless.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday has two rules:  1) photo must be taken by you, and 2) no tweaking.

First leaves on the bare-root strawberries that went into the ground last Sunday.  Looks like we'll be having fresh strawberries by the first of April.  :D

For more SOOC Sunday, go here.

Until next time, God bless.

The Brenda's Photo Challenge - Frozen

The only things frozen around my house are the peaches and cranberries in my freezer.  lol

The peaches are from my tree and the cranberries are from the grocer.  When the temperatures sunk to freezing or below around my house, it's been dry.  When hubby left early one morning this week, frost was on the windshield. He poured tap water on the windshield and left.  I slept late that morning, otherwise I would have rushed out to photograph.  lol Yeah, right.

Go over to Brenda's Photo Challenge for more interesting photos.   Enjoy.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Momma Cow and Calf, The Day After

Just for the heck of it I thought I'd post some pictures of the momma cow that hates me saga. 

She is standing guard over her calf which is unseen in the greenery behind her.  She heard and saw me come out from our yard fence and turned her evil eye upon me.

After the first photo, I went back into the house for 20-30 minutes.  When I came out the second time, momma cow had wandered 50 or so feet away to lie down in the sun.  About that time, the calf stood up and started looking for the mother.

The momma cow heard me come out of the gate the second time, got up, and started for her baby.

She greets the baby and sees all is well.  The baby wanders along and out of sight of the next photo.

Momma cow returns her evil eye upon me.

I took the photos with my telescopic lens.  lol  I'm not about to get close since I am enemy #1 in her eyes. 

Until next time, God bless.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Day With A Momma Cow

On Saturday I posted a photo of the newborn calf and its mother.  I was concerned 7 or 8 days prior to seeing the calf that something was not right with this particular cow and the expectant calf.  I was so excited to see a calf and the mother Saturday morning that I did not realize that something was not "right."  It wasn't until Monday afternoon that I realized that the cow had not expelled the afterbirth.   In all the fifteen years we've had cattle and many, many calves, we've never had this happen.

We'd had the Sunday "midnight excitement" with an unknown canine critter and I was only interested Monday morning in seeing that the calf had not been attacked.  I kept checking on the calf Monday to make sure she was unharmed, and it was late afternoon when I saw the umbilical cord.  I called the vet and he was to come out Tuesday at 9:30 AM to remedy the matter. 

I was up by 7:20 in the morning and out to try to pen the cow and the calf.  No such luck.  Hubby was ready to try around 8:30 AM.  Again, no such luck.  Hubby called a neighbor.  No such luck with the three of us.  I called the vet and told him not to come until we had the cow in the pen at which time I would call.  He was so gracious and understanding. 

If we had had a horse, the momma cow and calf would have certainly been penned on the second attempt.  As it were, we got her penned on the fifth attempt somewhere around 6 PM.  BTW, this cow hates me.  She doesn't hate hubby.  She charged me at least 4 times while we were trying to get her in the pen and charged  me this morning with her inside the pen and me on the outside.  In fact, as soon as she saw the vet and his assistant she charged them too.  The vet was really surprised at her intensity.  He brought a tranquilizer gun along just in case he needed it.  He did.  No one wanted to get in the pen until she was safely down and out. lol  Since the cow really, really hates me, I removed myself from the area while the vet was doing his work. 

I've never had an animal dislike me like this one does.  We had a 2400 pound bull that I could work.  A couple of times a yard gate was left opened.  He'd find it and come into the yard. I could talk him out of the yard with no problem.  This cow sees me and she wants to trample me.  From this point on I plan to keep an eye on where she is in relation to me.  And, she just might be sent to market the next time we send yearlings.

I had the infrared, motion activated, wildlife camera ready to go because of the excitement Sunday night. Unknowingly, it recorded quite a few photos of our chasing one stubborn, hateful cow and her calf. It's really pretty funny when you see the pictures.  There are no photos when we were coming and going from the left side of the pen area. Here are some scenes from yesterday.

Our third attempt.  

                                                            Hubby trying to cut her off.

The other two calves decided to follow the white cow and her calf.

A disgusted hubby -- failed.

Don't remember why we needed the truck but it was brought over.

Escaped again.

Neighbor going after a lariat to rope the calf if at all possible.

A disgusted hubby, failed again.

I hopped on the lawn tractor to see if I could find the cow and possibly herd her back up to where hubby and our neighbor were waiting.  I didn't find her.   Oh, I also got stuck on some rocks but rocked the mower off and am returning with the news that she could not be found.  She disappeared for 3 or 4 hours.

In the pen at last and driving over to get some hay to put in
the pen for the cow and her calf.

So how did we finally get her penned?  We put some protein cubes at the back of the pen.    All the cows came in including the momma cow and her calf.  All previous attempts with the cubes failed.  She would not come into the pen.  But, this time we hid.  As soon as she saw me coming into view, she bolted out of the pen..............but her calf did not!  We were able to close the gate.  Hubby and I ran the other cows and calves out of the pen, one at a time, meanwhile keeping her calf from getting out.  She was furious but would not come in.  Finally, I got a lariat around the calf's neck and got her into a smaller type pen.  By this time the momma cow was really ready to trample me.  She finally came into the penning area. I ran to the closest 6' high pen section and climbed over while hubby shut the gate.  lol  Mission accomplished. 

I called the vet to let him know she was penned.  He came out at 10 AM this morning, performed his magic, gave her a tetanus and a big shot of antibiotics.  All in all, it was kind of a fun day.  The weather was nice, the air cool, and we were outside a good part of the day.  As of this moment, Momma cow and calf are doing well. :D

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Midnight Excitement

Last night around midnight as I was writing Dreary Again, the post just before this one, Maggie suddenly started sniffing, snorting, jumped off her sleeping chair, ran around the room, and over to the back door.
Next I heard Luc's tags jingle;  Luc was sleeping on the big bed behind the closed bedroom door.   I got up from the computer, quietly opened the bedroom door, and found Luc looking out the bedroom door to the outside.  Naturally, Luc had awaken hubby who had turned in for the night around ten.

Don't let the pearls fool you, Maggie is a guard dog extraordinaire.

Maggie was having a fit, running around, snorting, sniffing, low growling, ringing the bell on the door to go outside and Luc trotting in from the bedroom; both on high alert.  I turned on the porch lights, opened the back door and both dogs bolted into the night.  Maggie was in her guard dog stance, barking, growling, and ready to take on whatever lurked in the dark outside the fence.  Luc was on high alert, but he hardly ever barks  and I've never heard him growl until last night.  I ran back into the house to get the spotlights.....grrr, both of which had not been charged in a while.  I switched one on, bright light then dimmed down to almost nothing.  I switched on the second spotlight, dim light to completely off. 

In answering Maggie's and Luc's barking and growling, I heard a low menacing yip, yip, yip with an attempt to howl.  The dogs really got excited and started charging towards the fence.  They may have been able to see beyond in the dark, but I couldn't.  Whatever was on the other side in the dark, it kept making the same noise -- yip, yip, yipping with a try at howling -- as it got closer.  When the dogs started rushing the fence, I brought them back in the house. 

And wouldn't you know it, the infrared outdoor camera was in the house because I had to charge those batteries a few days ago.  I just hadn't gotten around to mounting the camera outside.  It will be mounted before the sun sets tonight.  :D  I checked on the calves this morning and the older two look fine; the youngest one which was born last Thursday night or early Friday morning may have a problem.  I'm not sure but something doesn't seem quite right.  I plan to watch her closely the next day or so.  If what I saw clears up, okay; if it doesn't, I'll get the vet to come out to check her. 

I searched the house over for the chargers for both the spotlights. The last time I charged, I put the chargers in a special place so I could quickly grab them when needed. I forgot where the special place was. Drat. However, this morning I remembered and both chargers were there. The spotlights are being charged as I write. Don't know about you, but this happens every time I need a spotlight; no light. Hopefully, this time is the last and will place charging spotlights on a monthly schedule, like the first of every month.

Bottom line, I cannot identify the critter that created the disturbance last night.  It was canine, either a coyote or fox most likely.  It's eerie and a bit scary when you hear strange sounds beyond the light.  But, I'd rather know it was a critter because our area has experienced some daytime burglaries.  Again, better daytime burglaries than night, but one never knows.

I'll keep you updated if and when we identify the critter.

Until next time, God bless.

Back to Dreary

We had a couple days of sun shine, but come Sunday, it was back to dreary.  In a way, I didn't mind too much because it is kind of nice to work outside with a slight mist in the air.  I slept late and was totally surprised that the clock showed 10:10 AM when I got up.  I woke up several times Sunday morning, peeked with one eye outside and thought it was about 7 or 8 AM.  lol  No way I could get to church at 11:00 AM. 

The hay was low and hubby wanted me to help him get another round bale out for the cows. I slipped on my yellow boots with the idea that I'd take the wheel barrow over to the big garden and guide hubby so he would be in the right position to load the bale on the hay hauler. Then, I would fill the wheel barrow with some dirt to take over to the little garden to unload when I felt like it. Well, 3-1/2 hours later I came in the house to eat breakfast at about 2:45 PM.  I cleaned out the raised herb garden, laid out the drip irrigation line, and planted 30 strawberry plants in the little garden.

After getting my veggies in the ground last year and finding destructive insects on those plants, I read up on companion planting, i.e., certain veggies, flowers, and herbs that either attracts good insects or repels them.  I vowed this year to follow a companion planting plan.  Would you believe that onions are a good companion plant to strawberries?  Onions keep away aphids, weevils, spiders, and nematodes.  Borage is also a good companion plant in that it attracts beneficial insects such as pollinators and predatory wasps.  There are other plants considered to be companions to strawberries, such as sage, beans, and peas, but I had an onion set ready to be planted and borage seeds on hand.  Borage is an excellent companion to many veggies.  You don't want to plant beans or peas around onions; they do not like each other.  Marigolds are also an excellent companion to strawberries and  most veggies.  Bottom line, tomorrow I'm planting onions, borage and marigolds along side the strawberries.

If you are interested in gardening organically, look around the Internet for information on companion planting guides.  I've decided for the most part which veggies to plant, but my head starts to spin when trying to follow what to plant when, where and with what on all the various veggies.  So, I'm choosing one item at a time to plant now then read up on its companion.  Today, it was strawberries.

BTW, pop over to Weather Vane to enter her first Official unofficial Blog Giveaway - a hand painted, blue ceramic measuring spoon holder.  Isn't it cute?  You'll love her blog commentary.  Rae is an extremely good writer, very clever and funny. 

Until next time, God bless.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

It's Straight Out of the Camera Sunday, a meme of Murrita 365.  There are two rules:  1) photo must be taken by you, and 2) no tweaking.  Cropping is allowed.

Momma cow tending to her newborn calf. 

Our cows are range cows so our best guess is that this calf was born Thursday night.  Usually cows will not bring their calves out for three or four days or up to a week; but the momma only stayed separated from the herd for a day.  We haven't gotten close enough to see if it is a bull or a heifer.  We'll know soon enough.  :D

Don't forget to visit here to see other SOOC photos.

Until next time, God bless.

Sun Shining At Last!

It has been dreary around here for weeks.  BTW, Luc here.  Maggie and I have been cooped up in the house for days because it was either rainy or too cold to stay outside for any length of time.  Remember, Maggie and I are Texas dogs and we are use to mild or hot weather.  Besides, Mom doesn't like for us to track in mud; and when we are wet, we have to go to our crates until we dry out.  Bummer.  My crate is fine for sleeping in at night, unless I decide I want to sleep on the big bed instead of the crate.  Forced occupation of the crate during the day does not agree with me.  Thank goodness it is only for an hour or so until my fur is dry, then it's the couch, floor or big bed. 

We've big happenings around the place.  Another calf was born yesterday, making for three within the last month.  My daily walks are shorten; we stay in the open spaces.  My dad does not take us around where we can slip off into the brush looking for something interesting to chase as in newborn calf.  I guess they do not trust me or Maggie to not give the new calf a chase.  Hmmmm, just the thought of it sends chills down my spine -- it is so much fun to see a cow, calf, deer or rabbit fleeing across the pasture with me hot on their trail.  I get low, straighten my tail to its full length, stretch my neck and nose out as far as I can  -- like an arrow, and put all my strength into speed.    However, you might call me a sprinter because I can go just so far before I begin to slow down.  Maggie  gives chase too; but she is light on her feet, not quite as fast as me, but can go long distances with hardly breaking a doggie sweat or breathing hard.  One of these days we will catch something; I just know it!

This is me in the crate that Mom uses so that I am safe when riding in the car.  I'm waiting to be let out so we can visit the Stonebridge Health Center (below) as part of my therapy dog training.  I've passed everything to be a certified therapy dog except I just can't resist licking whoever comes within the length of my tongue.  I am learning to resist most of the time these days, but it sure is hard.  Mom has taken me to Stay n Play and the health center several times the past few weeks to work on the "no licking" thing.  I just know I'll pass the next time Denise from  Penny's From Heaven tests me.

Yesterday, Friday, Mom took me to The Natural Gardner where I ran into two of the cutest, little girls.  I came up chest high on one of the girls and the other was a bit taller.  They petted me, pulled my ears, held  my tail, and I got a lick or two in several times.  The oldest heard Mom say, "No lick," and then she started saying it.  So, I quit licking them for the most part.  But, they tasted great.  After a few minutes, though, Mom had me lie down away from the girls to give me a little respite from all their attention.  But, I was so excited to meet them.  Nothing is really cuter or more interesting than a little person.  :D

I visited one of the ladies, Betty, staying at the above health center.  The activities director was very excited to see me and is sending Mom a list of residents that want to see me the next time I visit.  Betty is 86 years old and loves my visits.  I have to be pretty calm around her because she is a little frail, but I sure enjoy her attention.

Since the sun is out, I think Mom is planning to work in her gardens today.  She had six cubit feet of soil amendments delivered about ten days ago between rains.  I really like it when Mom works outside.  I love to watch and study her as she moves dirt from one place to another.  Sometimes I plop down right beside her so I can carefully watch her every move.

Geez, I've been on the computer too long and so must say my goodbyes for now.  Until the next time,
God bless.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Oh, My Aching Back

Last year I was late getting my garden in shape for Spring planting.  I resolved to not allow that to happen this year.  All that weeding, bending and stooping does a number on my back.  lol  Instead of waiting until after the weeding, etc., is done, I've started taking 3 baby aspirin and a very mild pain medication about 30 minutes before I go outside.  I doubt I've taken more than 10 pills since the prescription was filled in April, 2010, but this past week I've taken at least 5 or 6 and more aspirin than I've taken in a year.  And, I've only concentrated on the little garden at the edge of the yard.  I shutter to think of how stiff I will be after working in the big garden.

This is what the little garden looked like last week -- covered in grass and weeds. 

I finished weeding this one today.  Even though the weeding is work, it is not as much as it is when starting a new garden from scratch.  I rearranged the black edging to suit me which made the garden a little bigger.  I also dug a trench a few inches away from the fence line so it will be easier to cut the grass around it in the summer.  I wanted to do that last year; but, frankly, I was tired of working it.   When the soil is delivered Monday, I'll work more compost and the Rose Magic into the rows.  I did two 1 foot wide rows on each side with a big row of about 3 feet wide in the middle.  I can easily reach into the larger row from both sides to weed.  Now it's a matter of planting veggies with the same water needs. 

I am so excited that The Lady Bug Natural Brand  Soil Yard & Manufacturing headquarters are located about 5 miles from me.  They just opened this week. Previously, I drove into Austin.    Not so now!  Luc and I went by there yesterday.

I ordered 3 cubic yards of their Rose Magic soil and 3 yards of Revitalizer compost which is to be delivered Monday.  Lady Bug is mixing the soils together for me which is a big help. 

You can bag it yourself or purchase it already bagged.  I picked up a couple of bags to work into the little garden while I'm waiting for the delivery of the 6 cubic yards on Monday.  Next time I buy the smaller quantity, I'll bag it myself; but since I've much more bending and stooping to do, my back told me to get the prepackage bags. 

I bought a few cold weather veggies at Home Depot so I can get started doing some planting right now.  I'm looking for strawberry plants which I think The Natural Gardner has in stock.  I plan to run into Austin after church since I'm half way to Austin anyway.  I maximize my trips; I never do one thing.  There are usually 3-4 or more errands to do when I leave my house. 

Until next time, God bless.

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

It's Straight Out of the Camera Sunday time, a meme of Murrieta 365.  There are two rules:  1) photo must be taken by you, and 2) no tweaking.  Cropping is allowed.

This was taken last May at the Lady Bird Johnson Wild Flower Center.  A tepee made with cedar branches for climbing vine flowers.  It would be an interesting addition to a garden; and if I am not burned out with weeding and preparing for a Spring veggie planting, I just might get an axe to chop off some branches of one of the hundreds of cedar trees around this place.  :D  You haven't lived until you've chopped cedar -- it's a nasty tree to work around.  Not only does it suck up all the water and store it, but cedar sticks and scratches like crazy.  But, it is a renewal resource that is used for fence posts, tepees, mulch, etc. 

Click here for more SOOC Sunday photos.

Until next time, God bless.