Monday, 24 June 2013

Parades, petting zoo and an elk

Eric works in a small town called Fahler,
famous for its "Biggest Bee".
Fahler is known for its apiary industry and
honey is an important commodity here.

Every year they have...
you may have guessed it already...
"Honey Days".
A parade  kicks things off.

Jess rode in the parade to promote the Elks Pro Rodeo as a rodeo queen contestant.
She says its tough to smile and wave all day...
Poor girl, my heart bleeds for her..

We brought a few animals along for the kids to pet.
Gus, has now a new purpose in life..
he has become, a petting zoo calf.

Shadow came along for the ride and the kids loved hanging all over him.
I love Sarplaninac dogs!

Even, the chickens got loved on..
it is heart warming to see how the town kids
 interact with the farm animals.

After the hustle and bustle of town life
it was then back to my world..
One filled with trees, pastures and wildlife..

Friday, 21 June 2013

Out to pasture

The sheep have been out to pasture for a few weeks now.
The cattle desperately needed to go to.
I managed to rent pasture for the cows just down the road from our ranch.
However, we needed to do a lot of fence repairs, build other parts back up and check that everything was in order as there had not been cows in that pasture for a few years.

The next challenge was to gather up the bovines,
 in order  to vaccinate, worm and check for any other health concerns.
We have had weeks of rain and we did not have a dry spot on the ranch to work with them.
Our entire place was totally flooded and under about 6 inches of water.
Handling cattle in these circumstances is no fun at all.

Now, living on a dead end road has its advantages,
not many people come down the road.
So, I decided to build a handling corral with chute and all,
right on the gravel road.

I needed to build a temporary electric fence to guide the cows to the chutes,
but the choice of either building that fence or handling cattle knee deep in the mud
was easily made.

It took two days to fix the pasture fence,
it took another day to build the corrals,
and then I needed Eric to be home to help with the treating, loading and moving of the cows.
I did not want a repeat of the kick in the face.
I needed a crew I could rely on!

So,   last Saturday, we convinced the cows to leave their winter bush pasture.
That part went really smooth, except for one little red calf that decided to put its tail in the air and run away.
After a few attempts we decided to leave him be and try later.
It took our whole family ( Eric, me, Jess and Roy),
plus a bunch of cows to convince the little critter to come along with the group.

We moved the cows into the chutes,
caught them in the head gate,
(they hate this as they know bad things happen in the there).

Once caught they get two needles and a pour on for the parasites.
From the cattle squeeze, they step directly onto the trailer.

A short ride down the road and they are sent out to pasture.
The lush green grass soon makes them forget the negative experience in the chute.

At 5 pm the last load got let out,
we were dirty, smelly, tired but pleased that that big chore was done.
A pig roast at some friends rounded out the evening.

A few days later, I decided it was time to break down the corral on the road.
I drove over with the tractor to start moving the panels.
I look over to the bush,
and lo and behold,
laying in the trees,
was a cow.

and I few other choice words were uttered in my not so inner voice.

So, I started the process again,
gathered the cow,
drove her to the corral,
locked her in the race,
forced her into the squeeze,
went back home to get the vaccine and pour on,
hitched on the stock trailer,
backed  up a quarter mile to the chute,
jabbed and poked the poor cow,
loaded her up,
and brought her to her buddies, her calf and the lush green grass.

Now, onto a non cow news..

Have a great Summer Solstice.
I am rather sad about the solstice,
as it once again reminds us that the days will be getting shorter again.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

'Men have forgotten this truth,' said the fox. 'But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.'
Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

We have a great visit with some friends from the Netherlands these past few days.
I have a lot to blog about, just need the time to sit down and do it...
Have a great day!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Gus, eye, rain and whatever else comes to mind

Everyone usually assumes that no news is good news.
In some instances that is certainly the case,
but not with Gus.
You do remember Gus, don't you?
I blogged about him HERE

I had been battling with his momma to try to accept that he is her baby and that she should love him.
But, that was not going to happen.
Luckily she did not have murderous intentions, just was not interested in the little guy.
Well, I thought, she actually does not even have to love him, all she really needs to do is feed him and I would be fine with that.

Well, after spending weeks forcing her to stand still while he would have a suck,
I gave up.
I finally decided that she will never do her motherly duties towards him.

And after a huge dump of rain, I decided to bring poor wet Gus, into the barn and would now raise him on a bottle.

Gus, is now growing well, he gets his milk twice a day.
He has some fresh soft hay, some grain and gets petted everyday.
Roy has his eye on him as a 4-H calf for next year, as he is pretty much tamed up already.

My eye is healing well
after my little accident last week.
I went from this

to this

The stitches come out this week and all should be good again.

We have had days and days of rain.
So much rain that our yard is a mud pool,
we have lakes on our driveway.
One of the reasons why I wanted to escape from the Netherlands was because of the rain, and the mud...

The cows are stranded in their back pasture and we cannot get to them with a trailer to move to a new pasture.
The sheep are drenched and were supposed to be shorn this coming week.

I have had enough rain.
I need the sun.
I need Africa.

 The sheep have been out grazing again.
I love it when the sheep are finding their own food.
The dogs are out doing what they were bred to do.
(These pics were taken with my phone camera, sorry about the quality)

And, one morning we had a little surprise.
The dogs were so happy with their new baby.
They bounce around me,
come and show me what they have found,
all grins and smiles.

We have now moved the sheep to another pasture,
 with lots of bush and predators,
 Vuk has joined the crew on guard duty.

With two bitches in season we have been juggling things around a bit.
I will be taking my camera out today to take some better pictures.

I have been fencing the new pasture for the cows, but it is slow going, more is damaged than I thought.
I hope to be able to swim the cows to their new lake soon...

We went to a neighbors auction last Saturday,
they were selling some teams, some horses and some equipment.
These are good friends of ours so we decided to go and spend the day at the auction.

I was so hoping that Eric would bid on the greys,
but he did not...
This is Cat, he spent the summer on our place two years ago.
 He was sold at this auction.

So, this is what has been going on in our neck of the woods.
I hope to add some new photos soon and to get back into some of my stories from way back then...

Yes, I still miss Africa.
For those who want to read up on some (predominately) non lethal methods taken to protect livestock

in Africa, take a look at this link from the Landmark foundation.

It does me good to see the strides taken to protect livestock AND predators in these regions.
The only way to long term sustainability, is not to eradicate predators but rather to step up management of livestock.

The most important environmental issue is one that is rarely mentioned,
and that is the lack of a conservation ethic in our culture.
~Gaylord Nelson

Friday, 7 June 2013

4-H Photo Friday

Our last few weeks have been filled with Achievement days for 4-H.
Last weekend was the Beef and Lamb Achievement day.
This is a big event and requires a lot of organization as our 4-H club hosts the District event.

This year we had almost 30 market steers,
a cow and calf,
a bunch of heifers
13 market lambs
3 ewe lamb projects
all from our district 4-H clubs.

Here is a photo impression of the day,
just mostly our kids..

The kids did well.
Roy won Grand Champion Lamb,
Jr Showmanship and Jn Grooming

Jess was reserve champion Market lamb, reserve champ ewe lamb and won showmanship.
Jess was also District Champion Showmanship with her steer.

I am really proud of all the kids that participated in the sheep project.
They did an awesome job of grooming, showing and finishing their lambs.

After the show, comes the tough part for many of the kids.
The kids then sell their market steers and lambs.
One by one, the kids enter the show ring and their animals get sold by auction to the highest bidder.
All these animals go directly from the show to slaughter.

Usually after some tears the kids understand.
It is all part of the process. The know when they start on this project, that their animals will be sold for meat.
What we do try to teach our kids is that you must take pride in your animal,
raise it with love and respect.
In this way you will produce meat that is top quality, locally grown, no hormones, no antibiotics.
Meat that has been raised with love and care,
and eaten with respect and appreciation.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


Jess recently went on a trip to Ottawa with the
"Encounters with Canada" Program.
Each week they have a different theme, the kids selected to go on this program (they had to write an essay), could chose the week that interested them the most.
Unfortunately, they did not have an Agricultural Program,
so Jess chose the Environment and Ecology week.

Here is an article in our local newspaper about her trip.
Click on the articles to enlarge, in this way they are readable..

Not only that, she has also decided to run for the Elks Pro Rodeo Queen

The Queen competition has a number of categories and competitions,
the girls have to do a Public Speaking Competition, have to do a Horsemanship competition, help out at a number of events and have to sell rodeo Queen 50/50 tickets.
All these tests, as well as categories such as Appearance and Personality are added together to select the next Elks Pro Rodeo Queen.

We are so proud of her, for all she does,
the community work she puts in,volunteering, her work ethic,
 she loves her small town community and she is a big supporter of our local rodeo.

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