Monday, March 31, 2014

S.O.S. Pt. 2

Update: Gracie's milk is coming, and Gunder is feeling much friskier. She still needs more milk--please keep praying!

Sunday, March 30, 2014


For those readers who pray: Gracie and Gunder need your prayers. Gracie had colostrum, but it’s been three days and her milk hasn’t come in much. Gunder is doing okay on goat’s milk and milk replacer, but he really needs his mama’s milk. Thanks so much!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” –JOHN 10:10 (NASB)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Curtains Up

The Oscar Show plays all day in the corrals. It’s a variety show, with an assortment of acrobatics, races, and humor performed with his lovely co-star, Brownie. There are no commercials or advertisements, just intermissions when the players have to take a nap. Their audience recently increased by one—Gracie had her calf last night—which seemed to spark a few surprise acts for his benefit.

Oscar's trapped-with-subsequent-miraculous-escape act

Oscar's stage (two-and-a-half feet of hay)

“He is a savior and rescuer. He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth.” –DANIEL 6:27 (MSG)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Maybe It's Marigold

I probably take as many photos of little Marigold as most proud grandmas take of their adored grandkids. (Yes, I even post Marigold mugs on Facebook.) I suppose that I’m somewhat open to the very, very remote possibility that she’s not the cutest, classiest, most amusing, and most marvelous heifer calf on the entire planet. I wouldn’t want to be accused of bias or bragging or anything.

Marigold, mama Annabelle, Princess

“For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself.” –GALATIANS 5:14 (MSG)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hale and Hearty

We woke up to more snow, not enough to ski on but enough to make everything muddy again. I slithered around in the mud and snow to check the older calves out in the pasture. Although damp, none seemed worse for the wear, and this evening, all were dry and scampering about.

Hubby taught me another way to verify calf health: look at their mamas’ udders. An over-full udder is almost always a sign that a calf is sick, perhaps with pneumonia or scours, and has lost its appetite.

Well, I’m feeling rather perky and the ice cream carton is half empty, so I must be hale and hearty too!

Rooster was busy exploring

Wilbur--note the tipped heart

“…Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” –MARK 2:17 (NIV)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

No Buckles!

We prayed before cutting Samson’s splints off and then held our breath when he got to his feet. Would his legs be straight or would they buckle?

No buckles! (Joy-drops filled my eyes.) Samson ran and bucked around the barn, and still, no buckles. He and his mama got turned out to the cow-calf pasture behind the house. He ran, bucked, and played, and still, no buckles!

Oh, happy day!

Playing who's-the-boss with Snoopy

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” –MALACHI 4:2 (NLT)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Come Back Soon!

Spring has only been on the job for two days and already she's gone on vacation. The world looks more like Christmas! Though the animals and humans may be disgruntled, the trees, fields, and badlands in this desert always celebrate each and every snowflake or droplet that falls. So, though sorely tempted, I won’t spoil the party by sniveling about more snow and mud!

Badger gets sympathy from mama Sparkle

Marigold, probably wishing she was a houseplant

“Let the field be exultant, and all that is in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy….” –PSALM 96:12

Friday, March 21, 2014

Really Big Dance

They call it March Madness, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the Big Dance. Last night, as we watched some of the first games, Hubby told me that 64 teams were in the tournament.

This morning as he was getting ready for work, Hubby flipped on the sports channel to find out who won all of last night’s games. The first thing that came to my 5:00-in-the-morning mind was the question, “How are they going to fit in all 64 games in the first bracket?”

The incredulous look on Hubby’s face spoke volumes. Before he could speak the obvious—two teams per game—32 games—I realized just how sluggishly my pre-coffee neurons were firing!

I happened upon another Big Dance one morning

Sandhill cranes make jive music but dance ballet

“But first, coffee.” --Unknown

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Thrice in the past six days, Angel was deemed to be calving and put in the barn, only to be found eating or chewing her cud (a cow does neither when she’s close to calving) at the next check. After last night’s evening check, I was foolish enough to predict a calf by midnight.

Hubby did the midnight stint and reported that Angel was hungrily munching hay. So we slept tight until I checked her at 4:30. There she was, standing beside a newborn calf! Calving is a humbling sport.

Angel’s little bull has a hint of the sky in his eyes, just like his older half-sister, Wings. For someone that’s only hours old, Oscar is quite a showboat. Most newborn calves will hop or buck a few times, but Oscar performs for five or ten minutes at a time.

Five-hours old, nothing but a blur

A stumble barely slows him down
Usually when I get ready to put a calf outside, I wonder if it's ready for the world. But this morning, I wondered if the world was ready for Oscar!

“Sky and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” –MATTHEW 24:35 (AMP)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dinner for Two

Two sandhill cranes enjoying some dinner and dancing in the back pasture

Mama Bubbles munching on hay; Pansy has just finished her evening milk-meal

“He has filled and satisfied the hungry with good things….” –LUKE 1:53 (AMP)

Monday, March 17, 2014


All the calves are adorable, but Samson is a favorite because he’s so friendly. He’s the only calf that likes to be rubbed and scratched. He’s relatively unruffled when we have to hold him down and change the splints on his front legs, and he doesn’t shy away from us afterwards like most calves would.

But the thing I like best about Samson is that although he's splinted, he still believes that he’s a big, tough, daunting bull!

Showing off for the girls
Play-fighting with Linus

“Let the weak say, I am strong [a warrior]!”—JOEL 3:10 (AMP) 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ziggy's Wait

Ziggy didn’t have a calf last year as a two-year old. Hubby had considered selling her and Sundae, another heifer for whom A.I. (artificial insemination) was unsuccessful, but I lobbied to give them one more chance with an actual bull. My case was bolstered by the skyrocketing price of replacement heifers as well as our surplus of hay.

Ziggy and Sundae received conditional amnesty, but they always seemed rather melancholy. “Don’t worry,” I told them many times, “you’ll have a calf next year. It will be worth the wait!”

As of yesterday, Ziggy’s wait is over!

Ziggy's new heifer, Brownie

No calf ever had a prouder, more doting mama

“Instead of your shame, you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace, you will rejoice in your inheritance.” –ISAIAH 61:7 (NIV)

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Samson demonstrates the origin of the term cowlick. Not only does he have a darling facial whorl, but he's all shiny from just being licked clean by his mama!
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” –ECCLESIASTES 3:11 (AMP)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Pending

Spring graced us with a sneak preview of her coming glory this week: bright sunshine, warm breezes, temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s. Our winter skin—normally swathed in coats, hats, and gators—turned a bit pink and crispy from the sun as we worked on a fence all day. The cows, however, had the sense to stay in the shade!

Marigold had double shade: from the barn and from her mama, Annabelle

Wilbur and Snoopy staying cool and comfortable in last year's leaves

“But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” –PROVERBS 4:18 (NKJV)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Poor Flame. She had to deliver this big, tough, strapping bull calf this morning. He’s a brash and bull-headed, but likeable, calf. He was bucking and butting his mama before she could even get him dried off. Whenever I tried to move him out of the mud and into the dry straw, he’d get mad and bulldoze his way back to his mud. 

He’s named after Hubby’s favorite John Wayne character, Rooster Cogburn, of Rooster Cogburn and the Lady and True Grit fame.


“He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the loving-kindness of the Lord.” –PSALM 33:5 (AMP)

Monday, March 10, 2014


Cupcake brought Linus into the world yesterday—a world that will never be the same after this little live wire entered it! I think he’d already run half a mile before his very first nap.

“Why is it that as soon as a person states his ambition, everyone tries to discourage him? Why couldn’t I be a polled Hereford rancher?” –LINUS VAN PELT

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Flower Power

Please welcome the newest additions to the ranch, two colorful little cuties whose names may or may not be a function of my late-winter flower pinings.

Marigold, born this morning to Annabelle

Pansy, born last night to Bubbles

“God sent me…to comfort all who mourn… give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.–ISAIAH 61:3 (MSG)

Friday, March 7, 2014


Princess calved last night. We named him Samson because he’s big and strong, but we could have called him Ditto.

All seven of Princess’ calves have been bull calves. Including Samson, the last three have been big and long-legged—too much so, I guess. Their front tendons are contracted at birth, making initial standing and nursing impossible. Splints and injections help immensely, but the first few days are a bit stressful and tiresome for all concerned.

Thankfully, Samson is a sturdy fellow who is full of resolve.  He was already running and bucking this morning, and nursing unassisted by afternoon. And it’s a good thing that Princess produces a lot of milk because this calf has a Samson-sized appetite!


Winky and Panda check out the new kid

“The joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” –NEHEMIAH 8:10 (AMP)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bench Embellishments

During calving season, the bench near our front door is the hardest working piece of furniture in the house. Mud-spattered coats, muck-speckled coveralls, and sweat-dampened hats usually draped over the bench to dry and for easy access for the next trek outdoors. (Fog-brained, blurry-eyed, middle-of-the-night cow checks are not the time to go hunting for outerwear in closets and laundry rooms!) Boots or shoes wet with snow or slathered with mud perch nearby, ready for another trip to the barn, as do straw-stippled mittens and slime-stained leather gloves.

Although the bench’s decorative pillows have been rescued and put out of harm’s way, the occasional kitty makes a charming bench ornament, providing some optical relief from all the unsightliness!

“But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which…is very precious in the sight of God.” –1 PETER 3:4 (AMP)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Songs, Honks, Shrieks

Lest I overload readers with cute calf photos, I’m tossing in a hodgepodge recent bird notes.

On a bitter, blustery day, I saw red-winged blackbirds take shelter in this brush. No one was singing!

For several weeks, the bald eagles have been refurbishing last year's nest (we don't get too close to the nest to disturb them--here, they were perching in a different tree). I've heard that the males are smaller than the females.

Sometimes, nearly 10 acres of  our hayfields are covered with Canada geese.

"Why do they all come here?" we'd been asking ourselves, until yesterday, when we saw four eagles attacking a goose in the vicinity of the eagle tree above. Answer: the trees here are further away, so the geese can see the eagles approaching.

This morning, the female was in the nest. The male, seen here close to the highway, was shrieking loudly until I approached. I don't know if the eagles were at odds with one another or if he was just excited about becoming a father again.

“For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice.” –PSALM 63:7 (AMP)

Monday, March 3, 2014


This morning, five-day old Pearl marched up to Sugar as if to introduce herself: “Hi, I’m Pearl. Who are you? You’re going to love me. I’m wonderful! I’m priceless!”

 At first, Sugar laid back her ears crabbily, as if to say, “Watch out, you little upstart. Who do you think you are?” But, as you can see, Sugar soon succumbed to Pearl’s charms!

“Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor)….” –ROMANS 5:2 (AMP)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

New Deliveries

The cow storks, as Hubby calls them, were a bit delayed due to the bitter cold and snow, but they made it this morning. Winky and Sparkle both delivered cute, strong, healthy bull calves. Even though the nativities happened in the barn, it was so bitter cold that we had to make sure that the wet babies got dried off and nursed right away. Both little guys have big appetites for both eating and playing!

Hubby drying Wilbur with my blow dryer. 

Winky helping us with her baby.

Sparkle's little guy, Badger, taking his first slurp of colostrum.

Now you can see how Badger got his name!

“…He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” –JOHN 10:3 (NASB)