Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Food fight!

I had bought them for a Christmas party and that party never quite happened.  They sat in the truck since Christmas and didn't go bad.  (makes you wonder if they were made from the same stuff as Twinkies!)

I was gardening, cleaning out some flower beds, and then WHAM I get it right in the backside with a gooey blue cupcake!  The food fight of 2011 was on!

Love is...a food fight?
Luke, Earl and I were tossing icing, cupcakes and laughing like crazy.  I tell you it was the exact precise kind of fun we needed!  Calving, working, learning and life can be some pretty serious stuff but this was just plain old silly fun! 

When was the last time you had a food fight?

Oh and the look on the dog's face when she was licking icing of Earl was priceless - HE's EDIBLE! And SWEET! Then she cleaned our laundry, shoes and the lawn too...talk about a sugar high! 

They are edible! Nah, just tasty!
"How much fun did you have buddy?" THIS MUCH!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Donkey

There are many tellings of this story, but this is my version.

On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode a young donkey colt into Jerusalem.  The donkey was so proud, the people were cheering, singing, there were soft palm leaves and cloaks to walk upon. His burden was light, the hand of our Lord gentle on him.  No stick, no bit, just a gentle hand and kind words.  The donkey thought this was the best day ever!

The donkey was cared for by the man's followers.  The young donkey, small and unimportant, was in the presence of someone he recognized by their kindness and love. Someone special. A bond grew.  Jesus was gentle and loving, children patted him and gave him treats.  He enjoyed being with his new owner.

But then things became frightening. People argued, they moved around in the night. They were not relaxed and happy.  Judas was cruel and pushed him rudely aside, muttering, "Stupid animal!"  The donkey still kept his eyes on his Master, his Jesus.  He knew better than these people the love that poured from this man.  Even when he was sad he still showed love.

Then came a night of a big dinner, the donkey got a special treat.  Jesus came and rested his hands upon that small strong back.  He took some time to pray and the donkey leaned upon him.  Later, Judas left the dinner, and there was a lot of talking late into the night.  Jesus and his followers came down, the donkey moved to follow Him. Hoping he could serve by giving this kind master a ride upon his strong back.

Jesus put a hand upon him and gently turned him back, "Tonight my friend I walk alone." And the donkey didn't understand why such sadness and love could be felt.  His ears drooped and he started to walk back to the stable.

He stopped though, and decided to follow his Master.  He followed close behind all the way to the garden, he silently watched from the trees as Jesus prayed and the other men slept.  He followed his Jesus as he was arrested and followed all the way to the terrible skull hill.

There he could not bear to see this loving Master on the cross, but he could not leave him alone either. So he stood there, in the shadow of that cross, with his head down, facing away.  His loyalty and love forever marked upon his back by the shadow of the cross.

Donkeys carried Mary on her way to bear her Son, they carried her and Jesus as they fled to Egypt.  Finally those loyal and strong donkeys had one of their own carry the Son on Palm Sunday.  We are all God's creation, and He knows and loves each of us - donkeys too!  We should be so loyal, so stubborn, so strong and so kind as that young donkey.

Happy Easter. Bright blessings, always and in all ways...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cow Cats and such

I wish I had a photo, or even better video.  But maybe I'll capture some this weekend.  Picture this if you can!

Three and four week old calves, and barn cats.  Playing together!  Cats pretending that the calves are not there as they are sneaking up on them.  Then the very large calf nose touched the small cat, leaving a wet smudge on their heads.  Cats ball up, hiss and dash off - about four steps.  Calves shake their heads, like big cattle.  The game is on, again.

These are just a few of the things that we see here on our little ranch.

We tagged calves today and that was an adventure.  Catching them was Earl's job, mine was doing the tags.  Luke helped too.  Everyone has nice orange tags, and we are waiting for the other babies to arrive.  Will we have an Easter calf or just a Palm Sunday baby this year?

I wrote about Good Friday over on Strawberry Roan today, and will be doing a longer post here tomorrow.  I'll be sharing the legend of the Donkey and how it got the cross on it's back.  My own version of the famous tale.

Bright blessings!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Number Four

She is calf number four, a sweet blue black heifer, who could have had a much more tragic entry into the world than she did.  Check out part of her story at Strawberry Roan...

We had a much different day planned than what we started with this past Sunday.  Thankfully God was leading the way or instead of ending in joy it could have been tragic.

We have Highland Cows which can sometimes drive my loving husband to fits!  Mostly because they look much alike - either shaggy black or shaggy red.  I think they are all unique with their horns, faces and the like but him not so much.

But to step back a few paces - it was a later than I would have liked start to the day.  Our dear neighbor (bless him!) came to put out some hay bales.  He almost didn't see her!  She was tucked into the bedding pile. Alone.  Not one other cow around.  Not even in sight.  No one.  Was she alive? Yes!

When he came to the house I was so surprised...a calf.  By herself.  That was unlike my cows, but with heifers having their first babies it isn't unheard of.

So...no breakfast, no devotionals, no coffee...the duty of a steward comes first.  We bundled up and dashed out.  Sure enough she was okay.  Very new.  Very small. So lovely.

I covered her up from the chill wind, and the snow pellets flew around us.  Earl took our cattle dog Feathers to walk out and bring the cows up.  We had to find her mama!  

Waiting in the wind with a shivering calf and a very pregnant mama cat who strangely wanted to mother this baby had me thinking, praying and wondering about this life we live!  Mi vida loca...indeed!

Through the trees I see cows coming and I wonder - who is the heifer's mama?  Which one?  No one looked that close the day before but cows can fool you!  I see them coming up, walking slowly, and I foolishly think we are almost done out here!

It took almost another hour and the the help of our dogs, many prayers and finally a little moo of recognition from this hours old baby.   She knew her Mama, even if her Mama wasn't sure about knowing her.  So now that we've got them matched up, can she suck?

Not wanting to gamble I run in to mix up some first milk, colostrum, for her, and dash back out.  I catch her and try to get her to suck on this fake rubber nipple.  She wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!  That is a good sign for us cattle folks!  It means she has sucked, and now to get her Mama to let her do that again.

In the usual butt up and head down, calf between my legs position, holding a bottle urging this baby to please give me a break.  I feel a soft snuffly breath on my cheek.  Slowly, S-L-O-W-L-Y I looked up.  Horns, hair and a concerned mooo...and the calf replies.  I let go and stand up, slowly.  She teeters over, gets a little lick on the face and finds her true and proper meal.  Her tail wags and her Mama nuzzles her.

Prayers of thanks go up as cow's milk drops down into the calf's stomach.  Prayers of thanks go up as the snow pellets fall down in a grey spring sky.  Prayers of thanks go up.

Over coffee, and whilst spying from the house with binoculars, I'm amazed at how this heifer has become so mothering so fast.  Instinct is amazing, it is a miracle.  So is Rio.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Raine's Story

This is baby Raine, she is a tiny little heifer born in the pouring rain.  Her mama's first calf.  She was born around noon, and when we checked her later after the rain she was tucked in to a little hollow on the ridge.  She was laying so still I thought she was sick so I went to her, slowly, quietly talking.  I gently touched her little wet head...and...

...she jumped up and RAN!  Right through one barbed wire fence, then through another, fell through the snow and sank into a soft, wet drift (the only one left I'm sure for miles!).  I dash to the fence, curse and fret at the gate (bless me that man of mine makes gates tight to open and close sometimes!)...and got cut...then I ran.  

Finally caught up to her and thought, "Phew now I can carry her back!"...or NOT!

She ran, AGAIN!, back through the fences (all three) but not before taking a nice swampy detour through the mud, muck and melted poop from the winter.  She slipped through the rails on the corral and lay down. So very tired.  I wanted to lay down too!  I knelt down and softly called her name, and mooed a little.   And I PRAYED!  Prayed that she wouldn't dash away again. Prayed that she wouldn't get hurt. Prayed that her Mama would finally come get her...and Praise the Lord if that calf didn't just get up and walk to me.

She stood there and let me carry her out to her Mama and aunties.  Aunty Brindle thought she should take charge of the baby and she moved her to where her mama was waiting.

My first barbed wire cut of the year! I guess you could say I got that out of the way! Now we can keep on calving and I'll remember to have my hands on the babies more firmly when they are playing possum!  No more muddy dashes for me to catch calves if I can help it!  Luke was a super helper and we were wise enough to have left the dogs in the house - they would have NOT helped.

Raine and her cousins Hank and Monica are playing in the sunshine.  They run, they sleep and they are growing fast.  Their Mama's are happy for the snow going away and I am too.

Calving is never boring around here...