Calving 2018 Highlights

Moments like these make me so proud of my husband and our lifestyle. I grew up loving row crops, and have always been passionate about agriculture. Being more exposed to the livestock side of production has only increased my affection for agriculture. The hard work that farm families are doing to feed the world is something that often goes unnoticed and underappreciated. There are long days with late nights and early mornings… and having livestock means you often have to drop everything you are doing to ensure your herd is healthy, happy and safe. Thanks to all the farmers and ranchers out there for putting in long hours to feed a world that is far removed from the lifestyle we live. And to those of you who don’t know a lot about where your food comes from, just ask!

Calving started extra early when little “Gisele” our Superbowl Sunday Calf arrived a few weeks early, very unexpectedly. Fortunately, Jordan and I were driving by the field where our cows were on cover crops for the winter and saw this little one’s mama isolated from the group. Jordan hopped on the four-wheeler driving through the 6-degree temperatures in his church clothes to see what was happening. He hauled the cold calf back to the safety of a warm shop and we did our best to warm her up and get her a bottle while we coordinated moving her and her mama into the barn. It took a few weeks of bottle feeding her to ensure she had healthy weight gain. She did come away with a little frostbite damage, but Gisele has grown into a very healthy, happy calf. *we did not get to watch the first half of the Super Bowl

This is a video of Jordan doing a late-night bottle feeding to our calf Gisele

Bottle Feeding Calf Gisele February 7, 2018 from Kelli on Vimeo.

Lick tubs like this one from Purina, helps provide our mamas with all the minerals and nutrients they need in their last-trimester.

Summer (our dog) is very nosy during calving season. The cows are rotated around to provide them the best places to eat in each season. During the Summer they are at our house to graze on the pastures, during late fall and early winter they are out on the cover crops (turnip/radish mix) in a field and then they come back to our house so we can keep a close eye on them during calving. Summer is always curious when the cows return to our house after being gone for 4-5 months.

Laying down bedding for the cows to ensure they have a dry place to rest.

Finally more calves started to arrive.


Any new babies that are born get moved into the protection of a barn with their mama, it’s still pretty cold out. But that means extra work, hauling water and food to each pen to make sure everybody has what they need each day.

Every time a cow starts showing signs of labor it’s important to keep an eye on her and make sure she safely delivers the calf in a timely manner. It’s always a relief when a calf is born and is able to stand up and eat on it’s own.

The calf in the picture above, and below was born with contracted tendons in his front legs. It means his legs would “knuckle over” so he couldn’t stand up straight or walk quite right. So we fed him a bottle because he was unable to reach the udders and needed to get colostrum quickly. Fortunately “Forrest” was able to eventually walk all on his own, and the condition repaired itself after going in and gently stretching out his legs each day. *thank you internet for helping provide a network to research conditions such as this in a timely manner

Each calf gets a close check up and is given an ear tag to help identify who is who after it’s born.

Most calves are skittish around people, but this one loved getting special attention.


Happy helpers doing chores after an Easter celebration! If you want to be the most fun Aunt and Uncle, buy some livestock so your nieces and nephews can come do chores. 🙂

Overall this calving season was very challenging, but we were fortunate that the majority of cows were able to calve with no issues. Our herd is now happy to be grazing out in the pasture.

The Good Life

Nights like these create the visual for why Nebraskans call it “The Good Life”. The sun is staying out later and more often than not we are blessed with a gorgeous sunset to end the day. It’s not a bad day when you can walk up the hill to check cows and get a view like this. I think a few more people in this world could use some nights like these. Peaceful and quiet providing the perfect place to reflect on this beautiful thing we call life.

Summer making her rounds checking that everybody is safe and sound.

The daily routine for the herd is being developed as of now they are coming into the yard about 3 times a day as far as I can tell. 7:50 AM, 1:00 PM and around 8:30 PM, so fun to see them develop these habits.

Lighting AKA: The Flash or Barry Allen. This little guy has a lot of names and I’ll save the explanation for another day.

Out to Pasture

The ladies and the babies are all out to pasture, and they are making themselves right at home. It’s pretty satisfying to see the sun setting over the pasture while the cows graze in the open space. Summer is pretty excited about this change of pace, cows in the pasture mean more walks and ranger rides for her. Anyone who says a free-range farm dog isn’t as happy as a house dog has never met our Summer. Just look at her smiling with pride as she watches the cows, farm living is the life for her. 🙂

 

 

Baby Jean

This little, spotted cutie arrived on 4-20, and I was so very excited to finally have a calf with some personality in her markings. However, what we didn’t know was that she would immediately become a magic escape artist, finding every way possible to escape and go find a place to lay down on the pasture lane. Hog paneling finally kept her contained and she gained the name, Jeannie (AKA: Baby Jean). Inspired by “I Dream of Jeannie” – because for a while it seemed she magically appeared and disappeared to wherever she wanted to go. At least her Mom was bellering loud enough to notify us of her mischevious behavior, so we could find her and return her to the patch.

Is this not the same face Simba makes in “The Lion King” when his Mom is cleaning him up? This little one is chock full of personality.

 

The First Calf

This year we have the cows at our place and get to experience calving for the first time (last year we had somebody custom calve for us). Jordan and I both have a little, as in very little experience with calving so you could call us nervous mothers this year. Reading and second guessing our every move. So when the first calf came around and I received a snapchat from Jordan saying “look what I found” I ran – sprinted first to grab my camera second to grab my boots. It was the muddiest, ugliest day of Spring and this little guy decided to come into the world. We’re a little late in the calving game, still working to get our ducks in a row and timing right for our mamas – so my guess is the rest of the calves will arrive when planting begins. But for now here’s one little guy to keep me company on the farm.

Don’t worry both mama and baby got moved into the comfort of the barn and away from the rain.

Snow, Snow Beautiful Snow

The fluffiest powder fell from the sky today, making our farm a winter wonderland. I felt bad for not helping with chores, but I couldn’t help but bring my camera with me for the beautiful snow. Also, I think our dog is one of the happiest dogs in the world, maybe I’m biased but look at her smile as she’s jumping off the bales! I was laughing all morning, her joy is contagious.

Sunday Sun Flares

Like a lot of people out there, I would consider Sunday to be my favorite day of the week. Worship, breakfast food, quality time with loved ones what’s not to love?

This Sunday Jordan mentioned he needed to go up to his grandparents to do chores, and like I typically do when he heads North to do chores I informed him I would go with him. No, not to help – but to take pictures. Duh.

Sunset + curious critters = count me in. AND I can’t pass up a chance to check on how Herbie is growing. Whos Herbie, you ask? Herbie was our first calf last year, and the name just stuck. #gohuskers

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Meet Herbie. What a beast.

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See what I mean by Sun Flare Sunday. (insert eye-heart emoji here)

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The real MVP.

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#209 your little fluff ball is so dang cute.

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Winter Storm Jupiter

Winter Storm Jupiter has arrived, and although the ice is a total pain I just love how the sun shines off of it and everything turns to glitter in the morning light.

Fortunately, our power stayed on throughout the storm so it truly wasn’t all that inconvenient – as I’m sure it was for many others. So we hopped in the pickup and headed to the cover crops to check on how the ladies were doing.

I’ve recently been reading “The Shack” and in the beginning of the book, it describes perfectly why I love miserable weather.

“There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience.” – The Shack

“He paused to take in the beauty of a world engulfed in crystal. Everything reflected light and contributed to the heightened brilliance of the late afternoon.” – The Shack

Welcome to Your New Home

This pot load came as a delivery from Hayes Center, it was fun getting them unloaded and seeing them check out their new surroundings. I just love the lone blondie – never be afraid to stand out from the crowd. 🙂