As you may have noticed, this is a hard time of the year to keep up with a blog... There's so much to do and enjoy outdoors! :)
We spend almost every minute outside, either taking care of, or just enjoying the animals and all the little ones around the place, or simply being outside in the wonderful weather of Spring.
Calving season is winding down since the spring calves have pretty much all been born - except for Hope's calf due in June. Everyone is happy, healthy, and growing like weeds.
Most the goatie kids have gone to their new homes to learn how to be show goats. We miss them, but did keep four beautiful doelings this year, so we still get to enjoy their antics. :)
We are very excited about our new buck! Since we have kept several of Roy's offspring, we started looking around for a buck with some different bloodlines than the ones we have been breeding the last several years. We were lucky to find a great guy that has an amazing pedigree and was shown as a youngster, so he's very easy to handle and used to being with people.
Introducing 2DOX Big Event... We'll be adding new pictures and his impressive pedigree to the website soon.
And of course RR Roy Rogers will still be with us. He truly makes some amazing show goats for our young 4-H and FFA friends.
We have little chicks and guinea keets that are hatching this week... Ahh, the joys of chasing those quick, little ones through the grass, trying to catch them as their very protective mamas are trying to keep you from catching them! Looks like we have lots and lots of guinea eggs being hatched this year.
The gardens are planted and doing very well. We are already enjoying fresh asparagus, lettuce, bokchoy, chard, radishes, onions, spinach, mustard greens and yummy strawberries.
And just for the human kind, we finally got the deck built on the pool. Cousin Mike did a great job for us and we are looking forward to many years of enjoyment with it! Thanks Mikey. :)
Just to share... some pictures of the lovely sunsets we've been having this week, along with a full rainbow!
Patticake cleaning her new baby
And it's a heifer! Frazier Creek Patticake's little girl was born October 29th in the middle of a lovely warm fall afternoon.
Her sire is Frazier Creek Garrett from Frazier Creek Ranch in Rattan, OK
Patticake had a normal and uneventful labor - thank goodness! and is very proud of her new daughter. :) Both momma and baby are doing well. :)
We hope to have many more Murray Grey babies on the ground in the next year.
FYI - We are in search of any interested young people that are heavily involved in 4H or FFA that are looking for quality show calves. Please contact us if you may be looking for a unique and easy to handle show calf that present well in the show ring. To learn more about the Murray Grey breed, please look over our MG page. Murray Grey cattle are a great breed. :)
Dried up pastures...
Well folks, we are experiencing one of Oklahoma's worst droughts since the 1980's. It is dry, dry, dry. And no chance of good rain in sight - in the near or distant future. We have not had any measurable rain in our little part of Oklahoma since mid-May. It really shows in our pastures, yard, gardens, ponds, etc.
The pond on our back pasture is completely dry and the big pond is lower than we have ever seen it. It is so sad to see the place and all the country around us looking like it is. We've been feeding all the livestock since June. Hopefully we've accumulated enough hay to make it through until we get some much needed rain.
The only patches of green are near the trees that we've been watering to try and keep them alive and what's left of the garden,,, still getting some tomatoes squash and green chiles. :) We've been very blessed with a strong well, We have heard that many wells have gone dry in places around us. So sad to watch this and not be able to do anything about it.
Grasshoppers have taken over and are reeking havoc with plants, trees, and everything else they want to eat. They have moved into the yard and around the house as their forage has dried up in the pastures. Clouds swarm up and around your face when you are walking they are so thick. Millions of them on the fences, trees, plants....everywhere!
Guineas to the rescue!! Well, sort of... <grin> We bought 10 - 4 month old guineas last weekend. they are supposed to be the greatest thing for bugs - especially grasshoppers! Unfortunately we can't let them out until they are used to the place and have been here for a week or two. In the mean time we've been bringing them the hoppers that have been caught in the pool skimmer. They go crazy!! pecking and talking. They absolutely love them. We can't wait to let them loose on the grasshoppers. We could probably use a hundred of the guineas right now to help keep down the grasshoppers we have. LOL
Hope your summer has been a good one. Stay cool and enjoy. Send good rain thoughts our way please. :) We need it badly. Take care!
The Purple Martins may have left early this year, due to the drought I would imagine. They come every spring and usually don't leave until August, but I noticed they haven't been around for a couple of days. Just guessing there may not be enough food (flying bugs) to keep them fed as the heat and drought have affected many other things here - like bugs. The grasshoppers seem to be the only insect that is doing well in this heat. They are everywhere and are eating up everything they can.
A couple of momma birds raised their young in interesting places on the place this year. A swallow couple built their nest at the end of the front porch. They raised 5 little ones that flew the nest over the fourth of July. They are beautiful birds and we enjoyed having them around, along with the purple Martin's and hummingbirds that hang around the feeders on the porch as well.
A young Mockingbird built her nest inside the cherry tomato plant in the garden. She raised 5 little ones as well. We didn't pick the tomatoes around her nest for several weeks. Those little ones flew off last week and we hope they all make it. We look forward to seeing them all again next year!
The garden is winding down but still gives us much to enjoy. I've canned marinara sauce and salsa with the yummy, garden fresh tomatoes, as well as enjoyed Gazpacho several times during these warm summer weeks. Last night I canned several jars of new potatoes from the garden. Hopefully they will taste good this winter. I've never canned potatoes before! We've put up dozens of quarts of green beans, squash, and zucchini in the freezer, along with bell peppers and green chilies. Dozens of onions and potatoes are drying in the shop along with cayenne peppers, sunflowers, fennel and many other herbs and spices. We still have flowers blooming in the garden and the bees and other insects are loving the garden as much as I do.
The equine are doing very well, even with the heat. They spend much of their time dozing up by the barn since they have no pasture to munch on.The cows are goats are doing good also. They get up early in the morning and walk around the pasture for a couple of hours finding something they like. Then they spend the rest of the day munching on a round bale or sleeping in the shade of the trees during the heat of the day. They rouse themselves again in the late evening for another bite when the goats come in to get their feed and get put up in their pen. Everyone seems to just be taking it slow and easy during these dog days of summer. Hope you are too!
Well folks, this has been the lost month. Starting with the week of flu it seems we lost that entire week. The following week there was hip replacement surgery. That went very well and we were home the next day. Physical therapy with Jeff followed for the next 3 weeks, as well weekly nurse's visits. Last week was a trip back to the surgeon's and he was very pleased - released us to about 80% of 'back to real life' activities. I still can't chase goats, spend the night dancing, or ride the mules yet, but that will come soon!
The goatie kids have, for the most part, headed to their new homes. It looks like everyone went to very good homes this year. One of the Boer wethers is a companion for another little Boer guy named Bob, that has lost his sight. Thanks Karen for giving him such a great forever home! All the rest of the Boer kids will be shown either this fall, winter or next spring. RR Gene Autry went to a wonderful family that lives in Hattiesburg, MS. They drove a long ways to meet Gene and were very pleased with him. We think he will do exceptionally well in the ring and are excited to hear from Chip, Angela and Zachary as to how he does!
All four of the Lamancha girls are going to live with some very special folks that are learning about milk goats and doing a great job. Thanks Ann & Phil. :) We're so happy that they get to stay together and have such a nice couple to care for them!
Now it's time to care for the mommas and help them recover from raising their rowdy and demanding children. All the girls have been wormed and had their feet trimmed. Their figures are slowly returning to "normal" and they are getting used to the kids being gone. I believe that they miss their litttle ones, so we give then extra attention and care during this time.
The horses and mules are getting fat and sassy in the pasture. No riding for a while with the hip replacement, but they certainly don't seem to mind. I think that eating and horsing around are their primary concerns these days.
The cattle are fat as well. We have 5 older heifers that have been bred this spring along with Dolly and the two older cows that are raising their calves. The rest of the girls are still youngsters so it will be some time before they are bred. They like to come up by the house in the evenings to look for treats and good scratches. Most the girls are very gentle and enjoy the attention.
The garden is growing well. I put up 14 quarts of green beans last weekend. We've enjoyed some fresh squash, radishes, greens, onions and swiss chard. Can't wait to see how much the raised bed gardens produce this year as it's our first. Looks like a winner!
Hope you all had a great Memorial Day and long weekend. :)
Good news first. :) Mike traveled to Antlers, Oklahoma last Sunday to pick up the rest of our Murray Grey heifers. Thanks Larry and Ron! Everyone made it home safe and sound. The new girls have settled down and today we turned them out in the big pasture. Cows are so funny to watch. :) They ran, jumped, bucked, and played as hard as they could and then ran straight back to the lot and wanted in. Dolly, the Guernsey milk cow, was right there with them all...bucking and kicking like a youngster - NOT the very pregnant cow that she is! LOL We enjoyed their antics for quite some time before they decided to settle down and graze. It looks like they will all be fine and they seem happy with their new home. I will try to get pictures of them all posted this weekend.
Well, the bad news... One of our new MG girls from the first trip, Tatiana, went into labor this morning. Although she tried valiantly, she was unable to deliver the calf herself. Mike stepped in to help her, but he ended up having to take her to the vet. Tatiana was in a lot of trouble. It took four of us working with her another hour and a half to get the calf pulled. The vet said the calf weighed about 110 lbs.…much, much too big for a heifer as small as she is.
We were greatly surprised as MG's normally have easy births and are known for their low birth weight calves. At this time she is unable to stand. We are hoping that she will recover and that her legs are just paralyzed from the trauma of such a hard birthing. Tatiana is such a trooper. She is trying to get up, and is eating and drinking now that we have her home. We are hoping that she makes a full recovery and in time will have more little ones that will race across the pastures kicking and playing. Her friend Poppy is keeping her company, standing watch over her, licking and comforting Tatiana during this sad and stressful time. Animals never cease to amaze me with their compassion and understanding. They are a joy to my heart. :)
Russell Ranch is located in beautiful NE Oklahoma, just a few miles from the Illinois river in Green Country. There are lovely rolling hills, lots of wonderful lakes and rivers, and forests full of wildlife.