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!
Lots of babies being born right now, as is usual in the Spring. We had a beautiful Murray Grey heifer born 3/26/14 and for some reason her mother refused to take her. Thank goodness for Miss Dottie. Dottie took to becoming a nurse cow like a champ and is now feeding two babies, plus giving milk for four orphan Boer goat babies! Dottie is turning out to be an easy going cow and certainly a "keeper."
Here are some more pictures of Dottie and her two babies and Dottie being milked. :) These gals are sure keeping us busy!
Thursday, 3/27/2014, Faith, one of our younger Murray Grey girls, gave birth to a strong, healthy bull calf - with a little help from us. She is sure proud of him and is a really good momma cow. They stayed up in the pen for a few days and then were turned back out in the big pasture. Faith seems much happier with her bovine friends.
The garden is being readied. The onion sets and salad greens are planted. The seeds are sprouting in the greenhouses and the yards and pastures are starting to show some green. Could Spring really, finally be here? After such a long, hard winter, we are very ready for Spring. Yesterday we had our first good spring rain... even had some thunder and lightening!
A few of the Purple Martins have returned to battle the sparrows for their summer homes. Meadow larks and Blue Jays are here too. It's good to see them back. Still waiting on the trees and flowers to bud, but that will come in time. :) Spring is my most favorite time of the year! Hope you enjoy it as well...:)
Look what we found at the barn, curled up in the warm hay early Tuesday morning, 3/18/2014. She is a doll.
Dottie gave birth unassisted and baby was already clean.
We needed to milk Dottie and bottle the little one the first day. After she was strong enough to stand on those long legs, she found the milk bar and hasn't stopped eating yet.
Dottie is a wonderful momma and is doing very well in the milking department.
She still has some edema, but is giving 2.5 gallons OAD with the calf on full time.
As most of you know this year seems like the never ending Winter. Yesterday we had everything Mother Nature could throw our way; lightening and thunder, freezing mist, drizzle and rain, sleet, snow, high winds and then blowing snow. We ended up today with about a 1/2' of ice covered with frozen sleet and then snow. We are now on our 12th snow day from work and may be in school until mid-June!
Around the ranch, this kind of weather is extremely tough on us -and on our animals. We have shelters for everyone, but the wind and extreme cold (3 degrees this morning) make it hard for them to stay warm, especially the little ones. When the temperatures drop off this much we start feeding hay daily and grain in order for them to compensate the loss of energy they are expending keeping themselves warm. Plus we need to break ice several times a day so everyone can get a drink.
With the temperatures dropping into the single digits and the severe wind chill, we decided to move the four orphan babies that are being bottle fed into the house -actually into the laundry room. It's about the only place we have that they can't totally destroy being baby goats... It's been interesting to say the least. I have LOTS of help doing laundry. And boy do I have lots of laundry to do with these little ones inside!!
Not only did we have to move the goatie babies inside, we also had to bring the greenhouse in. :-0 Stay warm folks!
We lost our darling Patty Ann last Friday from birthing complications. We weren't expecting her to have any problems as she has given us beautiful babies without any major issues for the past 5 years. Unfortunately we didn't catch the infection quick enough to save her. She was our very first Boer goat. Patty was spoiled rotted and very much loved. We will miss her so much.
Mike found Patty for me when we first moved to this part of the country. He knew I had wanted goats and found this cute, little Boer doeling a few miles away from home. We went to pick her up and she rode home in the front seat of the pick up with us. She was an only goat for some time. Looking back I'm not sure she realized she was a goat. As I mentioned, she got pretty spoiled and she enjoyed every minute of it!
When she was outside, Patty spent much of her time with the horse and mules. They made the most interesting playground. :)
We enjoyed Miss Patty so much that we decided to get a small herd of good quality Boer goats and start raising little ones. We were hopelessly addicted to goats by this time. :)
Our focus was (and is) to raise good quality Boer goats at prices people can afford; and to encourage their human children to learn about caring for and showing their goats... to experience and enjoy of the agriculture lifestyle that is so rapidly disappearing in today's world.
Patty contributed greatly to our dreams by gifting us with several healthy babies. She was a wonderful and loving mother to her kids and took great pride in them all.
Several of her doelings have gone on to become great mothers and many of her little ones were shown by 4-H and FFA members. Some of them have placed well in county and state competitions and fairs. All of them have been enjoyed!
Late January 2014 was not looking much different than the years before for Patty Ann. She was growing large towards her due date and had been slowing down a bit. We put her in a birthing stall to keep a close eye on her and make sure she was safe and warm as we've been having terribly cold and icy weather.
Patty went into labor on her due date, February 4, 2014. It wasn't long before we realized she was having a difficult labor and needed some help. We have helped delivered many babies and really weren't too worried at this time as she appeared to be OK.
Her first baby, a little girl had to be re-positioned and pulled. She arrived a little bloodied and slow to respond but pulled through.
The second baby was a bigger boy and he arrived with just a little help - yelling and hungry as soon as he was dried off.
Patty cleaned her babies off and gave them colostrum. They nursed well and curled up to sleep after she had dried them off.
No more contractions... Patty settled down and seemed ready to rest. A few hours later when we checked on her, she had passed most the after birth and seemed to be her normal self.
However by the end of the day she was running a fever. Patty Ann had an infection. The vet was called and his suggestions were followed. Her fever continued to rise. She quit eating and went down. We tried our best to get things under control and save her. We failed miserably. Patty died on Friday, February 7, 2014.
She will be missed terribly, each and every day... Each time I walk into the barn... When I look at the goats grazing in the pasture... I will remember her, my friend... RIP Patty Ann.
Patty's babies are in the house. They are sleeping in a basket for now. Soon they will move into a larger kennel. Every 3-4 hours they wake up, run around, eat, play, and then go back to sleep. Repeat... They are both a joy and a heartache... We have named the little doeling Missy. She will be staying with us forever. :)
The young ones are so resilient and so full of life. They will stay inside until this horribly cold weather we are having is gone. By then they should be down to 3-4 feedings a day and more able to stay outside and learn how to be a real goat.
Feeding the babies... More pictures to come as they grow... :)
Ice storms are beautiful to look at from inside a warm home with a cozy fireplace. :)
Not nearly as nice when one is outside and trying to care for the critters and stay somewhat warm. :/
However, I did want to share some of the pictures taken yesterday morning. We received several inches of drizzle and freezing rain starting Friday afternoon. The bad weather continued throughout the day Saturday and into early Sunday morning, when all of this was topped off with a lovely dusting of snow! It warmed up a tiny bit Sunday, but then the temperature started heading down. As I write this we are currently at 13 degrees and dropping.
Sorry... not much time to visit with ya'll right now as we are heading out to try to tie the trees back up. Then off to break ice in the water tubs, haul hay, feed everyone, milk the cow and goat, and finish up the chores. :)
and Happy Holidays
from Russell Ranch OK
Russell Ranch Sterling chose to make his appearance in the world on the coldest day of the year in NE Oklahoma. We were in the midst of a major winter storm... freezing rain, ice, and snow... And now we have a new little Murray Grey.
Sterling needed a bit of help coming in to the world as his mom was a smaller cow and this was her first calf. We had moved Verbena into the barn and were glad to assist in his birth, although temps were downright frigid - 2* with the wind chill. Brrrrr....
We quickly dried him off as best we could, put together a nice deep bed of warm hay and gave Verbena a couple buckets of warm molasses water. Then we left them to rest a while...
We finished breaking ice for everyone (again) and then checked in at the barn to make sure that Sterling had gotten his colostrum and to see how he and Verbena were doing. Sterling was up and quickly learning where the milk bar was located and how it worked. All is well. :)
Some pictures taken this wintry week... Let's start with goats.
Out to the horse barn next...
More cow pictures...
And more critters... have to include everyone!
Thanks for letting us share our family with you all. We hope everyone is staying warm during this cold winter weather. Enjoy the time with your family- whether they are people family or critter family. Be sure to take care of each other and stay safe! :)
Nonnie's heifer was born late this fall. She is a beautiful light silver colored, healthy heifer. The first thing this little girl did when we turned her out was to go under the hot fence that surrounds the hay trap and hide. Nonnie was quite distraught when she couldn't get to her or get the heifer to come out...
Dad to the rescue!!
Currently there are four youngsters in the big pasture running around and enjoying the cooler weather. Patticake surprised us with her second calf, a bull this time. No pictures of the newest addition yet, but I'll get some as soon as I can. Here are a couple recent pictures of the "pasture kids" and their moms.
One of the guinea hens was setting on a large bunch of eggs just as the weather was changing. She was able to hatch out several on her own and we were able to help with the rest. :)
The garden is just about finished for the year. Our last hard freeze killed everything but the lettuce. We really enjoyed the small fall garden we put in this year... just enough to eat every few days without the work of canning or freezing lots of extra everything. It's a great feeling to have the pantry full of vegetables, grain and other good eats for the winter. :)
Bill, our grass-fed steer is now in the freezer. He had a good, easy life and served his purpose well. There are three bull calves in the boy's weaning pasture. Some of those will be raised as grass fed, all natural beef and sold to customers in quarters, halves or whole beef. We are currently taking deposits and will be selling more great Murray Grey and Murray Grey cross farm raised beef in the future. Please give us a call if you are interested in some great tasting, healthy beef.
Dolly cow is raising two more calves this fall. She has raised a total of seven calves this year! Her own heifer, Hershey is in the little girls weaning pasture along with four other young ladies. We plan to keep most of the heifers from this year.
We are very thankful for the life we are living here in our little part of NE Oklahoma. We enjoy our critters and each of their very unique personalities. Being able to raise our own beef, dairy, and vegetables is extremely satisfying and healthy. What a wonderful blessing!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. :)
A few of the trees look like they are starting to turn and mornings are feeling a bit crispy. The mules are starting to show longer hair and they seem to be the experts on weather around here. :-) The weather is still quite warm, but I'm afraid my pool days are numbered as the days are getting much shorter. :-(
We had 2 more Murray Grey calves born in August... both bulls. We named them Ruger and Remington.:) Ruger was born August 10th and weighed 55 lbs. Remington was born August 28th and weighed 56 lbs. Both are doing well and so are their moms, Nellie Belle and Lana. This has been a heavy bull calf year with only two Murray Grey heifers born and five bull calves.
Yesterday we separated the girls from the boys, as some of them are getting big enough to come in to season. We also weaned Hershey from her mom, Dolly. Hershey is NOT a happy camper and continues to tell us all about it.
We think she's big enough and certainly old enough to wean, don't you? LOL
We bought two new calves at the sale barn in Tahlequah yesterday to put on Dolly, along with Biscuit. One is a little Brangus cross heifer about 2 weeks old and the other is a week old Charolais bull calf. Both were hungry by the time we got them home and were ready to eat. They seemed very happy with fresh, creamy Guernsey milk!
The end of summer and beginning of Fall is a busy time around the place. Going back to work full time after having most of the summer off is hard. The garden is still producing; all the chores, mowing, and maintenance still need to be done - even with the shorter days. Most evenings you'll find us outside as soon as we get home from a full day of work... mowing, watering, feeding, and doctoring until dark. Then we head inside for dinner, a quick shower, and some sleep. Up at 4:30 the next morning to do it all again. :-)
Our lifestyle is certainly our choice and we love it - even with all the hard work that it takes to keep it all going. :-)
The satisfaction of growing most of the food we eat and raising healthy, happy critters is well worth the time and effort that we put into our lives.
We sincerely wish more folks were able to live this wonderful life; to have the enjoyment and satisfaction of caring for all the wonderful gifts of nature we receive.
Enjoy the Fall!
I just looked at the calendar on the wall and it's almost August!!! Between running errands and keeping appointments, mowing the yard, putting up all the lovely garden vegetables, and taking care of all the critters, July has flown by and is now gone, Amazing!!
~~~ “I've learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes." ~~~ ― Andy Rooney
We have been very busy around the place Petunia's heifer, Rose, and Poppy's bull calf, Rick were weaned a couple weeks ago. They weren't very enthusiastic about that but it was time. Both the kids are over 7 months old now. Rick took to his halter and lead training very well and has graduated to having his halter off. Rose is a bit more stubborn and is still wearing hers 24/7. She will allow you to pet her while she's eating but that's about it. Leading Rose is still a rodeo but we are seeing some improvement.
Dolly Moo's two extra calves were pulled off her in July. Her heifer, Hershey is still nursing, but needs to be weaned soon. She is an amazing calf for her age and is doing very well. We bought a new little girl last week to help us with the extra milk. We named her Biscuit. She still a bit wild but settling down nicely, :)
The garden has taken up a lot of our time this summer. We try to raise most of what we eat and really enjoy fresh vegetables from our own garden. This year we planted 5 heirloom tomato plants. Due to the cooler weather, I had began to wonder if they were going to make this year... then July came and "Wow! It's absolutely amazing how many tomatoes those 5 plants have produced! I'm still busy canning tomatoes, salsa, and marinara. It will taste really good later on and the fresh, vine-ripe tomatoes we've been eating are yummy!!!
Occasionally we get a visitor that ends up in the wrong place. :/ Early one morning I found a black snake caught up in one of the sparrow traps. He wasn't too happy until we let him out. They're good snakes to have around.
We did take some time off this summer for some very pleasant activities. One beautiful Friday some friends came over from Arkansas with their kids and we spent a lazy and relaxing day floating the Illinois River and enjoying good company. We are so lucky to be so close to the great rivers and lakes nearby!
Around the first of July every year, the Oklahoma Draft Horse and Mule Association holds a driving clinic near Locust Grove, OK. Members volunteer their time, their horses, and their equipment to help teach others how to drive wagons and carts, as well as to log. After the driving clinic, they have a BBQ dinner. There's lots of good times to be had for everyone attending. :) You should join us next year!
I always know that summer is over when the Purple Martins leave our place to begin their southern journey home to Brazil. It's hard to see them go, just as it's hard to see summer come to an end. We'll miss the busy days and staying home to enjoy our summer lives. And now that August is here, it's time to wrap up summer and head back to work. Nothing is quite like summer! Til' next time. :)
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.