Welcome to JKs Rough String Ranch

Welcome to the Rough String, and thanks for stoppin' by!! Grab a hot cup of coffee and sit a spell!
10/22/18 You will see a name change on the blog. Lots of things have changed in my life in the past few years, and I feel compelled to share my story.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Orphaned Calves~Trials 'n Tribulations

There's no better explanation than trials 'n tribulations when you try to graft a cow to a calf. It's something that I hope we don't have to go through again...but I doubt it...if you're going to raise any type of livestock, sh!t just happens no matter what you do to prevent it!

As you might remember, the lil' brown calf died on March 9 and we brought home the orphaned black calf on March 10. We've been struggling to get the cow to accept the calf ever since. The calf wants nothing more than to have a mamma that he can nurse from...Annabelle is just being a stinker...she threatens him by slinging her head at him and stomping her back hooves...but doesn't ever actually hurt him.

The day before yesterday, I was ready to through in the towel and just bottle feed the lil' guy...it would be a lot easier than going through the frustration with Annabelle. We took off the hobbles and turned them both out with the rest of the herd hoping that she'd step up to the plate and take care of her calf...24 hours later...nothin' doin'. I decided we'd get him separated out and just start the bottle. So, I've got him alone in the pen and am working at getting him into the stall to feed him and Annabelle comes running and bawling to the gate "what are you doing to MY calf?" Pffttt...alright, I put her in the pen with the lil' guy and she wants nothing to do with him. CRAZY damn cow! So, we bottle fed him and left him in the stall for the night...and fed him again in the morning.

Meanwhile, I'm Googling last resort ideas for grafting a cow and a calf...and came across an inspiring blog post at Double H Photography (photography, writing and ranching in rural Wyoming). She had written a post called "Calf Adoption Services" where her fiance had a bottle calf that didn't know how to nurse from a very willing mother cow (he wanted his bottle!). I know, the opposite of what my problem is...but she said "This would not happen like this at my house."

So...what did they do at her ranch? Maybe she could give me some pointers...couldn't hurt to ask, so I emailed her, and she sent me back a couple of very encouraging replies. "Sounds like you've won half the battle, if not the war, since she at least likes him when he isn't trying to eat!" said Heather.

Day 11...the best feeding so far.

So, My Man and I are back at it again...I had visions of udder utter bliss between the two of them after they had been together for five days...OK...then there's reality where things take longer than anticipated. It could be worse...so, keep going and keep trying.

We've always had to put her into the lead up to the squeeze chute so she wouldn't threaten the calf when he tried to eat. This morning, I gave her a bit of hay (she had not had any hay since last evening's feeding), got her to stand against the fence in the corner, threatened her with my stock stick when she was going to be nasty to the calf...and the calf nursed while she ate...it was success! She didn't act nearly as cranky!!!

When the lil' guy had his fill, I put him in the arena next to her pen with water and a handful of calf starter grain, gave Annabelle half her breakfast, and plan to go out at noon to do it all over again. The plan is to keep her a lil' bit hungry, and she gets a reward for standing for the calf...and she also gets to have her bag pressure released...I hope she'll put two and two together and realize the lil' guy is a good thing.

Rear approach...it'll be so nice to see him stand next to her instead of behind her. But this is where the calf feels the safest...even though he keeps getting cow crap on his head...poor thing!

There you have it...we'll just keep pushing forward and pray for the ultimate success...a pair!

BTW...thanks Heather for all your help!

Oh...another BTW...my "pool time" photos from yesterday were taken almost two weeks ago when it was almost 60 degrees and Rastus just wanted into any water he could find. Now we're back to ice on the water tanks again and feeding in insulated bib because the wind chill is down to 10 degrees. Yep, it's spring!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Celebrate National Agriculture Day!

March 19 is National Agriculture Day..."so what" you say?

What Is Ag Day All About? (from the agday.org website)
Ag Day is about recognizing - and celebrating - the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:
  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

My Man and I contribute just a tiny bit to the agriculture industry, but we are proud to produce a quality product so you can have good, safe food on your table!

We do a lot of this...

When the Wind Blows
(usually from May through early September)
...to grow as much of this as we can...

Hayin' Time Again/1
(three cuttings June, July and September)
...most of which is trucked off to Willamette Valley dairies...

(200 tons)
...so you can go to your local grocery store and buy milk, butter, and cheese!

What alfalfa we grow that isn't good enough for dairy cows, we feed to our own cows to raise a few of these...

Airs Above the Ground
(Early Girl - a 2013 calf)
...who, when old enough and fed right, will be available to you at your local grocery store.
Beef - That's what's for dinner!

Just think of all of the food products that are available to you in one place...at your local grocery store...those products didn't get there by chance or by magic. A lot of sweat, joy, heartbreak and tears goes into each of those products by farmers and ranchers all across our nation...and the world.

You gotta watch Ranching Awesome!!

And you can't forget Farmer Style!!

Say THANK YOU to a farmer or rancher today...celebrate with us National Agriculture Day!

Rurality Blog Hop #7

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Stills ~ Games

My Man and I got out of the house yesterday evening for dinner at a friend's house...and a rousing game of a type of rummy called "Melissa's Rules."  A perfect opportunity for "game" shots for this week's Sunday Stills photo challenge.

So, here are my two best shots...but the better shots were taken by our host Lloyd, and he's granted me permission to include them today. Thanks Lloyd...nothin' beats a cute puppy face!!



"Hey look...I got three 3's...

...that's pretty good! I'm learnin' this game quick...OK, you're turn...hurry up!"

Check out more "game" photos HERE.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Tune ~ Templeton Thompson

I've featured Templeton Thompson before...I always love her music. This song was just listed on YouTube, and it seemed to hit home with me. Not in the aspect of actually getting a horse rode in my case...but getting bucked off in life...you still gotta get back up in the saddle again~

And for those curious minds regarding the new calf with Annabelle, they're still not quite together yet, but it seems closer than yesterday!! My Man and I gave him a dose of Tri-Pectate (pectin, glucose, electrolytes) this mornin', and Annabelle was at the stall door lookin' very worried as to what we were doin' with her calf!!! She was talkin' to him and everything...yeah!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Life's Rollercoaster

Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts and comments on the death of the lil' brown calf. CDNCowgirl said it very well:
"Despite what the end holds for most cows to lose such a young calf is so sad."
Yes, their beef cows...raised to be eaten. But it's so hard to stand by and watch a young life slip away...knowing you've done all you could do. But God has his own plan, and we just need to go with it.

Cindy Sue is lending her support.
It makes me feel better knowing that the brown calf's last hour of life was in warmth and love instead of dying out in the cold. A lot of tears were shed.

But, we forge forward...what to do with a cow that has lots of milk to give...but we don't know if she'll accept another calf. We decided that we had to give it a try.

We put phone calls out to all the neighbor ranches and posted on FB...then yesterday afternoon, dear friend Rancher Dan called and said he had a calf that might work for us. He was about a week old, and had been abandoned by his mother...and he'd been sneaking drinks of milks from all the other cows when he could...he wasn't shy!

So, we headed over with the trailer, got him scooped up out of the field while he was sleeping in the sun, and loaded him up for home.

We put him (a bull calf) in with Annabelle, and she wasn't violent toward him, but she didn't want him to nurse...so we got her into the first section of the lead up to the squeeze chute; a board in front and a board in back...she couldn't get away.

We brought up the lil' guy behind her, and he knew exactly what to do! So in less than 24 hours, we had a calf for her...our hopes are high that this will work!

Despite being pooped and peed on, he drank and drank...

...and drank until he was full !

I tried to hobble Annabelle's hocks, but being the rookie that I am, was unsuccessful. So, we turned her loose with him in the paddock. If she won't let him nurse today, we repeat yesterday's exercise.

It looks to me that she's going to accept him, it'll just take some time.

Last evening when we left the barn, the lil' guy was snug and warm in the calf shelter...and he was still in there this mornin'. It's good to know that he's safe...now we'll see if today will bring them closer together as a pair. Wish us luck!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

In Memory of the Lil' Brown Calf

That may sound silly, but it was heartbreaking for me. She had a bit of scours, but we think she probably had other issues that caused her to die. We had her in the house in front of the wood stove when she passed away.


We're hoping to find a leppy calf that we can try to graft onto the mamma, Annabelle.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spring Horse/Ranch Keeping

Last weekend I got all the horses wormed on Saturday, and they got their annual vaccination on Sunday. It's nice to get that out of the way. They'll still need to get their West Nile vaccination, but I'll wait until the weather warms up.

Colt had some saddle fit issues last year. I took my saddle to a local maker and he tore it apart to see what might be causing the white marks that Colt had gotten on his back. Well, there were a few things wrong with it's original construction, but he was able to correct them. But the major thing is that the saddle is just too wide for Colt's narrow body shape.

A friend of mine has a vintage/antique Visalia Stock Saddle Company saddle for sale (interesting history in that link), and I'm trying it on Colt to see if it fits him. The stirrup leathers have been replaced as well as the strings and the horn wrap too. The fenders are pretty warn also, but it actually seems to fit him...and it was a comfortable ride for me too!

I'm going to take Colt and the Visalia saddle to the local saddle maker to have him check it out and see how much repair the saddle needs and the cost...it may be better to just have another saddle made with a narrow tree. But, it's kind of a neat ol' saddle, and I bet it has a lot of stories to tell! It was probably built before I was born...strange to sit in and think about that~

Antique Visalia Saddle
Visalia Saddle

Yesterday we were blessed with another newborn calf...and another heifer too. We'd prefer bull calves because they will weigh more at weaning time and bring more money, but I'd prefer a healthy calf than no calf at all!

Newborn Hereford Cross Calf
This lil' girl is a Hereford/Jersey/Angus cross.
I think that's why she's a much lighter red color than Early Girl.

Speaking of the "one month early" thing...my error...these calves are born right on schedule. I can't seem to get my May and June dates correct!

That's MY Baby!
OK...you pick a caption for this photo...I think the look on Annabelle's face is priceless!

My Man's been working REALLY hard to get the cow corrals up...and he's almost there! With Number Three being a first year heifer, we needed a place to keep her close to the barn. We also needed the corrals for working and sorting the cows when vaccination and weaning time comes around. Basically all that's left is to put up the gates.

My Man is pulling nails from the used poles we got...it was a really cost-affective deal!
LOL...there's Stetson in the background givin' him moral support!

We'll be able to get Number Three corralled this afternoon. She doesn't look like she's going to calve real soon, but that's the funny thing about heifers...they don't show signs like a mature cow does. She could very well need assistance (from us) to get her calf born safely into this world, and we'll be checking on her frequently through out the day and night. My Man put a good light up on the outside of the barn too!

We don't have any green plants sprouting out of the ground yet, but we have new calves, and spring's just 'round the corner!!! Yeah!

Rurality Blog Hop #5

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Stills ~ Two-In-One Edition

This week's Sunday Stills Adventure in Photography photo challenge was "fruits and vegetables." Last week's challenge was "sunrise or sunset with buildings." I missed last week's because we were moving cows...but I had the photo...so, I'm posting it today!

I'll start with last week's challenge...

Snowy Sunrise
Snowy Sunrise
I think this was the last time we had snow...February 19. A sunrise with our barn.

To see other sunrise/sunset photos, go HERE.


For this week's challenge:

Veggies for my Swiss Steak recipe

Cantaloupe...a few fresh fruits are becoming more affordable.
It was a tasty change for breakfast today!

To check out other fruits and vegetable photos, go HERE.

OK...I can't help myself...this photo at least still goes along with the "food" category...someday anyhow...but she's just too cute not to show off!

Brockle Face Heifer
We've nicknamed her "Early Girl" since she was almost a month early.

Shirley asked if she was going to be part of our herd, and the answer is no. We're limiting ourselves to 5 breeding cows because that's about all our grazing land can sustain. So, this year's calves will be sold after weaning.

Hope you have an awesome Sunday!

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Tucked neatly underneath the sagebrush, our lil' new one is napping...rays of the early morning sun giving her a lovely glow. She's just 15 hours old...and doing great!

Such Sweetness!

Weekly Top Shot #72

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hello World!

Three weeks early...but our first calf was born yesterday!

Newborn Calf
Wide-eyed with wonder

Ellie Mae didn't pick a very good spot to have her calf...right in the middle of the feeding pen. They usually go up into the sagebrush and find a nice quiet spot away from the other cows. Not this time.

I went out to clean stalls and feed horses at the big barn about 3:30 PM. All was quite until about 4 PM when I heard a cow bawling. I walked out into the barn yard to look down at the cow paddock...saw two cows eating; nothing seemed amiss, so I went back to feeding. Then I heard bawling again. OK, as soon as I'm done here I'm going to the cow barn to see what's up.

Good momma cow

There was Ellie Mae with a calf...soppin' wet and shivering...she had just given birth! She kept bawling at the other cows who were crowed around to see the excitement...especially Paddy and Tumbleweed who are just yearlings. They were really curious about this lil' wet thing on the ground!

Time to get up...and look...it's a heifer!

Momma kept lickin' and cleanin' her up...and not long after the lil' heifer makes it to her feet.

Wobbly Legs
She's up! Paddy is giving her moral support ;~)

I decided I better get some fresh hay out for the cows and they would probably leave Ellie Mae and the calf alone...yep, that did the trick.

Shortly after that, the heifer found the right end of momma for the groceries...she's a good lil' eater!

Momma could have picked a better place to have her!

She's a pretty big calf...her sire is "Herfy" a polled Hereford. We're kinda (a lot) concerned for Number Three since she's a first year heifer. We'll be keepin' a VERY close eye on her.  Annabelle looks like she should be next to calve though.

My Man fed the cows this mornin' and said that the new lil' one is up and dancin' around already (in the dark)!

One down...two more to go!