Spring in January

Where I come from, the winters are long (6 months) and cold. And tons of snow. It typically snows in October and you don’t see the grass again until May. Now where I live, it’s not quite like that. We get cold weather, but it’ll last for a few days or maybe a week at a time. It’ll snow, but typically the most of it will be gone in a week or two, obviously depending on the weather. But what that means is that here we get a Ton of springs! It’ll snow, and be cold for a week and then it’ll warm up and melt and be super muddy, wet and icy. And then it’ll freeze and snow again and do it all over again.
What I won’t go into detail about is how most of the puddles are actually cow pee/manure puddles. They’re rank. The dogs get rank because they like them, and if you are so lucky like I was last year, I slipped and fell in one, so then I was rank too.

And then after a few days of spring weather, you Really get in the spring mode. I’ve ordered my chicks, ordered and received *all* (pfft. I’m always needing just one more pack!) my seeds, and now I want spring time. I’ve decided spring is my favourite time of year. Out here on the ranch, you’ve got baby calves jumping and hopping all around, baby chicks peeping, happy hens snatching the first of the bugs, and a whole wonderful garden to plant! Not to mention grass growing, bulbs popping through, and a bit later, the garden coming alive.
But all this lovely spring weather has me out for walks every day, sometimes twice a day!

She is The happiest dog a live when she can run and run the open pastures and sniff out all the rabbits lurking in the sand rock. It has become a race between her and her brother dog, Dan, to see who can reach the hills with the rocks first and find the first rabbit. So entertaining to watch!

We live in “Big Sky Country”. Can you tell?!
We found some flowing water. The dogs, especially Sassie, (whiter one), LOVE water. She was trying to ‘catch’ the moving water. Dan was contemplating pulling his ‘danigator’ move, and lay down in the water as low as he can get, just keeping his nose above the water.

Sassie and myself are fairly good friends, hence why there are more pictures of her in it than the other two dogs. 3 dogs actually come with me on our walks. Dan+Sassie (siblings) and Izzy, Jake and Jessica’s dog. She tends to keep her distance from where Dan+Sassie are, so she isn’t far from them, but generally not close enough to be in a picture!

However, despite all the warm weather, running water, and spring fever, in the back of my head I know that it’s Really not spring. Because there are 100+calves to be born and there’s always at least one Cold week during calving. So January, be all spring like, but until those calves are born, we still have cold weather, snow, loooong nights and busy days to get through!

This past Saturday we moved all the cows. Big bulls went to the horse pasture, heifers got put in the lot while we went and got the yearling heifers to bring to the pasture right at the house. They’ll start calving in early February so we took advantage of the gorgeous day to bring them closer.

They moved at a snails pace so it was quite easy to move them. Bob (father in law), was ahead with the feed truck so they just followed him and Jed, myself and Jed’s brother, Jake, were behind on the four-wheelers. I definitely don’t blame them for moving so slow; they’re nearly full term!

I had the ‘honour’ of driving the brand new four wheeler because, quote my father in law, “you’re the only one I can trust not to wreck it”. ha!  I really didn’t go much faster than 2 miles an hour, due to the slow moving yearlings.
We were moving so slowly that the boys had time for a snowball fight. They both admitted it was the hardest they’d ran in over 2 years ha!
Please enjoy Jake’s running pose.
And lastly. A ‘full’ basket of eggs. At least i’m calling that full right now. I have been getting 2 eggs a day for about 3 weeks now. And the other day we got 6! I did such a wonderful happy dance for Jed that he will want to buy me more and more hens so they lay lots of eggs so I do more wonderful happy-basket full of eggs dances for him.
I never ever thought I’d see the day where collecting eggs, 6 of them, made me so happy!
Bloom where you’re planted!


Feathered Friends Friday

I had great intentions to post about my feathered friends earlier on today but that never happened. But hey, it’s still Friday!
The chickens are so far surviving winter. They survive by staying in their coop the cold/windy/snowy days and kick straw (and the occasional egg. Oh wait they’re hardly laying) out of the nesting boxes,and poop everywhere. But that’s the normal.

We had a week of cold cold weather, and the chickens never wanted outside. But then I also never gave them that privilege. Most of our days here are fairly fairly full of sun, but we had about 3 days of cloud and overcast and I realized on the 4th day that we hadn’t seen the sun for a long time!

I miss when their coop used to be pure white and clean. Now it’s just a poopy stinky mess. In the summer I put sand down instead of the straw.  It keeps it cooler and absorbs the poop so it doesn’t stink. In the winter I use the deep litter method as it keeps it a bit warmer and gives them more stuff to peck at when they’re stuck inside.

I had to use a little bribery to get them outside. It was indeed a beautiful day but it seems that with chickens, one will stick their head out the door, check out the weather and then tell all their little chicken friends not to go outside but to just poop inside. Good ol’ Nosy Nancy always comes out to visit.

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Some little girl missed her chickens. She was quite smitten to have them so close to her eating their food. IMG_3189 IMG_3192
The two roosters! Spaz and Rosco. Rosco is a mean bum who as Danelli says everytime we see him “we can’t trust Rosco”. And Spaz just lives up his name. Super skittish but has a wonderful crow! Rosco, on the other hand, just sounds like he’s still going through puberty.
I would like to say that they’re settling in for the night, but based on the amount of natural light there is, the chickens are just inside pooping. In case you haven’t figured it out, chickens poop a LOT. I just read that they poop every 10-15 minutes or so. (hahaha who would sit and keep track of how often a chicken poops!)

This is Bad Chicken munching on some weeds. She is named Bad Chicken because she laid her eggs under the coop for a long time. She no longer does that, but the name has stuck.

I bought a de-icer/water heater for their water since they kept dumping their water if it wasn’t frozen. This works wonderful. It’s actually a feed pan we use for cows who are penned up with their brand new calves, but until the calves come, (like 3-4 weeks!) it’s a chicken waterer!

Spaz checking out their new bathtub. Just kidding. I threw corn on the ashes to inspire them to take a dust bath, but they haven’t tried. Dirty birds. And notice the dog under the chicken door. If she sees me coming outside, she runs to her little spot here, and leaves when I leave the chickens. Also, if she had been chasing heifers or annoying the horses, she will run back to the house, but come out from the chickens so that we assume she was just hanging out with her chickens. Smart little dog.

Two eggs we get daily. Jed eats two eggs for breakfast, and the chickens give me 2 a day. Out of 15. They basically suck. But, i’m thankful we still haven’t had to buy any eggs and am hoping hoping that they start doing what chickens do best, and lay a few more eggs a day.

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And Nosy Nancy. Still as friendly as possible. Just getting in a quick hold and pet while the sun was going down causing us to glow!

I did just order 25 more chicks to arrive in April! I hope we have eggs (and chickens), coming out our ears! Never such thing as too many chickens. And if you have chickens, you can relate to this. If you don’t have chickens, you likely think i’m crazy.