This gallery contains 6 photos.
Some wildflowers fared better than others through our five-day, 3.21″ rain. But just too beautiful not to forge the muddy creek in the Kubota (with my camera) to open a couple of gates and let our first-calf heifers into the … Continue reading
Fall in the air and through the first cycle, we’re pleased that over half of these girls have calves on the ground.
Posted in Photographs
I have the keys to the Kubota, to the skid-steer, to all things mechanical, and hence a hero when my grandson Cutler comes—my second chance to emphasize what I might have missed with my own kids, or a chance to share what has only become richer with time. I have that obligation as a parent, as a grandparent, to expose him to this larger, fairly foreign world of huge and cute creatures in tangled spaces. He’s three.
Robbin and I are essentially babysitting for a few hours while checking the 1st calf heifers, getting a count to see who’s missing, then locating her to see if she’s had her calf or not. The heifers have set-up their nurseries, his mother runs a day care center—these pastures full of maternity.
Small for easy calving, these Wagyu-cross calves are a week or less old and come in interesting colors. All of our heifers have Angus breeding, though some may have Hereford sires and show the red. The Wagyu influence is mostly black, but can bring shades of gray, brown and red from of our black white-face and Hereford-looking heifers. I am relieved to see them setting-up nurseries and babysitting, adding some stability to their maternity wards.
Blond on Black
We have about 20 x-bred Wagyu calves on the ground, most born in the past week. For whatever reasons, the first calf born on the 5th didn’t make it, a bit of a premie perhaps, or a single mom with no maternal group support, or perhaps it succumbed to the coyotes that have been skulking every fresh birthing place. Showing their nervousness, some of the heifers have chosen the canyons and draws away from the bunch to have their calves, and are fairly easy to read when a coyote’s nearby, oftentimes standing over their calf asleep between their legs. For 1st calf heifers, their instincts are admirable and amazing. I just can’t imagine a better mother than a cow.
Blond on black,
a filigree of empty shells on long stems bent
to new life trembling in a breeze, the light
and hollow grace of late spring rains, these
wild oats arched, these sun-bleached skeletons
that remain, concealing the first throbs of heart
driven by instinct apart from the cowherd.
Sometimes we cannot see, cannot find
what she has hidden, despite curious coyote
pups skulking in the shade, ravens in trees.
Sometimes we miss the miracle of cycles,
the circles of rain—think each day the same.
These old hills come alive, inhale in long
shadows of oaks shedding leaves and acorns.
The invitations have been sent, bulk mail
on gusts to everyone, but only the wild respond.
Posted in Poems 2011
#315 - 8.5.2011
No sooner than get the 1st-calf heifers off the mountain, and we have a calf, about 10 days earlier than expected, another across the creek. Also missing a heifer in each pasture I couldn’t find yesterday. I’ve worked myself into a real dither, much worse than a hand-wringing, little old woman. Despite the joy and satisfaction, I get terribly responsible, and about half-irritable, it seems, when it comes to calving-out these heifers.
Posted in Photographs
With plenty of moisture, the winter buckeye balls have germinated and taken root beneath the trees in Greasy. Most won’t survive the summer sun. Branding the last bunch of calves this a.m. Hallelujah!
Sampling of yearling heifers bred to the Wagyu bulls, Snake River Farms, to begin calving mid-August.