Friday, April 12, 2013
The beautiful warm weather seems to have been eluding us lately. And somehow, the Vancouver rain has found me. The ground was drying up so well! Now, with all this wet everywhere, the corral is a nightmare to wade through. With mud coming right to the top of your boots, it makes chasing cows through the pens impossible. You get your daily exercise and burn lots of calories though.
Two exciting (for me anyways) events this week!
The first being that we discovered a calf was born with all of its small intestine dangling out of its bellybutton. The calf seemed healthy otherwise, was up and walking around right away. I imagine everyone was thinking that the lead to the head solution would be the way to go and that surgery wasn’t worth a shot. However, I really wanted to at least try and do something to save her, even though there was, and still is, a huge possibility that she will die anyways. So, out came the needles, scalpel, iodine, catgut thread, penicillin and lots of warm water. Since the calf was born in a pile of shavings, we needed to wash, sterilize and lubricate the intestines before they could go back in. The belly button hole was not big enough to push them gently back in place; therefore, we had to make the hole a bit wider. When the intestines were all back in place we sewed her up, gave her a shot of penicillin, got her fed and put her back with her mama. She didn’t even lie down. The tough little thing was up and walking around right away, as perky as ever. As of now she is still alive and doing extremely well considering. I am so glad that we did all we could to save her; hopefully she’ll be all right and infection won’t get her later. We named her Hope.
The second rather thrilling event of the week was when a cow had a full on uterine prolapse while calving out in the pen. This happens when the cow has been pushing so hard to get the calf out, that she actually pushes out her whole uterus. In this cow’s case, she didn’t get up and see that the calf was out, so she kept pushing. We didn’t realize what she was doing until it was too late. Therefore, Roger and I set to work on her. Once in the maternity chute, she got a shot of lidocaine in her spine to stop her contractions. Then we chained her up by the tail, one to keep her upright, and two, because it is easier to push everything back in when the cow is in that position. After washing off the uterus and getting some of the after birth out, we dove elbows deep and stuffed her uterus back in. I’ve never been so covered in blood in my life! Then I gave her a big does of liquid myosin, to help stop infection, and some oxytocin. After sewing up the cow’s rear end to prevent her from prolapsing again, she was put back with her baby. What a fun experience! It was so interesting to see what the uterus actually looks like and how the after birth is attached to it and so forth.
Those were a couple of very busy and eventful days, but otherwise the days here are pretty routine. We have got quite the orphanage going in the barn. We have our regular barn bum, power milker, Fritzel; she has been with us since the start of the season and is getting quite large. Then there is an older calf whose mother died of cancer recently. One twin calf whose mother rejected her and another twin whose mother did not have enough milk. That is a lot of hungry little tummies to feed. It takes us a good two hours every morning and evening to feed them all. Hopefully they will all find new mamas soon. Wanda figures there are only about 115 cows left to calve, hurray! I will be happy when I can get a full night sleep again.
Now it is back to Six Mile and my awaiting bed . . . and then up at 1:00 again . . .
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Time flies when you are having fun! It feels so weird that two months of calving has already gone by. It’s so hard to believe that in 57 more days I will be boarding a plane departing for Sweden! I can hardly wait to see my dear friends again, after more than a year gone by.
Meanwhile spring has sprung, up here in Anahim Lake! The songbirds are slowly but surely returning, filling the air with their sweet melodies. Sunshine has finally become a regular occurrence, reaching temperatures that make you work up a sweat. There have even been a few sunburns going around. My ear was rather crispy a few days ago. But the most obvious sign that spring is here would be the hatching and horrendous buzzing of the flies. My swatting hand is again in use. And oh, shock and horror, the first two mosquitoes of the year have been spotted! They had better stay in hiding until I am long gone; I don’t think I could go through another summer of nasty, flying, biting insects.
With all the warm weather, the snow has sure taken a beating. It is truly amazing and wonderful how much it has melted this past week. The downside of this is that you can hardly walk through the mud (aka cow shit) without almost loosing your boots in it. Needless to say, my afternoons have been spent digging drainage ditches in an attempt to keep the water levels in the corrals down. It is actually quite fun, reminds me of making little rivers in my sand box when I was little.
The calving has been fairly steady. We’ve had a few very busy days and a few slower days, a nice mix.
We had a great Easter at the ranch. The boys went on a big Easter egg hunt and got loaded up with sugar. Their cousins and friends were visiting, so that was very fun for them. We all decorated and died Easter eggs (courtesy of Jackson’s 30 or so chickens), and once again I am reminded that I am not an artist. That was before eating a big lunch and then an even bigger turkey dinner. All in all a great day!