Tag Archives: Ranch Life
Life is never dull on a ranch.
One moment you are making deviled ranch eggs and raiding your Parent’s freezer for a BBQ and the next moment you are screaming bloody murder because one of the biggest rattlesnakes you have seen lately is right where you park your truck.
I just had a very upsetting nightmare where I stepped on a rattlesnake but I didn’t kill it, I was screaming for help, but no one could hear me. I was stuck on a mad, live snake! I knew I was going to die!!!!
When I saw this snake, I put everything I had into screaming for help, just in case my dream actually came true!
Thankfully, my Mom did hear me and helped kill this bad boy snake. But not before I managed to hurt my vocal chords by screaming like a Banshee. After we killed it, I went back to get the rattles and it moved and peed on me, so I screamed again. That probably didn’t help my voice either.
We always are careful to remove the snake’s head to prevent any accidents. We’ve heard enough horror stories about people getting bitten after the snake was killed or meat bees eating the poison and stinging people or animals. The head is placed into a bag and thrown away, safe from meat bees and animals.
Rattlesnakes are a fact of life here on the ranch. Inevitably, we always have at least one cow or calf get bitten every year. Worst case scenario is the animal dies. The best case is we have a hurt cow or a calf that will never fully recover.
It is always upsetting when we kill a snake around the houses. Although we know the snakes are here, we don’t often see them, so we can pretend they don’t exist. But then you have a scare, and it is ALWAYS when you aren’t paying attention, wearing your office flats (not snake boots) and you have a puppy frolicking at your feet. For the next few weeks, we will be on high alert, every stick will be a snake, the wind moving the leaves in the trees will be upset snakes! Eventually we will relax again, but the cycle will continue.
Everyone is safe and healthy, so this was a good reminder that we need to pay attention. Well, maybe not totally healthy….
I really did hurt my vocal chords when I screamed. Ever since we killed the snake, I’ve been a raspy, squeaky mess. I am a whisper nervous about this because on Thursday I am going to be a panelist at the 2014 CropLife America Policy Conference . I’ve been trying not to talk and eating lots of ice cream and drinking lots of honey tea, so I know I’ll be fine!
If you have a few minutes Thursday morning, please consider streaming this event on your computer! I am so excited to be apart of this and want to share it with my readers!
It’s my birthday. But on the Ranch, birthdays are just another day. The cows don’t stop eating, the water doesn’t change itself and the bulls need to be turned out.
It’s ok, because the older I get, I find myself caring less and less about the dreaded annual event (except the cake part, I like that part). Anyway, when my Dad asked if I could work cattle on my birthday, I was actually kind of excited about it. I figured, ‘hey, maybe I’ll get another promotion or something! It’s my birthday!’
The day started out early. I was supposed to spend the night on the summer ranch last night, but I managed to be so busy during that day, by the time I was done with all my chores it was going to be dark when I finally arrived in the mountains. And since I am the only child, my Parents tend to mitigate any extra risk they can, driving up the curvy, mountain highway in the dark is considered risky and frowned upon, hence I got to wake up in my own bed on my birthday!!!!
This ended up being a great thing because Daniel was able to come with me this morning. After I trotted over to the big house to wake my Mom and and get my cowdogs (I also got awesome presents! I love presents!!), Daniel brought me a Starbucks. All the way from town. It was glorious. I had Mom presents (plus my Mom is super crafty, so part of it was homemade with love and thought), and Starbucks, I cried. I swear, I cried tears of joy.
Daniel and I woke up before dawn (he had to wake up earlier to get coffee and drive out to the Ranch), drove a hour and half (with Starbucks!), and went to work. Did I mention it was freezing up there? It’s amazing how different the climate in California can be.
This was the first time poor Daniel had ever worked cattle with my Dad and I. I think it was the first time he ever worked cattle. Oh, did I mention he is a recent law school graduate? And just took the bar? I think this proves my theory that the stress of law school will prepare you for anything. He was a natural.
We have a wonderful corral that Dr. Temple Grandin influenced heavily. It’s so much easier to work with the cattle now, and we need 3 people (sometimes 2!) instead of a big crew, thus lessening cattle stress even more. However, I made a mistake. Since the paradigm shifted and Daniel was now the one important not to get hurt (he is house counsel, can’t break him!), I got demoted from my normal job. Demoted on my birthday. Sigh.
We finished up with no cow, dog or person getting hurt. Then in the best birthday move ever – my Parents gave me a couple cows to sell.
After working all day, and working hard! I would post pictures of my bruises, but trust me, you don’t wanna see that. We drove the hour and a half home to the Valley and Daniel took me to my favorite Mexican restaurant for a margarita and dinner. I got so much love on my social media. It was a good day. Thanks friends (also I am exhausted and feel old, lol).
It’s been a while since I’ve done a pig update. It’s time. The pigs are over 200 pounds a piece now. They are growing like weeds! We have about a month left before “the appointment”.
They spend a lot of time eating, rooting and foraging. I sometimes let them out to find acorns and eat grass. They loved it!
Wattle hog (what I named the pig that has the wattles) found one of the dog’s bones and took off. He refused to go back into his pen and he refused to give me his bone. I think I know where the term “pig headed” came from.
Since I’ve been literally cooking their food, I can use kitchen waste, garden waste and that kinda stuff. I keep my eyes open for pumpkins, old bread, fruit, etc. As I was coming home from getting apples at my favorite apple farm, I spied a sign and two big pallets of FREE bread.
For some reason these pigs insist on using their bedroom as their bathroom. In all my experience with animals, I have never seen this. All my other pigs would either go outside their bedroom or have a corner of their room dedicated as the bathroom area. Even the horse have a particular corner of their pasture they do their business in. Their lack of hygiene means we have to clean their room often. And it is a nasty, bad, gross, job.
Granted, I did smell like a billy goat/hog after I cleaned their bedroom, but luckily, I have a secret weapon to combat pig stank.
Since we are about a month away from slaughtering these guys, I’ve been increasing the amount of almonds they are getting in their food. The extra protein has been making them gain like no one’s business, and hopefully, the nutty flavor with influence the flavor of the meat. I know in Spain they are famous for their nut finished pork. I’m so excited to see if this works!
Since it is February in Northern California and we have been having beautiful, sunny, upper 60′s days, the pigs have made themselves a mud hole.
After a nice mud bath they like to lay in the sun, they really like it when you brush them while they lay in the sun.
I figure we have about a month left with these guys. I’ve really enjoyed having pigs on the Ranch again. I’ve learned a lot over these past few months, and have really enjoyed my Dad’s involvement and guidance. I can’t wait to taste this pork! But I am going to admit right now, I am going to miss these guys! Especially Wattle Hog. We’ve become friends (I KNOW better), but I couldn’t help it. He’s such a character! Look forward to one more Pig Post and then another slaughter post (I wonder if the pork council is going to say something to me?).