It might not be well known, but I have had chickens growing up. Perhaps that’s where my enjoyment of barn yard animals originated.
Following my 2011 visit, where I was bitten by the bug of Racheris Lifeus Fascinatium, I asked, and Ava graciously extended an offer for me to come back to get some more cow pies on my shoes. I was over the moon!
Most of our excitement came in the first few days when Jiggy gave birth. Unfortunately the baby was a stillborn heifer, Angus-Guernsey mix. We are still not quite sure as to why, but at three in the morning Ava saw feet. We didn’t follow their 30 minute rule where 30 minutes from first spotting feet if there isn’t a calf, you pull it, which is probably where it all went wrong. Later that day we still had feet but no calves, (we were expecting twins due to Jiggy’s size) so Ava went in with the obstetrical chains and with the help of Ross pulled the poor baby out. The vet thought perhaps it had been a calcium depression that had caused her not to have proper contractions, but Ross said she was too young to have such problems. I am interested in learning what we could have/should have done differently. Loss of an animal, besides heartbreaking, is a financial hit for small ranchers.
Most of my duties were milking cows and feeding pigs, but I occasionally was given additional responsibilities such as cleaning saddles and making butter.
Recently Ava and Ross had gotten caretakers for their second ranch called Eden, which was a huge burden of oversight lifted from them. It was with their assistance we set out to retrieve some cows, which we had been told by the blustery neighbors had gotten over the fence. We had to fix about a quarter mile of fence, raise the original and add a new post in between. We also pulled all the old wires off and readjusted them to be closer to the ground and each other. We then added two new wires to the top raising the fence about two feet. In addition to the hard work, we also had a slow lightning storm over our heads, so we hid in the truck twice and stopped for dinner. I declare you have never been a true rancher until you have repaired a fence in wind, rain, lightning, and yes, even hail, all for one grouchy old neighbor.
Ava and Ross keep a decent number of horses and mules on their property. One thing that they do occasionally is to find good horses at auctions that are heading for the slaughter house and retrain them until they are proper riding horses; some they keep and others they sell for more then they bought them for. Right now they have two horse in process. Mag was once a fantastic horse who was spoiled rotten. She is in primary stages and while I was there she had intensive discipline. Tuxedo, had light training. Meg will more then likely be sold eventually but Tuxedo will be kept by Ava.
And for all those cat lovers out there