Calves, Journal Style Posts

Very Bad Day on the Homestead (warning dead snake pictures)

So, Saturday was just a typical blazing HOT day in Oklahoma. I went out to give the calves their sweet feed (basically treats that supplement the grass they graze on) and I was walking towards the small gate I normally walk through because I don’t like using the large gates because I am small and they are a few hundred pounds and well, I don’t want to be plowed over by excited baby cows.

Anyway, I was about 4 feet away from the gate when I realized that something had wrapped around my foot and I jumped to get it off of me and realized very quickly what was on my foot was now under my foot. NOT GOOD, Not good at all. Yep, my dumb ass walked to the corral wearing flip flops and ended up stepping on a snake. I ALWAYS look down when I walk specifically for this reason. I saw the snake and made a mental note of coloring and such. Tan-ish green back with a yellow belly and round eyes. I looked at my foot where I felt it bump into me, wiped off some dirt and the snake I had stepped on zoomed off to the area behind the garage. I assumed I hadn’t been bitten.

I fed the calves and was informed that I was bleeding by the kiddo helping me. She was freaking out so, I checked both sides of my Achilles tendon and sure enough I saw blood.

After I got inside and got it cleaned up
Little Fucker bit me twice
Before I had a chance to clean it

Before you assume I’m absolutely insane, I didn’t feel it bite me. Zero pain. It was a yellow bellied racer, a non-venomous, harmless snake. They eat mice, lizards, and small reptiles like toads and frogs. One of the first things I did when we moved to Oklahoma was to learn to identify the snakes. I am not a fan of snakes at all. Hubby did freak out. He immediately went looking for the snake and of course a King snake was spotted near the garage side door and zipped out of there quickly and avoided death by shovel.

Hubby also immediately started mowing a pathway away from the little gate because the grass near the little gate is dead and snakes blend well in dead grass. So he mowed some of the green grass low enough for me to comfortably walk through to get to the gate that is the size of a driveway because he’s terrified I’m going to get bitten by something venomous. We have cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, pygmy rattlesnake and copperheads along with a plethora of other snakes.

I went to put the chickens away and heard the telltale sound of a rattle. My coop is dark and unlit now that the temperatures aren’t dropping below freezing. I had hubby come help me because I can’t kill anything and I didn’t want a snake killing my chickens or myself. I was not thrilled to see the type of snake once it was out in the light where it could be seen because it was a rat snake (nonvenomous and harmless, but they can rattle like a rattle snake.) Stop here if you don’t want to see a dead snake.

That round lump is an egg. I have been getting less eggs than normal lately and now I know why.
The shovel is a little over 4 ft and my darling husband chopped off the head entirely when this dead snake was still trying to bite. You can clearly see the egg it stole before it decided to fake rattle.

So, that’s 3 snakes in one day and one bit me, twice. I’m up to date on all of my shots, I just got a tetanus shot last year when I cut my leg on some rusty barbed wire so, no medical care needed. I just need to treat it like a puncture wound and keep it nice and clean. If that were the end of my nightmare of a weekend, it would still be a nightmare. Nope, not the end. Today, I went to get feed for the calves and some nifty buckets that hook onto the stall fencing and I went to feed the girls and enclose them in the smaller, well lit area with the stalls. Stepped off the back patio and found the ONLY hole in that section of the backyard. The sound my ankle made caused hubby to whip around and with a blank stare, he immediately asked, “How bad did you break it? Do you need help to the truck?” I am still shocked it isn’t broken. It made this awful crunching popping sound that was so loud. It hurt really badly for about a minute and then it stopped. I have broken enough bones in my lifetime to know that it’s not broken just because I can put weight on it and it isn’t bruised, several hours later. It’s a little swollen and the soft tissue is a little tender, but nothing is broken. I hope my new boots get here soon because I can’t be walking around in tennis shoes or flip flops anymore.

I normally wear Dr Martens for everything, but with the no shoes inside rule, it’s a major pain in the butt to unlock and then lace these things up every time I go outside and they don’t look right at all with shorts. I ordered a cute pair of Ariat Fat Baby boots. These are the exact pair . They have actual grip on the soles and they won’t come up to my knees. So, they won’t look absolutely ridiculous with shorts. Also, they are super easy to slip on and off and they are comfortable. I ordered a pair with steel toe and a pair without steel toe. (The steel toe pair has purple instead of blue and actually come up mid calf instead of being short boots.)

I’m not a big fan of “cowboy boots” because they never have any grip on the soles and I need that grip. Also I have wide flat feet and with most brands, I have to go up 2 full sizes before I can even get the boot on my foot. This style is amazing and super comfy right out of the box. That’s pretty amazing in itself because leather boots are the absolute worst shoes to break in. (I usually get them sopping wet and wear them until they are dry (two pairs of thick socks) but these are actually comfortable right out of the box. So, if you are looking for a comfy pair of boots (this is my second and 3rd pair of Ariat FatBaby boots) I highly recommend them. No insoles needed because they come with good insoles in place. I am looking for a place to get my old pair re-soled because they are really that comfortable. I love my Docs, but these are far more comfortable and provide great support for my arches and my pathetic ankles.

Pajamas and flip flops….

The girls are doing great. They have been released and absolutely love grazing on the 8 or 9 acres of green grass every morning. They come running when they see me walking towards the corral because they know I have treats. We lock them in the corral area every evening and I am hunting high and low for a dokey to help keep them safe from coyotes. They tend to stick close to the stalls during the hottest part of the day because they have plenty of cold water and the stalls provide some much needed shade. There are a handful of shady spots around the property, but they haven’t fully explored the whole 8-9 acres available to them. The whole property is 10 acres, but I don’t know the exact amount they have fenced off for their use. I am honestly not even sure how to measure it. During my search for a donkey, I keep coming across pygmy goats and I keep trying to convince hubby that I need them. He hasn’t quite gotten to the point where he agrees with me, but he has talked about how he would keep them contained for me once he does decide that he’s ready to build them a home.

The flock of chickens are the very first chickens for him and the calves are a first for both of us. He’s starting to warm up to the idea of having a “mini farm” as he puts it. He is still dead set against pigs unless it’s a potbelly pig and a pet. He’s had one of those before and I don’t think he has it in him to help raise a pig just to eat it. They have way too much personality and they are too much like dogs in his mind. I swear I married a big old softy who refuses to admit it. He always talks about the turkeys and deer that cross our property and talks about getting tags for the deer and hunting both the deer and the turkeys, but we’ve been here for years and I don’t see him ever even getting a hunting license because I don’t see him being able to take their lives. I think he’s content just knowing they are there. He will take down a coyote with no hesitation though. They are a threat to our animals to include Miss Mia. I think that’s the difference between the coyotes and animals like deer and turkeys.

Anyway it’s late and I need to ice my swollen ankle and attempt to sleep like a normal human. Until next time…

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Calves, Journal Style Posts

Calves

So I have had my girls for 3 days now and I have been socializing them as much as possible because I want them tame and friendly when they are at 1,000 pounds and able to trample me in an instant.

They don’t have names yet because I just haven’t decided on names. They are going to eventually be in my freezer, but they will be the most spoiled heifers ever to exist. I will make certain of that.

Day 1

Day 1

They are confined to the stall area until they learn to come when I call them. Then they will have free reign of the property and will be called back to the stalls each evening.

They have water inside of the stall they seem to stay in for most of the day as well as a HUGE stock tank outside of the stalls but still inside the fenced in area where they are being held at the moment.
Day 2
Day 2
Day 2

On the second day, I got to pet them both. They are still super skittish, but getting used to the crazy lady who brings yummy cubes.

Day 3
Day 3

They are tagged, have the insect repellent tags on their other ear, and they have been branded (the brand is for the guy we bought them from and if they somehow get loose, the entire town knows his brand and he will return them to us.) They have been vaccinated and vetted and I didn’t have to do any of those things thankfully. I am not physically able to hurt an animal. I just can’t do it. When the time comes for slaughter, they will be loaded onto a trailer and then I will get back boxes filled with white paper packages.

I honestly wouldn’t be able to handle seeing them slaughtered or anything of that nature. I don’t eat meat so, I am basically making sure that hubby eats the most well loved and well cared for beef. I am okay with this because I would much rather cook beef from an animal that was able to play, run free, wasn’t confined to never see the sun, and was treated with love.

They are approximately 3-4 months old and one is 250 pounds (the slightly fluffy one) and the other is 300 lbs. They are black Angus heifer calves and they are so scared of me. They are coming around slowly though. I was head butted while being thoroughly sniffed for more cubes today so, I will consider that progress. I look forward to them running to me when I call them and getting ridiculously excited for cubes. They will be grass fed, but cubes are treats. I am still deciding between grass finished and grain finished, but I have plenty of time for that. We are already lining up hay, alfalfa, and Timothy hay bales to be delivered in the late fall when the grass is no longer available. They will be completely spoiled rotten by me and I will love them until it’s time for the next calves to arrive. I am hoping for bottle calves next time. They are even smaller and it will be much easier to have them tame and friendly because I will be bottle feeding them.

They fight over cubes.
Day 3

I brought some chickweed to them as well since they are confined and it’s quite hot today. They inhaled it and of course wanted more. They have plenty of grass to munch on until tonight when I bring them their other serving of cubes and some more chickweed. I give them half of their daily serving of cubes fairly early in the day and the other half just before the sun fully sets. Full tummies before bed seems ideal to me. Until next time….

Calves, Journal Style Posts

Prepping For Calves

In our corral area, was basically half of a tree that we had cut down last year because the tree had cracked in half. Well, it needed to go because hubby decided to give me my birthday present early, two heffer calves. I didn’t know the difference between a heffer and a cow before this happened. Therefore, I will take a moment to explain the difference. A heffer is a female cow that had never calved, a cow is a female that has calved. I am learning things 😂

The branch started where you see the cut on the tree to the left.
The branch (it was half of the tree) tookup the entire area and the grass was almost 4 ft tall.
Cleared out the fence line where the frost free hydrant is located.
This was the before picture
All cleaned up and ready for calves.
This is the 102 year old dairy building right next to the corral area. Pay attention to the hole in the brick

I love finding nests in strange places. I will be taking pictures of the calves when they are delivered. They are being vaccinated and vetted before they are delivered by a friend of hubbys. Until next time…..