Tag Archives: Feeding

Another Winter Storm & THE AMERICAN!!!!

Day 3 into another winter storm and we are fairing pretty well and thankfully, so are our critters! We had a bit of a scare towards dark on the first day…..our power went out. Luckily, Shane had been out checking our neighbors cows and had seen the insulators on the brink of failure. He knew we were in trouble so he called the power company. There were already not too far away working on another problem. They headed this way as soon as they finished up. I’m so glad they did because we lost power about half an hour after we called in the problem. We were only without power for about an hour……praise to Shane and the power company for both being on the ball!

Earlier that morning, we all went out to check over our cattle. We knew about the storm coming so we always like to make sure our girls are looking good and tucked in where they are supposed to be. The storm was already here……

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And the wind was starting to blow……

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Chopping ice so the cows can drink the water beneath the ice……

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See that pitchfork laying there? That’s my tool…..Shane chops….I get the ice chunks out. I chop once in awhile, but when the wind is blowing and time is an issue….I leave the heavy stuff to him! πŸ™‚

The cows were waiting for us to finish up….although from the looks of things….drinking water wasn’t really on their minds….they were looking for cake…..so sorry girls! 😦

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We recently ran out of cake, which happens this time of year. You try to project how much you will feed each day and how long it will last. We are usually pretty close in our estimate. However, that day when the realization that you are out of cake hits….it’s tough. And of course, there is usually a storm after that. I feel especially guilty on those days…….but, we don’t just drop them from feed cold-turkey. We switch them over to high-fat, high-protein lick tubs (Vitalix, this time). It’s crucial to place them in good locations. We put ours down along the creek. This is on the way to water for the cows and it keeps them off the flats, which is a good thing when these winter storms hit. We needed to move a few closer to water and in a closer pasture…..once again, I left the heavy stuff for Shane!

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I love how his pants almost fell down…..sorry, dear……had to “capture” the moment. My husband is one of the strongest guys I know…..and he has a huge heart. He’s my big teddy bear……he works hard every day……and yes, I know how very lucky I am to have him in my life!

As you can see, the cows are happy to have these lick tubs:

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Before we finish up and head home, we have one last thing to check…..the tank. You saw we had to chop ice at the far end of the pasture….well, closer to home we have a great well. Our goal is to move our cows in closer over the next week. It’s getting close to calving time (this usually begins around the middle of March for us)….and it’s time to switch pastures with the girls. Our heifers will be coming in closer (they haven’t had babies before, so it’s crucial that we keep a close eye on them). Our older cows are pros by now…..we put them out a bit further, yet we still check on them daily (sometimes twice a day….it just depends on the weather and what’s going on). We had turned the tank on earlier….it was a frozen mess….this is what we see when we drive up:

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Shane got out to inspect it……water is running…..and the overflow is working….whew! These tire tanks are a life saver. Now the girls have fresh water…..all is good in the world!

So, today is Sunday, March 2nd….an exciting day….I will get to that in a minute. Yesterday was a big day in itself…..it was my Grandpa Art Reukauf’s birthday. He would have been 91! I spent some time yesterday thinking of him and my Gram June. Also, it was Cowgirl Swank’s 7th Anniversary! It’s amazing how fast time goes…..proud of how far my little company has come!

Now on to the excitement of today……history will be broken today…..the richest one-day rodeo commences in about 4 1/2 hours! Have you heard of it?? I sure hope so!! THE AMERICAN is going to be an amazing event! Live coverage starts at 10 am MST on RFD-TV…..then the rodeo starts at Noon. I have friends competing: our neighbor/friend Lisa Lockhart will be running barrels and Chad Ferley (2-time Saddle Bronc World Champion) will, of course, be in the Saddle Bronc Ridding. He lives in nearby Oelrichs with his wife and the cutest little girl I’ve ever seen! I wish them both a ton of luck! I’m cheering for lots of people…..definitely one in each category:Β  Exemption, Invited, and Qualifier. Here is my list:

Bareback: RC Landingham (E), Bobby Mote (Q) – I saw RC ride in the qualifying events….wow, that guy can ride! Bobby Mote – he’s a legend….need I say more?

Steer Wrestling: Tyler Waquespack (E), Dru Melvin (Q), Ote Berry (I)- I also saw Tyler in the qualifiers. This kid isn’t even of age to legally drink yet….and he’s amazing! Dru Melvin is awesome as well…..he lost his best horse last year in Denver so I have a soft spot for him…..and Ote Berry? Well, he’s a legend as well….not to mention that I’ve known his brother since I was born…..I hope he wins the whole event…..I like to root for the “old” guys. πŸ™‚

Team Roping: Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn (Q), Logan Olson/Jordan Olson (E), Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueira (I) – I’m a heeler so I really appreciate good heelers. All of the teams there are truly talented…or they wouldn’t be there. Kollin is one of the most accurate heelers I’ve ever seen so I’m picking him. Logan and Jordan really did well in the qualifiers so I’m picking them. Last, but not least…..Jake and Junior…HOLY COW!! Jake is a legend himself, but get a look at his Brazilian heeler…..he is absolutely amazing!! He made me sit up and take notice!! If you don’t know who/what I’m talking about….check out this YouTube video of Junior (Testa) roping….it will knock your socks off!

Saddle Bronc: Chad Ferley (Q), Wade Sundell (Q), Erik Wolford (E), and Dan Mortensen (I). I know…I have 4 picks….can you blame me? Chad is a neighbor/friend and a heck of a saddle bronc rider. Wade is one of my favorites…..I’ve met him and there’s just something about this guy that makes you root for him…..he is charismatic and is always smiling…..it rubs off on you! Erik Wolford – I’ve been watching him for quite some time…he rides good plus he works for friends of ours up north – The Crago’s…hope he does well! Then there’s Dan Mortenson…..what can I say…..he is IT!! When I was younger I remember Dan coming out to our place. My dad helped to coach him along…this was back when Dan was just starting out. I like to think that what my dad helped him become the champion he is….even if in a small way.

Tie Down Roping: Trevor Brazile (Q), Cory Solomon (E), Fred Whitfield (I) – Trevor is an amazing roper/athlete/man…..he is someone to admire! Cory – he is an amazing roper….very quick….and he’s pretty small….he makes it look easy. Plus, he finished on the bubble last year in the #16 hole….hope he does well. Fred – well, I just finished his book a while back…..he has endured so much and has always come out on top….I would love to see him win it all!

Barrels Racing: Lisa Lockhart (Q), June Holeman (E), Charmayne James (I) – Lisa is a friend/neighbor so I always wish her well…plus, her horse Louie is just awesome! June Holeman – what an inspiration at 70 years old! I truly hope she wins the hole deal! Plus, she autographs all of her pictures with “Grandma June” – I had a Grandma June too…..makes me love her evenΒ  more! Charmayne – What a legend…..I’m really excited to see what she rides and how she does…..I’m sure it will take my breath away! I’m also rooting for Shelly Anzick (go, Montana girl) and Robbyn Herring……I love her horse, Happy. I could tell you little tidbits about them all, but I will leave it at that.

Bull Riding: J.B. Mauney (I) & Justin McBride (E). I’m not going to lie to you…..I’m not a bull riding fan much. However, I do know that these two guys have been at it for some long time….so, wish them the best.

Guess that’s it……only 2 hours to go until the pre-show kicks off! How exciting this all is!!! I’m really hoping the $1 Million is won by a Qualifier. This rodeo imitates the American dream…..anything is possible if you work hard! I wish everyone luck and safety……LET’S GO RODEO!!!!!!!!

Feeding Our Cattle & 4B’s Cream of Tomato Soup

Stone and I are home alone this morning on the ranch. My mom is in Arizona visiting her sister and the guys (Shane & my dad) are hauling hay. So, we are the feeding crew today!

Back before I had Stone I was outside all the time….I wasn’t much of a domesticated gal back then. Don’t get me wrong….I loved to cook, but I wasn’t passionate about it like I am now. After I had Stone, I was pretty much housebound for quite a few years. I’m not trying to make it sound like I was isolated….I wasn’t…..I was where I needed to be….keeping the home fire burning. πŸ™‚ I didn’t quite know how to take the first year in stride, but eventually as Stone grew older and was able to do more I developed a true love of my kitchen and the things I could create there. I like to do a lot of things in there that involve my son. I like to think that I am preparing him to be self-sufficient later in life…..he is good help and he loves to “cook”. πŸ™‚

Anyway, Stone is 5…..so I’ve had 5 years of not being out doing chores all day every day like I used to. I still water the horses, feed the chickens, tend to our dogs and barn cats….that kind of stuff, but as far as going out feeding and chopping water….it doesn’t happen as often as it used to…..and us being on our own doing it is almost unheard of.

I certainly wasn’t apprehensive about doing it…..I was raised a ranch girl so these kinds of things don’t daunt me…..except for when it comes to my folks’ white Dodge hydra bed pickup.

Insert some scary music…..maybe the Jaws theme is appropriate here! πŸ™‚

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The problem is that it pops out of first gear all the time (my folks have tried to have it fixed, but I think it’s past that). So, when carrying a 1,000 lb+ bale, it’s hard to start out in anything but first gear! The seat doesn’t move closer to the petals and the seat also squishes down so short people like me can barely see over the dash. I’m sure I am quite a sight driving it! However, many cuss words and a sore hand later…..I had it mastered. We grabbed the bale we needed and headed off to feed my folks’ heifers. It really went much smoother than I anticipated! *Why not sell the pickup or get rid of it…..well, it’s paid for….and if you are a rancher you know the value of inching by when you can!*

We feed cake (cylinder compressed feed that looks kind of like a vegetative hotdog if you will), hay, and lick tubs (plastic tubs full of a hard-almost-like molasses/syrup kind of stuff full of protein, fat, and vitamins/minerals) to our cattle.

Here are some heifers bellied up to one of the lick tubs:

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We started our day off by feeding our heifers with our caking pickup. Feeding this way is so convenient and easy (the feeder dumps out however much feed you set it to dump out – from 2-8 lbs. mostly). The most important thing to know is how many pounds you need to feed to each critter. Counting (to figure out how many “dumps” to put out) is critical as overfeeding can lead to all sorts of bad problems. Stone is a great help with counting…..plus, it helps him to learn math and to see how useful it is in every day life (we’ll save the algebra discussion for future years)! Here is my co-pilot for the day:

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Every good rancher needs a good cow dog….or three! That’s what we have…..3 great girls who are part of our family. Meet Sky, Tee, and Remi……they make our lives complete!

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Once we finished feeding our heifers and breaking open the pit (our water supply for the heifers), it was time to feed my folks’ heifers with the hydra bed. My job with it was to unroll one bale of hay for the heifers. They heard me coming and boy, were they eager!

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In case you are wondering, here is what a bale of hay looks like:

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Hay bales can be all different kinds (grass, alfalfa, oat, etc.). These are crested wheat grass bales. Bales like these can weigh anywhere from 1,000 – 1,400 lbs. They are made by cutting down grass or whatever the hay bales will consist of with a swather. Then they are baled up with a baler (pretty easy to understand, right?!) Hay bales are relatively easy to feed, but there is something that is vitally important when feeding like this:Β  REMOVE ALL THE STRING!

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The string is what keeps the bale’s shape and keeps it from falling apart….it is called Baler Twine……and it can absolutely ruin a critter’s stomach (it can even cause death if ingested so it’s vital to ensure that it is all removed). Removing it can sometimes be a task. First, you much cut all the strings with a knife or something sharp:

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Then you have to pull the strings (this can prove to be rather difficult if the bale is frozen or if the strings get wound up – as pictured).

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I had a tangle problem so I had to cut the string much more than normal. As I walked around the side of the bale to remove the strings I saw a heifer with some of it in her mouth as she tried to gulp down some hay. Here is what it looked like when I pulled it out of her mouth:

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She had already swallowed it by the time I pulled it out. Ick, huh?! How do you think that would have looked in her stomach if I wouldn’t have caught it? I continued to cut the string and pull it until it was all off the bale. I did a second inspection to make sure and then I coiled it up and wrapped it. There’s a lot of string on just a single bale! We have a lot of this around the ranch…..we try to reuse it as much as we can. I had to chuckle over some website out there with ideas on what to do with it. This site is pretty helpful: Top Ten Things to Do with Baler Twine.

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Knowing that the string was all removed, I jumped into the Dodge and fed the bale. It’s common for a bale to fall off the hydra bed arms when it gets towards the last 1/4 of the bale. Sure enough….it happened to me today….the girls jumped on it!

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No problem…..I simply jumped out of the pickup, walked back thee and proceeded to unroll the bale by hand…..by kicking it along as it unrolled.

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When I got to just the core, I left it for this lucky heifer….who looked like she just got a corner piece of some fresh baked brownies! πŸ™‚

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Back to the Dodge I went…..I drove around to survey my work…..everyone looks happy so my job here is done for today!

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Stone and I headed off to feed the bulls some cake. Once that was completed, we had done our chores for the day. Time for us to think about lunch……what sounded good? 4B’s Cream of Tomato Soup….that’s what!

This soup always makes me think of my Grandma June (or Gram, to me). We used to eat this frequently at the local 4B’s Restaurant in Miles City, Montana (where my Grandma lived later in life and where I consider kind of “back home”). If you’ve never tried this soup…..believe me, you are going to want to make it….it’s the best tomato soup I have eaten…..EVER!!! Here is the recipe:

4B’s Cream of Tomato Soup

  • 32 oz. can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 oz., Butter
  • 1 TB Onion, chopped
  • 9 oz. Chicken Broth (undiluted)
  • 2 TB Sugar
  • Pink of Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream

Mix first 6 ingredients & simmer for 1 hour. (I melt the butter first then add the onion. I let them cook for just a minute or two and then add the tomatoes, chicken broth, sugar, and baking soda.)

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Heat cream in a double broiler & add to hot tomato mixture.( actually don’t do the double broiler thing….I temper the cream by adding about a cup of the hot tomato mixture. I stir it and then I add it all to the remaining tomato mixture.)

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Enjoy! Make Β½ gallon.

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As you can see…..my recipe card has been used a bit!

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This recipe has been around for as long as I can remember. Do try it if you haven’t been lucky enough to try this soup….you will be glad you did! Super easy and super good! ~Cheyenne