Archive: January 2015

The First Calf of 2015

Every now and then somebody claims that they’ve been doing something since the day they were born. The skeptic in me hardly ever believes them, but this photo reminds me that it can, in fact, be true.

Just a baby helping the babies. In true Jessie form, I probably asked if they could sleep in bed with me.

Just a baby helping the babies. In true Jessie form, I probably asked if they could sleep in bed with me.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been helping with calving season for a while now. The picture above is circa 1992, during a cold winter’s night when our only option to keep these babies alive was to bring them in the house and dry them off with a blow dryer. Twenty three years later, not a whole lot has changed. I’m still not allowed to throw a working blow dryer away, although now we have a special heated room in our barn where we can house babies overnight when needed.

I don’t care if it’s black, red, or pink with purple stripes; there is absolutely nothing cuter than the first calf of the season. I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for a 2015 calf to arrive, and FINALLY, my wish was granted.


Franklin’s first steps were a bit wobbly, to say the least. But he got the hang of things pretty quickly.

While we were feeding on Saturday, my husband noticed that one of his heifers was off in the trees by herself. He walked over to check on her, and new immediately that something wasn’t right. During birth, a calf’s front feet are supposed to come first; therefore, the bottoms of the feet point down. This bottoms of this baby’s feet were pointing up, so we knew he was coming backwards. Just like in humans, babies who try to come out breech need a little extra help.

FranklinHeadShotKnowing we didn’t have a ton of time to spare, we hurried back to the house. Justin jumped on the 4-wheeler, while I stayed back and got all of the gates ready so she could sail right into our calving pen. Most of the time it’s a bit of a struggle to get a calving bovine headed in the direction you want them (which is understandable…she’s in the midst of having a baby!), but this heifer couldn’t have done better. Once we got her in the pen and got all of our birthing tools ready, we started the “pulling” process. Cattle do have C-sections, but in this specific case that wasn’t the best option. Instead, we helped the Mom give birth by gently pulling her calf out. The process usually goes very quickly, is least invasive, and leaves a Mom with very little, if any, downtime afterwards.

When it was all said and done, this little bull calf was born about 5 whole minutes after we started. We usually give Mom and Baby about 30 minutes to themselves before going back to check on them; that way they have ample time to bond and the cow can really dry him off without being disrupted.

While were we sneakily waiting for our baby to try to stand, Justin jokingly said, “Welp, it looks like Little Franklin is down again.” I’m not overly sure how he came up with Franklin, but it stuck.

Since Saturday, Franklin and his Mom have been staying in the “maternity ward,” basking in fresh straw, and soaking up all of the available sunshine. Today, they’ll get moved out to the “calf pasture” and will shortly be joined by other cow-calf pairs once others start calving.

Franklin and his Mom have been loving all the extra attention they've been getting in the maternity ward.

Franklin and his Mom have been loving all the extra attention they’ve been getting in the maternity ward.

We’re excited to have Calving Season 2015 is off to a great start!

– J

Jessie has returned to her roots on her family’s commercial cattle ranch in southern Idaho after time away at college and working on behalf of the state’s cattle producers. She’s passionate about agriculture and the western way of life. When she isn’t doing ranch work or writing, Jessie enjoys baking, golfing and drinking coffee. As a newlywed, she’s also turning a little cabin on the ranch into a home.

Categories: Blogging, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life

Saturday Adventures on the Ranch

Around here during the week my husband is off spraying field crops or weeds in the back country and I am busy visiting with ranchers about their nutrition programs, so that leaves most of our cattle working days to the weekend. Since the weather was so nice last fall and grass was plentiful, we were able to leave our herd out on pasture longer, with hay and protein supplementation. All summer and fall my husband Cody, our good friend, Tate, and I, worked on getting our new feeders set up and our corral finished. When we brought the cows home the end of December we were all so very excited to try out our new feeding system. As most things on a ranch go, the corral was near finished by the cows arrival, but not quite. We have never built a corral before. There are lots of ideas out there so we used parts and pieces of other corral plans and between all three of us, came up with a nice, simple design.

Cow desk!! Underneath/ shaded storage as well! Its the small things, right?

Cow desk!! Underneath/ shaded storage as well! Its the small things, right?

A well set-up corral can make working cattle safer and easier for all humans and animals involved. I had a few small requests, one of which was a place to set down vaccine bottles, a notebook, etc.



It was a lot of hard work, but earlier this month Cody sent me a picture of the final product and I was oh so excited! The next picture he sent was what he calls my “cow desk.” It almost brought me to tears! What is happening? Crying over a darn corral? Being a girl is the funniest thing sometimes. I think my excitement just got the best of me. Of course I described this finished product as beautiful and gorgeous, much to Cody’s dismay.

Cattle leisurely headed up to the circular part of the corral.

Cattle leisurely headed up to the circular part of the corral.

We recently gave our cattle a routine vitamin/mineral booster and a worm/parasite preventative and the new corral system worked great. It was an odd feeling to work your own cattle in a corral on your place and have zero previous experience. It was like driving a brand new rig off the dealer’s lot.

Mama cows waiting patiently.

Mama cows waiting patiently.

At the end of the day we gathered a few adjustments to be made, but it was a glorious feeling to have successfully used our new facility and see all our ideas come to life. Also, because I know you are dying to know, my “cow desk” was everything I ever dreamed of!

Cow desk is Mesa approved!  Yes, that is Elsa in her hand. Who doesn't love Frozen?

Cow desk is Mesa approved! And yes, that is Elsa in her hand. Her doesn’t like Frozen?!

She just HAD to have the blue shirt on.....

She just HAD to have the blue shirt on…..
















It’s always a great day when you can work cows safely and efficiently! Is there something you just found that makes your job easier? What are your Saturday adventures? We love to hear from you!

Next time I’ll share about my adventures with the sewing machine!

~ Diana

Categories: Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch kids, Ranch Life

And the winners are…

Thanks to all who commented and shared about our Beef Night on the Ice Ticket Giveaway! After adding up comments and using to calculate the results, the winners are….

Tiffany Bachman and Trina Fowers

Congrats ladies! Email for information about claiming your tickets! Enjoy your date night!

Categories: Giveaway, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle

Beef Night on the Ice Ticket Giveaway

So when I was thinking of the title of this post, I thought about calling it Date Night, because who doesn’t love a chance to get away with their significant other? However, I know sometimes “Date Night” with a rancher doesn’t always mean dinner and a movie. I’m sure other cattlewomen would also have stories of how plans for a romantic getaway changed quickly when the cows got out, the heifer needed help calving or how the loader bucket fell off and the cows still had to be fed. Anyway, those stories will have to wait for another day because today we’re actually giving away tickets so you might actually get a night out with your honey.

On Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, the Idaho Beef Council and the Idaho Steelheads are collaborating for Beef Night on the Ice. There is special ticket pricing with $5 from tickets sold going to help Beef Counts (a program near and dear to our hearts). Beef Counts helps IBC-LineRider Steelheads_webbring a consistent supply of nutrient-rich beef to The Idaho Foodbank and hungry Idahoans. An Idaho Steelheads game would make a great family-night activity too. You can find more information about the game here. Tickets can also be purchased through this link. Username/Password is beef.

I would love to have a date night with my hubby, but he’s actually out of town on ranch business that weekend, so instead we’re donating two tickets to be given away on behalf of Malson Angus & Herefords.

In addition, our ranching friends of Double J Ranch are donating another two tickets. Thanks J and J!

Yay-two separate chances to win two tickets each!

So, the giveway details: In order to be eligible, please at least one of the following. Each one counts as an entry, so up to 4 entries/person:
“Like” the Idaho CattleWomen Facebook page if you have not done so already.

Leave a comment here on the blog.

“Like” the link to this post on Facebook AND leave a comment about your favorite beef dish.

“Share” the link to this post on Facebook!

Comments will close at Midnight MST on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. The winner will be drawn at random based on the entries received. The winner will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.

What’s better than a fun night out with a friend or lover, watching Idaho Steelheads hockey,  and supporting the Beef Counts cause?!

~ M

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Giveaway, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle

Puppies, Gators & Year End

I’m looking out my office window reflecting on 2014 and wondering about 2015. Like everyone, the past few weeks have been full. You can see by this post’s title, we’ve enjoyed a few different things.

Puppies  Our middle daughter had been asking for a puppy for about blog-9a year.  She had her heart set on an Australian Shepherd, which in ranch country infiltrated by Border Collies, was not ordinary. Her Dad kept reminding her, “Not until one of the old dogs goes to Dog Heaven.” Not to be deterred, she posted Shepherd pictures on Pinterest, contacted breeders in Texas, and shared “puppy posts” with us at supper.

Then the Davis’ family, our neighbors up the creek, came to Dana’s aid. Like most rural families, our lives intertwine with 4-H, girl’s basketball and cattle. At a 4-H Leaders’ Meeting, Mrs. Davis confided that their Australian Shepherd female was “expecting” and the puppies might be ready by Christmas. Was Dana still looking for a Shepherd puppy? The Davis’ went to work to make this surprise happen.

blog-7The Davis’ girls and Dana play varsity basketball together. Dana kept asking the girls if they were going to have puppies anytime. The Davis’ girls kept replying, “I don’t know.” Secrets are pretty hard to keep around this neighborhood, but somehow the Davis’ girls pulled it off. Mrs. Davis called the day before Christmas with a plan. She said the puppies were ready to be weaned on Christmas. She and the girls would wash the puppies and bring them down, telling Dana “Santa delivered thepistol-7se to the wrong address.” Dana could choose from four Blue Merl females! It worked like a charm!

Even the old dogs have accepted the “new” kid. We’ve had fun with Pistol, except for the few “accidents” in my utility room!

Gators  After a month of blessed moisture, we were all getting a bit tired of the mud.   When it snowed last week, we were all glad to see something white and clean. After chores, the kids couldn’t wait to tie on to the Gator for a little snow time. I’m not sure who had more fun, the driver, the sledders or the Cow Audience! blog-15







Year End  Like most ranch wives, our job descriptions change daily depending on the priorities and agenda. Simply put, many of us fall between two categories this time of year: “a Mom who does the books” or “the Chief Financial Officer of a diversified livestock operation.” As I looked at my desk and the year-end financials, I realized this CFO was also managing laundry, cooking a crew meal and relaying information between my husband and accountant! That is the joy of being a ranch wife. . .you never have to find something to do!blog-5

We are thankful for our blessings of the past year and look forward with hope. Welcome 2015!

~ Julie

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch kids, Ranch Life