February 25th – 12 New Babies

It was a big day of calving yesterday. Here are pictures of the mothers and baby calves born on February 25th. The information is below the picture.

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51Z had her heifer calf unassisted @ 6:00 am and it nursed on its own.

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S61Z had her heifer calf unassisted @ 7:00 am and it nursed on its own. She had her 1st calf last year and now this is her 2nd calf.

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K264U had her heifer calf unassisted @ 8:30 am and it nursed on its own. This cow has a tendency to ‘show her reed’, which means in the last weeks of her pregnancy, her cervix pushes out and could prolapse. Because her calf is a heifer, we have noted this. We will not keep her in our herd.

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T601A had her bull calf unassisted @ 10:00 am and it nursed on its own. This is her 1st calf.

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52X had her heifer calf unassisted @ 10:30 am and it nursed on its own. This is her 4th baby. We bought this cow as a bred heifer at an auction.

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N234T had her bull calf unassisted @ 1:30 pm and it nursed on its own. He was a big boy when he came out. As you can see by the position of her (the cow’s) head, she is NOT happy that we are near her new calf!

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127P had her bull calf @ 2:00 pm and we had to assist her. It was a large calf. This cow’s name is ‘Fertile Mertal’ because she accidentally got bred in the fall, as a calf. When she was 15 months old, and was in a pasture with her pen-mates and a bull, she gave birth to a healthy calf! Thus she has had a calf every year for 12 years. She is a good cow.

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U13Z had her heifer calf unassisted sometime in the morning, although wasn’t found until after lunch. It had slipped under the fence and wandered off with the older calves. Because the mom was separated for 3 hours we then had to help it nurse, as she was kicking at it. As you can see by the picture and how far away she is standing, she’s still uncertain about the baby.

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570S had her bull calf @ 5:00 pm with help from us. It was another big boy. We bought this cow as a year old heifer in the spring, from a ranch in Lumby. They have been good cows. This is this cows’ ninth calf.

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234S had her heifer calf unassisted @ 7:00 pm and it nursed on its own. This line of cows has been in our herd for a long time, the black cow (6th picture) is her niece. This picture of her and her calf shows the excellent mothering qualities. She has her leg back, so the calf can get at her udder with ease, and the cow is licking her baby’s butt and pushing her into nurse.

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S13U had her bull calf unassisted @ 7:15 pm and it nursed on its own. The ’13’ line has also been in our herd for a long time and are awesome cows.

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219T had her bull calf unassisted @ 7:20 pm and it nursed on its own. This cow is a good producer, but she makes us a little frustrated when she has her calf. She likes to hurl insults (beller loudly) from about 40 feet away, but not help him get up and nurse. Thankfully there was no snow on the ground this year so we knew we could leave him and eventually he would get up and get going.

Today, February 26th, is turning out to be another big day with already 7 born and it is only 1:00 pm. ooh, now 8! Bring ‘em on girls!
~Erika Fossen~

Even Vegetarians Need Meat!

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(This is my Birthday/Christmas gift from my husband)

Here are a couple videos of our cows eating their placenta’s. They often do this as it gives them a boost of protein and energy after calving. It is also natures way of ‘cleaning up’ the calving grounds, which helps keep predators away.
~Erika Fossen~

Just In Time

Disclaimer… This blog should have been posted right after my last one about bringing our new bought cows home! Things have gotten crazy quickly and we are in full swing of calving, so this post is a bit late! SORRY!

We ended up getting our girls home just in time! We brought the last 2 loads home on Friday and Saturday morning we had our first calf! Our first calf gave us quite the scare… Everything started our normally we saw 24W (her tag number to us their tag numbers are like their names) she was off by her self and her tail was lifted (a pretty good indication that she is starting to calve), so we kept an eye on her. In an hour when I checked on her things had progressed, but there were 2 back feet sticking out first instead of two front feet! Ideally we want a forward presentation of a calf at birth the two front feet coming and the head right behind! However 24W was calving backwards two back feet coming first. This makes us very nervous because if the umbilical cord breaks the calf’s head is still inside and can suffocate! As soon as I saw two back legs I yelled at my husband to grab the calving chains from the barn and bring them down to the pen! He was taking along time and I was getting annoyed and anxious when he yelled down the chain weren’t there! What the heck I thought where else could they be? When suddenly the light bulb went off… I had brought them to Vancouver for the Ag In The Classroom presentations and had not put them back! :( ooooops! My husband, Cyle,  sprinted from the barn up to our house to retrieve the missing chains! Once we had them we pulled the calf out! It was a beautiful ring eyed bull calf (intact male).

That evening we had another calf! A heifer calf (a female)! Our timing on bringing our new cows home could not have been any better!IMG_2241
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yle and I’s first calf, the ring eyed bull calf.

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ur second calf, the heifer calf!

In Debt For The Love Of Cows

We were approved for the loan to buy the 30 bred cows that I blogged about earlier! We are so excited! That means this year my husband and I will have a total of 41 cows to calve out that are ours and the ranch will have a total of 280 cows to calve out! We are really excited to been expanding at this time in the cattle business.
Now that we know we have the loan things have to move quickly because the cows we are wanting to buy are due to calve very soon! Since we found out things had to happen very fast because the cows are due to calve very soon. Right away we called Echo Valley and started making pick up arrangements. They very graciously offered to help us haul the cows to our place so they took two loads in their stock trailer and we took 2 loads in ours and got all 30 of our girls home!
Things had been falling into place way too well, usually that is not the case for me! I usually do not have very good luck and there are usually some glitches along the way, so this was looking good! We got the loan quickly before any cows started calving, they were helping us haul them home, so we didn’t have to spend more money paying for a liner! Things were really looking good!
Our first day we got to Echo Valley to haul our first load, we loaded 7 of the older bigger cows in each trailer and were off! About half way into our trip we could no longer see Fred, so we pulled off of the road and waited and waited. Turns out he had a flat tire! Oh no I knew things were going too smoothly and I jinx us by mentioning it! He got it changed and we were back on the road! We were very excited to unload 14 of our very own cows in the calving pen that evening at our ranch.
The next trip to go get the remainder of our 16 cows (this time we loaded 8 smaller cows in each trailer) started off very well! We were making excellent time and we were about an hour away from home on the Coquihalla Freeway when WE got a FLAT TIRE!!!! I was like no way 2 flat tires what are the odds of that! I promise I am not making this up this is just my luck! Anyhow, we got it changed on the side of the highway, now that Fred had experience, and we were off again! We finally made it home and unloaded the remained of our cows! We were so thrilled to see all 30’of OUR beautiful cows in our field!

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Us pulled over on the side of the highway fixing our flat tire :(

 

IMG_2233Our girls waiting patiently in the back, until we could get back on the road again!

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OUR COWS!!!

 

 

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Expansion

Like I stated in my previous blog cattle prices have been record high in 2014 and now into 2015. That is a huge plus for ranchers wanting to sell calves, but not such great news for ranchers wanting to buy cows and expands their herds. My husband and I find ourselves in the latter position. We have been really wanting to expand and add more cows to our personal herd, not just the family ranch’s herd. Even though price are high, we feel that it is still a wise business decision because we will be buying the cows for a high price, but their calves in the fall will be selling for a high price as well. We have been scouting out different auction sales, but felt more comfortable buying cows from somebody we knew and knew their health records, especially considering we would be bringing these animals back to our ranch right before our cows are due to calve. This is a concern because some herds may carry different diseases that our cows may not be vaccinated for or are not use to and that can cause health issues. My dad is very strict on keeping a closed herd, that means not bringing any outside cows into our herd, which I agree with because it makes for a healthy herd and we know everything about our cows. However, it makes it very difficult to increase your herd because the only means to increase is to retain more heifer calves in the fall. This process is great and the only one we have used since I can remember, but it only allows for minimal and slow herd expansion. One day when my blogging partner Erika Fossen and I were chatting she mentioned that Echo Valley Herefords, the people they buy bulls from, were wanting to decrease their herd and selling 30 bred cows. My husband and I were very interested in this. That night we called them and had a great chat with them over the phone about their cattle and the cattle business in general. We decided we were serious about this so our next step was to contact FCC (Farm Credit Canada) an agriculture lending institution to see if they would give us the money required to make the purchase. Next, we decided to take the 3 hour drive to go look at these cows ourselves. The cows were fantastic exactly the type of cows we were looking for, so everything was a go, now we just have to wait patiently to see if we are approved for a loan.
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Melt in your Mouth!

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For supper the other day I made my mom’s ‘BBQ Texas Short Ribs’!  I love this recipe because it brings back wonderful memories of my home growing up, but also, I came to the conclusion that I LOVE perfectly done beef short ribs.  At the dinner table I had the profound realization, in which I announced to my family that, “My all-time favourite meat is:  beautifully, slow cooked Beef Short Ribs!  Even more so than a perfectly done Steak or tender Tenderloin!”  It was a BOLD statement!

For me there is nothing that compares to the fall apart, stings of rib meat that melt in your mouth.  Let me walk you through how to try this spectacular part of the beef animal.

BBQ Texas Short Ribs

1 clove of garlic

1 tsp. Chili powder

2 cups Ketchup

1/3 cup of Lemon juice

3/4 cup White Vinegar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp.  Dry Mustard

Mix all above ingredients in slow cooker, or casserole baking dish.   Our butcher cuts our Beef Ribs into 1.5″ sections called short ribs.  You need approximately 4-5 pounds of these Short Beef Ribs for this recipe.  Quickly brown, or singe, the ribs on the BBQ.  Note:  it is important not to leave the ribs too long on the BBQ as they are high in fat.  A fellow rancher, his wife and I laughed and laughed when he told us his story of how he thought he could completely cook the ribs on the BBQ.  It ended with a large fire due to the rib fat and tough, underdone ribs.   It is the slowwww cooking that makes them irresistible.  After a quick singe on the BBQ, put the ribs into the baking dish or slow cooker and stir to coat the ribs with the sauce.  Then walk away and go do something productive.  They take from the morning to supper time in the slow cooker on low.  I have also done them in the oven, and it is the way my mother did them, baking at 225 degrees fahrenheit for 6 hours.

These ribs are made up of a lot of fat, which is what makes them SOOO good, and why I love them.  Although some ‘wimpy eaters’ cannot handle it.  I made these ribs once for an acquaintance and nearly ‘flipped my lid’ when he painstakingly picked out every bit of fat!  It was painful to watch.

Here are some pictures.  I hope you give ‘em a try with rice and coleslaw.  ~Erika Fossen~

This is after the BBQ, but before they are cooked all dayIMG_1522

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BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation

I spent 2 days last week touring around Vancouver, Surrey and Maple Ridge to different high schools doing BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation Presentations. I was touring around with a lady from the BC Cattlemen’s Association and two other ladies from the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation; who also administer the Take a Bite of BC program. The Take a Bite of BC Program sounds amazing they bring BC grown food to the schools to teach students what is grown here in British Columbia, but also introduce them to new foods,

More, specifically what I was doing was presenting on beef production and what being a rancher entails. The other ladies and myself created a presentation to teach the students in the Culinary Arts programs at 7 different schools about where their beef comes from and what are the steps and processes involved. It was such a fun 2 days. The classes were really interactive and asked lot of questions which always makes presenting more fun. In addition, they brought up some great examples of myths or things that are poorly portrayed in the media like the use of growth promotants (hormones), BSE (mad cow disease) and environment issues. We had great discussion around these things. All in all it ended up being a great couple of days, thankfully because my trip did not start off well. I headed from Vancouver Tuesday evening after I was done work. I got half way there (to Chilliwack, which is about an hour and a half from my house) and realized I forgot a VERY key part of my presentation. I bring in tools that we use at the ranch, and give them to the students and they need to guess what the tools are used for. Needless to say my presentation would not have been near as interesting or interactive without the tools, so I decided to turn around and drive back and get the tools I forgot. I called my dear sweet dad and he met me half way with the forgotten tools. I added and extra hour and a half to my journey, but at least the presentations went well and the students seemed to enjoy it!

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A photo with the students and I after my presentation in Maple Ridge!