Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finally, A Snow Storm!

Last night and throughout the night we got snow.  We woke up to such a beautiful wintry scene.  It was awesome.


It was early morning, but I had kids that wanted to get the heck outside.  These coveralls by the way were ones that her 40 something uncle wore when he was her size.

Funny...the angle of the tractor makes it look like a stretch limo!  Doing chores with Dad is a pretty special thing for each of our kids. 

After we exhausted all clothes and outerwear and they were being hung in every available spot possible, we decided to make hats. 

Yes hats.

This is our sliding hill.  After every snow, Ron builds one with the bobcat.  We have only one sled, so most of us just went down on our butts, which was fun too.

The fowl are NOT happy however.  They do not like being penned up and the gray goose tells us this whenever we walk into the barn.  Soon, gray goose you will be back outside...but for now shut up, you about bust our eardrums!

This is the last picture is of my lazy sheep who like this arrangement quite well.  When we get a big storm, they don't have to eat outside, we feed them in the barn.

Bring on more snow!  Our outdoor clothes will be dry in the morning and school is already two hours late!  Hooray!
Fairchild Farmgirl

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reaching Into The Black Hole...

I know what you're thinking, with calving and lambing you probably think you know where this is going......

But you don't.

When that time comes, you sure will be with me, arm in a inard somewhere or another.


This is actually a true black hole...although, with my camera it shows it all lit up.  I guarantee that's not the case.   This, if some of you are wondering is a "metal chicken nest". 

For some reason the hens will not lay in the upper nests, but lay in the lower ones that you can kind of see the bottom portion of the hole.  Pair this with the fact my camera tells lies and the holes are truly dark inside.  Marry these two items up with the fact that I loath rodents.  Dark holes and corners + barn and grain = mice. 

Yep, I'm the chicken.  Plain and simple.  What if I reach in there and grab onto a mouse instead of an egg?  I know I have barn cats, but there's always the what if. 

A little side note on rodents at the Fairchild Farm:  Three years ago, the rats were soooooo bad that we would watch them playing on the driveway while we grilled on the front porch.  I would drive up the driveway and try to run them over. 


If we had a Chinese Year then, it would have been The Year Of The Exterminator.  He was here all the time and we would bait them with five gallon buckets of poison which would be gone in  less than two days.  Ron would move bales and would have a gun with him in the cab and one time under a single bale he shot seven of them. 

Why am I telling you all this?  Seriously, I don't know.  I got off on a tangent. 

But, on the bright side, we are getting about 6 eggs a day (when I'm not to freaked out to reach in the hole.  Woohoo!

The scaredy cat,
Fairchild Farmgirl

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Next Painting

What a day.

Yesterday was a sunny, slightly windy day so I was out photographing for my next painting with Ron and Kara at Timber Creek Charolais.  A shout out to Paul Hansen for letting me go out there, thanks bud. 

For those of you who know me well, the picture above usually makes me feel...well, anxious.  Like where's the closest fence I can jump on?  It's gonna get me.  =)  Not too many bovine rattle my cage, certainly not most bulls.  You see, they have to be white to make me stand on my guard.   I have to admit the Charolais bulls are pretty nice, it's the cows, heifers and steers I have trouble with.  We have a few two year old Charolais bulls in the lots, but they are mysteriously like pussy cats unlike their female counterparts.

He's actually very pretty.  I know what you're thinking, pretty?  Not like Justin Bieber  pretty, but like a new Ford pick up pretty. 

We took all these gravel roads to get to the place and it was really fun seeing all the countryside.  It was even better that Kara was there with her camera too so we could both take pics together.  These two pics above are hers. 

After much consideration, this is going to be my background, with the bull right on the other side of the fence with his harem of cows in the distant background.  You may think that it's going to be kind of blah, but I will snazz it up and I think it's going to rock.  =)  If I can get the same picture that's in my head on to the barn door anyway.

This is what it will be painted on.  Wish me luck!

With this announcement, I have to stop working on this for a while.  I know you are probably thinking, jeez, it hasn't changed from last  time, but blow it up a little and you'll see it has.  I've been working on the board siding. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Shorty - A New Breed Of Politicians

Grace came up to me this evening after dinner and said, "Mom, Maggie would make a really good president because she is sooo honest."

I laughed too.

Loving my innocent kids,
Fairchild Farmgirl

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waitin' On Some Women

Women you say?  Why am I waiting on some women? For help around the house, doing dishes, or cleaning out the hogs pen?  Nope.

Seriously, wouldn't that be nice? 

Especially the hog pen!  One word describes that.  Yuk.  I will definitely be wrangling some kids to help.  I'll tantalize them with a few hours in town at the movie theater. 

No, I'm waiting for ladies of a different specie or two. 

Sheep and a handful of cows. 

The sheep...again, it's a nail biter.  When ladies?  You've got big tummies. I hope its not all feed.  I'm driving myself nutso!

Now on to the cows.  There's a few cows in the feedlot that are really bagging up (utters are filling).  Then there are some that are like a maybe. 

Get on it!

Fitfully Yours,
Fairchild Farmgirl

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday & Lent With The Fairchilds

Ahhh, Fat Tuesday. 

Tonight we are having Sirloin Steaks, baked vidalia onions with mushroom butter, potatoes, broccoli & homemade rolls.  Because the next 40 days are going to hurt!  =)

Since we are Catholic, we each give something up that's near and dear to our hearts. 

Fairchild Farmgirl?  Well she's giving up her Coca Cola habit.  I have one each day, but let me tell you, I need it. 

Grace, our five year old is giving up being crabby in the morning.  "It's going to be pretty hard, huh?"  She said.  No kidding.

Usually, I give everybody up until Ash Wednesday morning to decide what they are going to do, this year is no different.  Otherwise I pick for them (who wants your mom to pick your Lenten compromise? =)  )

I'm also going to go for a walk everyday of Lent.  Believe me, it's easier said  than done around here.  So, I either have to do it VERY early, which means getting out of bed early or cutting into my precious alone time that I use to paint. 

So if you participate in Lent, what are you going to give up?  I'd love to hear it!

Partying tonight, fasting tomorrow,
Fairchild Farmgirl

Monday, February 20, 2012

Crabby Monday With Fairchild Farmgirl

Does anyone of you have animal that you think mocks you?  I do and here she is. 

Listen, I dont' know what her problem is, but she needs to start realizing that I'm the ONLY one that keeps her off the Wednesday sale barn truck. 

Thank you, brat.

So here's my story:  and it's true.

I went out this morning with my two cow pokes; Maggie and Jessica.  As soon as we stepped out on the front porch I knew something was up.  The tattle tale gang was in full force.  The horse was pawing at the ground and the geese were in front of my sheep/horse/chicken/calf/kitchen sink barn honking to beat the band. 


Where's Sweetie?

I thought, "she probably jumped the fence and is down in the feedlot."  Boy was I wrong.

First guess?

I tried opening the door and a fallen pitchfork would only let me open it about 5 inches.  What the heck?  Then I felt it....

As I'm picking up the pitchfork and trying to get the door open, I feel it.  Breath on my arm.  No, I'm not worried about a stalker...I knew who this was and she was dead meat. 

"SWEETIE!  BACK UP!" I yelled at her as I finally pushed the door open.  There it barn in complete shambles.  I don't know how long she was in there, but she had enough time to eat all the horse feed, a bunch of calf starter and I have a ton and half of cracked corn that I feed her and the chickens and she'd definitely been in there. 

"Argh!" I shouted as I examined the mess.  She pooped ALL OVER!  The really bad part of the whole deal is, she got out by busting the boards on the bunk and she had to JUMP over a bunk that was 4 feet high.  She's no graceful swan so I'm sure it wasn't pretty. 

But, this was my fault.  I don't think I told the kids her new ration, so I'm sure she was getting out because she was hungry. 

My bad.

Oh but her shenanigans were not over.  I was so mad at her, I shooed her out of the barn to let her run wild until Big D could fix that bunk. 

She promptly went to the waters that I filled for the dog, geese and ducks and spilled and drank all for 4 buckets.  Then she ate all the dogs food.  Isn't that cannibalism?

Something that made me laugh?  The gray goose got to close to her and she flung it in the air with her head.  SO FUNNY!  That goose hit the ground and squawked like he was telling on her. AWESOME.

We went back in the house, she's out a lot and she sticks around so it didn't bother me.  Besides what more could she do? 

Hee hee...

Yes, it's what you see.  She's pulling bags of garbage out of the dumpster!!!!


That's the dog with her.  Yeah right Sweetie, I'm sure it was her idea.  =(

And my friend Arla thought her parents cattle would teach Sweetie bad manners?  Seriously, could it get any worse?

Big D was gone still and my blood was boiling so instead of waiting five minutes so I wouldn't want to kill her AS BAD, I take off outside and try to shush her back in the pen.  I could see that this was a cattle stick moment so I grabbed it.  it wasn't the Hotshot or the 22 with bird shot like I wanted but I thought a few taps on her rump and she would go in. 

Sadly, no.

I think the horse is a secret agent for an animal rights group so of course she sees me with the stick and goes wacko like I'm going to kill Sweetie.  She debates jumping over a 5 foot fence.  No I'm not kidding.  So, I realize that the only way Sweetie will go in is opening the gate all the way and let the horse get out and then get them in together.

Reread I really that stupid?

Yes, folks I am.

Before I knew it, they blew right past me and were hauling tail down the driveway.  Thank you LORD that Big D pulled in the driveway as this was happening.  He laid on the horn and blocked the driveway.  It was working out great.  The horse came to D and he started petting Sweetie.  he got them going in the right direction, until that heifer of mine decided that she wasn't going in the pen just yet.  Before you knew it, we were on a goose chase that would last 1/2 hour and two times in our old grove.  I pulled burrs out of my yoga pants for 15 minutes.  She still has about 100 of them in her fur, but that's fine I'll take care of her in the morning. 

Today has ended well though.  There was a delightful snow, all my kids were playing in it tonight, I punted and made up a new recipe called cheesy taco soup and we had a load of 8 weight heifers come into the feedlot.  As the snow fell Ron and I counted heifers coming off the lit up trailer and it was a beautiful sight. 

Good night, sleep tight.  I'll have visions of a 800 pound cow jumping over feed bunks...
Fairchild Farmgirl

Friday, February 17, 2012

Posting A Cow

Now, I know quite a few farmers read this blog, but I also know that a lot of non-farmers read this too.  Every so often, I show the yuck side of farming so that people still remember that it's not all a bed of roses.  I also know that a lot of you non farmers appreciate seeing things that have to be done here, the good, bad and the ugly. 

So without further adieu,

Posting a cow.

This was such a bummer!  We had a cow that was in one of the fat pens (that is being sold for slaughter next week) that yesterday looked a little on the big side.  Ron had said that he would put her on the "watch list".

This morning when he was checking for calves (I had two kids at the docs office because we thought they had strep) he looked at her.  I come home and Ron tells me that he checked her and at 7, she was huge and he looked at her again and she had gotten even bigger.  He called the vet who just by chance had time to come out in a half an hour. 

Before I show you the pics, here are the cutest ranch hands that I could find.  Or the only ones, but that doesn't sound as good.

Since my camera doesn't take good pictures, this is her.  She's not supposed to be this huge.  She was having a hard time breathing when she got through the lots and when she got up in the alleyway.

We got her in the chute and she got stuck.  We desperately worked to give her some relief by widening the chute, which we can but she wedged herself in there and that made the pins lodge at an angle .

Sadly, within three minutes she had dropped and the bloat had suffocated her.  We called the vet and told him to forget it, but we quickly called him back and told him to come and post it.  Like an autopsy on a person, that's what a post is.  That way we can see what exactly killed her or helped kill her.

Big D went and got the bobcat and chains to pull her out.  It took a while but we got her out and hauled her over to where the rendering truck (the dead animal bus) comes to make a pick up. 

D took this one pretty hard, until the vet came and we saw how really sick she was. 

This is our vet.  This picture was taken after he "deflated her" like a cheap rubber ball.  Now he's taken his first cut.  Always on the right side, first cut always behind the shoulder. 

There' s still time to stop reading if  your not into seeing the blood and guts...

You know what?  Stop being a baby and look at it!  =)   It's interesting.  Besides, if my five year old can stand by the vets side and watch, yo can too.

There he cut the front shoulder and flung it over her head. 

He's suspecting something other than just bloat being the problem.  D thought it was twisted gut, but then Mark the vet said something that I remember from a class from when I went to SDSU for Livestock Management:  seldom does a beef cow get twisted gut.  That's a dairy cow thing.  I was also impressed with myself when I could still name the stomachs in a cow and where they were!  Woohoo!  Here he's rolling back the ribcage and he will cut the bones with what looks like a huge tin snips. 

Here he is cutting the rib bones, and there's my fearless Rachel who's right there with her dad watching.  Maggie who's almost three was sitting in the Ranger said, "Yuck!  I'm gonna puke!" 

That big purplish thing in the center, can anyone guess what that is?  The liver.  I think you can expand this  picture so you can see up close.  It's pretty cool.

Of course Mark was correct.  We had treated her with Draxxin (an expense drug that is a wonder on treating Pneumonia)  on December 27. Ron had it written right on her ear tag, but when we got to her lungs, the bottom of one side was stuck to her rib cage.  Which is very bad, lungs should be free of the ribs.  He cut it away and we found the problem.

An abscess.  What do you do with an abscess?  Well, you lance it and clean it.  BUT, when it's inside, we can't see it.  In case you are wondering what an abscess is, it's almost sack like that fills up with puss.  In case you're curious, the smell can make queasy stomached people puke.  This was no different.  It took your breathe away it smelled so bad. 

So the diagnosis?

 Her lungs were bad, because of the pneumonia and huge abcess.   Since she was sick and she wasn't eating, she wasn't using important body parts like her gall bladder which was the size of a medium size balloon, showing us that she'd been off feed for a while.  Cows have to burp constantly and she wasn't which made her bloat so bad.  Her bloat was cutting off her air and when she got in the chute she essentially suffocated herself when she got stuck. 

Mark said there's no way she would've came out of this pneumonia anyway so it was just a matter of time, even without the bloat since she had that horrible lung abscess.  

I wanted to take a picture of the abcess, but my camera kept dying in the cold and I just went down there and she wasn't fresh anymore. 

But as I've said before, this is buying sale barn cattle.  Sometimes, but not all the time, somebody is trying to get rid of something, and the buyer buys it and we all take our chances. 


Did the person know that they were selling something sick?  More than likely.  Are we mad?  No.

If they can walk off the trailer, it's fair game to buy.  If we wanted something that we didn't want to take chances with, we'd buy heifers and steers right off of a farm. 

I hope you found this insightful.  Now, I'm going to go slice off some ribs off her and throw it on the grill for supper...just kidding! 

Fairchild Farmgirl

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Speaking in Ree Heights

About three weeks ago I was asked to speak at a Hand County Crop & Cattleman's Banquet.  I wrote and rewrote that speech again and again!  I had been excited ever since I said yes.

Well, last night was the big night.  We got to this little town and were welcomed right away.  We had fun before the banquet chit chatting, and I was so lucky to have my friend Arla and her husband Jay come to be my support group!  They're the best. 

I had to laugh at our wheels, however.  Everybody was driving nice pick ups, and there we were in old trusty....I felt right then and there that our tight money behavior was not such a good thing.   Even Ron looked at me and said," you know, I think we should have drove the green pick-up."    But come on it's a 3/4 ton and so hard on gas!

As the room filled and we started talking to different people, I have to say I felt out of my league a little bit.  Here were some big time cattle producers and large feedlot owners and I was supposed to give a talk on our operation?  Suddenly my story about a gigantic prolapse seemed...

oh so wrong. 

As I tried to look all smart, I told a new acquaintance when asked what we do, "We run about 500 head of cull cows & bulls".

Some how that just doesn't sound very "rock star" like.

 I told my friend who's a teacher that it was like if she had to give a talk in front of  about 80 superintendents.   I got up in front and I was nervous.  Ron could tell that I was, and he mentioned that he was sweating for me.  I mean, I'd given speeches before, but never to people that I thought were this important.  To me, cattlemen and women are the kings and queens of agriculture.  Probably because I love working with cattle.  Livestock is my most favorite thing in the world besides my family and faith.

But you know what?  People were so nice!

I don't think anyone cared that they fed out nice 6 weights or they raised club calves and our feedlot was full of bumps, cysts, sore legs, shriveling bull nuts or puss pockets that could fill an ice cream pail.

After my speech, I got a lot of people thanking me etc and saying it was a great talk. 

They even laughed about the prolapse. 

Fairchild farmgirl

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ouch...The Tax Appointment

All I can say is yuck.

Farm diesel for 2 tractors and a skid steer ONLY was $6,000.

Our electric bill was $4500.00

Our water bill was $3,500.00

I thought if you spent a lot of money you made a lot. 

One bright spot?  Fairchild Farmgirl was good to us.  Throughout the year Big D called my operation a money pit.  He was right, I lost a few thousand. 

But that money pit was a good deduction! 

See, I am good for something!


The money suckin' Fairchild Farmgirl.

PS.  It was my first year, be kind...I had a lot of expense, but it should be good this year!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm Not Like You, Okay?

Our story starts here, on the Fairchild Farm.  Where else would it start?  Kmart?

I digress.

This is a story about a heifer coming to realize who she is and where she's meant to be. 

It's Sweetie.

It started about a month ago, when she was on one of her adventures "over the fence".  Really.  Over the fence...she gets out at least twice a day.  When she wants back in her pen, she comes up and stands on the old front porch and looks in the window of the front door.  Like, "yeah, you can put me away for a while, I'm thirsty and I drank all the dog's water." 

I kid you not.

So, in a nutshell, the problem here is the horse.  When Sweetie leaves their home/pen, Cocoa is like a wife with her new husband at the bar.  She runs, whinnies, kicks and just throws a down right fit as soon as she leaves.  Sweetie pays no attention, just keeps lumbering  slowly away like she has not a care in the world, headed down to the feedlot to be with her "sisters".

When she wants back in the pen and I fiddle with the gate trying to get it open, the horse stomps her feet and prances around as if to say, "Ohh!  Finally you made it back home!"  Sweetie then rambles through the gate over to the hay trough.  As she eats, the horse sniffs EVERY square inch of her. 

Sweetie doesn't like this at all and sometimes she will ram her head into Cocoa as if to say, "It's time to act like the cow I am, I'm not like you okay?" 

Cocoa is going to be heart broken when Sweetie goes to pasture this summer.  BUT, I do have a new project for her, who still doesn't know who she "is" yet. 

Sassy.  The cutest calf alive!

The Fairchild Horse & Calf Grief/Divorce Counseling Farmgirl

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Manure War Of Manfred Township

Photo belonging to Wyoming Tales & Trails

Have you ever heard of the Johnson County Cattle Wars of Buffalo WY?  

First of all, I love the west.  There's so much history; especially romance, gun slingin', cattle rustlin', gambling, gold, war, it's a plethora of interesting tales.  The Johnson County Cattle War was no different. 

Here's an exerpt from Wyoming Tales & Trails :

   "On April 5, 1892, 52 armed men rode a private, secret train north from Cheyenne. Just outside Casper, Wyo., they switched to horseback and continued north toward Buffalo, Wyo., the Johnson County seat. Their mission was to shoot or hang 70 men named on a list carried by Frank Canton, one of the leaders of this invading force.
The invaders (as they came to be known) included some of the most powerful cattlemen in Wyoming, their top employees and 23 hired guns. The invasion resulted from long‑standing disputes between these cattle barons, who owned herds numbering in the thousands, and small operators, most running just enough cattle to support their families. The event came to be called the Johnson County War. Longtime Wyoming historian T.A. Larson ranked it “the most notorious event in the history of Wyoming.”
Numerous court records contain valuable information on the invasion, as do other government documents, especially land files. Most significantly, after the invasion--sometimes as many as 40 years later--the cattlemen and their allies published writings containing admissions that suddenly shone a bright light on contested issues. From this voluminous data, clear facts emerge from which the truth about the invasion and its causes can be determined.
Johnson County newspapers date back to August of 1883, when no one in Johnson County conceived of future astonishing events, and those newspapers are full of candid appraisals of the community. A reading of the Johnson County newspapers quickly dispels the notion, stated in other Wyoming papers and others around the nation, that Buffalo was “the most lawless town in the country,” or a haven for “range pirates” who “mercilessly” stole big cattlemen’s livestock...."

Please go to their website and read it in it's entirety.  The west has such amazing stories.  Wyoming is so rich with history. 

So, now, on to the Manfred Township Manure War. 

I know, right?  how does my story even compare to that of the Johnson County affair?  Basically, the same principles apply...cattle, money and greed.

Just in a different form...poop.

Crap.  Waste.  Manure. 

When you have 500 head of cows, they poop alot.  ALOT.  Where does all this poop go, you ask?  How do we get rid of it? 
We sell it.  Before all of you go out and start picking up your dog's poo, please understand.  This is not an easy job, being a "shitz" salesman. 

I 'm in awe at how poop can change friendships, business dealings, etc.  It also makes Big D the crabbiest cuss on the face of the planet.  How can poop cause sleeplessness, anger, fat, low libido (just kidding I'm really reaching aren't I?).  For example:  "I'm so mad I'm going to eat a big bowl of popcorn!" 

We're stress eaters at the Fairchild Farm.

I'll tell you how it changes everything.  Everybody wants it, nobody wants it, no one has time to haul it, no one thinks they should pay for it, others want to pay for some of it, just not hauling it, and the list goes on.  You've got to realize that there's probably 100 tons of shitz out there.  It's got to go somewhere.  When the lots are a mess, no cattle come in, therefore our checkbook stays empty.  So we are pretty strict on it.  We also don't own any fields. 

So now we finally got a few people to take it, we are thrilled.  For one, our close neighbor and friend is taking some, he's the nicest.  He also lets my kids ride with him for hours at a time.  They call him Grandpa and love him.  So do we. 

But it's not cleaned out in it's entirety you need any?  Maybe a ton or so for your yard or garden? 

I kid!

Just shitzin' around with ya,
Fairchild Farmgirl

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Readers From The Ukraine

Wow, would I have thought that last year when I started writing this blog that it would go global? 


Is it exciting?


So I was checking the stats on my blog, and I'm able to see who reads it and from what country they are from.  Even though it varies from week to week and with the USA always being my top percentage of readers, I'm always fascinated with who else reads. 

This week, my #2 reading country was the Ukraine. 

To me that is cool.  What makes people from a different country want to read about some hick country girl and her funny farm life from across the globe?

I did some research on the Ukraine tonight.  Wow, what a beautiful country.  The land is very fertile and is called the "breadbasket of Europe." 

Take some time to read about the country and look at it's agriculture. 

Ukrainians, you are fascinating.  And, thanks for reading my blog.  I appreciate it.  Also take the time to leave me a comment to tell how you found me, and if you have read it before.  As well as what you do for work, is it in the agriculture field?  I think its neat to let people see what you do. 

Many thanks!
Fairchild Farmgirl

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I'll Just Say...Cold.

Friday we worked cattle.  The kids had the day off from school. 


We only had 70 head to do.  That was nice.  The vets came out and were like, "So were preg checking?"  With puzzled looks on their faces. 

"Noooo!"  I started laughing.  Their secretary had said that we were going to preg check all the cows and they brought out all their gear for nothing.  We had a good laugh when Big D said, if they wanted to check the three bulls maybe. 

Before we get started though, notice how crappy the weather looks.  It was a beautiful week and most days we wore sweatshirts.  Until today.  Misting and cold.  That white on the fence - ice.

First of all, it's a science.  Bring it and they will come.  On the other side of the gate to the left, is the rest of the cattle.  They don't want to get off the mound in the lower lot, unless...Big Daddy brings in cornstalks.

They  come a mouse to cheese. 

Fluff is sizing up the situation.

The help showed up and is ready to work.  Especially the smaller guy.  He's a whirl-wind.

This poor fella, first in, and first to get banded.  He walked out really slowly.  He's fine this morning.

It was a long morning of nut sacks.  Since it was cold, none of the boys were dropping them down.  They had'em sucked up into their bodies.  It was kind of funny.  Here three people had to coax them out.  I won't say how.  This is a family blog.  =)

So anyway, it was cold out for cattle working Friday.  Not so much fun.  It took this Farmgirl three hours to feel warmed up.  BURR!


Fairchild Farmgirl wearing a sweater.