In earlier American rural life, communities raised barns because many hands were required. These events occured in a social framework with a good deal of interdependence. Members of rural communities often shared family bonds going back generations. They traded with each other, worshipped with each other and celebrated with each other. Barn raisings were an integral part of life and socializing.

In our modern American life, communities don't mean nearly as much as they did back then. It is our family's goal to bring a sense of community back to our lives and those lives that touch ours.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What a day

I have found that the most amazing things happen when you have no camera handy. This has become even more acute since I started blogging. I did manage to get a few pics, although most of them Hubby took. Today we were able to witness a flock of 300-400 sandhill cranes catching the updrafts over the ranch. I will blog more on that in a few days as the migration of them gets into full swing.

A hard thing about moving into a barn is, well, it's a barn. It makes weird noises. Everything echoes. Like Rangers' bark. Holy moly he has a bark. Anyway,the hardest thing is that the barn is filthy. I mean, other-peoples-left-behind-stuff-and-animal-poop-in-every-stall kind of filthy. I can never expect the barn to be fully clean, but it is disheartening to have to clean up poop that didn't come from any of your animals. Which is what we did today. The barn doubles as our garage/storage/workshop space. We had to clean out a stall just for camping gear, a kayak, the car topper, etc. Which was good. The barn is now ready for the more serious work of cleaning out a stall for the chicks that will be here the 25th. And then cleaning out a stall for them and surrounding it in chicken wire for when they are feathered. Stall by stall we will get it cleaned. And maybe by then my ongoing quest for dairy goats will be fulfilled.

Chick stall before being cleaned

In the middle of all of this, Papa pulls up to say they are pulling a calf (helping to deliver it) and wonders if I would like to join in. I didn't even hesitate. I threw down what I was carrying and went for it. But did I grab my camera? No. Which is sad. Because that was a breathtaking experience. Cows, like most mammals, just give birth. No biggie. But every great once in a while, a Mama needs serious help. This first time Mama had a birth canal that was too narrow and a baby that turned out to be one of the biggest calves born this season. As a Mama who has had my own difficulties giving birth, I felt for her. I know, that sounds silly to relate to a cow but you should have seen her eyes. This poor Mama and her calf were in dire straits for a bit. I was afraid the calf wouldn't make it. But all was well in the end. Mama got herself a beautiful little red heifer. And we all sighed with relief. I will go down tomorrow and take pictures and post them with tomorrow's blog.

After all of that excitement the day wasn't even close to being over. The kids have taken to ranchlife like ducks to water. They turned some leftover hay into a hideout. What they were hiding from I still do not know. They live in a child's world and I will keep them like that as long as possible.

In the midst of one of their imaginings this evening, they came running back to us yelling that some cows were loose. Papa was here again and so we all scurried over to do some wrangling. About 20 or so yearling bulls had somehow opened their gate and were having the time of their young lives. Sadly for them, that is not approved of. With Papa, Meme, Hubby and I working together, we made short work of getting them corraled again. What a workout.
All in all it was a very good day.

Sunset over Fruit Growers Reservoir