P33 Stands Up!

The cow that Betty thought had Brisket actually has an infection and now is better (see March 25th post). Good news for Betty and P33 and her baby!

Just wanted to let you know that p33 got up on her own this morning and again this eve. so we didn’t have to lift her with the tractor.  What a wonderful thing to see !!!!  She is still not eating good so I am trying to find some alalfa for her.  I got several diff. things today form the vet to help her rumin start working better.  Have to give it all daily for awhile and she is not going to like that at all.  Vit.—enzime— and a diff anitbiodic.
Hope all is well.

From Birds to Brisket

What do these two things have in common? They have been part of the last 3 days at Betty’s ranch. As I learned in my short time with Betty the last week, you never know what the day holds for you when you are working with cattle. On Friday, we invited a biologist from the Partners for Fish and Wildlife to Betty’s and he told us of some work they assist landowners with to build levees and retain water for both pasture and wildlife. Most of the San Luis Valley used to be a wetland, but much of the valley floor is now dry. The benefit of water staying on Betty’s ranch will provide moisture for the dormant native seed bed to grow and increase pasture for her cows as well as provide stopover points and feeding and nesting ground for Sandhill Cranes, Wilson’s phalarope and avocets. The brisket comes in because Betty’s cows live at high altitude and this is a heart disease that will ultimately kill a cow. Betty pointed out the sick cow to me on the way back to her house. We fed her calf that evening from a bottle and Betty prepared for tagging the next day. The day of tagging included moving the cow and calf pairs to the “alley” and tagging the calf ears and neutering the male bulls. Today, I headed back to Durango for meetings and stopped at Penitente Canyon for a loop hike along the way. The little town of La Garita provided the gas to get me there and supposedly makes a mean burger and green chili burrito! A 1930 rock art painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the walls of Penitente Canyon greeted me, as well as the many climbers I found there on my way back out the Canyon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


Life and Death on the Ranch

“That’s Life on a Ranch!,” said Betty. We had just spent two hours at the vet with a breach calf that ultimately did not make it. Betty noticed that her cow was straining and couldn’t give birth, so her grandson Twyne roped her and we brought her in to Monte Vista. The whole process involved chains for pulling the feet and calf out, an oxygen tank, oxytocin, and a local anesthesia.

Betty’s great-grandson, Braxton, was there too. He is 4 and a little cowboy who loves his horse and Grandma’s cows. I documented the day with photos, but couldn’t take the very last shot of the calf who died.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Leave a comment

Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


Where’s Your Mama?

This lonely calf was trying to suck from every mom out there and getting kicked and weary. Betty roped it and we brought it to the other side of the pasture and found its mom. The calf was unsure at first that this really was her mom, but in a few minutes the two were happily united again.

Green grass is starting to spring up out of the ground here in the San Luis Valley as the sun comes out and warmer weather approaches…..Welcome Spring!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


Cows at 7645 feet

As I made my way from Durango to Center, CO the snow and storm slowed me down in Pagosa Springs, where I met with colleagues and did work at a coffee shop waiting for the sun to shine on the snow-packed road. Our week of “spring break” that was sunny and 70 has turned into 10 degrees in the San Luis Valley with a biting wind. Betty has 50 cows now – she is not quite at the midway point.

I witnessed first hand her earlier post “An Amazing Accomplishment!” (March 18th) that her calves and their moms have remained in the north pasture, and the cows still calving have moved obediently out of the open gate and into the west pasture right outside her kitchen window!

Here are some photos of a calf that is one day old, today……Next up – we wait for the sun and warmth to provide a hospitable environment for tagging and branding of the calves. Maybe later this week?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


An Amazing Accomplishment !

Early before the sun peeped over these beautiful mountains to me East I left the house to check the cows as usual.  I got to the gate and while I was opening it I stood and took a look across the pasture to see where to go first. I seen 3 cows in the brush pasture so I decided to go there first.  I took a look around close to the gate and the closest cows to the gate were cleaning up on the feed yard so I left the gate open.  All 3 of the cows had had their calf.  All 3 were cleaned and had sucked.  One little blk. wht. face had frost on him but he was perky so no harm was done.

As I got close to the gate I seen that the 4 cows that were grazing by the gate had gone out and across the road to pasture around the house.  So I shut the pasture gate and the driveway gate and took the cows to the corral and put them in the pasture I was planning to move them to on Sunday. (Today)

Boy that was easy so when I went out to check at noon I did it again.  No luck that time.  BUT I thought the day is young—–maybe they will come out later.  Sure enough they did.  Some of the cows with calves came with their calf and some came with out their calf.  But I thought ease dose it.  I got my dogs on the ATV  with me and went to the back of the cows.  OH MAN  when those cows seen those dogs they headed North to the pasture where their calves were and the cows that had their calves with them did the same. 

Man how good can this be!!! So I got Brian, a fellow I have here doing some preperation work for moving the cows on Sunday. I told  him to mount up on the other ATV  and lets put them in the corral and cut the bulls off. We had a little trouble getting them away from the hay stack but other than that. WE GOT ‘ DONE !!!! 

I was so happy.  Something that I had planned to use 5 people for done.   AMAZING.


1 Comment

Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Uncategorized



While I am on spring break with my family, Betty shares the following excitement I had missed on the ranch!

I have had a couple of calves born after dark so I just sat in the field until they arrived—-afraid to leave for fear I would lose track of them and not be able to find them in the dark. 
Yesterday one silly old darn cow went out into the brush pasture and got on the ditch bank—–the highest part of the ditch—had her calf and of course it rolled down hill when it started trying to stand up—-right in the misquite (s)—thorns and all.  So I was trying to study the situation to see if there was a way I could get a rope on the calf to pull it out and she charged me !!! 
When I got back again to check, the cow had been trying to clean the calf and had squashed the brush to where the calf was able to get untangled.  Such a blessing for me.  I was thinking it would be weak and not be able to stand up and nurse. 
Tomorrow I am going to look at the cows I am thinking to buy out in Wiley.  Quite a ways away.  Hope the cows will be o.k. 
I have had 6 calves today—-somewhere around 22 total now I think. The cows are standing in the shade of the trees this afternoon.  NICE— I like that.
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Uncategorized