Friday, May 30, 2008

The Chair

Once upon a time, the Bag Lady's parents had a high chair. To the best of the Bag Lady's knowledge, they used this particular wooden high chair for all four of their children.

In any case, after the Bag Lady's youngest sister outgrew it, the chair languished, forlorn and unused, until one day the Bag Lady's mother decided that said high chair could possibly be pressed into service as a stool for her to use when she tired of standing at her easel. So the Bag Lady's father cut the back and arms off the chair, and with a shiny new coat of paint, the chair started a new life. It was used as a stool when the Bag Lady's mother was painting, and was also used for haircuts and other forms of torture...

Eventually, though, the Bag Lady's mother replaced the old wooden stool with a cushioned chair that had a back and a little swing down step, and the old wooden high chair languished again. It was relegated to the basement work-shop, where it was sadly abused; forced to submit to the indignity of being something to set objects upon when they were being spray-painted, or used to stand upon to reach something on a high shelf.

Time marched on, the Bag Lady's parents both passed away and the chair that had been such a part of the Bag Lady's life came to live in the Cowboy's shop, where it was even more abused than ever! Greasy tractor parts were set upon it; it suffered untold indignities. One day, the Bag Lady realized that if she didn't rescue it, it would collapse or be crushed in some horrific "farm accident"! So the Bag Lady hung the chair up on the wall, then forgot about it again for a couple more years.

This spring, the Bag Lady decided she needed a stool in her kitchen, and suddenly remembered the old wooden high chair. She went out to the shop and took it off the wall and had a good look at it. It was in sad shape. One rung was missing, another was broken, and the paint job looked like a Salvador Dali reject! But the Bag Lady loves a challenge, so she set to work.
Here is what the chair looked like when she took it off the wall:

Here it is from another angle:

Here she has started stripping the old paint off:

And has cut some dowels for new rungs:

After much scraping and sanding and sanding and scraping, the Bag Lady fitted new rungs in place, gave the chair a couple of coats of paint and this is what it looks like now:

She knows that it will be a happy stool now that it has a new lease on life!

Oh, and for anyone who was the least bit dubious of just how seriously sick and pathetic the Bag Lady's hoarding problem really is, here is a photo of the original tray from when the chair was used for feeding small children:
And, if you look at this next photo really closely, you can still see the faint outline of the little bunny decorating the tray!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recipe Day

The Bag Lady doesn't have a whole lot to share with you today. She has been working away at a variety of things, none of which are very exciting. A large part of yesterday was devoted to mowing her lawn (it takes about 3 hours on a ride-on lawn mower) and pulling weeds. She's working on some new bags, but hasn't gotten any of them to the point where they are ready for viewing.

She has a nice, simple recipe to share with you:

Greek Pork Pita Pockets

Cut 1 lb boneless pork loin into thin strips.


4 Tbsp each olive oil & lemon juice,

1 Tbsp prepared mustard,

2 cloves minced garlic, and

1 tsp dried oregano.

Pour over pork, refrigerate from 1 to 8 hours.

Stir together:

1 C plain yogurt

1 chopped, peeled cucumber

1/2 tsp crushed garlic

1/2 tsp dill weed.

Cover and refrigerate.

Remove pork from marinade. Stir-fry in non-stick pan over med heat 2 - 3 minutes.

Halve 2 pita pockets and open to form pocket.

Fill with pork.

Top with cucumber mixture.

Garnish with chopped red onion.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Flowers and Stuff...

The Bag Lady had rather a busy day yesterday and didn't have time to write a proper post. When she went out first thing in the morning to check cows, she discovered the bulls had found their way into a different pasture! The Bag Lady and the Cowboy had, fortunately, kept a "buffer" pasture between the bulls and the cows - they don't want the bulls breeding the cows yet because they would calve too early next year. So the Cowboy and the Bag Lady had to do some re-arranging of animals this morning.

Then they had to do some other running around, re-arranging vehicles, among other things. And then they loaded up a couple of animals to go to the stockyard. There was a 2-year old steer that needed to go, and they took the cow that wouldn't take care of her calf. Can't have an animal that won't do her job!

The Bag Lady also did some work on some of her projects, and did some weeding in her flowerbed. While she was doing that, she noticed a few flowers blooming.

Here is one of her first irises:

And here is a pansy:

And she isn't sure what these are called, but they are pretty little things:

Her strawberries are blooming, too!

The Bag Lady got a haircut on Monday when she was in town. She went to a walk-in place, and got what she deserved!

She went from this:

To this:

(Gee, it's hard to take photos of the back of your head when you're too lazy to try to figure out how to use the camera properly....)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Calf Races and Saskatoon Blossoms

It was a rather damp, cool weekend, so the Bag Lady slacked off a little. Last evening turned out to be very nice though, so she took a little stroll out through the various pastures. The cows are locked out of one little pasture in order to let the grass grow, so the Bag Lady meandered leisurely through it. She was surprised to discover several saskatoon bushes that were loaded with blossoms. She knew there were some out there, but didn't realize how many. She isn't a real saskatoon berry fan - she prefers raspberries. But the blossoms are pretty:

The Bag Lady is learning a little more about her camera, and has figured out the macro setting:

The calves were rather rambunctious last night - must be because they were happy to be warm and dry again! Little Dawn and Saffron were the instigators most of the time, and those two little calves can really tear up the ground! The bigger calves had trouble keeping up:

(There is a cow bawling far in the background, but it is difficult to hear...that's what the Bag Lady was referring to in her commentary. )

Have a great day!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Round-up

First things first! The Cowboy's cousin pointed out this VERY cool video (click here to watch) - makes the Bag Lady's little hummingbird video look kinda lame, and will probably cause her to waste spend countless hours trying to get a hummingbird to eat out of her hand!

It's been quite a week on the ranch. The time just seems to fly. Calving season is almost over - there are only 3 cows that haven't calved, so the end is in sight.

We have a lot of dead-fall trees in the pasture this spring that have blown down in the strong winds we've experienced lately. So the Cowboy has taken to cutting them up for firewood. Which means that the Bag Lady has been doing a lot of wood packing and stacking! Great exercise. They say wood warms you more than once - it warms you when you are cutting and stacking it, it warms you when you are splitting it, and it warms you when you burn it. Good stuff. But the Bag Lady is playing out. She and the Cowboy have moved quite a lot of wood. She hasn't finished stacking it neatly in the woodshed because, as you may recall, there is a robin's nest in there. The robin wasn't on the nest when the first load of wood was brought in, but while it was being unloaded, the Bag Lady noticed a robin on the lawn, bouncing around and chirping at her. She mentioned it to the Cowboy, so he crawled up on a stump and had a look. Sure enough, this is what he found:

So they hurried to unload the wood, then moved the other pile of wood they had there in order for the robin to get back to her nest.

There is also an American Kestrel nesting in the backyard, but the Bag Lady hasn't discovered exactly where yet, so has no pictures to share. Many years ago, the Bag Lady and the Cowboy rescued an American Kestrel that had been stunned by a car on the highway, and they have had them nesting in the backyard ever since. This year, though, the nest has been moved to a different tree.

(Sounds like bird week on the ranch, doesn't it?)

She has been working on those little projects she told you about, but she's such a slacker she hasn't quite finished them. She did get the railing on the deck sanded and varnished, so she has made some progress!

Here's the before picture: (that pile of firewood in the background is not there anymore)

Sadly, the Bag Lady can't find the "after" picture....Sigh.

But do you remember this?

The Bag Lady has been working on it, and now it looks like this (the railing in the background has been refinished)

She just can't decide what else to do with it. She keeps hoping inspiration will strike!

Hope all of you have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


The Bag Lady cannot believe it is already Thursday! Where does the time go? She doesn't seem to have enough time to do the things she needs to do, let alone the things she wants to do.

She has had a couple of close encounters of the birding kind. The hummingbirds are back, and she has one who is very aggressive about guarding "his" feeders on her deck. He sits in a tree where he can watch all the feeders, and if another hummingbird is actually brazen enough to attempt to feed from one of them, the fight is on! They move astonishingly fast, so the Bag Lady doesn't have much in the way of videotape.

She was minding her own business the other day, doing some yard work, when she was accosted by this little fellow. He flew right into her face and hovered there, almost as though he was daring her to get another step closer to his feeder! The funny part was that she was walking away from it! He finally decided that he had asserted his authority and flew away, back to his perch in the tree, ever vigilant.

After many attempts, she finally managed to film this:

She knows it probably isn't very exciting for those of you in the southern parts who see hummingbirds all the time, but they are rare enough in these parts that she gets quite excited. She was very excited years ago when she realized they were hanging around her delphiniums, so has been putting out feeders for them for quite a few years now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This and That

The Bag Lady had to go to town yesterday, and while she was there, had a cute encounter with a little kid. The Bag Lady was going into the washroom and there was a young mother ahead of her with a little fellow in a cart and a girl of about 3 holding the door for her.
The little girl had a cute little ponytail sticking up from the top of her head like a handle, and she looked up at the Bag Lady and smiled.
"You look like a grandma!" she said. The Bag Lady was somewhat taken aback - she has been called a lot of things, but that was a first! She smiled at the little girl and said "Do I?"
"Yes" the little girl nodded in all seriousness. "And you have an awful lot of hair!"
The Bag Lady can only surmise that the child mistook her very sun-bleached blonde hair for white. Makes sense, right? (Either that, or the Bag Lady needs to use a better moisturizer... perhaps a darker shade of hair colour...)
The little girl chattered non-stop while her mother was in the stall, but the Bag Lady couldn't hear everything she said. One thing she did catch was when the little girl asked her mother if it was funny when the toilet flushed!
When her mother came out of the stall, she told her daughter she had to wash her hands, so the little girl insisted she had to wash hers, too. As they were leaving, the mother smiled at her and said "I used to worry because she was so slow to talk..."


The Bag Lady planted her garden the other day (with a little help from the Princess). She got her tomatoes in the ground, too, so she was quite pleased with the quarter inch of rain that fell today.


Her mother-in-law gave her this:Which she turned into this:
And here is the recipe for Rhubarb Cake:

1 1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C butter
1 egg
Cream together, then add
1 C buttermilk (or sour milk)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 C flour
Mix well, and add
2 C raw finely chopped rhubarb.
Mix into batter and spread in a greased 9" x 13" pan.
Sprinkle with
1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What the Heck is Going On?

Don't know what the hell happened with the last post. Something is really screwy. This post is just to see if the comments section will come back.
Sorry for the problem.

Potato Planting Princess

Here's an amusing little video clip for you to ponder.

Apparently it is working again, but the comment section won't correct itself. If you would like to leave a comment, use the post above this one! Thanks!
In the meantime, here's a photo of the newest calves, Tidbit (front) and Mizfit.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Evening Report

The Bag Lady has had another busy day. When she went out at 6:30 this morning to check cows, there was a yellow cow who looked like she was starting to calve. The Bag Lady went back to the house, then went out again half an hour later. She looked at the yellow cow again, then thought, "Gee, I must have been half asleep, because that isn't the cow I thought it was." She watched the cow wander around, looking for a good place to calve, but she wasn't ready so the Bag Lady went back to the house.

Half an hour later, she went back out and looked at the yellow cow that was quite obviously going to have a calf. She was a little perplexed, because this was the cow she had looked at the first time, and the other one that she had followed was standing facing her, looking like she was not going to calve. The second yellow cow finally turned around and the Bag Lady could see that yes, she was going to calve, and yes, the other yellow cow was also going to calve!! (They were trying to mess with the Bag Lady's head...)

So we had two cows calve this morning. Unfortunately, one of the cows decided that she wants absolutely nothing to do with her calf! The Cowboy, however, is a very experienced cow man, and he took the abandoned calf and gave it to the other yellow cow. She seems to have accepted the fact that she now has two babies. She is mothering both of them. The other yellow cow doesn't seem to even miss her calf. Sigh. Some females just aren't cut out to be mothers!

But this cow obviously is. Here is MIZFIT:

Named for this terrific blogger. Who better to adopt an abandoned calf?

And here is TIDBIT:

Who is named for Bunnygirl's rabbit, in the hopes that this good strong calf will impart some wellness on a sick rabbit!

The Bag Lady also managed to put her garden in today. She put in potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, peas, lettuce and spinach. Lots of spinach so she can dehydrate it for Bunnygirl!! (hehehehe) She didn't put in nearly as much as she has in previous years, because she is getting old and lazy she has never had the proper storage area, so some of it went to waste.

She would also like to direct your attention to a new blogger. Her brother, Rikk, has started a blog. He has been a city boy pretty much all his life, and is currently living in Mexico in a rural setting. He has been sending newsletters to family and friends back home, and we have been encouraging him to blog about it (for sanity's sake!) Please, click here, and go leave a comment so he won't feel quite so lonely. You could maybe even leave it in Spanish so he gets a little practice!

Enjoy your day!

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Another Saturday Report...

Well, the Bag Lady and the Cowboy spent another Friday night waiting for a cow to calve. She finally had her calf at 11:30 last night, with a little bit of an assist from the Cowboy. (This is the video the Bag Lady shot last night to show you how long our days are getting...turn up your sound, ignore the Bag Lady's pathetic commentary and listen to the frogs and loons!)

Named for the Bag Lady's neighbour to the east, who blogs over at The Supposed Golden Path . He is a fine little calf.

(The Bag Lady apologizes for the quality of her videos - she is still learning how to use her new camera!)

Presenting GEOSOMIN!

The temperature today is supposed to go to 31C (88F), which will seem quite hot after the cool spring we've had! The Bag Lady is hoping to get her vegetable garden planted today. She and the Cowboy rototilled it yesterday.

The garden turned out to be a little smaller this year because they both played out decided they didn't need quite so much produce!

If anything else exciting happens this weekend, the Bag Lady will let you know!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Forgotten Books Friday

Terrie Farley Moran, who blogs over at Women of Mystery has volunteered the Bag Lady to blog about Forgotten Books. This idea comes to us courtesy of Patti, who blogs at Pattinase. She has instituted the idea in order that great books from years past will not be forgotten.

The Bag Lady left a comment on Terrie's post regarding forgotten books, mentioning her all-time favourite author, Mary Stewart. She wrote mysteries, and her elegant prose is what hooked the Bag Lady on reading. She was a wonderful descriptive writer, and she set her novels in a variety of countries. You could almost smell the dust in the hot sun of a Greek Island, or feel the damp chill of an English morning dew.

She also wrote a series of novels about Merlin the Magician and King Arthur that sparked the Bag Lady's interest in Stonehenge. The Crystal Cave is still one of the Bag Lady's favourite novels. It chronicles the life of Merlin from his early childhood, and does a wonderful job of weaving Merlin's "magic" into the legend of King Arthur.

Here is an excerpt:

I am an old man now, but then I was already past my prime when Arthur was crowned King. The years since then seem to me now more dim and faded than the earlier years, as if my life were a growing tree which burst to flower and leaf with him, and now has nothing more to do than yellow to the grave.

This is true of all old men, that the recent past is misted, while distant scenes of memory are clear and brightly coloured. Even the scenes of my far childhood come back to me now sharp and high coloured and edged with brightness, like the pattern of a fruit tree against a white wall, or banners in sunlight against a sky of storm.

Mary Stewart is truly an author who should not be forgotten.

Friday Round-up

It's been a busy week for the Bag Lady. Her flowerbed is in terrible shape, so she's been working at that. The grass has invaded the bottom two tiers and she has been having a terrible time. She hates to use chemicals, but is starting to think that may be her only option.

She bought a little video camera, but the weather has not been very co-operative. In spite of the fact that it was quite warm yesterday, we were under a wind warning for most of the day, so the only sound you could hear on her rather pathetic videos was the whooshing of the (gale-force!) wind. Oh, except for the one she took of the ground, when she thought she had turned the camera off. In that one, you could hear her counting calves!! ("One, two, three, ummm... one, two, three....") The wind was blowing so hard, it ripped her flag right off the pole - she figures it's in Saskatchewan by now! Geosomin, keep an eye out!

If the wind dies down, she will try to video something again. But then she will have to try to figure out how to save the videos in her computer. She finally got them to play, but couldn't figure out how to keep them. Not that they were worth keeping!

Her cat showed her something:

This robin's nest is in the lean-to where she keeps her firewood and stores outdoor things. It is built on top of a wooden game she had stored there.

And she was in the house, standing beside an open window, when she heard a familiar buzzing sound! She quickly glanced outside and caught a glimpse of a hummingbird! Of course, she didn't have her feeders ready, so she had to do that right away.

She did get some work done on the railings on her deck. They were quite badly weathered, so she has been sanding them, in between everything else. She had a good start on that when the Cowboy came along and asked her to help with some fencing.

Not sure why the Bag Lady took this photo, except perhaps to share the excitement of fencing with you!

After they finished with that, she started cleaning her old motor home. This is a long weekend, and the forecast is for hot weather, so she and the Cowboy might just do something wild and crazy, like drive the 5 miles over to their cattle lease and camp overnight so they can do some more fencing! Doesn't that sound exciting?!

If there are more calves born this weekend, she will post pictures, maybe even videos with sound!

Oh, and one last thing - speaking of flowers, the Bag Lady was out in the pasture, checking calves, when she happened to spot this little wildflower. It's pretty tiny, so you might want to click on the photo to enlarge it to see it better.

Here is a rather pathetic little video clip of Mohawk Mama! (And yes, you get to listen to the damned wind blowing!)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday's Lame Excuses

It's been a crazy week here on the ol' stump ranch.

The Bag Lady promises to post something of interest soon (read that as "as soon as something of interest happens!")

She bought a new video camera so there could be sound on her videos. As soon as she figures out how to work it without most of the footage being of the ground, and the damned wind stops blowing so you can hear more of the birds and the frogs, rather than only the whooshing of the wind....... she promises to post a video. (Of course, the other consideration is whether or not she will ever figure out how to get the pictures from the camera onto her computer! Sigh.)

In the meantime, she has been weeding her flowerbed and trying to make things pretty for their video debut!



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Busy Wednesday!

The Bag Lady has been busy, busy like a little bee.

And must rush off to town.....

Here is a photo of what the Cowboy made for breakfast today! Everything is either home-grown, or home-made. The eggs came from his sister's chickens, the bread is home-made, and the beef is home-grown! We had three steers slaughtered this spring, and picked up the meat yesterday. This was our first taste of it, and it is delicious!

The Bag Lady has two freezers, and they both look like this:

This is not a very good picture, because the Bag Lady failed to get the top shelf in the shot (she was trying to avoid the mess on top of the freezer....)

(Psst...wanna buy some beef?) Hehehehe

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday Update

Introducing: SCRUMPY!!

Named for the terrific woman over at Scrumpy Baker's blog!

Born early this morning, the Bag Lady had to wait until there was a little more daylight to take a picture, and even then, with the cloud cover, the flash went off!

Here is a really short video clip of how bouncy and energetic she is, much like who she is named for...

Tuesday Tales

Here's another comparison shot for you. This is Pegasus and Dawn. You remember Dawn, right? She was the tiniest of the twins, born 9 days ago. She has grown, but still isn't anywhere close to Pegasus, who was born Friday evening! (The Bag Lady had quite a time getting them close enough together to take any kind of picture - they don't care that they are famous!)

The Bag Lady has been quite busy with all kinds of this and that. There is always so much to do in the spring! And why is it that, in spite of the longer daylight hours, the days seem to go by so fast?!

May have to add an update to this post later on, but this is it for now!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Flower Power

Yesterday was fairly quiet on the ranch - no calves were born, so the Bag Lady put some time in on her flowerbed. Here is a picture of her first daffodil to bloom. Unfortunately, the second blossom was broken off, probably by one of the cats or the dog. Sigh.

On the left are the beginnings of one of the peonies, and behind the daffodil is a hollyhock just starting to appear.

The Bag Lady did a lot of weeding, which entailed a lot of bending over, so she really stretched her hamstrings. She can feel them a little bit today, but is sure that with a little more weeding they will be fine. Thank goodness for yoga!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Update

Here are some little video clips for your enjoyment.
The first clip is FARLEY, taken not long after she was born. She is up and looking for some milk.
She was born yesterday around noon.

This next clip is PEGASUS, and it was taken today around noon. He was born last night around 9 pm. Take note of his size in relation to Princess (the dog)!!

Saturday Report

We had another calf last night, but the hour was late and the Bag Lady was tired, so she didn't get the photo published.
We think he is the biggest of this years' calves yet! His mother had quite a time giving birth to him, so the Cowboy eventually had to give her a little help. Mother and calf both seem to be doing well this morning.
Named in honour of Reb (the Bag Lady's sister) here is
He may not look very big in this photo, but he is quite a brute!
The Bag Lady will update this post if anything else exciting happens today!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Up-dated Friday Round-up

Presenting.....FARLEY! Named for Terrie Farley Moran, who blogs over at Women of Mystery
This calf was up on her feet in about 10 minutes, and didn't even fall down! She is very strong, and very tenacious!

The last fading light of a prairie evening.....

The Bag Lady took this photo a little after 10 pm last night. Click on it to enlarge it and see the little sliver of moon up high in the sky. (Please ignore the spot of whatever in the top right corner - her camera does that whenever the flash goes off...)

It's still cool in the evenings, although the days are getting longer and the temperature during the day is quite mild.

Not too many miles from here, they had an incredible amount of snow yesterday - something in the neighbourhood of 14 inches! The Bag Lady was out and about yesterday and saw a vehicle with snow on the hood. Must have come from closer to the mountains.

The Bag Lady is waiting to see what the weekend brings in the calving department. There are a couple more cows looking quite close to calving. Of course she will post pictures of them whenever they arrive! Don't be silly.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Almost a Rant

There was a documentary on television the other night that has stuck with the Bag Lady. The program was about a Canadian family undergoing an experiment. The family of four had agreed to live on the rations provided through a relief organization to people in need in disaster zones or third world countries. The rations consisted of a bag of cornmeal, a cup of lentils, half a cup of oil and what looked like about a tablespoon of salt. (The Bag Lady may not have the exact portions correct, but that gives you an idea.)

The traditional family (mother, father and 2 young daughters) were willing to live on these rations for three days. Only three days. The mother was a little unsure of how to cook any of the rations, but she did her best. She made cornmeal mush and cooked the lentils. The only one who did not complain was the father. The mother, partway through the second day, was ill from hunger. The younger daughter finally cheated on the afternoon of the second day and had a cup of tea and a scone. Her rationalization was that she was doing gymnastics and wasn't getting enough energy from the rations.

Their rations were cut in half the third day. Apparently this is what has happened with the aid agency - the high cost of food and fuel, etc. has had a detrimental effect on their ability to provide even those meagre rations they had been supplying. The parents in this case did what most parents would do in those circumstances, and gave the children the lion's share of the food.

The Bag Lady found the program interesting, but has to admit, she was perhaps a little disappointed in the family. There were tears, and complaints, and the Bag Lady couldn't help but think; "But, but... you agreed to do this, it was your choice!" They threw away the portions that they didn't eat! In a strange way, it embarrassed the Bag Lady that they would choose to do this experiment, then whine and complain and waste the food.

For breakfast on the day their "ordeal" ended, there was such an abundance of food on their table, it again was almost embarrassing. Eggs, pancakes, fresh fruit... Almost as though they were rewarding themselves after this terrible ordeal they had gone through. That they chose to go through. It was an experiment, a chance to experience what so many others have no choice about.

Here in North America, we take so much for granted. Could any of us survive for 3 days on cornmeal and lentils? We live in a land of abundance; food, fuel, clothing. Our concerns are trivial in comparison to what others are suffering. We make our choices based on want rather than need. Our nations waste an amazing amount of food - just look at what is thrown into the dumpsters behind any restaurant in any city. Stop and think of what you yourself have thrown out in the last week. That last bit of leftover whatever that was turning green in the back of the fridge, or the apple that was a little soft.

And then we donate a little bit of money and pat ourselves on the back for helping those in need.

The Bag Lady finds herself a little confused about how she feels about the experiment. Could she have survived through three days of cornmeal and lentils? She is pretty sure she could. She has survived the cleansing procedure one must go through for a colonoscopy, which is far worse than cornmeal and lentils, she can assure you! Well, unless you have a deep and abiding love for clear broth and jello, and very strong laxatives. (Oops, was that too much information?) Makes cornmeal and lentils sound pretty appetizing!

So, is the Bag Lady totally off the wall? Is she being too judgmental? She admits to being a little confused as to what these people expected out of this experiment, and she wonders now what they learned. She also wonders, a tiny bit, what the point was.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Just a quick comparison shot for you - the calf in the middle is Milkshake, born back at the beginning of March.
The calf on the left is Smitty, and the calf on the right is Dawn. Smitty and Dawn were born the same day...

The Bag Lady apologizes for the "butt" shot - it's very difficult to get the calves to stay still to pose for their pictures! And little Dawn was very rambunctious last evening when the Bag Lady was trying to photograph her! (As always, click on the photo to enlarge)


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tuesday Ranch Report

Ah, spring. When a young man's fancy turns to.... oh, wait, there aren't any young men around here! Sometimes the Bag Lady wishes there were, though, because she could sure....use another, younger set of legs!

She can admit now that things seemed a little dicey with the twin calves that were born on Saturday. The cow who gave birth to them is not a really big cow, and barely looked pregnant, let alone as if she was carrying twins! Both calves are pretty tiny (the Cowboy says they are the smallest calves ever born on this ranch!) -- and the two of them together don't weigh as much as the calf we pushed to the barn!

Saffron is the stronger of the two and progressed the fastest, but Dawn had a little trouble. Her legs were a little crooked and she had trouble keeping up with her mother, so the Bag Lady was worried she wasn't getting enough milk. The Bag Lady was much relieved yesterday to see this:

(This is Dawn above, and her twin, Saffron, below) **Click on any of the pictures to enlarge

We also had another calf yesterday. She came into the world with quite a lot of fanfare! The Cowboy was getting his fencing supplies ready to go to our cattle lease (summer pasture on land rented from the government) when he heard a terrible bellowing and bawling and carrying on. He grabbed his rifle (there are bears or wolves or coyotes who would love a tasty little calf), and we ran out to see what was bothering the herd. It was this:


Her mother was surrounded by the other cows and wasn't too happy about it! When we finally got the rest of the herd to move off, she settled down and mothered up.

The Cowboy went off to do his fence-mending, only to call the Bag Lady a couple hours later and ask her to bring him the spare set of wire-stretchers. So the Bag Lady went over and helped with the fencing for awhile.

(These are wire-stretchers in use)


(Warning: this video contains footage that may be disturbing to some viewers...blah blah blah)

(Actually, this is the brute the Bag Lady pushed to the barn...he's getting his own back!)

Monday, May 5, 2008


Today, the Bag Lady wants to talk a little about the glamorous side of cattle ranching. Oh, you've all seen pictures of the cute little calves, and heard stories about birthing calves, and falling off decks, but there is another side to cattle ranching.

The Bag Lady is talking about those days when you have to intervene because a calf isn't doing well. Like yesterday. One of the calves was having a little trouble figuring out where he was supposed to get his milk supply. He was a big calf, and sometimes they are fairly well-nourished when they are born, so are a little lazy about finding a drink of milk. His mother wouldn't stand still out in the pasture in order for us to give him a little help, so we had to take them to the barn. In a more contained space, she doesn't have much choice except to stand still, and that makes it much easier for a little human assistance. Most of the time, all that is needed is a little guidance - once the calf gets the teat in his mouth, he knows what to do!

Unfortunately, the cow in this instance was quite a distance from the barn and the Bag Lady had to resort to what is called (around here, anyway) calf-pushing. This is accomplished by straddling the calf from the rear and pushing him along. It is strenuous and back-breaking (actually, quite a work-out, if you want to look at it that way...) and can be dangerous, if the mother is aggressive. If you take the calf, the mother will usually follow, most of the time close on your heels, bawling in your ear to leave her baby alone, damn you!

We have a fairly long alleyway built along the side of one pasture that leads to our barn. At this time of year, because it is quite shaded, it is the last place on the ranch to dry up. Planning? What planning?!

Once the cow and calf are in the alleyway, not quite as much calf-pushing is involved because the calf will follow the cow. It may need some help in the really muddy places, but for the most part it will go under it's own steam. Which is a good thing, because by then, the Bag Lady is usually so worn out that she can barely get all the way there! Fortunately, the Cowboy was also there, and at one point, actually had to pick up the (over-100 lbs) calf and carry him across a particularly muddy section. (With the Cowboy sinking practically to his knees!)

All's well that ends well, though. The cow and calf are in the barn, the Cowboy helped the calf get some milk, and the only casualty in the whole event were these:

And these:

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Updated Sunday Update

It has been another busy weekend. We had a calf born Friday night, then another one born Saturday afternoon (see yesterday's post). Saturday evening, yet another cow went into labour and delivered a nice little calf just before dark. The Bag Lady was feeling a little bit worse for wear (see yesterday's post!) so let the Cowboy handle things. She went down first thing this morning to take a picture.

Dawn, who blogs over at The Flightless Writer, and has written the terrific book, Ripples on the Lake, had requested a calf named after herself, and a calf named after the main character in her book, Saffron Delaney. The Bag Lady knew that this cow was the last chance for a light-coloured calf, so had already determined that this calf would be Saffron.

Imagine the Bag Lady's surprise when she went down this morning and discovered that the cow had given birth to another calf overnight! So it is almost as though it were ordained that these were the calves to be named for Dawn and Saffron (they are both heifers, too!)

Here are DAWN and SAFFRON:

(Saffron is in front, Dawn is on the other side of her mother - click on the photo to enlarge)


WARNING! PLANTING FOOT HERE: (click on photos to enlarge)


(Do not try this at home - professional stunt dog demonstrating!)

And the Bag Lady should perhaps have taken this sign in the sky as a warning!! Seriously, next time there is a big X in the sky, the Bag Lady is going to take cover.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Saturday News

Seems as though our cows are weekend calvers! We've had two calves so far this weekend.

Named in honour of Hilary, who has the incredible blog, The Smitten Image, here is SMITTY!

(He is about 15 minutes old in this video clip)

And, named for Missicat, who is a faithful reader, and needs to start her own blog (hint), we present MISSICALF!

The Bag Lady is having a wee bit of a rough weekend. She fell off the deck and whacked her head on the step - and no, she wasn't drunk - probably wouldn't have hurt herself if she had been! She was standing on the bench, watching a cow calving in the pasture, and when she stepped off the bench, she stepped where there was no deck! Fell backwards, whacked her head on the step, then did a double back-flip down the stairs! She laid there for a few minutes, grateful there were no witnesses to her gracefulness...
Then the horse that she was rooting for in the Kentucky Derby came in second, but she broke both her ankles and had to be put down! At least the Bag Lady didn't have to be put down...all she got was a nice goose-egg on her head and a few colourful bruises!
Can't wait to see what else the day has in store for her....