Friday, January 29, 2010

Our Winter

We live on the gulf coast in Texas, about 40 miles from the ocean. I've lived here my whole life so I'm used to mild winters. But my dear husband, born and raised in west central Indiana, is used to cold ones.

That's not to say we haven't had our share of cold, icy, and snowy in Boling, Texas this year. We were blessed (yes, I believe blessed!) to get 4 inches of snow the first week in December. The only downfall of the snow for us was the fact that our huge bottlebrush tree (or bush?) that we received as a gift from my grandparents ended up dead. The weight of the snow literally split this already struggling (from the transplant from their house to ours) 8 foot tall bush right down the middle. I was so happy to get such a thoughtful gift as this... my grandma had been growing it for 5 years so it was truly spectacular. We couldn't wait for it to bloom. Then came the snow... and down went the bottlebrush.

Then it warmed up to above freezing, and rained... and rained... and rained. The ranch truly turned into a nasty mudpit for about a month.

About three weeks ago, we had about 4 days of hard freezing. This was all new to us! Lucky for us, Luke is an ol' pro at winter animal care. As soon as we woke up on the first morning of the hard freeze, we realized we didn't have hot water at our house. But Luke wasn't worried about that. He immediately said, "I bet the cows don't have water either because of the freeze." We spent every morning the next few days riding around with our garden tools (because of course, we don't have any real ice tools) and breaking the ice off the troughs around the ranch. Boy, I never realized how many water troughs we have on this place.

During the winter, we spend a lot of time every day putting out round bales for the cows. Luke takes that duty sometimes and anytime he does, if it happens to be on a weekend so I'm at home, he wants me to ride with him in the tractor for company. It's pretty much an all day job as we always have to put out about 15-20 round bales over the whole ranch. I don't mind going along but I really wish the buddy seat in the tractor was more comfortable. I just bounce along and it is not pleasant! Luke's drivers seat has these springs so he ends up with a smooth ride. I take pillows and sit on but it is still pretty rough! We have lots of good times though riding in that tractor, just visiting and laughing hoping that no cows hook us when we get out of the tractor to cut the strings.

Also the month of January brings lots of calving. Calving in the winter here means that the heavy cows get moved to the heated calving barn. There was about two weeks of 2 times a night checking... midnight and 3 a.m. The first few nights of checking I got up with Luke for the 3 a.m. check - but I'm ashamed to admit that towards the end, I would pretend to not hear the 3 a.m. alarm, and Luke would let me sleep. My Dad is the calving barn professional checker - he has done it by himself for 30 years. I just made it through our first winter of sharing the middle of the night checking duties, and boy, I have a big appreciation for what he's done for so long. And... I'm glad we're a full 11 months away from next January!

Anyway, here's some pictures of our winter in Texas.

These Brahman babies look like they're enjoying winter in Texas!

Some Brahmans taking a drink at the big trough in the "front pasture" in front of my parents' house.

These are actually flowers in OUR flowerbed.

The story of the past few months around here... mud!

Our neighbor and good friends Russell and Lacie Sciba's chicken named James Brown. We want our own chickens, but in the meantime, we admire theirs!

Burn pile!

This recip looks like she's ready for her round bale to be delivered!

One of our Shorthorn babies.

Luke says he calved this one out!

The calving barn... where all the magic happens at 3 AM!


  1. Congrats on getting your blog started! Someone is quite the photography. I love all the photos, especially of the two Brahman calves and the picture of the fence. I find Brahmans so interesting, probably cause this northern girl didn't ever see one until I made the move southside. Good luck calving. Can't wait to take a little more time to read the rest.

  2. Love the pictures! Isn't the shorthorn calf that is out of Delila D-Lo one of the cows that we own with you all?