Ladies, start your ovens…

I know.  You already did that.  Me?  I’m behind.  On purpose, of course.

We don’t do our Thanksgiving gathering until Sunday, so I’m the midst of window washing and baking.  Three pans of cinnamon rolls just came out of the oven, the ham is still baking and pies are up next…also a birthday cake.

And what is Big Boss doing?  Why, I’m so glad you asked.  He’s hauling poop.  That is the usual fall chore around here.  The way this goes is, in the fall, poop must be cleaned out of all pens in preparation for winter snows.  Nothing is worse for cattle than having to tromp around in mud/poop in freezing weather.  While snow and winter weather doesn’t much bother cattle, their feet suffer if they’re in mud too long.   So BB does everything he can to avoid that little problem. 

That means he needs his high loader to scoop it all up and dump it into a manure truck.  The manure truck is then driven to a field where the manure is spread on the ground that will be planted to corn in the spring, thus killing 2 birds with one stone; you get pens cleaned out for the cattle and you get “free” fertilizer for next year’s crops. 

It helps if someone is standing by the pen gates, opening and closing gates for the trucks.  Not only does a gate-keeper keep the cattle from sneaking out but makes for less work for the truck drivers. That was my job years ago.  If it was nice, I’d bring #3 son along, who was 1 when I started this particular job. He’d run around in the pens, swing on the gates and chunk cow patties at whatever moved.  (Yes, we are easily entertained out here!)

If it was cold and windy, I’d park the pickup close by and he’d either color, draw or nap in the cab. 

BB shoveling cement for the loading pad. That’s green wheat growing in the background.  The cattle will graze on it and the wheat will grow back…kind of like mowing your grass.  It keeps coming back.

Big Boss is also building more pens. I know. I know.  He promised multiple times that “this is the last pen I’m building”. 

Same cowboy that worked on my windows yesterday. It pays to be flexible around this place!

To be fair, it’s not an official pen.  It’s an “out-pen” which means they’re pouring cement feed bunks in a wheat pasture where cattle have been turned out to graze for the winter.  They’re also building a loading chute so they load and unload the cattle easier.  Shelter fences are also built with pipes, so it’s kind of like an outside motel for the cattle.  Then, if the wheat is being eaten too quickly, BB can drive over with a load of feed and dump into their brand new dinner plates!  When they hear him coming, they all make a dash to the feed bunks and wait for him.  Patiently.

Cement guy unloading cement for BB.

But yesterday, after we toured the pasture cattle, BB and I headed for the boys’ deer stand that sits out the middle of a huge pasture miles away.  It over looks acres and acres of prairie grass and a large grove of trees that grow in a draw that joins a water source.  The deer love this place and so do our boys! 

We counted 8 points on this big guy who was about 50 feet away. Crummy pic but all I had was my cell phone!

We climbed up into the stand and sat there for about an hour before the parade started.  At one time, there were 6 deer coming, 2 checking the trees out and 3 were meandering around in a grass patch.  We counted 4 bucks and about 8 does in all and that was a small crowd according to past head counts! 

But the long walk through the prairie was the best and I was really glad I had my Ariats on as some of the grass was waist-tall.  I kept thinking about BB’s ancestors who came here in 1878 and must have walked through prairies very similar to this one.  Except the women would’ve had on long skirts.

I cannot imagine what must have been going through their minds as they looked across the horizon of nothing but grass.

OK, back to the kitchen with me.  Pies up next as cinnamon rolls have been delivered to BB and the other guys. My list is getting smaller for the day!!!!  🙂

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