Tag Archives: Heifers

A Season for Everything

As the book of Ecclesiastes says: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” So many things happened here on the ranch after the last post back in May. There was “a time to be born and a time to die.” We discovered that two more of our original five heifers were bred and there were hopes that they would give Genesis (#1 calf) some siblings. Unfortunately, #60 (yes, that’s what we called her) had difficulty with her birth of a bull calf. He was simply too large for her to give birth to. We thought we could save her and we did our best doctoring her for a few days, but she decided the journey back to health was too long and hard. She was under a tree close to the house and we stayed with her for many hours. Even Shadow would go out and lay down with her. She simply closed her eyes and went to sleep. Then just a bit later, the third heifer went into labor and had issues. Charlie and Jason stayed with her until the early morning hours when she hid herself in one of the thickets. We found her the next morning and unfortunately she had lost her calf – another bull calf. She had an injured back leg but we were able to nurse her fully back to health. Melissa was here that weekend also to help out with #64. (Yes, that was her name.) It was a true team effort! We learned a lot about the bulls that you choose to breed your cows, breeding heifers, and breeding cows and have made plans to go a different direction when the next breeding cycle begins. We also learned the value of hiring an experienced and knowledgeable cowboy. Cowboy James taught us so many things about taking care of a sick cow with his know-how and his compassion.

Since the last post in May, the first five bred cows that Charlie bought have calved and the five calves that he bought have grown. They all have names because that makes it easy for me to keep track of them…and it’s fun! So much has happened since May, but I like to divide the posts by year so I can create a book from them. While this will be the ‘official’ last post for our second year on the ranch, there is much more to share. Stay tuned!

Here are some photos to enjoy so you’ll know the names of the calves too! (Click on each photo and it will pull up a larger image!)

Genesis of the Herd

As summer turned to Fall and Fall into Winter, we had a long list of jobs we wanted to do here on the Wheeler Ranch. Paint the chicken coop, paint the porches, paint the pipe fence – do you see a pattern here? Projects that began in the summer needed time to let the wood cure. Unfortunately, between rain and football games, no painting happened in the Fall. Winter arrived with more rain and painting was once again delayed. Spring is around the corner now and, while our list of tasks keeps growing, we’re looking forward to warmer and drier temperatures and being able to work outside. There are a few daily tasks to keep us busy including checking on the herd, feeding them, and surveying the pastures. Tuesdays include a trip into town for Charlie to go to the Sale Barn to look at the cows and calves.

Something exciting brightened our dreary winter days in January – our first calf was born. We weren’t certain if our heifers had been bred during their time with the black Brangus bulls. Since this is all new to us, we relied on books, the Internet, and experienced cattle raisers to help us learn all we could about cows and calving. Charlie and I suspected that one of the heifers was getting close to a delivery date but expected it to be a couple of weeks away. The way that she walked across the pasture reminded me of what it felt like to be nine months pregnant! DSCF6530One morning, Charlie went out for his morning check of the pastures and “the ladies” but quickly came back to pick me up. As he headed up the hill, he had noticed one of the heifers standing off by herself and, as he drove closer, he saw a little fuzzy black bundle on the ground beside her. DSCF6496

Although, I’ve been better about not naming our herd, I knew the first calf needed to be named! What better name than Genesis! This calf was officially the beginning of our cow-calf operation! DSCF6865We have watched her grow, play, and interact with the other cows in the herd. She was born a deep shade of black, but seems to have a tinge of red on the tip of her coat. We suspect that several other calves are on the way. It would be nice to have playmates for Genesis. DSCF6813She and Shadow are curious about each other but have yet to get too close to each other. It has been very interesting to watch how the cows and heifers in the herd have reacted to the new mommy and her calf. If they sense danger, they will circle around her. Some of them will groom her. As Genesis has grown, she seems comfortable snuggling up to the other cows. She quickly learned who we are and that we bring the hay and mineral cubes either to the fence or with the side by side. She loves to run around the hay bales and then jump head first into the hay bale!

Just a few more photos of Genesis from Day 1 to a few days ago.

Charlie and I are looking forward to what the upcoming months hold in store for us here on the Wheeler Country Road.


Happy 2nd Anniversary!

Happy anniversary! Today is our second anniversary as land owners. It has been an exciting two years and we have many plans for the upcoming year. We are continuing to attend local workshops and training sessions on raising cattle and improving forage. We have purchased our own five black Brangus heifers.

Brangus are a cross between black Angus and Brahma cattle. Charlie was able to help brand and vaccinate them with the help of the man who located these heifers and is our “hired Cowboy.”

When “our girls” were delivered to us, another young Charolais heifer was brought over that needed some social interaction with other animals. 0619181959aIt’s very interesting to watch these six and the other heifers and cow. Sometimes they blend in with the bigger herd and sometimes they wander on their own in their own smaller herd.

We are focusing on taming them so we can handle them with we need to. Our heifers like to come up to the fence next to the house in the mornings especially for some hand-feed hay. 0619182005gI’m also working on talking to them. A simple “hello girls” generally gets their attention. A couple of them are getting comfortable coming up to us and will let us rub their noses. The others are curious and we’ll keep working on them.

Our cattle business is a cow-calf operation. That means that we will breed our heifers and sell the calves they produce. From the proceeds of the sale of those calves, we will purchase more heifers to breed and sell those calves, etc. The heifers have been with a bull since January with their previous owner and they are once again with a bull in our pasture. In September, we will begin testing each of the heifers to see if we will hear the patter of little hoofs in the Spring.

We have set up our records for tracking our cattle activity. Charlie cleared out and cleaned up the existing pens in the back pasture that have not been used in about 5 years. He and Jason have discussed how to renovate and expand them for when we need to work the cows.

It’s exciting to think about what this year will hold for the Wheeler’s Lazy J Ranch. Charlie and I have learned lots of new things and will continue to learn more. Stay turned for the next adventure!


Spring Is In The Air



Since almost a month has passed since our last trip to the property, we knew this would be a work trip. However, that was fine since the weather was so beautiful that it made you want to be outside!

Charlie began by taking the weed eater to the gate area by the road. Jason brought his mower over since the battery on Charlie’s mower was dead . Jason cut the grass around the trailer, chicken coop, storage building and the pine trees. I’m trying to decide what color to paint the chicken house after we get it all cleaned up. Any ideas?

While it might be nice to put some tiki torches out by the pine trees and table, I’m thinking some white solar lights wrapped around the trees would be nice too.

Since Friday was a regular work day for me, I worked inside the trailer until I felt the need to go outside. 4It was nice working from the lounge chair on my computer while Charlie and Jason trimmed the oak tree. (I love being able to work remotely!)

At the end of my workday and Charlie’s day of yard work, it was time to wander down the road to “walk the pasture.” The pasture was covered with bright yellow wildflowers which the cows apparently do NOT like to eat!

First, we checked out the pond which was almost full due to the rains we’ve had recently. The vines with white flowers around the banks were dewberries. We’ve already had several friends volunteer to come over for dewberry cobbler when it’s time! It amazes me how these cows will choose a path and all of them will walk it over and over – notice the path by the pond. You can see these paths in different places in the pasture as they move from one location to another while they graze.

Looking from the other side of the pond and toward one of the feeders and the working pens, we decided to head up the hill still looking for the cows.

Charlie was inspecting the gates on the working pens. Jason has actually worked cattle on this property for the previous landowner. It’s amazing how tall this tree is at the pens – that’s Charlie walking away from it! It makes me wonder how old the tree is.

We headed over to the other fence line still looking for the cows. They were definitely there! We spotted them and they spotted us and they came running toward us. This is a frisky herd of heifers! Once the excitement to have company was over, they began grazing on the fresh spring grass again.

We headed back to the trailer to fix dinner with me lagging behind taking pictures. I thought this was a neat picture of Charlie. 18(Beware: No one is safe when Kimmie has her camera!)

We had been told that there was a patch of blueberries plants in a certain location but we thought it was just a patch of yaupons. However, on our way back to the trailer 19we stopped by the patch again and, sure enough, those blossoms we saw last month had turned into blueberries! More cobblers to come!

On Saturday we drove over to Wixon Valley (Bryan) to see Natalie, JT, and Audie. 20It was a great visit and yummy hamburgers for lunch. We came back to Lovelady and Jason, Danielle and Raya came to see us. Raya wanted to sit up on the grapevines so GranDad took her over there. After grilling steaks for dinner, we headed down to visit the cows.

The first time Jason, Danielle and Raya went down, the cows came right up to the four-wheeler and were nudging Raya. When we went back with them, the cows came up to Raya again.

The adults were talking to “the girls” (aka heifers) and they were pretty well ignoring us. Then Raya let out a long conversation of baby talk and all of the cows stopped and looked at her! Charlie says the brown heifer looking at Danielle and Raya looks like the Blue Bell cow. She’s marked by arrow in the second photo. Look at her sweet eyes!


The sun was beginning to set so we headed back to the trailer to sit out on the deck. The cows just stood there and watched us leave. The kids left first on the four-wheeler and then Charlie and I walked back to the pasture gate.

We closed the gate and headed down the road back to the trailer. We walked for just a few minutes and heard a loud noise. We turned to see the herd running toward the gate! I guess they weren’t ready for us to leave!

On Sunday we attended church in Crockett with the kids. It is such a friendly congregation! We enjoyed lunch at a local Mexican restaurant and then went for a quick trip to Wal-Mart. After we made it back to Lovelady, 31 I trimmed one of our Confederate Roses and Charlie hauled those branches to the burn pile. (I foresee a big bonfire in our future after all of the clean up from this weekend!)

When we first began this journey, we were ready to head back to the “big city” as soon as lunch was over – we definitely didn’t want to be driving in heavy traffic. Today, we were still sitting outside on the deck enjoying the sunshine, cool breeze and watching the birds play at 4:30 in the afternoon. It seems that each Sunday that we head back home, the time gets later and later!

We can’t wait to head back to the Wheeler’s Country Road soon!