Getting To Know Lucifer

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Of all the #@#^* animals that I have raised this guy takes the cake!

About a year ago we had a goat buckling born here on the ranch that I named Lucifer, after he had been here for a couple of months. He got his name because right away I knew this guy was going to give me fits.

He quickly developed an uncanny ability to get into trouble at the drop of a hat. He could squeeze through the tiniest holes in the fence, (and he was a big baby) Go jumping across the pen where he was born and manage to jump right into a water tank. In some of his attempts to squeeze through the fence after he got a little older, he would get his horns hung up in the wire and there would be a commotion that could be heard a country mile.

When he reached two and a half months old my wife reminded me, which she often has to do when it comes to jobs I don't look forward to doing, that it was time to wether Lucifer. I stuck out a stiff upper lip and sighed, "OK". It really wasn't ok. I tried to think of any way to handle this without actually castrating him.

•I thought maybe I could take Lucifer hunting with me and have a horrible accident. Nope, my wife would never buy it.

•How bout I take him up on top of Cardiac Hill to show him the beautiful view at the edge of the steepest canyon. He could stumble and fall off. Nope, she ain't goin to buy that either. Goats are too sure footed.

Ok, to paraphrase Forest Gump "I'm not a smart man", but I'm smart enough to know when I'm beaten. I called my youngest son George, because misery loves company. I asked him if he could come by the ranch and give me a hand for a few minutes. When he asked what we would be doing I just replied " Just a simple little job. It just takes four hands."

He showed up right after work and we went up to the barn. I had already managed to get Lucifer into our isolation pen by offering him treats. (Somehow that just doesn't seem quite right.) I explained to my son what we had to do and he looked a little pale. I reassured him that there wasn't going to be any cutting, blood or gore. That I castrated using the rubber band method and he seemed to get color back in his cheeks.

I told him, "Son, I want you to grab Lucifer by the horns ( Much better him than me.) and hold him still. I don't want you or the goat hurt so you have to hang on tight and control him. Lucifer was big for his age and all muscle. He could move like lightning and I swear he could jump over five foot gates. My son said he understood and was ready.

We approached Lucifer slowly so as not to spook him but he spooked anyway and charged past my son as George reached out to grab him. He landed flat on his face in the straw and dirt. I looked down at him and said "Son, this is no time to lay down on the job." "Very funny dad! I seem to remember you telling me this was going to be a piece of cake." "Ok son, let's try again." I have very selective hearing.

We approached Lucifer again, this time side by side and just far enough apart to make him turn and move away from us. Without realizing what he was doing, he moved into a corner and George stepped forward and grabbed him. The circus began.

I would never have believed that even Lucifer could perform the acrobatic moves that he displayed for the next couple of minutes. I have to give my son credit. Somehow he managed to hang on and as Lucifer began to tire he was able to gently wrestle him down onto the ground and control him. For a guy that wears a shirt and tie to the office every day he distinguished himself as a goat wrestler. I don't think he will brag about that at the office.

I placed the band on the application tool and coated it with antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and worked it in place. My son had never seen this done and was shocked that the process was really simple. Most goats are not anywhere near as hard to handle as Lucifer. He was just living up to his name.

I filled the feed bin and water trough and we left Lucifer alone in the pen. I like to keep a close eye on new wethers for a couple of days before we turn them back to the herd. We walked back down the hill to the house and I invited my son to stay for dinner. "Can't dad, Mel (his wife of 16 years) is expecting me. Some other time." "Ok, listen son in a couple of weeks I'm going to have a few more of these to do. Maybe you could give me a hand with those.

" Thanks for letting me get to know Lucifer dad, I'll have to check my calendar. " Ok son, just remember, Lucifer is a problem child. The others will be a piece of cake." "Ok dad, gotta go." As he drove away it looked as though he was talking to himself. Young people are so hard to figure out today!

Until next time, find something to laugh about. It's good for the spirit, soul and body.

 

If you would like to know more about our ranch and the animals that we raise, visit us on the web at: http://www.cozinespringsranch.com

 

The Best Laid Plans Of Men And Goats

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You know, There are days when I wonder why on earth I wanted to start raising a herd of goats at my age. I'm 66 and supposed to have gained enough wisdom in life to make good decisions.

It is true that raising Heritage Spanish Goats In Oregon is a different experience and new challenges always peak my interest. Spanish goats have been cross bred with other breeds until the True Spanish Goat is in danger of becoming extinct. They are rare enough that the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has placed them on a watch list. It is also true that they are an independent breed that really require very little human intervention. They make excellent meat goats, brush goats and great pets or pasture pals. They forage on their own, they give birth to their kids easily and without help and they are hardy with fewer medical problems including hoof problems than most other goat breeds. We raise a completely closed herd so we don't have to worry about CAE or CL disease.

Here's my rub. When I decided to start raising these beautiful animals I put together a great plan for caring for them, building the herd and their overall well being. My plan was solid and the one thing that I didn't want was to have the does giving birth more than once a year. In many herds goats are stressed by having to kid three times in two year cycles. Their gestation period is 151 days.

Since I started, I have maintained my bucks in pastures by themselves until I am ready to divvy up the does and doelings and then run them in two separate areas . When new kids are born they are ear tagged as soon as possible so that we can easily identify the sire, the dam, their date of birth, birth weight and whether or not there were any complications. Once the kidding is completed the bucks are returned to their pasture away from the does and kids. Doesn't that sound just peachy? Well, it did to me, however Mother Nature and my two herdsires had other Ideas.

We recently experienced an unusually bad wind and rain storm that took down several very large old oak trees. One of them went right through a cross fence that separates the does from the bucks. When I discovered the mess there were two doelings and three of my older does along with my two herdsires up in the tree about six feet off the ground enjoying a super meal of fresh oak leaves. The two bucks (Pepper and Lucky) looked at me just a bit too sheepishly. I quickly gathered up my chainsaws, cut the tree back away from the fence, repaired it and then held a goat round up.

Once everyone was back where they belonged I gathered up my tools, threw them into my Gator. Just as I was getting into the drivers seat I swear I heard sniggering behind me. I held up my hand and started counting on my fingers, June, July, August, September.......... I think I may have a new plan! That's life on the ranch.

Until next time, find something to laugh about it is good for the spirit and the soul. If you would like to know more about us and the livestock we raise you can visit us on the web at: http://www.cozinespringsranch.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On The Poopy Trail

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No, that was not a typo. I did not mean to say puppy. Some jobs in life just plain stink. I mean really stink. Every few months I have one of those jobs that most men would gladly die to get out of. Over the course of time I have used every excuse in the book without any luck. My wife has learned to ignore my sudden illnesses, my limp that comes and goes. She just hands me several plastic bags and laughs her sides out. Oh, the joys of owning livestock.

The deal is, our goats have to be checked for internal parasites every few months and you guessed it. You have to look for those parasites in none other than that good old poop. Please try not to laugh, this is serious business. Can you imagine a 66 year old man following his goats around, plastic bag in hand just waiting for that moment when he can race forward and grab up some of the expelled brush that they have been eating. Oh brother, what a job.

The reason I wind up doing this is because I don't just give my goats worm medicine on some kind of planned schedule. Personally I feel that we tend to over medicate sometimes and I don't want to be guilty of causing my goats to build up an immunity to the worming medication because they get too much of it over time. I select a few different goats and check their droppings under a microscope. If parasite eggs are in sufficient number then we medicate.

I have to admit that I didn't dream this up on my own. I learned this particular practice from a couple of friends in an organization that I belong to here in Oregon. That organization is the Oregon Meat Goat Producers Association. A group of great professionals in the goat industry.

After you collect the droppings you have to soak them in a solution of Epson salts and water. You then grind them up and perform a couple of other small tasks in order to get the solution that you need on your microscope slide. Four or more parasite eggs in a field of vision pretty much says it's time to medicate the goats.

It's a less than desirable job but one that has to be done in order to keep your herd healthy and in good shape. I guess if I do this long enough I'll finally get to a point where I just go do it and forget the lame excuses. That won't be any time soon by the way.

Until next time, find something to laugh about. It is good for the spirit, soul and body.

If you would like to know more about us and the livestock that we raise visit us on the web at: http://www.cozinespringsranch.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

picture of my small lab with microscope and various items needed to test for parasites in my goats.

Let's Have Southern Fried Chicken

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My wife and I got out of bed at 5:30 a.m. in anticipation of a phone call telling us to pick up our new baby chicks at the post office. We had ordered 30 new Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets. We have never wanted to tackle all the jobs that come with having roosters on the place. We also have lot's of egg customers and none of them want to see those little specks in their eggs that shout, Fertile! In order not to have roosters we have to purchase our pullets from a reliable source. Our source is a great company in Texas. Every time we decide to expand our flock or replace chickens that have stopped laying because of their age we go online and order. The babies arrive in less than 24 hours after they are shipped and are always in great shape. Our overall loss has been negligible. We only raise hens that lay brown eggs. Our chickens are never given antibiotics and are totally chemical free.

We made a huge mistake a few months ago and decided to buy some day old pullet chicks that our local livestock feed store was selling. Several of them died within a couple of days. As the rest grew and got larger we noticed that several of our pullets had a tendency to crow as the sun came up every morning. Hmmm, that didn't seem quite right. Over a period of a couple of more months I was able to discern that five of our pullets were actually roosters. Uh-oh!

Those guys didn't just crow in the morning, they crowed all day long. It was like they were daring me to do something about it. As they got older they began chasing my wife's older hens around. My wife mentioned several times that the roosters really needed to go. I advertised Free roosters on Craigs list and had a couple come and adopt one. Several more ads drew no positive results. We still had roosters.

I came into the house the other day after working on some new cross fencing. I had spent most of the day at it and was ready to rest for awhile and have supper. My wife greeted me on the back porch with a nice big glass of iced tea. (That should have been a signal that there was trouble in the air.) We were visiting about the fencing project when she suddenly looked at me and said" I want to fix you your favorite supper tonight. How about Southern Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, home made dinner rolls, oh and some nice sweet English peas." You would think that after 45 years of marriage I would know better, but I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. "Hey,that sounds great honey, thanks a lot!"

She gave me a really great big smile and just stood there staring at me. I didn't realize for a moment exactly what was going on and then the light came on and I realized that if I was going to get that dinner there was something more that was going to have to happen. I managed to come up with a weak "What's up?" "Well sweetie, in order to have that really great dinner, those roosters out there have to be dealt with." You know, there are some really bad jobs on the ranch, the only one worse than butchering chickens is having to follow the goats around and collecting fresh poop to check for parasites. Oh, be still my heart.

My wife gave me that great big smile of hers and started for the kitchen. "I have the rolls in the oven so hurry and bring me those roosters all cleaned up and I'll fry one up. " I knew that excuses would do me no good. It was time to deal with the roosters.

We have around 90 chickens so when it comes time to catch a particular bird for any reason we usually wait until they return to their house in the late evening just before dark and get on their roost. We can then, fairly easily, walk in and pick the bird up with almost no commotion. This was the late afternoon and there was not going to be any easy way to get these guys. Our birds are completely and I do mean completely, free range birds. They travel out into the pastures wherever they want to go. I needed a plan. It struck me that perhaps my best shot at catching them would best be facilitated by using my very large salmon fishing net.

Oh, the joys of owning livestock! I retrieved my net from the barn where it hangs most of the time because I am too busy to get to use it for fishing. I was lucky in that a lot of the chickens were spending time hanging close to the chicken house. I decided to act very casual and just walk up around the chickens, near the roosters and then with great stealth, agility and super fast speed I would slam the net down over them and carry them to the butcher block. (I must have been having a senior moment. At the age of 66 I am about as stealthy and agile as a rhino in a china shop and fast to me these days is anything that takes me less than a day to do.) Doesn't that sound neat and easy. Yes, it does. Do you think it worked like that? You are absolutely right. It did not!

I was carrying the net with both hands on the extended handle. The net itself was up over my right shoulder. I quietly and slowly moved close to the chickens. There was my chicken dinner. All four of the roosters were very close together among about seven or eight hens. I figured if I got close enough I might get all four at one time. Ha ha ha ha! I got within a couple of feet, slowly reached into my pocket and pulled out a fist full of cracked corn. Chickens favorite snack. I gently tossed it close to the chickens and they all began pecking the corn immediately. I smiled. I was pretty happy with myself. This was going to be easy. They were so distracted with the corn they did not notice me kind of lift the net in anticipation of bringing it down over them. Ah ha, I swung!

Did I forget to mention that our chicken house sits amid some large fir, old scrub oak and maple trees? All of those trees have some fairly low limbs that I haven't been very good about keeping trimmed up. Well, the scrub oak is now trimmed up some. As I swung the net, it hit the lower branches of the oak. The old limbs snapped loudly and leaves flew into the air. For a moment it looked like late fall in July as they drifted down to where the chickens no longer were. I struggled with freeing the net and finally wrestled it out of the grasp of the tree. I wish that there had been a movie camera recording this event. I could have won America's Funniest Home Videos, easily.! The chickens were all well on their way to the next county and I'm wondering if my wife has any tuna she can fix for supper.

My wife did manage to fix a nice dinner without the chicken and after it got fairly dark we went out to the chicken house. All four of the roosters were perched next to each other like statues. My wife walked up, picked them up one at a time and placed them in a box we had brought for the purpose. We closed the door and latched it and took the roosters to my tool shed where we placed them in a large cage for the night. I butchered them the next morning. My Southern Fried Chicken dinner was a day late but still really good and my wife was a happy lady with a smiley face.

Until next time, find something to laugh about. It's good for the spirit, soul and body.

If you would like to know more about us and the livestock that we raise visit us on the web at; http://www.cozinespringsranch.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bearly Hunting

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Before I begin my blog today I wanted to take a moment to thank the Amazon Kindle owners that have signed up through Amazon to have my posts automatically downloaded to their Kindle book reader. I consider it a huge compliment and a great honor. Thank You all!

Every year about this time I start thinking about hunting season here on the ranch. We have the great pleasure of having some really fine hunters and I look forward to seeing and visiting with them. Some hunt during bow season others during rifle season. They are all good shots and safe hunters. They respect the property and they even come by during the year and volunteer to do a few chores to thank us for allowing them access to the property.

Last night I was remembering quite a few seasons back when black bears could still be hunted here in this part of Oregon. I had a couple of hunters that I'll call Harv and Ike. Harv was a big guy around 6'2" and well built. Ike was like me, much shorter around 5'8" and unlike me he was slim. I doubt that he weighed much more than 140 lbs soaking wet. They both had hunting dogs that they had trained (So they told me). They were a funny pair, kind of like Mutt and Jeff. Ike was a kind of tense fellow and always seemed a little nervous. Harv was like a rock and good natured. He loved to joke and always had a big smile on his face. Lot's of fun to be around.

This was their first year to hunt here on the ranch. They had come to the house, introduced themselves and asked for permission to hunt during the last black bear season. They had been hunting on land owned by a major timber company locally but that company had closed and locked their gates to hunters. They seemed like really nice fellows and I agreed to allow them access. I took about an hour driving them around in the Gator and showing them my property lines, some of the valleys and hills and of course, Cardiac Hill.

The opening day of bear season that year brought Harv and Ike to the ranch really early. They arrived with just barely a little light in the eastern sky. I was sitting on the porch having my first cup of java for the day so I walked out to say hello. We shook hands and talked about how nice the weather was and Harv asked if I had seen a black bear that had been spending a little too much time close to my house. She had fallen in love with some black berries in a small ravine about a quarter mile from where I live. She was a big bear, close to 300 lbs.

The bear doesn't live here year round. She actually lives in a dense stand of fir, ash and scrub oak trees on a neighbors property in an area so full of blackberries, thistle, Hawthorne and poison oak that no one ever goes in there. She climbs over the fence and wanders around looking for food and she does seem to stop by a couple of stock tanks that are fed by a natural spring and are full of water all of the time. I always figured that the water was really what brought her here. I keep livestock year round and although she had never bothered them I was concerned that sooner or later she would. This was the last hunting season for black bears and I was hoping that if they didn't manage to shoot her, that they would at least scare her enough to make her seek her water on someone else's place.

As we stood there and talked I noticed that Ike was wearing a vertical shoulder holster with a very large hand gun shoved down in it. "Ike, is that thing legal?" I asked and he responded "Sure, as long as I wear it on the outside like this so everyone can see it. I'm not actually hunting with it, I intend to use it to finish the job if Harv downs the bear with his rifle and doesn't kill it. I'll handle the dogs most of the time and Harv will do the shooting". They unloaded their six dogs from their cages in the back of the pickup, attaching long leashes as they unloaded them. I was surprised that the dogs seemed really excited and raring to go but were pretty quiet. Ike took three of the leashes in each hand and spoke quietly to the dogs and they seemed to really listen. I was impressed. I had never seen hunting dogs that well behaved. I wished them luck and pointed them in the direction of the ravine. I had seen her down in there just two days earlier.

The rest of this story was related to me by Harv at the end of their hunt.

" We worked our way down to that little ravine that you told us about. We moved down into and through the ravine without seeing anything other than a couple of deer that we jumped. From there we worked all along the south side of your property clear to the back. We saw nothing. We climbed the hill that is just inside your back gate and followed the fence along the entire west side of the property. Man with your hilly terrain it took a long time to get to the northwest corner. We had to stop for breaks to catch our breath several times.

We climbed up the back side of the hill that you call Cardiac Hill and through your stand of fir. Nothing. We had lunch in the fir stand and then spent the rest of the day checking out several other small canyons and ravines. Nothing. We were starting to feel like we were going to be skunked again. This was our last chance to take a black bear and now it was slipping away fast as the sun was going down in the west.

We moved down a small hill and came to one of your dirt roads and started walking back toward your house. We had decided that it was now too late to shoot a bear and get it back out. It just wasn't going to happen. As we neared the little ravine where your water tanks are, the dogs suddenly starting going crazy. They were barking wildly and jerking hard at their leashes. Ike held on for dear life but couldn't control them. They tore loose from his grasp and shot toward the spring. They crashed into the under brush of the ash and fir in the ravine and we heard the bear growl and then the noise as it took off up the ravine toward the top of Cardiac Hill and the fir stand. I didn't know bears could move that fast. The dogs were not winning the race. Ike and I started running up the hill screaming at the dogs to come back. The sun was sinking lower and we needed to get them rounded up and head out of the field. The bear could just be a bear.

Half way up Cardiac one of the dogs came to within a couple of feet of the bear. She stopped, whirled around and stood up on her hind legs and growled ferociously. The dog turned and backed off. The bear started running toward the fir again, dogs right behind. Ike and I had to stop several time going up that steep hill. We were out of breath and starting to really get exhausted. As we neared the top we could tell from the dogs that they had the bear surrounded.

WE reached them and there was the bear, about eight to ten feet up the side of a very large old fir tree. She was hanging on for dear life. The dogs were barking and leaping off the ground, going around and around the tree. We were just going to leave her, get the dogs and go. The sun was really low in the western sky and it was getting dark in the woods. I reached out and grabbed two of the dog leashes just as the bear decided she was through with this and started to slide slowly down the tree. I yelled at Ike and told him to keep the bear up in the tree. He looked at me like I was nuts but he grabbed a long dead tree branch off the ground, reached up and poked the bear right in the butt. The bear climbed back up a foot or two. This was turning into a circus. The dogs leaping, growling and barking out of control. The bear was growling and then suddenly started to make a different kind of sound, almost like pleading for help in a high pitched cry.

Then it dawned on me. In all the excitement, running and noise we hadn't been paying attention. This was not a huge dangerous adult black bear. This was perhaps, at best, a half grown black bear and that noise she was making was, you guessed it, a cry for mommy to come and help. My heart sank down to my shoe laces as I envisioned a very, very angry adult black bear crashing through the woods and tearing us all to pieces for messing with her child.

The bear started working back down the tree again, I had managed to get four of the dogs leashes in hand. I yelled at Ike and he poked the bear again. This time the bear kept coming. I now had five leashes. Ike, you've got to keep that bear up there! He got directly beneath her and jammed the branch as hard as he possibly could using every ounce of strength he had. Oops, too much. I managed to grab the sixth leash just as the branch shattered, Ike had put so much of himself into the poke that he stumbled and fell right at the foot of the tree, the bear screamed and turned loose. She fell into a sitting position on top of Ike. He is screaming and trying to tug the 44 magnum out of it's holster, the bear is screaming, The dogs are now within two feet of a screaming, mad, black ball of surprised fury. They are barking, growling, jumping. I have all six leashes and I'm trying to drag the dogs back. It was pure 100% mayhem!

The bear suddenly rolled off of Ike, jumped up on all fours and ran like mad back through the forest and down the side of the hill. Ike is a whimpering mass of human flesh, my heart felt like it was going to pound it's way out of my chest. The dogs are still going crazy and wanting to go back after the bear.

Ike got to his feet and looked at me and I looked at him and we both broke into nervous laughter. We had just had our very first up close encounter with a live angry black bear and we survived. In all of our other black bear hunts we had treed raccoons, large gray squirrels and a couple of opossums and had never seen a bear before. This is something we will tell our kids and grand kids about. Thanks Harless for letting us hunt. We'll be back next week. We saw a couple of places where your fence needs mending. By the way, do you mind if we come deer hunting?"

I don't mind at all. I can't wait to see how that goes. I'll let you know down the road how these fellows did on their first deer hunt here on the ranch.

Until next time, find something to laugh about. It's good for the spirit soul and body.

If you would like to know more about us and the livestock that we raise here on the ranch visit us on the web: http://www.cozinespringsranch.com

Harless

 

This is not the bear that Ike and Harv tangled with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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