Stands filling up, quickly. The ‘pump up’ music playing. A bronc starts dancing in the chute. Fresh arena dirt and fresh livestock.
The excitement is felt, seen and heard. An electricity that is circulating throughout the stock, contestants, and spectators. And then, the announcer begins to speak…
He doesn’t begin by giving the statistics of the riders, or rant about the stock contractors, no. The announcer begins with “This is the home of the free and the land of the brave and because of that we want to honor those who give up their freedom so we can enjoy ours. Every Marine, Sailor, Airman, First responder, please stand up.” Some slower than others, stand. Stand in remembrance of their fellow men and women, stand in remembrance of the commitment they made to this country. Stand to be honored. And as each one stands up, the electricity of the building, changes, ever so slightly, as…
Another stunningly beautiful weather day here. Just a touch of frost on the windshields and crunchy grass early this morning.
Woke up about 4am since i’d fallen asleep so early the evening before, but with a horrible headache. Took some Tylenol, fixed some mate, then opened the door to let Thunder in and along with him a bird flew in! Weird. So a little early morning excitement – Allen and i finally coaxed it out by turning off all the lights in the house and turning on the porch light. Birds are not like bats, they have to see where they are going.
My main project for today was to load up those little calves i talked about earlier and the thin bull and take them to market. Now we don’t have those baby calf feeding chores which frees up about 45 minutes a day! Not to mention just the inconvenience of being tied to this task twice a day. Most of that time is taken up with preparing the bottles and feeding the bottle calves. There is also no more feed costs.
Next big project was to prepare another 16 foot cattle panel into a circle which is what we use in south Missouri for decorative and useful end posts for fence. Once these are filled with rocks (and there are plenty of those on my farm there!) then they are set to go. Beautiful and functional at once. It is hard work to fill up them up, however.
Dallas put the second coat of linseed oil/mineral spirits on his lawn tractor trailer yesterday and took out a couple bales of hay for my cows up north. He also moved several more bales from the neighbour’s farm. We bought the rest of his hay bales just recently and while it’s dry, we are moving them off his farm as quickly as possible.
This afternoon and early evening will be spent at the Forage Systems Research Center‘s 50th anniversary with guest speaker, Dr Fred Martz, professor emeritus and former FSRC superintendent. It’ll be nice getting to visit with friends we haven’t seen for some time.
One of the negative aspects (and i’m NOT complaining) is that with this unexpected warm weather, vacuuming or sweeping dead face flies and Japanese beetles off the floor around windows and sills etc is a daily event.
Each morning and evening, I have 5 orphaned peewee calves to feed along with two orphaned bottle calves. A nuisance to be sure. Once they are started good and I have time, I’ll take them to the auction before winter. Someone else will like the chores more than we do.
Last night, after dark, Dallas, Allen, and I mustered 12 calves from the TT place across the road to their mums who Allen had moved earlier in the day. He should have checked them before dark! We were able to move all but one blind calf. She’ll be up waiting today.
The electric company guys came yesterday whilst I was gone and cut down these two dead trees from near the power lines. I had only called them about a week ago and here they are so quickly. I was glad they were willing to do this dangerous job for us.
Need to get back to these birdhouses I cut out from an old barn gate using a pattern for bluebird house from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Boy, repurposing lumber is a challenging undertaking, but it is rewarding to keep this lumber from just burning. Still need to screw on the tops and cut out the hole. I’ll leave the decorating to Dallas – he’s more creative than I am. We have a lot of small antique farm junk to use. Not sure what we’ll do with so many birdhouses – maybe Dallas and I can hone our skills enough to make something worth selling. I lined these up today – does that count for doing something?! 😉
Rolled up about 875 feet of polywire and picked up the posts, giving my ET cows and some late calving heifers of Allen’s another break of fresh grass.
Lunch was such a hit yesterday with beef fillets and broccoli, that I made the same today. Which was quick and easy since I had sliced the whole loin yesterday morning when it was still somewhat frozen. Being partially frozen, meat is much easier to slice. These fillets I sliced about 1 1/2 inches thick. Pan broiled in butter from grass fed cows is our favourite way of preparing beef fillets and lamb noisettes.
Since it may rain tomorrow and i need to go to Chillicothe, I headed to my farm to shift the cows. That sure made them happy. I opened another paddock as well since I can’t get back up there until Tuesday. Took out mineral and drove the perimeter to make sure the fence was all cattle tight. Finished my fencing project at my farm this afternoon with driving another 10 or so fiberglass posts and attaching the two hi-tensile wires with cotter pins. I’ll be feeling that tonight – I can see some Tylenol in my future – the ground is really hard right now. Tightened it all up – done.
The guys are nearly done with building my perimeter fence. They finished today’s plans in the rain. It was not a full day of working since Allen took his dad to the doctor this afternoon. If the weather holds, probably tomorrow will see it done.
Upon my return home, i found the peewee calves in the yard waiting for me! Guess i accidentally left a gate open. So glad the bulls hadn’t wandered up to the barn and out as well! Got some feed and they followed me back to the barn easily. One of the bottle calves is not feeling well – i noticed her not being up to par this morning and she is worse this evening, so i pushed her into a corner and shot her with Red mix and a vitamin B complex. Hopefully, that will knock whatever rattles out of her. She has a good appetite, though, so that is a good sign. She and the other calf sucked down their bottles in good fashion.
Enough chatter for today!!
Nearly dark, Allen and Dallas pulled in. Dallas collected eggs and we all sauntered back to the house, enjoying the lovely evening.
Now, a long evening before bedtime – maybe i can talk these two into playing a few games of UNO. We are all tired, but it just gets dark so early.
This advice goes for all animals species, not just cattle! Our personal experience is that we prefer to breed those virgin heifers at 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years of age. Breeding them to calve as 2-year-olds is comparable to a girl giving birth at 14-15. Breeding and calving later can reduce calving difficulties by allowing the youngster to fully mature. Even though conventional wisdom says it’s not profitable to miss out on that first calf and that by selecting for early calves, you are selecting also for early maturing, is sound business. However, there are some ranchers who feel they more than pick up on the other end with their cows producing until they are 14-15, rather than dropping out of the herd at 10-11. So, right or wrong, we don’t necessarily ‘develop’ the heifers, we simply let them grow up with the mature cows and become sensible, healthy, and productive females.
Here is another thought from Burke Teichert, a man whom I’ve yet to meet, who has words of wisdom and experience worth pondering taken from his column “Strategic Planning for the Ranch” in Beef magazine.
Don’t overdevelop replacement heifers.
“It will cost you money in several ways. If some don’t breed, take heart in the fact that the “good ones” did. At first breeding, 55% of expected mature cow weight is adequate in most situations, as opposed to the 65% that’s long been recommended.”
Don’t take better care of bulls than they should need.
” Since a bull doesn’t need to gestate or lactate, if he requires exceptional care, do you really want his daughters to become your cows?”
Burke Teichert, a consultant on strategic planning for ranches, retired in 2010 as vice president and general manager of AgReserves Inc. He resides in Orem, Utah. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Taking a bit to get our days and nights sorted but almost there. I’m still feeling weird about driving on the right hand side of the road, although it feels normal – I still find myself thinking a moment before pulling onto the highway. However, if I don’t think, turning into the proper lane comes naturally. Hmmmm. I think – therefore I’m confused.
Lots of catching up on the farm – fences to repair, batteries to charge, water tanks and lines to drain and cap off in preparation for winter. It’s been wonderful weather for these activities. Have had trouble with some corner posts, so am replacing them with traditionally set hedge posts. The ground is not hard, so this job only took me about 45 minutes!
I was able to sort off my five bulls from the cows and walk them a quarter mile to the corral for loading out. They’ll spend the next 10 months hanging out with their bull peers. What a life – work (not sure a bull would consider what he does as ‘work’) for two months, then just hang out for ten.
The boys and Allen are tearing out and building a new quarter mile of perimeter barbed wire fence at the Oertwig farm. He and Christian had already hauled the bulls from all his cows earlier this month as well as rebuilding all the washed out water gaps from the flooding we had the day before the boys and I left for Scotland.
Sadly, my allergy symptoms began within 36 hours of our return – itchy eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, itchy face and neck, congestion. Dallas and I went to Columbia to the allergist and had our oral drops made and we started the treatment. It will be at least 6 months before there is any change so in the meantime we may have to take some antihistamines. The plan is that we’ll be symptom free next year!