I went to the Waynesburg stocksale thinking I had no chance of getting a calf. They were holding the calves until 2pm and I had to leave for work; no later than this. When I arrived the horses were going through. Walking the aisle behind the wooden seats I bumped into a neighbor. To our surprise the calves ran through early and I purchased two at half the price I would have paid last week. I guess it is why it is called a stock sale; the prices are never the same. Anyways, one was a black angus and the other a black angus herford. Off to work I went, almost regretting the purchase because now I had two bottle babies to feed.
After work, I went to the house to slide a couple of dog boxes on to the bed of the truck and tell the hubby we were the proud parents of two calves. He was so happy. Only the day before he had put his back out and the doc said no wood chopping. He-he, Doc said nothing about calf wrangling.
At the sale I was blocked in for half an hour by a big truck. Inside the building I fnally found the guy and he moved. It was a treat dragging the calves into the bed of the truck. I put them in the same box to keep each other company.
Once home, I parked the truck near the new barn and readied the pen. The hubby stared, puzzled, at an empty dog box. He quizzed, ” You lost a calf? There’s nothing in the box.” He was pointing right at the box with two faces staring at him. Okay. Must have been the beer. Pointing I said, “Well, I got a good price on that one. It came with two heads.”
Grumbling something about me being smart the hubby yanked the black angus out- Cocoa. Her little feet did burn outs on the truck bed. She was fiesty so I helped. Mentioning the tailgate was down we handled the squirming critter. Hubby assured me the other one would stay. Slamming the pen door on the unhappy Cocoa we heard the clatter of little hooves on the truck bed. I almost made it to the truck when Porter House hit the ground running. The three day old calf crashed into the goat gate,
then took a left and a right into the alpacca pen. I think the calf thought she was staring at E.T. because she took off like her tail was lit on fire. Right through the goat pen, scattering the goats.
Up the hill goes the hubby. I ran for the Kawasaki side-by-side. By the time I was to the new gates the little steak on four legs was past me and up to the neighbor’s fence line. The calf turned left; straight up the hill doing moch 90. The hubby jumped in the Kawasaki. By the time we reached the top of the hill the minature hamburger pattie pushed through the old fence in the corner. We pursued on foot, ripping ourselves on barb-wire. Up higher, into the neighbor’s hillside we went.
The calf followed the fenceline. Over the top of the mountain and behind the new neighbor’s we finally cornered her in a briar patch. Brandishing bleeding thorn holes across my arms and legs I found myself hanging onto a fresh leg of potential veal, only I was stuck in the thorns.
The hubby leaped. One badly sprained thumb later and our fastfood was contained. Bawling in protest the hubby cussed my new purchase. I am not sure which was more winded, as the pair lay sprawled, panting. My asthma had me bent over wishing for air. After a moment I trudged back up the hill to the kawasaki. On the way down the hydralic brake line let loose and the trip took a sudden “yeehaa” to the bottom. Somehow I made it to the house with next to no brakes. Driving the truck to the neighbors I made a hasty explanation as to why I needed permission to cross their land.
Being quite neighborly the lady offered to drive me in her side-by-side with two excited children in tow. Up the hill we went with dog box bouncing in the dumpbed. Through the barbwire we drug the box to where the Hubby lay grumbling. Porter house was now hog tied with barn twine.
Pushing and heaving; the hogtied calf was boxed. It was then we saw a huge abscess draining on her backside. For a moment we all felt sorry for the poor little thing, then I felt mad. Someone had duped me into buying a sick animal of which they did not want the expense of caring for. Everyone helped drag and pull the box through the weeds and to the mule. The neighbor was kind enough to bring myself and the calf to the house after I explained my fun ride down the hill in my own side-by-side.
The hubby brought the truck. As he steppped out I realized he was in his house slippers. Such a city slicker. Bet that is the last time he brings slippers to a calf fight.
August 20 2015, fell on a Thursday, of course. I say this because it is the day I like to go to the stockyard sale and enjoy the aroma of homecooked food in the cafeteria. Oh, yes, real mashed potatoes, thick lemon merringue pie, meat loaf without the preservatives and real genuine hand grated coleslaw. Oh, yes. Well, it is not every Thursday I get to go to the auction and check out the calves, horses, goats, sheep and hogs for the fun of it.
The morning auction usually begins with the eggs and vegetables being sold. It is the stuff people do not want anymore; like harness, saddles and tools, that peaks my interest. It gets more fun when the rabbits or guinea pigs or sometimes an emu appears. Now there was some fun. A big angry bird chasing those guys around the ring until they hid behind the boards. I wondered if there would be one there today. Next would be the calves, the goats then the horses.
The auction was not to be my day, today. Our second shipment of four-hundred pound calves was arriving at one. It meant squeezing all the morning chores in. When the calves arrived, what I wanted least was in the mix of black angus. A pair of long horns and a black calf with four white socks; which was more than likely longhorn. There was a brown swiss calf the guy said was tame. Hmmm. We would see. It was walking around kind of weak. I started right off feeding the whole herd medicated crumbles in the grain for the shipping fever.
We were in the process of finishing the head gate and chute. The other eight we had purchased from the same source were all coughing. My three bottle calves were coughing and I had pulled them out just that morning. They were yet in my horse trailer. I did not want them sicker. Again, the cart arrived before the horse. In this case the cows before the corral.
When the rest of the herd joined there companions one animal stood out as a trouble maker. A pretty speckled long horn with an all black front and a big splash of white shaped almost like a heart on his head. My daughter wanted to name him Sweetheart. I said that calf was going to be sweet trouble.
I drive school bus. It pays for the feed. When I arrived home in the afternoon, my head was aching so I swallowed some sinus pain medicine. Ten minute break and out to check the new herd.
I decided to try and put some drench in the swiss calf, if he was as tame as the guy said. As we opened the gate to check the cows the same neighbor who had endured my first calf escape- we call the Porter House incident- pulled up in her side-by-side.
The neighbor inquired, “Do you have a holstein-cross bull?” I had to pause. There were alot of calves not visible. Great. This could be a thousand dollar disaster. Confound fencing and all the stuff that keeps me from getting it fixed.
So here we go. Up to the neighbors with a bucket of grain to play with a four-hundred pound animal that does not know me from Eve. Too bad the mare I just bought was in such bad need of shoes. I refused to ride her. I would shoot the damn calf first before ruining a good horse.
Bucket in hand and neighbors stationed to corner this contrary pain in the leather pants, the chase was on. Of course the bull calf bolts. Fortunately my daughter was over the bank and sent it around to the road. By the time I ran to the truck and backed down the drive I lost what direction the pair went. The neighbor pointed toward the farm. Head throbbing, I see my daughter and the calf beyond her in the middle of the road. Grabbing my daughter we follow the calf to the gate. Hoping it will go towards its friends it starts mooing, and walks right past the gate. Great.
Route 218 is a thousand yards ahead and traveled by semi trucks. Not good. Sending my daughter up the neighbor’s bank to cut the calf off, she comes down to close and away we go. Thank God a car came up the road and spooked the big calf along the trailers. My daughter has not quite got the idea of cattle driving. She plunged in like this thing is one of our tame calves. Straight over the bank it goes and down into the tree clogged creek. Great. Well, she did it, and it is her chase up the creek. The calf jumped logs and boulders with her yelling all the way. She is cussing and swearing like a one-eyed pirate as she rolls herself over trees and crawls under logs. Crashing and smashing its way through fallen debris in the steep-sided ravene the bull calf finds a hole in the fence and gets in.
Meanwhile, I ran for all I am worth up the road to see the neighbor’s clan coming down on two side-by-sides to watch the fun. They stood guard at the weak fenceline as I dashed up the dirt road to get ahead of the bull and shut the other gates so he can not get in with the horses. Now he is trapped. My daughter is coming up the ravine and through the hole, but has quited so as not to spook the bull again.
There is a corner pen, about fifty feet square. My daughter opens the gate and somehow we push the bull calf in. Pork Chop’s adventure was over. The next thing was to take a head count. Everyone else was present. Swew. Yah, Pork Chop. I could not think of a lower insult than to name a bull after a piece of pig meat.
Pork Chop went to the auction house on Thursday. I had coconut cream pie and meatloaf.
As usual, life distracts me from my horses. Yesterday, I distracted myself by going to the local auction in Waynesburg. Sometimes, I can pick up a nice horse to train. Today, I met my niece. Already she had bought a pot of flowers. I picked up a bucket of eight-penny nails and two four-foot gates. You would not believe how pricey a gate can be brand new. I always like to buy used when I can. Take my little Honda Civic two-door. I bought it from a friend who had it all but its first three years. Sixteen years old and running strong.
We watched the horses go through and a beautiful gold leopard appaloosa made me sit on my hands. Good thing it was not a mare as my Tennessee Walker stud would have had one more added to the field. It is so hard not to collect horses as they are like beautiful potato chips. I’m always sad when someone buys one, but, the fun is to go pick out another training prospect. The calves came up and a nice black Hereford stepped out. I had a set price in mind and went up to it. Calves always went higher then my price so imagine my surprise when I found myself a proud owner of a bull calf; only, guess what I drove to the auction. Now, my red-headed niece is laughing because she has to go the opposite direction of the farm. Guess what has to go in the backseat of the coupe and take a ten mile trip?
Luckily, we bumped in to a male friend with good arms. He volunteered to bring the calf out to us. While I cleared the yard sale stuff out of the backseat five people see my niece as she arrives with a “tux pad”, as she calls them. Usually hospitals put these under patients to catch any accidents. They are great for baby farm animals, too. So, here comes the farm boy with my calf and a big grin on his ruddy face. He does not hesitate to push the calf behind the back seat and slam the door. If I could have had a camera for the surprised look on the other people’s faces. It was priceless to say the least. My niece is laughing hysterically at this point. She says, “It’s all about the farm life.”
I smiled and said, “Gotta go. He’ll over heat.” Now, this is not my first offense for bringing babies home in cars. Usually it is the hubby’s Cadillac. Shh-h-h, he never reads these articles so I am safe here. Anyways, this calf is not laying down, instead, it is trying to see out the back window like a dog. I was glad I had left some boxes in the seat.
As I leave the auction behind I am thinking this particular calf might not be such a good candidate for a car ride. Last year a heifer, identical to this one, caused four hours of stress after she jumped off the back of the truck and raced out of sight into the neighbor’s fields. The story is under “Porter House Steak.” She is a yearling now. This guy might take a leap straight out of the car and off we go again. I better make sure the hubby has boots on this time, instead of slippers.
Well, the calf will not settle down and I am beginning to worry it might try to jump up and drive. I stretched my arm across the other seat and for fifteen anxious minutes drove down Route 218. Along the way the calf contented itself to lick the back seat and the box. I was afraid to roll the windows down all the way, even though my air conditioner had quit working. It was ninety degrees outside and one-ten inside. Then, I hear this paper ripping sound. It is followed by some slurping and smacking. The calf had found the newspaper on the floor and was quite happily eating it. Good thing it was yesterday’s news.
Once to the farm I drove up to my daughter’s trailer and grabbed her to aide in my adventure. Why is it when I need a camera to capture people’s expressions I am lacking it? I saw her puzzled look and said, “Good, you got your shoes on. Hop in and let’s go.”
My daughter is staring in disbelief at the hind end of the calf, “How?”
Without hesitating I replied, “We pushed. Now get in because we are going to have to pull this little guy out of here before he has a big accident.” I stopped in my driveway and instructed her to get the dog collar and rope off the porch. It is there for escaped goats.
I proceeded to drive my Honda through the yard. My daughter opened the gate I drove into the goat yard. I was glad we had dry weather because walking this little guy around the house might have been a challenge.
After some pushing on the backend and some pulling on the front; my coupe gave birth to an unhappy baby bull who was promptly named after his Momma, “Honda.” So that is how a Honda is born, folks.
Until you start writing things down you do not realize how much actually happens in a day. Take yesterday, Monday. I decided, come what may, I was getting a buddy for Honda. I really wanted a heifer calf to raise as a milk cow. I went up to the auction and met up with some friends there. My niece is bold enough to go behind the scenes and check out calves. Usually there is a break between “junk” and “stock.” There was so much junk being sold and chickens I was not able to sneak back with her. She said there was only three heifers. I wanted a Jersey, which are hard calves to bottle raise. You sneeze on them and they will fall over dead. Though everyone said if a chicken gets an open wound they’ll die of infection. I have two that prove the theory wrong. I’m not grossing anyone out with chicken injuries.
We sat through all the auction stuff, which reminds me I have to get the onion sets and the rhubarb out of my truck. I’m going to soak the rhubarb and see if I can’t get some roots to grow. I was interested in the pheasant chicks but they went for too much. Finally we got to the calves. I’m trying to listen to this auctioneer and if you have ever been to one of these events it’s quite fast. There were forty calves this go around. No beef calves at all so I was going to have to settle for a dairy. I did not want to loose out on a buddy for Honda. The prices were high but not like earlier in the year. This bull calf came trotting into the lot, head up, perky, and full of life. He looked about the size of my calf so I bid on him and got him. They push the little guy out faster than he came in. My niece ribs me, “That’s a heifer. Someone tagged her wrong.” I bid.
I asked, “Is that the one you said was laying back there sick?” I inquired and bid again. The little calf was adorable with its marble markings. She weighed sixty pounds. Probably less. She looked to be a Jersey-Holstein cross maybe. You can never tell as fast as this stuff goes.
My niece hesitated, “She was just a little dehydrated I think. She didn’t have any scours on her.”
I bid again, “The tag is on its backside not its head. The auctioneer called it a bull calf.”
“It’s not a bull,” my niece insisted. “Trust me it’s a heifer.”
I eyed her and bid again, “If it’s a bull it’s yours.”
Now wouldn’t you know someone else must have known what my niece knew. I ended at fifty cents a pound higher than what I was willing to pay. She was mine. Had I seen her in the back, sick, I would not have bought her, honestly. Had i known she was sick I would not have stuck around another half hour watching the bull calves go through.
When my niece’s friend brought out the calf her tongue was hanging out. He put her on the hot bed of the truck and I was instantly mad. I said to him, “Get her off the back of the truck and into the cab with me. She won’t make it home back here.”
I spun the carrier around with the bull calf in it and my niece helped me ratchet it down. As soon as I was in the truck my foot hit the accelerator and I was literally in a race to save the calf’s life. Looking at her rolled eyes she needed sugar, corn syrup. I was angry with myself for forgetting the bottles and the syrup at the house. I was definitely regretting it. I talked to the new girl and tapped her with my empty pop bottle at every red light to keep her from sinking completely into shock. I know it sounds rude but she was out of my arms reach and I was driving.
As soon as I got in the drive I ran in, cleared the bathroom floor, and got the hubby. He was not happy I purchased a dead calf. I was pretty sure at this point that is exactly what I had done. I got her in my arms, dead weight, head hanging, and barely made it into the bathroom. Nurse Lass had gotten underfoot and nearly spilled us all. As soon as I put her down the little thing pooped yellow water. She had scours and in the advanced stage.
I found the corn syrup and rubbed it all over her gums. The calf suckled on my fingers which I was not expecting. The hubby drove the other calf to the pen where Honda was. He came back as I dabbed more syrup around the calf’s gums. Her tongue was pale and she was about ninety percent crow bait. I left her long enough to secure the new calf.
I pulled up my website and picked from my arsenal of advice. It is why I made the page on calves in the first place. My memory is terrible. My daughter dug out the heating pad, and armed with ideas we set to work. Dehydrated calves get cold so I put a heating pad under their gut, closer to the heart. The body can then focus on other things.
We gave her, over a course of an hour, two quarts of re-sorb which I thought I was going to have to tube. the calf managed to swallow everything in a metal feeding syringe. I gave her egg white in one dose, scour halt in another, vitamins in another and two packages of Knox Gelatin in two separate doses. In the morning I found a diarrhea bolus and chopped it up and added this to her twelve ounce glass of resorb. By afternoon she was lifting her head and we graduated her to the front porch. Tonight she rests under a heat lamp and we are finishing up two quarts of Save-a-calf formula just for pneumonia and scours. I also gave her a B-12 shot and a dose of LA 200 to keep the pneumonia out of her.
It’s been a long forty-eight. We had to go up and get medicines in town plus all the farm chores. I mowed around the little trailer court and the bigger lot we are purchasing from the neighbor’s. I should be excited, but, I am not. It is going to take a lot of work and time to get the rundown trailer ready so my daughter can stay in it. I wish I could wave a wand and it was done. I do not even want to guess what we are up against. There is a piece of plywood on the roof if that says anything. We’ll see.
6-8-16 The hubby woke me up to tell me the baby moo was standing up and bellowing for breakfast. Considering I did not get to bed until nearly midnight, moo was going to be extra hungry by seven. I woke, stumbled out of bed and sure enough the moo alarm was going off with nurse Lass wagging her tail like I needed to take care of the problem immediately. “Do you mind if I get coffee first?” I asked her. Her reply was to sit and stare at me patiently. Critters. While the coffee perked I went about fixing the bottle. The cats were meowing. I truly hate having cats inside at all because of the damage they cause. That is a sore thorn between the hubby and I. We will not go there.
I had me an idea this calf was sold because she did not want to latch on. So far I had not been able to get her to truly suck even my fingers. From experience, this could take a few days to get her to actually suck from the bottle. Armed and ready out the door we went to be greeted by a hungry bellow. Trust me, I was thinking we were burying this animal when I dragged her into the bathroom on Monday. That possibility was still very real. The air was damp and chilling. I had put a heat lamp out and I would keep it on all day. It was my luck the temp was going to drop for the next couple of nights. I might even run a lamp out to the other calf pen. The newest one was no older than a week old. If my daughter put a bed of hay as deep as I told her to Honda and the new calf should be fine. That forty-seven degree has me a bit worried. Without a big mother cow to radiate heat it is tough on the little guys. Once they get to be about a year old minus the unforeseen the cows seem to do well on their own. It’s pneumonia and pink-eye I have to constantly watch for. That reminds me, I have to put a cow rub up for them to get rid of those nasty flies. We did a head count on Sunday and it is amazing how fast the cattle’s appearances changed. I almost did not recognize them.
I looked down at my little dairy calf and sighed. “Okay, round forty-two- ding.” She lay there, her soft eyes looking at me. I am a sucker for those lovely eyelashes. On her forehead is her angel mark. As she grows how long it will stay there, who knows. I slipped my fingers in her mouth to see if I could get her to suck on them. After a minute she had the idea but when it came to the nipple she was having none of it.
For about five minutes we struggled, her tongue trying to push the nipple out of her mouth. “Not, yet, huh?” Going back inside I cracked an egg white into the heavy glass then added some vitamins and Save-A-Calf formula. Out we went and down the hatch with some feisty resistance using the metal syringe. Hopefully my niece is reading this and apologizing for suckering me into this calf. Of course, who knows where this little girl would have landed and if those people would have known how to do what she needed. She was one step from an IV bag and that I would not know how to do. I’m not a nurse. Sad thing is, there are no vets that will help with these calves in my area. It’s all pets. We have one mobile vet which can take a week to get out here. The next time she is out I’m going to ask her about IV supplies because my niece knows how to do it. Nope, I hate needles, hate giving shots, and it is the one thing I will pay someone else to do. Only if I am totally desperate and alone will I try it, and God help the critter.
Well, that’s over. Time for another cup of coffee and to make the other calves bottles. Guess I should mow my own lawn and weed eat around the garden. Got two windows to replace if no rain is in the forecast. Looks like the tip of the storm hitting my daughter is just missing us, causing the damp morning. My other daughter lives near Harrisburg. Sure wish my books would take off so I could buy her a nice little house and get her back out here. She would come in a heartbeat. Patience. It’s all about patience.
I’m having to get my mind set on the Flea Market idea. It’s not going to go anywhere but at least all the extra stuff that is laying around will get sold. I’ll probably end up selling the trailer and maybe fixing up my old truck with the cap on it and just selling books out of it. I wanted to get into designing T-shirts, plaques, hand bags and cups. I got some really cool farm designs. With all the repairs and machine purchases I doubt I get to get the business idea off the ground and when am I suppose to find the time? I still have to get the changes to my web pages uploaded before I start handing out bookmarks to the general public. Just advertising is hard work.
Well, nurse Lass is asleep at my feet and it’s time for the Doc to go make rounds in her bunny slippers drinking coffee. lol.
6-9-16 Bottle Baby
At five this morning the whole neighborhood was awakened by a hearty “moooooo.” It was very hungry little mooo that demanded an immediate fix to the problem. Yesterday, in front of company, my tiny little moo decided to give us all a gift. She pooped the smelliest pile of tan jelly. Everyone looked at me really strange when I clapped my hands and said, very excited, “Good girl.” Then I had to explain that it was her first solid poo in three days. As I hurried to clean up the present I further told them that she now had more than a fifty-percent chance of living. Then they were a little more excited and very glad as the stinky present was quickly disposed of. Guess this will hurry the hubby to fix the power washer to clean the cement porch. He-he-he- evil chuckle.
As I pour my coffee and heat Angel’s milk it occurred to me to get it on film. She’s mooing her little heart out. So here’s the video. Believe me, I’m very happy at the end, no more syringe feedings! Hooray! She finally gets the bottle idea and we are both happy!
Link coming…got to figure out U-tube. Yah. This could take a minute.
I am watching a John Wayne movie, McClintock. He is on a wagon riding into town and stops to look over his cattle. The setting is roughly 1895. He is pleased because he is getting 15 cents a pound. His cattle are a horned range breed. That made him a rich man 123 years ago. I repeat…123 years ago.
You want deflation? I just sold a fatter version of the same steer for a whopping .53 cents a pound! Yet, you go to the store and want one-hundred percent lean hamburger with no steroids, grass-fed and you pay 7.99 a pound! Hmm… why are farmers are going out of business? Why are farmers feeding the cheapest, crappiest steroid infested feed they can get? Even skittles from the candy factory, so I was told?
I can say this, after this farmer gets through this time period; cows are off this farmer’s list. We have fourteen to get rid of. It will be the end of trying to raise cattle for us. We had thirty-four.
The death of cattle, illness, mud, freezing temperatures, heavy bags of feed, tractors sliding in the mud with thousand pound hay bales, barb wire fencing, coyotes and being put in the red before you even get started is not worth the sleepless nights, thorn bush scratches, kicks and bruises.
To Consumers who would rather pay cheap prices at the store I say: Import the meat, for all I care. I hope it is infested with black leg and pesticides. I’ll never run another steer through the auction again. I’ll enjoy my homegrown steak, but, I am not growing anymore cattle at these prices for the general market.
I am sticking with goats. At least I can make cheese, soap, and kifir then sell the goat for a twenty dollar profit! See if you can do that with a steer.
If insult to injury is not bad enough I just had our cantankerous long horn cow, Fruit-loops, sent in to butcher. I believe she is the culprit which ripped the ear completely off a hefty, pregnant cow; killing it. Fruit-loop’s baby we found dead; thrown into the hay ring. She was using her horns to literally lift other cows up and even flipped one into the feed trough. In one last good kick to the wallet she was an eight-hundred pound cow. I was told her hang weight was three-hundred and forty-five pounds. Okay, so you got the fifty dollar kill fee and sixty-eight cents a pound to wrap. I got back one-hundred and eighty pounds of steaks, roasts, canning meat and hamburger. So where is the rest of the beef? Turns out she was one-hundred and sixty-five pounds of bone. This is why you should never buy a dairy-cross or a longhorn, for that matter.
Let’s figure this out:
Cost of a two-hundred and twenty pound calf- $2.37 a pound is $521.40
Cost of wintering three winters in anticipation for her calf:
24 scoops in bag of feed. 12 days of grain. Jan-April 120 days 10 bags x 8 is $80.00
Hay- one cow can eat a bale a day. Dec- April 150 days. $2 bale $300
We have $380 per year in feed and 3 winters into this cow. Total $1140
Wormer $45, protein bucket $40, salt blocks 6 x $6 ($36), shots $40, fly powder $20, fly bags $5, water hauled in $5, fence repairs $40 Fuel $20 that all comes to total $251 for her three year stay.
521.40+1140+251+butcher fees $286.40= $2198.80
So the cost per pound for the meat I got back from the butcher was the total of her cost divided by the amount of meat I got back. So that would be:
$2198.80 /180 lbs= $12.26 per pound.
Now 80 pounds was hamburger. If I was selling this cow I would probably sell the hamburger for $4 a pound and there would still be people saying that was way to high to spend for one-hundred percent grass-fed steroid-free beef. Someone suggested I should lower it to three dollars for a half or a whole. I had to bite my tongue. Now I might charge $6 a pound for steaks and roasts.
At the best that would be 100 x $6= 600
80 x $4= 320
So how much did I lose on this wretched cow. $2198.80-$920= -1278.80
Yah, in the hole over a grand.
Also keep in mind, this cow cost me her calf which was a really pretty calf I could have gotten $200 for, a cow she ripped the ear off and its unborn calf which I might have got a $1 a pound at the sale for and she weighed 900lbs. So that is $900 plus the calf $200. So there is another $1300 I’m out.
Now this is why homesteaders should steer one-hundred percent clear from trying to raise beef for profit. If you can raise your own hay and graze the cow and get milk from it for your own personal use then you are ahead. A Dexter might make a nice between breed. Otherwise, find some idiot like myself, buy a half or a whole for $4 a pound and be glad you did not waste your time, and fencing, on a dull-witted animal that would be glad to run you over for a bucket of feed and kick you just because you happened to be standing there.
As for this idiot, I am passing on the knowledge of numbers and experience and I hope there is some wise person who will sit down and think it through before they try to spend their hard-earned money on a cow.
John Wayne made a killing at .15 cents a pound in an era when a thousand dollars could have bought my whole seventy-six acre farm. Today, get out a shovel because cattle will put you in the hole and it is a long dig back out.
Our four bottle calves from last year are yet in their small square pen. Because of moving my mother and brothers to the farm, I did not get a hut built. Out of desperation, when the January winds started to sweep in the harsher weather, we slammed the horse trailer into the pen. Then it became the March wet season. The trailer stayed.
It is now May 21. The end of winter was so gentle the neighbor is haying and the raspberries are starting to form. A few sharp frosts wilted my potatoes from last year and devastated my blooming wisteria. The daffodils are gone, the major dandelion bloom is over. By the way, the blooms are delicious fried in butter with a little salt and pepper.
I digress, a bad habit. Our calf moving adventure started with a backhoe to pull all the future fertilizer out of the horse trailer. An air compressor inflated a brand new tire. I must have picked up a nail or something, just lovely. Then, knowing where I needed the two females, it was decided to pull out the Jubilee tractor which is shorter. Of course, the 2″ ball was missing and it has a 3/4 inch shank. Here we go. Hunting around the farm for a ball. I really need some sheds; and get organized. Sigh. Come on publisher or movie producer, pick my books! Yah, like that is happening.
Again, I digress. We found the ball on the back of the Kawasaki mule, which has again chewed through its monthly bearing on the driver’s side. We set it aside because at a hundred plus a month, it is costing too much to keep trying to fix. We will have to send it off to someone who might know what is going on. The neighbor has the same model and it sits in his barn unused.
The ball hunt over, we started on our way only to be stopped by a fuel shortage. Minor oversight. Jubilee wanted fed. The truck needed fuel, too. Armed with a gas can, I made for the station three miles down the road. A big plus for times like this is a rinky-dink town not far off.
Putzing down the road on our speedy tractor we now faced keeping the yearling calves back. I did not need a rodeo. The easiest way I have found to move most animals is with a bucket of grain. Annabel is a real sucker for grain. She is six months older than Angel, and halter broke. In she went. Angel followed with a few helpful shoves from behind. Up went the gate and our future milk cows were ready for transport. Around the house and up into the small square holding pen with knee-deep grass already getting grain heads. Everything is early this year.
Down to the pasture, through the gate and on to the next problem. One of the bull calves, a white-faced black Angus cross, hopefully with a Hereford, was on the wrong side of the fence. If I could get him through the steep brier infested hillside, I would have to lead him down through 14 very curious bullies (big cows) to get to the corral. Option two, remove the mesh square fencing, pull it back, and see if he would crawl back through the high tensile fence- which is what he had done on the far side. Only he had gone up and around the brier patch and now refused to repeat the process. Well, that did not work and the hubby was started to flail his arms around like men do when they really want to do anything but what they got suckered into. Hubby is a city slicker. He got roped into this country life. He has zero patience for animals or people. Which is why he makes a wonderful landlord- yah, well despite this, the bulls were coming out of the pasture tonight. I had a pile of eggplants and yams, given to me by some friends, to get canned tomorrow.
The hubby remembered further down the fence I used to put the goats up through an opening beside a falling down shed. After some coherence and a tempting bucket of grain, Honda was back in with his buddy, Old Man Whiskers. (He’s a Holstein with extra long whiskers on his muzzle.) We are trying to sell him, or else he will be neutered soon. Using the same technique of baiting the horse trailer, the bulls, being more difficult; imagine that; and fueling the city slicker’s impatience; imagine that, found themselves roughly shoved up the horse ramp. The hubby slammed the ramp into place and gave me the look. Yah, that one.
Mumbling like the Jubilee’s putting engine, the Hubby helped drag my prizes to the corral where they will stay away from the main herd for a few weeks. All the big cows are going to be three years old and the bull is in there helping the next generation arrive.
This should be fun. Eight first time momma cows and one city slicker hubby. Yah, I’ll be writing a book about the experience.
In the meantime, the boys happily munched in the late evening light. I spotted mint growing fresh along the stream. While the Hubby was getting the ramp up and pulling the trailer out the poor city boy was yet taxed again. I was getting that fresh mint picked before the young bulls stomped it flat.
With a big handful of mint, one impatient hubby and an old muttering tractor we were down the highway getting ready to retire for the evening.
Doesn’t Angel have the coolest mark on her forehead? It reminds me of a lady in a fur coat with a big fancy fur hat. LOL I was watching John Wayne’s North to Alaska while nursing her back to health. Angel was the name of the main female character.