Why farmsteaders should stay clear of cattle.

It’s time to sell the small herd of steers. As a matter of fact, we can not put it off any longer. We have 20 head. The herd is eating a round bale a day and a hundred pound of grain. We can not produce the hay ourselves so it is costing us $13 dollars for the hay and $14 dollars for the grain. At $27 a day the time to sell was back in July.
Even better news. I bought my calves weaned for roughly six hundred a calf at a time when prices were running $3.00 a lb. I kept those calves through two winters. They are now 900lbs. You would think, triple the money, right? Wrong.
The bigger the steer the less per pound they sell. Figure that out. Right now the going rate per pound is .89 cents to a $1.00 a pound.

Let’s take the low end. Eighty-nine cents times 900lbs is a whopping $801.00
Check out the profit line. I paid $2.37 for 250 lb steer.
        592.50 for the steer.
        162.00 1.35 a day to keep winter feed 120 days
       162.00 second winter
           54.00 wait out the fall glut 900lbs
973.50
           100.00 wormer, fence costs, fuel, salt blocks, fly control
1073.50-801= In the hole $200 bucks a piece.

Reality. I got .59 cents a pound for a 857lb pregnant cow.

         1073.50-505.63= -567.67

What this means is, if you can not produce all the hay for your livestock on your own farm steer clear of cows for beef. Get yourself a cute little dexter registered or a mini cow and sell the calves as registered stock. Make your own butter, cheese, soap etc.. then steer any bull calves and butcher it for your meat. There is a difference between dairy and beef, but hamburger is hamburger. If you want angus steak, save up your money, go into the livestock sale the second week of December and you can find farmers like myself who were dumb enough to raise the steer and let them go for .59 cents a pound. You can save all the headaches, round-ups, and calls from the neighbors- telling you the cows are in the road again.

Did I mention cows die? They are not easy to keep. They are stupid and eat nails and baler twine. It is a big fat zero when you find one of those suckers pounded into the ground by a bully, cut to the quick by barb wire or eaten by coyotes. Heck, one of our pregnant cows managed to rip her ear clean off and die from blood loss! Oh, and the one that fell in the creek upside down and drowned in five inches of water. No clue how that happened. Then, God forbid, they get sick.

Oh, and let’s go there with bottle  calves. The formula is seventy-five dollars a fifty pound bag and you can plan on four bags and special calf feeds.

So save yourself a lot of headache and steer clear of anything you have to buy feed for that can not give you back a profit; like a small herd of goats. They eat the weeds, give milk for cheese and products like soap. If they kick you you will not go to the hospital. If they knock you down, it’s not likely you will be trampled to death. When you have to really handle the hundred pounds of bleating indignation you sit on it. Try that with a cow!

Oh and birthing a cow- yah- sometimes you need chains and a truck to pop the babies out. Then if you have to work on the calf, just try dealing with a thousand pound pissed off mother cow.

As I watch the herd board the livestock trailer I feel my wallet take a big sigh of relief! No more cows for this farm.

Fell off the Band Wagon

Okay, I started this blog with the idea I would take a half hour everyday and write something. Yah, that happened.

A little update on the farm. The feat of moving my mother and two brothers to the farm is two more trips with the twenty-four foot car hauler from being complete. The weather is unpredictable.

snowpicEnough of this stuff already.

My brother has been chopping the old trailer frame out of the way to make room for a pair of sheds. There is enough tin stacked to take to the junk yard. Every scraper has stopped to offer to generously take the pile away for free. You heard the sarcasm in that remark, correct? I do not know how it is anywhere else, but, most scrapers have to be on drugs to walk up to someone and ask, “Hey, can I have that pile of metal I have watched you stack up in one place all summer? I was too lazy to stop by and ask when you needed the help tearing things down, but, now that all the work is done, I can take that away for you and collect all the money.” Bet they did not say that, but, they might as well have. Oh, and a real hint, if you do decide to let someone take your metal away for you, it is a sure bet they have a place where they dump a quarter of it off their vehicle before they take it in. It’s best to just hop in with them and see the look on their face. Agree on a percent and do the math yourself.

Anyways, I digress. What’s been happening? Today it’s pouring down rain and I’m working on a Shopify cart to launch my books on Facebook. I am also writing a letter of introduction to a lady who lives in Oprah Winfrey’s neighborhood. I know her nephew and I’m really hoping the lady knows her neighbors. Probably nothing will happen, but, it never hurts to try something.

The hubby has yet to find work and this has me chewing my fingernails and eyeing the world of OTR again. Any writing career options will then go out the window as there is no time between runs and sleep in that world. My Uncle has been a trucker since he came home from Vietnam and he is still driving. I have to admit it gets in your blood.

We are attempting our first sales of freezer beef. With too many cows in the field we have to get rid of some mouths. It’s unbelievable how much they can eat. We are dropping rounds daily now that they have reached full size.

My family decided to move during the fall, after I returned to work driving bus. Every weekend for nine weekends I made the drive up, loaded stuff, drove the seven-and-a-half hour trip back, unloaded into their house all week, went to work, worked the farm, dealt with the rentals and tried to work on my website and writings. It has definitely been worth the struggle. Having my family this close is very comforting and a true blessing.

They do miss the hill. This is the first time my brothers have ever moved. The delapitating trailer they lived in was on its last blocks. It made the choice for them. I have been trying for years to get them to move here. In a strange way I miss knowing that I can not “go home.” It’s almost like the feeling of losing my grandmother. There was no reason to go to her house because she was no longer there. The good thing to remember is, my family is right here. I can just walk to their place. My daughter and my youngest brother are having great fun playing video games and complaining about doing farm chores in the rain and snow. I have had to update my little brother’s wardrobe with a pair of muck boots, coveralls and  a water-proof coat.

None of us are allowing mother to walk through the muck. She is officially retired from the bakery. Unfortunately I have gained ten pounds because she is still baking up a storm. Lol.

Momretired

Tomorrow is looking like a full day. I am taking some animals to the auction. I have to cut down on the feed bill. It’s just too much and something has to go.

Speaking of “go” I could write a book about these renters I have right now and one of them is on the verge of going off the farm if they do not get caught up in rent. They have tore the place up, too. When they get back I’ll be having a sit down with this couple. Right now they are stuck in Georgia which has given me enough time to cool off about the damage I saw in my rental unit. How they got stuck down there is a book in itself, but, some folks just do not know how to plan well. They swear when they get back they’ll get me caught up in rent. We’ll see, then, I’ll point out the obvious damages. Tact and patience goes along with this rental stuff. It’s stressful and if I had it to do over again, I think I would take the trailer court and push it over the hill and turn it in to storage units. Come on book sales, Momma is ready for some change. Lol.

trailerparksmaller

Well, back to this Shopify idea. Oh, yah, I did get another buck this year and three does. Well, two were young bucks with no horns. The hubby was throwing a fit because they might have been the next trophy bucks. I looked at him and said, “Your trophies are tasting pretty good in this fry pan. By the way, you want to lift up their tails before I shoot next time?” I am betting what really bugged the hubby was how he spent two weeks out in the cold and muck and bagged one buck, bigger than mine of course, while I spent two opening days and tagged out. Just saying….

2016bucksmaller

 

 

 

School Days Are Here Again

Kind of ironic. I spent most of my youth wanting out of school, now I’m driving school bus. It’s a bit different from being the one shoved in the locker. This is my second year with this route. Compared to my first year I see alot of changes in the kids. They stepped on the bus in a nice manner without fighting. Trust me, this was not without a long year behind us. I treat my bus like it is an extesion of the classroom.

I expect my students to behave. Here are some of the signs I made up to remind them of the schools rules.

No eating sign NO STANDING

ticketI use this one to remind a student that once I start counting they are in jeapordy of a ticket. If anyone bites, kicks, hits, steals, or throws something which hurts another it is an instant three.

I also tried to start with the bus seats being assigned before they got on the bus. I was fouled when the bus broke down and the boss had to bring out a new bus. Better luck next year.

The Dane Girl’s dog house is getting its tin roof next. We worked all weekend despite the heat. It will be in the ninties today. Which reminds me the bus has no air conditioning. I am going to perspire. Ug.

The only thing to survive in the garden is the tomatoes- until the chickens found them. Those five roosters are going to make great stew.

On the brightside the rental remodel is done. Now we have Mom’s trailer to kick into gear. Hopefully my family does not change their minds- again. If so, I’m putting my daughter in this trailer and renting her old one out.

I’m still trying to figure out this whole blog thing. I’ve been working on “pages” and linking them over to my website. Hopefully it is worth the effort. I did figure out how to add pictures.