Lights and Smiles
December 7, 2019, 4:31 pm
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December 7, 2019

Last night, we finished decorating our tree. Our youngest son and his family helped us get the decorations to the living room. They set up our tree and even stated decorating it. The grandkids were smiling from ear to ear.

After they went home, my wife and I continued with the job. We put the ornaments on the tree, often commenting on one that has special meaning. There were several that made us smile. Tis the season!

It’s a little early to be putting up our tree. We usually wait until the middle of the month, closer to my birthday. This year however, we welcomed the help. My wife has been nursing a sore hip and I am limping around after having a disagreement with a bull.

The bull wasn’t mean. He just decided that he wasn’t going to go where I wanted him to go. He and I squared off. I crowded him with a gate. I stretched out and pushed with all of my strength. He simply pushed the gate backwards and me with it, like he was moving air. I stood in disbelief wondering where my strength had evaporated?! The bull weighs in at 1400#. He stood there wondering why I had even tried to “muscle” him. He even shook his head!

The bull is now where I wanted him to be. Patience, along with some tasty grain, paid off. He is with a new group of ladies flexing his muscles and laughing at me over the fence. My new friends are ice and rest, but my heel tendon feels better every day. Christmas is coming. I’m sure I will be all well by then.

The lights on the tree and the smiles on children’s faces light up my life. The animals all in their places getting ready for the cold winter are content. The bull has the biggest smile of all. I’m not sure if it is due to his new girlfriends or his knowledge that he is the king of the farm? One thing I know, is that pepperoni and salami make great holiday treats, along with some cheese. Every time I walk by the bull, I remind him of that!

Oh Baby
November 12, 2016, 3:31 pm
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November 12, 2016

We are in our calving season. I share a Murry Gray bull with another guy. I get him for six months and my buddy keeps the bull the rest of the time. I calve in autumn because it works out for us. We have plenty of feed and a good winter home for the cows. This part of our farm operation does not compete with other jobs, so this works out perfect for us.

This little heifer calf was born Wednesday. She had a little half brother born yesterday. The weather is great. Even the sunbeam, caught in the photo above, seems to agree! The cows will soon move to their winter pasture. The babies get to run and play. They and their mommas can choose to sleep under the soft pine trees or in the three-sided shed. Most nights they stay in the pines, but when freezing rain comes, they all prefer the protection of the walls and roof.

I enjoy babies at this time of year. Spring has me hopping with maple syrup season, followed by the planting season. It is often while making hay that I would finally get to look after the calves. Now that we have switched to fall calving, I have more time to watch over them. I get to enjoy their antics as they jump and play. I can give the whole herd more attention and all of us are better off for it.

This is just one more part of our operation that we had to sort out. We need our small farm to produce in order to be sustainable. It also needs to be manageable. I think we have finally found our “groove” and Oh Baby …it’s worth it!

Back Home Again
November 7, 2015, 9:14 pm
Filed under: November 2015 | Tags: , , ,
Solomon, back with his gals

Solomon, back with his gals

November 7, 2015

Solomon is back here on our farm. I own him with another like-minded farmer, I get him for half the year, my friend gets him the other half. Solomon is glad to be home. He is familiar with the paddocks and shelters. He understands the “drill” as we move every day from paddock to barn lot. I get to check everyone over and it teaches the babies to follow mom and get used to moving and coming when I call.

Our 2015 calf crop will be arriving soon. We should have new babies from now through December. Solomon checks each calf over and even licks the newborns. It is strange behavior for some dads, but for others it is natural to want to be with their children. I fit in the last category, but I wonder if I did enough. They grew up so fast, I fear that I missed too much of their childhood. I don’t put on much of a show, but I love them more than they know.

Solomon got out of the trailer, walked up to each of the cows and made sure he knew them. They all greeted each other, then walked off to graze. Tonight he follows the herd walking the fence line checking out the young heifers in the paddock next to his. I think the little girls have a crush on him 😮  He struts his manliness and curls his lip… I, like all dads, check the fence, admonish him and remind him they are too young, but love knows no bounds….I hope the solar fence charger keeps him in check!

Solomon, like me, is comfortable here.  The old John Denver song… “It’s good to be back home again”  plays in my mind. I see the big bull content, almost smiling and strolling through his pastures and I realize that I too feel that way every time I pull back into the drive. I really don’t need to go anywhere else on Earth … “and hey it’s good, to be back home again!”

That’s A Lot of Bull
January 23, 2014, 10:03 pm
Filed under: January 2014 | Tags: , ,
Solomon  Murry Gray bull

Solomon Murry Gray bull

January 23, 2014 

   I have been busy, lazy and most recently … frozen. Okay, that’s a lot of bull! Sorry for not blogging lately! Off farm job, extreme weather and planning too much for the days allowed, made it difficult to be inspired 😮

   My friend Joe and I bought this bull together. We both have females and needed Solomon’s services. He will spend time at both farms. He is a registered Murry Gray bull. He will bring great “grassfed” genetics to our herds, along with the “tenderness gene” found in the Murry Gray breed.

   There is peace of mind knowing that when it comes to breeding, Solomon has them “covered”  😮  He will take care of that job, freeing me up from watching for signs of heat in the heifers. I got enough to do. I am sure he will enjoy that job more than I do anyway!

   Sows have had litters of pigs. The piglet survival rate among the new mothers is not what I had hoped. The weather played a small part, but farrowing in nests requires great mothers and just like humans… not every mom is a great one. Sadly, a couple of girls will be culled. It’s all part of farming, but not my favorite part.

   Our bull came to us with lots of manure and mud caked on him. He seems to be enjoying the three sided shed, filled with dry bedding more than the other cattle. I guess they just think it’s supposed to be that way. He on the other hand, can be found basking in the sun, chewing his cud, very content in the warm dry shed.

   The farm is very quiet and pretty lonely without my pal King. I find myself looking for him at times, but missing him a great deal. I have no desire for another canine companion, at least for now. I want to just imagine him and my Border Collie Lucy, romping and playing, watching me as I go about my work. I sure do miss my friends.

   Maple syrup season is just a few weeks away. We are getting ready, slowly and steadily. We have the sap bags ready to go. In the coming weeks the cleaning and preparation begins. I am still chasing sugarwood. The wood is for next year, but I try to stay at it 😮

   The horses and I will be hauling compost in the next few days. The pile is large, the fields are frozen with only light snow cover. I have grassland buffers to catch any runoff, if it rains before the manure can soak into the soil. The stacked pit is full and the animals keep making it daily. I like the job and using the horses only makes it more fun…we’ll see how fun it is at 2 degrees F!  Some might say, “Fun! …..that’s a lot of bull !”