Meet the Boys!

Bentley and Camero good picI am just so excited that I have to share this with you. We’ve just inherited two, tiny, mini steers. Meet Camaro and Bentley. Camaro is 19 months old, a mixture of black angus mix father and a mini jersey mother. He has the build of his mother, “mini” and his father’s black, fuzzy coat and round fuzzy ears. He is the pack leader. Then, we have Bentley. He too is 19 months old. I am not sure what his father is, but his mother is also a mini Jersey. He looks like his mother, is about 36 inches tall at the hip. Both are simply adorable.

We made a trip to a friend’s home in TX a little over a week ago to pick them up. Through a series of misfortunes not at all her fault, my friend is selling her farm and moving to Houston to live with her son and daughter-in-law, who, I might add, are the most incredible young couple one could ever have the pleasure to meet and know. In the process of selling her cattle, goats and other livestock, she gave us the two boys, just had to drive down and pick them up. We scurried about, found a livestock trailer that we could pull with our pick-up, made the trip to and from Texas is 2 days. It was an uneventful trip, other than meeting the boys for the first time. My friend’s son thought loading them was going to be difficult since he swore up and down that the boys would be skittish. My husband tossed a half bale of hay into our trailer and they literally jumped from their trailer into ours. Part I accomplished without incident. They slept during our frequent stops home, slept in the trailer because it was 0300 when we got home and we were so tired that we chose not to handle two head of cows in the middle of the night in a dark pasture. They were snoozing when I went outside to move them at 0800, woke up when they heard my voice and started shifting around. I drove them to the pasture, backed into the chute, opened the trailer door, went in with them and told them that it was time to get out, that they were at their new home. Camaro looked at Bentley, gave a short mini moo, hopped out with Bentley following him. Unloading was as easy as loading, with the exception that Bentley stepped on my foot on the way out. Thank goodness for his small size and light weight. I didn’t even bruise on my foot.

Two days later, Bentley ate food from my hand. Camaro will come over, sniff and lick the food offering, but he has yet to be willing to be hand fed. Camaro, on the other hand, is allowing himself to be petted and rubbed, and I have found out that he likes to lick people, like a dog would lick it’s owner. While that is endearing, cow slobber is not the greatest of all offerings from the cows. I am looking forward to mini T-bones from Cameo at the end of next summer. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with Bentley at this point. Both are steers, both are very docile, for which I am thankful, and both are absolutely, positively cute as buttons. What do you think?

Getting Ready for Winter: Part IV: Your Animals and Livestock

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Animals:
1. Lay in an adequate supply of feed, just in case you can’t get out due to weather conditions.
2. Make sure hay and straw are covered or are in a dry holding area.
3. Make sure all feed dishes are clean.
4. Pull out electric water thawing devices for outside animal’s water troughs. Check to make sure they’re in good working order and put them in place the day before an expected freeze. Make sure all electrical cords are out of reach of inquisitive animals.
5. Make sure all animals have plenty of dry bedding. Add a bit of rosemary to dog, cat, and other outside animal’s bedding to keep insects away. (yes, they do thrive in the winter months too!)
6. Heat lamp up in the chicken coop.
7. Have an ample supply of water stored for your animals, in the event of a power outage. Include your own water needs in your water storage plan too!
8. Winterize and cover stock trailers, utility trailers, etc.
9. Our rabbits need extra protection. Their hutches are next to the chicken’s run, but are not in an enclosed building. We make sure they have extra straw…and check it daily because they will nibble on it. The hutches are covered with tarps to prevent the cold wind from blowing through. Their nesting boxes are checked and repaired for cracks or open places where wind might blow through as well.

Putting up Fencing.

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     My husband and I spent the day yesterday working on fencing. He worked on the north side of the new cow pasture, I worked on the south side.  One would think, awww, that not all that bad, but I double dare anyone to fight wild rose bushes, untangle cut barbed wire, straighten it out, splice it, stretch it, and restring the blasted stuff.

 Our neighbor is the most wonderful man anyone would ever want to know. C.B. was born and raised on a farm, knows just about everything anyone would want to know about farming and animal husbandry. We ask him lots of questions, and while he snickers the whole time, he always has an answer for us, teaches us how to be the farmers that we think we are. Who ever would have thought we would have to repair fences this early in the game? We’ve been here on this farm for 3-1/2 years now. C.B. rented this 10 acres for many years before we bought it, put all new 4-strand barbed wire fence around the entire farm that should have lasted for decades. Instead, we bought the place, and within the 2 months after we signed the contract on it and moved our camper on it to begin building our farm, someone (not C.B.) cut the first 3 strands of barbed wire along the south side of the property. We could see 4-wheeler tracks coming from that area, so I suppose that fence line was impedance to someone. Never-the-less, we’re getting ready to buy 2 tiny, mini Jersey bulls and must have the fence intact and ready for the 2 little guys. We’ve not been too concerned about it until now, and, procrastination has it’s good…and bad points. It’s a part of farm life…fence repair that is.

  But, it’s a first for me. In the 2 weeks from the time C. B. lent us the fence stretcher and showed me how to use it, and now, I’d forgotten which end of the wire goes where, how to get the fence stretcher back down from the all the way up position and then, didn’t remember that the little hook on the back is actually for hooking around a fence post to help hold this 10 pound piece of metal and pull the wire

What does a blonde headed woman who knows nothing about this do when first faced with this situation? I sat down and cried, then prayed for God to please show me how to use this piece of equipment. After the face wash, it was time to get up off my behind, figure out how to use the fence stretcher that C.B. showed me how to use several weeks ago. It’s taken this long for me to get the ambition to actually fix the dern fence, and now, having 2 weeks before we go get our little men, it has to be done. God answers prayers. I remembered how to use the fence stretcher and was able to get the 500 foot section of the top wire done and half of the 2nd wire. Tomorrow, I will go out, finish the 2nd row, do the 3rd row and it’s done!  Fortunately, the bottom row of fencing wasn’t cut and is still nice and tight.

 

Of all of this, there were many lessons that I learned today that I’d like to share with you.

 

  1. Pay attention the first time someone tells you something. If you need to, take  notes. It saves tears, frustration and a lot of time.
  2. I have learned the importance of those barbed wire roll holders that farmers put on the sides of their tractors. Trying to unroll a roll of barbed wire loaded in a wheelbarrow, trudging through knee high grass is not an easy task. Nor is it fun, even with heavy gloves on. 
  3. Have the right tools for the job. Barbed wire does not cut easily with a small pair of wire cutters. You need BIG, heavy-duty cutters. You also need large pliers. The channel lock pliers that my husband brought me to use,  don’t work.
  4. Take a set of branch cutters with you to remove wild rosebushes, scrub brush and  tree branches that are in the way of the fence repair. Rosebush thorns go  through the heaviest of sweat pants. I won’t show you pictures of my legs.     
  5. If      your dog goes with you, have an understanding with the dog that the tools  are mom’s. They are not the dog’s play toys. Mom does not have time to  play retrieve the tool from a smiling dog who likes to steal things.  Either have this understanding with the dog, or wear a jacket with deep pockets or a tool belt. I finally had to put the pliers, wire cutters and  fence ties in my pockets.
  6. The dog must also understand that when mom is working, it is not time to play “shake hands”. An 80 pound weimeraner has big paws, and it does not feel good when you get smacked on the head with a dog who does not understand  the concept of work vs play.
  7. If you have to work next to other animals, specifically goats, be absolutely sure that you do not back up against their paddock. They pull the ties out of  your jacket, untie your shoe laces and will nip you in the butt, then look at you like :I didn’t do that”. Sure!! Right!!!
  8. No  matter what time of the year you are in the fields, use insect repellant.  I will not show you pictures of the no-see-um bites along my ankles.
  9. Wear shoes with good tread. Walking in knee high grass with slick soled shoes is like walking on ice. Slip, slidin’ away….
  10. Barbed  wire is not your friend.
  11. And neither is a stretching tool.
  12. Today I leave the dog in her pen.