Me and Scout

Me and Scout

28 February 2012

Spring is springing.

28 February 2012, Tuesday, 1251, Liberty Middle School Library
Okay, three weeks is not so good, but it's better than 6 months.
Finally got some more calves in the pens.  I was putting out hay the day after my last blog.  I opened up the gates to the calf patch to put down some hay and the cows followed me.  When I saw that I had at least four calves, I shut the gate on them.  We had a total of six new calves, but alas, the next day, the dogs started chasing them and two of them jumped out.  Still, we will have had most of our calves weaned.  The others might get sold depending on how they act.  We do not want to raise another crop of crazy cows.  Well, at least not as crazy as they are now.
Yesterday, I made a bunch of trips to the hay field and brought back the rest of the hay.  It felt good to finish something.  I will put out hay three more times.  Dad and I decided to start stretching the hay.  I will put out hay for the calves and the cows every Monday, with the 13th being the last day.  That will give us one odd roll, so I will put it out in the middle of this week to help them adjust.  I went back and forth from the hay field 5 times yesterday and the cows had no interest in me whatsoever.  They are getting their sustenance from the grass, as it should be.  So, the big question about having enough hay for the winter has been answered.  Praise God for a mild winter!  Sorry to all you people complaining about the skiing.
I will be glad to not have to feed the calves every day.  I am thinking about replacing that chore with riding Sarge.  Or at least messing with him.  Sarge is the horse that jerked out from underneath me last year and twisted my knee.  It will be a good experience.  I'm 41 and need to start learning low impact horse training.  This will force me to do it.
Our next big projects will be to review all the border fences before the summer and to mow the pastures before the tractor is needed up north for Dad's hay operations.  With me putting out hay every couple of days, the cows hardly need fences at all.  When the hay stops and they start hunting grass in the summer is when they become an issue.  I am thinking about how to track the quality and repairs done on our fences using power point and excel.  Cowboy geek.  That's me.
Rebel is going to the chiropractor on Friday.  I'll let y'all know how it goes.

08 February 2012

Knock, Knock, Anybody There?

08 February 2012, Wednesday, 0942, Liberty Middle School Library
I offer no excuses.  I look shamefully down at my feet and ask your forgiveness.  On the remote chance that you have been wondering why I have not written anything in the last six months, I can only say that it has been a little rough.
I accepted a long term sub job teaching Ag at a local school district.  This lasted for a semester, until they can bring the new guy on board.  You would think that I could handle something like that, but it was surprisingly hard.  Having an agricultural economics degree does little to prepare you to teach a high schooler how to be in FFA, or to show a heifer, or to design a floral arrangement.  The whole experience also demonstrated how far removed I am from the "country" culture.  Students in this 1A rural school just did not get me.  I don't have a pronounced accent.  I sometimes drive a Camry to work.  I don't dip, curse, wear cammo, hunt, or go mudding (on purpose).  I think education is a good thing.  I was not a man's man to those kids.  Never mind that I served my country overseas (wearing cammo), work crazy wild cows, and ride horses.  It was a discouraging experience.  The best I can say is that the outlook these students had was provincial.  It did educate me on some of the things to watch for when we rear kids of our own.  It also taught me the importance of point of view.  Back in Clear Lake, I was the redneck.  Here, I'm a citified dandy.  Very strange.
The ranch did not get my full attention during this time.  Rebel is still unridable.  I think I am going to take him to a horse chiroprator.  I'm that desperate.  Only a handful of cows were pregnant when we tested them in December.  That was a blow.  It was so hot during breeding season that the bulls didn't do their work for us.  That's hot.  The good thing is that we have a really good crop of heifers.  We are feeding most of them and gentling them down.  The balance of them are still in the pasture; which is a story in and of itself.  They will make a good crop of cows and we will continue to sell cows that don't perform.  Many of the ones we have are past the time to be culled.  We are putting our stock in the new ones.
The most frustrating problem we are having is penning cows.  Many of them are nice and gentle, but some of them just take off to the woods at the first attempt to move them.  Other cows and calves follow them.  If we had more than one working horse and some good dogs, we could do it.  We've tried trapping them, but the cows in question won't even go in a trap.  I think tomorrow I will try putting out hay in the calf patch.  I need to get some water to the calves in the pens to do this.  If this doesn't work, then I will have to ask for some local help.
Other questions we have to answer are what we are going to do with this year's crop.  We might be forced to sell heifers and beef calves in order to generate the necessary income for the year.  We will certainly be selling more of the cows.
I'm not complaining.  God has his purposes that are beyond what we can see.  I think one of them is to teach us to learn to trust Him.  Things keep breaking, we keep trying to do things and failing, but the lesson is to not complain.  We are trying to commit it to God, understanding that the ranch, cows, horses, et al belong to Him.  He is demonstrating that it is His.  Maybe when we can say, "Well, we didn't get them penned again, but that's okay.  We'll try again later," without all the emotion and hand-wringing, we will be there, or at least closer.
In case you didn't notice I genericized the title of the blog.  "Green Acres...Without the Money" was memorable and funny, but ultimately not the right thing to confess.  I'm no "word of faith' guy, but the Bible does say that there is power in the tongue, so I'm changing the title.  If you have suggestions I'll take them.  I've got some ideas, but haven't gotten them worked out yet.
Hopefully, I will be back again soon.  Thanks for your support and prayers.