Me and Scout

Me and Scout

14 May 2012

Almost Summer

Not much has happened since the last posting, but I don't want y'all to forget about me and I certainly don't want to forget about you.  I am pretty sure that the young heifer is actually a really young cow and that she had a calf.  We saw them both again on Saturday and even though we didn't see him actually drink, we saw a lot of nuzzling and parental type behavior.  Fine!  There were only a certain number of cows we palpated last year that registered as pregnant, so any of those that we didn't get to that have calves are gravy.  We have eight on the ground now.  It is getting increasingly tricky to match them up.  They also have a tendency to keep changing colors.  Not a lot, but a brown calf may go to light red or black.  So, I would like to start tagging them as soon as possible.  Some of them are almost big enough, but I think I will wait a bit longer.  I hate to tag in the middle of the summer, but if we get an early start it won't be too traumatic.

Anna and I fixed some holes in the Mineral Box Field fence, but we have more work to do on that.  It's slow going.  Fencing is tedious.  Over the years, the trees have grown up around the fences and you can't even get to the fence in places.  I dream of the day when you can drive down all of our fences in a tractor and follow along with a gasoline trimmer or posion and keep the vegetation down.  We are a long way from that.  It will take rebuilding fence in another place or bulldozing, but until then, I intend to just clear a good path to wherever I need to get the gator for a fence repair job.

I am also developing a philosophy on mowing.  There are a lot of pastures that need extra attention.  They need chainsaw work on some trees that have grown up in the middle and on the edges.  However, it is important to not lose what we did along those lines last year.  Anna made lots of progress wiggling around behind barns and between thickets, especially up close to the house.  I want to make sure that we just mow over those areas once, so it doesn't get grown up again.  Keeping the pastures mowed is a full time job.  When I think about it at school, it pains me that I'm not working on it.  Of course, summer is coming.

Speaking of summer, I am pleased that although we have had some hot days, we have also had some cool days.  It's almost June and it is not sweltering yet.  We had about an inch of rain a couple of days ago.  We are already going into the summer in better shape than last year.  There are some dire predictions about another drought, but because of some late rains and cooler weather, I don't think it will be as bad.  The only real issue is that we don't have a surplus of hay like we did last year.  Dad is cutting some of his jobs on halves and thirds, I think.  That will help.  If we get extra we can always sell and make some good money.

Alas, I have given up the idea of working with Sarge.  A local girl is coming out to pick him up and ride him for a couple of weeks to smooth him out.  Hopefully, this will take the edge off enough for me to get him up to speed the rest of the way.  I really need to get some training on horse training.  We have some good potential out there and I would like to figure out how to break them without breaking myself.  I know there are trainers out there that "whisper" to horses, but I also know that most of what they work with is handled from a very young age.  Our horses are just not like that.

All in all, things are going well.  God is continuing to take care of our needs and I know that He will do so during the income-poor summer.  So, your support in prayers and visiting the blog here are greatly appreciated.

01 May 2012

Sneaky Cows

The calves are really coming now.  Some of them from unexpected corners.  Anna and I were driving out to look at cows one day and we saw one of the heifers that we just let out standing off by herself.  I thought it was a little strange and then I noticed that she seemed to have a full bag.  Weird.  We drove on to the other cows.  She managed to catch up with us.  This time she had a tiny little calf in tow.  Now it's more than weird.  This cow is supposed to be just over a year old, which means that it was bred at about three months.  Okay.  I maay have made a mistake in matching up cows and calves last year.  I'm still trying to perfect the system.  So, now I have to go into the database and correct the birthday.  It is possible that I pegged her to the right mama cow, but she was one of last year's calves still nursing.  Or, I could have just guessed.  I will not be doing that this year.  The bottom line is that we are still working out the kinks in the system.

That was the mistake.  Now I will tell you where we did good; or at least better.  Since a couple of weeks after we turned the heifers out, we have been missing heifer number 59.  We've been wondering about it.  Saturday, Dad and Linda and I were driving through town and some other pastures to get to our hay field.  One of our neighbors has a herd of black angus-type cows and they are all tagged with similar tags.  I started to mention to Dad (almost in jest) that if he sees a tag number 59 it's ours.  Right about that time, we both saw a fresh Bar Z brand on one of them.  Her head was behind a tree, but I told Dad the number before seeing it.  I think he was impressed by that.  So, we have a fence issue somewhere, but we did find our missing cow.  It also is an argument in favor of continuing to brand our cows.  With the whole world going to identical cows it is probably a good idea.

Also on Saturday, Dad brought the bull down.  We are moving the breeding season up a couple of months.  Last year the extreme heat kind of put the damper on the amorous spirit I guess.  This is why we had kind of a poor calf crop.  So, we are bumping it up a bit.  The calves will be born in the middle of winter, but winters are so mild here that it shouldn't make that much of a difference.  We'll probably palpate in September or October of this year and wean around the same time next year.  I think it's a better schedule for marketing and production, but we'll see.