February 14, 2012

The Girls have come Home!

It doesn't seem quite possible that it is time to bring the girls home for the next few months.  Seems like we just turned them out to summer pasture yesterday.  Spring time is almost here and we will have a bunch of new baby calves running all over our farm before we know it.  It seems funny to me that my favorite time of year can be sooooo stressful but still so rewarding all at the same time.  I bet if you did a survey of cattlemen and asked them what is their favorite part of raising cattle the majority of them would say calving time.  Even though it is extremely stressful for the caretakers, there are a lot of sleepless nights, usually at least 1 good struggle with the reality of life and death, but in the end there is nothing better than a young calf running and playing in the spring.
Our cows have been about 2 miles down the road for the past month and up until a week ago we didn't have to feed them as we haven't had much snow to cover the corn stalks.  We got to the field with a 4 wheeler, a horse, a extra car, and the tractor with a bale on the back at 9 am Sunday morning.  Our plan was to get the cows moved down the road after all the people going to church had already left with the thought that we would be done before they started to venture their way home.  Winter finally showed up in Nebraska and the temps have started to reflect Feb instead of May.  Nothing like a brisk horse ride when it is near zero degrees with the wind chill to get you woke up and ready to tackle the world.  The cows gathered good, and were following the tractor to the gate when everything came apart.  The cows ran to the gate beating the tractor, they turned left when they should have turned right.  Good thing for the neighbor kid who was in the car to block the road in case this happens.  He got them stopped , turned the right way and the tractor got to the road in front of the herd.  Not to much of a disaster but they always have to try one get away.  Now there is fence on both sides of the road all they way to our fields.  Part of it is electric wire and part was 4 strand barb wire.  They have been in a single hot wire for the past 3-4 months and have stayed in beautifully so we were not worried that they would go through any fences.  That is where we were WRONG!  Cow number 100 is now on my #%$! list where she will stay for probably the end of time and I will probably never use the number 100 again!  She broke 5 of the 6 hot wire fences, tried to take my horse, tried to take the neighbor kid, attempted to go through a permanent fence, and got stuck in a snow bank where she proceeded to get more angry at the situation.  All of which could have been avoided if she would have chose to follow the tractor and hay down the road with the rest of the herd.  The rest of the herd was walking down the road and following the tractor just fine, except for the few that followed 100 through every fence she broke.  But once we turned them around they went back the way they were suppose to and didn't have to get mad and throw a fit about it.  Needless to say, we got all the cows down the road and safely into our hay meadow and corn fields.  Then we had to tackle the task of fixing all of the neighbors fences that were broken along with our own fences.  The next time we walk the cows down the road I am going to find 100 and put my horses nose on her butt and make sure she doesn't get within 20 feet of a fence.  Not to mention she has landed herself a spot on the "all star" list.  This is a list of cows that "all have stars" by there number to be culled out of the herd!! 
I wanted to get some really good pictures of the days events, but I had my hands full and was only able to get 1 picture....before mayhem began.... I was waiting for the guy in the insurance commercial to pop in and give me a speech about how this could have been prevented with good insurance!! Hahahaha

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