Every day may not be good...but there is something good in every day.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Feeding Cattle - Photo Essay

This weekend we were in charge of feeding 350 head of cows.  We are feeding the cattle round bales of hay. We use a tractor with a bale unroller attachment.  Rolling bales saves hay.  By unrolling the bales we do not have to set out as much feed. Which is a good because feed is expensive!  If we didn't roll bales out we would have to fill several round bale feeders; which would take up time and hay. We have been feeding 4-6 bales a day.   So enjoy this photo essay of us feeding the cattle this weekend.

It was crazy how they swarmed the tractor.

Unrolling the first bale is the hardest.  Because the cattle are hungry and they try to eat the bales the tractors brings in. 

Before we are able to start unwrapping the bales we must cut off the net wrap.
 Below is Wade removing the net wrap around the bale. He has to scare the cattle away from the bale in order to accomplish this.  

Here is the cattle following the hay as we unroll it down the pasture.  I think some of the cows just enjoy chasing the bale and tractor...

350 head is a lot of mouths to feed...

This is bale two - a little more organized. 


We LOVE Hay! 

We want more hay! :) 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Farming and Ranching is Love

Have you heard about these books promoting vegan lifestyle to children?  The latest book is called Vegan is Love.  I first read about them in Drovers magazine, and then in an article written by Amanda Radke on the Beef magazine website.  I was trolling through the comment section (Click here for the full article) when I read this comment: “ It may be graphic and I would probably hesitate to show otto(?) (I assume they mean our)children, but is the depiction in these books untrue? At some point children should learn about slaughter. By James Saunders  on May 3, 2012

This comment struck me like lightening - stopped me in my tracks.  I had to ask myself - when did I learn about slaughter?  
I had to dig down deep in my recollections for my first experience to animal slaughter.  I think I was in kindergarten. We were at my grandma's house.  It was a chicken slaughter day. It was my chore to push my baby sister around in her stroller while the adults worked.  They killed, pluck, and gutted 50 + birds that day.  Nowhere in that memory could I recall my mom or dad sitting down and explaining to me what was going to happen or what I would see.   Did I ask questions about the process, yes! But they gave me answers I could understand. It didn't make me angry or sad that they were butchering chickens. I knew they were not pets - they were not like my dog Buddy, or the neighbor’s cat. I knew I liked chicken nuggets and they came from chickens.  It made sense, in my little kid brain.  It wasn’t cluttered with ideas about animal welfare, or the ethics of why we eat meat.  Because I was a kid!  Those are adult concepts!  Should children be taught about slaughter – YES by all means!  But are these books the answer - I'm not so sure.   I have yet to find and read one myself. So I can not offer a fair opinion on their content.  I can only offer my thoughts on teaching children about slaughter. 
Since that bygone day at my grandma’s house, I have been a part of several more butchering days.  Raising several butcher steers, and hogs. I went as far as taking a meat science class in college and learned the mechanics of the industry. In that class we butchered lambs, beef, and pork.  I made a point to work at every station, and get my hands dirty.  I will be blunt – it is not a pleasant job.  It’s not my favorite thing to do. But I learned that these animals have a purpose. They were raised to feed people. I cannot stress that point enough.
As farm kids raised with livestock we knew that these animals were not pets. Livestock are there to feed our families and others around the world. While we loved these animals, cared for and even named a few of them we knew what would happen in the end.  (I know I risk sounding hokey, or corny with this next statement.) Being raised on the farm we learned that cattle, hogs, sheep chicken, goats etc. have a noble purpose.  They die so that we may eat and nourish our bodies.   This is a very important thing to learn as a child, which is the concept we need to teach our children today.    Farming and Ranching is love!  I want to see that book on the shelf! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Sweet Rodeo Man

It was a hot morning, which would make for a hot afternoon
Heels and sundresses for church, - Praying that no one would get hurt
Jeans and boots for the rodeo
It was “call me when you are close, will meet you at the entrance,…I miss you”
Sitting in the bleachers – watching the boys as bull flanks are tied and riders mount
Pulling gates, bulls and broncs bustin’ out of the chutes
Climbing fences and busted knuckles

Dust, grime, sweat, blood, sunburned faces and smiles
Then it was back in the shade waiting for the next round
Talking with the men, the fighters, pickup men and stock contractors all friends
Shooting the bull and drinking cool beverages in the mid day heat
Talking and laughing about rank bulls and broncs of the past and rodeos to come
It was being pulled over to the pickup truck, “I’ve got something for you,” 
Picking up a bouquet of bright flowers from the rodeo gear in a makeshift soda bottle vase
Saying “I love you, Happy 6th Month Anniversary”
Sweet kisses away from the “guys”  
The flowers wilted by the heat, given by hands that were bandaged and bleeding
Hands that held mine, my sweet Rodeo Man.


The above describes our weekend.  Wade and I celebrated 6 wonderful months of marriage! 

This weekend - Wade worked at one of the high school rodeos.  He works for the stock contractor, so when he calls, Wade is on the road to help.  Typically he sorts stock, works chutes, and is aspiring to be a pickup man. 

The above photo is Wade (on the fence) and his best friend Tom.  Tom is a bull fighter.
Tom was one of Wades' groomsmen!  FYI he is a dancing fool! :) 

Tom at it again. 

One of the junior bulls and a junior high rider 

One of the bronc riders 

Breakaway Roping  - Loved her horse! 

Last Bull of the day! 

P.S. I'm linking up with Cowgirl Up! Linky Party!  Thanks girls! :) and Rural Thursday Blog Hop

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cowboys Love FAT Calves...

This has been fun - writing about calves!  Wade and I have been very lucky - we haven't had too many wild calving moments. Below is one of his stories.  It was his most difficult calving experience to date.  

He was riding his horse and checking the heifers.  There was one - a small frame red heifer that was due to calve any day.  They were paying extra attention to her cause they were expecting trouble.  She was getting close – her bag had dropped and she was springing. 

He found her in a wooded draw.  There she was laying down having a bit of a time.  Wade could see legs and the nose.  He thought he could pull it there in the field but as he tried, there was no headway made.  So he called his dad to give the heads up that he would be driving the heifer up to the corrals.  Slowly he got her up and marched her back to the corrals.  Making sure the nose didn’t slip back in; if it did the calf would have suffocated.   Luckily it didn’t and he was able to make it to the corrals without any trouble.  

What's up? 

At the corrals he threw a rope around her neck and tied her to a steel post.  Wade’s dad was coming home and stopped at the corrals.  That’s when they realized the pulling chains were not in the truck; but they did have some bailing twine.  Using the twine they made a loop and put it around the two front feet and began to pull.  With a little bit of elbow grease they were able to pull the calf.  

                                                        Checking the "newbie" out 

It was huge bull calf, there would have been no way for that little red heifer to birth him alone.   It was lucky Wade had come upon her.  As soon as the boys let the heifer off the rope she went to mothering up and licking the calf clean.  Wade and his dad stayed until the calf sucked and was up and going.   Just another day in the life of a cowboy I guess – making do with the supplies on hand. 


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Instead of Shooting the Bull, they Pulled the Calf

So to continue with the cows are calving celebration week I have a little bit of a different story to share.

To begin with the circumstances surrounding Wade and I finally getting together hover around livestock, manure, rodeo, music, dancing, and beer gardens.  Apparently when you put those things together you’ve got the setting for romance.  So it should have came as no surprise that on our 5th or 6th date out at least a few of those elements would collide again.   Sadly, it was manure and livestock this time only!

We had decided to go out and eat at a local diner, and end the night at my uncle’s house.  He and his wife had recently had a baby and I was named godmother.  I hadn’t seen the baby in a while and wanted to introduce Wade to that side of the family. ( I had already met his by our first date - but thats a different story)   We got there and were visiting, everything was going smoothly. Both Wade and my uncle like to talk and shoot the bull.   My uncle made a motion to get up – he was off to check cows as they had heifers calving.  He asked Wade to come along  – this was an honor!  I didn’t think much of it, they would be back in a couple of hours. They were gone those hours plus some.                                          

They came back in the house rosy cheeked and laughing; that’s when I learned Wade had spent the last couple of hours with 3 of my uncle’s at my grandpa’s house pulling a calf.   I could just picture my uncle’s and Wade – their first time meeting behind the tail end of a heifer.

I knew it had to be love as I climbed into Wade’s truck he eagerly gave me a play by play of the entire birthing event.  I couldn't help but notice the old sweatshirt he kept in his truck was on the floor board spotted with manure and afterbirth.  Yep, I am pretty sure at the point driving down the gravel roads listening to him talk about the heifer that he was the man for me!

Each one of my uncle’s called me the next day to tell me how good of a guy I had.

Does anyone else out there have a romantic bovine date story?