Country Living Series

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring fever

This is Thor (left) and Matilda. Thor is Matilda's two-year-old steer.


Lately Thor has been getting spring fever. This means he is forever bulldozing over fences in an effort to get to the grass on the other side, which everyone knows is always greener.


We have patched and patched and patched fences in Thor's wake, but he keeps bulldozing over different spots. He's so durned big, you see -- a lot bigger than our Dexters -- and frankly he's getting on everyone's nerves. In fact he has a date with the freezer next Monday and I, for one, can't wait.

So today when he bulldozed down yet another spot on the fence, we'd had it. Don is not yet up to chasing down a snarky teenage bovine determined to tick us off, so we knew we had to do something different.

So we decided to chase everyone down into the pasture. It's a month sooner than we want -- the pasture grass hasn't grown up much yet -- and putting the cows on it too soon would stunt the grass even further. But it was either that or babysit Thor until next Monday.

So... we called all the beasties, opened a gate, and got out of the way. Most of the animals know exactly where to go.

Brit was the first to dash through.


In twos or threes, the animals made a dash around the barn toward the pasture gate.






In short order, everyone was grazing hungrily in the pasture... except Atlas. He's young and not as familiar with the spring and fall routines on the farm, so he got confused and didn't make it through the gate.


Took him about an hour to find his way out and join the others.



Atlas is a surplus bull and also has a date with the freezer next Monday. Time to cull our herd a bit.

After the chaos of the morning, the cows settled into a contented afternoon. We're not going to keep them on this pasture for long -- probably just until Thor and Atlas get dispatched -- but for the time being, peace reigns once again.




Atlas was delighted with the pasture and kicked up his heels all afternoon.


Atlas and Thor are good buddies and spend a lot of time wrestling. Boys will be boys, after all.



Just one more thing to do, which was to bring the water tank into the pasture.


But first it needed a good scrubbing...


...with the help of a brush and some elbow grease.


Much better.


We'll probably keep the beasties down in the pasture until Thor and Atlas are dispatched, then shoo everyone back into the woods for a month so the pasture can grow up lush and green.


But for the moment it's nice not to have to put up with Thor's snarky shenanigans.

18 comments:

  1. The fact that even have green grass makes me incredibly jealous! Minnesota just cant seem to give up on winter this year. We had another 4 inches of snow last night. Hoping the 70 degrees they are predicting for the upcoming weekend holds true!

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    1. I feel your pain. We actually saw a few blades of grass in the spots in our yard where the snow had melted. Then Sunday afternoon another storm came through and we got 18 inches of snow. I spent a good deal of time clearing out with a tractor and blade what my brother could not get with his large tractor and blower. We are expected to get to the high 50's by Friday.

      I should not complain, we have had drought conditions and a fire VERY close last year that kept us on our toes and ready to leave at a moments notice. Now if we just get some rain this summer.

      sidetracksusie

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  2. BEEF! It's what's for dinner!

    Can I be nosy and ask what elevation and latitude you live? Just comparing to our current situation, which is literally seven + months of snow, with a couple weeks before it begins and a month afterward of snows that only hang around a day or so. I have pictures of my son in a t-shirt and shorts, sledding down a 12 ft. drift in June.

    We may be getting too old for this and we don't want to leave the redoubt. I admired your green grass and just had to ask.

    sidetracksusie

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    1. Our latitude (I had to look it up) is 47.335N. Our elevation is about 2700 feet. We live in what is jokingly termed the "banana belt" of north Idaho.

      - Patrice

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    2. OH, thank you, Patrice. We are gathering all kinds of information about specific areas in other redoubt states. The sales, incomes and property tax information is next! I hate being financially oppressed by spendthrifts in state senate and legislatures.

      We live at 44.5747N, so it must be the elevation. Banana belt sound nice right now, although today is sunny and warm at 30 degrees F. The dry air enables a body that is moving to stay warm outside in a jacket only. I have a collection of turtlenecks that are just right in today's weather. Tonight brings cold and wet, however.

      sts

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  3. Do you do your own butchering, or do you take the cattle to a local butcher? Just curious - I used to help my husband process the deer he shot, and that was very time-consuming, so I can only imagine what cattle would be like!

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    1. We use a family-owned mobile butchering business that services most of the small livestock owners in the region. They'll come to our place, dispatch the animal, skin and gut it, cut the carcass in half, then return to their facility where they'll hang the meat in a cooler for about a week, then cut and wrap the meat and freeze it. Their prices are very reasonable and they're darned nice folks to boot.

      - Patrice

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  4. I saw that Thor still had horns, do you have anything planned for them, like drinking vessels or other nifty ideas?

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  5. Nice to see things are getting back to normal after the Boss's Husband's safe homecoming!

    Just Me

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  6. yeah, too many bulls is like too many roosters. must be a guy thing. my brother in laws cattle pasture all around my property just the other side of the fence but when those bull calves become a little confident they do just gallop right on through the fence and sometimes take down the gap and travel by road. i have been known to have toload the .22 with rat shot or grab my trusty golf club and go after them.

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  7. And, thank you! for the lovely opening picture.

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  8. The grass is lush and green here in Florida. The recent rains mean that the grass is beginning to get away from the sheep, and we may have to mow soon.

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  9. Patrice,

    I'm glad to hear you found a quick fix for the situation. Hurry up Monday, then your problem cow won't be around to give you any more trouble. He will be in the freezer:-)

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  10. Do you own the "forest" land near your home? My Idaho land abuts BLM land. Do I need to get permission to put cattle on it? I assume so since you have to get permission to breath now-a-days.

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  11. We live in Wales and use hedges for cattle retention. Though we have to trim them twice yearly they are far more effective that wire once grown. Because of the damp climate here we tend to use a combination of hawthorn, ash and hazel. There are good videos on hedge laying on YouTube. Bear in mind hedges will also harbour beneficial birds which will eat many problematic insects and their larvae.
    Farmed all my life and have never had cattle escape through a hedge yet!
    Love the blog BTW and good to hear your husband is on the mend.

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  12. I am so glad your husband is feeling better! Tell him not to overdo it too soon. Sometimes when we have been feeling really bad (as I am sure he must have been) we are so relieved to feel better that we fail to take into account that we are still not 100%.

    A random question - I enjoy the photos of Brit the horse. I am partial to her coloring. But I never see photos of your family riding her. Is she retired?

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  13. No, she's not retired -- she's never been trained. We're not "horse" people and have no idea how to train a horse. She was given to us for free when she was a year old (she's about eight years old now) and has sorta become a pet / slash / herd guardian. I've seen her chase off some strays dogs that got into the pasture, so she apparently takes her job pretty seriously.

    - Patrice

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