Sad news on loosing a calf. #15, Love, had a still born calf today.

Dead angus calf.
The cute little female calf, unfortunately still born.

Today Love, #15, had her new calf, a little female. Unfortunately, the calf was still-born. She was also undersized which means she hadn’t been developing normally. Normally I’d be worried what could have caused this, but Love is one of the cows that had had issues with bloat earlier this year. Love was treated by the vet along with #28. Both of them received some pretty serious medicine along with the usual manual work. After those two, we started treating them ourselves so I’m confident we won’t have any more issues. Well, I’m confident because they next two cows weren’t cows at all, but steers. Anyway, we don’t use near the medicines that the vet uses so ours shouldn’t have these issues. Nevertheless Love has lost her calf as a result of bloat and it’s a sad day on the farm today.

It’ll be sad this fall as well because Love is a really nice cow and she’ll be getting on the trailer with our other bloat cows to go to the sale barn. To quote another cattleman, “Love your children, forgive your enemies. Do neither for your cows.” That means when a cow has issues in your operation, you cull early and often. Love will be heading to the sale barn as soon as we get a chance to get them loaded.

A new calf. #7 had a little bull calf, #43


New born bull calf.
Little #43, born just a few hours before, trying to enjoy a nap.

Wednesday of this week we were blessed with another little bull calf here on the farm. This is another Benjamin calf. For those that don’t know, Benjamin is our bull. Benjamin is HUGE and as nice of a bull as you’d want to meet. He eats out of my hand, gentle as a lamb and is usually the last one out of the paddock or to the food when we feed. However every once in a while a bull calf will test him and end up on his butt for the effort, usually after doing a flip or two. He does make some pretty calves though.

New born calf
Baldy markings on #43

Benjamin is a full-blooded black Angus, with no white markings on him at all. Our cows are baldy Angus, with white faces and some white markings. It’s neat to see the calves which have smaller white markings but Angus shining through.

New born calf
A perfectly bad picture. I couldn’t get the calf to stand in the right place.

I didn’t want to take too long at this point. We had just ear tagged this calf and banded him (that’s how you castrate them young) so besides being born, he’d already had quite a day. I didn’t want to pose him too.


Ear tag for calf.
Ear tag for the new little calf, just before being applied.

Curious, cow #11, has a new calf named Boyd, #32, and the rest of a perfect Sunday

This morning when I moved the cows I found Curious had dropped a beautiful little bull calf. The calf is up and moving about and we’ve already tagged him, #32. Normally we get higher and higher in numbers but 32 had been missed accidentally previously. SWMBO has informed me that we already have a name picked for our next bull calf so this one will be named Boyd. (Hello Boyd and Ava!)

Curious is a pure black Angus and so is the dad, Benjamin. I was planning on castrating this little calf but Spork pointed out he would make a good bull. Benjamin is already having his first year of calves so in two years when this little calf is ready, Benjamin will be ready to sell so based on Spork’s advice we are going to leave this little bull uncut and see how he develops. If he looks and acts right he may be our next bull. If not, he might be someone else’s next bull. Either way all he received today was an earring.

Angus bull calf, four hours old
Here is a little closer shot of the new bull calf. Sorry he has the sun behind him.

We had a visitor this weekend, Miss Katie, and of course we took her out to see the new calf. We walked the paddock twice, a group of 5 of us, and we didn’t see the new calf anywhere. Just when I wondered what had happened to the calf, Katie looked over and found him in the grass outside the paddock. Leave it to the new kid to be the calf whisperer.

Angus bull calf, four hours old
Boyd, just discovered in the grass

With no mom around everyone was able to take a turn petting the new calf. You can only do this for the first day or so. After that the calves will run away if you approach.

Angus bull calf, four hours old
The kids, petting Boyd

We had enough time with the new calf that we were able to get some video of the kids and the new calf. Too cute.

Angus bull calf, just born
The new calf, ready to take a nap after all the attention.
Spork, fishing with dad.
Spork, fishing with dad. Note he stole my hat.

Also this morning I took some of the kids fishing. Bok Bok and I fished first, then Spork and I took the paddle boat out and did some more fishing, after a stint on the bank.

Home made chilaquiles
Home made chilaquiles

So after feeding the animals, taking the kids fishing, planting 54 tomato plants, and various and sundry other things I worked on today, I was fairly hungry at 2pm. After working 6 days a week for me, Miguel decided to save my day by bringing me a kit for home-made chilaquiles (it’s pronounced like Chilli-keel-As). I’ve had these in a restaurant before, they aren’t much to talk about. Miguel’s however? Oh man are they good. After this huge plate of food, I wasted the rest of the afternoon with a big siesta which I much enjoyed. Now the sun is going down and I’ve already slept too much. I guess I’ll put the kids to bed and maybe head back to the shop to work on the apple press. It’s too nice to stay inside for long.

All in all, a pretty nice Sunday.



A sad day

Still born calf
Still born calf

Yesterday, cow #24 had what should have been a beautiful little calf. However this calf was still-born. On our farm we do not employ hormones, drugs, or a veterinarian unless someone is showing signs of distress. This little calf was born normal in all ways and everything was progressing as we’d hope during labor but when he was delivered there was nothing we could do to save him. He’ll be buried on the farm, just like many other cows who’ve died, mostly of old age.

Death is a part of life, both in the harvesting of animals when they reach their prime, and in the unfortunate circumstances we come across like this one. It’s never easy but there are only two ways to not experience it.

1. Pretend bad things never happen. Meat comes from a grocery store. Grandma went on a long vacation. The little lies we tell ourselves and our kids that turn into big lies when the truth hits us in the face and we cannot look away.

2. Skip off of the mortal coil yourself.

For those who chose to stick around and hope God lets us stay, and to not lie to ourselves and our children, facing these things is another part of the job. It doesn’t make it any easier though.

New calf

First thing this morning we went out to check on the new calf. He was still laying in a spot with no snow where he obviously spent the day and night. Mom was on the other side of the pasture, calling for him and acted like she didn’t know where he was. I think it was an act to lure us away but nevertheless we got him up and walked him to mom for some nursing. Both are doing well and there is plenty of food and water for everybody while we wait for this next batch of snow and ice.

“Spring” calf

Today we found a new addition for 2014. Our first “spring” calf. As I type this we have about 8″ of snow on the ground and it’s still snowing hard with ice coming behind. So much for spring.

Either way, this little calf is the first calf from Benjamin and the mother is #14. Everyone is healthy and the calf should be fine through all this weather. I will check on him tomorrow.

Here is a little video from this morning. The lady talking is our neighbor at the golf course.