Monthly Archives: August 2012

Late summer update

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. Mostly this is because I get in the house pretty late at night now, and don’t have the energy to write up something. We’ve been busy, although not accomplishing as much as we’d like. The drought didn’t hit as hard as everyone thought it would, but it’s still dry around here, and we’ve lost part of our hay crop as well as pasture because of it. So, we have decided to sell off most of our livestock. We’re down to three pairs and a steer. The cows that are left are our two Belties and our red cow. Seems kinda empty without the rest of them here, but we can’t afford to feed them this winter, so it’s better if we sell them now. We still have our bulls, but hope to have them sold off too.

Annie, red dun mare

Annie, red dun mare

We’re also debating on selling off some of our mules. The horses will stay, as two of them are our original horses, although we haven’t really decided on the little dun mare that we got from our neighbors last year when they moved. I’ve brought her in to the paddock so that I can start working her. She’s a bit odd, as sometimes she’s reasonably friendly, but other times she’s crotchety and doesn’t really want me petting or scratching her. I’ve had her follow me, then walk away. I’ve had her walk up to me and want affection, then pin back her ears. So I’m in the bare beginnings of figuring her out. Maybe she’s PMSing? I need to start working her. Then maybe she’ll become a bit more consistent with me.

Wimpy and her heifer calf

Wimpy and her heifer calf

We’ve had a few calves, although MayMay and Ellsie both slipped (aborted) theirs, so they went to the sale barn. Wimpy, our red cow, had a little red calf this month. (You can click on the picture to see it bigger, and actually see the calf.) Elliott, our new red Dexter bull, is the sire.  I think it’s a heifer calf. Olive Oyl, our black and white Beltie, also had a heifer calf earlier this summer.  The bulls did their usual flirting with the neighbors cows, so the one is in a stall, and the other one is being leased out. Always a challenge when you have bulls around.

We have decided that we really need to focus on fixing the fencing and pasture here. Most of the fencing close to the houses is falling down, as it’s woven fence and is attached to t-posts. There is no way of holding it up, so the cows easily jump it, even with an electric braided wire running on the top. ( I never knew that a heavy, 1200 lb. cow could clear a three or four foot fence with ease!)  The horses and mules don’t bother with it much, but the whole thing needs replaced. The actual gate into the paddock is attached to a post that is falling over, which makes it a challenge to open and close. The paddock itself is made up of hog panel, which the bulls and cows have managed to bend and twist like you wouldn’t believe, so it all needs replaced. It’s too difficult to try and build it while we have the livestock, so we need to sell them or relocate them.

On the bright side, the pasture is looking good where we can get water to it. It is growing very well and thick. We currently have a large area fenced off so that we can grow it for grazing on this winter. We’ve had very hot weather, and a very early and long summer, but we’ve been blessed with some rain showers and cooler temperatures off and on enough to help grow some of the pastures. They had predicted that the irrigation water would be gone by late June, or middle of July, but here it is the end of August, and we’ve still got a bit of irrigation water to work with. We’ve been wondering about the weather, as it has been getting fairly chilly at night, and we’ve noticed here and there the colors on the leaves are already changing. Might be in for a long, cold winter. Ugh. Not looking forward to that.