Monday, April 30, 2012

Lenny the Bull

Lenny the Bull is very near & dear to me.
Today, Today I bury Lenny.

Lenny was Born 11 years ago. 
On a cold morning, a heifer was calving.
It was only my second year calving cows.
The heifer was having problems.  She was too tiny. 
I helped get both feet out.  Then a head in the right direction.
I had a tiny year old baby girl in the truck watching.
I found some twines to get on his feet to get this little calf out.
It was the first time I had ever had to help a cow deliver.
We (the heifer & I) were both clueless about what to do.
Then he was out.
Cute little bugger looked at me & moo'ed
The heifer - now cow, wasn't doing so well.

The heifer didn't make it.

He was now a bottle calf.  I went to a local dairy farm & purchased some colostrum.  I fed him frozen holstein colostrum for 3 days, 5 or six times each day.  Little guy figured it out really quick.  He became exited to see me when I walked in the barn.  He took his bottle like a champ & didn't fight that much.

But there was an issue!  He was a born a bull.  "You can't keep him." I was told over & over.  I was bound & determined to make something of this bull.  I was NOT going to let him go to a feedlot.

Lenny grew & grew.  He ate well & was respectful.  See that is one of the issues with bottle calves.  When they get big, they don't realize they are big.  They might try to bump you & hurt you.  But not my Lenny, he was a good boy.

Lenny grew enough that fall that I convinced MyLove to register him.  So, Lenny became ECC Liberty.  MyLove said we could keep him as a backup bull.  We learned that summer to always have a backup because our old herdsire died at the old age of 8.  Most bulls are retired at 5 or 6. We have a tendency to get attached, so they stay as long as they live.

When Lenny was 3,  we had him at the big pasture.  We parked the truck at the top of the hill & walked down to the ditch.  It was a beautiful walk through the pasture!  But at the bottom of the hill we found Lenny.  Lenny had a sore eye.  Pinkeye.  Bad enough that it needed treated.  So up to the truck I ran.  Ugh, no halter, no rope?!...  But, I had an extension cord. Think it would work?  It was worth a shot.  So, he made a loop with an extension cord & took a throw.  A big hoolihan throw & it was on Lenny's head.  He struggled a bit, but we were able to get it looped through into a makeshift halter.  Now, we walk him out.  Remember, we were in the big pasture, 2000 acres without a road through it.  Lenny was never really halter broke, but he was tame enough.  So, MyLove took the truck to get the trailer, while Lenny & I started walking.  First I'd walk behind him, kind of driving him in the direction I wanted.  Then at the top of the hill, I was walking next to him.  We were both exhausted (it is a BIIIG hill).  We walked another 40 acres to the next gate.  we stopped there & waited for MyLove at the gate so we didn't get in with the neighbors bulls.  The trailer arrived & I opened the door & walked in.  Unsure if he was going to hop in, because Lenny had only been in the trailer once in his life.   Well, he hopped right in.  We shut the door & Beau says, "Guess he's halter broke now"

Every time Dad has come to visit & Lenny was in the barn or near where we were, he'd just smile.  Smile & remember that little runt calf sucking on his finger.  As he aged, Lenny's disposition remained wonderful!  He was never a bull to be mean or aggressive.  In fact, we never left him with the other bulls because they'd pick on him.  Even the little bulls would pick on him.  Lenny sired  Ultimate & Freedom, many more & just a week ago Lacey (my pet cow) had a Lenny Bull Calf.

Never say never, Never tell a ranch wife you can't keep a bottle calf.

Lenny lived his last winter in the big barn with the heiffers.  He died in his sleep surrounded by beautiful girls.

RIP Lenny

Shanen~Mama to the Momma Cows @ the ECC

Monday, April 9, 2012

Perspective - New Boots

I love boots!  When I was younger I had 28 pairs at one time....  I now have expensive tastes & many more things to spend my dollars on than boots.

So way back (wow!) about in 2003, I saw a pair of boots I really liked in Long Creek Outfitters (local western store near us).  But, I had recently bought a very expensive pair of purple ostrich boots..... So, there was no way I could justify another pair of $300+ Boots.  So, I passed....

Every time we went in the store (usually every 2-3 months) I'd oogle the boots, & be thankful for the purple pair I had. 

They were Luchesse's.  My purple boots are Luchesse's.  I love them.  Great fit, super comfortable.

Several years passed & not many of this Luchesse's sold.

 Why?  Well....they were lime green
Yep, wierd AND expensive

So, a couple of weeks ago, My wonderful husband finally went & bought himself a new pair of boots...without trying them on.  Why, well he bought the exact same brand, but a different color than he had.

We went to return those boots.  My everyday boots, are getting quite worn.  So I went to look & possibly buy another pair.  I walked in the clearance room...... The Lime green boots stared at me.  But, they'd called my name for years.  They were the "wrong" size....... What the heck, I tried them on.......

Oh my.... They FIT!!!!

Oh my.  Put them back in the box.
Wandered around for another bit.....
They were on clearance.....
Figured the price.....
Cheaper than a new pair of "regular" boots......
Yep, I did it

Perspective: Farm vs City

Just to very briefly set up this conversation.  I was (don't remember where) in Des Moines, in a public place.  It was near 80 degrees, the first days of April.
As I generally do, I smiled a man standing near me & said "Wonderful weather isn't it!"
Man: "Yes, wierd that its so warm"
Me: "Really is odd but, I'll enjoy it while we have it!" : )
Man: "I sure wish it would cool down, so the grass will stop growing"
      silence as I tried to figure out what to say
Me: "Really? (with a smile still)"
Man:   "Yes, I've had to mow my lawn twice already"
Me:  "Well, most of us farmers and ranchers are loving the early grass to feed our animals"  "But I can understand how it would be frustrating in the city"  "But, yards are great places to put gardens too"
Man: now very confused "Why would I do that"
Me: "oh, its a good way to grow some of your own food"
Man: starting to walk away "thats what stores are for"
Me:  "yes they have food there too.  Enjoy the weather"

Perspective really is a funny thing.

I love meeting new people & learning about their personal culture to expand my perspective.

Or, just to confirm the perspective I DO have.
    Know your Farmer (Rancher); Know your FOOD!!

I'm writing another perspective post to share next week.
I hope YOU enjoy the weather you DO have. 
PS, there is ALWAYS something good to find in each & every thing, meeting, place, thought.

~Shanen, Mama to the Momma Cows @ the ECC

Monday, April 2, 2012

Calving & Meeting Season

So right now we are in a "break" between finishing calving heifers & beginning calving cows. So, we don't have night checks, but we do have some cows who have decided not to wait....

This morning I was headed out to another meeting, & as usual I checked the "heavy pen" (our pen that we put the cows that are close to calving so it makes it easy after they've calved) before I left. Well, even though chores were finished a half hour earlier & cows were checked, we had feet. So.... I climbed the fence & let the momma in the alley (because she was close to it & had stood up. Red Feet!! Yeah, I love red calves!

Now, I'm a nervous midwife & this was a cow (momma who has had at least one calf); so the kids & I played in the yard for a while. Just so you know, its a 100 yards away & I was listening, but couldn't see her. : )
Sure enough, just about 20 min later, I heard "THE MOO" and went over to check. She had a new calf & was just starting to lick him off. So wonderful! It was a Red Bull!! So that's a positive!

If you check out our Facebook Page or follow me on Twitter, you. Can see a great pic of the new momma licking her calf just moments after it was born.

I know, you must all think that I want all boys, because we sell beef. But, I really want heifers! I love our cows, so each girl we have is one step closer to her being good enough to be a cow. Plus, if you're going to be born a boy, a red one is a skittle different, so he might be good eno ugh to be a bull on someone else's ranch!

Now, I'm in a meeting, blogging & thinking of new calves!!
Hope you're enjoying this great spring weather!

Shanen ~Mama to the Momma Cows @ the ECC