Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunset Pictures

The other day on my way home from work I stopped by our summer pasture to see if the cows were close to the front.  They were!

This post is just a bunch of pictures... 

P.S. I switched up the layout so the pictures can be a little larger.  Enjoy :)

OK I lied... a few more words... This girl kept following me around trying to lick the back of my shirt.  I think she missed me!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Girls, Girls, Girls

2 more baby girls.  I'm starting to feel like a broken record!  This has been the year of the heifer.  8 of the 10 babies, in fact, have been heifers.

I stopped by after work one evening to find this little girl curled up by Momma in the front pasture.

Her front legs are pretty wobbly.  She's 2 weeks old now and getting around fine, but the left front leg still likes to give out on her.  She was more than likely in a bad position inside the cow.  Her Momma's a little thing and I can't image there is much room for a big baby like her!

Then this week we had this pretty little baby.  Her Momma is roan so we weren't too surprised when her calf was roan too.  I've decided that she looks like a Wilma.

The day she was born my dad called to notify me.  Then, while we were on the phone, I heard lots of barking and my dad say "oh she's out... how did that happen".  I later got the full story..

Somehow little Wilma had gotten out and made her way to the gate.  She was frantically trying to get to her Momma while Elsie was barking her mad little doggie head off.  My dad walked up, yelled at Elsie to knock it off, and then tried to open the gate and get the baby in, while at the same time keeping Momma from getting out.  It was then that little Wilma charged him, hit him square in the knees and then took off running into the pasture towards her Momma... Cheeky little thing!

Only one more cow left to calve for this year.  Odds are it will have to be a bull.. right?

In the mean time, the other calves are starting to really take off and grow.  Here are a few pics of the April babies.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Blog

A year ago today I started this blog...

Fast forward 82 posts and just over 4000 page views and you'll wind up today, right here, reading this.

I can't image this blog having this many page views in just a year.  That pretty much equals out to almost 12 page views a day or 48 views per post.  Who are you people?!  I'm not sure but I'm pretty sure your amazing... or easily entertained... either way I like it!

I started this with the intention of no one wanting to read about our dinky little farm and more as a way to look back and remember the past.  It's really been great to get feed back from all of you.  I've started to look for more ways to take pictures of what we are doing around the farm.  Winter is always a slow time, but you awesome readers have stuck with me.

Let's hope this next year is just as great and just as exciting.  Look for lots of wedding detailed posts after July.  I'd love to post about all those small details now, but I don't want to give away anything for the big day!

Arren and I are also still looking for that house.  Hopefully someday I can post about that.  But until then, be prepared for lots of summer posts from the farm!

And finally I guess I'd like to say thanks for taking the time out of your busy days to stop by and read.  It gives me warm fuzzies every time I log on and see one more person has stopped by to read today's post.

Here's to the next year!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer Pasture

So we've fixed the fence and now we move the cows.

We did this over the weekend.  There is a lack of pictures in the post because... well because I was working and had no time to snap pics.  Right before we went out to corral the cattle my dad lost his phone in the mud (we found it) and then he insisted we put our phones in the truck.  No phone = no pictures.  I'll give you the low down though.

So it was muddy.  Like really muddy.  Like so muddy that we had to set up a temporary pin.  This pin was key as we wouldn't have to back the trailer into said mud, get stuck, and then drag and fling mud into the yard.

Our first goal was to separate our cows with out calves and the bull.  They would be the first load.  My dad worked them out of the heard while I ran the gait.  We got them in the barn, deloused them, and moved them into the temporary pin.  This first group didn't want to get on the trailer.  It took a good 5 minutes of pushing and shoving to get cooperation and they finally all loaded.

One trek across town later and 3 cows and 1 bull had successfully been moved.

Then it was back to load the rest.  We worked 4 cows with their calves into the trailer and delivered them.  Our cows were happy, running around in the tall grass.  They'd arrived at their summer home!

We left 6 cows at home.  3 of them were the ones who had just calved in April and the other 3 were to calve soon or later this summer.  We've split our cows into these two groups.  1 group goes to the summer pasture with the bull.  Then in late June or early July we head out load up the bull and calves (if we can catch them) and bring them home.

Hopefully sometime soon I can sneak out to the pasture and snap some pics.  I'll be sure to share if I do!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fixing Fence

We headed out to the summer pasture this weekend to walk and fix fence so that we could move half our heard across town to grassy goodness.

It went very well.  The whole time we only used 2 new insulators and 2 new posts.  My dad was hoping to mow around the fence, but it was way too wet for a mower.  We had to wear our mud boots.

I accidentally snapped the photo above, but it showcases the mud boot-y-ness of the situation.  This picture actually happened right after we found this "little guy".

It's a snapping turtle kind of spring.  We I came up upon this dude in the grass I quickly turned back ans whispered to my dad "snapping turtle".  In my mind it makes total sense that a snapping turtle would attack a loud being moving towards it.

But back to fixing fence.  I love the pasture we get to use in the summer.  Thanks to a family friend our cows get some good eats and he gets a manicured pasture.  It has a creek running through it and lots of trees around the creek.  Which, gives way to beautiful scenes like this..

And this...

Here is where the front of the pasture ends.  For the past 4 years we've kept the cows in the front pasture.  But my dad is bound and determined this summer to get them into the back pasture as well.  This will be a huge undertaking... it's an overgrown mess.

The back fence has to pass over the creek.  It makes for an interesting summer if there is a lot of rain and water.

And here is the front of the pasture... so pretty!

Tune in next time as we moooove the cows... :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

High Prices Everywhere!

May 7th marked beef prices hitting an all time high.  They peaked in late 2003 due to Mad Cow issues but this month they surpassed those prices. 

So it's a good time to be a cattle farmer, right?

To that I answer... meh.

Corn prices are still riding high and with late planting across the Midwest it looks like they are going to stay that way, at least for a little while longer. When inputs are high, your final output product has to reflect that high price.  Luckily, here at Green Acres, we have a deal worked out with a close family friend for a corn source.  But when that runs out, our feeder cattle have to be sold.  It's a lot of keeping track of supply and monitoring how long it will last us.

The severe drought last year caused a lot of small and mid-sized operations to have to sell off their herds.  No summer or fall rain meant low crop yields and burnt up pasture ground.  We struck gold last year in the form of corn stalk bales, otherwise we would have been in the same boat.

The price of calves has risen with the price of fats.  We use to be able to buy 5-10 feeder calves a year for our feedlot.  But this past year we have bought a total of 0, zilch, nodda... Again luckily we've been able to increase the size of our own heard.  So basically the 11-14 babies we raise every year go from Momma to feed lot to hamburger.  Heartless, I know, but keeps our costs down substantially.  We are a small farm and unique in the fact that we feed out our own calves.  We see our calves hit the ground as babies and then haul them off a year and a half later to sadly meet their certain demise.  Most large operations will raise calves and then sell them off to others to be finished on grain.

With all these negatives there are of course positives...

Like I said the price of fat cattle is high.  Next Monday we will be taking 5 Green Acre grown premium shorthorn beefs to the sale barn.  Prices are extremely high compared to just 5 years ago.  We still get excited when we see how much each calf brings per pound.  But to any other operation this is just normal business.

I would never want to be forced to sell off our whole cattle heard.  It's our hobby.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing a green pasture full of red, white and roan cattle with adorable babies running around.  It's a lot of work, way more than the pay off, but we don't mind it at all.  It's how I grew up and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

With being on the verge of summer start looking for more posts.  This weekend should be busy.  We are hopefully taking half the heard to their summer time pasture but before we do that we've got to walk and fix fence.  This weeks rain will put a damper on our ability to get the pasture ready.  But like my dad said if we don't get it this weekend, there is always the next.

Plus Sunday is Mother's Day so go home, hug your mom and take her somewhere nice!

And because I can't just type up a post with no pics, here is one for your viewing pleasure.

Yes he's sticking his tongue out at me... he's a cheeky calf!