Saturday, October 20, 2012

No Bull; Yes Bull

It has been a busy week as usual, my Army buddy Duane came down to check on his place and stayed with us for a night and then we went to check out his new place and had lunch at a Mennonite bakery and butcher shop. We then had to go to the VA hospital in Columbia to get evaluated for another couple surgeries I am pending (sigh) and met up with Duane again on his way to St Louis and had dinner, Judy had company from Alaska, we had a county wide FEMA MASSCAL/HAZMAT exercise hosted by the VFD we are members of and on top of that we had a bull delivered today as the first step in expanding our herd. We are a bit behind our business plan due to my back surgery and the massive drought but we are getting back on track. Future plans also include raising steers next year on the 8 acres of pasture that we share crop with a neighbor and selling them at butcher time next fall.

As for the VA, I have had some criticisms of them, mostly that they are slow and the education program is completely broken so I didn't expect much from my visit to the VA hospital. Thankfully I can report that it was a very nice facility, they were efficient and professional, and we couldn't have been treated better. We were really pleased and at least in Missouri, the VA Hospital and staff are top notch.

Meet Caesar. Caesar is a Limousin/Hereford cross bull that belongs to a neighbor and he will be staying with us for three months or so in the hopes he impregnates our three heifers. He was a little feisty when he was dropped off but he seems to have settled in quite well and our heifers follow him around like he is truly the conqueror.

Once our heifers realised they had a visitor they made a beeline for him and the poor guy got chased for about 30 minutes.
Cattle are very social animals and after some get to know you licks and sniffing they pretty much settled down without problem and we have already noticed some preliminary mounting going on.
Interestingly, right around the time we normally give the heifers a little grain Caesar followed them down and we were able to walk right up to the trough and give them some grain and Caesar acted like he had done this for months.

Caesar couldn't get any relief even when he was eating and the heifers seem to be competing for his attention.
 He is a well built and good looking bull about 2.5 years old and he has already sired a string of calves so we are hopeful he can be successful with our cows.
So after a couple hours getting used to each other, they seem to be all getting along and we have been watching them graze and socialize. Pretty satisfying.

Holly and Judy also did the first harvest of sweet potatoes today. Much less yield this year due to the drought and they are a lot smaller but we have already eaten some and they are very tasty...I actually prefer the smaller ones.
Finally, this is a shot looking north that again shows the beautiful fall colors we have gotten this year. There is a 300 acre land trust across the road from us that is almost entirely forested in red and white Oaks and there is nothing over there except coyotes, deer, wild turkeys, a reported black bear or two (we haven't seen them yet) and tonnes of people, no buildings, and we like that.

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