“Cowboy” was the name of my brother’s famous red-tick coon dog. This dog had a howl like the blood hound on Reese Witherspoon’s “Sweet Home Alabama” movie and should have been buried in that coonhound grave. He was rarely tied up. Hunters loved his huge red spot, floppy ears and he had the height and length of a horse and ate like one too. Guys would pick him up to breed their dogs if he didn’t find the girl first. He knew where home was and knew if he did get tied up before milking, he was going to go coon hunting that night with the boys. This dog was the only dog that won a coon trial in Timber Coulee, Wis. without anyone entering him in the contest.
Just like Cowboy was important for coon hunting, hunters are very important to dairy farming. You may not think so until you see herds of deer and coon eating your corn and hay that you raise for the cows for the long winter months. One of the government programs I just recently signed up for is a Stewardship program which is geared to protect young and stupid animals. Pheasant can be completely stupid. I’ve chased pheasants with big equipment every year and have gotten out of the tractor to trying to herd a flock of ten babies to the tree line. Fawns are something every year I see nestled in the hay fields, resting till dusk till they drink from their moms again. They are so programed to stay still that when I come trucking along, they get murdered by the disc bine. Hopefully making a contraption in front of my tractor (and other things) with grant money will scare the crap out of them and will help protect those little guys. I’m just bring more opportunity for Cowboy’s decedents and the local hunter groups to selling fur and feeding their families. We all need each other, because I surely don’t have time to hunt in the fall!
A farmer’s work is never done. Even if you leave for Vegas for a weekend trip, you still have people tending to the animals. Spring is the worst for work, hence the reason I haven’t blogged in a while. Been busy fencing, hauling manure and moving animals to pasture and soon we will be preparing the soil to plant our barley, oats, grazing grass mix, alfalfa, corn and turnips!
Turnips you wonder? Why yes, only on new seeding pasture fields. This wondrous vegetable is going to do three things for me. They are a great grazing plant, the cows can eat the leaves off 20+ times and they will continue to grow, thicker as ever. The second reason is what they are doing for my soil, helping with compaction. These things are like huge white carrots looking for China. When you get 60, thousand pound animals pacing a field, it’s going to get hard to get regrowth. And a third reason…just cause I can, I’m organic, so I should try fun things with our land and that is considered cool in this area. I’m not one to promote an organic farming over conventional farming, but I do enjoy seeing my animals enjoy themselves outside a barn and a cement pad. If you don’t understand that, you should visit a rotational grazing farm like mine and see how they react to fresh grass. You will soon understand why we use a tobacco lathe to protect our personal boundaries, a good cow dog like my Sam and 4 wheelers when we need to chase them down if they get out or being stubborn. Cows have a desire to eat, eat, eat…unless they are in heat. So kinda like men in Vegas…lots to eat and see and if they touch something that they shouldn’t they get hit or kicked out, but in my case, I use a high powered fencer to keep my girls in line. They learn fast.
At this point, of putting the manure in the manure spreader, you wonder if you have it just right. If you don’t get the bucket just right, that manure will end up on you. After a few times of being careless you will learn the art of scooping and dumping liquid poo…as most of farmers have learned this way through experience.