Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cow Update

I don't post about them as much now, but I'm still the reluctant owner of cows. 

TBone earned a stay in execution for both of our steers. He's just too small to send to freezer camp this week, as I'd originally planned.  I was deeply disappointed, because feeding and watering livestock in the wintertime is not nearly as much fun as it sounds (yes, I fully understand it does not sound like a good time. Trust me, it's not!).

We got quite a bit of hay (I think around 125ish bales?) and started to hunker in.

It's been a rough month or two because Tbone has also started his escape act again. For several days (of course when J is out of town), he'd get into the pasture to the south of us.  We re-did the barb wire and things have been going well.

Today, we struck a deal with the neighbor to the south. We'll open up the pasture so their llamas and our cows will have free reign of both properties.  We'll be able to water everyone from their barn (and their heated hose and NOT have to haul 25+ gallons of water a day to the pasture... YIPPEE!!!!), and we'll share our hay with the llamas. They plan to rehome the llamas soon, but are contemplating a steer. Having buddies will be good for their steer, so it's a win-win all around.

llamas on our side, cows on theirs
So, this morning J and I opened up the gate in the pasture. The llamas were very quick to go to our side to play. The cows were a little more cautious, but as we backed off, they went to investigate. When they saw us walking back, they ran to our side of the field. I think this PROVES they knew that escape was naughty.

For the rest of the day, the llamas were literally running all over our field, and the cows were grazing around in the other field. I guess the grass really is greener on the other side.

As a side note, as we were walking the fenceline, checking to make sure all was intact, we scared up a beautiful pheasant. I wish I'd gotten a photo of it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Help, I'm stuck!!!

Do you remember the scene from "A Christmas Story" when Flick sticks his tongue to the flagpole and gets stuck?  It was always one of the funniest, yet most awful scenes of the movie.

Today when I picked up the kids from school, S got in the car first. I asked how her day was, and she said emphatically, "It was TERRIBLE!!"

I was really surprised because she generally loves school and always has great days. I asked her why, and she said that Z got stuck on the playground today. What?!

Evidently, they have their last recess at the same time. Z was climbing around on the playground equipment and got his ring finger stuck in a hole on a metal bar. Said metal bar was about 5.5 feet off the ground, and his finger went all the way through (there were holes on either side), but then it wouldn't come out. He was trapped there, standing on a rope with his finger firmly stuck.  A classmate got a recess duty who came right over.  Recess duty couldn't do anything.  The second recess duty came over. She was equally flummoxed.

About this time, the predicament started to get a lot of attention, including S. S is a sensitive type, and was really, really upset. She was on the ground crying over Z being stuck.  About that moment, the bell rang.

The kids scattered and went to class, leaving the two aids with Z.

Z's classmates went inside and told her teachers. Because she couldn't leave the class alone, she brought the whole class out there to the playground, so she could check out the situation.

the hole involved, with a penny for reference
Finally, someone brought out some lotion or soap out and got him all slipped up, and he was finally able to slip his finger free.  Ms V (Z's teacher) knew that S was really upset, so she had him go see her in class so S would know he was free and ok. I thought that was very thoughtful of Ms. V.

Z was pretty stoic and casual about it, and seemed much less traumatized than S. All's well that ends well, though I hope that they do something to fill that hole. I'm a little surprised it's never been a problem before, and while Z was none the worse for wear, the potential for significant injury is big, I think.

Once J got home from work, we took Z back to school so that he could show us exactly how he could get stuck on the playground. I thought they were fairly fail-safe.  Shows how brilliant (?) my kids are.

Z has been pretty casual about the whole thing, though this evening, he admitted that he was afraid that he was going to be stuck there forever.

Helpful Llamas

So, TBone, the escape artist cow, has been up to his tricks again. Our fenceline has field fencing the entire length of the field; however it starts about 18" above the ground, and is probably 20+ years old and in need of new posts. So, we installed some barb wire on our side of the posts. Unfortunately, even this hasn't been enough.

I came out a couple weeks ago and found this scene. Casanova is poking his head under the fence, and TBone is off in the distance, grazing.  This particular section of fence goes all the way to the ground, but the railroad tie posts are old and somewhat rotted, so getting things firmly attached is difficult. Plus, once a steer gets to a certain size, keeping them in a pasture requires a certain level of cooperation from the animal. Cooperation is not something that TBone has ever really had. I'm glad I've never had to take him to parent/teacher conference- he probably wouldn't do well with the "plays well with others" part either.

I borrowed some dog kennel panels from my neighbor to fix the section of fence that Tbone had burrowed under, as J was in Germany, and major fence repairs are more his thing than mine.

I was trying to wire them into place when I made the discovery that llamas can be very curious, and attempt to be helpful. Of course, llamas are about as helpful as toddlers during brain surgery, but it made for a very entertaining time. Here, one of the llamas is whispering sweet nothings in my ear as I worked.

Are you sure you're bending that wire properly?