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Farm Tales

Adventures with Minnie

Posted by MaryAnn the FarmWife on March 11, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Minerva (aka Minnie Moo) is six months old and now big enough to go play with the big cows. She has been bunking with Maybelline since she was two days old and needed a step mom. She was never halter trained because she was not going top be a dairy cow like Maybelline. Nor was she ever going to need to be led by a halter. She was going to be one of the beefers. This is a photo of tiny Minnie Moo. She isn't so tiny anymore and Maybelline thinks she should mooooove out.

So here go John and myself, the ever intrepid fools that we are out to the barn with a heavy leash. Not too bad, slipped it over her head rather easily. Okay, we got a hold of her, went out the doors sort of walking her, got her to the big kids barn, in the front door and down the chute. Minnie then went in with the big cows. Not so bad. No one was really being too mean to her, just nosing her around a bit. Good. Of course no camera in my pocket.

Then she started to cry. I went to Maybelline's barn and finished feeding Maybell. Peaceful. John starts yelling to shut the gates! Minnie was coming back 'home' to Maybelline...It was rather easy to herd her home...she wanted to be with her 'mom'. This is not going to be fun. It's bad enough we have boomerang kids, but boomerang calves too?

A Cock and Bull Story

Posted by MaryAnn the FarmWife on March 9, 2013 at 11:15 AM

This is a story about our first bull. He name was Porterhouse. An absolutely gorgeous animal, whose name fit him well. A handsome, tender sort of bull. Lovely to look at and admire. He was a huge Hereford bull, purebred with horns no less. Yes, I said horns. Now most bulls around here are polled and don't have horns, but we, being the newbies and uninitiated in the local area, were fools. So yes, we had this 2800 pound beast with horns. Well he started out small. Just a bullcalf when we got him. John spent a lot of time with him, being that he was one of our first beef stock purchases. Well, not the first. There was T-bone first. But that is another story. And then there was Noelle, and a few others. We were quite new at this for a long time. Longer and more foolish than we care to admit. But this is a story about Porterhouse when he was about 4 years old.

 We live on this diverse little farm. Organic heaven as it may be. Natural springs, lots of trees, the worst soil in the area, and lots of diversity. Big sigh. One of our diverse features are the chickens. Lots of chickens. All kinds of chickens. We have a couple hundred laying hens, raise a few hundred chickens for well, eating chicken, and then there are the bantams.

 The bantams started out as a novelty because John thought they were pretty or cute. He ordered a couple dozen assorted fancy birds...not sexed either. So we had these chickens that eventually became our wild chickens. They are everywhere. They roost over twenty feet up in the rafters in the barns. They scavenge across the street in the neighbors yards looking for bugs. They are everywhere. They fly pretty well for chickens too. They have crossbred and rebred and hatch chicks all over the place. They steal my strawberries. They poop on the porches and swipe catfood when they can. You can tell how happy I am with these chickens. They do eat bugs though. They eat ticks. They have entertainment value. They just poop though. All over the place. So I don't really love them.

 The other problem is that they fight. The roosters can get going and there are sometimes spats all over the place. Well a few years back there was a lot of fighting going on. I had one I called Rocky. He was just plain punch drunk. Always picking a fight. I used to carry a handful of rocks in my pockets to throw at him to break up the fights. Hence, Rocky.

 But this isn't about Rocky. There was this other rooster. Smallish and not too aggressive. He never got a name because he wasn't remarkable in any way. He was getting beat up regularly by the gang of roosters. This poor little rooster was half dead. Beaten up and bleeding. It had gotten worse and worse. And we couldn't stop it.

They were attacking him mercilessly one day, and before we could get there to save what was left of the poor thing, the world changed. For some unknown reason, Porter took a stand. A huge bull against a gang of roosters. He saved that poor little bird. Nearly stomped the others to death, including good old Rocky.

That little bird became his pet. He would ride around on his back, roost at night on top of him, and peck the feed around Porters huge muzzle. Did I mention how big this bull was? His horns were about four feet side to side, and his head was about two feet across the top. He had a little 2 ½ pound chicken for a pet. No other rooster ever bothered that little guy again. I never gave him a name, he was just Porter's chicken. I really wish I had thought to get pictures, but of course I didn't. Sigh. Remind me to always keep the camera in my pocket.