- Van Wert
Diary of Cathy Minges - Week 2 - December 6-12
Monday, December 6
Allen fed before work, picked pens and checked the water for all the cattle. It is really cold out there and need to make sure all the cattle have what they need. Allen headed off to work, they are doing a drilling job at the Cincinnati Zoo. After work, Allen picked pens and fed all the cattle. Went down to pasture to check on cattle, fill up the water tanks and to make sure all is well. After the big weekend and all day out in the cold, he was in the house much earlier than the past few weeks. I worked today at the Farm Bureau office. Lots of activities going on with Farm Bureau and the majority of our membership renewals are coming in. We have over 4,000 members in Butler County and work hard to be the "Voice of Agriculture" for our members. Had to take my car to auto repair place in Harrison; we were rear-ended a few weeks ago while stopped at a red light and my car will be in the shop this week. Grateful no one was hurt, but that is the 9th time I have been hit! Carrie called tonight… all of her eggs were frozen and she had to throw them out. This will be her first winter with chickens. She thought last spring when she got the 25 chicks that it would be fun to raise them and sell the brown eggs to earn extra money. She sells the eggs to neighbors and to other teachers at her school. Right now I think she has a whole lot more money in the feed than she is making from the eggs! With the high price of corn, it's great when you are on the selling end but when you raise livestock and buy feed or use your own corn for your feed that sure does narrow your profit margin when corn is around $5 a bushel. For livestock producers, this makes a big difference when you feed a lot of animals.
Tuesday, December 7
Allen did his usual chores this morning before work. Boy is it cold out there today and it is not even winter yet! I worked at the Farm Bureau office. After work, Allen put out round bales of hay for the cattle at our place and hauled a round bale down to the pasture below. Had to break ice for cattle in the pasture. Seems way too early to be doing that! Checked bedding for cattle at home and cleaned pens. Finished feeding and in the house and out of the cold. He works all day out in the cold and once he is inside, eats and takes a shower, he will be out like a light in the warm house. Called from the auto body shop, car worse than they thought once they got inside, won't be ready until next week. Starting to like the Impala that I am driving from the rental car place. We have a beautiful blue roam heifer that we are feeding out. Unfortunately when cows have twins, a heifer calf born with a bull calf, will usually not breed or is infertile. The female has about a 96 percent chance they will not breed and are called a "freemartin". We had this heifer checked, a simple process of drawing blood and sending off to a lab for processing. It is really nice to have a daughter-in-law that is a vet-tech! Bad news for us, she is part of that 96 percent. We would have been able to sell her for a very good price if she had been able to breed. Now we are keeping her to butcher this spring.
Wednesday, December 8
Another cold morning to start another cold day. Allen did his usual chores this morning before work. Takes a little longer with the below freezing temperatures, need to make sure any ice in the tanks is broken and the waterer working properly. Cattle fairing well in the cold. I did not have Cole today since he was up all night with a stomach bug. Told Sheri I could come out later around 4 p.m. if she had to go into work while Scott finished his chores. Decided to take advantage of the day and do some much needed Christmas shopping. Got home around 3:45 then off to Scott's to watch Cole. After work Allen went down to check cattle on the pasture. They are doing well, plenty of hay and water for them. Allen fed cattle at home then cleaned pens and scraped up some manure. There is one thing for sure with cattle, they eat a lot and you have a lot of manure. Allen will haul manure in the next week or so; we spread the manure on our fields for fertilizer. Allen finished up his evening chores and started supper for me. I had pork chops laid out and he cooked them and put in the oven with a mushroom gravy. When I got home I finished up supper and I have to admit, his pork chops were really good. Phone calls tonight from people seeking a steer calf. The last of them went over the weekend.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Fed cattle this morning before work and cleaned pens. Busted ice on water tanks and off to work. After work Allen cleaned pens and fed before he left with Scott to clip out a steer that Carrie's husband Wyatt sold to a 4-H exhibitor in Butler County who will be showing in Columbus this weekend. I worked at the Farm Bureau office. Coming from Indiana, Wyatt thinks the Ohio Cattlemen's BEST program is a real asset for improving showmanship skills for an exhibitor. They do not have this program in Indiana and he thinks you can really tell a difference. Showmanship skills come from hard work with your animal. We are very proud of the exhibitors we have sold calves to in the county. Most of them are very good showman and you can sure tell who they are when they are in the show ring. In the BEST program, 4-H or FFA exhibitors will not only show in which the quality of the calf is the main concentration of the steer or heifer shows, but they also sponsor a showmanship show where these kids are judged on their abilities to show the cattle. In our opinion, we would like to see all youth exhibitors participate in showmanship. Just like knowing how to feed and provide the care for your calf, grooming and showing the calf is a big part of your 4-H or FFA project. Several youth from Butler County are participating in the program this year. We look forward to following their success throughout the winter and spring. Our kids participated in showmanship at the county and state level and did very well. Our daughter Carrie won the BEST program Champion Crossbred heifer in 2001 with a heifer we raised named "Valerie". She also finished 2nd in senior showmanship. This was the 2nd year of the program and the rules for attendance at the shows was much more demanding than the program is now. This was the only year that we participated in the BEST program.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Allen fed cattle this morning before work, cleaned pens and checked the waterer and water tanks. We use mulch in the show barn, where we keep our calves that we are selling, for bedding. Keeping the pens cleaned morning and evening keeps the mulch in good shape. I had a Dr. appointment this morning and found out some bad news. I have had a problem with my hip since Labor Day and just had a MRI to see if they could figure out what was wrong. I have a stress fracture in my right hip and now using a crutch to get around. Need to get this healed up and not cause any more injury. I won't be much help for a while. Went to work at the Farm Bureau office after finding some crutches. Allen put out round bales of hay after work and did his usual chores. The round baler we use to bale the hay and corn stalks wraps the bales with netting before they are released out of the baler. We had a twine baler and eventually bought the net wrapping baler, which helps reduce weather related spoilage to the bales and keeps the nutrition value of the hay at a higher quality. The wrapping covers the full width of the bale and is easier to remove from the bale than twine. We just don't have enough barn space to keep 300 round bales inside. He scrapped manure off the concrete where they cows are and checked the bedding in the barns. He finished putting up our outdoor Christmas decorations while the weather was not so frigid. I gave more instructions, rather than help. Took hay down to cattle on pasture and checked the water tanks. All the cattle doing well. Went to Harrison for pizza as a late supper!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Allen was up early to feed and finish his usual morning chores. Allen and Scott left at 5:30 this morning for Columbus for the AGR cattle show. Carrie and her husband had drove in the night before so they could fit the cattle they had sold that will be showing here. Show started at 8 a.m. so they were in a hurry to get there. Scott helped fit cattle all day as Allen helped where he could, watched the show and visited with old cattle acquaintances. The cattle did fairly well in the shows. I was going to go to the show with them but decided against it with the hip situation. I ventured out in the afternoon to visit my parents. Their farm is on the next road over from us. Allen and Scott left Columbus around 4 p.m. and were home a little after 6 p.m. Allen did his evening chores and was in the house by 7:30 pm. With the bad weather they were predicting coming in Saturday night, Carrie and Wyatt made the 4 1/2 hr drive home after the show. They made it home with no problems.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Allen up early to get cattle fed, pens cleaned and check water. Bringing cattle home from pasture below this morning and had to do some rearranging in the barns and lots. With the three steers gone, it opens up another lot for cattle. We still have the four head separated that will sell in a sale later this month, but all the other cows will be together until they start calving in February. As the cows calve, Allen moves the mother and calf into a different pen until the calf is a few days old. Allen builds a pen in a warm spot in the barn where the calves can go without their mothers. We've done this for years and the calves do very well. Almost all of the calves will spend a lot of time in this area and even sleep in here with their mothers nearby. They can come and go as they please. With all the cows together, we don't want to take a chance of a calf being stepped on. I enjoy watching them as they run around and play together. They all have different personalities. It is an exciting time when the cows have their calves. We almost always have a set of twins, we'll see this year! Allen starts the new calves on hay and grain within a few weeks of birth. Allen moved the trailer and water tanks home first. Had some calls on the sale cattle in the Holiday Classic sale later this month.
We had a light dusting of snow on what was left from last weekend, but the roads were not too bad. After he brought home the flat bed trailer, he hooked up the livestock trailer to haul the cows home in. He had to do a little unloading to make room in the trailer for all the cows. I usually help him get the cows home but he was on his own yesterday. Didn't think I could do much in the snow on a hilly pasture with a crutch. He got the cows home and unloaded, roads were getting a little slippery. He had a little trouble sliding on the way home. Decided to cancel dinner later with my sister and her family from Lynchburg, we'll try to get together some other time. Made a big pot of chili, soup always sounds good in cold weather! Allen finished up a few things outside before he came in for lunch and the afternoon. Watched the Bengals, not sure why, then did his evening chores and and in the house for the night. Watched the final for the Amazing Race and headed to bed wondering what we would wake up to on Monday morning.