- Van Wert
Diary of Cathy Minges - Week 4 - December 20-26
Monday, December 20, 2010
Allen did his barn chores before he left for work. Another cold day with a lot of snow on the ground that is not going anywhere anytime soon! I worked at the FB office. Short week for me with the holidays. Allen will finish the week on Thursday. After work Allen worked on the livestock trailer. The back doors seem a little loose and he is tightening up the bolts. Not a very easy task as the bolts are behind a welded piece with no easy access to them. I went to Harrison after work to pick up a few last minute supplies. Allen put out round bales of hay and then went to get some straw they will need for the sale next week. Wyatt is having a semi trailer haul his cattle in, we may meet the trailer north of Eaton on I-70 to put our 4 head on for the trip to Zanesville. Scott will pull a gooseneck trailer with the big supplies they will need such as: chutes, generators, blowers, space heaters, straw and hay. Allen will pull our livestock trailer with other supplies they will need. We join together with Carrie and Wyatt on supplies since we all help each other. Allen did his evening feeding and checked bedding and water. Allen and Scott will start clipping later in the week for transport on next Tuesday. It takes a good 3-4 hours or more to clip on each head, plus the calf has to be washed and blown dry thoroughly before you can clip. Clipping takes a lot of practice and patience and can be very meticulous. Allen does a little prep clipping, but Scott does the majority. A good clip job will enhance the calf and is necessity with show cattle. Wyatt was going to start his sale clipping on Sunday with all the cattle he has in the sale. Not sure if he got started, he had people looking at steers on Sunday and sold a few head. Carrie helps Wyatt clip when she can. A few years ago for her birthday he gave he a hot pink toolbox and painted all her tools and clippers hot pink for her. That is one of her favorite colors. With all of Scott's work and Allen's work week, they will probably spend a majority of the weekend clipping, along with Monday to be ready to send the cattle on Tuesday.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
More snow this morning, maybe another 2-3 inches. Allen up and fed cattle and did chores before he left for work at 6:00. I worked at the FB office. Our office is closed on Wednesday so this is the last day this week for me for the Christmas holiday! After work, Allen put out round bales for the cows, fed the calves and finished his other chores before we went Christmas shopping. He said he would finish up early so we could get a good start. Early to him was around 6:30. Grabbed a bit to eat on the way and did our one stop shopping at JC Penney. After 1 1/2 hrs we were finished and Allen hopes he doesn't see another store besides Tractor Supply for at least another year. Allen and Scott already talking about the next calf crop. Depending on how the bred heifer we have in the sale will sell, we may flush the cow for eggs. They plan ahead on how they will A/I breed a cow to what bull based on the genetics of the cow and bull. They are many things you look for and if a calf turns out really well, other advanced reproductive techniques such as flushing for more eggs to try to get the same quality calves for embryo transfers with recip cows. This can be a costly venture and we only consider this option with cows that are super-producers. Breeders will purchase their bull semen from catalogs with the genetics of the bull along with other EPD's (Expected Progeny Differences) such as: birth weight, weaning weight, yearly weight, milking ability, calving ease and other data used to make the calculations. You have to be careful breeding a heifer or small cow to bulls that produce large calves. This can cause real problems at birth in which you can loose the calf and possibly the cow or heifer.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Allen fed and did his other chores before leaving for work. This is his last full work day at his job before the holiday. He was at the Zoo again today and will return there on Jan. 3. His company is closed down for the week between Christmas and New Year. This will work out well for him with the upcoming cattle sale next week. I met Sheri to pick-up Cole for the day. I took Cole down to Ross for a haircut and we had to go to the bank. Afterwards we worked on painting ornaments that he is giving to family for the holidays. I did the usual Wednesday chores, cleaned, laundry and put our fresh Christmas greens for decorations in the house. Love the evergreen smell. After lunch we went over to visit my parents, something he loves to do and looks forward to each week. After Allen returned home from work a little later than usual, he did his feeding and other chores for the evening. Allen met Sheri to drop-off Cole and also load our semen tank in her vehicle for Scott. Sheri is finished with this semester of school so she is off work on Wednesdays a little earlier now. It weighs about 40 pounds and currently has about 100 straws of semen in the tank. The tank is filled with nitrogen gas to keep the semen froze for proper storage. A straw of semen can cost between $20 and $100, or much more, depending on the quality of the bulls. We insure the semen tank as a separate rider on our insurance policy, when it is full, you can have a lot of money at stake. I made pancakes and sausage for supper, hit the spot. Nice to be home for the evening. The cattle are all doing very well and tolerating the bitter cold weather, much better than we are.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Allen was able to sleep in a little today and got up at 6:00 to feed and do other barn chores. They have a short day at work today. He and other co-workers met down at the little restaurant in Okeana for their annual breakfast get-together before they go into work. They have a short company meeting then a catered meal before their holiday break. Allen returned home around 12:30 to head out to the barn. He put more round bales out and had to put out some more corn stalk bales for bedding. Keeping dry bedding for the cattle is always a priority. I was off today and started cleaning the house from top to bottom for Christmas Eve. Went to the grocery store early to get items for the holiday weekend. I seem to be very slow this year with my fall cleaning so have been trying to catch up the past month washing curtains, windows and scrubbing down walls and floors. Seems to be more work than usual with my hip problem. Allen worked in the barn cleaning and repairing supplies they will need for the sale next week. Allen washed the cows that will be in the sale next week. After they are washed, he uses a blower that is like a giant hair dryer and blows the cows dry. The cows hair must be clean for clipping. The sale cattle and calves are kept in pens in the show barn where the manure is cleaned each morning and evening. This helps keep the cattle clean. The vet was coming today around 4:00 to check over the sale cattle and leave the health papers needed for the sale. After the vet left, Allen put out more round bales and finished feeding the cows. Checked the waterers and tanks and picked pens in the show barn. This cold weather means busting ice in mornings and evenings in the water tanks, thank goodness we only have a few that we use now since we put in the automatic waterer. Allen in the house by 6:30, steak for dinner. Carrie called later in evening. They have been clipping on their sale cattle and have had buyers out at farm for steer calves. Something broke on their large tractor loader that they use to put out round bales, she said it was $6000 to fix it. Costly equipment repairs can really hurt!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Another cold morning. Allen up early to get his chores done before Scott comes out to clip. Allen had the cows ready for clipping when Scott arrived around 10:00. They stopped for a quick bite of lunch and clipped until about 3:00. The 2 cows are clipped and ready to go for the sale. Allen and Scott are very pleased with how they look and hopeful they sell well in the sale. My sister and family, along with Scott, Sheri and Cole are coming over for Christmas Eve. We have been following the weather all day since they were calling for snow. My sister is traveling from near Hillsboro and worried about the drive home. I cleaned and made cookies. Made all the other goodies we were having for the evening. Allen finished his chores for the day and in the house around 4:30. Had a very nice evening with family and enjoyed opening gifts and just visiting. We all enjoyed watching Cole open gifts and the expression on his face. We bought him a new coat for Christmas that has Minges Show Cattle on the back and his name on the front. He had to wear it for a while then finally decided he was getting hot and took it off. We have been showing and selling cattle as Minges Show Cattle since 1989 and our kids always enjoyed having coats with our name on it. Good advertising! We played games and everyone went home around 10:30. Roads were in good shape and we only had a dusting of snow.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Merry Christmas! Allen up early to feed. Even on holidays, the livestock is fed just like any other day and chores have to be done. Allen worked in barn for a while getting more supplies ready that will be loaded into our livestock trailer. I baked a pie that I was taking over to my parents for lunch with family. Allen finished his chores we left for my parents around noon. Like always at my parents, too much food and too many gifts! Allen left their house around 4:00 to go home and do his evening chores before we headed up to his sister's house for the Minges Christmas get-together. Carrie was not able to make it home for Christmas but we talked with her before we left for the day. They will be spending Christmas Day at the Baker family and also spending part of the day clipping cattle. Scott, Sheri and Cole came to my parents late in the afternoon after spending the day with her family. Cole fell asleep on the trip there, worn out from all the presents and excitment. They went to the Minges side and we all went home around 10:00.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Allen up early to do the feeding and put out round bales. He washed the bred heifer that will sell in the sale and blew her dry so that Scott could clip her later that morning. Bitter cold today and the wind is really whipping around. Snow blowing over the roads. Scott and Allen clipped until around 3:00. They decided to wait until Monday to clip the open heifer. After clipping, they started loading supplies on our livestock trailer. Our dog Chloe, an Australian Shepherd, is Allen's shadow when he is out doing the chores. She likes to know what is going on. We originally bought her for Scott to go with his working border collie dog Jake. She was only out at Scott's for a few months, she liked to chase birds more than anything and was a distraction for his dog. Scott's cattle dog is really something to watch. He is his right-hand man and we credit him with saving Scott from serious injury a few years ago. Scott was loading several large bulls on a trailer when one of the bulls kicked back full force as he was trying to latch the door, hitting Scott in the forehead and knocking him out. His dog kept the bulls from stepping back off the trailer onto Scott until someone could get there to get him out of the way. Scott was okay, he just had stitches all the way across his forehead. You always have to be careful around cattle, especially bulls and cows with calves. We have raised a few bulls, but generally castrate our bull calves and sell them for steers. We just don't have the facilities to accommodate bulls and I don't like them around. Allen finished his evening chores and in the house early. We had to go to Harrison and get new bulbs for the lights they will use at the sale and decided to eat while we were down there. Carrie called in the evening to say they were just returning from picking up heifers on the eastern side of Indy. They will be clipping non-stop until Tuesday morning to have all the cattle ready. Glad the weather forecast shows warmer weather on Thursday. They will have to wash, blow-dry and fit 20 head of cattle before the 1:00 PM sale, which means they will probably start around 3:00 AM or earlier.