Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Ah winter....snow, wind, cold. Hoses drained and rolled up for the season, we, unfortunately, do not have water piped to our "barn" (yet) so winter water is always somewhat of a challenge. Options include but not limited to: unrolling hoses and filling tanks every other day, then draining hoses and putting away....time consuming and not fun....putting 35 gallon water tank on back of 4wheeler, filling at faucet (if its not frozen solid) and then delivering to water tanks and draining, (do two times). Another option (desperate) is to haul 5 gallon pails from basement, out through the garage across the (icy snowy, etc) driveway and dump into water tubs (probably about 200 feet more or less). tough on the arms and usually end up wearing some of the water down the legs or in the boots....
One of the things I love about the Hereford breed is their resourcefulness and their memory, they will go look for water, and generally seem to remember where it is, even if its completely buried under the snow and or ice. So, seeing how I really don't care to haul water by any means or play around with a hundred feet of hose in freezing temperatures, I opt to walk down to the water and break the ice twice a day instead. A spring fed pond drains through our property and provides clean running water in all but the driest summer months. I would rather take a walk and hack at the ice than fool with hauling water any day. But it is interesting to see just how little water they will find in the snow, and, how they will stand and suck that moisture up until they have their fill.
It is no surprise to me this breed was often the only ones left "standing" so to speak come spring after a hard winter out on the plains and prairies. You have to love their tenacity, intelligence, and will to survive.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings!
May you be blessed with family, friends, good health and prosperity in the coming new year!
Thank you to all those who have purchased livestock from us this year. We wish you all much success in the coming new year. May your cattle be fat, healthy, and productive!
The Alu family.
Friday, November 27, 2009
One thing about all our animals here at Middleground Farm is that they are used to being handled daily. Now I know it would be a lot easier to buy a big hay feeder, dump an 800 pound bale of hay in and forget it for a week or two; but that would not help me obtain one of the objectives of having good, registered miniature livestock, and that is the daily contact I feel is critical to raising the kind of stock that I desire, and, hopefully, others will as well.
Now that's not to say the babies are halter trained from birth and will lead sweetly onto a trailer.....but they are handled from the day they are born. They are used to human contact, human voices and hands; the daily routine of being fed, people moving in and around them, water tubs being filled, barns being cleaned and bedded. Come the dead of winter, they will follow me down through the snow covered pasture to the small ice covered stream and wait to drink while I break the ice with an ax (sometimes a sledge hammer!) The girls and I have played ring toss with the cows, throwing plastic bracelets at the cows horns, and trying to see how many Barbie dolls can "ride" a cow. Are we annoying or amusing to the animals? You may have to ask them yourselves.
My daughters were quite young when we got our miniature Herefords. They were never afraid of them. They were right there in the barn with the new born calves, the unconcerned momma cows right there with them. Even the bulls were of no great concern to them as we walked the pastures to seed or tend fence.
For those of you who have purchased stock from us, I think pictures say a thousand words.....I hope everyone who has bought animals from us enjoys them as much as we have!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I like to keep my calves with their dams a minimum of 4 months. I cant remember why the number 4 was the minimum, but I am sure I read it somewhere that calves should stay with their mothers at least that long before being weaned. I amazes me how early a calf will be seen imitating its mother by nibbling grass, eating hay and drinking out of the water tubs (our tubs are quite low to the ground).
We like to "fence-line wean", which is something I learned about after our first year of bawling calves and bellowing distraught mother cows frantically looking for their "lost" calves. We separated the calves from the mothers and made sure neither could see the other. What we got was about 3 days (and nights) of almost continual calling back and forth between the cows and their calves. It got to be nerve racking, and I vowed there must be another way than to stress everyone (calves, cows, myself, my family, my neighbors,..) out every fall.
With fence-line weaning, the calves are separated from the their mothers by a fence, preferably a sturdy woven wire or board fence. They can see each other, just not get to one another. They will pace some, sniff each other, but the mothers are noticeably calmer knowing that their "babies" are not "lost", just physically "unavailable" for the time. Of course there will be calling back and forth, the cows udder will get full with no calf to nurse, and the baby may want a drink and momma, but we have found that if the calves have plenty of high quality hay and fresh water, they don't seem to really miss the milk. And as long as momma can walk up to the fence, see, smell and hear her calf, that is usually all she needs to satisfy herself, knowing her calf is safe and not missing. Usually there are several calves weaned at once, so they keep each other company as well. If you are weaning just one calf, perhaps you can put her in with an agreeable heifer to keep company with. As long as they are not alone or isolated, they will be fine. Remember cattle are herd animals and hate being separated and alone. Just watch that keep your weaning calf doesn't attempt to make the compainon animal or calf it new "momma" by attempting to nurse. I haven't had this happen, but its just good to keep an eye out for.
I would have to say this way of weaning has reduced the stress level of everyone involved by at least half, and seems to accomplish weaning in about 3 days. Everyone benefits.
One more thing we try to do is pick a nice stretch of weather when we wean. The nicer the better, one less issue to be concerned with. And of course the babies have shelter and clean bedding as well.
This does not have to be an elaborate set up, just that it gets the job done.
Keep the babies away from their mommas for several months. They will not forget each other, but the urge to nurse should be well passed by then.
Funny how the cows and calves will recognize each other, even if they have been separated in different pastures for up to a year, they still will acknowledge their calves and siblings when they see, hear and smell them. I have 3 generations from one cow and they all travel and hang together still. Its pretty neat how they know.
Friday, October 23, 2009
The cattle have all been moved over to the barn side of the property, the water tanks moved, salt and minerals as well. Snow fence stands ready to be put up in the vacated pasture.
Its nice to "button things up"; it just seems right this time of year. There is a quiet satisfaction one feels when you can spend a day preparing for the upcoming winter. The cattle look great, most bred for calving next spring and summer. Mr. Bull went to his new home this week; he loaded just as calm as can be, and I was fortunate to be able to be there when he popped out of the trailer at his new home. I figured if he heard my voice as he stepped out into unknown territory it would provide some sense of the familiar, and, he may not be quite so agitated. As it was, he walked along the new fence while I talked to him until he spotted his new "girlfriends", then, just like children I suppose, he didn't need me anymore and off he went at a gleeful (yes, gleeful) trot to greet them!
As I watched Bull frolic and kick up his heels, stretch and pose for the ladies, I realized what a magnificent animal he really is....I know now I would have regretted it if I had sent him to the local auction (market). I know he is in a good home with a caring man to look after him, and, I could not be more pleased!
Take some time whenever you can to just "kill" a few hours doing whatever it is you like to do, "putter" I call it, and in my case today that's exactly what I did, cleaned up, moved cattle, put down some pasture seed, checked all the fences, sat on a bucket in the pasture and just looked at the animals (!); put things in order, walked with the dogs and took the camera....sometimes that's all I need. No clock, no phone (well, ok, my Blackberry was with me, but surprisingly quiet!).
Nice. Just ....nice.....
Monday, October 19, 2009
"No, I am not dead, just incredibly relaxed....."
Pleased to announce that Mr. Bull will be going to a new (approved) home this week on a lease agreement; the gentleman was so impressed with the quality of Bulls calves and his demeanor that he decided to bring him up to his farm until next spring.
Well we all know it is just a matter of time, and the other morning was a subtle reminder that winter is not far away.
Now we get some pretty decent winters out here in central New York state, but luckily we are not in one of the so called "snow belts" or "lake effect " snow regions. Most of the real bad weather (you know, the stuff you hear about on the Weather Channel) seems to miss us, but we do get a good solid winter most years, and can get quite a bit of wind here as well...(enough to completely remove our barn roof in one piece!!)
I wanted to share these pictures of our autumn, as a reminder all of us that winter is just around the corner......time to take heed, gather in, button up and batten down.
Make sure you have your feed supply lined up so you wont be caught short late in the season, check your water supplies and tank heaters if you have them, stuff those cracks up in your barns, and have lots of dry bedding available for your stock.
If you have to deal with mud in your barnyards, now may be the best time to dig out the dirt, put down a load or two of cobbles or any large coarse rock, lay some landscape fabric or Geotextile over them and bring in a few loads of gravel to top it off. This will keep your animals out of the cold sloppy mud this winter and spring. We finally did this in our barnyard and lanes last fall and what a difference it has made! No more dirt and no more mud! Great for everybody; feet, hooves, and equipment. Just be sure to use a smaller size stone on the top that will not cut or hurt the soft parts of the animals feet!
More on this later.....
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The very first "barn" awaits the arrival of our miniature Herefords from Texas, October 2005.
You know, I feel so strongly about my last blog, I started searching for the book I referred to , the one with all the illustrations of barns, sheds and shelters. I recalled the last time I had it in hand was when I was drawing up the plans for our barn, which is really nothing fancy. I was looking through the book, which was a reprint from the 1880's, and was amazed at what folks did with crude implements and the very basic of materials. The herds of cattle and sheep were considered a sign of wealth back then, not unlike our cars and trucks are today. Do you have a garage for your vehicle? Where do you park your vehicle? Are your animals "parked" as well as your car? Do you have a "garage" for your livestock? The car doesn't feel the cold, snow, mud or ice, but your animals will. The car or truck will continue to depreciate day after day; your livestock should not. How do you protect your investment? Are your animals the sign of wealth they should be, even today? Are you as proud of your stock as you are of your new car or truck?
For those of you interested, I found this book still available online. I just ordered another copy, since I have yet to find mine (I may have lent it to a friend...). LeeValley Tools has the book, and you can find the original online to look through if you like. The book is: "Barn Plans and Outbuildings", first published in 1881 by Orange Judd Co. It is considered a classic, and one look though it will convince anyone it is timeless.
Our livestock 's needs haven't changed much since 1881, and this publication proves it doesn't take a fortune to house any animal comfortably and economically.
Oh, and that little "barn" pictured above:....I built it myself.
Next blog: Getting ready for winter.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Well here is a subject I cannot believe I have to touch upon, but,for those of you who read this blog on a fairly regular basis must know by now, I am pretty careful and conscientious about my livestock, and, animals in general. The way I see things, animals, like trees, are pretty dependent on what us humans determine is their lot in life. Stick a tree in a lousy spot, in a tiny hole and give it just enough water to survive, well, you get a poor tree, one that's going to just survive. Do the same thing with animals, give them just enough to tough it out and eeck out the very basics of survival, you get an animal that may survive, but will not thrive.
It still amazes me that there are people out there with the mindset that because an animal is of a certain breed or function, (beef, lets say) they are less deserving of the basic creature comforts that every living thing should be allowed. Every animal in the wild will seek shelter in a storm, be it a cave, woods, windbreak or hollow, every animal, no matter how basic it is, will seek out comfort, dry land and shelter when necessary. No animal in the wild will be covered with its own excrement, or stand for days in water, mud or its own manure. Without adequate rest and nourishment, no creature can survive very long under the constant stress and strain of having to fight the elements. To assume that any animal should do that, and, remain healthy and productive, is a fallacy.
When we as human beings domesticated livestock, it became our obligation to provide for them at least as well as they could provide for themselves if wild. To take an animal, give it no opportunity to seek shelter in a storm, or bed down somewhere safe, dry and out of the elements, is, in my eyes, criminal. If one researches old books and farm publications from the turn of the century, there are many pages and illustrations of shelters for the livestock that were out on the great plains of our nation. Simple but effective structures that offered shelter, safety and food for the herds of cattle and sheep that were kept far from any homestead. Most were simple structures built of logs and posts, covered with rough boards, earth or hay and straw, allowing the animals to find food and get out of the elements. Today, cattle out on the western plains range far and free from any man-made comforts, and, if one cares to examine the records, these same animals die by the thousands from exposure and starvation each winter. They are subject to a man induced unnatural environment where they and their offspring simply weaken and die. No animal in nature subjects itself to what us humans will subject them to, and I find that very disturbing.
Now I am not a tree-hugger, and understand that animals are here for a reason, but I also understand that it is our obligation as God given caretakers of these animals to provide for them in the best manner we possibly can. If you cannot provide for your creatures the very basic of accommodations, and that would be clean water, decent and adequate food, dry bedding, a barn or shed for them to get out of the elements and medical attention when needed, then you simply do not deserve to own them. Period.
Thrive or survive, no living creature should have to just survive. Money or ethics? I'll be adding on to my barn before I let any animal go to a buyer with no facilities to care for them properly. I know I will be able to sleep well at night, knowing my animals are safe and comfortable for the night as well.
"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast..." Prov. 12:10
Sometimes its not just about the money.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Almost every day I get up before the sun comes up, and I get to see a new day begin. Here is some of the scenery as seen from our back 20. Our property is surrounded by some of the finest farmland in New York State. We buy our hay from our neighbors who are award winning farmers. They raise corn for feed and ethanol, hay, wheat and soybeans. They companion plant their crops with red clover, which they harvest not only for hay but for seed as well. We feed our cattle their hay, which we buy in 800# bales that are delivered and slid into our barn that was designed and built specifically for that purpose. The bales are stacked and then pushed in with a hay fork (on a tractor obviously) on 4 x 4 skids that are laid out on the barn floor. Works pretty slick, and I have to admit, not throwing around all those prickly little bales all winter is kinda nice, too! Just peel and feed! We buy the clover seed from them to frost seed our pastures, and the straw we buy from them is so fine our cattle prefer eating it to sleeping on it, although they do both.
We've had some round bales delivered one year, but they were hard to store and almost impossible to feed, and I just don't see the sense in putting hay up dry only to leave it out in the weather to deteriorate and mold. But the cows loved the big round bales,(novelty item....) as they managed to tip them over and began unrolling them like big rolls of toilet paper. After the bales finally stopped,(hit a tree or the neighbors stockade fence....) the cattle proceeded to thrash the hay around with their horns, obviously enjoying themselves immensely! What a mess! So, we feed in covered feeders and consequently have no waste. With the cost of good hay, who can afford to have any of it stomped into the mud?
Enjoy your mornings!
Friday, October 2, 2009
I was out this morning taking some pictures of the youngest calves while the light was still soft. I think these are the nicest calves we've had yet here.
I have also included a picture of our new polled bull (well, new to us this past summer) who doesn't like to pose for pictures very much, but at least you can see him as well.
The first picture is of Amber, our heifer calf out of Blue, who's picture speaks for itself. Lovely and refined. The second picture is of Darby's mother and sire, Miss Piggy and Mr. Bull. You can see the tremedous thickness on both his parents: I may just keep Darby for a sire myself if he is not sold. The third picture is of Darby himself, just a little over a month old, already claiming a pile of hay as his own (just like his momma...!)
The last picture is my camera shy, but very tame Hawkeye, our up and coming herd sire. He is keeping company with the younger crowd this season, and we cannot wait to see what his calves look like next spring!
Hope you've enjoyed these pictures as much as I've enjoyed sharing them!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sometimes our cattle give us "the look". I have been trying to interpret this "look" but to no avail. Its generally a sideways stiff look.....like, "I see you, do you see me??" Not menacing, not threatening, and usually when they are just standing around waiting for something to happen...
My children give me all sorts of grief (and 'looks')about my stopping the car in the driveway, opening the windows and talking to the cattle, our pastures flank each side of our long driveway. I especially enjoy watching the cow birds (yes, that's right) walking up and down the faces of the animals, picking flies off their noses and closed eyes, backs and heads. After the birds get their fill, the wasps start buzzing around the animals flanks and legs, but not to sting; they are actually picking flies off the cows as well and carrying them off!
Now I know most everyone must think I have no life after reading this, but I actually do, really; but it is just fascinating to me how all the animals and insects serve a purpose, and serve eachother as well.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
This cows name pretty much describes her disposition....Sunny!
She is my youngest daughters favorite cow, as you can see. Sunny is also one of my favorite cows, not only for her unique bloodlines and small size, but her fertility (breeds back every time) and ability to raise an outstanding calf every year. She knows her name as well, and will come when called. My daughter is not pleased that I have Sunny offered for sale, so I hope whoever purchases Sunny gives her a good home. She is bred back to our polled bull, Hawkeye, for a due date of May 8th 2010.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I just love talking about the cattle business with others, primarily the registered miniature Hereford, which, as you all must know by now, is what I raise here on my very simple set-up I call a "farm".
Now when you come to visit, you will not find a custom barn built just for the cattle: no post and beam, no board and batten, just a simple three-sided run-in barn , painted a federal blue and sided in humble T-111. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, nothing impressive I suppose. There are no board fences, just simple woven wire and 3-strand electric on locust and cedar posts. You will not find expensive feeders, loading chutes, watering systems, no security cameras or monitoring devices for the cattle. No caretaker or hired hand keeps watch here. The pastures are frost seeded, dragged and mowed each year, the wire fences checked and tightened, repaired as needed. Every year some upgrade is added for the comfort and well-being of the cattle.
You see, what matters most of all, in any livestock operation, is ultimately, the livestock itself. By being able to identify closely with the stock you raise, one can figure out that the animals don't need impressive housing, fancy fencing and a gold-leaf farm sign. They don't care if you take out the manure with a brand new John Deere tractor or the 4-wheeler you use to mow the pastures with. The art of animal husbandry is 50% genetics, 25% providing the basic necessities, and 25% common sense. Anyone with a true concern for the well-being of animals can raise these miniature sized cattle, they are surprisingly simple to keep and care for. The return you get from having these cattle gracing your property is immeasurable, and certainly not solely monetary.
The four adult cattle pictured grazing are for sale as a group for those of you who may be interested in starting a herd of your own. They are the picture of health, quiet disposition, and would make anyone a fantastic starter herd or addition to an existing herd. Multiple animal discount most certainly applies. We are accepting deposits on 2008-2009 calves and bred heifers at this time as well. Please don't hesitate to contact us.
Thanks for visiting, check back for updates!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Here is a great idea for an instant trellis that is actually used in England on large estate gardens. Chains and ropes make wonderful supports for vines, especially vines that twine, such as grape and Virginia Creeper. The chains are inexpensive to buy, cheap to install, can be clipped anywhere and hang with a graceful drape.
We had grape and Virginia Creeper vines growing under our deck, and they were always trailing and twining their way up the railing, the stairs, etc. So instead of fighting them, I got some medium weight chain and attached it to the house on one end, and the upright support of the deck on the other end. Then, I bought 3 shorter lengths of the same chain, and some clips to attach them, and hung the smaller pieces of chain down off the one hung horizontally over the deck, sort of like a chain curtain. The bottoms of the vertical chains didn't need to be attached to anything, as they hung down slightly past the deck framing, plenty close to where the vines could be brought up to get them started up the chains.
Since we needed a little privacy behind our deck bench, this severed as a soft, light-filtering curtain as the vines grew up the chains. Some vines we allowed to cross to the chain next to it, creating a slight , woven curtain of green. The morning light illuminated the living curtain from behind, giving the whole deck area not only the privacy we desired, but the lush freshness of a living, softly swaying privacy curtain of green.
Check out these pictures, and see if there is somewhere around your house you can turn those twining vines into shade or a privacy screen for you to enjoy.
The possibilities are endless, and a whole patio or deck could be shaded this way.
In England, they use ropes and chains as swag supports for climbing roses. Honeysuckle would work nicely as well. We went with what was growing naturally, and next year I may plant a lovely Clematis to join the "curtain club" of climbers.
The best thing about this is no lumber, no nails, screws, sawing. Just measure your distances, go to the hardware store, get some chain, clips, and you are good to go!
Just one little thing; make sure your chain is attached to something secure so your beautiful living trellis doesn't pull your siding off, or break a too light chain. My chain had a 220# load rating, so it should hold grape vine with ease.
Monday, August 24, 2009
So we have this pile of composting manure out back behind the neighbors fence (I did say composting, which means no odor) and that is also where we buried the little calf that we lost this spring, and buried our pumpkins from last Halloween there as well. Of course everyone knows the best stuff grows when you don't pay any mind to what is going on; meaning, I have seen the best pumpkins growing out of waste piles in many a field.
So our pumpkins were incredible as you can imagine; huge leaves, long vines, and the beginnings of some pretty good sized pumpkins! This is where we also take our kitchen scraps to compost away through the winter. The pumpkins were coming along beautifully, and I was wondering if we may have too many for just our family alone.
Well, wonder no more! When I went to take the scraps to the pile, it looked a little barren as I approached. As I swung one leg and then the other over the single electric wire fence, I realized that the entire pumpkin "pile" was missing. Gone. Zip, zilch, nadda, MIA. Simply not there. Your kidding, right? No. All that was left was a few shriveled traces of vine, a couple of thick pumpkin top stems, a piece of forgotten yellowed pumpkin, a scattering of seeds. Bees had taken up in a hole in the center of the pile. My beautiful lush wild pile of pumpkins was gone forever!!!
Moral of this story: don't count your pumpkins before you actually get them out of the field. Apparently others had been eyeing them as well.
And here I was, wondering "what the heck are those cattle doing back there by the fence for so long?", and "gosh don't the animals look good for this time of year!"
Yes they do, yes,.. they do.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Yes, here they are. My very first and definitely the best mature miniature Hereford cows I own. I simply do not have the room (or help) to keep all these guys, so I have decided to part with my three foundation cows, along with the herd sire if anyone wants him as part of the package. I am willing to do a very good deal on these cattle, as stated before, there is simply no room in the barn. All the cows have had 3 calves so far, no health problems, no calving problems, and no personality issues. Each one is from a distinctly different bloodline, some which have almost vanished. These are the cattle I chose to start my herd with, and have never regretted the decision. Out of these animals I have had 8 healthy calves born, so they have more than paid for themselves. They have many more productive years ahead of them with proper care.
I would hope that who ever buys them takes really good care of them.
They are registered with the AHA, and would produce small, correct registered breeding or show / 4-H animals, or grass fed beef stock, or excellent cross-breeding stock with a smaller, more efficient frame size.
They each have a calf at their side, which may be included if desired. At least one of the them has been bred to our registered polled bull, and the other two are currently pastured with him as well.
This package could be
*** just 3 (bred) cows, or,
*** 3 (bred) cows with calves, or,
*** 3 cows with bull.
I would prefer to sell them together, as that way I can offer the best price. I really have no room for them this winter, otherwise I would not be selling them.
Please take a look, see if its time for you to take control over your investments and begin living with the security of owning and growing your own food as well.
Please contact me directly for more information.
These will be listed on the sale barn as soon as I get the info sent over to my web-site manager, and will have AHA pedigree links, etc included.
Thanks for looking !
Monday, August 3, 2009
Well, here it is. I have decided to place my beloved cattle up for sale as two separate packages for anyone looking to start their own herd of exceptional registered Texas miniature Herefords.
In tough economic times such as these, there is no better investment than livestock that reproduces yearly with minimal upkeep and produces a very basic human necessity; food.
It is difficult to be the sole caretaker for a herd of cattle, no matter how small they may be; but with my additional other obligations, choices have to be made.
So here for anyones consideration is what I have available, and I have packaged them by price and age groups. Please contact me directly if anyone is interested. Again, these are the pick of the herd; there are no cull cows here, and the oldest cow I own is just 5. All are grass fed, handled daily, no chemicals, hormones, etc.
Keep in mind, these are registered cattle, please, if you are not familiar with registered purebred cattle sales and pricing, I do encourage you to check out other web-sites and sales to compare pricing. The animals will be offered at very fair prices, but will not sell to simply "move them out."
3 cows, frames 000-0, two are 4, one is 5. All excellent mothers, all have had 3 beautiful calves each so far. Would be a great start at the best price. All hand tame. Can be combined with their 2009 summer calves at side. Could include our herd sire if interested if still available
5 young animals, consists of one 2 year old, the rest yearling 2008 heifers (3) of exceptional quality... I expect them to be frame 00-000 or smaller. They are with a fine registered polled bull presently who would go with them as a package.
Lots of pictures available , please contact me for pricing.....serious interested parties only, please.
I will continue to write the cattle corner as long as there are cattle in my world!!
Friday, July 31, 2009
At the cross roads once again, looking this way and that way, not sure what direction to pursue. I am open to any offers if someone wants to start a real nice herd of mini's, as every one of these animals is a keeper, a foundation to build on. A nice mix of bloodlines, the culling has already been done. Maybe I will keep 2 or 3 heifers, maybe not. I tell myself I can always buy again....
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Ever since I was 18 I have been smitten with cows. I was never raised on a farm, and didn't grow up in farm country; quite the contrary, I grew up in the northern suburbs of New Jersey, not 50 miles from the Big Apple.
So what happened?
Back to the land is what happened, and I happened to have some friends who went right there, there being a small farm in north central Pennsylvania. Which didn't have cows, but was right next door to a farm that did. The rest, they say, is history.
I have always loved the outdoors, the changing seasons, the planting and the harvest, the ebb and flow of nature. The satisfaction of looking back after a days work and seeing the results, a new fence, a garden, a field freshly plowed or hay stacked high in the barn before a rain; witnessing a newborn calf struggle to its feet for the very first time.
That was quite a few years ago, but the feelings and connection and satisfaction has not changed over the years.
I owned a small herd of registered Holsteins, and ran my own small dairy. It was a simple set up, but profitable. I drank the milk fresh from the bulk tank, made butter and real buttermilk pancakes. The cows went out every day, every season. They had fresh quality feed, and clean dry bedding. They were well looked after, and in return gave me milk to sell and calves to add to the herd or sell as registered stock.
After 4 years my partner in the business decided he had had enough of milking and cows in general, and we auctioned our little herd off to the highest bidder. The money from the sale of the stock allowed me to pursue my painting, drawing and writing for several years.
Fast forward to 2005. A small run in barn is built, locusts posts pounded in, wire fence in place. A gooseneck trailer with Oklahoma tags pulls in after dark carrying 4 miniature Herefords from west Texas.
It seems that 4 years may well be the lifespan of my cattle endeavors, and history seems poised to repeat itself once again. I walk among my growing flock of registered miniature Herefords daily, thrilled with the quality of the first calves born and excited that next spring they would be calving, carefully tending them 365 days of the year, hauling hay and hauling water, fixing fence and building more..once again realizing this is my dream, and mine alone.