I was reading over some of my favorite fellow “farm bloggers” blogs earlier today, and noticed a common theme.. They all seemed to quit posting (or at least slow way down in posting) in about May or June.
This made me feel a little better, considering I haven’t been posting at all on PGC recently! I have several reasons I could give you, but you haven’t come here to hear my excuses, so I’ll just say that I’m back and ready to start sharing again and that I’m so glad you stuck around!!
About a week ago, I got to hitch a ride out to the Flint Hills, to “help” check cattle again!
We’d drive up to them in the pasture, try to split the group roughly in half, and then we’d each count however many were on our side of the truck.
After we got through counting them a couple of times (to make sure we got them all), we’d drive through again and look for any that were limping or had any sort of injury or problem. I think we only found a couple with little issues out of three big pastures!
My favorite part was getting to watch the cattle wading through the pond. It was hot out and they’d found a cool place to hang out at. So why would they want to move?? They didn’t! But a couple of little clumps of mud thrown near their back ends and they trotted right out of the water!
After we counted and checked the cattle, we’d go fill up the mineral feeders with more mineral if they needed it. Mineral contains a mixture of a lot of different things that I can’t quite understand, but to put it simply, it helps keep them healthy and growing.
Some of the goodies you’ll find in it include: Sodium, vitamin E, vitamin D, zinc, manganese, copper, vitamin A, three different types of calcium, salts, magnesium, chloride, molasses, potassium, and some other yummy things they slick right up!
Wouldn’t you just love a spoonful or two of the stuff??
In one of the pastures, I made the mistake of getting out of the pick-up while the guys were filling the mineral feeder.. As soon as they finished, they took one look at each other, ran to the front and jumped in. I was at least proud of myself that I had the presence of mind to jump in the bed before they took off!
So I got to enjoy a bit of a bumpy ride across the pasture, to the gate, while trying not to slide off of the pile of mineral sacks.. Believe it or not, it was actually one of my most favorite parts of the trip!
Another fun thing that I got to be a part of recently was hauling manure.. It really isn’t as bad (or stinky) as it sounds!
There were several cattle pens that needed cleaned out that day, so everyone piled into their appropriate piece of machinery for the afternoon, and we headed back out to where the bossies (bovine) were.
The wheel loader would load up our manure spreader until we were heaped up with what reminded me of crushed Oreo-like stuff, and off we’d go to whatever field we happened to be spreading on at the time.
(On a side note, “bossies” or “boss” is a relatively old term used to refer to cattle. My grandpa and dad will still call their calves by it, but it’s not too commonly heard anymore. The Latin word for an ox or cow is bos, so maybe that’s how someone came up with the idea of calling their cattle bossy!)
Unfortunately, I didn’t plan to do a blog post on hauling manure, and so forgot to snap a picture of the manure spreader.. But here you can see what I got to watch for most of that afternoon! A beautiful blue sky, green little bean rows, and then these big, flat fields you could look over for miles.
A few of the reasons that farmers haul manure out of their cattle pens (once or twice a year) include:
- It keeps the cattle pens clean, which helps keep them free of disease, flies and maggots. This in turn helps to keep the cattle strong and healthy.
- Cleaning the pens out also helps to keep them cooler during these hot Kansas summers. Manure soaks up sun, which can make it a whole lot hotter in those pens throughout the day. (Imagine having a heater on the bottom side of your belly, during a 100 degree day.)
Manure from the pens is also good for the fields, as it’s one of the best forms of fertilizer you’ll find and it will help to bring up the organic matter in the field too. (Plus, it’s cheap and you already have it on hand if you have cattle!)
Boy.. I’m getting tired just thinking bout all of that! Now I don’t know about you, but one of my most favorite things to do at the of the day is to go for an evening ride at about 8 o’clock.. The sun is starting to get pretty low, the breeze is about perfect, it’s not too hot, and it’s right before you go in for the evening.
So that’s exactly what my lil’ sister and I do! We go out, find the horse, and saddle him up. Then we get the pleasure of going for a quick ride! It was getting closer to dark when we were both out by his pen one evening, and I got the chance to snap this picture. She’s already asked for a print of this for her birthday!
So I hope this post finds you well and I’m so glad to be back and a part of the blogosphere.. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed writing and sharing with you all over the summer until my fingers hit the keyboard!