It's been a long time since Bruce has not fed out his calves to market weight but this was looking like a year to sell them early. Last year was record high prices for beef, if you were buying beef, this is not news to you.
But as with everything, what goes up, must come down and when the prices fell, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from anyone stuck with a feed yard full of high priced cattle that aren't going to fetch the high prices. Bruce said it looked like he could get as much for his calves now as he would this summer after feeding them out.
To be able to sell the calves on a special 'Green Tag Sale' the calves have to have certain shots and pre-conditioning so on Nov 25, after having to postpone twice because of bad weather, we worked the calves.
Nathaniel, working the controls on the fancy hydraulic chute and Clayton, the vet, work in a well rehearsed dance as the calves are run through.
Bruce is called in for some repair work and luckily we have lots and lots of baling wire. A farm can't run without baling wire and duct tape and now they have really cool duct tape colors.
Big Bad Jon arrives with his 'cattle cane', prod them from a distance that won't get you kicked.
#32 is sporting the green ear tag that tells a future buyer he is good to go. He's not happy with the implant in his ear but I can't blame him.
This is one of our future cows getting her new 'Big Cow Ear Tag', she isn't happy about that either, she just doesn't realize that she is one of the lucky ones who may live here for the next 15 or 20 years, raising calves.
15 or 20 years?? Yikes! Will Bruce and I still be raising calves when we are in our 80's?? Scary thought.
Whenever we are working the cattle, Louie and Baby Bull get wound up and try to prove who is the toughest.
Baby Bull definitely won the dirty face contest.
I think I won the dirty boots contest, who would do this to a cute pair of pink boots?
We are on the home stretch when Roger and Jon bring in the cows for their round of shots so they will have healthy babies.
And then the payoff, pecan caramel rolls and pop and the guys give them thumbs up.
Fast forward to Feb 10, the green tag sale at Sheldon and we had two loads to haul so drove a bunch in the barn where we load out.
Take 28 frisky calves, throw in some snow and cold weather, sort off 6 to stay home and it was a rodeo. We finally got 14 sorted off, 11 went down the alley into the trailer and the last 3 gave us the run-around. Soon the 11 came back down the alley to find out what the hold up was.
"Hey guys, we need to get on the road!"
We went to plan B where I got the other cattle prod and took up a position behind a wall in the alley to cover the door of the trailer. Bruce convinced most of the herd to, once again, head down the alley into the trailer, I counted 10. I guarded the gate, if they came near the open hole, I touched the prod to the metal and it zapped, getting the bovines attention so they backed away from the door. Pretty soon Bruce sent 3 more down the alley, 13, we were getting close. While he was attempting to drive a really ornery one, another ran by and down the alley, the renegade decided he didn't want to be left behind and Bruce was happy to slam the trailer door on 15 head.
The weather wasn't the best, snow and slick roads made for a slow trip up and back, the second batch loaded much better but we didn't get home till after dark, relieved that the job was done. Bruce won't know what to do with all his free time, this summer he will be able to go fishing and I will be off the hook to feed cattle.
Life is good!