Saturday, December 19, 2009

Heat wave

Wow, what a change from last week, twenty one degrees and sunny. We sure had a blast last week with the below weather temperatures. When you look back 3 weeks ago and we had nearly 50 out and then last week we had -15 it sure gets tough to swallow. Now when it is 90 out this summer 21 will feel like then end of the world. Tomorrow I have got the get the fence fixed. The Southeast quarter is not working. Our new gate we installed needs to be crossed and the wiring hooked back up. Fortunately this fall we buried the wire, now all we have to do is hook it up. We have had one heifer calf who figured out that the fence is not working. She has since made the barn her home, roaming about freely. Good thing it is not summer for she would be busy mowing the bushes down. Won't it be a surprise tomorrow when that fence comes back on.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Brought home 61 bales yesterday to get us through the winter. It is amazing when you start pulling apart the start that the ground underneath is still completely thawn. Imagine the surprise of those mice, all nice and snug in their beds and rudely awakened by us! My son Hunter was the first to see the mice, "look that mouse just crawled into that hole." Sure enough before we knew it that were dropping out everywhere. This continued even when we got home. Our oldest dog daisy was having a great time catching them and eating them. Disappointed, where was our cat? Maybe he is too well fed or too lazy! We were in a hurry yesterday so in front of the hay shed is one jumbled mess. Getting up early this morning to get it straightened out. Maybe Daisy will catch us a few more mice.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Calf

Wow, it is really winter out now! It was 4 degrees yesterday and with the windshield we had 14 below. It won't seem cold in two months, but when it was 40 and 50 out two weeks ago it is tough to get used to. We had our last calf of the season on Monday. Our oldest cow, "old girl" had her calf. We try to calve in the spring and fall in order to have fresh beef available year round for our customers. She hung out there a little too long. Fortunately the calf was born before we got the snow this week. Once they hit the ground and dry off they can take most anything. What a cruel world. You are nice and warm in a pool of water at 101 degrees, sort of like a nice whirlpool bath, then you get dumped out into the snow at 4 degrees and now how to learn to walk within a matter of minutes! Amazing they can survive. We as humans, even as adults at times, can barely take care of ourselve. Here they are, 1 hr old and running around and taking care of themselves! A real testament to how hardy the Highlander Cattle are.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Had the inlaws over yesterday. As long as the Vikings are not playing they are usually over on Sunday's. Got the father in-law out there to help me tattoo a pure bred heifer calf. To tattoo a cow you take this mean looking pliers and insert the numbers and or letters into the unit. The ear is then cleaned out and a tattoo ink is applied. While trying to hold the calf down you grease up the ear real good with the ink and get ready with the pliers. The real trouble is that our association uses 6 letters and or numbers and my pliers only holds 5. This requires you to perform the procedure twice. Once you have the ear preped then you takes this mean and now pokey pliers and clamp down nice and hard on the ear. You do this all the while not trying to either tear the ear or poke through the ear. Once you make the holes you fill them up with ink and you should be good to go. That is easy to say! Try tattooing a squirming calf's 5 inch ear with 4 1/2 inches of tattoo. You have to be pretty good in your aim!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Wow, what a busy couple of weeks. We were seen at two events in the lakes area. The first was the showing of the movie "food incorporated." The movie is a documentary of how the growing of food and the processing of food has changed so much in this country in this past century. It was SCARY to say the least.
It was an amazing testimony of how we DON'T grow our beef. From the feed lot to the factory our animals NEVER experience those sort of conditions. We prefer to offer you safe food that is NOT factory fresh. Rather it is farm fresh.

Our second event from these past weeks was serving hors samples at an annual fund raiser called "Taste of the Lakes". It is an annual event that raises money for Kinship Partners. A big brother, big sister mentoring program.
We handed out samples of ALL beef nitrate free wieners to the 350 or so gathered. The response was overwhelming. "This tastes so good and it is good for me?" "YES it is!" "Lower in fact and cholesterol than turkey or chicken."

It was great letting people know that there are still people out there who can provide fresh and SAFE food for you and your family.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hand fed

We penned up one of our cows on Sunday. She is our best looking cow, all burly and black with a nice set of horns. She is on her third calf with us. The first one died a few weeks after birth, not sure why. It was as if it was stunted and just woudl not eat. We speculated that she had been accidentally bred by a sibling before we got her. Her second calf came out fine but then also did not grow. We still have the calf and think it could pass for a miniture. She has since had her third calf. A nice black heifer calf. We had been worried about it's growth and thought that maybe it was not getting enough milk. So we penned the two of them up in order to supplement bottle feed the calf. This was no easy task for she is one fierce momma. Last year when I attempted to inspect her calf she came after me. It was not a very funny sight. I used the calf as a shield between she and I but as soon as that calf wiggled free she came right after me. I did my best judo defense as she backed me into a corner with horns a shaking and snot a flying out of her nose. All I could do was throw my feet up between she and I. The only thing behind me was the water tank which she quickly pushed me into and through and over. When it was all said and done I ended up about six feet further back then when it started!

Well, we tried to feed the calf, with her trying to maime me the whole time. Luckiily for me we had an extra corral panel to protect me from her. For three days we tried force feeding the calf, the calf was having none of it. So much for it not getting enough milk. After a few chewed on fingers and most of the milk down my pant leg I am about ready to give up on the idea. Let's hope this one grows up otherwise we will have our start on a herd of mini's!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It is a ringer.

Decided to haul a few bale rings out onto the field Monday. The one ring is really big, too big, 9 feet in diameter and hard to handle. I normally move it with the skidloader. I had just dropped a big round bale down and was carefully moving the bale ring into position. One last adjustment and we should be good... That was until the ring decided to drop backwards instead of forward. It dropped backwards completely encircling the loader. If we were playing horse shoes this would have been a ringer! How in the heck was I going to get this thing off of the loader? Not only had it encircled the loader it was wedged nice and tight against the tires. Maybe I should take it apart? A quick jaunt to the garage and I proceeded to take the thing apart. Of course, all of the bolts would not budge. What was next? Well, I was running out of daylight and decided that F it, I was going to get the adrenaline pumping and lift that thing off! After much effort and cussing, I did it! I had "freed" myself. Now not to do that again!

This is the end

16 degrees this morning. I am hoping for some thawing weather this week. The ruts up in the mud by the barn are horrible. I think that if my children were to walk in them they couldn't see over the top. It is amazing how the ground freezing changes everything. What was once a deep puddle is now a small pond. We are going to try and move a fence this weekend, let's hope the weather holds. Pounding fence posts in the frozen ground is not real fun.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Harvest Day

Tomorrow three more steers are going to be harvested. It has been a good fall. Even with the economy down people are still willing to take care of their health and support their local farmer. It is hard to believe it has already been two years since those steers were born. If we cheated and filled them full of steroids and growth hormones we could get it done in 14 months, but why? I don't want to eat a cow that is on roids, do you? That rare steak might go on a rage and take that knife after you. Not going there.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Harvest Time

What a great two weeks it has been, we harvested 7 steers. After 2 years of good grass and lots of water and minerals they were ready to go. We are not only excited for the return on our investment, but the fact that more families in our local area are getting the chance to experience truly wholesome food. Unlike "factory fresh" beef ours is not a culumination of 150 animals in a grinder. The burger you get is from ONE animal. With 25% of all livestock being lame before it is slaughtered, do you really know what you are eating? Add to this the nitrates that are pumped into the sausage and hot dogs that you and your kids eat and ick. It is just not right that they can keep meat un-refrigated on the store shelves for months. I guess if we all eat enough of it they will not have to use formaldahyde on me when I die.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Well yesterday day was not much fun. Have I told you how much I dislike electric fences? We had 10 steers "escape" out of the pasture yesterday, why? The fence was not working. There is a short SOMEWHERE. When you have miles of fence somewhere could be ANYWHERE! Well, after walking around for an hour I found a few trouble spots, but not the main spot. More investigating again today. It is much easier to find a broken wire in the light, in the dark with a flashlight just does not cut it. Our next fences will be barbed wire, it ALWAYS work. Time to go home and look for more breaks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life Lesson

Well the week started out great. Helper Ricky and I visited the SEP office for an update. They are the one's that help pay for Ricky's training. It is actually more training for me in dealing with young people that are on the verge of greatness or failure. It is a real brass tacks program that helps youth in the community with job training opportunities. He has been teetering on the edge of not such greatness. Lot's of half truths and a pretty negative attitude lately prompted me to set up the meeting. Ricky has aspirations of making it into the military, unfortunately you have to pass certain tests to make it and he hadn't to date. It was a combination of a lack of studying and a lack of discipline. I know how hard studying is by yourself. Thank goodness for Twyla, she suggested the Adult Basic Education center. They would help him pass his test and realize his goals. Well, he went the first day and hopefully again today. I can just hear it now.. Your in the Army now!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Sunday was a busy day. We spent the morning rounding up the last of our cows to come home. Friend Jim Cole takes care of a few of our cows for the summer in Pillager. The always come back SO FAT! Testament to some personal care and plenty of good grass. Wife Chris and I got them loaded in record time, 40 minutes. Great, we are ahead of schedule. So, we stopped for some lunch at the cafe 3 miles down the road. Why does the trailer feel sort of weird behind us? Could it have something to do with smoke POURING out of the rear axle? Yep, looks as if our borrowed trailer needs a wheel bearing pack or actually some new bearings. Fortunately we caught it in time. The bearing got hot, but did not completely blow up. Jim was kind of enough to come back and help me out. A quick trip to the auto parts store, new bearings and fresh grease and we are back on the road. Chris, my mom Pat and the kids had rode along, fortunately they found comfort and the Vikings game at the local bar. They were so patient as Jim and I worked like a pit crew putting it back together. Fortunately no tires blew!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Let's hope not! They are predicting the mid-twenties this week. That will mark the end of the growing season. We had a lot of rain this past week, over 3 inches. Fortunately it fell over a long period of time. This should make for some strong plants this spring. Soon the rest of our cattle will be coming home and winter will be setting in. Don't mind the snow, it is the frozen ground that I don't like. Everything gets so DARNED HARD! Try driving a fence post into frozen ground, I have and it is NO FUN. A good reminder that I need to get a few last minute items taken care of.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Moved the cattle this morning to a new pasture. We had some nice rain the last few days, now it is getting colder. One of the metal gates this AM had frost on it. It won't be long and the grass will be done growing. It just seemed like yesterday that summer was just getting started. Time to start focusing on next year, that is what will get us through the winter, the planning for spring and all of its possibilities. That is what farming comes down to, the planning and the hope for planning. With nothing ever being for sure and exact all that you can do is plan for what maybe and what if? It will make the winter go faster as we plan for the days ahead.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hay Hauling

The hay shed is getting full. We hauled up another load last night from the far back field. Had the whole family with. Wife Chris drove, Hunter ran the loader with me, Holly sat in the truck and even the two dogs came with. Unfortunately the shed is not as full as it would have been last year. We ended up with about 250 bales, last year we had 393. We are not alone, a lot of people in the community are hurting for hay. I had one potential customer call me yesterday in desperation that they cannot find any hay and did I please have some. I will do my best today to find some. Let's hope we have enough for ourselves this year.

Friday, September 11, 2009

back to Thomas'

OH, will this project never end! I should have checked out what I was getting into. We would have been done with this a LONG time ago if we did not have to fight with beavers and alder brush that is as thick as grass. Over half of the time spent there has been clearing this overgrown mess. To make it even more interesting as we are feveriously working to build a path we have the owners son crying over this or that oak seedling that is now flat. Gees. sorry that this was going to be a pasture, not a tree nursery. Time for a reality check, you cannot grow seedlings and expect to have good grasslands. Too much textbook and not enough horse sense with this one. Soon we will have this thing buttoned up, SOON!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Square Baling

Put up some small square bales with George Booth's square baler. Broke down a few times, I think most of it lies in operator error. It is amazing how much more work it is square baling. The hay is so nice, but damn, it takes a lot of work. Sort of like cutting firewood, cutting, stacking, hauling and hauling again! It is looking as if we may do some more square bales. Rick is getting good at stacking them. Tomorrow we are going unstack them in the shed. They have been on the wagon, time to unload.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fall is in the air

Wow, it was a steady 90 degrees this past week, now it is gone. Lots of nice rain to make the grass grow and to make me anxious at the same time. Where did the time go? Wasn't it spring a few weeks ago? Fall is always a mixed time for me. This year we have the excitement of being able to harvest 10 steers, our most to date and at the same time I have the disappointment of having one too many projects not done. Sometimes I forget how far we have come. Time to go back into the photo album and realize where we started from. I guess many that is human nature? Sort of like not appreciating what you have and instead concentrating on what you want! Last year at this time we didn't even have 10 steers to butcher. Count that blessing. Will be up north tomorrow to work on the Thomas place, we are getting the fencing looking pretty good. Now if I could just keep Kevin from frogetting all that he has learned! Must be a teenage thing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Lull

The haying is done. Wow, we could have really used that rain this spring. We were really short on hay this year. Not sure if it was due to the lack of rain or our horse manure experiment. Let's hope we get another cutting. It is a funny thing, when you are focused on getting one project done and this is your sole focus that once it is done, there is sort of a lull. "What am I going to do next?" My wife asked me what was wrong the other day, I then explained to her the "lull" of what should I do next. Maybe I should finish getting all of that hay inside? Now that is a good idea!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

And then it... RAINED!

It has been one real tough week trying to finish up the last of our hay. Steve from Woller Equipment probably thinks that I have stolen their Vermeer 5400! It is dry for one day, then a little rain. We are real particular about our hay and don't want it to get wet, nearly impossible this year, more importantly we don't want any MOLD! Getting wet will lower the nutrition mold will make it unhealthy for most any animal to consume. We were all set up to finish tonight and BAM, another little bit of rain. It was only about 1/10th of an inch, but that was enough. Let's hope for a little sun tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oat Hay, something new

Finished up some oat hay baling last night. Luckily the tractor has lights, I finished in the dark. It is amazing how thick the oat hay was. The field that I cut next door yielded about 1 bale per 3 acres, the oats were about 4-5 bales PER ACRE! Next year I am going to consider putting oats in for hay, we will see how it feeds out this winter. The hard part with oats is getting it to dry, it took over a week to get it to dry. Grass can normally be baled in 2-3 days. Hopefully this week we will be done with the hay and then we can move onward, back to fencing. Does anyone out there have a pickup flatbed for sale? We bought "half of a truck" and need a flatbed for it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Hay

Started cutting on the home place,it is looking a lot more promising. It is not as tall as last year, but still pretty thick. We should have enough to sell to our hay customers and plenty for ourselves. It is a lot easier cutting this year than last, a lot of what we cut last year had not been cut in years and the between the rebel trees and gopher mounds it was tough going. The Vermeer 5400 we rented from Wollers has been working out real good. I was a little nervous running it at first but I am starting to become an old pro. The new hay shed is going to come in handy this year.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hay Cutting

We started cutting hay this week and it is not looking real promising. The dry weather we had this early spring really set the grass back. To top this off, we spread about 1000 yards of manure from two horse barns. Manure from the one barn had a lot of sawdust in it that I thought was thorougly composted, well, it was not. From what I read, sawdust tends to absord nitrogen from the soil when it initially breaks down. Later, after it decomposes it will realease the nitrogen back into the soil. This condition leads to stunted grass. Until that time we will have thick but awfully short hay. So many lessons to learn! At least we have extra hay leftover from last year. This year will be something new for us, we are going to attempt to roll our own hay bales. Last year we hired Jim Knopik from Randal to tie bales for us. He did a great job with his Vermeer 604 baler. It put up great 4x5.5 bales that were wrapped nice and tight. Unfortunately he sold his baler and bought a new one that puts up 5x6 bales. They will be too heavy to handle and on the open market, most of our customers cannot handle the weight of a 5x6 bale. (our 4x5.5's were running around 1000 lbs, the 5x6's would be around 1600!) Thanks to Steve at Woller Equipment ( we were able to rent a baler for 2009. We were thinking about buying a used one, but just did not want to spend the money on a used one. We are going to hold out for next year and buy a new one. Time to get to bed, enjoyed the fireworks in Brainerd with the family.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Baler

We have been mulling over a small square baler. We have had a number of people request a few small square bales, well today we brought home a "new" John Deere 24T. I say new, for this was likely new in 1964! No matter, it looks really good. We got it from George Booth, the other Scottish Highland producer that we buy some cattle from . I tried to pay him for it today, he said, "no, wait to see if you like it." Well, that is going to be sort of hard, I have nothing to compare it to! He even went as far as to come over and show us how to use it! They are going to be extra work, but it will be nice to have a few on hand. Now to get cutting hay tomorrow.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Arrivals

Made the trip to Blomkest, MN, just south of Willmar, Wednesday night to pick up my red tri Aussie male pup, Chief. He sure is cute! I think he's going to fit in just fine and hopefully he and Daisy will have a nice litter next spring.

One of our yellow cows had a red calf about five days ago so we're enjoying a new little heifer calf as well. Dave rotated them to new pasture this a.m. so they're enjoying grass over knee high today. He just calls them and they come running!

Dave let Rodeo, the black and white shetland we have on loan for the summer (thanks Jim and Shari!), out for some grass this a.m. and he must of gotten untied because I noticed him heading down the driveway like he had somewhere to be. Dave and Daisy took the 4-wheeler after him and Daisy did her job and brought him back home. Dave is home today getting the equipment ready to start haying this weekend.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fat Steers

Today we moved the rest of the steers off of the place. Father in law, Spike, has room for them in Pine River. They will be so happy to get on fresh grass, they will really start to put the weight on now. His friend, Jim Ellem, came down with his truck and trailer to haul them up for us. Wife Chris, neighbor Keith, Daisy the dog and I started moving them in. It went really well, neighbor Keith and Daisy are turning into real cow hands. We had to cut one steer out, he is going to market this week, the rest are all on fresh grass as of tonight. The one that was left somehow managed to get out. So, I let him run around the yard for a while. When it was time to put him back in, he was a little skittish. I tried a couple of times to move him in, no luck. Well, it was time to get Daisy. Boom, just like that she had him in and man, that saved me a lot of work! She is really starting to earn her keep around here. Unfortunately, with her doing all of the running I am likely going to start putting on a few!

The truck is ALIVE!

Well, today was the day to reconstruct the green dump truck. We were going to get started at 6 am, but neighbor Keith was LATE! I was amazed, he is never late, maybe Mrs. Keith needed a little of his time... Well, Keith, I and son Hunter started putting it together, wow, did it go together nice. It helps when you have neighbors like John who know how to make nice parts! No one got crushed under the box, so it was a good day. Now to get the rest of that dirt hauled.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moving Day

A late post from Last Wednesday. Brought home 15 more 100% grass fed steers from George Booth. Before we bring them home I tag all animals with ID tags to keep track of who is who. The easiest way to do this is in the trailer. Being in the trailer with animals that one, don't want to be in there, two, are hot and smelly and three have never been handled is an "exciting" experience. George thought I was crazy, but I have found out that cattle are less nervous when they are together then when they are apart. The only one that gave me trouble with a little heifer that felt cornered, she actually tried to run me over! I ended up NOT bringing her home. The others are up in the barn getting used to the new place. We are going to sort a few out for butchering this week, the others are going to be on fresh grass soon. Thanks to father Spike, the will have fresh grass soon.

The Fence is still growing

Spent all day Sunday at the Thomas place working on the fence. Progress was again slow, spent a good part of the day clearing more area for the fence. Next time we are going to get a dozer in there and clear it out BEFORE HAND! Spending so much time cutting and moving brush can be annoying. It was good to have Kevin back from his mini-vacation. I already chewed him out for leaving I and vegetable farmer Dave without held during our most critical time of the year! When it comes to young love, few things get in the way. Today, Scott and Kevin will be working on the fence, it is amazing how big of strides they have made. Soon they won't need me to do the fencing, that would free up a lot of my time. Now if we could only teach Scott how to run a chainsaw.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The truck, continued.

Well, with a neighbor like Keith, I will never have a project unfinished. We tore into the truck and found out what happened, the mounting brackets to the frame broke. Yes they were getting old and rusty, that is no excuse for me getting it too full. When one works with old equipment on a regular basis you have to really take it easy on it. A couple of less dumps with the skidloader would have saved us a LOT of time!

Keith, being the good neighbor he is, offered to help me fix it. We took the brackets out and decided to go see Neighbor John. John is a machinist and welder by trade and a damn good one at that. We were only going to hit John up for some steel, well, being John he decided that we needed help fixing it. Our 30 minute excursion ended three hours later. New pieces in hand, we could now fix the truck. We really had a good time in Johns shop. Keith and John worked together like some crack assembly team from some reality show. The experience and wisdom of them both showed in fabricating the parts.

Now we have to put them back into the truck. Keith is going to have a Hog Roast and party this Saturday, so we are going to wait until after the party. Neighbor Keith wanted me to make sure to invite EVERY and ANYONE. For those of you in Cyber Space, this is your chance to meet our neighbors in the farming community of Fort Ripley. Free BEER and Free PORK sandwiches, YUMMY!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gravity takes hold

Last week Neighbor Keith brought home an excavator from work, a Cat 315. What a big toy! He used it to move the concrete from the old barn site. The same site that we moved the barn roof from . He lined up a end dump truck and got permission to move the busted up concrete to the pit at Tri-City. They will use the concrete in the crushing program recycling it for use on roads, asphalt and driveways. In the process of moving the concrete there ended up being a lot of extra gravel fill, likely 300+ yards. We need more fill in front of our shop so it was agreed that we would take the fill and use it over here. Time to start up the old Ford F-600. Not the most enviromentally friendly vehicle at 6 miles per gallon, but effective at moving lots of material. The box holds about 16 yards. Hunter and I (my son) started hauling the morning. When it was time for me to go to the office and he to school, we suspended for the afternoon. Two loads hauled and a good start to the project. The truck is desinged to haul grain so you cannot fill it to the top. Being careful we had no problems dumping the load. That afternoon we restarted hauling. First load over Neighbor Keith was kind enough to fill us up and fill us up he did. The truck creaked and ached on the drive over. I was glad it was only a 1 mile trip. Well, time to dump it, but it would not dump. TOO MUCH WEIGHT! Time to get Chris (my wife) and take plan "B". Two shovels and a little work and we had the load a little smaller. Time to try lifting it again. I had her run the hydraulics while I used a plank to give it a little lift. Slowly up it went, slowly... finally it was half way up and just getting ready to dump when BAM! Down it came, breaking my tamrack plank and making one hell of a noise. The ram or someting associated with it had broken. Now what? Time to get the shovels and begin unloading by hand. It was about this time that Neighbor Keith called to see where I was. I explained the situation to him and being the good neigbor he is he came over and helped us begin unloading by hand. Mind you, I don't mind running a "number 2" digger but it gets real frustrating when you are hitting rocks with each scoop full. So, the unloading process began, about 15 minutes into it Neighbor Keith decided it was time to call for his backup, Wife Mary. It was a good thing too for the crew of Chris, I and Neighbor Keith was starting to run out of steam. With Mary's help we got it unloaded. While unloading my son Hunter found a unique rock in the load. The inside of the rock was hollowed out like it was some ancient crushing/mixing bowl. A fun find in a load of overly heavy sand. With free excerise by all and a another project to fix we won't fill it so full next time.

Back to reality

It was an interesting week of adjustment. Last week was spent working on the fence at the Thomas place, this week was mostly dedicated to working at the office. I am part owner of an insurance agency in Brainerd, Fiducia Benefits Group. My business partner, Gary, teases me about my "cows" and asks if I have petted them today. He asks when I am going to take a "real" vacation. He doesn't understand that for me "playing" with my cows is a vacation for me. The ability to start a project and work on it all day uninterrupted is quite relaxing. He likely understands, but still loves to tease me. I cannot complain much for we are both flexible and understanding of each others time off. I farm on my time off and he travels.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hunter gets a haircut

Our little guy, Hunter who is almost 4, hates to get his haircut. That's especially frustrating because his grandpa is a barber! Dad does a good job getting him through it but I've found sometimes it's just easier to do it myself, especially during woodtick season like this. We've heard how awful it is to get one of the tick borne diseases so we are especially careful and short hair is very helpful in finding the pesky critters.

Had the Pierz vet, Gordy, out on Tuesday to float the horses teeth and do Coggins tests. Wilbur is 12 and let's us do pretty much anything we need with him, but Karl is 21 and gets a little cranky with these procedures. Our neighbor Rick Flicek is a farrier and trimmed them up a week ago and put front shoes on Wilbur to help relieve his lameness. We're not sure but he may have a navicular disorder and the shoes have seemed to help. We're hoping to go on a couple trail rides over the summer and fall.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bookkeeping today

Just sitting down to get caught up on some of our bookkeeping and thought I'd write a few lines. Last night we turned the steers and cows out into new paddocks so they're knee high in fresh new grass and loving it! Our new calf is thriving and we're awaiting the arrival of another any day.
Last night our neighbor Mary and her daughters Kate and Hannah, showed Hunter and I a wood duck nest with about 10 eggs in it. Mary was trapping gophers in our hay field and found it about a week ago. She marked it so we won't run over it with the tractor as we're out spreading manure, picking rocks, etc. I didn't realize they nest in a field like that and we're all surprised something hasn't eaten her eggs. We walked within about five feet of the nest and she flew up, surprising all of us! She was so well camoflauged we couldn't even see her. Hunter really got a kick out of it and keeps wanting me to retell the "egg" story. He didn't go to bed until about ten p.m. and was up bright eyed at six this morning. I think he heard Dave hauling gravel from the neighbors and he hates being left behind if there's any equipment being used. Holly was her usual cheerful self this morning even though she's getting four top teeth at the same time! Ouch. She's tough like me. ha ha!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The fence keeps going and going...

Spent the day at the Thomas farm up near Leader. Between flat tires and tending to the "beaver" problem, the fencing progress was slower then what I wanted. Good thing Kevin and Jordan will be working on it tomorrow when I go back to the office. I have to get back to the regular work this week to pay for my farming habit! Going to call George Booth tonight to negotiate some more on the cattle. Are we taking on too much again? My conscience (my wife) thinks we can handle it, I trust her judgement. Neighbor Keith created some more work for me this week, he had to do a little excavating, which led to more and more. Now we have about 200 yards of gravel to haul over to help fill in the drive way. Between the two of us there is always a new project brewing, they are good neighbors to have. The fill came from the old barn that we recycled and turned into a hay shed. He removed the old concrete Friday. It was strange to see it go. We will be moving some cattle this week to summer pastures up in Pine River. Chris' parents do a great job of helping us out. We have more fencing to do up there this summer. A new power line was cut through, wow when you cut a 100' foot swath through the forest, it is quite a change. Time to turn in, getting up at 3:30 to get some things done before I have to leave at 6.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day of Rest

Friday ended with Kevin and I getting a few more corner posts in at the Thomas place. Today, Saturday, Kevin and Jordan worked on getting the fence together. While they were busy getting caught up to us, I spent some time with the family. Funny, our time together today centered around the farm. We delivered some hay to the Chezk's down by Rice. They took us on a tour of their dairy operation of 800 milk cows, wow, what an operation. It is quite a bit of accomplishment for a such a young couple. Thanks to Brent and Callie for taking time to show us around. After we left there we went to visit George Booth. George has a herd of highlanders that he wants to sell down. We have been negotiating on a price for some time and today we moved one step closer. We try hard to make this a business, but when it comes to friends such as George it is tough to not let our friendship get into the way. I like the negotiation but to many it can be construed as being disrespectful. Tomorrow I am hoping to get up early and take the horses for a ride with my wife. After that I am going to go back to the Thomas place and get some more corner fence posts in. Whatever we get done he and Jordan can finish up tomorrow. Four thirty comes early, time to turn in.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More pasture

This past week has sent me to the "sticks". We are helping friends fence in their 40 acres near Leader, north on Hwy #1. It is near the foothills state forest. Brent, the landowner, is looking to retire one of these days and wants to get the place shaped up. With Highlander's in there, the place will really start to shape up. When it comes to grazing and clearing land, they do it best. It takes some getting used to, there is no cell service there, I cannot believe how much I have come to depend on my cell phone. From using it as a watch to checking the weather, it is my all purpose tool. Today is looking to be productive day, we are almost done brushing, wow, talk about a jungle. The alder and poplar trees were THICK. At times all I could see was trees. Fortunately I am able to take some time off of work. My co-workers, Deb, Gary and Brent all have my back when I am gone and do a great job of helping the customers out. The ability to have such freedom when needed is invaluable. After this week, my helpers should be able to finish most of it themselves. Once we start setting corner posts, it should really start to fly. Time to get going, as John Wayne would say, "We are burning daylight."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Addition

One of our favorite cows had a heifer calf this week. The calf is from our new bull, Laird and is less than two days old in this picture. Mom and baby are both doing well.
Today we are going to finish spreading the manure that we had hauled in. We were trying to spread it ourselves with a 16 yard grain truck that the neighbors loaned us, thanks Kelley's! When you have 1000 yards to haul, 16 yards at a time is too SLOW. We hired Hennen Trucking of Pierz to haul for us, pros that can haul 50 yards with their side dump trucks. They are good, fast and safe. This is our first year spreading manure, we are looking forward to seeing what sort of return we are going to get on our investment.
The week ahead will be the start of a new fencing project up in Pine River at the Thomas farm. We are helping them get started as a grazier for us. They have a unique piece of property with LOTS of water here and there. It will be a challenging fence project.
Looking for the rain.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Welcome to Round Rock Farm

Welcome to our farm blog where we'll try to keep you abreast of our latest activities. If you haven't already, visit our website, and you'll see we raise Scotch Highland Cattle. We began our operation in 2005 with 8 cows from Michigan and added a fold of 26 in 2006. We currently have about 40 cows, calves, steers, heifers and a bull. In 2008 we purchased 217 adjoining acres for a total of 250 acres. Our farm family also includes two Quarter horses, Karl and Wilbur, an Australian Shepherd, Daisy, and one cat apropriately named Kitty by our three year old son, Hunter. We welcomed our daughter, Holly, in July of 2008. Dave is part owner of an insurance firm and works to pay for his farming habit and I work about 30 hours a week doing accounting and marketing work. Visit often and we'll try to keep you posted on our latest projects.