The wind blows over the snow at 20 miles per hour and the temperature hovers around 10 degrees F and I shiver. It is hard to think about spring in such conditions. I am so glad I don’t have any cattle or horses that need taking care of when it is so cold. When our daughter was at home, I gave in to those pleading words of, “Please, Mom, can I have a horse?” We had 2 horses for 5 years. I loved them in the summer when they grazed lazily in the pasture and I could basically ignore their ever present needs. But then came winter. I would ask myself, Why am I the one out here every morning feeding the horses and shoveling the snow away from the barn door? Oh yes,the child has to go to school. Then the child went off to college. The now young lady still pleads for Mom to own a horse. Oh no, this old lady has gotten smart. She sold the horses and now just has some of those little black fascinating calves in the pasture during the summer.
I made this change last year. My first idea was to buy the Black Angus calves in the spring, put them on pasture through the summer, and sell them in the fall. When I mentioned my plans to my kind neighbor who I was hoping would supply me with these animals, he told me what each of those fine critters would cost me and I said, “How about you just own them and I will feed them?” So we made an agreement. Four little calves kicked up their heels, pushed each other around, and grew fat over the summer. Apparently, they also learned how to open gates. One day just a week before we were to sell them, my husband came home from work to find the pasture gate wide open and no animals in sight. Oh dear. The price of beef had been running sky high and we had just lost 4 nuggets of black gold. Doing some sleuthing, my husband was able to follow little footprints through the grass outside the gate, around the barn, and headed down the driveway. At the end of the driveway, they turned right and headed up the hill to the main road. This is a farmers worst nightmare – having his cattle on the road. A call was made to the neighbor for help in finding our lost darlings. A little more tracking led the searchers to the neighbors feedlot across the road. There stood all 4 wanderers getting acquainted with the neighbor’s cattle. Soon, they were loaded onto a cattle trailer and hauled back home. This year, says my husband, we must secure our gates so that twisting curling curious tongues cannot flop those chains around.