Beautiful Busy Bee will always have a very special place in our hearts. She was just a scrawny little red heifer when we purchased her in 2017 along with two other cows. Being new to cattle and Dexters, we had no idea what we were doing, nor any expectations that this ganging bovine would become the poster ‘cow’ for our small farm.
Over past four years we’ve seen bulls, cows, and several dozen calves come and go, but Busy Bee is going nowhere. She will have a home at Wits End all her life.
There is just something about her that is very special. She has become the matriarch for our young herd, and possesses an intelligence that just amazes me. Not only that but she is the most tender and caring mother to each of her three calves.
This past week, she blessed us with another beautiful little girl. I think George approves.
I’ve often heard success defined as the intersection of preparation and opportunity. That may well be true, but for a hobby farmer who works a very stressful job in the financial sector where 10-12 hour days are far to common; I’ve come to define success on the farm as the intersection of time and money. Time being the more precious commodity.
This past weekend the two lines (time and money) crossed thanks to an extended Labor Day. I finally was able to add a long overdue addition to the farm – a bud box. Borrowing a plan from the University of Tennessee Extension office that I had stowed away in my cellphone several years ago, I decided now was the time to spend Labor Day laboring on the farm.
I know to most folks don’t look like much, but for about half the cost of a prefabricated system I was able to build a handling facility that will serve our little farm quite well. Now we have a 12ft sweep and loading chute. This will make life so much easier for both the farmer (me) and our growing customer base.
As you can see the working chute is still work in process, but come Columbus Day (time) if the money intersects, will finish with alley and new squeeze chute.
Living in the Southern Ohio foothills of the Appalachians, winters are generally mild; but the week ahead is calling for article blast. This means I have spent most of the weekend preparing – placing out extra hay and staging hay to be dropped into paddocks during the week.
Since acquiring our first Dexters in March 2017, we have learned to improvise. Working a full-time job during the week offers little time for the needed improvements. I keep a list of future projects, and tackle as much as I can on weekends and time off; but as soon as one task is crossed off – another takes it place.
Such is the case with our winter watering system – it is not ideal but we have found a way to make due.
For now our winter watering solution consists of garden hoses, oversize water trough and heater, and extension cord. Once winter sets in, I know that I must meticulously make sure that all the hoses are blown out dry after filling trough and know from past experience that there is chance outside faucet will freeze up. So always make sure troughs are topped off after work. ‘Someday’ I’ll have a more permanent solution but until then our ❤️ for Dexters far outweighs this small winter inconvenience.
My advice to new breeders is to not get discouraged (or let well meaning established breeders discourage you). Your way might not be the ‘right way’, but with limited resources and time, it may be the only way.
Sometimes the answer is right in front of you, just takes time to see it. Such is the case with Whittington George.
George came to us via a bred cow, AA’s Apple, we purchased from Paul Whittington back in 2018. He was birthed on August 30 of that year and plan was for him to go to Dan Edgington, another Ohio breeder, to be steered.
Plans don’t always go as planned. Dan arrived to pick up three of our young bull calves, including George; but George had different plans. He absolutely refused to be loaded. I guess at that point, I should’ve seen what now I see. There was something special about him.
Over the next year, I started noticing how ‘bully’ George was becoming. I also noticed how he quickly was becoming the leader of our herd of cattle, and also noticed that all of our new calves uncannily, did not resemble our herd sire, but George!
Then the wheels started to turn, maybe George was the herd sire for which we were looking? He certainly was ‘bully’, had a great temperament, and obviously throwing great calves.
I then started looking into his pedigree, and much to my surprise there were bulls that I recognized in his pedigree: SGF Sean & Titan, Lone Pines Klondike, White-O-Morn Chief, and Lianfair’s Cinnebar. Now I was starting to see it.