Fall at the Farm

After a long hot Summer, and with the turning of the calendar yesterday – Fall has arrived at the Farm.

Crystal has completed her Fall decorating and soon home will be – filled with the scents of the season and sounds of children and grandchildren sitting around the table.

As for me, I am reminded that the days are getting shorter and all that still remains to get done before the calendar turns to Winter.

Priefert Squeeze Chute

Our new squeeze chute arrived on Friday. Tough decision choosing between the Tarter Series 3 or Priefert Rancher 091.

But in the end, even though the Priefert cost $1000 more, the ability to operate the headgate manually or automatic tipped the scale. Believe we made right decision for the long haul.

WE❤️DEXTERS

Welcome Wieringa’s Dotty & Dora

Wits End Dexter Cattle Farm welcomed our first new purchased cows in over three years;

Dotty and Diva, bred by Lee & Roberta Wieringa, joined our farm last night.

Wieringa Dotty & Diva with 2021 Calves

Not only were we able to purchase the cows, but also received their two young heifers born this Spring.

Our herd now consists of six cows: ANB Beautiful Busy Bee, Whittington’s Pixie (our shortie), Far Acres Mystery, Warner Farms Fiona, and Wieringa Dotty & Diva.

Dotty and Diva arrived open and to our delight though hardly surprised , George, has taken notice. We do believe that love is in the Fall air.

Whittington’s King George

WE❤️DEXTERS

Wits End Dexter Calves

Wits End Beautiful Blessing and Wits End Mystery’s Mary

One of the most ‘mixed emotion moments’ is when one of your calves leave the farm for a new home.

This past weekend we said goodbye to Mystery’s Mary and Beautiful Blessing.

Know beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder, but as proud ‘father’ I think these two young heifers are beautiful.

It was nice to see a photo of them at home in their new Kentucky home, and look forward to them carrying on the Wits End lineage.

WE❤️Dexters

Labor Day Labor (Of Love)

New Bud Box

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.

WE❤️Dexter’s

Sprummer

Spring has passed and Summer is still officially a month away, but at Wits End it was Sprummer this past Saturday.

Sprummer on the farm is the day when the cows are set free from the sacrifice pasture into the lush green grass.

Warner’s Farm Fiona
Whittington’s King George

Finding Your Way

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.

Right Before Your Eyes

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.

Hay hay hay

“Expect the unexpected” is an axiom that has become a way of life around the farm.

Last weekend I ordered a pallet hay spear and 3 point hitch spear for our new tractor and planned on this weekend moving the 40 round bales being held for us by a neighbor.

Everything going as expected, and then the unexpected. The neighbor called on Monday to let me know that he would not have any hay for us this year.

After the disappointment (perhaps accompanied by a slight tinge of anger) subsided, I began scurrying the Craigslist classifies to find what was still available in our market. After several desperate calls, we were able to locate 40 4×5 bales of second cutting grass hay just 10 minutes from our house. Then the unexpected, he can’t deliver.

My wife sprang into action and called her Kentucky kin and fortunately we found a double axle trailer to pull behind my 2007 Dodge Ram with nearly 200,000 miles. In this case expecting the unexpected that my truck would break down while moving the hay.

We drove down Friday to her fathers home and there was the trailer which was not quite what we expected. The unexpected once again. One look at the trailer and I knew that we were looking at two days of moving hay.

The pallet fork hay spear arrived as expected on Thursday. Friday I mounted on our RK37 as expected (thank God for quick release setup).

This past Saturday we started moving hay and after seven trips and 10 hours, we got it all moved six bales at a time. The hay supplier was wonderful and we actually ended up with better hay and saved $5.00 per bale. Better yet we have our hay reserved for 2019. Unexpectedly my truck did not break down and I managed to unload all 40 bales unexpectedly without injuring myself or anyone else.

The cattle have different expectations and never really account for the unexpected. Somehow we managed to meet their expectations… hay…hay…hay!