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!

Edgington Farms Danny Boy

Danny Boy was born on Edgington Farms, Xenia, Ohio and bred by Dan and Cindy Edgington.

Nicknamed Dennis as young calf, he was destined for steerhood when Dan decided to post a photo of him on Facebook. The photo caught my eye, and I have a hunch that Dan too saw something in this young bull calf, but as we know there is not much of a market for bulls and much discussion as to whether there are too many inferior bulls that should’ve been steered.

To make a long story short, I contacted Dan and made arrangements to save Dennis from losing his manhood. He has been tested, christened, and registered as Edgington Farms Danny Boy with the ADCA.

Now at 7 months old, I am very pleased and think we made the right choice to save him from being steered. He is as promising of a young bull as I’ve ever saw with excellent bloodlines.

Danny will be joining our farm soon to become our new sire. Here are a couple of recent pictures of Danny enjoying being a bull.

Danny with his sire

Danny with his dam,

Danny Boy

Our new herd sire will soon be turning 7 months and joins our farm soon.

Really pleased with this young man and believe he will be our herd sire for many years.

First Day of Fall

We had discussion yesterday in the office and I as the purist insisted that Labor Day weekend is not the start of Fall. But maybe I was wrong.

Yes technically I was right Fall begins this year on September 22nd, and I have a documented disdain for those who rush the seasons and holidays.

I do not want the scent pumpkin spice permeating throughout the house when I come in from mowing on a hot and humid late Summer day. After the first frost perhaps, but not before.

I still find it quite disturbing to see Christmas decor at the big box stores before Labor Day, but again maybe I was wrong as to the start of Fall.

Maybe my colleagues were right and Fall has arrived in Ohio.

I’m sitting here on a perfect sunny Summer day blogging and enjoying the sounds of Fall!!!

Go Bucks!!! O – H

Nativity

I suppose that the virgin birth of my Lord and Savior will never be surpassed, and the mystery of the incarnation I’ll never quite understand.

But every time I witness the birth of a new calf, I find myself stricken in awe at the miracle unfolding before my eyes and am reminded of that first Christmas Eve when creation paused as the eternal word became flesh.

The cow journeys to a protected spot much like the archangel led Joseph and Mary to a tiny hamlet by the name of Bethlehem to protect our Savior from his human predators.

There is a lowly stall, and I cannot help to picture a pastoral scene of a stable filled with goats, sheep, and perhaps even cattle watching in awe and wonderment as their Creator becomes flesh and blood.

Soon from Mary’s precious womb the Eternal Son of God appears so frail.

Then I watch as those stable mates – one by one – approach to cast their eyes upon the new born calf and cannot help to be reminded of the Magi guided by a celestial star journeyed to cast their eyes upon the Lamb of God.

Please do not consider this sacrilege but an allegory of the mystery of life.

-The Journey Continues

Late Summer Reflections

We have finished culling our herd and selected our best four cows and two promising heifers. Four are bred back to Lucky Charm for 2019 calving season. Next year we will breed back all six to our new young bull, Danny Boy.

Some pictures of our herd and remaining 2018 calves. All our calves have found new homes and will be leaving for their new farms soon.

We are pleased with the progress made in our second year. I love this little herd and look forward to seeing it expand in the years ahead.

Barn Commencement

As our barn nears completion it is starting to dawn on me today, that it’s not completion but commencement.

My purpose in building a barn were solely utilitarian but discovering quickly that a barn does more than just store stuff around the farm.

It is the heart of the farm. I find myself being drawn to the barn and it’s quickly becoming my rural version of the ‘man cave’.

Not only that but learning that the barn has magical magnetic powers that attract other men folks (and an occasional woman wondering where her husband has wandered off too).

My son, whom I rarely see, visited this past weekend and I noticed that the barn with its strong gravitational pull, pulled both of us into it’s inner sanctuary. Where we were able for a time to escape and catch up.

My father-in-law, a 95 year old veteran of WW II, has fallen under its magical spells. He happened to be in the barn the morning my son, a recently retired US Army Captain, showed up. I watched as soldiers from vastly different generations bonded in the barn.

Our barn is not being completed, it is commencing. Ready for commissioning as the gathering place to bring the people who are dearest to me together.

New Hampshire Bound

We said good bye today to our first two cows, Kylie and Liberty.

I remember the day they arrived and how excited we were that now we were Dexter owners. They will be making the trip to their new home with our first two Wits End calves, Jamie and Liberty Bella.

This time of year will always be difficult with Winter approaching, and the need to make future breeding decisions.

-The Journey Continues

EF Danny Boy

I’m so thankful that we saved this young man from being steered. We already owned his full blooded sister, and when I saw he was going to be steered, I contacted the breeder to see if we could work out a deal.

His sister is one of the nicest cows in our herd and I see the same conformation in this young man.

He is now registered with the ADCA and will be joining our farm next month. Cannot wait to see his first crop of calves in 2020.

EF Danny Boy at 6 Months

His Sister, EF Strawberry at 16 months

Expectations

Not sure as late baby boomer born in 1959, I should expect too much any more from life. I’ve come to accept that my post WW II parents may outlive me, and admit a little jealous of those Woodstock baby boomers who are now retired while I still work to support the Social Security house of cards. Hoping if I make it to 70, the system is still solvent; but if it’s not, I’ll keep on working.

More and more thinking of the words of Ron Van Zant,

“Be a simple kind of man,

Be something you love and understand”

Not sure yet I understand cattle, but do know that I find something satisfying – familiar – simple at the end of a stressful work day waiting for me. They trust that I’ll show up, and never demand anything from me other than providing their basic needs. They give so much more than I could ever possibly give to them.

Few years ago wrote simple little verse:

The older I get

More is less

And with less

I’m blessed

Blessed 08/10/18