Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One Day in September

Things have been cooling off considerably. Fall is in the air. Emma Lou has a new suitor. The boss sent an AkaUshi bull over for her, whom we named Mr Miyagi. He was a one night stand. He courted her, piqued her interest and when the sun came up, he was gone. I am sure this did nothing for Emma’s self esteem. She is putting on a brave front though.

The cowboss brought her another beau. This guy was pretty big. He never made it from behind the barn, because he was too snorty and our boss is a great guy and wouldn’t put me in that kind of position. A third bull was delivered, along with 2 of Emma’s heifer friends, Rio and Cholula. They are both orphans that we raised on Emma’s mother, DollyMoo, so they know each other well. They are beef cows and are much larger than  Em’s little Jersey-self, but she doesn’t put on airs.  She is a humble little cow. We figured the two extra cows could feed Lover- boy’s ego while Emma is gone for 15 minutes getting milked. You know how men are.  Miyagi couldn’t handle not being the constant center of attention.

The next morning, I looked out to see Emma Lou, Rio, Cholula, and little Mo, but no bull. I brought Em and Mo in to do the daily milking. I caught Wimpy so I could ride out to find the missing bull again, but before I saddled up, I saw TWO bulls in the big pasture behind the old milk barn. Not two AkaUshis, but beau #3 and  a big old Charolais.

 I was not thrilled to have 2 bulls with my tiny Jersey, and less thrilled to think she could be bred by a Charolais. Lucky for me, he was lame and had a cough, so I summoned the cowboss to look at him and he decided to move him out to the horse pasture until he could be shipped with the cull cows. Back down to one bull and feeling relieved. 

As if we weren't fortunate enough to just be living here on the ranch and having a great boss with a really neat family to work for, we also are blessed that he is letting Em date an AkaUshi bull. This breed is very rare and highly controlled. The only purebred herd in the United States is in Texas. The meat from these cattle is unique in that it actually lowers cholesterol
and is healthier for you than chicken and turkey. It is heavily marbled, however, and extremely tender. It sells for about $95 for a 6 oz filet...unprepared. Ground beef goes for $6 a lb. We are hoping against hope for a heifer because we need a milk cow that will be lower maintenance than Emma and Dolly. Right now, Em gets full time pasture, of course, in addition to alfalfa hay, and 20 lbs a day of grain and supplements! This is just to try and maintain her condition while she makes 6 gallons of milk a day. The milk is awesome but it don't come cheap!
A Jersey/beefer cross would probably produce a lot less milk, but would hopefully maintain condition on hay and pasture. That would be a huge savings for us and the resulting calves would make better freezer calves to boot. Em will always be my special cream cow though. She did do a good job on her first calf, Fat Willy. He's 1/2 Angus and at 3 mo. is almost as big as she is!

He has an affinity for hotdogs.

I really think he just wants to eat anything that is in front of him.

The leppies are in the process of being weaned, as I have got to get everyone more independent. I have a very important and special trip to make. There is a new VIP for me to meet and my little Abster is a big sister now! Kinley Grace arrived last Saturday night. She is gonna help her sister shake up the world. I know they have been shaking up the household as I hear no one there has gotten to sleep before 3 a.m. yet. Personally, I think a couple of chickens and a pet cow would solve the problem, but I'm having a hard time convincing their folks.

I digress.

Another day went by and I woke up to find TWO BULLS again! This time, Mr Miyagi showed up again and was chumming around with  the Bachelor #3. I have since dubbed the pasture “The Oyster Bar”. It seems to be feast or famine for poor Emma Lou. She’s taking it out on me. This morning she gave me 2 1/2  gallons of milk, and not a drop of cream. Luckily, I still had some from last week, so today I made peppermint ice cream, which is MY favorite.
Our new sheep are here. They are CUTE as buttons. I wanted Katahdin ewes and a Dorper ram, but no Katahdins were to be found. So we have 3 little Dorper ewes and a Dorper ram.  Both breeds are ‘hair sheep’. Instead of having to deal with shearing and tail docking, these sheep will shed in the summer. They are more parasite resistant, better foragers, mature earlier, they are not seasonal breeders and because of the lack of wool and lanolin, they taste sweeter and don’t get that strong muttony flavor so many people dislike. This is all research info, I have yet to know this for myself, but I look forward to finding out. What I do know for certain, is that these guys are cute, really cute. They are not nearly as flighty and silly as my other sheep. They are very courageous for their small size and they are voracious eaters. We tossed them a flake of hay and it was like a feeding frenzy. Piranhas would not have been more focused on their feasting. They took right up with the other 3 sheep and have settled in like old timers. I have no idea when they are due to lamb, but it will be fun and I know the pups will be so excited to have babies to watch over again. They love their critters as much as I do. Maybe even more. Cletus just KNEW there was something special in the trailer when it got here last nite. I had a heck of a time dragging him back to the house so we could unload these guys without them having a panic attack from seeing their first “Polar bear”.

Cletus so wants to be a sheep. He'll do anything to blend in...

Cletus and Bruno introduced themselves at the first opportunity. They got bopped in the nose by one little ewe, but undeterred, they checked each one out, did a perimeter patrol and went to take their morning naps.
Time for me to clean up the house, and turn the cheeses. We have 2 more wheels of Pepper-Jack and a Parmesan curing. The Pepper-Jack is ready in another month. The first one I made tasted pretty darn good. The Parmesan has to cure for 10 months, so I hope it turns out well, as I need to keep making it so its always on hand. Darn its great having a cow. But I do still miss DollyMoo so very much.
I peeked out after doing the dishes and found a large snail trail on the porch. Looking down, I found the culprit.

He keeps climbing in the whiskey barrel waterfall and using it as his personal spa. I’m not sure why, but it makes him smell like stinky feet. I wonder if they make “Odor Eaters” for dogs....


  1. Oh - your new sheep are so CUTE!!! I can't wait until they lamb and the wee ones are going to be even cuter!!!! Congrats on your new wee one - Kinley. Hope to see some pics of her soon. Hope Emma gets her boyfriend figured out - too many men - so little time.

  2. Congratulations on the fortuitous arrival of Kinley Grace (great name)! And, really, how much more chaos could a few chickens and a pet cow cause at this point? Cletus is a beautiful dog - and right there, on the job as usual. The sheep are darling, too. Who is Bachelor #1 in the first picture? What an amazing hunk o' beef! I'm sure Miss Emma Lou will make the right choice.

  3. What a wonderful life! I love all the pictures! I'm guessing you will butcher the sheep? Does it take as long for sheep as it does for cattle? I look forward to your next post!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. ok..i understand you butcher them at around 12 mo. My wooly wether will be butchered at 7 as he is huge. These particular sheep are for breeding, we will be butchering the lambs when they are big enough