A Long Day

Last week I had a conversation with Dan, a dad of the kids’ friends, and he said we could put cows on his place. Only about 3 or 5 acres, but it’s grass. In the same conversation, we were talking about the field next to his place that we used to lease, but gave up the lease when we moved to New York. He thought his neighbor, Carl, was working it and also commented that Carl was tired of it.

After Dan left, I immediately called Carl. Turns out someone else has the lease–and has done a terrible job with the field. I let it drop. I’ll call the owner of the field later in the season and just let them know that we may be interested in it.

Funny how things work. On Sunday morning, before we took cows over to Jeff’s for embryo transfer, Carl pulled up in the driveway. He asked if we were still looking for pasture, to which I replied, “Always.” He said we could have the field at his place, they weren’t going to put anything out there until late fall. Awesome! More grass. Small 5-6 acre field, but it will hold our fullblood girls and Power for most, if not all, of the summer. And Carl is really easy to get along with, super-nice guy.

Uhhhh….another stop and more irrigating twice a day. My plate keeps piling up.

So this morning after irrigating, I came home and loaded Sprinkles. Jer was nice and hooked the trailer up for me before he left for work this morning (short-person syndrome makes hooking up the trailer extra difficult for me since I can’t see the ball in the bed of the truck; total guessing game, takes forever).

Sprinkles was a really nice heifer that ended up with a broken leg or dislocated shoulder when she was about 2 weeks old. Super disappointing because she would have been a great cow. She wasn’t in pain and made it around on three legs; then we put her in the corral at weaning and have just babied her along. Called back in January or so to schedule her to go in today, which is about the time most the cows are going out on pasture. Arnold, a steer we are feeding out (keeping, he eats hay and grass only) is already scheduled to go in September, within a few days of him being 18 months.

Perfection w calf March 2015 CCR

Sprinkles at 2 days old.


Sprinkles a few months old, the leg just stopped growing and was completely off the ground.

I’ll find out tomorrow what happened to the shoulder/leg and if the meat on that quarter is any good. I thought it would be all good and super-tender because she’s never used it; but Kip, the processor, said it could be a bunch of scar tissue. We’ll see.

I took her by the sale yard in Delta on my way through and weighed her. Jer guessed 300; I said 250. She was 380! I would have never put her at that. With just hobbling around, she didn’t grow; she didn’t fill out. She had great conformation, but with the injury, she was stunted.

This will be the first animal we’ve taken to Mountain Meats, in Fruita, Colorado. We normally use Kinicin Processing, in Montrose, Colorado, but they are only state certified. Mountain Meats is USDA. That opens up a lot of possibilities for our beef sales. Since Sprinkles is destined for our freezer, it worked out great. She will be a test.

I’m really picky about the processing. It has to be top quality, so customers are getting the best. There is a processor right here in Hotchkiss, and another in Delta, which is 20 miles away. Since 2007 we’ve hauled animals 50 miles to Kinicin. There’s a reason. Well, many reasons.

We did try one animal here in Hotchkiss last year. Never again. Every time I opened a package of meat I would just get more angry. Untrimmed and incorrectly cut were my two biggest complaints. The sirloins were huge. Come to find out, it wasn’t just sirloins, it was like a whole cross section of the loin! It had tenderloin, and sirloin, and a few other pieces that should have been separate. Never in my life had I seen such a thing!

Ben at Kinicin recommended Mountain Meats, so we’re giving them a try. USDA inspection will be a total help, but the meat has to be done to my requirements. I think I’ll give Ben a call and see if he will call Kip to let him know exactly how I like it.

Overboard? Maybe. But each animal is a lot of time, effort, energy, and money. Sprinkles is a yearling, add the 9 months of gestation, that’s almost two years for what we are going to get to put in the freezer. To have processing screwed up is a big deal.

Dropped by Tractor Supply on the way back through Grand Junction to grab a short hose and automatic waterer. Called Jer to get his opinion on the automatic waterer.

“Do I spend $10 for the plastic one, $14 for the same one but with a metal casing, or $20 for one that does 300…”

“None of them.”


“Save the money. Use one of the three that are in the corner in the garage.”

“Oh yeah!”

We hadn’t watered with a hose here in over 5 years, I forgot we still had the automatic waterers. Saved that money.

Coming out of Grand Junction, stopped at Dairy Queen. Ok, so I’m a bad parent and my kids have never been to Dairy Queen. They had no clue what it was. Of course they figured it out pretty quick. I had tried to explain to them on the way that Dairy Queen had the coolest spoons because they had a straw in them. Come to find out Dairy Queen hasn’t had those straws in–according to the employees there–*many* years. Oops. Turns out Dairy Queen now serves Orange Julius, too? Sweet!

Oh, in between Delta and Grand Junction, Sue, our custom hay person, called me. She was raking Winchesters and there was water in the field. How the heck did that happen? No water when they cut it, but water when they are raking? Turns out that one of the gates on the pipe wasn’t shut all the way because it had a tiny twig in it; and the valve doesn’t shut the water off completely. Guess the leak has filled the pipe enough that it could leak out that gate a little. It all worked out.

After we got home, went and irrigated. Sue had finished raking. Skimpy windrows. Two rolled together equal about one of the windrows on Cox’s that hasn’t been raked together with another windrow. Oh well, the point of cutting this early was to be able to hopefully get water across the field better, not to get as much hay as could be got.

When I got to Carl’s, I had the automatic waterer and the new hose, to see if the automatic waterer still worked. The water that had gone through it before is known to eat plastic. Carl helped me out and screwed it onto a hose he had running. It leaked where the hose screwed in, but other than that was good. He’s one of those guys that has a little over everything and said, “I’ll go get you a gasket for that.” He returned shortly, I put the gasket in, everything is sitting inside the pasture gate for me to put together tomorrow.

Text Dan and asked if I could bring the horses in the morning. He asked what time I was thinking, I text back, “10:30, give or take an hour or two.” He replied that he should be home and it was all good. Too many things going on for me to pin down a time. Who knows how long it will take me to irrigate and then catch the horses….sometimes they are so easy; other times not-so-much.

Irrigated Gayle’s last, since it is closest to the house. Gates were on that I swear I closed this morning. Either way, everything I meant to have on made it. Interesting thing, though….I was walking my row, seeing how far water had made it. Just tooling along, looking down at the water and where I was stepping when I started to smell garlic. Now my sense of smell is not the best, and this was really pretty strong. I looked up and started looking around. About 15 feet away was a lovely skunk. I think it saw me right when I saw it. I promptly started walking *across* the rows that had been irrigated, not paying much attention to where I stepped. I also had the presence of mind to look for Lily, who was about 50 feet from me, with me between her and the skunk. She was thankfully oblivious.

I reached for my phone when I felt I was a safe distance and wouldn’t alarm the skunk, but I’d left my phone in the car. Dang it.

I do have this video to share:

I can get along with skunks. They don’t bother me. Just give them space and don’t alarm them. Everything will be okay.

Ok, bedtime.

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