When I don’t have other pressing chores to do, I wander out to the bull barn to spend quality time listening to an audio book while bundling firewood for the next round of deliveries. Sometimes it is only an hour or two, other times, especially when I get to a very interesting part of the book or if I need to make sure I have enough supply for the next load, or if I need to get a crib emptied so it can be filled again with split wood from across the river, or if I’m trying to avoid other necessary chores, I can spend several hours puttering along in the barn.
I have great views out the open end of this barn. I can spot the bald eagles when they decide to sit in the far fir trees and chatter back and forth with each other while they guard the river flowing beneath them. Views of the show barn critters can be spotted as they graze the pasture or lounge in the wooded area. Pegleg the cat meanders through the barn with her whispered meows as she pokes around the equipment for a tasty mouse but usually tires of the game since she rarely finds anything (she keeps the supply down considerably with her daily hunting routes).
The bulls of the bull barn and surrounding pastures usually don’t pay any attention to me unless it is mealtime, then they will line up at their manger in the hopes that I throw in some hay or grain to begin the meal. There is an exception to the bulls noticing when I am in the barn and that is #41 Bo Bridges. The first time we encountered Bo the calf, we found tucked under the sloped end of the bridge taking a nap while his mother grazed a ways away from the comfortable bed he had found.
Now Bo is over a year old and typically hangs right with the other bulls in the big pen, except when I am in the barn bundling. Bo likes to stand right at the edge of the open end of the barn and watch my technique. He doesn’t make a fuss or move around a lot, he just stands there chewing his cud and observes my procedures while the rest of the bulls hang out along the fenceline or under the trees at the far end of the pasture.
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I am delighted to announce that the new book by MaryJane Nordgren, Nandria’s War, is available to the public and can be purchased through my website, SchmidlinAngusFarms.com! And is now available on Kindle also.
The main herd is currently divided into two groups. The mothers with calves are in the nursery field and the remainder of the cows with the herd sire are on the outer reaches of the fields. The main herd can chose to lounge under tall trees in the woods, they can trek the logging roads for grassy areas to forage, or make the walk back along the base of the hill to the back of the fields where the spring is located or sometimes they cross the river to hang out across the road from the bull pen or the show cow pastures.
Normally the groups stay fairly well concentrated in their groups and it was unusual to have the herd split one day when it was feeding time. Instead of all the main herd being by the feeders waiting for the evening meal, we only saw the herd sire patiently waiting for the hay to be hauled around the corner of the barn. The sire, Prowler, is a social sort and doesn’t hang around by himself, he is content to follow the ladies around and sometimes takes the lead when it is mealtime, but being alone at the feeders is not seen regularly even though it was mealtime.
By the time we got out to the feeders with the hay, more of the herd began to trickle in from where they had been grazing on the other side of the river. But it was only about half the herd. Mike used his ‘come boss’ holler to bring the rest of the cows to dinner but none showed up. Knowing critters as Mike does, he assured me that the rest of the herd had most likely headed up hill to find fresh grassy areas to graze and were probably out of hearing range for his hollering and said that he would expect the missing critters to be down off the hill in the morning for breakfast.
Morning time came and the feeding schedule commenced. When we began feeding the nursery field critters first, we saw a line of cows coming down off the steep slope over by the logging patch we had cleared last year. After missing an evening meal they were ready to head to breakfast when they heard the Gator were quick to get to the mangers before we unloaded their share of hay. Once missed mealtime was enough to remind them of the feeding schedule.
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The calves across the river in the nursery field are having a grand time during this week of rain and it does not slow down the exuberance level when they take off at a full gallop or what their spindly, wobbly legs allow.
Not to be outdone, the bulls in the bull pen have been doing some funny things to keep busy during this downturn in the weather. It may be because I have spent more time in the barn since returning from my REALOregon class in Newport to get caught up with firewood bundling, but I swear those bulls are trying to tell me something.
I have one that likes to stand just around the corner of the barn and watch as I am running the wrapping machine. It’s not like he is stalking or anything, just observing as one would sit back and watch their favorite TV show. He stands around for about a half hour, gets tired of watching, and moves on to other activities with his fellow bulls.
Then another of the bulls has decided that he is going to play king of the mountain and tries to scale some of the old stumps that dot the area of the bull pen pasture. These stumps are nearly as wide as the bulls are long and there would be plenty of room up there to stand if they could climb that high. Most of the time, the one bull that attempts to scale the side, gets high-centered before putting his front legs on the top and lingers in this pose for quite a while before figuring out how to extricate himself from the precarious position.
It is apropos that the bulls are signalling for attention because most of them are now a year old and are near the age we can start selling them. The ad is now running in the Capital Press (our newspaper for all things farming in the western states).
13-Month Registered Black Angus Bulls
(3) 13-month Registered Black Angus Bulls. Low birth EPDs. Schmidlin Angus Farms, Vernonia, OR. 503-429-7861
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Our herd sire, Prowler has been keeping company with the main herd of cows on the far side of the river. He is a rather gentle critter, he is not one to go around the periphery to contain his harem. He does not bellow or snort to get attention, he tends to hang out in the middle of the herd rather than lead or follow. Although we never turn our backs to any bull (rule number one), Prowler has never raised any concerns about working with the herd while he is in their midst. So the damage that was incurred the other day surprised us. Continue reading
Way, way back, while the summer was still scorching, you heard about the short fence that needed rebuilding. It took several weeks of fitting in an hour here and an hour there to get the old fence torn out, or mostly torn out.
The project took a hiatus while the end of logging took all of our time. Once we started rebuilding, it still took more than 2 months of snagged time from our regular chores to get the 125 feet of fence installed.
Looking across the barnyard I would say that the finished project turned out pretty darn good. It’s hard to tell, but the entire project including a gate near the road and another by the barn was made from recycled posts, gates and boards.
It was one of those jobs that was always put on the back burner because there were so many other projects screaming for attention. Since it is now time to move the herd sire back over to this side of the river, the fence needed to be completed so he would not go a-roaming. It’s about darn time!
This time of year, when a farmer calls and inquires about a bull, things happen quickly. This was exactly the case of a call that came from St. Helens. A farmer was looking for a bull to be put out with his cows. Less than two hours later, he was at the farm eyeing #20 Volcano.
We had not advertised Volcano as available for sale because he was the youngest bull of last years batch and would not be a year old until 6/2/2018. We like to wait until they are a year old before selling the critter for breeding stock, it gives us enough time to see how he develops both in stature and in all things male.
The age did not worry the farmer since his plans were to pasture Volcano for several weeks with a steer before putting him in with his cows.
Less than 24 hours from the initial call, Volcano was loaded into the stock trailer and on his way to his new farm and new friends. We have one less bull in the bullpen.
Our yearling bull #19 has been out in the bull pen while he has been awaiting sale. Since we have buyers looking, we are going to give him his own post.
SAF Brando was born 3/18/2017 to SAF Marlo. At birth he weighed 75 lbs.
His American Angus Association Registration number 18892596. He is considered a ‘calving ease’ bull, suitable for small cows and first calf heifers.
Fairly gentle in the barn, when it comes to feeding time Brando gets right in with the crowd to get his fair share.
#12, Topper, was just a year old when we trained him to walk with a halter and took him to the Clark County Fair this last summer.
Now he is ready to be the sire for his own herd. He was purchased by one of our repeat customers over in the Scappoose area just an hour away by trailer.
Since Topper had halter experience, it was no problem to get him fitted into the rope and walk him out of the barn and into the stock trailer for delivery. He should continue to grow and do well with his own herd of 15 cows to be in charge over along with large fields to roam.
The bull pen is now down to a 20-month old and 9 yearlings ready for sale.
Early morning labor pains brought Zippy into the world about daybreak. Roz, one of our more mature cows, had Zippy easily and she had him cleaned off and ready to join the herd for breakfast.
The bull calf, Zippy, was born 4/19/16 and weighed a moderate 75bs.
It was a short trailer ride from the main herd across the river for our herd sire. We moved him to this side of the river for two reasons, one to segregate him from the cows that are near calving and to breed the three cows that have already calved in the pasture next to the house.
We let him out of the trailer and he walked over to the barn and sunk his nose into the pile of sweet grass hay in the manger. Once he had his fill, he checked out his pen mates.
The three cows with their young calves seemed non-pulsed over the fact that the large bull has invaded their area and welcomed him once everyone was done eating.