Our two farm dogs don’t act like they are related and they really don’t act like they were out of the same litter. The are as different as can be.
Butler the mild mannered, more timid of the two is a demon when he is on the scent of a critter such as a gopher, quail or coyote. His does not like to give up even when he has been digging holes for hours, or chasing well past the fence lines. Butler does not like to get his paws wet in puddles or in the river.
Jackson, the wild one, likes to fling himself into the Gator or into the river. Sometimes it works out well but sometimes he flops tremendously but it doesn’t deter him from doing it the next time. When he wants a drink, he throws himself into the stream and gets nearly to swimming before he laps up a good few swallows. When coaxed out of the water he does not shake off until he is in the bed of the Gator where he wets the Gator and any passengers sitting in the front.
The river is Jackson’s happy place and most days from late February until November he can be found near or in the river at every opportunity.
This is going to be one of those posts without pictures attached. For those of who are reading on the old website, that is normal, but for you who are following from the new website of SchmidlinAngusFarms or Social Media, you may wonder what is going on and why I did not get photos. Continue reading
When the main herd saw us working over by the barn they thought that it was time for them to move to a fresh pasture area. They were all bunched up by the gate and some of the bigger ones were craning their necks over the fence. There was a lot of bellowing going on so everyone was on alert to pending pasture changes.
Mike got on the Gator and went up the road to get around the herd. I stayed on the barn side of the river to open the Rabbit Run for the herd to traverse. I counted the critters as they filed through the gate, but the number seemed off. I followed the herd up the Run to the barnyard and locked them all securely inside and tried counting again. Still we were missing a critter.
Mike went around the pasture the herd had just come from and checked where Crystal had birthed her baby less than two weeks earlier, but he didn’t see anything. He called across the river to have me do a head count one more time. I still came up one short.
Mike went back around the field and checked the out of way spots before rechecking the old railroad grade. Sure enough Segway had her baby tucked in near an old snag. When she saw Mike she got her calf up and started moving around the pasture grounds to where the main herd had been less than an hour earlier. She coaxed her calf through the river and up the Rabbit Run to join the rest of the herd.
Welcome to the farm bull calf SAF Trike born 5/23/2020 and weighing 70 lbs.
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We have break-away fences. It is the way we cope with the ups and downs of the river flow throughout the year while still trying to contain the cattle. In a typical year, we replace the break-away fences that wash out during the high waters of the winter time in early to mid-May. But this year, the drier weather has dropped the water level considerably early and the other day the cows got out of the field were they were supposed to be grazing. Most of the herd swam the river and got into the six acre field where we thought we had them locked out of. Mike noticed first and called the alarm, “the cows are out!”
It was all hands on deck to figure out where the breach occurred. Sure enough, the area where the break-away fence at the back end of the six acre field had been, filled with rock over the winter and made for easy crossing for the wayward cattle. When we found the area, we realized that the fence had not had the clean break that is normal. This break was not just across the river but the fence was torn from their moorings for more than ten posts, the fence was missing well up the bank and toward the hayfield. Continue reading
I have had several people contact me who were worried about the cows and wanted to make sure that I posted when they were all safe and sound. The herd was stuck on the wrong side of the river for several days after making a poor choice in crossing just before the good dumping of rain and the river to rising to above flood stage. The herd have been pasturing in the two small fields on this side of the river where we have been feeding them, we didn’t want to push one of the lead cows into crossing if the herd did not feel comfortable doing it on their own because of the three youngest of the herd only being a few months old with the baby only a month old.
Once stuck on the wrong side, the river kept rising with the heavy rains that have been coming down since Thursday. Finally Saturday afternoon, the sky didn’t clear but at least it wasn’t pouring. Saturday night we only had a few showers. But on Sunday morning the river was still not low enough for the cattle to cross. The small fields are getting muddy from the big foot prints plopping in the muddy spots and there is a lot of manure that has to be dodged in order to lay out piles of hay on the ground. The cows were starting to get cranky as well as us as tenders for the herd.
Finally the herd decided at the Sunday evening feeding that they were going to forge the river to be able to eat at the outdoor feeders where they prefer to dine. The young calves had to really struggle with swimming across but the whole herd made it without issue. The herd is back to residing on the correct side now.
Thanks to my gracious readers for your caring and support.
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My readers are the best! A while ago, I had mentioned that November 1 was the beginning of the dormant season and that I was planning on doing some seedling planting. I was gently reminded that although I talked about the plan, no story of actual planting was getting posted. I appreciate the nudge, so here is the story that I almost forgot. Continue reading
This stretch of warm weather has been good for the grass hayfields nearing harvest and for vegetation growing around the hayfields that the cattle have been grazing on. The water level in the river has also dropped which is an indicator that we need to get the fences shored up so the cows don’t go wandering away from the farm.
We reinstall barriers each year since the winter water levels wipe out the fencing. The trails of wire extend down stream where the current sucked it downstream. Each spring we wade out there and reconnect the wire to strong anchor posts on opposite banks of the river and shore up the fence enough to discourage the cows. Continue reading
It’s hard to imagine the river getting low enough at our downstream edge to need fencing while much of the Willamette Valley is under flood warning with many evacuations. The wet storm systems that have been coming in off the ocean are swirling in from the south and seem to peter out before they get twisted back to the coast range in the north, leaving us with much less rainfall.
We had to pile drive a couple of metal T-posts into the rocky shallows of the river and extend the wire fence that had washed out during the winter high water. If we did not replace the fencing, the cows could walk along the shallows and out into neighboring property.
Every year we have to reclaim the fences that inevitably get washed out along the river. The swift current drags debris onto the fence before it breaks from the weight. Once broken, the water carries it downstream and buries posts wire and all beneath soil, rocks and vegetation. Continue reading
Stories of old that told of the hardships that our fore-bearers had to endure came to mind when I watch the main herd of cows this day. Like having to walk to school in the bitter cold with holes in their shoes, thin cotton clothing made from flour sacks, and also the trek was uphill both to and from.
When the current is swift enough to move a 1000 lb cow downstream, it probably feels like it is swimming upstream both ways when crossing to and fro.
Cows are good swimmers and it does not seem to bother them when the water is this high, although they usually do not cross when the river is up. Most likely they crossed the night before after they had filled up with their evening meal and with the heavy rain during the night, the river rose significantly.
We did not have to call or push the cattle to re-cross the Nehalem. They saw us on the Gator loaded with their breakfast and they dove right in.