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Way OT - Cow stories for Dan'l and all the other cow chasers


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#46 camdigger OFFLINE  

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Posted September 23, 2015 - 03:54 AM

Why did you mention that the Gehl mill had "worn out hammers"? I'll be thinking about that while trying to sleep tonight.

I managed to keep the animals sorted most of the time. And as far as brakes.... Well let me just say that there was an era of farm equipment that had poor brakes when new and almost none after a few seasons. With a manual transmission, the engine does all the braking needed. Max speed in 4 low in low gear is about 7 miles an hour. At idle, an easy walking pace. No trick to catch for a fit 18 year old even with heavy felt lined winter boots and quilted winter coveralls on.

The worn out hammers made bringing feed excruciatingly slow. And the boss could not understand why I got so little accomplished those days.

Edited by camdigger, September 23, 2015 - 11:38 AM.

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#47 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted September 23, 2015 - 05:47 AM

Never mind. A good publisher will take care of all these bits and pieces. You are going to shop your manuscripts around, aren't you?



#48 oldedeeres ONLINE  

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Posted September 24, 2015 - 12:32 AM

Ah yes, square bales, a night mare to feed when the snow got deep and the cows hungry. Back in the 70's we were feeding 13,000, 80/90lb. bales a winter to 80 honking big registered Charolais cows. Several of them weighed a ton and non were less than 1600 lbs.. The bulls were penned up in their own corral separate from the cow herd, but the cows had a 60 acre field, the whole barnyard and loose housing barn to winter in. We watered the cows at a dugout about 500 yards from the barn setup, and they would follow the truck out to the dugout when we drove out to cut the water hole open every morning. While they were drinking we would scoot back to the hayyard and start putting the bales out. My Olde Deere would go in the stack yard with a pitch fork and toss the bales over the six foot rail fence one at a time and I would drag them away from the fence as far as I could before the cows started coming back from water. This distance from the fence was important because the wind down where we lived would pile up drifts to eight feet high one day, and the next day have them either blown completely away or else drifted right over the fence. Any hay left too close to the fence caused problems with the rotary snow blower that we used to keep things cleared away. Anyhow, there I would be, all 130lbs. of me, in lined coverall, scarf blowing in the wind and big clumsy boots, dragging a bale from each hand and rolling the third one ahead with my knee. This worked until the cows came back from water and followed me , grabbing at the trailing bales and jerking me back flat on my butt. My vocabulary got expanded considerably during those winters, and my aim with a frozen chunk of manure was deadly accurate. Cows can learn to keep a safe distance from an angry woman!

     At that time we rode horses quit a bit and they lived with the cow herd all winter. Mine was a fiery little sorrel 1/2 Arab, 1/2 quarter horse named Flame, who quickly learned the watering routine. When he got thirsty he would go to the dugout by himself and if it was frozen over would paw at the ice until he broke through and could drink. Often the cows would be standing around waiting for us to come and open it on the days when it froze over quickly, and Flame would do the job for us. He had a lot of " cow sense" and soon was driving the cows ahead of him when he went for a drink. This was O.K. for a while, but he would drink first of course, and hang around the water hole for a while and let the cows drink, but when he got bored or the wind was too cold he'd gather the cows up again and drive them back to the yard whether they were all finished drinking or not. This finally earned both horses  a place in a corral to themselves until we stopped using the dugout and had the cows use the heated watering bowls.


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#49 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted September 24, 2015 - 06:47 AM

. Anyhow, there I would be, all 130lbs. of me, in lined coverall, scarf blowing in the wind and big clumsy boots, dragging a bale from each hand and rolling the third one ahead with my knee. This worked until the cows came back from water and followed me , grabbing at the trailing bales and jerking me back flat on my butt. My vocabulary got expanded considerably during those winters, and my aim with a frozen chunk of manure was deadly accurate.

You might  have been a model. . . . .   You might even have been a nanny to the queen.   But nooooooo! You had to be a Saskatchewan farm girl.


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#50 jpackard56 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 24, 2015 - 07:22 AM

You might  have been a model. . . . .   You might even have been a nanny to the queen.   But nooooooo! You had to be a Saskatchewan farm girl.

My wife especially enjoyed this one today because it fits her as well, shes been knocked down by impatiant cows in the snow/mud...


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#51 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted September 24, 2015 - 08:45 AM

Anyone ever have a cow step on your foot and not get off? No, not me. . .    but I had a horse do the same.



#52 oldedeeres ONLINE  

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Posted October 02, 2015 - 02:01 AM

Cow step on your foot and not get off?  Noooo, but---

 

    Again, back in the1970's, when we were young and had children to feed, we bought a sweet little week old heifer calf,  half herford, half holstien, to hand raise for a milk cow. Paid the unheard of sum of $200.00 for her at the local auction barn. Of course we called her Two Hundred, and she grew up into a beautiful heifer and in due time had a nice bull calf. We gave her calf to another cow to raise and I started milking her twice a day with no problem; she was a dream to milk, gave enough for our house, my mother in law, and plenty left over for the dogs, cats and a dozen or so little feeder pigs that we raised to market size. All went well until one day about three months after calving. By this time I could just turn her out after milking and she would wander out into the pasture with the rest of the cows and laze away the day, then come wandering back into the yard around six in the evening to be milked again. This day she didn't come in until almost eight, wouldn't go into the barn, and when I did finally get her in she acted like a real jerk. Wouldn't go up in her stall, danced around until I finally had to tie her up, something that I didn't normally do. She generally just stepped up, put her muzzle in the manger and ate her oats like a lady and stood like a rock until I was done. 

     I brushed her off like always and sat on my pail and started milking, got about half a pail full when WHAP!! up came the back foot, smack into the pail , and winged it out of the stall behind her and into the alley. Then the same foot caught me and whipped me out into the alley with the pail so fast I didn't even see it coming. I got myself up, found the pail and went back in the stall beside her, ---  and found myself back out in the alley again, this time with both the milk pail and the one I had been sitting on with me. By now I was getting fed up with the routine so I grabbed  the barn broom and gave her a right smart lick with it and read her the riot act in no uncertain terms.

    This time I gave her another bite of oats, groomed her a bit with the brush, something she normally enjoyed, and sat down again to milk. I guess the first two kicks were just getting the range, because the last kick caught me on the fore swing and threw me under her front feet where she proceeded to stamp and paw me back under her belly where she could really do some damage with her back feet. I somehow managed to roll under the bottom rail on the side of the stall and got away from her while she was busy destroying the pails. I sat and bled a while before  finally getting up, and limped away to the house. Never did find my glasses again, and by bedtime I was black and blue from head to toe.

    Two Hundred stayed tied up for the rest of that week. Milking was done after I tied her off hind leg three feet up the side of the stall. She fell over the first time or two but she liked that less than she did having me milk her, so she learned to stand and tolerate it. When sale day came around we bought a calf and introduced her to it, and be darned if she didn't take to it right away. In three days she was mothering it as if it was her own. The fourth day she hit the end of the halter rope and tore the top plank off the manger when we went in to feed her, and hit the open door running. The calf followed her out of the barn and that was that. I have no idea what broke in her little mind that first day, but we never could lay hands on her again.

    When we shipped calves that fall Two Hundred, still wearing her halter, was loaded on the truck along with the calf crop. My bruises had faded to memory, new glasses were purchased, and I made my last visit to the chiropractor the week after the cow cheque was cashed.


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#53 camdigger OFFLINE  

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Posted October 06, 2015 - 05:32 AM

Ole Deere, sounds like two Hundred took exception to your cold hands.... :rolling:


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#54 camdigger OFFLINE  

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Posted October 06, 2015 - 06:19 AM

Sorry for the wait.  I've been distracted by life the last couple weeks.

 

Safety Nazis beware, this story is just a sign of why farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in North America.  OSHA, WCB, or any other occupational health and safety inspector will have apoplexy reading this...  You were warned....

 

After a few weeks of duty feeding the herd, the pickup developed a severe issue with a front axle drive shaft.  The big boss decided that the solution was to rehab an old 2 wheeled trailer and use a tractor.  First of all, the old deck had to be torn off.  Then I had to take the farm grain truck to a not so local sawmill operation for a load of 20’ planed 2 x 4 spruce lumber.  The old farm truck was a retired highway tractor.   It was a rare unit as it was gas powered single axle and had a 5 speed transmission and 2 speed rear axle so common, but had air brakes. It had excellent service air brakes, but no sign of a park brake.  So after going to the mill and hand loading the lift of 2 x 4, I headed back.  The trip for lumber took all the time between morning chores and black dark.  Darkness comes early in Central Alberta in December.  After limping through the week, the boss and I took the lumber and installed as decking on the trailer spacing the 2 x 4s 1 1/2” apart so stray hay and straw would fall through and not pile up on the decking. 

The trailer was hooked up to an aging Cockshutt 1950.  That particular model was powered by a 4 cylinder GM – one of the infamous screamin’ Jimmies.  Because the tractor was over 20 years old at the time, the service brakes, which were weak to start with, were nearly non existant.  It did have a home-made front blade for some snow dozing, but was a poor dozer as it was 2wd.  It had an early cab of the shake and bake sort and a rear entry style operator area accessed by climbing on from the back.

 

The revised plan for feeding was now to load all the feed for the day on the trailer and make a circuit of the pens starting with the old cows.  There was straw needed for bedding, first cut hay for the cows, bred heifers, and feeders, and second cut hay for the yearlings.  All told, there were approximately 150 bales on the 8 x 20 trailer.  Not real high, about 5 layers as I recall, with an intentional ramp on the back I could clamber up as required.  Now, I ran the trailer into the field the old cows were fed in, closed the gate (lesson learned there), and drove to the top of the hill where I pointed the unit downhill and stuck the tractor in 1st gear at an idle.  Then I climbed out of the cab and onto the trailer to dump off the cow’s feed and keep a rough eye on where we were headed.  Then after the cows had their ration, I climbed back into the cab and proceeded down to bed the cows and feed the rest of the animals in feed bunks.  It took the old cows less than a week to discover the yearlings second cut hay and get a taste for it, ripping at the bales on the trailer while ignoring their own 1st cut hay while the trailer was in their domain.  Oh, and you haven’t seen slippery until you’ve tried to walk on new planed decking liberally sprinkled with alfalfa leaves and snow.  Now imagine jumping off the slick deck and running between the tractor and trailer to climb into the cab.  The first step up off the ground was the usually frost covered steel A frame hitch....  I survived that with little more than a few scrapes and bruises, but there were some tense moments.

 

With all the excitement, it was inevitable that I dropped a string or two off the bales as they were spread.  Nothing beats attempting to outrun an unmanned tractor and getting your foot caught in a loop of twine with the ends frozen into a manure lump.  I ended up in a heap on the ground after an undignified sprawl more than once.  I’m just glad it never happened between the tractor and trailer.....

 

I used the tractor and trailer to feed the cows for the rest of my time on that place.  Made feeding in the spring a bit dicey as the tractor would sometimes have issues pulling the trailer through the melting pens.


Edited by camdigger, October 06, 2015 - 07:53 AM.

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#55 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted October 06, 2015 - 06:37 AM

Camdigger, did you ever write a book? It would be a hit with the farm crowd. Throw in some stuff for the housewives and it might be a hit!


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#56 camdigger OFFLINE  

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Posted October 06, 2015 - 06:51 AM

Well, those following along will remember that the farm I worked on at 18 was a calf to finish operation.  They will also recall the aging retired hiway tractor that was the farm heavy hauler.  With labor on the payroll (me), the big boss decided that there was no need to hire a truck to send finished beef to auction, so I was now a cattle hauler.  On a weekend I was scheduled to work, we walked through the finishing feeder pen and selected several (10 as I recall), to send to the local auction market to be sold.  We separated the selected animals into a pen off the loading chute, and fed them.  Then we dug out the stock rack extensions and installed them on top of the grain box.  The plan was that after chores and some other jobs the next day, I would load the animals in the truck and take them to the auction market.

The next afternoon at the appointed time, I backed the truck up to the chute and managed to chase the doomed creatures onto the truck and get the gate closed behind them.  After a change of clothes and a quick snack, we were off to town.  The old truck ran well on the hiway and all was good as I found the auction market (it was in a town I’d rarely ever been to), got unloading instructions, and backed up to the unloading dock.   After the back of the truck gently bumped the dock, I pulled on the park brake lever as hard as I could and jumped out to assist in the unloading process. 

I still don’t understand completely why, but by some trick of lighting or something else, the dumb beasts decided they had to jump across some kind of chasm from the truck to the dock even though the truck and dock were at the same level and were tight together.  Each animal weighted nearly a ton.  The bouncing and jolting of their disembarkation caused the truck to roll ahead.  I had forgotten that the park brake was less than useless.  I watched in horror as the gap grew wider until finally the second last heifer slipped and plunged down between the dock and the truck.  Her body wedged the truck even further away from the dock and she and the last heifer jumped to the ground and ran off across the fenced parking lot like deer.  The auction market staff had seen it all before, and were unflustered (unlike me), and sent me to the parking lot gate while one of them went down the dock to a corner and opened a ground level gate into the main sorting alley.  In a few short minutes the wayward heifers were contained again and I, much chagrined filled out some paperwork and slunk off home again.


Edited by camdigger, October 06, 2015 - 07:34 AM.

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#57 camdigger OFFLINE  

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Posted October 06, 2015 - 06:57 AM

Camdigger, did you ever write a book? It would be a hit with the farm crowd. Throw in some stuff for the housewives and it might be a hit!

 

 

I have never written a book.  I have done a lot of reading in my time though, both for work and entertainment.

 

I didn't like writing much until recently.  I specifically chose Engineering as a profession because I was good at math and science, didn't like writing, and didn't want to be a boss.  Within 5 years of graduating, I was reading and writing reports and programs and managing a staff of up to 20.


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#58 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted October 06, 2015 - 07:13 AM

This isn't cows, but I'm reminded by your last story. When I was working at a roadway maintenance garage for the Illinois Toll Way; there was a horse slaughter facility (now closed) not far away. Once, some horses got loose and got onto the toll road, not good. A quick phone call and here comes some Hispanic workers bareback with ropes to chase down the wayward animals and herd them back to the facility. It seemed kind of ironic that the would be food items were turned back into transportation only to be returned to food once again.

 

During their time in DeKalb, IL, the facility got a lot of protests and ultimately, suffered a fire under mysterious circumstances.


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