Monday, July 2, 2012

Ferrell Farm Facts - Part 1

Most of y'all that know me and Dave realize that we are "city" slickers . . . not true farmers . . . initially anyway.

But after two years of living in the country, I think we may have finally gotten a little farmer fever!  Ha!

What started out as two cows . . .

 has grown into 15 cows . . . plus an extra cow that belongs to Charles Hailey that's been visiting us.  :-D

That's 16 cows total.  A real herd. 

We have grown to love having the cows.  The boys love to feed the cows.

 Our little two-cow farm grew when one of them, the pregnant cow, gave birth to a boy/cow or bull as I have been told.  :)

Anyway . . . the boy/cow grew into a great big bull who proceeded to get his momma cow and her friend with "calf" .  :)

So our little two-cow farm became a 5 cow/bull farm.  You can see all 5 of them in the picture above. 

Well, Dave and I just loved having these cows, and the price of cows keeps on going up so we decided to invest in more cows.

Big pretty Black Angus cows that are "springing". 

 Now for those of you not familiar with cattle farmer jargon . . . "springing" is not referring to how those cows are leaping from the cattle trailer.  Nope "springing" is the way cattle farmers refer to a cow about to have a calf.  No joke! 

 Dave has gone "cow crazy."  :D

He purchased 8 cows that are "springing" and two calves.  That's 15 cows total for those of you keeping up. . . . before the "springing" cows have their calves!  Then there will be more!

We have about 25 to 30 acres for the cows to graze on and a lake for them to drink from and keep cool with, but that's a lot of land to look for a cow that may have had a calf.  Also that may not be enough acreage for all those cows!

So my Daddy (John L.) suggested that we fence in the back part of our yard and the North side of our yard for extra grazing space and a place to put the cows that are expecting so we can watch them closer to home.

Our house sits on 6 acres adjacent to the 30+ acres so we have some extra acreage we can fence in and it would also cut down on the amount of yard I have to mow.

Now being the cattle farmers that we've become it was no big deal to fence in the land.

We checked into how much it would cost to pay someone to do it for us and then we compared that to what buying the necessary equipment to do the job ourselves would cost. . .  So we decided to do it ourselves.  By the way, neither of us have ever built a barbed wire fence!

Meet Mister Auger a/k/a Post Hole Digger:

Meet Dave's first post hole made with Mr. Auger:

And here is Dave with the beginning of our fence:

We used the tractor and auger to dig holes for all the brace posts for the fence.

I think Dave had a good time using the auger . . .

He had a little help with the posts.

Dave spent a little bit of time trying to get the poles level.  Not perfectly level . . . but good enough level.

We added cement and water to the hole and . . .

A corner of the fence almost completed!  And Shane!

This next picture will give you a perspective of where the fence is in relation to our house.  It will also give you proof that I was there! 

Now when you put the poles in the middle going across, you have to take some of the barbed wire and go from corner to corner with it . . . and use a long stick or board to twist the barbed wire . . . and it pulls the two poles on either side of it together to hold the pole going across . . . Ha!  Perfect directions for doing it!  Here is a picture of Dave twisting the wire with the board:

Once it's tight and the pole going across doesn't move, then you let the board catch itself against the pole going across and that holds it.  Very simple.  I would have thought it would've been more complicated.  :)

While Dave and I were working on the fence, the farm cat was giving us moral support.

Ha!  He's such a good cat! 

We put up brace posts for the fence in several places . . . where the gate is going to be . . . in the corner . . . at the beginning and end . . . etc. 

We spent a good part of a day installing the brace posts.  Working in this heat is exhausting and we paced ourselves -- taking water breaks as needed.

I was slightly sunburned and cut and bruised in several places, but I know Dave couldn't have done it by himself.  :)

All this hard work for the Ferrell herd . . .

Aren't they sweet . . . sharing their snacks . . .

Well . . .they aren't all that sweet.  Look at this one! 

Apparently some cows have personality issues when they're "springing".  Pregnancy hormones I guess. :D

Really it could just be her personality and have nothing to do with her condition. 

Oh see the cow in that picture above that has two tags.  That is one of the original two cows we bought.  Dave decided we needed to tag all our cows so that is why she has two tags. . . .  but that's a story for another post!  Ha!

So anyway . . . I'll end my fence building story for now and finish it up tomorrow.    Maybe I'll also tell you about the time Dave and I tried to tag our cows without a head gate.  Cattle farmers know what I'm talking about.  Eugene Cooper knows what I'm talking about because he was there laughing at us! 

I have many tales to share about being an accidental cattle farmer's wife!  I've experienced a lot of country living in the past few weeks. 

Have I mentioned the chickens?  the possum?  the raccoon?

Later . . . later . . . for another time with . . .

                          the Ferrell boys and me!