The Grass Is Often Greener

the reel

This is our reel.  It is the temporary front fence for each move.  Brent lays it out and charges it before he moves the herd.  He also does a buffer should there be any issue.  We are belt and suspender folk.

greener grass

This is a calf eating under that front fence.

under the wire

Oh and one of the bulls eating under the front fence.

I don’t like the under-the-fence eaters.  Sure, I get you, the grass *is* greener, but you might knock that fence.  We’ve had some front fence pressure in the last few days.  It may be the naiveté of the calves what with their longer horns and bigger frame.  The calves could quite comfortably walk under the front fence and back without issue, but they are bigger now.  They are almost one and ready to move on.  The fence is hot.  The calves have learned.  The bulls have settled rank.  The herd seems a herd again.  Though we keep close attention to the greener-grass bovines.


As they say, “What would Peter Hernandez do?”  This might be his response to eating under the wire:


Calf i: Can’t I  just stay here?

Me: No.

Calf i:  Spend the rest of my days here?

Me: No.  You’ll break the front temp fence.

Calf i: Oooh!



Early Morning Cow Move

a bit frosty

It was a bit brisk this morning.  The cows are munching the grass with a little frost on it.  Yesterday was a bit animated.  It started with the Seahawks heading to the superbowl, Brent loaded two cows onto the truck, kids off to school.  When the sun rose, there was some fence debugging, some tricky cow maneuvering, Leftie got some unwanted attention,  a gate broken ( bad cows ), a reel broken, a long walk with the water bowl and the iron-man-salt-lick carry.  Then ended with more hay moving, another gate broken ( bad Brent ) followed by our typical evening kid routine.  On this morning, it was calm.


The moon was out.

new fence

The new orchard fence is looking lovely.

lake and hay

The lakes are full.

Time to roll out the hay.

preparing to unwrap

Brent rips the haynet and unwraps it a bit.

net removal

The hay has a lovely smell.


Then he rolls with it.

patient cow

The cows wait patiently. Moo.

moving cows

Then the heptagons appear and they all walk through.


Brent inspects the cows.  We think about our next beef sale.  All that is left behind is a nicely worked pasture and a steaming pile of poo.  A sweet spot for fertility.

steaming pile of poo


bull curls

Brent took this photo this morning of Richter.  Richter is one of our bulls.  He’s very sweet and is getting along with the ladies since he was introduced to the herd a couple of days ago.  I thought his curls would make a good texture for my desktop.  Not to mention his hunky magnetism wooing the ladies with that teenage heartthrob mop top ( think your Kirk Camerons your Leif Garrets, yeow-chooka-yeow-yeow ).
one of the bulls

He’s a bit of a snug.
take a whiff

Here he is sniffing Blackie Onassis.  She’s hot.


And a family man, the calves love him.

Leftie Got Her Horn Did



( photo by B. Curtis )


Leftie is the one on the left.
saw different

With any moment of uncertainty, I should grab my camera. There are a few moments of “wow” I could have photographed that, but was too in the moment to snap.  Shockingly and naively, I snapped without thought when we started this farm.  I have photos of heifers running through fences.

What was I thinking?! Why was I snapping?!


Not two minutes later, a three-year-old reads to the neighbours in a tutu.

Now, with a bit of experience and prediction, I leave the camera behind when things are new or take place with unknown outcome.  But I shouldn’t.

reel of saw

“Leftie” has a horn that is growing the wrong way.  It’s headed towards her head.  Brent cut it off today.  I had ideas of how cutting this horn would go.  I’m thinking a horn-i-cure. I was thinking, “ow.”  The horns are like nails. fat cow

The cage did well.  The rope did okay, but it was the nose thing-oes that did the trick.  She was calm and ready while Brent sawed off her wrong way horn.  After Brent attached the nose thing, she was ready.  I held it tight and she almost fell asleep.  He cut her horn in minutes and she was back with the herd.

nose pinch

“Leftie” is a lovely cow.  Her crazy horn could have come about for a number of reasons.  No reason to cull her.

Leftie's horn

It was a big cow day today.  A big infrastructure day.  I snapped some photos while Brent was busy fencing a new paddock.  He’s the guy by the white Toyota Hilux.

brent hard at work

The wood pile is dry, but diminishing what with fencing and cold weather.

woodpile, a bit

The chooks that should be in Nebraska are scratching around the courtyard.

chook and bale

The cows are happy, the bulls are in.  I’m looking for Lefite to see how she’s going.

potential beef

After today, we will have some mince, some veal and some lovely, tasty, tender beef for sale very soon ( inquire within ).

… and in other early photos, I offer you this gem.  Don’t touch.  It’s danger of death.


Them There Balls

This is January

Sorry, I’m squinting.  Big orb, golden, shining in the sky.  Door open, puppy sleeping, kids at school.  It started with a -0.5C this morning, fog, naughty herd.  Now, we are sunny, good herd, and warm.  It’s been a busy day.  Though the biggest day has been for Shaft.  Brent selected three bulls for next year to further the herd ( read rumpy pumpy ).  He planned to select two and castrate the third ( for yummy steer meat to come ).  An amazing bull reality series took place and Shaft was voted off.  He’s a great looking bull, but he’s too tall and a bit jumpy.  By bull standards, he might be amazing.  We are after flavor and yum.  Farmers often select big and tall for the bull.  We look for ability to get fat on grass among other things I’m sure Brent will detail in a blog post soon.  Brent likes short and stocky.  Wookie and Richter won. Shaft got shafted.  Okay, he didn’t get “shafted,” he got castrated.  I was trying to work the whole Shaft-shafted deal.  Move along.


A simple and quick procedure.  He was a gentleman.  After the deed was done, he had a long rest and will join his bros later today.  His Rocky Mountain delicacy ( don’t look ) was enjoyed by our older retriever who loves castration days.  Evidently, you can fry these up and enjoy.  We opt-ed out.  I already had dinner planned and the cat needed brushing and the dog ate my homework and I need to pair those socks.


Richter was calm as anything.  He only “sucks to be you”-ed while Shaft was resting.  They are good friends, the boys.  I think they will support each other well.

For us, it’s been a great day, but a bit rough on the edges.  For Shaft, I can only think of this song:

Lumi’s Rock


Lumi is getting acquainted with the farm.  He successfully climbs on this large rock.  Oh, he is so proud.

gray's tree

Evil Gray shows him how much further one can go. Oh, too bad about the puppy paws.  “You suck,” he meows.

Lumi's rock

Proud Lumi surveys his land from his rock.

can't quite reach

Then attempts a rather small hay bale.  Good try, boy!

wee ball and z

Toddler kicks a ball.

Low Stress Chook Handling

low stress chook handling


After a second move of the bovines, Brent returned to feed the bulls.  A peep of chooks followed.  A peep of chooks love you provided you toss some yum somewhere along the way.  Intermittent yum is best as that is the one-arm-bandit of reinforcement.  When we can maximize their yum uncertainty, they will become strongly attached.  This is BlackJack’s peep ( thank you, Abby! ).  The rest of the peep are with Daryl and Daryl.

Mom Interrupted

Clearing the Orchard

I suppose you knew this already [ save state, handle interrupt ], but I had a moment of clarity, “I am constantly interrupted.” I love this realization [ save state, handle interrupt ] because I can understand why I get so grumpy when I try to [ save state, handle interrupt ]: pay a bill or sip some bubbly water or eat or walk down the hallway or go pee or [ save state, handle interrupt ] write this blog post or breath. Those who do not get interrupted may not realize the power they have to take a piss without someone or ones [ save state, handle interrupt ] detailing your next five actions. It will be so boring when they are off living life.

[ save state, handle interrupt ]

[ save state, handle interrupt ]

[ save state, handle interrupt ]

…. k, I’ll drop the joke, but seriously… they ( three of them, not including meowing cat or the puppy nibbling my trousers ) are talking to me now as I write. So, no, if this is weird, it’s not the wine … it’s the life. I love the life.

Clearing the Orchard

Since kid number one, The Dragon, I’m not sure I can sit down and do a task from beginning to end without twenty mini-breaks. There is one task I can do where no one disturbs me and that is chopping shit. I can’t hear them. What? Did you say something? I don’t even go that far.

Clearing the Orchard


Ooooo blackberry bubble wrap.

Clearing the Orchard


aaaah. that’s better.

Clearing the Orchard

We are slowly getting the pasture back to Teletubbie land. Salers, Teletubbies … the all love great pasture. There is something lovely about a great bit of grass to live on.

okay… dinner is ready, I’ve been making dinner through this. Some chops, some tartiflette, some “otto” veg. A great morning or evening to you!


lulu with second

Lucy had an all-day fencing tournament yesterday.  It was great to get the practice.  This was a friendly tournament between another city.

hooked in

I don’t know what they call it, but here she is hooking in.  She’s the one on the left.

on guard

En Garde! Etes vous prêts? Allez!


She did her best with this match.  She is a little short, but has a few tricks to get some points.


The three-year-old did well considering we left in the morning and returned in the evening.  New markers and a ream of paper provide endless entertainment.
a long day for a three-year-old

Of course we broke for lunch.  Sadly, I didn’t take a photo of the most amazing “chocolate sausage.”  With chocolate, chopped marshmallows and some bits of biscuit ( that’s “cookie” in American ), he rolled a log.  Some powdered sugar to simulate a casing, then cut into little rounds, it looked exactly like a dried sausage.  And it tasted great too!

After the results were in, awards and presents were given out.  Then, we all ate cake.  Galette des rois, specifically.  This is the one with a prize.  The one who eats, but does not swallow, the prize wears the crown.  Shockingly, both Z and Lulu bit the trinket.  This never happens.  Usually I have one to three tantrums with respect to the unfairness of it all.

after fencing awards

She fenced well.  She learned something.  I took some video for her to review with her father.  Sometimes, it’s nice to see yourself as you fence or dance to analyse your movements.