Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One of Many Wild Cow Stories

One of my daughters was relating a story about a wild cow they were having trouble with and it reminded me of the ultimate "wild cow" we owned one time years ago.

When you are young and poor you are willing to take a chance now and then and I was visiting local sale barns trying to buy "short term" cows to calve one time, then sell both them and their calves the following fall. These cows were usually short toothed, late calvers or had a disposition problem. I spotted one in the Corning sale barn that managed to have all three of these qualities. Bidding on her started at $650 with no takers as she chased everybody out of the sale barn ring. When the bidding got down to $450, I just couldn't help myself and hauled the "she devil" home. Turning her out in our calving pasture at home, I assumed she would quiet down a little bit while mingling with the other cows, thinking to myself this cow was getting better looking all the time, financially.

Well the next morning she wasn't "better looking", she was just plain gone. Fortunately, it had rained that evening and I was able to track her. Three hours later and having traveled over 4 miles I found her standing by herself in somebody else's pasture. Upon closer inspection, she attempted to have me for lunch and that would set the tone for the rest of the day. My poor wife got caught up in the many attempts at catching the cow and running for our lives(which were at that time apparently worth $450.00). Anyway, I eventually discovered that there was one spot the cow loved to chase me through and we set up a portable corral there. We did get her into our trailer where she stayed for a week until she settled down. Later she went on to have a nice calf and we sold the pair in the fall for a good profit. Would I do it again? No!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Only on the Beaman Farm

We left for a short trip with friends last night to pay respects to one who'd passed. We were able to slip away because our son, after work, came home and baled 45 big round bales. And he was able to do it fairly easily given the machinery we now have to work with. Not like the old days and that reminded me of a past haying story.

I'm guessing it was either the summer of '83 or '84. Mary and I were out baling square bales with me loading, Mary driving. We filled up one load and left it parked at the bottom of the long hillside we were baling. Just finishing the second load near the top of the hill, I stepped off and unhooked the rack from the baler as she was still driving the tractor and baler along in preparation of hooking onto the third rack. The loaded rack I unhooked started rolling backwards on its own, but no problem, I just employed by tried and true method of stepping on the tongue until the rack came to a stop. It did not. Then it became a situation of waiting and watching, there was nothing else to do but cuss. The rack started off slowly, picking up speed as it took a winding route down the hill where you may remember, I said we'd parked the first loaded wagon. Traveling a distance of many football fields in this winding arc, the runaway wagon crashed into the only other object in the field, the other loaded hay rack, hitting it hard enough to knock all the bales off the front half of the rack onto the ground. And although, we now had to reload the first rack, there were no injuries sustained from this mishap, well not counting the injuries sustained by Mary as she lay on the ground laughing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Shocking Story

I spent most of this morning moving cattle in the rain and that involved hooking and unhooking electric fences that we use a lot in our pasture management program. Reminded me of a famous story about me that the kids like to hear.

It was the spring of '92. Actually I don't remember what spring it was but it seems like a lot of good stories start out that way so we'll go with '92. It was a rainy, muddy day and we'd been moving cows with new baby calves all day to different pastures. With a steady drizzle and mud everywhere, it was impossible to stay dry. You just had to gut it out and hope for the end of the day. Towards dark I had to check one more pen of heifers. I took off on our three wheeler after asking my son, "Did you turn off the electric fence?" To which he replied, "Yes, I did". But apparently he didn't and there's still a lot of controversy how the exchange of dialog went but he swears it was just a misunderstanding. Anyway, imagine me rolling along on the three wheeler, coming to the electric fence that holds the cattle in their pasture. Common practice was to bend over, lift the wire above you and cruise right into the pasture. And it was a good idea to slow down at this spot anyway because there was a huge puddle right below the fence(now you're getting excited about this story, right?). Anyway, when I grabbed the fence, as you will already have guessed, it was pulsating out about 7000 volts and I was pinned under the wire on the three wheeler getting the dickens shocked out of me. The only escape was to roll off the three wheeler onto the ground and as you remember, that allowed me to drop into a huge mud puddle.

I lay there for a while, trying to regain my senses, trying to remember what it is was I was wanting to do, then stood up and just caught the tip of my ear on the fence. Anyway, people who know me, hear me tell this story and then nod knowingly as if to say this incident might explain a lot of my day to day behavior.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


People who are wiser than me, and I'm always alarmed to notice how many of these people there are, advise me that using a "social media tool" such as Facebook would be a good way to win friends and influence people and okay I admit it, maybe sell more of my books and try to make money.

But learning to use this electronic tool is somewhat difficult for those people in my age group (over 12). I've noticed that many of the younger people are doing bizarre things on Facebook, tagging, writing on walls, referring to other's blogs, responding that they like things, the list goes on. People ask if they can be my friend and I always say yes. I'm scared to death to ask the many people that are suggested as "possible" friends to be my friend. Even though my kids assure me that you will never know if you've been rejected, still the possibility exists and why take the chance.

So anyway, thanks to all the kind souls who've responded to my Facebook page and if I've failed to do anything that may be considered proper social etiquette on this site , please forgive me. You have to remember that it was just a few years ago that I learned how to use a fax machine and listened in horror as it made those strange noises fax machine transmissions do and was just sure that somehow I'd shorted out some phone circuits somewhere and electrocuted at least three telephone operators.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

See Us in the Movies!

Got your attention with the title for this blog, didn't I? Well maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit but a movie was filmed in our town, Lenox, a little over a year ago called "The Crazies" and starred Timothy Oliphant. It's been on the big screen and by now you can purchase DVD's, etc. I don't remember it receiving any film academy awards or being listed as a "box office smash" but it was kind of fun to see our small town almost double in size with "Hollywood types", bright lights and film crews. Many of our citizens served as extras in the movie, however I was not asked to participate even though I've been known to do many Oscar- winning acting presentations while trying to get our banker to renew our operating loan each year, but that's a different story.

If you do see the movie, and I must warn you that it is a horror film, try to spot a sign on main street that says Ag Connect. That's the non-profit I've worked with for years to try and help young farmers. We're in the process of moving out of that building after being there for over 14 years. Our work will go on but in a smaller fashion and with all volunteer labor. For more information visit our website, theiowafarmer.com and click on the "helping young farmers tab".

Anyway, if you need an autograph . . .