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Barn Roof, Rain Barrel Calves


Week 6 of 2024, Allie's Farm Journal Post

Who needs rain barrels when calves are smart enough to figure how to drink the drip drop rain drops falling from the leaky gutters of the barn. The sight was quite clear, when Dad and I came around the barn heading out to feed. Calf one, Cap Garland, on the east end and calf two, Morning Moon, on the west end had figured precisely where the barn gutter leaked and were enjoying the pursuit of drinking drip after drip of rain water by holding their heads high and stretching their necks towards the sky. Tongue out and satisfied. Now of course these calves had trough access to fresh, spring feed creek water, but it seemed on this rainy day they enjoyed quenching their thirst and practicing for a barnyard circus simultaneously.

Of all times, my camera was full and not just for this moment, but for many times this week. Hence, the shortage of photos.

The sun that captured our spring longings at the start of this early February week was able to hold them till the morning of Friday the 9th. Our Thursday sure held its pace with those of early spring when the lofting upward energy seems to find ways to propel one from task to the next with a wisp of lightness. No glitches, just pure working momentum that completes itself at the end of they day without much heaviness.

We started off the day with a repeat of the prior Thursday's (To Read this Account from Last Thursday CLICK HERE) harvest day of two beefs, but with two different beefs. Both herds had remained in the same spot, and just like last week we were pulling one beef from our main herd and one beef from our two year old/yearling herd. Because it was just like last week, we followed the same protocol and the harvest flow took the same natural and calm path. "Sunny Squirt" was the beautiful and spunky Angus 3 Year Old that was for our custom beef shareholders. "Hideaway" was a 2 1/2 year old Hereford that was the runt in our 2021 calving season that we had reserved for our own family's custom beef. As we know every ounce of history for every offered custom beef, we knew why Hideaway was the runt and it was all based on genetics and her Mamma being an older cow that produces smaller calves. She was never sick and she followed the same grazing pattern as all her brothers and sisters from that 2021 calving season. The thought of us personally selecting the runt and choosing to consume the least of the pick of the herd, instead of offering as a custom beef to customers takes me back to the memories on our old farm in Middle TN when we operated our Veggie Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. All veggie farmers know that just because a vegetable is not perfect or is slightly blemished that it still can taste really good and make for delicious meals. We also know that if there are 30 CSA baskets and there are 30 great looking melons and 2 blemished melons, guess who got the blemished melons??,... we did! Same went for lettuces, beets, squash, you name it, we as the farmers always ended up with the worst looking of the crop. So here we are, doing the same with beef cattle, as we did with vegetables. Sure enough, if there was a line up of the 2021 calves and let's say there were twenty 2 year old beefs and there were 19 customers standing amongst them in the field picking which whole beef they wanted for their families custom beef basket, Hideaway, more than likely, would have been the one left unpicked, but she will still make just a fine custom beef for us.

As this day was a very full one, Matthew headed on with the two custom beefs and Eastenn Dutch and I stayed behind to start with Grampy our morning hay feedings. After completing the morning rounds and grabbing a bite for lunch, this warmer, drying weather had got me thinking about the garden and rows and plantings. Earlier, as I had already briefly mentioned to Eastenn Dutch that I was hoping to be able to move around some of our spent hay and manure from our calf weaning area, he had scouted enough from the conversation to make him decide that he needed to pull out the hidden old scrapper attachment that only could be gotten by the moving around a couple of heavy items with the tractor. So sure enough, as Dad and I were across the road feeding, I saw in the distance the International tractor out and about maneuvering behind the old log building/corn crib. Eastenn Dutch had successfully pulled out the old horse drawn chisel plow in order to get to the scrapper attachment and had switched out the hay spear for it and was ready to scrape and pile and load and transport. These four words are actions that my little boy thinks about day and night and so he was on it. After the initial coordination of steps we got into a fair rhythm and if we would have just had a little more time before late afternoon feeding needed to begin we would have about made it down one of our 218' garden rows. The row we were working on was where potatoes were planted for our 2023 season and basically we were piling a hill of the spent material on top of the row to be able to come back to in early spring to transplant cabbages as part of a no till practice vegetable rotation. I often find myself craving to work directly with soil and vegetable plants, since my current days are so filled with cattle and their management to improve the soil, without really having to have my hands working with the soil. I do plenty of over-seeding of grasses and legumes, but this has a different feel than when one starts a seed in compost and then transplants the live plant into the fertile grounds' soil. So with that, Eastenn Dutch and I are hoping to add a few more good organically grown crops to our marvelous organically grown market potatoes to have at our Self Serve Farmstand and to take to the Jonesborough Farmer's Market, here and there, this 2024 growing season.

Onward the day went. Dad and I headed back out to feed and Eastenn Dutch hauled a few more loads with his snapper-simplicity trailer mobile. Then the final note of the day was a speaking engagement I had been asked to attend. As I love speaking about sustainable farming and closed LOCAL farming and food systems, I was looking quite forward to getting to go be one of the four farmers to speak at the Appalachian Resource and Conservation Development Council

(ARC&D Council for short), Winter Intensive Farm Field School. It is not very often that I leave the farm in the dark to be out and about, so this was a good shake up, get about, and privilege all in one! Now, I know plenty about being out and about working in the dark, just not driving away in a vehicle!

Such a day, and at the end I was not even that tired. That "Spring Fever Loft" was a lucky catch!!

It was the very next day though, on Friday the 9th that the "spring fever loft" had left. We still had plenty to do, as the rains were coming by the end of the day, but today's tasks were not light and wispy like that of yesterday. Our main goal today on top of our normal feedings was to move both the yearling herd and calf herd into new paddocks. The calf move proved to be quite fun and successful. They had about a half mile or more jaunt and Dad and I coursed their path with some added temporary pigtail post and ribbons. We moved them way down to the bottom paddock, as it will be the easiest to recover with some spent hay spreading and over-seeding. We decided to go ahead and move the yearlings a little early from their 2nd quadrant to their 3rd, because of the forecasted torrential rains. Interestingly enough, this put both herds across from each other, with a small road in between. So what we knew would happen is that both herds being curious, were going to just love standing and walking back and forth along the fence wondering about the neighboring new herd of interest. This is not necessarily what we would have wanted with the coming rains, but sometimes things like this in farming are inevitable. Both these herd moves required a water pump move and multiple water lines, a mineral juggle and there we would have it. Right at the end, it seemed like a rain force, a tractor force, and a family force all collided at once and burst into a big bolt of lightning. See, Dad and I were letting the yearling herd in, while feeding, while all at the same time needing to move out about 5 round bales from the 3rd to 4th quadrant, so the herd could not get to them. Matthew was moving water troughs and one mineral feeder. Then as the rains really started coming down and it was almost dusk, low and behold here comes Eastenn Dutch driving down the road on the International Tractor with the calves' mineral feeder on the front loader. I had told him that he was in charge of moving the mineral feeders, but we had discussed using the 4 wheeler, not the tractor. Grampy does not like for the International to get wet for one and two, he thought Eastenn Dutch was going to try to open the gap and drive into the calves new bottom paddock all by himself, with the 46 calves all standing at nose point to the fence, ready to be fed. Of course we were all watching at a distance, so with our distant yelling Matthew decided to race down the field to intersect and help Eastenn Dutch in his predicament and in the mean time the yearlings had started eating on the bales that we had not moved yet because of the distraction. So with the lateness, the rain, the 100 animals, foggy tractor windows, and tempers lost, Grampy took out in a full blown tractor sprint, throttled high, picking up one bale after the other heading back ad forth up and down a hill hardly giving me time to push down the electric fence when he was ready to cross. After the bolt had struck, nothing was harmed, all was completed and the animals had all they needed and we had done our due diligence to try to minimize the coming rains impact.

Sure enough the rains fell, adding up to an accumulated 1.9" by the end of the weekend, which was by far the most accumulated rain in a two day period that we had received all winter.

Plus, more rains are forecasted for Monday late afternoon and evening.

This week ended the last of our custom beef harvest this winter for our custom beef shareholders, till we start up again for our 2024 Season on April 30th.

Our Online CUSTOM BEEF SHOP is always open for PreOrders.

May and June have already filled, so currently PreOrders are available for the month of July and forward. We always appreciate our customer support and we hope too that potential customers realize that we work so hard at what we do to make POSITIVE differences in all aspects of community and to shed light on the viability of a self sustaining and LOCAL BEEF, FARM to CONSUMER Direct Market. Organically grown & raised /whole food choices and organically grown & raised /whole food eatings have the ability to change the world from the soil to the sky and all that's in between!!


Foothill Frolic Farm's 3 Generation Cattle Series Feature

This Photo Series is an idea I had to show the relation of generations within a "Birth to Beef" Regenerative Cattle Farm.

This week's feature is Mamma Cow G23, a Hereford, and her 2 calves she has birthed since 2022. Mamma COW G23, is currently pregnant with her calf that will be born in the spring of our 2024 calving season.

Mamma Cow G23, First Generation

"Snowwhite Sparrow" 28H, born on March 12, 2022, 2nd Generation

"Ralphy Snipe" 332S, born on April 2, 2023, 3rd Generation

Until Next Time, Eat Well and Be Well and Please Pass Along,

Allison Mills Neal of Foothill Frolic Farm

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