Monday, April 19, 2010

Appleseed weekend

This last weekend went well here with the appleseed shoot. We had someone that had attended the Appleseed here last August bring a troop of boy scouts up to participate. We were kind of wondering how easy they would be to teach (most of them were probably 10-12 yrs old) and how well they would pay attention, but it worked out real well. There was another friend and his son that came at noon but had to leave about 4:00 so they didn't catch all that went on. Another homeschool dad and his three sons from Stanley came and stayed for the whole day and ate supper with us before heading home. There were a few people signed up to shoot on Sunday, but no one showed up! The instructors (Jonathan, Chris, and I along with the shoot boss Alex) did some shooting on our own and I tried out a rifle with aperture sights and scored 223 points. I don't think I could have done that well with the cheap factory open sights on my 22.

On Thursday the 15th, Dad and I went down south to Napoleon ND to meet with a legislator there about the upcoming bill to eliminate all regulation of homeschooling in ND. We met in the back room of the Napoleon auction barn for the meeting. Mr. B was there with us and after the meeting, we watched the auction for a bit. That was the first livestock auction that I've ever watched so it was fun to see how it works. Mr. B explained the process so we could follow along.

We had a delicious lunch at the Bs before the meeting! Thank you Mrs. B! Before heading home we loaded up a steer we bought from them and started back. We got back home late so Jonathan had to milk for me again.
The next morning we let the cow out from the trailer and into the fenced spot near the barn to keep it until the grass gets longer. It seemed to us that the pen would hold most any animal, at least if they were as easy to keep in as the milk cow, but we found out differently a few hours later. It doesn't take much for a 600 lb calf to walk over a CATTLE panel supported only by T posts every 6 feet.
I was going to go check on him about an hour after we left him in the pen and saw that he was out in the 4 strand electric goat fence beside there. I guess he wasn't used to electric fences and walked out through the wires like it was nothing. Jonathan circled around to try to chase him back towards the barnyard, and I headed through the bushes to the pond, trying to cut him off. When I had made my way along the bank beside the pond I spotted the cow ahead about 100 yards. I didn't want to chase him faster by continuing behind him so I cut out to the "big field" and Jonathan and I started down the four wheeler trail that connects the neighbors and our properties. We didn't catch any sight of him there, so Jonathan went to get the car and went to 19th to see if he could see where the cow might cross the road. I followed the edge of the pond for a ways and then came across a spillway between the two lakes where the tracks of the cow were plain enough heading southeast towards the road. I followed for a bit and then lost the trail and didn't find it again so I went out to the road where Jonathan had the truck and trailer.
I hopped on the hood and we rode down the road until we saw the tracks of the cow crossing the road about a 1/4 mile from 43. We went up to the pavement to turn around and spotted the cow trotting east, down 43 about 300 yards away. We drove up beside him and he turned into the yard of a house there and then we chased him back the way he had come. Dad was out in the car and Andrew and David were with him.
We lost the cow into the trees on the side of the road on the way back up 19th but somehow he managed to be in the yard when Dad and I drove in. He dove into the bushes again and Dad followed him while I went to get Andrew to bring the truck and trailer and to get the rope. When I got back I found where Dad had been following him, and helped herd him towards the barn again. The cow crossed the "beaver inlet" and I tried to get across as well by balancing on some fallen logs and stumps. I made my way about half way across but then came to a dead end (no more trees to walk on) so I had to jump in the water that was about three feet deep. I waded across and then stomped up the steep hill on the other side with my boots full of water. After making my way to the "clump of trees overlooking the valley" my boot snagged on some barbed wire so I had to go back and put it on again. I was pretty tired of running now but the cow looked as if it might take off again and I needed to be in front of him. He then turned and broke through the electric fence near the barn and seemed to be pretty happy there. He then went out again and around the other side of the barn where he walked into the barn through the door. We trapped him in there and put him back in the trailer until we could set up a better pen for him. Now he's happily chewing his cud in a pen on the SW side of the barn. I guess his name is Jefferson Davis, or Jeff or Jeffery.
We plan to show him how an electric fence is supposed to work before sending him out to pasture! He has settled down now and we are glad to have a beef to raise.


Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,
I'm sorry that your new critter didn't have better manners--we'll have to work on that. :) Glad you caught your steer EVENTUALLY!
Thanks for the report on the shoot.
Mrs. B.

Anonymous said...

Wow !!!!

You guys must have been exhausted.

Cows are good escape artists.

Great story Peter.

Gp B

The Roberts Family said...

Peter, It sounds like you had quite a day with your yearling. You did good to get him back in. One thing to remember about cattle, they are social animals. They like to be with other cattle. If you haven't turned your steer back out by now, you could try turning him out with the milk cow in a large pen with some feed. If he is content he will educate himself about the powered fence. If something is running at a powered fence it more than likely won't stop them. But if they can learn about it slowly they won't bother it unless they get really spooked.
Glad your Appleseed shoot went well. That was a highlight of our summer last year.

Good luck with your steer,
Dave Roberts