Friday, April 11, 2008

"Tails" From The Farm... Part 3

You can read part 1 here.
You can read part 2 here.

That fall, both of the goats were bred, so there would be new baby goats in March. We had been keeping our eyes and ears open for a jersey cow, but they were VERY hard to come by in Florida. There was one dairy that we heard of farther South that had only jersey cows. We called them and asked about buying a cow or a heifer calf. Heifer just means a girl calf who has not yet had a baby. The only thing they would sell us was a 7 week old baby and they wanted $700 for her. We were not ready to pay that for so young of a calf. We went and looked at a couple and somehow did not think that something was right. One of them, the people just sort of contradicted themselves a couple of times and we were more unsure of them then we were of the cow. Now, I have to put in here... God chose our animals. All of the animals we ended up with were great. We had no real clue what we were doing. We would take a book along and would look at the pictures in the book of what you were supposed to look for and then look at the animal. I am sure we were a source of amusement to people. At times we disagreed on if this cow had a straight topline or not, or if they udder was pendulous. =) We were way out of our league. We continued our search for a cow and after months of looking we found an ad for a Jersey cow who was pregnant. She was a ways north of where we lived. We asked lots of questions over the phone. She had calved once before and was a good milker, but no one there wanted to milk anymore. We believe that she was 3 years old. This was November and she was due to calve at the end of December… they thought. They had her out in a field with some of their beef cows and a very handsome Santa Gertrudis bull. So, they were not exactly sure when she had been bred. This bunch of cows was kept on a piece of property a short ways from their farm. We asked him not to sell her because we were pretty sure that we would take her. We went to look at her. We got there before the farmer did. So, we had our handy dandy book out and we were trying to check her out. He must have come to feed them, because when they saw us, they came walking over. We did not dare go in the pasture because of the bull. We decided that she looked really good (at least to our untrained eyes). God was so good, not only did we get a great cow at a wonderful age, but she was only $450 and we would have our first calf out of her in about a month.

We bought her and brought her to the home of our friends (who we will call the Pastor Family) since we had to go out of town. We had a family function to attend in Ohio. We wanted to go ahead and bring her closer to us because of how far along she was in her pregnancy. We did not want her to have to have a long trailer ride any farther along than she was. The Pastor Family had a 10 acre farm. They had horses. They were used to handling large animals and they started to try and get her people friendly. We knew when she calved, that we would have to start milking her, which means we had to be able to get her and lead her. We put a control halter on her to help things out. When we got back, we brought Buttercup home to The Back Forty. She fit in nicely. We were all a bit unsure of her because she was so large. One of the biggest enjoyments of farm life for us has been to watch the animals. They are all curious by nature. They stare if you bring a new animal around. They were all really staring at Buttercup. To them, she was HUGE. They were all afraid of her at first. If she was up in the front corner, the goats and chickens were in the back corner. After just one day of her being there we noticed MANY piles, and began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into. We were going to be buried in manure. Of all things, the chickens came to the rescue. They scratched through all the piles getting undigested grain and the problem was solved. (This was before we went to grass feeding instead of grain feeding). We had our own two legged fertilizer spreaders. We came out and all the piles were spread. It got so bad, that when Buttercup did drop manure, all the chickens would come running like we rang a dinner bell or something. I know that was gross.

We (the DeLand Jeeters as we were now called.... This is a term meaning "hillbilly") knew that we offered great entertainment to the neighbors. Almost the entire back wall of the Green's home was windows so they had a splendid view of The Back Forty. They had six children who delighted in the animals in our yard. Part of the entertainment came in the form of feeding Ellie a bottle, or throwing a ball for Star, or petting Minx, and even giving a try at milking. However, there were other forms of entertainment offered as well.

Michael, Joshua and I were all in The Back Forty working one day. Star was not allowed back there because she would keep trying to herd the chickens. She could not stand being away from her human family, plus those chickens were back there and they seemed to be in desperate need of being rounded up. So, under the fence she came. She caught one chicken and had all its tail feathers pulled. The back end of it looked like the chickens you buy at the grocery store. Well, this day was no different. We were out there working and under the fence she came. She started after the chickens and the three of us started after her. We were calling her very loudly and all trying to cut her off. She was too busy to listen to us. Joshua saw an opportunity and dived for her. He missed and hit the ground and landed on his belly. We were laughing so hard, it was difficult to stay with the task at hand. When Minx (the goat) saw "her boy" hit the ground, she was sure that the dog had intentionally hurt him. She had no love for the dog anyway. She would try to butt Star or bite her fur whenever Star was near. This time the dog had gone too far..... she had sent "her boy" flying. Minx CHARGED after that dog with the intent to kill. She had always been so lady like. Even when you tried to hurry her up, she just went at a gentle trot. We had never seen Minx run so fast or so furious. She was running like a deer being pursued by a pack of dogs. She was going to GET THAT DOG!!!! So now, we were chasing the goat who was chasing the dog who was chasing the chickens. (sounds like a song...) Then the cow who was VERY pregnant got all excited by the commotion and started in the chase as well. She was running and jumping and leaping. We were beside ourselves with laughter over the whole situation, yet worried about Buttercup being so upset so close to calving and we were full of frustration at trying to catch that dog. Finally, Joshua caught Star and started leading her up to the gate. He was going to tie her up. I was holding onto Minx so that she would not charge the dog, when all of a sudden, Buttercup went charging after Joshua and the dog. Michael and I hollered for Joshua to look out, and he got out the gate just in time. For twenty minutes Minx and Buttercup were very agitated. Minx was doing 360 degree jumps in the air. Some people would have to pay to see that kind of excitement. The neighbors got it for free.

To be continued...


LadySnow said...

I can picture all of that! ;)

Tipper said...

I love it! This is the best part yet! I would have loved to see the great chase-made me laugh out loud just picturing it! Looking forward to the next one.

Pearl said...

I love that you're sharing this! Thanks!

Sharri said...

That was hysterical!
Too bad your friends didn't video that one! LOL
What a crack!

Teresa said...

It's so wonderful to be able to look back and see God's hand in all of it. Your description of the dog/chicken/goat/cow/people antics is just hilarious!