Milkstache

Today I was feeding cattle and found this little calf. He has a perfect and permanent milk mustache, and thus will be know as Milkstache. That little stache is the remnant of a genetically-dominant Hereford trait—the white face.

black baldy
Milkstache — the remnants of a bald face.

Our cattle are Hereford-Angus crosses, affectionately known as black baldy. As in, their hair is black and their faces are bald (white). The bald face of the Hereford is iconic. They are the cattle in all the western-themed art and photographs. However the Angus producers association has made the Angus breed a brand name– hence the Angus-branded packaged meat at the grocery store, and as noted on upscale steakhouse menus.

We used to be a pure breed operation. Herefords only. But the hybrid vigor of the crossbred cattle we have now is more suited to our climate and the economics of raising beef cattle. There is plenty of research in the animal husbandry world to support the complement of the breeds when crossed.

A gentle cow is a good thing to have with a little kid. This cow is eating a cube right out of Jdub’s hand.

I do miss the pure breed Hereford, but have come to love the black and white, bald-faced cattle we have now. Pure Herefords or not, one of the true legacies of our Lazy J Ranch is the demeanor of our cattle. They are gentle and docile. Most of them will eat right out of your hand.

We select for that gentle nature when choosing which heifers to keep as breeding stock and which ones go to sale.

I’m thankful that caring for our cattle and my family’s legacy are part of my daily to-dos.

Feeding the Critters

My parents were out of town for a few days at a conference, so we had to take care of “the critters.” Today we woke up to snow and hit the high temperature for the day before noon. It was a wet snow that mostly melted by the afternoon, perfect for snowball fights and snowman building. The ground was too warm for it to stick, but it should be interesting tomorrow.

It wasn't as cold as it looks. Pretty all the same.

My husband went this morning to check on things and feed. I took the afternoon shift.

On my way out to the ranch I saw this pretty oak tree. (this was a southern-facing tree, so no snow).

Oak trees are awesome. I think this one is a post oak. Can't be sure and I wasn't going to find out for sure in my fancy pretty boots.

When I drove up, two of the four horses greeted me. The sun was going down, the wind was blowing and it was starting to get really cold.

Sugar and Bucky. I've always been partial to red roans.

They had to get a closer look …

Bucky (aka McCool) had to see for himself.
Then Sugar had to go and stick her nose in it.
I think this is such a cool photo.

Before anything can happen, I had to change my boots. Pretty, fashion boots to working-hard-rubber boots.

Taking Kelly's advice ... changed my boots before tromping around in wet manure.

My husband said he ran out of feed after the morning rounds. Before I went to the ranch I stopped and got a couple bags of feed (this was when Kelly, at the feed story, passed on friendly advice to change boots. check.). Once I opened the saddle house (aka the tack room) to get the cat food, I found, hmmm curiously, three more bags of feed.

Feed.

The barn cats are almost feral. Most can be persuaded into a little petting, but a few are very skittish around people except for my dad. He can woo almost any animal into trusting him.

Barn cats are awesome critters. The keep the mice and snakes away.

Although this fluffy Tom cat crawled on top of the saddle house and stared down at me.

Snake-killing Tom Cat says: "I'm not coming down and you can't make me."

The weaning calves were looking for a bite to eat too. They saw me and starting coming briskly to the barn. I gave them an extra dab since the cold was coming on. With an expected low in the lower 20s, a few extra cubes couldn’t hurt.

Sore thumb? Who sticks out like a sore thumb?

This corriente calf looks out of place among the black baldy/Angus calves. We’re currently eating a corriente hybrid out of our freezer—good eats!

Happy critters.

Then I went in the house to feed the indoor cats, only to find that they opted out of the litter box 😦