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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pure Jersey Cream, Part 4 of 4

My cow adventures are finally (and sadly) coming to a close...  Enjoy, my friends.

Day 13 (Saturday)
After the morning milking and getting the cows out to feed on fresh grass and hay, all the other animals were ready gnaw on something too.  If I walk anywhere near the hen house, I’ve got 3 dozen chickens following me in a matter of seconds.  Either they are on a feeding schedule, and thus follow around anyone that nears them every morning around , or they’ve imprinted on me already.  After I feed these cackling chooks, Stu picks me up on the tractor to spread hay.  Peter (milking hand) had to take off early after milking, so it is just me on the trailor balancing between 6 bales of hay stacked higher than I am tall.  How am I going to cut the cord on these things without throwing myself off the tractor while trying to balance as we hit all the potholes and have cows mooing after me with hunger?

After a ton of farm chores compressed into 5 hours, at we take off and drive south to Paringa for a Hereford & Angus bull auction.  I’ve been thinking about this bull auction for the past week, hoping we’d go, having no idea what to expect.  The event was even more than I imagined!  I watched HUGE Hereford and Angus bulls get auctioned off for $3,000 - $6,500 dollars each, which is apparently lower than last year’s take.  The grandstands were filled with out 200 farmers, half of them in overalls and gumboots (muckboots), and the other half in jeans and boots.  I took oodles of pictures of all 36 different bulls, and eavesdropped on everyone’s conversations.  Apparently good traits for Hereford’s are panda eyes, clarity, white shoulders and throat, body length, good feet…

Learning about the merits of each bull is a science unto itself, and this beginner’s eavesdropping course I just took was decent.  These bulls were truly incredible beasts, almost like teenage boys, full of energy, budding strength, and constantly butting heads.  I got in the pens with them… when in the safe company of those more experienced than I.  The bulls are fearless, feared, and utterly fearful.