It's been pretty much a given, that this was coming. While a lot of people spent the remaining bit of warmth we had, stringing up Christmas lights, I've been racing around the last week, trying to get some last minute things done, before it got too cold to work effectively outdoors without my mittens on.
I was trying to prepare a pen to wean my calves into. The problem was, that when our barn burned, it shorted out the power line, to that pens watering bowl. (you can read about that here) The overhead line had to be replaced. Without this, the waterer was just a block of ice, and useless. I needed this pen, because I have a double fence that can separates the calves from the cows in that pen, and it stops the cows from breaking into the calf pen.
Ideally, it would have been a lot easier to replace the power line in the comfortable warmth of the summer. But in a grand feat of procrastination, I left repairing the overhead line until it was cold enough outside for it to be a particularly miserable job. A job, that required me to pull up to each power pole with the bucket of my tractor raised as far in the air as it would reach, then climb a ladder into that bucket, and then climb a second ladder, fastened in the bucket, just to reach where the line attached to the pole. I also used this method to repair a bunch of yard lights that were not working properly.
It was a bit pain, because besides only being able to work at the top of the pole for a few minutes before my fingers froze to the point that they stopped working properly, it was also freaking high! Usually, by the time I lost feeling in my thumbs, and fingers, my legs had started to vibrate on their own accord, because they had lost faith in my one good arm, to actually grab something and save my life, in the unfortunate event that I fell.
But I got everything going and the watering bowl thawed, and I weaned my calves. I also separated the bulls from the cows. Usually, I leave the bulls with the cows, but that's not the best plan. They tend to bother the cows a bit. That's because bulls generally think of only two things. Sex and fighting. Sometimes it's fighting and sex, but usually, it's sex and fighting. That's why it's difficult to keep bulls penned up. Putting a bunch of bulls in a pen is more a suggestion of containment, than actual confinement. Inevitably, they will start to think about sex, break out in a fight, and tear out a section of the corral.
When one bull, weighing a ton and a quarter, catches another ton and a quarter bull broadside, and starts pushing him in the direction of the fence, the fence usually loses. This happened one time when I was helping a neighbour sort cattle. One bull T-boned another and were headed in my direction. I climbed the closest fence and when I ran out of planks, leaped into the air. I remember looking down as the bulls passed below me and the fence blew up into splinters.
In my mind, this is what I looked like when I hit the ground.
Most likely, what it actually looked like, was this.
Anyways, I have the bulls in a pen. Apparently, there's one other thing that bulls think about, and it's keeping 15 inches of ball sack from freezing, when it's -25 degrees below zero, with the wind chill, outside. But it's only a matter of time before they start thinking about sex. Sex and fighting. I'll be surprised if the fences hold until Christmas.
This week, I'll be joining up with the other Dudes at Dude Write, with this post. I encourage you to pop over and read what the guys bring to the table. You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK
I think your bulls frequent some bars I've been to.ReplyDelete
Although bulls act a lot like some of the guys you find in bars, they don't wear undersized MMA T-shirts, so, there is a bit of difference.Delete
You and I are similar in the thoughts process of we perceive things we do and how we really look like when we do them.ReplyDelete
When I go hiking with the Scouts I picture myself a great Cubmaster straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting when in reality the Scouts are probably looking at me like an over weight Sasquatch.
If I could be as half as cool at doing things as I imagine myself while I do them, I'd be pretty happy. The fact that no one usually notices, helps to keep me grounded.Delete
.......and then I try to imagine myself looking even more spectacular next time. :)
To hell with those insane temperatures. I'm comfortable with my 45-50 F.ReplyDelete
Good luck keeping those bulls contained...especially when their nut sacks start to freeze! When you mess with the bull...you get the horns!
You have to dress in layers, Dan. That's the trick.Delete
Cold Ball sacks are one thing, when they freeze, they get scabby. I imagine a scabby ball sack would make you a little bit irritable?
I love reading about your lifestyle and all the things required to run an operation like yours. I have nothing but respect.ReplyDelete
I have trouble deciding if what I do is actually interesting enough to write about. Sometimes, I think, these things I do are so common to me, how in the world am I going to make it into a post that anybody would want to read.
But I'm happy that you keep coming back.
Glad you escaped those bulls, no matter what you looked like when you hit the ground! I had a farmer cousin who was not so lucky, got broadsided and died.ReplyDelete
Every year, you hear about somebody that gets unlucky around farm animals. The certainly need to be respected.
I love your posts! It is amazing what you do and the way you relate it. Glad everyone is okay!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much. It makes me happy that you can come here and be entertained a little.
And yes, everyone is OK. There were no injuries in this post. :)
Your ladder in the bucket thing, all I can say is no freakin way. Also I am fairly sure that if I tried that the power company would murder me. Or at least fine me. It wouldn't end good either way.ReplyDelete
At least you got to be Ken ON a tractor.
That counts for something.
The worst part of the whole thing was I had to make a connection to the main pole where the transformer is attached. I have to say, I was a little concerned that I might end up blowing an arm off or something, getting too close to the main line. You always hear stories, but hope it never happens to you.
If that happened, the power company probably wouldn't have been too happy.
Only at Ken's place would we be reading about fifteen inch ball sacks and somehow it seems to fit right in line with his story and his life. You never fail to entertain. Now if we could just get some video footage of some of these heroic moments, YouTube could certainly use some new themes! :-)ReplyDelete
I'm glad that I can wedge these little oddities, that are my life, into my posts and make you smile.
I had considered trying to take a picture of the whole tractor and ladders thing, but once I got going and my fingers began to freeze, and I was trying to hold on, adding trying to take a photo seemed a little too much? Maybe next time? :)
This was a good way to do it, Ken :) But man, your farming life sounds dangerous! Scaling rickety heights (which sounds even worse than the Twitter explanation!) and dodging marauding bulls, yeesh.ReplyDelete
And, of course, like so often happens, I am fascinated, and then filled with tons more questions. For one thing, what happens when the bulls get out? Where do they go? How do you get them back? And also, how many bulls do you have?
And 15 inches? Really??
I didn't even go into the tricky part where I had to open the grapple portion of the bucket and stand on that to do some of the job. That was the worst part.
If there's cows around, that's where they'll usually be. If they have a fight going on, sometimes you have to use a tractor to break it up or they will just trample over you. Once you separate them, you generally have to herd them in one at a time.
I only have 7 in the one pen. I have a couple others in a different pen that have to go to auction because they're too old.
Probably not 15 inches when it's so cold out. Maybe only 8 or 9. It has to be a pretty warm day out to get the real hangers. :)
I never thought about the ball sac in that kind of weather. Not a lot of insulation there. I imagine that would get painful really fast.ReplyDelete
The bad part is when it's really cold and there's a wind. If they don't have good shelter, they'll turn their backs into the wind and can actually get some frost bite down there. That usually ruins them.Delete
Holly shit, working at heights is dangerous man. Get a harness, then you can work with confidence.ReplyDelete
Best would be a cherry picker or a scissor lift, but they would be harder to come by in the country.
Does herding bulls separate the men from the boys? Or just the cows from the bulls?
I used to have a really good harness that I used, but it was in our barn that burned this spring, so I free-styled it this time.Delete
As a rule, anything that involves trying to make cows or bulls do something that they would rather not be doing, just ends up making you frustrated and gives you crazy eyes.
Quite an elaborate way to fix things. Congrats on a job well done. Now get ready to start fixing those fences!ReplyDelete
Necessity is the mother of invention. And sometimes the things a person does to get the job done are best left for stories after a few beers.Delete
I am anticipating a few fence repairs in the future. However, while it's cold out, they seem to be pretty content to hunker down in the straw pile and try to keep warm.
Hey, I'm the king of procrastination, so I know where you are coming from Ken. I never even considered the whole bull sack issue before. How the heck do you keep them from freezing?ReplyDelete
I always seem to get caught leaving something until it's way harder to do it that if I had just dealt with it right away.
With the bulls, the best you can do is try to provide shelter from the wind. That's usually the hardest on them. And plenty of dry straw for them to sleep on.
I could not do it - I just couldn't. Not talking about the scaling poles in a swaying bucket thing. Or dodging fierce and horny bulls. No. I could NOT do those temperatures you speak of... no way. Uh uh. Yikes. I am a WIMP when it comes to cold weather. Yeesh.
Always love the adventures you write about of your day-to-day life that really is so different from so many. You have that for sure - a unique life that is full of interesting happenings! I also always love that I learn something new when you describe such adventures - 15 inches? Wow.
Hell, my friend!Delete
You sort of get acclimatized. Well, sort of......not really. That's why I so look forward to getting away for winter vacation.
It always seems odd to me that the things that I do, that happen almost every day are actually interesting to anybody? Also, it has to be a nice warm day to get 15 inches. But one testicle is large enough that doesn't fit in your hand. :)
OH damn, that was supposed to be Hello, not hell! Oops.Delete
Wow, I can't imagine trying to work my touch screen cell phone in those temperatures, let alone climb two ladders and play with electricity!ReplyDelete
Sex and Fighting are two things many males of any species think about. As humans, we've just gotten better at fighting without the physicality (normally)
This is great work and bonus points for writing it with frozen digits.
Ya, more often than not these days, my touchscreen won't work properly because my fingertips are too cold to activate it. That's one of my reasons to stay with a keyboard phone.Delete
I think that sex and fighting are the determining factors in quite a few poor decisions made by males.
Hey Ken, I respect you my friend for the work you do, it is an important job that many couldn't handle.ReplyDelete
The Sex and Fighting between the bulls doesn't sound any different than raising our boys when they were teens, and after a small bet between the two I did witness a set of frozen balls after one ran naked out into the snow..I just may have to do a post about that one Ha Ha
Thanks so much, Jimmy!Delete
It sounds like your boys might be quite a bit the same as our boys. Sometimes, we have to see things that we just can't unsee.
Your rendition of 'bulls in a pen' sounds like a family reunion in Alabama...ReplyDelete
...which is why I don't visit that side of my family anymore.
The way it sounds, you and I just might be one step away from our own reality show?Delete