Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bringing Home the Beef

Ok, so I browsed through my self-sufficient journal and found this older tale about us getting our first calves to raise up since moving back to Ohio. This was not the first calves we'd raised up, we'd raised some before we moved to TN. This is the tale of how Chase and Boss came to our farm, in the later winter/early spring of 2009.


We had decided yesterday that we were going to go to the auction barn today, and we did. Dh likes to go to look for fencing and at the beef and calves and just wish and dream. Normally.

Today they had a pen FULL of Jersey crossed with Holstein calves. Bottle babies. Oh my did we do some serious wishing right then! Our minds started whirling, can we do it? Can we budget in a calf?

I immediate started praying. Lord, I leave it to you. If we're meant to get a calf, you'll make it so. We left the auction after we picked out the calf we were hoping to bid on and ran up the street to Tractor Supply. We bought a bottle, scours tablets, and milk replacer. We had it in our minds that if we didn't get a calf today, well we would at least have these items on hand for later if we did get one. While we were there, we also agreed on an amount that we would be willing to spend on a calf. Never having bought or bid at a livestock auction, my excitement starts to get the better of me! (normally I only take something to sell, not buy.)

We get back to the auction and they were almost done with the outside stuff which meant soon they would be getting to the goats and calves inside. I realized I had forgot my auction card, and that's needed for bidding, so I had to go into the office and ask her for a bid card. Thankfully those are free, and they just write your number on a little green card.

We get into the auction arena and pick our seats...right up front! I was soooo nervous and excited I literally felt sick to my stomach. We sat there for thirty minutes waiting for it to start. While we are waiting, there in the auction ring is five baby goats. One white male that was 2 weeks old and 4 Nubian Doelings that were 1 week old...all had been bottle fed. Well, one little doeling just wouldn't shut up. The others were running and jumping and playing, this one was just walking around bawling. It was also the smallest of the four.

I told DH that thing is soooo annoying I feel sorry for whoever takes her home!

Yea, well, I guess I feel sorry for myself then, because we brought her home. The guys working the auction had handed the little one up to my kids to hold and pet, and well, they just fell in love. It worked out alright, I guess, because we were quietly discussing if we wanted one, since they were all girls, and how much would we be willing to spend? Well, we once again settled on x amount. The bidding was between me and a man off to the left. It was so on. I hit the agreed upon x amount and stopped...bidding stopped....I HAD WON! Not only had I won, but I had the choice to take them all or one or however many I wanted. So I told them to give me the little one they had let my kids hold. They've named her Bambi.

Then they brought in the calves. I was sooooo excited I could hardly contain myself. They started out high, I sat very still...they started out high and no one bid....they lowered it one went on that way until they got to x amount and someone beat me to the punch so I hit x amount and it went from there....I bid up to half the amount that DH and I had agreed upon to spend on one calf...and bidding stopped. I didn't even realize that I was the high bidder! I thought someone had outbid me...they waiting for me to choose my calf.

I said, "Who me?"

Auctioneer says, "Yea, you."

So I screamed out the calf's tag number, "145!"

Auctioner: You want 145, is that all? You want two?


I look at DH and said, you want two? He said for that price, yes.

So then I screamed, "135"

There was an audible grumbling among the rest of the bidders, because I had obviously taken the same calves others were wanting. Dh thinks, from the reactions, that other people just figured since I took the runtiest goat, I'd be just as gullible with the calves LOL

So it was great! We were super excited that we got TWO calves for the amount of $ we wanted to spend on ONE calf! We paid for them to get vaccinated, pinched, and scour guard. Then we loaded them up in our van and headed home.

Well, here is where we messed up. We get home, and duh, should have grabbed a rope! Dh's calf, number 145 for now, who's also the bigger of the two, freaked out and took off. We spent THREE hours looking for him. Finally gave up, was ready to cry, called all the neighbors and the sheriffs department and reported our new calf missing.

I was so sick to my stomach. I started praying again. This time I was asking God to help us. Apologised for having been greedy and buying two calves when we would have been happy with one, and asked Him to please help us find the big boy.

Meanwhile, a neighbor up the road stops in to ask us for some help fixing his dryer. I explain to him that my FIL and husband are walking the field and woods looking for our calf that got away. This neighbor was soooo awesome, and turns out, it is someone my husband had worked with over 11 years ago on the local dairy farm! He runs home and gets his wife, tells her what happened, and they come to help us look for him! They had a couple errands they had to go run and do, but promised they'd be back to help us.

It's getting dark by this time, and I tell DH we need to feed the other baby.

We fixed up a bottle for calf number two and went out to feed him. He started to bawl when he seen us coming. Dh wanted to help me get him in the barn so I could feed him, and then I hear an answering calf bawl. I froze. I looked down our logging road, and there standing as bold as brass is the other calf!! I told DH there he is!

DH hops in the van, drives up to FIL's (who had been helping us look for him) and tells him the calf is back. The neighbor was back and saw DH going up to his dad's and he came flying back up the street to our house. DH is already headed back in the field to head off the calf. FIL is standing by with rope and when the neighbor came up he told him what was up. They both take off to the back of the property and the neighbor cuts into a run.

Since I wasn't back there to see what happened, all I have is what DH told me. The calf tried to jump the fence or go through to the woods, DH spooked him and he headed the other way. Neighbor grabbed him around the neck, calf drug neighbor up the hill and neighbor let go...They gave chase again..Calf headed back to FIL and FIL blocked his way...Calf headed back to neighbor and our neighbor tackled him, pinned him, and screamed, "I got him!"

They worked the rope into a halter and lead and brought him home. He's now safely in our barn. Oh I was so relieved and I just thanked God over and over!


  1. Love your story and all the details, especially how you and your dh settling on the $s. We've learned too that when one of our animals shows up missing that they will circle round to be in with its buddies plus we set some food out for it. Much harder to find and capture a scared new calf though- glad it worked out OK. Do you still have the calves, goat?

  2. We do still have the calves, but not the goat. The calves are a year old now, and we named them Boss (he's the one who almost got away) and Chase.

    Boss should be big enough for fall sale this year, and we plan to butcher Chase.