I spent my last semester of college working on a beef farm as a student intern. I absolutely loved it, and ended up going back to work there for a year after I graduated. While I was there, I wanted to keep in touch with everyone and let them know what I was doing, so I started a website. I'm not sure if anyone even looked at it, but I liked having it anyways. I also started a little journal. So, technically I started a blog a long time ago. :-) I was looking back at my entries and decided to post one on here.
Just a little background- I had 2 sheep that I'd decided to breed the fall before I started my internship, which meant they'd be lambing while I was living away from home on the beef farm. I didn't want my parents to have to worry about the lambing (because they were already taking care of my donkey and goat at home), so I found a local farmer that was willing to let me keep my 2 ewes at his farm for free! He let me use part of his loafing shed to house them. So, I moved my 2 girls, Josie and Daphne. It was great having them near me, especially because I tend to get a little homesick (ok, a lot homesick) and they were something familiar.
Part of my main job as the student intern was to do the calving checks at night and on weekends when the full-time guys were off. I'd check the fields for calves at 4pm, 8pm, and midnight through the week. On weekends, I'd check at noon, 4 pm, 8pm, and midnight. The full time guys always took turns feeding at 4 am, so I didn't have to worry about that shift. I had a great time doing it. Calving starts in mid January and sometimes lasts into the beginning of April. I'd bundle up in my insulated coveralls, gloves, scarf, and boots, and go out to the farm. I'd start up the truck and it'd blast cold air from the vents for a few minutes until it warmed up (a good thing about pick-ups is that they warm up very quickly!). I'd drive out to the field, having to get out to open and close the gate. I was always on alert, my imagination going wild. What was that shadow? Was that the wind making that noise? It was awfully dark. I'd get back in the truck and drive to find the cows. Most times they were at the far end of the field. I'd use the headlights and a spotlight to look at all the cows to see if any were showing signs of calving. If nobody was calving, I'd just go on back home and get in my warm bed.
If someone was calving, I'd park the truck in the field, set my phone alarm for 10 minutes, and take a nap while I was waiting. I'd make sure to lock the truck doors, because you know boogey men are out in cow pastures waiting to attack girls in pick-up trucks! Every once in a while, a cow or heifer would have a hard time calving, so I'd have to bring her up to the barns and call my boss so we could pull the calf. I remember one time there was a snow storm and I had to bring a cow up while I was waiting for my boss to get there. Usually they tried to bring up any cow that looked like she was going to calve so they could put her in a paddock close to the main barn. They missed this one. I went out with a 4-wheeler and tried to bring her in. She was a smart one, and quick on her feet. Amazing how a cow can be so quick on her feet when she was getting ready to push a 90 lb calf out. Several tries and a kick to my thigh later, she was in the barn. Ahh, good times. I still wish I could go back and work there. That has been my most favorite job so far.
Ok, sorry, back on track. Geesh, talk about rambling. One more quick note. We had an orphaned calf on the farm that year, so I raised her. I named her Callie (because her line of animals had "C" names), but the guys quickly renamed her Katie Jr.
Here's the entry, dated February 27, 2004.
Hey there!! Guess what?!! I have lambs! My sheep finally had their babies. Daphne decided to have her babies yesterday at around 12 noon. She fooled me because I thought Josie would have hers first, but I guess not! She had twin ram lambs. She popped them out like it was nothing. She didn't even lay down! Josie helped her clean the babies off, and I think Josie wanted to keep them for herself. We (me and the guys from work) put panels in their pen to separate it into 2 sections so Josie wouldn't steal the babies. She was pretty upset the rest of the day. Daphne's babies are pretty cute...one in particular, 402, is really cute. He's got quite the personality. He likes to talk alot, and he's pretty independent already. His brother, 401, is pretty laid back. I checked on the sheep around 9pm and found that Josie had twins of her own! I was surprised she had them that quickly. She had twin ewe lambs (females). They're pretty big, and she had them all by herself, so I was happy. Both of the girls are good moms. I'm so excited about the babies...keep checking back...I'll update the pics weekly or so. Work is going well. The calf we're raising is the cutest thing. She's learned how to drink her formula out of a bucket now. It was taking forever for her to drink the whole bottle. She drinks it really quickly now, and then she gets mad that it's all gone!! It's hilarious. She's got a big attitude for a little calf! She's halter-broke now, and I take her out almost every day. We've had 103 calves born so far....only about 50 left I think. I think I'm going to name her Cally...or Callie. It has to start with a "C," and it's hard to think of good "C" names. Well, that's about all for now...be sure to check out my new pics!!
Josie is on the left, with her to babies to her immediate right. Dapnhe is on the right, with one of her babies next to her, and the other on the far left of the picture, behind Josie. I have to laugh at most of the stuff I posted back then. I seemed silly. Now I'm so much more mature. *giggle*