Friday, February 13, 2009

Meanwhile, Back on the Ranch

The Bag Lady, as most of you know, feeds her cows with a front-end loader. It is a large, heavy machine, with a bucket on the front. There are three spikes attached to the lip of the loader bucket (called a bale fork) that is used to lift the bale and transport it.

The cows get quite excited when the Bag Lady arrives in the pasture with a new bale for them. It doesn't matter if there is still feed left from the previous day; they absolutely must come and check out the new feed.

The bales are tied with plastic twine, which is wound around and around the big round bale, and is sometimes a little difficult to remove. If there is snow or ice on the twine, the Bag Lady has to be quite creative in her method of removal. The accepted method is to leave the bale on the fork, with it held slightly off the ground and cut all the strands on one side of the bale. Then the Bag Lady goes around to the other side and pulls all the strings off. She winds them up in a ball, gets back into the loader and spreads the bale out on the ground, either by shaking it slightly up and down or setting it down and peeling the hay off with the bale fork.

Remember though, that during this entire operation, the cows are crowding around, trying to get that first bite of the new hay. They push and shove and jostle each other, stand directly under the bale, or behind the loader (the Bag Lady shakes the bale out as she drives slowly in reverse) and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

But the cows are nowhere near as much of a nuisance as the bull is. He is young and a little on the goofy side. He is also relatively tame, and likes to have his head scratched. The Bag Lady is always cautious around him because he does outweigh her, slightly (by about 1900 pounds!!!), and he can get a little rambunctious.

Here is a little video clip of the bull "helping" the Bag Lady take the strings off a bale recently. He started on the opposite side of the bale, and it took the Bag Lady a little by surprise when the bale started bouncing up and down and the loader started to move. Unfortunately, in her haste to get away from the bouncing bale, she didn't get her camera out and rolling until he was almost finished "helping"....



video

He had started on the opposite side of the bale and did that all the way around. Certainly made it easier for the Bag Lady to shake it out!

Have a great weekend!

28 comments:

solarity said...

I must come back and see this when I have time to download video. (To give you an idea of how sluggish my dialup internet is today I've been going and washing dishes or changing sheets or sweeping every time I load a page, rather than sit staring at the screen.)

Mary Anne in Kentucky

Leah J. Utas said...

I left a comment an hour ago. Blogger ate it.
Nice of the bull to give you a hand, err, snout with your work.

Hilary said...

Animals are such a source of amusement. :) Is this one of our blogger-named critters?

the Bag Lady said...

Mary Anne in Kentucky - when I had dial-up, I couldn't even view the videos, it was so freakin' slow! Now I wish the video that I posted today was more entertaining...

dfLeah - Blogger has eaten my comments occasionally, too! The bull certainly was helpful - broke up the outside of the bale so it would fall apart more easily!!

Hilary - No, this is the daddy of most of those blogger-named critters!
He likes to get right in there and "help"!

Sagan said...

That's so cool!

Reminds me of how I had to feed 3 mastiffs at the same time when I was dog sitting... and I thought THAT was difficult.

Crabby McSlacker said...

I'm so happy that although my cat has a big appetite, we don't actually need a forklift to feed her. What a tricky operation!

Love the bull's direct approach to helping out!

Redbush said...

Hey , Baglady! I believe the bull has it downpat! You may have to start paying him rancher hand wages in pales of oats! He certainly looks like a clown, but, take it from me, with all that weight, you wouldn't see me in there trying to help him out! I hope you have a great weekend!

the Bag Lady said...

Sagan - I imagine feeding three bull mastiffs was quite similar, unless they were very well-mannered!

Crabby - sometimes I wish I could feed our cats with a forklift - they seem to always be clamouring for more Temptation treats!!

the Bag Lady said...

Hi Redbush - we must have been writing at the same time! He is rather a big pain in the butt at times - pays absolutely no mind to what I am trying to do - has his own agenda!

VeeGettingHealthy said...

What a helpful young man! hehe! As soon as we can afford to buy a homestead, we'll be getting some dexter ("miniature") cattle so we may be asking you for advice. Great vid!

Vee at www.veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

the Bag Lady said...

Vee - feel free to pick what's left of my brain when you get your cattle!! Now I'm off to Google Dexter cattle to see what they look like.
I've seen miniature horses, but not cattle.

Mark said...

Have a fantastic weekend! :)

Reb said...

If the loader started shaking and moving, I'd would have been more concerned with getting out of the way too! He looks so funny all covered in hay. ;)

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, Mark!

Reb - yes, he's much bigger than I am, so he always has the right-of-way!! :)

bunnygirl said...

Critters are so funny when it comes to their food. Even when it's the same food you always give and they still have some from previously, they must check it out, as if it's the most exciting theing to happen, ev-ar!

the Bag Lady said...

BG - that's so true! Well, unless it's the Princess dog. She is far more interested in what is in YOUR dish than what's in hers. She'll gobble down her food like there's no tomorrow, then come and sit beside you, staring up at you with mournful eyes, a little puddle of drool forming on the floor beneath her head. And if that doesn't work, she'll poke your leg with her nose!

Melissa said...

Gosh I've never seen such a CUTE bull!

the Bag Lady said...

Melissa - he IS cute, isn't he? He's a purebred Gelbvieh. And he's very quiet and easy to handle.

Charlotte said...

Oh good heavens! You lead an interesting life! That bull is quite the critter. I thought you handled it all quite well.

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, Charlotte! Of course, I wasn't filming when I stepped backwards and almost tripped over a big frozen cow patty... mamma knew what she was doing when she refused to name me Grace!!

new*me said...

I think we should all plan a field trip to your farm ;) I'll pack the sack lunches ;)

the Bag Lady said...

Annette - the door is always open!!

I would even change the sheets in the bunkhouse....... if we had a bunkhouse... :)

David Cranmer said...

More videos please! They are a lot of fun to watch.

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, David! I'll do my best to post more videos!!

solarity said...

My, what a pretty thing he is!
That was certainly worth the six minutes it took to load. He's so helpful, it's a wonder you weren't laughing too hard to hold the camera.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

the Bag Lady said...

Mary Anne in Kentucky - He is a handsome critter, isn't he? And a goof!

solarity said...

OMG timesink! I went looking for info on Gelbvieh cattle, since I'd heard the name but never seen a picture before (they sound interesting, but I'm devoted to Angus) and I came across this online game:

http://www.showcattle.com

I don't dare sign up; I spend too much time online as it is.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, Mary Anne - I, too, spend far too much time online....