Good evenin. Just read the paper and it triggered some great memories I want to share. So just come on in for a cup of coffee or iced tea and sit a spell while I tell you about them.
The article I read was about the Valdosta area Beef Show and Sale and there were several former students I knew. I also know the teachers from Lowndes High who work with these students and they do a great job. These youngsters raise these cows, train, show and sell them. I know it is hard for them to sell them for one parent shared about the tears and sadness her son experienced when the year was up and it had to be sold. They had some 'splaining to do to settle this situation. Of course, he got another one soon.
These young people name these cows, feed, groom and train for showing. It is a lot of hard work but they enjoy it a lot and these cows bring lots of money for these kids. I love some of the names such as Auburn (Bless his heart for Bama would have better), Thumper, Milo and Smokey. These were some of the winners in this year's show and sale.
It amazes me that they wash them with shampoo followed by conditioner and brush and blow-dry the hair. They polish the hooves and they look wonderful. Of course the kids look a little rough after this grooming process and the parents also. A friend told her city pal, that she was really living in the country for she had helped her son groom his calf and had the dirt to prove it. The parents enjoy it as much as the kids.
As I read this, I thought about all the cows we had raised at home. Daddy usually kept about 20-25 cows and 1 bull. Now that bull, whichever one it was at the time, was always a hand full. He would take care of our heifers and then want to take care the ones across the road and down the road. He would take out a section of fence in a heartbeat and take off. One of the neighbors would call and we would have to herd him back home and daddy would be muttering "nice" words all the way back. Of course some of his harem would follow and we had herd them back also. Then the fence had to be mended and my sweet husband said, "Before you got back in the house, you could hear the staples popping out of the posts as the bull went back through." It was a pain in the butt.
We raised several calves each year on a bottle bucket. I put a link in so you city folks will know what I am talking about. Daddy would go over to Marion Junction, AL to a dairy and buy 2 0r 3 calves they didn't need and bring them home. The dairy only wanted to keep the heifers (females) and they sold the bulls. Of course when they became larger, you made steers out of them by removing male parts. Not a pretty job, but more than 1 bull with a small herd was a disaster. You know males can be rather protective of their harems.
The buckets we used had large nipples on the bottom side and we filled them with formula for calves, hung it on the fence and little calves would come running to drink the milk. They were as cute as buttons or baby calves. They were fun to watch grow up and we would sell the steers and keep the heifers to have calves or to milk. We always had one milk cow and had lots of fresh milk and butter.
Once we had a midget calf born and it was almost a pet. We hated to see daddy sell it, but he only kept the heifers who would have good calves and we didn't need a bunch of "would-be-bulls (steers) to feed. We kept one to kill for the freezer and sold the others at auction. When daddy carried the little one we were quite unhappy but mama worked at the stockyard and we would go with her. The auctioneer was a good friend and when he saw that little cow, he bought him outright. Didn't even auction him off and carried him home in the front seat of his pickup truck. Mr. Bridges made a pet out of him and he lived quite a while.
Another time we had a calf born which was blind. Daddy hung a cow bell around the mother cow's neck so the calf could find her in the pasture and we made sure it was OK. When this one was weaned, there was no way we were going to eat it so daddy auctioned in off, we think. Sometimes he would trick us and we probably ate more of our favorites than we realized.
Our favorite cow was named Sup Sup. She was about the ugliest cow we ever had - long legs, rangy, and tan, and not pretty. She also had horns which could hurt if you didn't feed her. The great thing about her was her calves for they were always pretty. She never got fat, but all her calves would be fat and happy. She was our pet though for when we would go out in the backyard close to the fence, she would come running and hang her head over the fence for a treat. We and our 2 children would feed her pears, apples, watermelon, and sugar cane. Actually we fed her most anything for she would eat anything. She was one spoiled cow, but we all loved her.
Well, that is about enough about our cows but they were a big part of our childhood. There were times we didn't enjoy it such as the times they would escape and had to be rounded up. That meant the fence had to be fixed and daddy would be ornery. The good part was the good meals we had because we had hand raised beef. We would get tired of steak and ask for something else! Now we beg for steaks for we had the something else.
Ya'll take care and have a good day.
The Georgia Peach