Summer is not relaxing if you own livestock

I keep hearing the phrase, “the dog days of summer.” I think it’s supposed to refer to a relaxing time of year, but those people who get to relax in the summer obviously don’t have livestock.

My son has decided to get into the cattle raising business. We’ve introduced him to as many ranchers as we can, to help him learn as much about it as possible. The majority of those ranchers have told him the old adage, “the best way to make a million dollars in the cattle industry is to start with three million,” but he won’t be deterred. He has plans, and he’s sure he can be successful. But one thing he didn’t count on was his first heifer.

Mary Jane is a red Angus, and she was free. You always need to beware of free animals. They tend to cost you more than the expensive ones. That’s certainly the case with Mary Jane.

She’s an incredible show cow, and her first calf is shaping up to be another very good example of the breed. In terms of confirmation, I don’t think there are many other red Angus cattle out there that are better than either of Colby’s cow and calf. But sometimes beauty comes with attitude. That’s certainly the case with Mary Jane. She’s headstrong, and that’s a bad thing in a critter that weighs 1,400 pounds.

Lately, she’s been putting her size, strength and attitude to use mowing down the fences. Not because there’s better grass on the other side – just because she can. So instead of going fishing or just lazing around, I’ve been spending every spare moment taking down the old fence and replacing it with stronger posts and wires. Just to be safe, I’ve also been stringing up a couple of strands of electric wire to further dissuade her from just walking through all that hard work.

So far, the new fence is keeping her in. But I still have 40 acres of fence to rebuild. Hopefully, I’ll get it done in time to do some open-water fishing. If not, I suppose there’s always ice fishing season.

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