I’ve spent a lot of time the last few days thinking about what NOT to write about this month. There is so much going on in our “little BIG town”, and believe it or not I’ve found myself with too much writing material. I’ve jumped from football to fut bol (that’s soccer for all you East Texans). I’ve jumped from the Harvest Hustle to Countryfest and back. I even thought about Homecoming too, but I decided I would draw some inspiration from Bullfest.
I could tell you some “cock and bull story”, (I’ve been wanting to use that line since my farm adage blog), but instead I would like to share my “Good Bull” experiences. First, I’ll start with a disclaimer because I am not a bull expert, although I can shoot it occasionally and I can take it by the horns if I have too. Really, I have just enough knowledge on bulls to manage my herd. Secondly, my herd management program falls somewhere in between hobby herd and pay my property taxes herd, so just to be clear I do not make a living solely on how good my bull is. Thirdly, and this may be a shocker, I have a tendency to name my bulls.
Anyone with any sense knows it is not wise to name farm animals because you get attached to them and then you can’t make reasonable business decisions because you’ve become emotionally connected when you call them by name. But that doesn’t apply to me. Over the years, I have had Tom, Shorty, and Pencil Butt, just to mention a few. Currently my son-in-law and I share two bulls. One named Moto Moto and the other named Ug. Moto Moto fits the criteria I have for a good bull. He’s a Registered Black Angus, he’s well built, he’s gentle, easy to load, sires nice calves and most importantly he usually stays home. Ug on the other hand, as you can guess is not too cute. He has matted curly hair on top his head that sticks up like a rooster comb and has a constant orange glow from pawing in the iron ore dirt. Seriously, all kidding aside, as I write this he is not in my pasture, but in the pasture of my neighbor because I haven’t been able to “convince” him to come home. In his defense, he is a Registered Black Angus bull and he does consistently sire great looking calves. But, why do I put up with Ug? Well, let me tell you. A few years ago I got a frantic call from a friend who happened to be driving by the farm. He said, “Jimmy you’ve got to get to the farm quick there is a cow that has just had a calf. The cow is down and it looks like the calf has been attacked or something’s wrong because it is covered in blood.” Although I had already settled it in my mind that I was going to lose the pair I hurried up to the farm. When I drove up to the gate I saw exactly what had been described, so I drove on in to see what I was dealing with. When I got there I was surprised to find a healthy mama cow, but the calf well she was covered all right, covered in red hair. They both popped up and were as healthy as could be. I of course named her Red, and then after getting over the initial shock, I wondered what other bull had been in my pasture especially since Ug is Black Angus and the mama was a black brangus cross. I didn’t have another red calf that season….but I have had one every year since. I did a little research into Ug’s bloodline and sure enough his great-grandmother was named Truitt’s Strawberry and was Red Angus.
For those of you wondering what I did with the Reds, well I broke the cardinal rule in farming. I couldn’t help but keep them. And what about Ug you ask? Well… I’ve kept him too, obviously, I find great humor in watching my “Strawberry Patch” grow.