A week ago I was talking to Jimmy Ellis after church about cows, in particular about where we might be able to get a decently raised cow to take to the slaughterhouse. He didn’t have any suggestions, but he offered to sell us one of his to raise for ourselves. It seemed like a prudent way to get started with cows, i.e. deal with the matters of fencing and feed and water before having to also deal with milking.
So I ordered some portable electric net fencing, which arrived today. And then this afternoon Chris and Matthew and Jerry and I went to the Ellises to shop for a cow. (Jimmy Ellis is brother to Al Ellis, who we got our milk from until their cow dried up a couple of weeks back.)
When we arrived Jimmy was pitching hay to his cows, which were lined up with their heads through a feeder gate, munching away. He gave us an informal tour, which was very helpful to us since we know so little about cows right now. We talked hay, and stanchions, and portable milkers, and feeding troughs, and where to get the various bits of apparatus we’ll need. Then we went and looked at the calves he was raising, and settled on one that was about 250 pounds. He’ll deliver it in a few days, after we collect together everything else we need.
As we talked, Jimmy’s wife Marty came out and visited with us a bit, and asked us if I knew of anyone who had a used electric grain mill for sale; tommorow is their 25th wedding anniversary, and a grain mill would make a good present for them to buy themselves. As a matter of fact, I did know someone—us. Debbie has been wishing for a reason to switch from our WhisperMill (a perfectly fine machine) to a NutriMill (which has a few features that would be helpful to us). So we agreed to swap the mill for a part of the cow, balance in cash.
And there has been some progress on the milk cow front as well. Roger Murrell, pastor of the ORB church, has located a dairyman with quite a few milk cows for sale, Jerseys and Guernseys and Milking Shorthorns. Roger talked with this fellow about our situation and he had some specific cows to recommend that would be freshening in late January. Chris and I will probably go with Roger and Mike Slone some day next week to visit the dairy farm, check out the cows, and make the necessary arrangements.