The balls are in your court now, girls.

Breeding season has officially begun! We are excited about this year’s pairings and the introduction of some unique color combinations. If the 2022 crop is any indication of what is to come, we will have several quality calves to offer up for sale.

The Lineup

Team Monte: Maizie & Marigold (Monte gets first shot, but may be too vertically challenged to score, in which case Nick will provide backup) Montana, Maddison, Monique, Maia, Miley and Mariah.

Team Nick: ShaRona & Rosie and clean-up crew for the mid-sized girls. This fall, Nick’s harem will also include Argentina, Africa and Eve as long as they continue to mature at their current rate.

Just for Kix

Is Kix still kicking?

The life of a barn cat is precarious at best. While domestic, indoor cats’ average lifespan is 12-15 years, I’d guess the average for a barn cat is half that number. There are predators always looking for easy prey, other male cats defending their territory, farm vehicles to avoid, busy roads and of course disease and health issues.

Aside from all of the dangers, barn cats work hard and put a lot of miles on daily, sometimes wandering off to who-knows-where for days at a time leaving their farm families to wonder if they will return. These are all aspects that describe the life of Kix, the centenarian barn cat that has exponentially outlasted even the grittiest of working felines.

Kix isn’t your average barn cat in more ways than one. First off, and most noticeably, he is beautiful. His long fluffy black and white fur frames his thoughtful and inquisitive face. Secondly, he has a silent meow. We aren’t sure exactly when and how this happened, but for several years, he hasn’t had a voice. He can, however, hiss with the best of them. (Heaven help those who don’t heed this warning, as he doesn’t hesitate to take further action and has chased many dogs across the yard and left them yelping). The third and most obvious is his age. In human years, he’s 104 and has used up not 9 but more likely 90 lives.

Kix is a farm icon, the last of the Mohicans, the final living link that overlapped my parents’ lives on this farm. He shows up everywhere, sees everything and runs a tight ship. He lets few into his inner circle, however he has his favorite few. He even had a late-in-life fling with a younger female cat. In his earlier days, he wouldn’t have allowed other males in his domain, let alone a floozy like Cybil. He’s softened.

As I write this, Kix is in his final hours…days…we just don’t know. On Friday August 19th, we moved him from the barn to kitty hospice in the basement where he could be kept cool and monitored and we could run a vaporizer to help make his labored breathing easier. We figured it wouldn’t be long until he took his final breath of 21 years, so we spent lots of time just petting him and sitting with him. He would appear to have fallen asleep, then would pop up and come back for more attention.

He definitely doesn’t want to miss anything. He takes water occasionally, goes out on the patio for fresh air, but mostly sleeps. He is comfortable, and we feel that he will let go when he is ready. This has gone on for 10 days now, and the first question we have in the mornings – ” is Kix still kicking?”

We honor his long life and appreciate his years of service and friendship. He is one of a kind, and the day that Kix stops kicking will be a sad one indeed.

Will the real Malcom, please stand up!

August 3rd brought an early morning filled with twists, turns and deceptions. What began as a quiet night, was soon interrupted by dogs barking. This is not unusual, given the high predator load of coyotes. But tonight was different as we were soon to find out. At about 3 am after calling in the dogs in twice, Poppi was persistent and demanding, letting us know that something was definitely wrong. She was displaying behavior that was beyond her normal vies for attention. We humored her and went out to see what was the matter.

I, on the deck still in my pjs watched and listened in the pitch black as the cattle mooed in distress. Troy was already in his pickup headed out to where they had gathered in the pasture. I heard yelling, more commotion and dogs going berserk. Then Troy came flying back to the house yelling for help and all I heard was ” donkey has a calf down”. I threw on some clothes over my pjs and slid some boots on and we drove out to find Manny on top of a calf, pawing and biting at it. The horses along with a few of the horned cattle were attacking the donkey trying to get him away. Troy managed to get Manny into another pen and I hopped the fence to get to the calf.

At first glance over the fence, I thought it was Fiona, the fluffy little highland heifer. But after I got to the calf, lying motionless, it looked darker and I thought it was Whitney, the High-Dex heifer calf. She had blood coming out of her nose and was breathing heavily, but didn’t seem to have anything broken or any major wounds. Still, she wouldn’t move or try to get up.

The strange thing was that Marigold was being protective of the calf and even bumped Troy with her horn to move him back. She was licking the calf and being so sweet to it. I couldn’t find Whitney’s mom, Mariah anywhere (black cow, dark as sin out) so we hunted for her to see if maybe she was injured. We couldn’t find her but hadn’t checked the whole pasture.

I decided to call the vet and get some advice. Dr. Fanning had me mix up some aspirin to give to the calf. I added a few of my super secret hokey pokey potions to it and took it out to give to “Whitney”. I also mixed up a mash to see if she would eat. When I put the mash in front of the calf, it tried to get up but was very wobbly. I then tried to give Marigold some and as she turned around, I could see that her back end was messy. I looked at the calf with my flashlight…..LIGHTBULB!!! This was a new, very large calf! And it was Marigold’s! We didn’t think she was pregnant, being so much taller than the bulls. And the kicker…when I looked more closely, I saw it was a bull calf!

Things were starting to make a lot more sense at this point. The ruckus started with Marigold giving birth. Donkey saw a foreign body in the pen and went after it to protect the herd. Marigold was protecting her baby. The blood and mucus were because the calf was recently born. It was lying still because it hadn’t stood yet (which along with the fact that it was much bigger than the other calves at birth probably saved it’s life). Mariah was with her daughter, the real Whitney, and was just fine.

So that’s the tale of how Fiona became Whitney who became Malcom, a beautiful big highland bull calf. Mama Marigold and son are doing great. I love happy endings!