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Job Interview
Thursday 28th of April 2011 08:29 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

A bull at the Ninnescah Pasture, June 2010

A job interview is a mighty important piece of getting a job. Here on the County Line, it's  important to test bulls for the "job" they need to do. Earlier this month, Dr. Dayul Dick from Prairie Vista Veterinary Hospital and Supply came to test our six bulls through a bull breeding soundness examination.

So, how does this farm wife tell you about this process and keep it PG? Very carefully, I suppose. When Randy "invited" me to attend this doctor's appointment, I told him I wasn't guaranteeing that this would see the light of day in blogland.

"Quality bulls are a big part of your beef business standard," Dr. Dick said. "It's a good management practice to test bulls before you turn them out into the pasture each spring. Bulls have no value if they can't perform. We also test bulls for cattle operations that plan to sell them in an auction setting or by private treaty."

First, Dr. Dick measured each bull's scrotum and examined it for defects.

He then needed to collect a semen sample using this contraption.

After getting a sample, Dr. Dick had a mobile lab set up in the back of his pickup.

With the first look in the microscope, he was testing the semen for motility, its "swimming" ability to travel to the cow's egg.

Then he smeared the slide with a dye, which killed the sperm. He could then look at morphology, the shape of the sperm. He was looking for abnormalities in the shape, which could indicate a problem with the ability to breed.

After those tests, he gave each bull vaccinations to keep them healthy during their summer in the pasture. It's similar to giving our children vaccinations for their optimal health.

All the bulls passed and are ready for action, so to speak. Five of them were put in with the heifers on April 21. On Saturday, one will remain with the heifers, while the other four will go with cows to pasture.

The verdict: The bulls are hired for yet another year on the County Line.

And this morning, I'm again off to help sort the mamas and the babies for their travels to summer pasture. More on that later ...

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Sign of the Times
Wednesday 27th of April 2011 08:01 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

I'm no animal tracker. But it worried me a little when I saw these tracks all over the road on my morning walk.

And then I looked over to the pasture and couldn't see a single cow or calf.

I was thinking that an unexpected round-up might again be in my future.

Was I ever glad to find out the tracks were from our neighbor's cattle herd! And they weren't escapees. It was part of a planned relocation.

Whew! There's plenty of cattle sorting and moving for us this week, too. We don't need any extra outings.

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Whooo, What, Where, When, Why?
Tuesday 26th of April 2011 08:31 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

"Whooooo is invading my space?" this owl seemed to question through squinted eyes.

As a journalist, I've been trained to answer the who, what, where, when and why questions. But I don't have a lot of answers for this feathered friend.

Jake saw him a couple of weeks ago in the corral and thought he was injured. But by the time I arrived on the scene, he'd flown into a tree. So much for the injury report, I thought. Then I got another chance when Randy called from the silo to say the owl was back. Well, we assume it's the same owl.

Randy doesn't know whether he was injured or whether he had eaten so many mice at the silo that he was flight challenged at that moment.

Here's the shot straight out of the camera.

Here's the "tweaked" version.
The colors of the silage and the owl's feathers were awfully similar on a cloudy day.
This just helped pop the colors a little more.

True confessions: I may have been grumbling as I drove toward the silo after my husband interrupted me with this bird report and suggested I bring the camera. I'm not grumbling now.

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Response 1
Tuesday 26th of April 2011 08:02:03 PM
Submitted by: Jim Henry
Very good photography. thanks.
Response 2
Wednesday 27th of April 2011 08:03:13 AM
Submitted by: Kim
Thanks Jim. I think it was more being at the right place at the right time and a little luck. I guess it means I need to listen to my husband, right?! Thanks for taking time to comment.

Sunrise Roundup
Monday 25th of April 2011 07:50 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

There's nothing like a four-wheeler ride to wake you up in the morning.

We had some escapees last week. Randy turned some of the cow/calf pairs onto small lots to eat wheat. As Randy says, they were kind of like lawnmowers. They razed the tender green plants, then took off for greener pastures, so to speak.

Randy found them in the wheat north of the barn. This was not on the dining plan, so it meant an early morning round-up by the Farmer and the Farm Wife.

Originally, I was just stationed on foot. But when the moms and babies appeared to be trying out for the Olympic track team, I ended up holding on for dear life behind Randy on the four-wheeler. The only photos from that escapade were blurred from bouncing over the terrain.

He left me by the oilfield road just in case they attempted to make a break for it again. But he managed to corral them, while I then picked my way through the shelter belt and stood guard at the electric fence.

Early morning runs can make a little fella hungry. It was time for a milk break.

And I took one more early-morning glimpse at the sky before heading back to the house for coffee. It probably would have been healthier if I'd had milk, too.

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I Think I'll Stick with Happy Easter
Friday 22nd of April 2011 08:46 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

I know there are plenty of Kansas farmers planting corn seed in soil that's too dry. From news reports, I understand that in other parts of the Corn Belt, farmers are waiting for fields to dry out so they can get planting underway.

Even though there is some grumbling going on - no matter where you live - farmers are, by nature, optimists. They plant the seed and have faith it will grow. Of course, they give it what help they can along the way. But it's their job to make the most of the conditions at the time and be good stewards of this earth.

It kind of reminds me of the tulips that came up outside our church. The bulbs are planted in the fall and then are dormant all winter long. But then, they provide that splash of springtime color that just lifts your spirits.

On this Easter weekend (which also happens to be Earth Day), we need to remember what a privilege it is to live and work and care for God's earth.

So I'll wish you a Happy Easter. For most of you farmers and ranchers, it's Earth Day every day.

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