Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
Last Saturday night Geoff and I became cow parents. A long time ago Geoff had me put on the calendar the National Red Poll auction. Initially it seemed like we would just be going as spectators. But as the day got closer and as I turned down many very attractive social engagements, it became clear that we meant business at this cattle auction. Geoff dropped subtle hints like, “Oh, I went to the bank today,” and, “Oh, Eldin said it was okay if we borrowed his livestock trailer, but it has not lights.” Geoff is well known throughout our valley, and I would speculate around the world, for the copious amounts of research he does on things that interest him. Things that do not interest him he does not research. Dishwasher detergent, for example. But homeboy knows his stuff when it comes to Red Poll cattle. We set out on our journey to the Big D (Danville) with a semi-functioning trailer, several 8×10 cow glossies, and a pocket full of dreams. The auction was actually just outside of Danville and you literally had to go over a river and through the woods to get there. We arrived at the cattle auction place about fifteen minutes before the start of the auction, which was plenty of time to get our bidding number, secure a seat in the betting arena, and marvel at the Red Poll Queen ( a human teenage female chosen yearly to represent the breed through the wearing of a sash and sparkly jewelry).
If you have never been to a cattle auction here is what you need to know: 1) You sit stadium style in a semi-circular “theater” with a stage covered in wood chips 2) The cows parade in one at a time through one door and out the other across the stage. The auctioneer and another guy, who I have named the auction buddy, sit up on the stage at a desk type structure behind the cow runway. 3) You can wear whatever you want to a cattle auction, although no one was wearing Toms or hemp. 4) The bidding happens very fast. It is much more like the show Storage Wars than it is like the quaint John Michael Montgomery song “Sold” both of which are the closest I’ve ever gotten to a real auction. Fortunately, Geoff was not confused by all the hustle, bustle, and fast talking. He kept his head in the game, and when the lots we were interested in came up he bid with confidence. In the end we walked away with two lovely cows, their calves, and the promise of two new calves to be born in late spring. It was a six for the price of two deal. Good stuff.
The cows are settling in fine. They are rotating through our front pasture in the same electric fencing as the goats and the alpaca. All of the wildlife seem to be getting along swimmingly. And, as a bonus for the non-colorblind members of the family (so me because Geoff and the dogs can’t see all of the colors) the red cows look gorgeous against the backdrop of our bright green fields.
In other news, we have become a temporary shelter for two sweet golden retrievers. I have named them Lady and Stinky. Lady is a petite, but elegant female of indeterminate age, and Stinky is a clown-faced older male who was sprayed by a skunk sometime in the past few days. Their dispositions are charming, they are playful yet polite, and we are happy to host them until tomorrow when the Louisville Retriever Rescue will take custody and quickly find them a permanent home. Clearly these two doggies belonged to someone who decided to dump them out in the country. For shame, doggie dumpers! For shame!
Enjoy the pics of Lady and Stinky frolicking: