Cow Breeding and General Farm Maintenance

Welcome to Nick’s blog on Cow Breeding and General Farm Maintenance. That first sentence is going to disappoint a lot of men and women who are scouring the Internet looking for actual advice on Cow Breeding and General Farm maintenance. In reality I know very little about how to breed cows although I do know a great deal more at this moment than I did three weeks ago.

Anyway, I will try  to summarize myself and how I came to be on a cattle farm in Louisa, Virginia in a few short sentences. I am 20 years old, an international relations major at your Connecticut College and really enjoy most things with the exception of civil war reenactments and possibly Honda Civics with large spoilers. My reason for being on a Cattle farm in Louisa , a town of 1500, is largely due to curiosity and some family connections.  By the way, if you’re looking for a job Louisa is in search of a Police Chief and you may download the application at the above link. Furthermore, if you are looking to rob a small town in central Virginia it appears that Louisa is sans a Police chief.

Basically, 4  years ago my  uncle decided he was going to need a place to retire, preferably somewhere where he could build a large luxurious house while still feeling in touch with nature. For the record my uncle is a great dude and, weighing in at 72 years of age, I find his intense interest in the band Arcade Fire very appealing. He spent the greater portion of his life making a solid living in D.C as an environmental consultant and then moved out to the country  a few years ago. Much to every one’s surprise my uncle decided he was going to start an Angus beef business on his new 100 acre property.  So after building a  house in Louisa he put the rest of the land  towards his new Business: Spayde Angus at Fern Hill.

This summer, after a failed attempt to go to Paris, I was offered a part time job at Spayde Angus by its Co-owner and operator Bill Spayde. My uncle, only living in his house on weekends, gave me the run of the place in order for me to work for  Bill. I work for Bill during the day and retire to relatively posh living at night… it’s really not a bad gig. My uncle met Bill a few years ago while looking for a business partner, someone slightly more knowledgeable  than he. Bill knows Angus inside and out ( literally) and standing at 6’4  and an easy 250 lbs he’s a pretty intimidating guy to get to know. His image softened, however, when during our first interaction  he asked me to fetch the large bottle of lube out of the barn while he stood with half an arm in a cow. He then told me to get my “hustle on” so that he could ” finish knocking up this heifer.” I got the lube for him but not before confusing it with a bottle of tomato fertilizer. In my defense they were both large white bottles with pumps…so what if the lube bottle said “Cattle Lube” on it.

(  For the record that is not Bill, I didn’t get to take a picture of that. I just thought you all might appreciate an image)

In the past month while being at Fern Hill Farm I have learned a number of valuable lessons. I spend my days feeding and watering the animals, tending the rather large garden and doing whatever job Bill has planned for the day. I am in the process of learning how to drive a tractor and am quite the expert on installation of high tensile fencing. I now know that Pigs do not have sweat glands, to never turn your back on black Angus, rhubarb leaves are extremely poisonous and if cows consume dried cherry leaves they will most certainly meet a swift death. Rhubarb leaves are bad for people, Cherry leaves are bad for cows.

That is the basic summary of life at Fern Hill Farm. I will, in the ensuing weeks fill the blogosphere with much more detail but for now I hope this will do.  In the mean time I just want everyone who was thinking about watching the movie ” Swing Vote” to promptly rent another movie.

I will also upload pictures of the cows as well as our pigs, Earl and Earline as soon as I can figure out what I did with my camera chord.

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9 Responses to Cow Breeding and General Farm Maintenance

  1. jsherman says:

    How distinct in appearance are Earl and Earline? Is Earline female or just a little queeny?

  2. Wait, you’re an international relations major? What does cow farming have to do with that?

  3. Rodrigues says:

    I might tell you that cow farming fosters a greater understanding of the inter-connectivity of the globe, a consciousness that many “urbanites” might take a pass on. I may also tell you that International Relations seemed like the most practical major for becoming James Bond and being given an Agent identity. Basically, as I said, I like most things with the exception of civil war reenactments and mostly believe that all experiences further me somehow whether it is directly I.R on paper or not. Does that work Paul?

  4. Well, yes, it does.

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