You know how it is. Sometimes it’s hard to find good help. You pay them well, they show up on time, you are generous with perks…all seems to be going smoothly and then *BAM* doesn’t work out.
Case in point, our steers. They’re paid quite generously in hay, feed, and grass. Plenty of water…lots of room to romp…excellent healthcare…you get the picture. They’ve been living in a cattle dream for almost a year now. Problem is anything new in the pasture or anything they think doesn’t belong is deemed a reason to mess with it. They just can’t seem to leave things alone, whether it’s a migrating goose or a water bucket. Maybe it’s a steer thing. I know the sheep are curious about things at times, but then after they satisfy that curiosity they move on. Stewie and Ribeye, not so much.
The weather here continues to be rainy, our little dry creek an on again off again raging river - a problem when our larger maple trees for sap are on the other side (or in that water as the case seems to be). Hon and I decided, despite the sap collecting season being near the end, that we’d collect some and have a bit of syrup to enjoy this year. We also decided to give collecting some black walnut sap a go.
Our friends at Earthdancer Farm have tapped their walnut trees for several years now and told us how good it is, so we figured we'd give it a go. The walnut trees around here are later to bloom than the rest, the silver maples the first to bloom. Anyway, Hon and I tapped our few black walnuts, most of which are in the pasture, hooking on the jugs for collection, tieing them on with rope for good measure, and walked away to let the sap collect. Of course, Stewie and Ribeye noticed and were right alongside of us as we tapped the trees, supervising the process, making sure all was done properly. Since then I’ve shooed them off countless times. Considering they don’t have opposable thumbs or any other way I know of to help with the sap process, they’re just plain ‘ole up to no good in their curious steer way.
This morning I went out to check on the sap. One jug was completely full (yay), one had a little in it (yay again), and the other was hanging by a rope thread, empty, with a big split down the side. Now if it were super windy or stormy last night, I’d maybe think that had something to do with it, but I’m sure that wasn’t it. Especially since I captured video evidence of the culprit fooling with the jug that had a little sap in it. GAH!
So, there you have it folks. A couple of curious steer that really aren’t being helpful with sap collection. I have a feeling they’d rather lick the jugs and butt them with their heads in fun than consider leaving them alone for us. Even so, I’m determined to collect enough black walnut sap to make a bit of syrup for our family to enjoy giving a go. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
I'm the queen of our farm, although the animals wouldn't agree. My title is Head Chicken Wrangler, but most days I'm just called Mom. Life on a farm is full of family and hard work and I wouldn't have it any other way.