Calming the Grass-Fed Steers?

The steers have gone to a cool place.  Any reader  familiar with this blog knows what that means.  It is the hardest day for this PFO.  There is little hope this day will ever get easy.  They have been processed and delivered to the buyers.  Buyers who have an interest in the quality of food they eat.  They know the farmer.  They know the farm.


“Are they grass-fed only?”  The most asked question heard from interested buyers.  “No, they are not.”


Are they grass-fed only?

What many folks do not realize is that cattle have a natural fear of man.  Unlike dogs, cats, and other household pets, cattle have to be taught to feel comfortable around humans.  The way this works for us is with feed.  As I heard a cattleman say once, “Feed keeps the cattle humble.”


Cattle have to learn to feel comfortable around humans.

What does that mean?  Here it means getting close to the cattle.  This is of utmost importance to this PFO.  They are visually checked daily for injuries, pests, and vital signs.  Is their breathing normal, eyes bright, coat healthy looking and coming on nicely for cold weather?  Do they have a good appetite?  Are they interested in their surroundings?


Feed allows us to get close to them.

When they are trained to come to the feed call and beating of the feed bucket, they are willing to hang around we humans.  If these steers were totally grass fed, I suppose we would need re-training on how to properly care for them.  Until our steers are comfortable with us, they spend all their time in the woods and graze at the farthest points in the pasture.  They bolt away should we get too close.


After learning to come in when called for feeding time there is a peacefulness to the day here with all the animals.  They will hang around with the horses and chickens and feel far more at ease.  This is the goal for us.  Is there a more bucolic scene than cattle resting in grass chewing their cud?  Well, do not answer that.  Suppose we are cattle folks at heart!

Training does not take too long.  A couple weeks going out into the field to bring them in quickly gives way to them coming when they hear our voices calling.


Our steers get plenty of fresh air and all the grass they can eat.


It does not take them long to learn the sound of the feed bucket.


Our goal here at the farm with our hand-raised steers is to give them plenty of fresh air, a place to run, and all the green grass they can eat, along with a little feed to keep them near us for the best of the best care for them.  Right now, as I write this, the steers are out lying in the wet, wet grass peacefully chewing their cud…



Feed allows us to give the steers the best of best care.



Know the farmer.   Know the farm.

Homemade is best.

Humid Summer and Frigid Winter Work

What drives a man to want his career in life to be outside work at the mercy of hot, humid summers, and cold, wind-driven winters?  Ben Harrison, proprietor of Harrison Custom Fencing in Boyce, Virginia, will be happy to answer that question.


               Ben Harrison, Proprietor, Harrison Custom Fencing, Boyce, Virginia

Being outside was the first answer he gave.  Not once did he did complain about the weather being too hot, or cold.  He just wants to be out-of-doors.  “Being my own boss,”  was his second reason for why he started his custom fencing business back in 1982.  Ben is not a man of many words.  Good thing I had plenty of questions!

“What do you enjoy most about your business,” was my next question.  He gave a little chuckle.  “There is something fun about being in charge, having a crew, and having them work.”  I laughed out loud at his response to this question, “What do you like least about your work?”  His rapid response?  “Don’t like rocks, too much to do.”


Questions turned to equipment as I asked him about that huge truck he used to drive the posts into the ground.  Intimidating is a good word to describe this enormous truck.  He called it a Guard Rail Post Driver.  I called it scary!   Ben could literally drive that massive machine from post to post through  levers on the back of the bed!  No time would be wasted climbing in and out of the truck to the next post.    Hydraulic power was the force used to slam the 1,600# weight onto the fence post into the ground.  That truck was frightful and amazing at the same time.

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The heavy weight just hit the post. Ben is checking to see if the post is level.


It is hard to see just how big this machine is.


Ben can drive this truck to the next post from the back end.  He’s ‘driving’ it now!

His crew of four men were kind and patient with all the questions and photos from this nosey PFO.  There is something wonderful and amazing about men and women who work their job well.   This is how I know they are good at what they do, because they make it look easy!

I hope you enjoy these photos.  They speak for themselves for a job beautifully done.  Thank you Ben and your fine crew.



Beautiful job.


The fence has upgraded the looks of our farm.


Harrison Custom Fencing (old fence will be removed)



New fence heartily approved by this self-appointed farm inspector!  

Thank you again, Ben.


Know the farmer.  Know the farm.

Homemade is best.