Julie Tarp

Julie Tarp
Born and bred in Texas. I'm a Screenwriter with a script currently in Development in La-La Land. Met and fell in love with my husband who is an actual cowboy. We have a 140 head cow/calf operation. He does the hard work, I just write about it.


DECEMBER 16, 2009 2:26PM

Early Christmas Present

Rate: 40 Flag

We received an early Christmas present this morning.  A very early present – our first calf of the season!

Too Cute

Born half an hour ago.

Her mama was to be one of our cull cows this year.  Meaning, she was to be sold as an “open cow” and a replacement purchased for her.  As last year was our first on the ranch, we purchased all our cattle then.  We either bought bred cows or pairs.  She was supposedly bred.  We waited and waited and she never calved.  Don’t produce?  Off to the sale!

We are Spring calvers.  Somehow, this means we calve in January.  January seems pretty Wintery to me, but what do I know?  Cows have a gestation period almost the same as humans.  Nine months and something like 13 days.  I think the additional 13 days is for the fourth stomach.  (They just want to pretend they are superior with their four to our lowly one).  So, to calve in January, we turn the bulls out in late March.  We have one bull for every 20 cows.  Some call that overkill, we call it management.  The bulls don’t have to work overtime, even though they would probably like to.  Plus, every cow is sure to be bred.  It’s on them if they aren’t, not the bull.  Well, I guess Miss Number 128 was particularly stoked to see the bulls this year, because she must have been bred almost immediately. 

Looks like mama is a keeper, because this little gal is a good lookin’ calf.  Only 135 to go!

Please Dont Eat Me

Please don’t eat me.




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Merry Whatsmas to you! That's a darlin' little baby.
Calfploistation? I love it!
CK - Right? So cute!

Harry - Let's see Mrs. M top that!
Only a half hour old--they're really born to get going.
Absolutely beautiful. Kindly informative text and pictures. Congratulations on the living early gift. And I'm with the little gal. Please don't eat her :)
Rated and appreciated
What a sweet little girl! Are your cows Angus? So, you free breed your cows? Not AI? Where do the bulls go the rest of the time?
Patrick - They are. She was "Buckin' and runnin'" the next time we saw her. The mama licks them off and they usually are up and about right after.

Bonnie - Thanks. It's not being "flagged" - it's being rated. The thumbs up is a "rating". That's a good thing. i don't think we can see if a post has been flagged (which is a bad thing.) If you like something, give it a rating. It let's the writer know that someone liked it.

Dennis - I'm with her too! This is why Paul won't let me name the cows.

Blondie - Yeah, they're Angus. We've got a couple of Hereford/Angus crosses (black/white face) in there as well - maybe a hand full. No AI. The bulls are kept in a separate pasture after their work is done. Last year, they were actually on a lease down the road. Once the cows are bred though, they can be a fenceline away and they won't do anything.
Congratulations!!! That baby is a beauty.
Sigh. What a sweetie. No eating her for me.
I'm not a rancher, but I'd call that birthing process "decalfination."

Thanks Owl!

Frank - We just make 'em fat and happy here!

Decalfination - I like it Jeff!
"Spring " calving usually starts here in January also, but since we have shoulder-high snow drifts, the calves should start hitting the ground any time now! We'll recognize them later as the ones without ear tips.

And I will call her DeLeeecious.

How many pairs of shoes do you think she'd make? That's a Christmas present I can get excited about. Oh, and grilling her in a nice marinade. That's gonna take a lot of soy sauce, but I'm up to the challenge.
Walk Away - I know! She let me get pretty close, but then mama started coming. I wanted to pet her and love on her. Paul just stood there smirking at me.

Blue - Ha! Isn't that the way? "Oh, there's going to be a freak ice storm in Oklahoma? Let's band together and calve now!" Of course, that will be the time there's a breach. (Which I remind him that at least his hands will be warm inside the cow.) Thank goodness they take care of all this themselves. I think Paul only pulled one last year - pretty good.
Ha Em! We had a neighbor that called the steer they fed out "Freezer". He probably would let me name 'em if I called them things like that.

One day we'll get you back here and in the middle of the night we'll go out and draw on them. We'll draw the cut of meat on the ones we want and outlines of shoes and purses on the ones we don't! When Paul goes out, we'll act really confused and horrified.
"Please don’t eat me."

Too late-- Mrs. Michaels has given her a terrible new name. ;-)

Seriously, the baby calf is quite cute!
And Happy Whatsmas to you!
Backatcha Spotted!

Seriously, this is how rare Mrs. Michaels likes her meat.
I dig nature's innocence.
If it makes her feel any better, I only eat chicken and fish.
Me too, Chuck - look at those eyes!

Con - It makes her feel better, but my bank account is very uneasy about it.
I am going back to being a vegetarian.
Thanks, Rog!

Aw, don't say that Karin - they don't look like this in the end.
If you name her Noel, she probably won't get et.

Srsly, you can't eat things with faces and names.

What a beautiful calf, Julie. Congratulations!
That is one beautiful gift. Merry Christmas.
Barry - Exactly why he won't let me name them!

Thoth - Thanks - Merry Christmas to you!
Don't eat me doesn't that defeat the purpose of ranching ;) but no I won't eat him or her or hell such a cutey patooty!
She's gorgeous. Since she's born this close to Christmas, shouldn't she be Natalie? Beautiful. And I love that your cows get to do it "cow" style, instead of with a turkey baster.
It does indeed LL. It's what I imagined she was thinking as she batted her eyelashes at me. She gave me "the look".
aw, what a cute little calf ( and brrrrrrr!)
She's do dang cute.
iiwefkl, it's a shame you didn't actually read the post, or you would know that in these parts we grow our own shoes.
FLW - The do indeed.

Thanks Marcelle!

iiwefkl - You sweet talker - $30 True Religion jeans - oh my! I bet they don't come from China or anything.

surly - You should see the pastures in January - makes me leave the warmth of the house just to see all the cuties running around.

Mrs. M - Right? Clearly he's not thinking.
she's so pretty, all shiny black and soft. and look at all those cowlicks!!!

i love cows. have a small gorgeous painting of one in my closet so i can see it every day. she's a beauty, too. thanks, julie.
Thanks for all the calfing info, it will come in handy next time I'm at a potluck in WY and they start talking about AI-ing and preg-testing and all that other stuff you like to hear about while you eat.

What a sweet little thing...for now!
Came to your post late, so I'll have to chime in with the rest...she's absolutely beautiful. Wouldn't it be something if baby cows could be like therapy dogs? Okay, maybe that's impractical. But thinking about one of these creatures peeking their bovine faces into a hospital room - well, it just amuses me.
Your caption, "Please don't eat me" is one I remember from raising a few calves for the meat when I was a kid. It's no wonder I was mad at the cowboys. There's a story about liver and onions that is just dying to be told...

Merry Christmas Julie and congratulations to Miss 128 on the little cutie.
Awwww! Me and the Hindus, we'll love 'em forever. Sorry, Julie, I'll love the picture and the stories but probably never help your bottom line. Clams? That's another story...it's the Norwegian in me. ~R
Now you have me thinking that there is also the story about coming home to see the vet inseminating one of the Herefords. Geeze, didn't they think telling me ahead of time that he was going to shove his arm up in there was something I might need to know before I saw it at age 8?

Glad to hear you allow natural cattle style sex on the ranch. That's a lot of bull you have down there.
Aw, femme - thanks! Good spot on the cowlicks - mama did her job!

Melissa - I constantly have to stop Paul from saying gross things about what we're eating while we're eating! He doesn't even realize.

Nelly - that would be awesome! We had a leppy calf (the mother had twins and only took to one) and Paul bottle fed it. That things followed him around everywhere - even onto the porch. Too cute.

Susanne - They really should warn us, no?

Kate - that's alright. Hey - at least we don't have Brahmas like everyone else around here.

Susanne - Ga-ross! Paul just preg-checked for one of our neighbors. Um, those gloves don't reach nearly far enough! I will not be doing his laundry.
Man, Janie - you cryin' again? Imagine how I feel when we've got hundreds of them running around and I'm grilling.

Your neighbor probably has Angus too. Tons of things could cause them to just die - weather (pneumonia) or something in the ground (black leg). She could have died giving birth (stress). There's tons that can go wrong - remind me why I do this again?

I like the irony of calling her Oprah since the beef industry sued her!
Man Julie that one is a beauty! How fun!!!
I am guessing you are a "traditional" rancher sending them off to feedlots in the end? I know it is the way things are done. I grew up with a grandfather who had a Colorado ranch so I am familiar with procedure.
Have you considered being a grassfed/organic operation? There is a big demand these days to know where our food comes from. Have you seen the movie "Food Inc"? It will change the way you look at your babies.
Ok, I apologize for preaching and will get down from my soapbox now.
Congratulations on a good looking baby!
Mmmm, cute veal. I mean calf, calf!

You should name him Prince Orloff.
Well congratulations - she's a beauty. Thoroughly enjoyed this, though I won't be envying you come January when you will be out in the winter mix dealing with laboring cows. Could you choose to be summer calvers and not turn the bulls loose until June or so?
Congrads to all! You and hubby and of course Mama cow and the bull Daddy. Got a name for her?
Rated & Cheers!
Lady - We are strictly a cow/calf operation here. We'll sell the calves next Fall when they are around 9 months old. The person who buys them will either raise them to yearlings - out in pastures - then sell them to a feedlot or keep them and breed them.

There are a few issues with the "grass-fed" beef you are talking about. First, all beef is grass-fed. Even if it's marketed as that, it still has protein and minerals given to it. Second, beef that is barely finished on corn or what have you tastes like crap. I swear. It's gross. The fat is yellowish-green and it's just something I can't deal with. Paul used to have to cut up my steaks! I know that's lame, but I would literally gag. Third, money, money, money. It takes a lot of land to raise something for that long. It takes a lot of protein and mineral to raise something that long. It takes a lot of hay to raise something that long.

At some point, we'll be expanding and will consider holding over our calves, but we'd still sell them as yearlings most likely.

I haven't seen Food, Inc., even though Silkstone told me repeatedly to watch it, so I can't comment on it. I did see one about a hog farm that was atrocious. Paul has worked in feedlots before. Mostly in college at Cal-Poly, but when we moved back to Texas as well. And I can promise you, they aren't all bad or horrific.
Floyd - Yum, veal! I swear I begged Paul to get Kobe or Wagyu cows! Could you imagine? nom, nom, nom...

Oh, I think Prince Orloff wins!

Dustbowl - There's really two calving seasons - Spring and Fall - since cattle is a commodity, the market basically dictates. I'm sure it has a lot to do with where they go next. Calving in the summer, especially in the South, would be really hard because of the weather. I know that sounds weird because winter can be brutal too, but for some reason it's a lot less stress. Plus, we chose our animals specifically for structure, hips, calving ease, etc. (By "we", I mean, Paul.) So, the thought process behind that is that they just do their jobs and have babies and we don't have to do anything to help them. Occasionally, one will be breach and Paul will have to turn it around or pull it, but for the most part we just keep counting the additions every day.

Thanks Bubba! Where've you been? Floyd's name wins - Prince Orloff!
Nice story. Cute cow. I worked with cows, chickens and pigs in my youth growing up in Texas. Cows were the least amount of work and only required the dropping of hey bails off the pickup in the winter. Was not involved in the breeding. One bull for every 20 cow, sounds like a Beach Boy's song in the making.

I never made friends with them because friends don't eat friends. Instead I remain rather detached from the animals that could be potential "dinner" guest. For this reason our cat and dog are safe.
oh, very sweet!

Your talk of bulls reminds me of one of my partner K's favorite jokes: An old bull and young bull are standing on a hill looking down at a field full of cows. The young bull excitedly says to the old one: "Let's run down there and f*** one of them!" And the old bull replies, "No, let's walk down there and f*** a lot of them."
M - I'm totally stealing that line about the dogs being safe! Cows really aren't a lot of work to take care of. They just graze all day. Like you said, in the winter we just roll hay out to them.

Silky - I love it!
I'll be honest, I had to look that one up? Damn, isn't that irony?
But isn't it more fun, Cat Lady? (I know it's not, I like to be spoon fed too.)

Kate - That's hilarious!
Cute. I am late but what with totaling the car, oral surgeon visit, etc. it has been a wild ten days.

Have a wonderful Christmas, and may God bless you and your family, and your cattle!, with many blessings in the coming year.

Hey, thanks Kyle!

Monte - I'm so glad that you and your wife are okay! What a scary thing. And thank you for your blessings. You are a true gift, Monte. Happy Holidays to you!
This is so cool and earthy. The best Christmas gift of all!
First time I have read your site but will do it again because I loved hearing about life on your ranch -- gorgeous gal and her mother a bit precocious or randy-- so this little gal might be very special.
Oh I'm so glad I found this and got the chance to look at your photos. Can you kiss her forehead? Please do. Wow, Julie, you are so lucky. What a rich life. Cows are so sweet. Did I tell you - I feel like I did - that there was this cow at a dairy farm nearby years ago. And he would get excited to see me, kinda like a dog would! It was so exciting. I never looked at cows the same way.