Selling Heifers

I had plans for yesterday. I wrote a neat little list of four things I wanted to do. I got none of them done. That can be the danger of writing neat little lists.

The first visitors came while we were milking. They had heard there were heifers for sale and wanted to see them. They kept talking to me in Quechua, so I was more than a little thankful to have Percy take over.

There is one heifer that was born with seven teats. We’re somewhat afraid we won’t be able to sell her for a good price. She’s not built like a beef cow, and her udder is not great for milk, so she’s just a nothing animal.

But this couple wants to try to remove the extra teats and make her into a milk cow. I don’t know how successful that would be. I recommended they have the vet do it. They said they want to think about it and come back another day. That usually means they will never return.

That’s what I thought about Alejandro. He had been here a couple weeks ago, asking about another heifer. He’d said he’d return a couple days later, but he never showed up. That is, until today after breakfast.

The heifer he wanted was already down in the lower pasture where we’re keeping them behind an electric fence to avoid bloating by free-ranging on the whole pasture. I took the boys down with me to get the heifer so Steph could be freed up; she was decorating a cake that I needed to deliver by noon.

The heifer wasn’t too much trouble to get into the barn, but she was rather resistant to having her halter removed and a new rope placed over her horns. She was the only cow left with horns on the farm, but Alejandro was glad for a way to control her because he planned to walk her down the highway.

That over, I ate my breakfast, which was cold. I didn’t feel like taking the time to heat it up. I’d just finished eating when a vehicle pulled in with two older men looking for heifers. Again, they were all in the lower pasture, but the older man didn’t think he wanted to walk that far. I agreed, as it would have taken all day at his pace.

Percy and I went down to the bottom and brought all the animals back to the top. They kept trying to run away before the man could get close enough to them to see what he wanted to see. Percy and I were both out of breath by the time he made up his mind to buy two of the heifers.

He was a sweet old man and talked all the way back to his vehicle, which was a short walk over a long time. I nearly had to catch him a couple of times. He was very wobbly.

Percy went to catch the two heifers up while the two men went to town to find a truck that would haul the animals to Ollantaytambo. They returned just before lunch, right at the time I needed to leave to make the delivery, naturally.

I was rather grateful the heifers cooperated and that I had Percy’s help. We got them loaded into the truck in only a short time. Then the older gentleman asked me to write up a bill of sale in Spanish. That took time because I didn’t know what to say, and the other three men all had ideas for how best to say it.

That done, the fellow asked if he could buy two goats. He wanted a breeding pair. I was happy to say I had no females for sale because I was already late for the cake delivery. He said he’d come back next fall to buy a pair from the next batch of kids. We shall see.

I was happy for Lamar’s sake that we could make the sales. I think he’ll be happy to get the money for them. Percy and I were both pleased to have gotten higher prices than what we’ve seen at market.

We also now have room to add some more animals. Percy and I want to look for bull calves this Friday to fatten through the rainy season. That will be such a blessing as far as income.

I got the cake delivered. I apologized for being half an hour late, but they didn’t seem to understand why I was apologizing. At least they weren’t upset.

I’d taken bread and milk out to town early since I was out. Dane went with me to hold the cake. We sold all the milk and nearly all the bread and stuff.

I stopped in to talk with Abel. He showed me the job that he finished for the other person. He says he thinks he’ll have started on my other pieces by the time I return on Friday with more bread and milk. We shall see.

Dane and I got home at nap time, and I felt tired enough from wrangling cattle that I took a nap myself. Steph ended up doing some baking for Friday. Later, Seth and Shawn and I moved the old cabinets to the bodega.

The school children were working ahead in school during the afternoon because we plan to be away tomorrow and because Steph and the girls are going with Esmeralda and María Gracia to Cusco today. They are getting some things before Andrew’s come.

I will be taking care of the boys today. I have a neat little list of things that I think I want to do today. Maybe I should just throw it out and see what comes.

The first couple
Alejandro and his son taking Karmen.
The two elderly gentlemen
Loading up
Removing halters
Signing the bill of sale
Making a cake
Isn’t it lovely?
The girls each tried a little in the afternoon.
Shawn and Seth and I moved the old cabinets to the bodega.
“It’s so heavy!” Seth said.
And I pinched my baby finger. I did not cry.