My Dad, Dick Mill, always said “he worked, so that he could afford to farm”. He loved cattle but thought the other parts of farming would be a “really tough way to make a living”. Our family farm was called The Hanging Rock Farm (HRF) and over 40 years he had various herds, in later years settling for purchasing feeder calves in the spring and selling them in the fall but he missed seeing the newborn calves. Mom was a wonderful woman who was always supportive and active on the farm but having experienced herding cattle, she was not keen on a couple ideas Dad had over the years… raising buffalo or raising longhorn cattle. Sitting on Dad’s porch a few years after Mom passed, reflecting Dad said, “Your Mom was probably right about the buffalo but I kind of wish I had tried the longhorns.” I simply replied, “Then do it.”
In his 70’s Dad had learned to search the Internet pretty savvily, in the weeks following that conversation Dad found there were longhorn cattle for sale just a few miles from his farm and he became acquainted with Ed Callan; thus began his adventure with longhorn cattle and back to his beloved babies. Dad’s first longhorn purchase was in the spring of 2015 when he bought two bred cows from Callan Cattle Co. Over the years, Dad had pulled many calves, seeing how easily the longhorns birthed their calves was very exciting for him and he was inspired to have more! The following year, Dad purchased a bull named Plumb Pinto from Dickinson Cattle Co, and a few more cows from Ed Callan. In the last few years of his life, Dad got tremendous joy watching his incredibly docile longhorns and never needing to pull a calf! In fact, a little to his dismay, the calves are generally born so quickly that he missed a few births, but he got to watch them grow and play! As I write this, a little choked up, I can’t help but feel a deep appreciation for my nephew-in-law, Slade, who volunteered to care for Dad’s longhorns over the winters while Dad was in Florida. Over the years my nephew Cory also helped and was a major part of Dad being able to continue farming late into life. Cory and his family now live on Hanging Rock Farm.
Dad grew and maintained a small longhorn herd for four years. The calves were so much fun for him, though they were mostly bulls (which kept the herd small). Derek & I started raising longhorns on the Dozer family farm with Dad’s herd after his death and we still have Nuge Babe, Day Night Field (Daisy), Reilly Ann, and Mallory. Each of these cows have given us a heifer and a bull over the two seasons we have had them and bred them to our bull Real Jam. Those heifers, Daddy’s Real Pride and Joy, Bless Your Real Heart, Moulin Nuge, and SHeDAISY, are a big part of the future of our herd and will always have a special place in my heart.
Enjoy your memories and live life passionately!