Monday, March 21, 2011

Odds and ends

Grandson Jonathan came up from Carthage to visit his family and requested my potato soup.  The secret to my potato soup is lots of cream, so I milked Bonnie for four mornings straight.  She doesn't give a lot of milk these days, although as the grass gets greener, her output increases.  Because the winter was so bitter cold, I let the calf have all her milk for two or three months straight and bought our milk at the store.  I'm glad I am not forced to milk my cow come rain or shine.    
For many years, I milked anywhere from two to a half-dozen cows and fed their milk to baby calves, so I was tied down to the milking routine in a big way.  Believe me, we never went on vacation, even overnight; I had to be home for the twice-daily milking.  Not that I really cared, back then; most times we really couldn't afford a vacation anyhow, and Cliff has always been a home body.  And I did love my cows and calves.

(Click on any picture to see it in more detail)
I found this picture from the mid-1990's.  Now, why I was hand-milking a cow when I owned a bucket milker, I can't tell you.  Maybe she had just freshened (had her calf) and I was just getting enough out to relieve the pressure.  Notice my bare feet: see how close the cow's hind foot is to my left foot?  That poor foot was stepped on many times over the years, but that didn't make me wear shoes.  A podiatrist took x-rays of my feet a few years ago and asked, "When did you break your toe?"  
Let me count the times and ways.  I remember over the years how children and adults would ask why I never wore shoes, and I really had no answer except that it's one of my many eccentricities.   I just feel much freer when I don't have to wear shoes.  

Cliff's shop is located in the area where I gardened back then.
This picture was in the previous entry, but I like how it shows all the calf hutches in the background.  I'd pour the milk into a bucket and then pour it from the bucket into half-gallon calf bottles and feed the babies.  I had hangers for the bottles that hung on the panels in front of their hutches, so I didn't have to stand and hold the bottle; I'd just walk along hanging the full bottles, refilling them as needed for the next calves in line (each calf only got one bottle-full).  
There are reasons for the individual houses for calves:  Young baby calves get sick really easily, and if they're cooped up together, germs spread like wildfire.  Another problem is that after they've had their bottle, they tend to nurse on one another, whether it's on the little udders of the heifers or on the umbilical site or one another's ears.  This can cause problems of various kinds.  So I'd keep the calves separate until they were well weaned.  Believe me, I spent a lot of time cleaning those hutches and carrying fresh water and calf starter (grain) to each calf.  It was fun, and I'd love to do it with just one calf again; but not on the scale that I did back then!  

This is my daughter's handsome son, Brett, with one of many Sparky-dogs we've had.  For years, I would consider getting no other breed of dog than fox terriers or rat terriers, and I always named them Sparky.  The breed is highly intelligent, and they'll usually let you know when a stranger is on the property; and yet, they're great with children.  There's a blog I enjoy reading because it has lots of pictures of squirrel dogs, and those remind me of the terriers I've had in the past.

This is Brett again.  Yes, I kept chickens back then, too.  And occasionally turkeys and geese and ducks, and sometimes goats.  When the kids came to visit, they thought they were at a zoo.  

At that time I had a varmint-proof chicken house and pen; even the top of the pen was covered to keep predators out.  That's the only way you can keep poultry around here.  
That's enough strolling down memory lane for awhile.  Looks like I have an application to fill out, and a $57 check to write to the IRS, so I can get a copy of our 1986 tax return.  *sigh*


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Even though I know you hate to writing that check, the money spent will be well worth it if it increases Cliffs monthly check. So nice to see your picture of the little chicks today with your grandson. They remind me of spring. I was discouraged to see we have snow in our forecast for later in the week.

patsy said...

I love the "old" photos. you have had great life. I envy you. what a garden. potato soup with cream oh for thoese days again. I go bare foot in the house all the time. i put my on out side because the fear of steping on some thing and cuttin my foot. I fear sore on my feet. might not heal.
did you ever step in green cow manure while milking?

darev2005 said...

Walking barefoot in a cow barn. (shakes his head) You country people are all crazy, you know that?

Margaret said...

That much to get a copy--outrageous! But good things will come of it. I'm not used to cows so they kind of frighten me. My husband grew up on a farm, thus he's done it all. (and enjoyed most of it too)

Lori said...

My dog, Scout, and Eler Beth's dog, Little Bit, his sister, are miniature fox terriers and look very much like the picture of Sparky. I love them. Their mother, Fancy, died a little over a year ago. She and Eler Beth were very close. They are smart and good watch dogs. Scout will do absolutely anything I ask him to do.