Saturday, December 08, 2012

The mystery of the house next door and other meanderings

After several days with few visitors at the vacant house, suddenly it is a beehive of activity.  This leads me to believe that indeed, someone has purchased it.  This picture was taken today.      

For the past few days I have been working at teaching my two-and-a-half-month-old bottle calves what it means to be part of a herd, and how it feels to roam around on thirty-plus acres.  They are too young to toss out there full-time, but they can start learning.  Already they have learned that electric fence is liable to be found anywhere on the place, and after running through it twice, they now avoid it.  They have learned to give Babe, the big Hereford, a wide berth; she has a low tolerance for young whippersnappers not related to her.  I wanted them to learn to keep their distance from from Adam's horses, but Tude and Sassy have surprised me:  For some reason, they let the two babies hang out with them in peace.  Maybe they know Christmas is coming and figure Santa would want them to be nice to babies.  Speaking of Adam's two horses, notice my new header picture in which you can see Sassy showing off as she runs to greet Tude.   

George and Gracie, the two former bottle babies, are on the left.  I turn them out after daylight and keep my eye on them.  If the herd wanders off without them, I go out and encourage them to join the group.  In the early evening I call them to the house, feed them sweet feed, and shut them in where they have their own private supply of hay with nobody to push them around.  George's rear end looks tacky, but he isn't sick, he's just been eating grass all day every day.  As you can see, Bonnie and Crystal are doing just fine.  
I am trying my hand at making cheese again.  Things went better this time; I gave the rennet an hour longer to work than I did yesterday, and it set up nicely.  
If you have a Nook, or a Nook app, or if you read Nook books on your computer, I finally found out there are lots of free ebooks for it:  Just go to Barnes and Noble's website, go to the search feature for Nook books, and type in 0.00; you will find hundreds, maybe thousands, of free books.  You can find free books for Kindle at  You need to check often, because some of them are only free for a short time.  I just finished reading Francesca of Lost Nation, set in Iowa in the 1940's.  One of the best free books ever!  I did have a slight problem with the fact that the country folks in the book had indoor bathrooms, since everybody I knew in Iowa as a kid had outdoor toilets.  Even schools and churches had outhouses!  I overlooked that little shortcoming, though, because the author did a great job of making me love the main characters so much that I was sad when the book ended.  
I mentioned recently reading "The Jungle", a book that changed the way meat was handled just after the turn of the century.  Well, this morning in the process of reading a freebie book, "Accidental Farmers", I was lured into actually paying for an ebook called "Slaughterhouse:  The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry".  Guess what, folks?  There is still a lot of work to be done in the meat industry.  Maybe Cliff and I will just keep on eating meat we have raised ourselves.      
Well isn't this a meandering entry?  I had better quit before I go off on yet another tangent.  Besides, I have books to finish.   


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

Your calves are just like children with having to be taught how to get along with the others. Hope you get to find out who your new neighbors are soon. Enjoy your reading and have a super Saturday!

Jon said...

Since I know nothing about cows or calves, I'm appreciating your informative posts. I love cheese but wouldn't dare attempt to make it.

The free book links are interesting. I remember reading "The Jungle" by Sinclair Lewis long ago.

Margaret said...

You are amazing in everything you know about cows and animals! Glad the cheese went better. The Jungle was a very gruesome book. Ick.

Mrs. L said...

I watched Food, Inc. last night. If you want a thorough explanation of what's happened to our food supply since The Jungle exposed the horrors of the beef industry, you can get a thorough primer on the subject in less than two hours, unless you watch the extras/deleted scenes which are almost another hour and a half long. You'll be schooled on everything from our frightening and dangerous beef, pork, and chicken factories through the ubiquitousness of corn and corn products in EVERYTHING, to my personal favorite, how Monsanto patented its soybeans so that no farmers can save seeds for the following year -- or else they'll be sued for patent infringement -- don't miss it. Believe it or not Wal • Mart is actually one of the good guys in this saga. Yeah, I was shocked.

Donna said...

Oh yes Mrs. L, I know about Monsanto and I hate what they are doing. Trouble is, they seem to have all the local farmers in their pocket; those farmers, very good people, get angry if I post anything negative about Monsanto on Facebook. I can't do anything about that. I will tell you that my husband worked as a butcher for years and he NEVER wanted to see an animal suffer. He still doesn't.