Saturday, April 18, 2015

Morning ramblings

Finally it's the time of year when I can stroll around the yard at sunup with coffee in hand and enjoy the morning:  Birds singing, beautiful sunrise, the garden coming alive, apple blossoms turning into baby apples, calves kicking up their heels.  The garden is perfect, because in late April, whose garden isn't perfect?  Weeds haven't had a chance to take over, and if a few of them creep in at this point, a tiller run between the rows takes care of them nicely.  Even with arthritic knees, the tiller is no problem for me to operate.  It doesn't have to be pushed, only guided gently, so I can almost use it as support while I'm letting it do its thing.

Note:  Possible frost warning Tuesday, according to a local weather-guesser.  Picture me outside one evening next week throwing blankets, rugs, and buckets over my tomatoes, sweet corn, and green beans.

We had the strangest thing happen yesterday on the way home from a swap-meet with the baby we care for.  Cora is a healthy, happy child and loves to go places where she can interact with people, so we had no qualms about taking her along.  She had a slight case of the sniffles, but was her usual happy self.  At the swap meet I bought some bedding plants, including some marigolds and salvia in bloom.  The trunk was full because we bought a sand-box, and the back seat was full, what with Cora's car seat and stroller.  I put the bedding plants at my feet.  It was a lovely warm day, so when we got in the car to go home, Cliff turned on the air conditioner.  Cora went to sleep in her car seat.

A few miles down the road, Cora woke up coughing, unable to draw a good breath.  It was exactly like an asthma attack, but she has never had signs of asthma.  She got choked and even vomited a little.  No sign of a fever, but she was really looking panicky.  So were Cliff and I!

Once we got home and got her out of the car seat and in the house, she began to settle down, letting us rock her and cuddle her.  Within 45 minutes, she was her happy little self with no problem other than the sniffles she began the day with.  

We have decided that she must have an allergy to marigolds or salvia blooms:  The A/C was on, the flowers were on the floor with pollen being re-circulated throughout the closed-up car by the air conditioner... that is the only explanation we can come up with.  Never again will we transport flowers in a closed car if that little girl is with us.  

And now, on to bovine matters.

For quite a while, because of Gracie-the-cow's battered udder, I hand-milked her twice daily and bucket-fed her milk to the the two baby calves she had been nursing.  You may recall from previous posts, Henry-the-calf has an under-bite, so his teeth had cut Gracie's udder as he nursed.  Before all this happened,  I turned Grace in with the calves twice a day and they would take all her milk.  Then her udder was cut and she started kicking at them.  

After being hand-milked for two or three weeks, Gracie has decided she prefers the kind, gentle hands of a human to the butting and sucking of calves that aren't related to her.  Even though I am weaning Henry, the original culprit, she will not willingly allow calves to nurse her now.  I replaced Henry with a Holstein from Heins Dairy because Grace gives too much milk for one calf, and I wanted calves to save me from milking the cow, and now she isn't on board with my plans.    However!  If I put her head in the stanchion and put the anti-kicking device on her, the calves can still do my milking for me.  So while I'm stuck at home to milk twice a day (my fault for buying baby calves that grow up to be milk cows, just because I like Jerseys), at least I can be an observer rather than a milker.  

To compound the matter, Penny-the-Jersey-cow is now a heavy springer... that's what real farmers call a cow that's going to have a calf very soon.  Since I overpriced her on Craigslist, nobody bought her, and I will soon have another dairy cow to milk, one that, from the looks of her udder, is going to give a LOT of milk.  As soon as she calves (in a couple of weeks), I intend to buy another Holstein baby to put with her calf.  I'm sure under those circumstances she will accept the foster calf as her own (or I will force her to) and I will be, once again, the observer rather than the milker.  Cliff consoles me with this statement:  "Well, at least her calf will be worth at least $500 when it hits the ground."  

All this because to me, Jerseys are like potato chips:  You can't stop at just one.  


2 comments:

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

It seems all is going right in your part of the world. No one planting anything here in our part of the world. But we have finally had some warmer days making a lot of things bloom. I saw forsythia for the first time this year just yesterday.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Enjoyed this post! I love the smell of Kate Jasmines. But sometimes they'll have a bad effect on my sinuses. Glad the baby girl was alright. You're lucky Cliff just sort of rolls with the flow!