Sunday, March 31, 2013

Feeling weepy today

This is unusual, because I very seldom get weepy.  It isn't hormones.  I went through the change so long ago, I barely recall what it was like.  
Have you ever had this happen?  It's a beautiful spring day, the birds are singing and the flowers are getting ready to bloom.  You're walking along thinking what a wonderful world it is, and suddenly, for no reason at all, a hurtful, random incident from the past pops into your head  You remember that time that someone hurt your feelings.  
This morning I had two such memories, totally unrelated, hit me almost simultaneously, one  from the mid-seventies that I thought I had dismissed long ago; that one, I can tell you about.  
I don't recall if it was Christmas or some other occasion, or if this lady I presumed to be a friend just thought it up out of the blue, but she gave me a package:  Inside that were two smaller bundles; one had written on it, "Open first."  
Upon opening it, I found a tiny pair of bikini panties that had a note with it saying, "This is what you think you are."  
I opened the other package:  It was a huge pair of granny panties that would have fit a 500-pound woman.  The note enclosed with that said, "This is what you ARE."  
I wasn't fat then, by the way.  I was twenty pounds thinner than I am now.  
I didn't know what to say.  I think I just laughed as if I found the joke funny.  
This morning it came back to haunt me, and you know what?  It hurt more today than it did when it happened.  
I had a long talk with my Maker.  I admitted I needed help getting over this thing.  I asked why on earth, on Easter Sunday, had such a thing come back to haunt me.  
As I said, there was another thing from the more recent past bugging me, but we won't talk about that one.  
Then it came to me:  How many people have I hurt through the years, deliberately or not, who still remember that little slur, that thing they couldn't believe came out of my mouth?
The numbers must be legion.
I am the world's worst at saying what I think when I would be better keeping my mouth shut.  Often I don't realize something I said was hurtful until later and then I think, "I shouldn't have said that!"    
I recall an aunt who cooked a meal for Mother, Daddy, and me when we were visiting and I, the headstrong teenager, refused to go to the table or eat a bite.  How rude of me!  I know it had to have hurt her feelings.  Believe me, I do know.  
"So, God," I asked Him, "is this payback?  After all this time?"  
He didn't say anything, of course.  He doesn't work that way.    
I'm just going to let go of some things and enjoy my Easter Sunday.  I hope all those I've hurt in the past (those who are still living, that is) will let go of a few things, as well.  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

She is starting to trust me

I have mentioned before that Jody's calf, Jenny, is somewhat shy of humans because she runs with her mom  during the daytime.  When she grows up, someone will likely need to milk her, and you can't milk a wild cow.  Oh, you could probably rope her and hogtie her somehow, but she would never let her milk down for anybody in such a situation.  A milk cow needs to trust people.  
So every morning after I turn her out of the stall to be with her mom, I have been petting her.  At that time she is so deliriously happy to be nursing that I can do almost anything to her, as long as I don't hurt her.  So I rub her and pet her all about her head and body.  Then I go feed Penny her bottle and return.  By this time Jody's milk is gone, but Jenny is still nursing, just for the comfort of it.  So at this point she is paying a little more attention to her surroundings, and when I start petting her she will pause and look and perhaps run to the other side of Mommy.  I follow her and keep petting.  
I wasn't sure how much progress I was making until this evening when I drove her, all by herself, toward the lot where the door to her stall is.  She kept looking behind us for her mother; when she stopped, I petted and rubbed her back.  She allowed it.  This was repeated several times.  
So yes, we are making progress with Jenny Long-legs.  She is a beautiful heifer, although I think some of the Holstein breed in her mother's background has put some size on her.  Once she learns to really love the calf starter (a feed mixed especially for small calves) that I put in her stall each night, I will use the feed to gentle her down more.  When you are dealing with animals, food speaks volumes to them.  
It sometimes helps with husbands, too.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sunny day, everything's A-OK

It was such a lovely morning, I had the theme from from Sesame Street going through my head.  I took lots of pictures during the walk, so here you have them.  Click on any picture to make it larger.

Can you see the geese overhead?
Mama Kitty often walks with us
She takes time out to clean up a bit.  She'll catch up later.

Jenny followed awhile, but never got close enough to touch.  I'm working on her.

Gracie will be shedding those horns one of these days.  I hope it happens before fly season.

Mama Kitty, still following.

The cows went out to the point around eight o'clock, and are still out there as I write this after four P.M.  The grass looks too short to graze, but they must be finding something to put in their bellies.

Horses can nip that grass when it's barely out of the ground.  They have front teeth top and bottom, while cows only have front teeth on the bottom.  For this reason, horses are very hard on pasture.  They nip it so close, they kill the grass.  Cliff will re-seed the pasture if it gets too bad.

I planted peas and potatoes today and did lots of tilling, getting ready to plant other stuff later on.  I also spent a lot of time finding a short in the electric fence, but I did have success with that.  I've already walked more today than yesterday.
Someone the other day asked me and Cliff about our garden, and after we answered his questions he said, "But you know, you can buy a can of green beans on sale for fifty cents."
Some people just don't get it.  It's the experience of gardening I love, getting out there in springtime after being shut in all winter.  The great flavor of those home-grown fruits and vegetables is just a bonus.  Here's a poem I wrote in 1992 that came to mind today:


It's hope that orders garden seed,in winter's snow and wind.
Although the world is frozen, hope can see it born again!
It's faith that plants the tiny seeds, though spring has not arrived.
The seeds look dry and dormant, but Faith whispers, "They're alive!"
It's love that tends the growing plants and prays for rain and sun:
Love hoes and weeds and labors, till the garden season's done.
When I work in my garden, it reminds me, row by row,
That hope and faith and love together make the Christian grow.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I never knew I walked so much!

I will admit that today was a busier day than normal.  But here you are, the results for today.  
Yes, I've walked seven miles, and the day isn't quite over.  Yesterday I checked to see exactly how long our daily walk is, and was disappointed to learn it's only 1.75 miles.  Keep in mind, though, that this isn't a flat indoor surface.  There are several steep hills to climb.  
Our weather was perfect, so I was pretty active:  I tilled the garden, led two calves around with a halter (one for the first time, so she was NOT willing), walked out to fix an electric fence that had been compromised.  
A cow will usually walk up to an electric fence, touch her nose to it, get zapped, back up, and leave.  Horses, however, will just take off running because it's springtime and life is good.  They don't see the electric fence wire and run right through it.  They get shocked, but they are running so fast they go right on through.  It takes a new horse awhile to figure out where the electric fence is.  So today poor Zoey paid her dues.  

By the way, I am very proud that Cliff and I have been walking at least five days a week, every week, since 2005.  Only 30% of the population exercises regularly, and the percentage is even less for senior citizens.

  I will be planting potatoes on Good Friday.  That's a good thing.

I like this.  It makes me think about my readers, my fellow bloggers, my family, and my Facebook friends.  Think about it.

And finally, because we ALL know it's true:

Those same horses

You know, those demon-possessed horses that were afraid to leave their pen yesterday?  Heading out for a walk this morning, I noticed Sassy standing by the gate and decided to give the horses another chance to run free. 

They strolled calmly to the grass and began grazing with not a care in the world.  Yes friends and neighbors, horses DO have mood swings.  

Adam, whose horses live in my pasture

I gotta turn that time stamp off.  It's twelve hours behind, and besides, I don't want that on all my pictures.  These pictures aren't the best quality, because it wasn't fully light yet.  
That's Jenny and Jody in the picture.  Because Jenny runs with her mom all day, she isn't exactly a pet. Of course I put her in a stall at night so I can milk enough to fill the bottle for Penny, who you can see in the background.  You can also see the moon just above the barn there, but I digress.  
Jenny is a Jersey, and will likely grow up to be somebody's milk cow, maybe mine.  That means she needs to get over her fear of humans.  After twelve hours away from her mother, she is focused on making up for lost time and sucking for all she is worth.  So lately I have taken the time to rub her and pet her and hug her while she's nursing.  I don't know whether this will get the job done or not, but it can't hurt.  

Bonnie's heifer calf, Crystal, is somewhat scared of people also, but she will never have to be milked, so it doesn't matter.  I will sell her at weaning or else we will have some baby beef.  She really would make a wonderful mother cow for someone, but if I can't get a decent price for her, we'll eat her.  We are rather hooked on baby beef.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

odds and ends

Everybody around here is very much ready for spring.  Last year at this time I was gardening, as you can see HERE.  Before our winter storm this month, before the garden had even been plowed, I tilled a space at one end, enough for a couple of rows, and planted the usual early stuff which, of course, has done nothing because it's been frozen under snowdrifts.  (Wow, what a long sentence!)  

Our third resident horse has arrived.  Her name is Zoey.  She belongs to Adam's girlfriend.


  She reminds me of the filly, Libby, that I enjoyed so much when I had her.  That's her with me, below, back around the time I sold her.  The man who bought her was going to let me know how she turned out, but you know how that goes.  

Anyhow, Zoey has exactly the same temperament as Libby had.  If you walk in the pasture, she approaches you.  No crowding or anything, just looking for some love and petting.

The day Adam brought Zoey over, we shut the gate to the large lot so she wouldn't go running out to pasture chasing cows and breaking electric fences, because that's what new horses do.  Besides, a snow-storm was coming.  Now that most of the snow is gone I decided to try letting them out.  I opened the gate, but Tude and Sassy (who have lived here for years and know the place well) acted like they were scared to go out.  Tude, in fact, circled around Zoey every time she headed to the gate and wouldn't let her go out.  The three of them finally went outside the lot a little way but were snorting and acting crazy, and soon came running back.  I shut the gate.  Let the silly things stay in the lot, if that's how they are going to be!  We're supposed to have a couple of warmer days soon.  Maybe then they will settle down and go graze.  

As you can imagine with all the snow melting, it's muddy.  When we go for our daily walk, Iris runs into the woods and we don't usually see her until sometime after we're back at the house.  The last three days, she has come back with her whole underside muddy.  I make her go stand in my bathtub and hose her off with the shower head.  Now she knows what I mean when I say "Go to the tub" and runs ahead of me and jumps in, waiting for me to get the mud off her.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Things I love

The Breville Smart Grinder is the best $200 I've spent lately.  You set it to grind as many cups as you are going to make, and then dump the grounds into the coffeemaker basket.  No measuring.  It takes a while to get the amounts right when you first start using it, but once that is done, you have the best coffee ever.  I had a very cheap burr coffee grinder, but it made a mess every time I used it.  I'm not even kidding when I tell you that Cliff and I can be heard talking about how good our coffee is, every time we have a cup.  I don't grind the beans until I'm ready to make coffee, so it's as fresh as possible.  
I had used Eight O'Clock coffee beans for a long time, but now that I have a Costco account, we have decided we prefer their Kirkland brand (roasted by Starbucks).  No, this is NOT a paid advertisement.  

And my latest purchase, the Fitbit zip.  

You clip that tiny little thing to your waistband or bra and forget all about it.  Any time you're near a computer or tablet, you can see how many miles you've walked in a given day.  Below you can see my stats from a few minutes ago.  That 4.79 miles, of course, includes a couple miles in the pasture this morning.  
Cliff said if I don't shut up telling him how far I've walked every hour or so, he's going to throw it away.  
A local Facebook friend was talking about hers, which was the first I ever heard of it.  She has the Ultra model, which lets you know how often you are awake at night.  It would have been neat to have, but it cost twice as much, and I really just wanted to see how much I was walking.  You know, so I could tell Cliff.  

Her Majesty, Jenny: Queen of the mountain

What, ME?  Lay in the cold snow?  You gotta be kidding.

(You can click on the picture to make it larger.)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Jersey cows

I had gone for many years without a Jersey cow on the place when I began to look around for one four years ago.  You just couldn't find Jerseys, and when there was one for sale the price seemed exorbitant.   I bought baby Secret in 2008 and kept her around for over a year.  I kept up with the Homesteading Today cattle forum and decided to approach a lady just across the river a little way to see if she would sell me a heifer calf.  She agreed, and we went to pick up Secret.  I raised her with high hopes, but she was sterile.  She would come in heat, we'd haul her to a bull, but she never got pregnant.  In 2009 I saw a Craigslist ad for some bred Jersey heifers:  The prices were high, but the ad was worded in such a way that I knew these animals were owned by knowledgeable people, and they didn't seem like "traders" who buy culled animals at a sale barn and resell them trying to make a quick buck.
We paid the price for one of the loveliest cows I've ever owned; I didn't have to worry about another sterile animal, since she was bred.  She turned out to have a personality to match her looks.  

I've only had her four years, but it seems like I've known her all my life.
Good Jersey cows were scarce, in 2009, as hen's teeth.  Now fast-forward to 2013.
Two years ago I bought Jody from some folks who were buying healthy calves from a dairy and selling them.  I couldn't believe there were Jersey (mostly Jersey) calves available!  The same people usually have calves for sale for about a month in the spring and a month in the fall.  I bought George and Grace from them last fall, and of course Penny this spring.  
And now, if you type "Jersey" in the search feature on Craigslist, they are EVERYWHERE!  I can't help but think a lot of the reason is that these folks have supplied the area with the healthy baby part-Jersey calves, many of whom are all grown up, like Jody.  It doesn't take much to glut the local market, because people who want a milk cow are few and far between.  Most of them don't know my secret of letting the calf run with mamma and only milking when you need some milk, and nobody wants to stay home and milk a cow twice a day.  

Seriously, don't you just want to run down to Holden and buy a baby?
These folks have the art of wording a Craigslist ad down to a science.  I have all the cows I can handle at present, but I still want to buy another baby every time I read their ads. Click HERE to see what I'm talking about.  I must step back from the computer right now, or I'll be scrounging money together for another calf.  The last one took all the rolls of quarters I had saved up!  

We were expecting to have two more horses on the property besides the two that already live here, but Adam's girl friend has made other arrangements for one of them until next winter.  So there are three horses living here.  Maybe it will rain, and I will be able to keep ALL my cattle for another year!

Friday, March 22, 2013


Wednesday we paid for ten baby chicks at Orscheln's.  When we got home we found we'd been given only one Rhode Island Red chick, although we paid for three.  I called and they said I would be welcome to come back and get the two chicks we were shorted or else our money back.  However, the next day the Rhode Island Reds were gone.  So I chose two Buff Orphingtons instead.

I started out with three Barred Plymouth Rock pullets, but I didn't get them out of that crowded tub soon enough and the others started pecking at one.  Before you know it she was moping in the corner.  I brought her to the house to see if I could get her back to normal but it was no use, and finally I asked Cliff to kill her and put her out of her misery.  It isn't a great tragedy, although of course I'm sorry she didn't make it.  I grew up knowing that my pet chicken today could end up being dinner at any time.    
So here's what I have in my flock:
2 Barred Rock
2 Buff Orpington
3 Cornish Cross (We'll eat them about the time they are six weeks old; they grow fast.)
1 Rhode Island Red
1 banty
At some point I may acquire a rooster, just to hear him crow.  

All are female except possibly the banty, which I only bought for the cuteness of the breed, and the Cornish Cross.  Those could be either sex.  I chose the other breeds because they are fairly gentle, friendly egg-layers; this will be my first time to have Buff Orpingtons, but from what I read, they are friendly too.      
I have absolutely no experience with Cornish Cross chickens.  From what I've read they are very stupid, will eat me out of house and home, and if kept much past eight weeks, will develop leg problems.  They are strictly for eating.   
Every once in awhile I join Cliff in the shop, telling him, "I've come to spend some quality time with my chickens!"  
I pick up the chicks one at a time (not the ones we're going to eat) and hold them and stroke them until they quit cheeping.  I like tame chickens.  This takes me back to childhood, when each spring Mother would buy a hundred chicks, a mix of males and females (straight run).  Chicken was about the only kind of meat we had.  Mother would butcher a couple of chickens on Saturday, dress them and put them in a pan of water in the refrigerator, and fry them on Sunday.  Usually she invited someone for dinner after church.  Woe to the old hen that stopped laying, because she would end up as chicken-and-noodles.  Too tough to fry, but perfect for stewing.  
I played with the spring chicks when they arrived, and when they grew up, I spent a lot of time in the chicken yard playing with the hens.  Some of them were so tame that when I reached down toward them, they would squat and let me pick them up.   
Anyhow, I hope this venture goes well.  It is not a money-making proposition, it's just me doing things I love to do.  We have decided the expense of travel is more than we can afford.  So if I'm going to be at home, I may as well have some critters to enjoy. 


We are awaiting another winter storm this weekend.  Ho Hum.  I keep reminding myself that I have a limited number of days to live on this earth, and I should not ruin even one day by worrying about a storm that may or may not happen.  Nor should I ruin one day complaining about the snow, if it actually happens.  
I asked the other day if anybody knew what was going on in this picture.  It's actually a picture of sort of a fiasco caused by lack of communication.  We have used several different veteranarians over the years, but have lately stuck with this guy from Odessa because he charges less for a farm visit.  Cliff thought he recalled that this guy dehorns calves with a device that quickly snips off the emerging horns.  Because that is a procedure that is done quickly, Cliff said to tell them they wouldn't need the holding chute, which totally restrains even a full-grown cow.  He figured he could restrain the calves for the instant it takes to use the dehorning device.  
Well, this vet uses a dehorner that burns the area and kills the cells so that the horn drops off.  This is NOT a procedure that is over with quickly.  Cliff even had a hard time restraining one-month-old Jenny; in the picture he is holding six-month-old Gracie down.  
To make matters worse, when we led him to the new calf we just purchased, he said he couldn't dehorn her until she was at least a month old.  
"That's odd," I said to him.  "We used to use dehorning paste on all the babies, and we did it as soon as we bought them at three days old."  
"Really?  Well then, this should work too, if that's the case."  
So he spent about ten minutes burning her head in two spots.  After he left, I told Cliff, "I don't even think he burned the right area."  
"Oh yes," Cliff replied, "I'm sure he did."  
As I was feeding Penny her bottle that evening, I felt for the horn buttons under her skin.  Sure enough, they were outside the burned area.  
Looking back, if I had been the vet I would have refused to do the job without a chute, charged for the farm visit, and rescheduled the whole mess.

A couple of days ago I bought a bottle of dehorning paste.  From now on we will do the job ourselves like we used to.  Trouble is, it's a painful procedure too.  The hair around the horn button is shaved off, and then you cover the shaved area with the paste, which is an acid.  It doesn't hurt long, but it is painful for a little while.  So poor little Penny has to suffer twice.  While I'm a little angry at the vet, obviously I should have asked which procedure he used, because then I would have had him bring the chute.  Not that it would have helped Penny, since for some reason he couldn't tell which area to burn.    
You may be wondering why we dehorn cattle:  Well, they tend to use their horns to bully other cows, for one thing.  And they are not worth nearly as much if you sell them, because nobody wants a cow with horns.  One thing about it, the babies our Red Angus bull makes with our cows will be naturally polled, which means no horns.    

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Problem solved for some folks

I changed templates on my blog this morning because I was tired of the old design.  After the switch, lots of people had problems with the blog:  Most of the problems had to do with the fact that my header picture only showed up as a black nothing like this:

One person suggested in comments that it was a Flash player problem.  From what I could tell, the only people who saw this black image were those who use Internet Explorer.  Anyhow, I changed to a simpler template, which fixed things for most folks, but not all.  
I am not blogging in order to get a lot of readers.  I've done everything I know how to do.  So if you can't access my blog or see header pictures, I am sorry, but I know you can live without me and my cows.  Meanwhile, for those of you who CAN see this, I give you a picture of me laughing out loud.

The reason I'm laughing is that the last time I was at my daughter's house, this dog hated me and barked non-stop until my granddaughter put her in the basement.  Just before this picture was taken, the dog had been in time-out for snapping at children.  When she was released she came directly to me, jumped on my lap, and pretty much stayed there the rest of the evening.  
What a two-faced ... well, you know what we call female dogs.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's the first day of spring, time for romance

The bull hasn't gotten more than three feet away from Jody in the last forty-eight hours, and he is still following her everywhere.  Jody was bred on Mother's Day the previous time.  Looks like she's being bred on the first day of spring this time.  She could possibly have her next calf on Christmas.  

We went to Orscheln and bought ten baby chicks.  At least, that's how many we paid for.  Unfortunately, when we got home I found there were only eight in the box.  I called, and they are going to make it good.  Of course, this requires a twenty-mile trip to Richmond, but who's counting?  There will be pictures of chicks at some point.  

Anybody want to guess what's going on here?  

Monday, March 18, 2013

The house next door

I am not posting any new pictures of the house next door (the one I used to call the monstrosity).  Somehow, now that somebody is there who cares about the place, it seems like that would be an invasion of their privacy.  But I thought I should give my readers an update.
Those people have been spending all day, every day, working on the house, seven days a week.  They fixed many cosmetic problems with the outside of the house first... siding that had never been finished or had been blown away and so forth.  Since they got electricity turned on, they have been working inside.  They took ALL the sheet rock out (black mold, I assume).  They have had plumbers and electricians in.  Honestly, it looks to me like they could have built a whole new house more easily than what they are doing, but I really have no expertise in such matters.  

I see that they are hard-working folks who want a decent place to live.  I think we are going to love our new neighbors.

On another note, it just occurred to me a while ago that our two youngest calves are named Jenny and Penny.    

Her name is Penny

A friend from my old AOL chat room suggested the name that turned out to be the most popular according to your votes.  Thanks Nance, for a great suggestion.  Cliff and I both like the name.  

You will see by this short video that Penny is so happy with her name that she is kicking up her heels and running circles around me.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

If it weren't for my parents, I'd be an idiot

Recently one of my Facebook friends referred one of her friends to me for advice:  The person needing advice has owned one cow and one bull since last August and wanted to know how to tell if the cow was pregnant.  The more I discussed things with her, the more I realized this person had no cow knowledge at all and had evidently not even done any research on the Internet or in books.  The animals were Dexters, a miniature breed which is practically worthless at the sale barn.  The black steer in the above picture is a Dexter I bought to keep that heifer company. 
I asked her if she had witnessed the bull breeding the cow.  She had not.  I explained to her that the cow would come in heat every three weeks if she wasn't bred.  I explained that she would know the cow was in heat because the bull would follow her like a shadow for about twenty-four hours, mounting her again and again and serving her as often as his strength would allow.  
She had seen no such hanky-panky.  I also told her she could call a vet and get the cow pregnancy checked; she wanted to know how much it would cost.  
By the time the discussion was over, I was wishing I had never gotten involved.  
As I was telling Cliff about this ignorant person (I think I used the word "idiot"), I realized that the only reason wasn't that stupid in the beginning is that I learned about cows from my parents.  

Cliff's youngest sister on Suzie.
We bought our first milk cow, Suzie, from them.  Mother and Daddy patiently explained heats and calving and artificial breeding.  Oh, and the tractor and trailer in the background?  We bought those from Daddy, really cheap.  
When Cliff and I were first married we moved to the country and I wanted chickens.  Again, Mother told me the basics, although I had picked up a lot of chicken knowledge from her as a child.  By the time I was twelve, I knew how to break up a settin' hen and how (and where) to put a pinch of insecticide dust on the hen for lice and to put Vaseline on a hen's legs for whatever parasite it was that made their legs ugly and rough.  
Mother told me the basics of gardening and canning and preserving.  Daddy showed us all his gardening tricks.  
So I really have no right to look down my nose at ignorance.
If it hadn't been for my parents, I'd have been an idiot too.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013


It looks like my new calf's name is going to be Penny, but I'll give it a little more time.  Meanwhile I am calling her Penny.  
If it's a rainy year, I won't have to get rid of any of my cows.  If it's dry like last year, somebody will have to go.  I'm hoping we can keep all the cows at least until November.  If Cliff's brother decides to use our bull, that will be one less mouth to feed, which will help the hay situation.  
I will almost certainly sell Bonnie's calf, Crystal.  She is half Jersey, half Polled Hereford, and will never have to be milked... although she probably would produce enough that she could be milked and still have enough for a calf.  It's hard to tell, really, with a dairy/beef cross; they can go either way.  She would probably make some good beef for the table, too.  Best case scenario, I will sell her as a bred heifer.  That's IF we have enough rain this year.  
At this point, I would sell any of my Jerseys except for Bonnie for the right price.  Bonnie is worth a lot to me, but wouldn't be of much value to anybody else, what with her one blind quarter and another that's also been affected by mastitis.  Not to mention her displaced hip.  She has earned the right to retire right here with me and Cliff.  Now that I have someplace to buy Jersey or Jersey-cross heifers, the rest of them are dispensable.  OK, maybe I would have a problem selling Jody.  She is SO easy to milk!  Her limp comes and goes, so I'm guessing it's arthritis.  I think she'll last for years.  Right now she's walking without a limp.  
I'm going to get a few baby chicks and Cliff is going to turn my old cabin-in-the-woods into a proper chicken house.  
I really, really want to raise a pig.  The only reason I don't have one right now is the high cost of feed.  There was a time I had a couple of brood sows and a boar.  It was great fun.  Pigs have a lot of personality.  
I tilled up a small portion of the garden yesterday and planted onions, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and carrots.  Today Cliff plowed the rest of the garden.

    That old John Deere is his latest addition to the tractor collection.  It did a great job of plowing my garden.  

Calf names

I updated the list of names in the previous entry, adding later suggestions.  Originally I was going to figure out a way for you folks to choose the finalists, but that started getting complicated and sounded like I was going to have to do a lot more work than I want to.  So here's the plan:
I have chosen all the names that I can live with.  I call my cows by their names, and I would be uncomfortable using some of your suggestions (Moonica?  Please).  I rejected Grace because I already have a heifer by that name:  Remember six months ago when I bought George and Gracie?  I also rejected Angel, since Cliff's next-door sister has a mini-dachshund by that name and I don't want the dog coming every time I call my calf.  Yes, cows do learn to know their names.  Some of your name suggestions, although they might have worked for a dog or cat, just sounded too "cutesy" for a cow.  
On my sidebar are the names I accepted.  You may vote for more than one if you like, because this isn't the final tally.  I'll choose the three or four with the most votes and we'll have another vote for the winner... unless one name gets so many votes that it's obvious there's no need for another poll.  
Your vote may not show up until you have refreshed the page, but it will be there.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Name suggestions for the calf so far

Hailey Heifer
Buttercream Mint (??????) 
Bnana Baby
Ginger Snap

Now, I have a favorite as well as a couple of runner-up favorites, but I won't try to influence the vote.  We are NOT voting yet, so if you have a name suggestion for the new baby, let me know in a comment, on Facebook (if we are friends there) or in an email sometime today.  I'm not letting this go on too long, because I want to be able to start calling her something besides No-name when I feed her.  
I'm doing something a little different with her:  Milk replacer for calves is pretty expensive, and they don't really do quite as well on it as on real milk.  I don't want to milk twice a day like I used to, but I have decided that for a while I am going to separate Jody from her calf every evening and milk her every morning.  So each morning No-name will get real milk, straight from the cow.  In the evening I'll mix up milk replacer for her.  With a baby calf on the place, I won't be going anywhere overnight anyway.  Jody is easy to milk.  I might as well be milking.  
Stay tuned for baby chickens, too.  We won't bother naming those.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sometimes I change my mind (Name this calf)

I should be selling cows, since Adam's two new horses arrive the first of next month.  I certainly should not be buying anything.  But when I see that my favorite calf-buyers have babies for sale I lose all common sense.  Cliff doesn't even argue any more.  I said, "I want one of those babies," and he said, "I'll call Tony and see if we can borrow his pickup."  
"It's a shame," I told him, "that we have to borrow a vehicle to transport a tiny little calf.  I wonder if we could put a calf hutch on the flat-bed trailer, secure it, and use that to haul a calf?"  
"Well, we'll see," he answered, and proceeded to spend most of yesterday building a new, clean pen for a new, clean calf.  I used quite a bit of elbow grease cleaning and sanitizing the two hutches, which were a mess because all the calves used them for shelter during our blizzards.  Lots of poop on the walls.  Anyhow, we got our trailer rigged, and it worked great.

Pretty fancy huh?

It worked great.

She rode in style and comfort.

She's a small calf, so Cliff had no problem carrying her from the trailer to her pen, where she is now comfortable in her hutch.  Baby calves feel safe when they are enclosed.  

I am taking name suggestions for this little girl.  I'll let my readers suggest names, and later on I'll have you help me pick finalists.  Then we'll have the final vote.  I get lots of comments on Facebook, and that's fine if you want to leave your suggestion there.  If you don't have Facebook and are one of the several folks who are unable to comment here, feel free to email me.  My email address is on my profile.