For Our Troops......

For Our Troops......

Welcome!

Either you're searching for some information and stumbled across here, or already know me and are interested in what I/we do. :)

The dairy cow doesn’t ask for much, but she asks every day.
People who are creating wealth with a cow either are hardworking and reliable or get that way in a hurry. This is the way it has been for a very long time.
--Joann Grohman (Author of Keeping a Family Cow)


There are three kinds of people in this world:
Those who watch things happen,
Those who Make things happen,
or you can wonder what the hell happened.
--Captain Phil Harris (RIP)



A few of words of wisdom I have come across:


Choose not to just live within your means, but live within your needs.


If you don't want to be responsible for or defend yourself, please don't expect others to do it for you.

(My translation: Buck up and learn some skills!)


Prepare for the worst, hope for the best!

"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the AmericanGovernment take care of him; better take a closer look at the American Indian."--Henry Ford

**~*~**Spread the word!**~*~**

Small Family Farms need our help when ludicrous charges have come up against them. Maybe someday it could be one of us on this "make an example out of you" chopping block.

Pushing back (via donations, interviews, getting the word out, etc) and standing up for what we believe in will send a clear message that we refuse to just roll over and give up!

When we know what we're fighting for, we fight harder--Sgt . Gary Stein (USMC)

THANK YOU!!!



Click for Jansen, Nebraska Forecast



Monday, December 9, 2013

Snow--to put us in the Holiday Spirit!

The parking lot at work around 6 am Sunday morning, giving me a very quiet and peaceful break from the normal hustle and bustle.  We got a total of almost 6 inches; this was about 4 inches at the time.
The snow was light and fluffy, which made it "Christmas Card Pretty" and oh so nice and easy to shovel!  No wind came with it, so it made life much easier for travelers and all the outside critters!
 
 
Nessa is getting closer to calving, and has settled down, which is *nice*!  I just hope she waits to calve after the bitter cold snap passes through, it just makes things harder on everything.  Friday it was so cold, one of my garden hoses broke off in my hand (I was trying to be extra careful!).  It's early in the season for the Arctic air, I hope it's not a pre-courser of what the rest of winter will be like (uuuugggghhhhhh!)  This was our forecast, minus the wind chills!
 
 
My truck heater blower went out.  I muddled through the past couple of weeks without it, but I'm not driving it in the bitter cold.  I'd just rather be safe than sorry, as not a lot of people are on the road at 4:30 in the morning in case I'd have troubles on the way to work.  Pat worked on it Saturday, but the new part isn't exactly like the old one, so he has to do some finagling to get it to work.  I really didn't want him working on it in the bitter cold, because he can't wear gloves while working on it. 
Just doing chores and taking my gloves on and off to open gates, hang things, deal with waterers, etc. makes my hands cold.  Wet gloves sticks nicely to metal gates.....just glad its not my fingers!
 
Our Thanksgiving was a good gathering of the Russells' and great food!  Pat was given a turkey, so we cooked it, and one that we raised this summer.  I'm glad we did both, as we didn't come home with too much leftovers!  Taste-wise, ours had more flavor (albeit a bit drier as we overcooked it a bit), and you could taste the difference.  :)  Pat made sage dressing, and the pumpkin pies as well.   Everyone brought their special goodies (aka what is our favorites!) and of course, we all ate too much!  It was awesome to see everyone and be extra Blessed with a bounty of foods.
 
Nessa's udder is getting tight, but not quite full.  Her pins need to loosen some, but then again, she's "extra padded" compared to a full Jersey, so she could be fooling me!  Baby isn't rolling around like it was, so I'm figuring it's going to move into birthing position.  Soon I will be doing night checks as well, whose bright idea was it to get her bred and calve in December??  (HA)

 
As I look at the clock, I see it's about chore time, but am putting it off for it to 'warm up' with the sunshine.  Wind chill this morning is -15, not something I'm looking forward to again.  But alas I don't think it will really get 'warm' today, so will trudge out through the pretty snow and make all the outside critters happy with water, food and some scratches/scritches and pets.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Vetrans Day News

WW II Soldiers proudly displaying the American Flag overseas
 
 
I can't believe its almost the middle of November already--where does the time go??
Harvesting/canning is done for the season, and our first Arctic Air and hard freeze is to come tonight. We've had a couple of frosts, but by the house the yellow cherry tomatoes are still growing, so I picked them all earlier this afternoon.
It's nice to slow down a bit with the colder weather coming.  Yet it provides its own set of challenges....tank heaters, extra food for critters, etc.  Each season has it's perks and downfalls!
 
Got my beef broth dehydrated, next time I will use the oven.  It took days in the dehydrator!  But it has awesome flavor, and was a good experiment.  I still have some more "soup bones" in the freezer and oxtails to use for the next batch. :)
 
Pat and I haven't been doing too much other than the routine day-to-day stuff.  Kyle hasn't been down in awhile and I am looking forward to seeing him and his girlfriend at Thanksgiving.  He called today and got his free Military Dinner at Golden Corral today for Veterans' Day. 
At Christmas I am hoping everyone will be here, even if for a little while!  We'll have our Thanksgiving Dinner when I can get everyone rounded up at Christmas--at least that's my plan!
 
Nessa's baby is small, and it was moving around quite a bit yesterday.  Her pins are slowly loosening up, and her udder is growing more.  I expect a baby anytime between Thanksgiving and New Years'....her due date is actually December 18, but being a heifer, she could easily swing 2 weeks early or 2 weeks late.  So time will tell......
 
And that's the quick update for now!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cooler weather = Canning Frenzy + Joann Article

Fillet "loading" herself into the empty hay trailer.  Murphy's law at work here:  if I'd of wanted her in the trailer, she would of thought it was some scary monster and avoided it like it had a plague!  
(Yes I save the 'going-to-the-trash' signs from work for a variety of 'farm' uses.  Sometimes they get confiscated for target practice.....this sign is over a year and a half old, working as a "rain/wind deflector" until it's re-purposed to elsewhere for a similar job.)

 
Having 4 days off in a row (without requesting it!) a few weeks back was awesome!  I got salsa canned and a load of applesauce made.  A few I made into 'spiced applesauce' by using the Apple Butter recipe (of course without so much sugar)!  I see there is more apples in the neighbors' trees.....I managed to can another batch of applesauce and a few apple butters.  I have plenty of Apple pie filling from the last couple of years; hence why I made the applesauce this go-round. 
 
 I noticed my 'good knee' was acting up near the end of my work shift a couple of weeks ago.  The next day it was swollen and painful.  Not sure what caused it, but if my 'bad knee' goes out, then I'll be in a wheelchair because I wouldn't be able to walk.  (They give out, making my walking progress very slow and deliberate).  So I cleaned in the kitchen and took it easy.  (I did find my kitchen table!)  ;)
 
The next day, I puttered in the garden and brought in what ripe tomatoes and peppers I had and made salsa.  I'd had a (surprise) load of hay delivered Wednesday night, and now I had a dilemma on my hands.  How to unload it with my knee being a pain, and I hate to ask Pat to help because of his bad shoulder.
I waited until Friday to have Pat pull it around to the shed area, blocked the cows out and gathered up my hay hooks.  I wrapped my knee and set to work.  What should of been an easy hour job, turned into three hours and I still wasn't done! 
As I unloaded them, the bales into three stacks:  good, so-so and bad.  I slowly drug the good ones as I found them into the shed and stacked them--my hay hooks let me move them and drag them easily.  Once those were in, the so-so ones went in, and then I had to stop.  I was just too short and didn't dare climb on other bales to put them where they needed to go.  I came into the house for a break, and to (humbly) ask Pat to help with the last 6 bales that needed to go in the shed. 
He made it look easy, his tall-ness and strength made for a 5-minute job.  That's when Fillet decided to check out the empty trailer and climb halfway in.  It was a good laugh after all the hard work!
 
Nessa's calf  is moving around more (I can see and feel it) and she isn't a happy camper about it for some odd reason.  I guess she hates being pregnant is all I can figure.  I imagine labor pains will turn her into a crazy cow, time will tell.   A crazy cow is dangerous and means freezer cow here.  I know dare not risk another knee or shoulder injury either.  Mentally I'm up for a challenge, but my body is getting worn out and says NO.   

By nature I'm an optimist, but I'm also a realist who knows animals can have off days just like me and can cut them some slack.  I expect good behavior, and it's really not too much to ask for a couple of hours a day at the max for a milk cow.  I guess if given enough 'rope' she'll either hang herself or not. Time will tell how things go:  good, bad or ugly (crazy!).
 
Daisy is my Ms. Reliable and can always be counted on.  She's such a sweetie, and she does like watermelon rind treats and apples.  Fillet even ate some apples, Nessa turned her nose up at them.  Maybe I should call her Ms. Persnickety pants.......  :)

**Now an update to this post.  We haven't had a hard freeze, but it's coming tonight.  I've dug the 'taters, and got what I could from the garden.  I dehydrated the tomatoes since there wasn't many, and am trying my hand at dehydrating beef broth.  It tastes good, but I'm sure it'll take a couple of days before its done.  (I found the recipe on KFC).

I also took slips from three of the best tomato plants to try my hand and keeping some going over the winter.  I also took some cuttings off the peach tree with broken branches and spliced them onto the peach tree in the garden.  My first attempt at grafting, so we'll see next spring if it worked.

I received a nice surprise in the mail yesterday...a brand-new revised edition of KFC, signed by Joann.  What a sweetheart--she'll always have a special place in my heart, and is an on-going inspiration to keep at it, no matter the weather or whatever else is on our plates/in the works.  Take things a day at a time.....

There was also a very nice article in the October issue of the Down East Magazine about her, find it here:  http://www.downeast.com/magazine/2013/october/cowgirl

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's fall, and some obeservations! ;)

Some Sunflowers growing along the edge of the garden last month
 
 
It's officially fall already....snow in the mountains west of us, the first few Ash tree leaves were on the lawn this morning, and the cows' winter hair coat is becoming noticeable. 
Thankfully our weather has been holding in the 80's, but some nights it gets into the 50's; making for chilly mornings!
The garden has slowed waaaay down, but that's fine!  For such a short season (with the delayed Spring planting), overall the garden has done fairly well this year.  It wasn't our biggest garden, but certainly not our smallest.  Always the optimist, I figure there's always next year!
 
The chickens are growing fast, and still just one pullet is laying; but her eggs are getting bigger every day.  Anyone who isn't laying by Thanksgiving will be in a stew pot or the freezer.  I don't need to feed deadbeat chickens (ha) all winter!
 
I am the lowest I have been for a very long time on sugar; haven't come across any sales until this week.  Let the stockpiling begin!  :)  I think I haven't bought sugar since the Holiday time(s) last year.  We used quite a bit while canning, so the supply got depleted fast.  Hey, that's why I do it, buy it kinda-sorta cheaper so I have it when I need it!
 
Kyle might be down this weekend.....Jared has been working quite a bit, so haven't talked to him much.  Chandra posts pictures of Tracy for family, so that helps my "baby fix".  Just wish I were closer to snuggle the little guy!
 
Daisy had some funky cuts on her teats, and on her udder.  Not sure what she got into, or if the calf did it.  They are healing well, and she isn't so "Ouchy" about them now.  She's such a trooper, I do my best to be gentle when she has cuts. 
I hesitate to say "calf"--Fillet is over 470#--Daisy weighs a tad over 750#.  Fillet is now 6 months old and easily could be weaned.  BUT the best-tasting beef is from milk-fed (real milk, NOT replacer) calves, and the longer they stay on the better flavor in the beef. 
We discovered this by accident years ago when one of Dolly's calves kept getting out and became my "milk thief"--stealing my milk before I was out to milk.  Sometimes cons becomes pros--it just takes time and putting two-and-two together to figure out that sometimes 'bad' things actually turn out for the good.  ;)
 
Nessa was in some kind of "Zen" mode the other day, she was spacing off and had drool coming out of her mouth.  Reminded me of an old horse taking a quick cat-nap.  I had to laugh at her, and she didn't think it was funny at all when I interrupted her zen-spaced-off bliss!  Her udder is growing, and looking good.  I will have to get an updated photo.
 
Now onto more observations....the media can't seem to get jack squat right:
The guy looking for a "lost calf" and they show beef cows, but he rescues a Holstein calf......
A beef article with a photo of a Dairy cow
Or a Dairy article with a photo of a herd of Angus
Now onto craigslist ad photos:
Animals on a golf-course looking pasture.  Ummmm, there is no growth since they ate it all down, so no wonder they look horrid, they are starving.....
Animals coated with mud, and/or in a feedbunk surrounded by mud (actually it's just their own poo and pee)
Calves standing next to horribly thin Nurse (Dairy) cows---I see this way too often!
Poor looking calves people want top dollar for (obviously raised cheaply on replacer and tossed out on another golf-course looking pasture)
 
It pains me when they list their websites, and everything is serene looking, and obviously their photos they selected gives one a peaceful, happy free-range atmosphere.  Then they post horrible conditions in their 'for sale' ads.  I *almost* contacted a "local" family after coming across their website (I was impressed) until I ran across their recent ads on craigslist with current photos.  UGH.  Not sure if it's a double standard or just stupidity...to say one thing, yet do another!
 
There's already enough uproar about labels of "all natural" or "beyond organic" or "free range"--or whatever the latest "name" craze is.  It either IS or ISN'T like they describe.  I know I'm wary of people who always meet folks elsewhere off their farm.  I wonder if they don't want people to see what it REALLY looks like on their farm and the housing/pasture and in what condition the animals are.  PFFFT I say!
 
I know everyone struggles from time to time, and yes, sometimes the weather/conditions won't be serene or idyllic.....consumers need to know this.  BUT if people keep pulling the wool over their customers' eyes--it does no one any good. 
It's best to be honest and upfront of why things look like they do.  A simple "I had to put the calves/pigs for sale in this pen so I could catch them/-or-/they are getting weaned/-or-/it rained two inches in an hour"--gee, just be honest.  I'd prefer to know what I'm buying/eating isn't a normal representative of the pictures posted!
 
I have little sympathy for the people that just want "cheap" food.  If you want cheap, go to the supermarket, they'll gladly take your money for bland, over-processed foods.  How does one *really* know that chicken or beef or pork or fruit or produce they bought wasn't raised or processed in some foreign country and shipped over here?  UGH
 
 People advertising items for sale usually take pride in their alternative/natural grown items (as compared to the industrial models--i.e. factory farms) and because people TRUST them to deliver what they promised they raised or grew. 
Those who have purchased animals or retail meat/produce bought cheap and repackaged and resold for top dollar are simply traders--avoid those shysters like a plague.  Those unknowingly who fall into their trap are supporting their dishonest habits.  (I actually have stronger words than that to explain how they operate/take advantage of people.) 
People like that only makes things tougher for legit, hardworking folks (like Morningland Dairy and countless other small farmers I know). 
 
Feed, hay and essentials (minerals, salt, fencing, MY TIME/WORK) cost money, it's NOT FREE.  Many times folks' sell their excess simply to turn around and buy hay/supplies for the next winter or year.  They might eat good, but they won't get rich off what they are doing.  Give trusted farmers a hearty hug and thanks.  Honesty is a two-way street!
 
All in all I really don't think people understand just how much work (EVERY DAY--no matter the weather) goes into the food they eat.....or they'd appreciate it lots more and waste a h*ll of a lot less!
 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Been busy in my absense!


Yesterday was Patricks' birthday!  He wasn't feeling too well, so I'll get his cake made when he's ready for it.  He found a photo of himself from about 8 years ago, he looks the same.  No wrinkles, no grey hair.....ugh.  Maybe I just have enough of each for the both of us!  ;)

We managed to get to North Carolina for a fast trip to spend a few days with Jared, Chandra and Tracy.  Was nice to get away, but we could of stayed longer! ;)

We had a good time, and finally got to meet Louis; the "Mr." of the family we stayed with the last couple of times, as he was deployed every time we went!  Poor guy probably thought we were peddling religious tracts or selling magazines until we told him who we were.  HA

Tracy is a good baby and growing sooo fast.  Was told the little man wiggled out of his swing the other day, so looks like he gets to wear his 'seatbelt' now!  Hard to believe he's a month old already....

Kyle stopped by on Saturday for awhile.  I swear he is getting taller!

The ecoli issue was resolved, making life easier for everyone.  But it put up front and center the lack of backup supplies for water here.  A scary thought, as critters drink lots of water, and we use plenty ourselves here at the house, even on "rations".

The turkeys are processed and in the freezer, thanks to some great folks who don't mind helping out when the need arises.  Even pesky rooster is non-existent here now, too.  (woo hoo!)

We've had a cool-down, and some needed rain, with (hopefully) more on the way in the next day.  Have gotten some more canning done, with more to do.  Things are winding down in the garden, so there IS a light at the end of the tunnel!  ;)

Got my first pullet egg today, the first batch I got were 16 weeks last Friday.  So soon I shall be getting plenty of eggs!  (The neighbors will be happy.)  :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Welcome to my new Grandson! :)

A week and a day ago my precious grandson TJ was born.  Isn't he a sweetheart?  :)



Things since then have been kind of crazy around here!  I didn't get blood drawn for preggo tests on the cows, I was extra tired from working and getting "labor updates".  Oh well, it'll get done sooner or later!

To complicate things, we have Ecoli in all our water.  It makes a chore time, a REAL chore time.  I was given an OK by a vet to not have to treat the cows' water (I did at first) but have been boiling water and filtering it for the other animals.  The dogs, turkeys and chickens drink the most.  I refuse to buy bottled water for them, when I already have a water source that just needs "doctored".
I'm nixing the super-filtering, as it just takes the calcium (lime) settlings out of the water.  (They'll be fine! ha) So now I'm using a hankie that is much, much faster.

I haven't been milking because it takes CLEAN water for an udder/teat wash, water for cleaning all my equipment, and it's ALOT more work to make sure no Ecoli water has gotten accidentally splashed on anything, or just out of habit rinsed off in the sink.  Sigh.  Fillet the foster calf will be fat and sassy by getting all the milk all the time!

We were going to butcher turkeys this weekend, but again, I'd have to bring in all "good" water--and tons of ice.  It makes a simple thing 100 times harder, and boiling/cooling enough water AND keeping it all "clean" would be tough.  Oh, we could do it, but....thankfully some friends of mine will take them and do the deed for us at their farm.  The longer we wait, the bigger they get!

I did some canning earlier in the week, and followed normal protocol, so I do feel confident that they are safe to eat.  But I won't let those jars out of the house until we eat some.  I did run out of canning jars.....it's amazing how much gets canned and how fast one goes through jars in the height of 'canning season'.  I will have to suck it up and buy more, because we have plenty more to can in due time.

Izzy the puppy is growing by leaps and bounds....I think every day she is bigger (just like the turkeys!) 
Kyle and his GF are ready for school, and Kyle has been working quite a bit while he's on Honor Guard duty.

Jared has paternity leave for now (which is awesome!) and is enjoying time being at home with Chandra and TJ.  I'm sure he's Mr. Go-fer for his wifey right now!  :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

It's Kyle's Birthday!


A Crop-duster flying over the house this morning (before 8 am) to get to the field just north of town.  The first photo is over the pasture, the second one is coming over the house.

Today my "baby" turns 20--where does the time go?!!  We had plans to go to the Omaha Zoo, but he has a funeral to attend (and be a part of) for one of his own.  :(  So the homemade chocolate cake and other "plans" have a rain-check!  Not sure if I woke him up when I texted him this morning....at least I waited until after 8!  ;)

Chandra is ready for baby boy Russell to come out into this world.  Her back hurts and her feet are swelling.  I feel for her!  So we all await for him to make his appearance into this world!
Pat and I hit a 'mother load' of garage sales the other day and got lots of sleepers and outfits for little baby boy Russell, and some nice blankets.  So another 'care package' is on it's way to NC! 

It's been cooler--thank goodness!  But some days the humidity is really high; but all we get is sprinkles instead of rain.  Oh, we've gotten some rain, but not like other places in the area.  We can always use more!  I mowed the yesterday, and it was sprinkling on and off--and of course the mower quit when I was almost done.  So I grabbed the "old" mower and finished--but it cuts higher, so it looks interesting!  At least it was in the backyard!  ;)

We lost a branch off one of the peach trees (the white-fleshed one of course--grrr), and had to prop up another branch so it doesn't break.  On the tree next to it; the peaches are ripe.  So I canned peaches and then some tomatoes that were ripe the other day; Pat made sweet relish the next day (we're getting low!)  So we will be busy canning as the produce/fruit comes ripe.  We have more cucumbers to deal with, and of course more tomatoes and peaches off of different trees (they are all ripening different, even though some are the same kind!) 
I just automatically pick up canning lids when I'm at the store--one can never have enough!  ;)   I noticed my lemon juice is getting low--something you don't notice until you're using lots of it, like at canning time!

Yesterday I noticed Daisy has vertical cuts on her back teats--Fillet (the foster calf) hadn't cut up her teats before now.  So I'm thinking:  "what changed?"  Then it dawned on me I saw Nessa  head-butt Fillet when she was nursing on her own free will out in the pasture.   I hate to separate anyone at this point because it makes so much more work for me.  But I probably will have to, just for Daisy's sake.  She certainly doesn't deserve to be torn up because of youngsters' antics!  Daisy is such a trooper--I can't say enough good things about her. 
I plan on drawing blood this weekend on both 'girls' and get Nessa's pregnancy confirmed, and see if Daisy is preggers or not.  (I'm hoping so, but I won't know for sure until I send blood in). 

Sherman the outside dog got neutered this week, so that deed is done. :)   He was glad to get home!  (It's hard to drive a stick-shift with a 30-pound dog trying to keep climbing in your lap!)  HA

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A cool-down of sorts; and RAIN!

Nessa's tiny, yet growing udder :)

We got 1 3/4 inches of rain earlier this week!  It was a welcome relief, and with the cooler temps, the grass is greening up nicely.
There are still some cracks in the ground, but not as bad as they were.  We are forecasted to get more rain--bring it on!
Daisy and Nessa are uber happy the pasture is growing again, and the flies aren't quite as bad.  I think I wear about as much fly spray as Daisy when I milk (Fly Spray Perfume-ha).  Nessa and Fillet (the foster calf) are used to the not-so-evil fly sprayer by now-it's simply a part of the daily routine

The cows aren't too keen on the last bale of hay I got, and it shows in Daisy's (lowered) production.  Cows eat less of hay they don't like, and  I've been doctoring it with molasses.  Oh,  they'll eat it, but they let me know it's not their favorite hay!  I think they've wasted more than they've ate; but its down far enough I can get the core out of the hay trailer and go get a better bale for them.  They'll be happy, and it makes me happy!  :)

The peach trees are laden with peaches, and the branches are hanging low.  We've done what we could to help prop them up.  We have picked/eaten a dozen or so ready peaches on one tree, but the white peach tree is lagging far behind, it's a different kind, so they'll ripen eventually!

We've been getting tomatoes; not quite enough to can, but enough to bless the neighbors with some, and have tomatoes in/on just about everything we've been eating.  BLT's are always a hit here, the "L" can be spinach or a type of lettuce, whatever we have on hand.  (My spinach is doing poorly, then it got hot and it bolted).   I need to plant more leafy greens, sometimes I don't have much luck with them--I think I wait too long to plant and the heat gets them.  :(

Kyle is back from his training at Ft. Campbell and he and his girlfriend stopped down and stayed overnight.  It was good to see them, and "his" cat was more than happy to see him.  She picked Kyle to be "her human" years ago.  She won't be quite so ornery for awhile.....until she needs Kyle to pester her!  ;)

Pat got a Rottie puppy--her name is Izzy.  It's like having a baby around, one that likes to chew on everything!   Kyle's cat and Izzy like to play, but the other house cat is older and isn't into playing--something Izzy is figuring out.

The tiger lilies are blooming and they are pretty!  The cows, turkeys and chickies are doing fine, and the garden is growing fast.   We'll be canning or dehydrating the extra bounty soon--always work but yet a blessing.  We'll process two turkeys soon at a lighter weight, then the other two at a bit heavier weight for a bit of variety.  I need to get a new scale, my other old one is in no way accurate anymore.  It's hard to cook meat properly when you don't know how much it weighs!  :(

Friday, July 19, 2013

Hot and Humid Again

 Can you find Jared in here?  (Like, Where's Waldo?!)  There were 1,500 guys that all jumped the same day, more or less at the same time in June, then they were out in the Field for a week.
Talk about Organized Chaos!!  :)

I'm behind--I was sick the first of the month, then Patrick "caught" it.  I think being sick in the summer is worse than in the winter, only because I have more things to do/take care of!

Our July 3rd Celebration here was totally awesome, lasted an hour--that's ALOT of fireworks!  Patrick and I were not doing so well on the 4th-so stayed home.  We did swing by the annual Flea Market in the morning when it was cool(er) before I went to work, but came home empty handed.

Kyle and his GF came down for a couple of days and enjoyed the Independence Day festivities.  He is at Ft. Campbell (KY) for training now, and he doesn't get cell service.  So we message him on FB! ;)

Chandra celebrated her birthday yesterday, I guess they went to Cracker Barrel to eat, and Danielle (their neighbor-she's family!) made her a cake.  Glad her day was special since we couldn't be there!

The tomatoes are starting to ripen, and the biggest peach tree is laden with peaches, the branches are low.  Already the water bill is high, but I'll pay it to keep my food growing! 
The drought is creeping back, there are chances for rain the next week, but it keeps skirting us when it actually does rain.

I can not believe how fast the turkeys are growing!  Or Fillet the calf!  That is good!  Here I was worried about her not nursing on her own--um, yeah.  She snacks when she can, not just when it's feeding/milking time!  Amazing how much milk a calf will guzzle down, it's okay, it makes for some mighty fine tasting beef!

Nessa is making an udder--small, but it's growing.  She is due December 11, but I say "between Thanksgiving and Christmas"; because with heifers one never knows when they'll actually calve!  She has some looong legs on her, she's my tallest 'girl'.  We've been working on 'cow etiquette' for her, and now doesn't freak out when I fly-spray her.  She is slowly settling down, but does have her moments!

I heard the Cicadas July 3--so hopefully we won't have a frost until October 3.  Due to the cold Spring weather; and things were planted extra late this year, I'll take any delay of colder weather I can get!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Blessed Rain and a Cool Down

Just something different for the upcoming Holiday! 
 
 
 
We got .20 hundredths of rain Sunday morning, and then another .80 hundredths yesterday--it was a wicked looking storm coming in, but just wind and rain here.  It made the cow lot area a muddy mess, but I'll deal with that to get the moisture!
And a cool-down, finally!  I know it will be short lived, but no one (especially the critters) is complaining!
 
We have 4 ripe tomatoes; we've eaten two thus far.  BLT's and in a salad.  Ummm ummm good!  I have lots of green ones.....with the cooler temps and rain(s) the garden will explode (along with the weeds, I'm sure!) 
 
Got the bull calf Red banded the other day.  I shouldn't have waited so long--had to stuff his nads around the band to get it high enough (but not too high--nor too low!).  Pat actually 'did the deed' because I didn't want to 'stuff' things!  I was afraid the band rolled up.....and worried about the brat all night. 
First light, I go trucking out there, expecting a distressed calf and a blown-up nether-region. 
Nope--he moo's and comes bouncing over to me, so much for my fretting!  I did give him some Banamine on one side of his neck, and Tetanus Anti-toxin on the other side at 'banding time'.  So that could of helped with his pain.
 
All is well with the critters, except Daisy is limping.  She is definitely a "Dolly Jr."--I couldn't of asked for a better replacement for Dolly! :-) I knew something was up (red flags going off in my head)  when she didn't want to get up Thursday morning.  (She is a very agreeable sweet cow and usually I just have to wave or call her name and she comes).  
 
As she was laying down cudding, (easier for her and me!); I cleaned out her back hooves, and poked, prodded, tapped and tugged, felt her hooves, checked her dew claws, checked in between her toes, felt all up her legs to her hips (while she was laying down and standing), and no flinching, swelling or any obvious injury. 
I'm thinking she slipped in the mud and pulled a muscle.  She is walking much better today than yesterday.  (If not, I was going to call the vet to come look at her).  So I'm taking the wait-and-see approach.
 
I managed to take a very ungraceful fall crossing the fence--of course right in front of Pat.  My foot caught on the electric (unplugged) and I had Red's medicines in my hands.  I knew if I went backwards, I'd impale my backside on a post, so down I went.  I saved the medicines, but managed to pull muscles in my arm--the 'bad' one.  I'm still sore, but not as bad as it was.  So I guess Daisy and I will 'heal' at the same time!
 
Kyle got home OK from his training at Ft Riley; and Jared is out in the Field for training--he'll be home today.  I bet it rained every day (plus hot and humid) he was out--I'm sure he had a lovely time--NOT!  As he says:  "My life sucks week". 
I don't think people realize the situations they go through for training--they get the worst-case-scenario tossed at them to make the best of it.  Not like a bunch of complaining is going to do them any good anyhow.
So I grit my teeth when everyday people complain about petty things that are nothing more than annoyances simply because they are spoiled. 
Most of those folks don't know REAL hardship anyway...they just think they do.  And that's my 2 cents for today!   ;-)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer has arrived: literally with the temps!

Sonny (bull) and Nessa grazing.  Daisy is in the background.


It's been HOT and humid....summer officially arrived ahead of schedule!  It's like the rain spigot and cool have been shut off.  We are "officially" out of the drought, but things are dry already, and it won't take much to push us back into it.  :-(  I am soooo ready for some rain!!
Temps are 90's/day and 70's/nights.....reminds me of Texas weather!  ;)  At least we have been having some nice winds to push air around, and with the dew points in the upper 60's and lower 70's we can use all the help we can get. 
We broke down and turned on the central air last week when the weather forecast was for humid and 98*--only because I knew it was going to stay that way for awhile.  Sigh.

All the critters are doing fine--they are taking to the heat well enough.  It never ceases to amaze me the yearly temperature swings--the brutal cold in the winters and the crazy heat in the summers--how the animals are able to cope with it all.  They're tough!

Kyle is at Ft. Riley training, and should be back home soon.  He finally called last night (haven't heard from him for almost 2 weeks), so it was great to hear from him.
Jared and Chandra went to the beach with friends, they looked like they were having a good time in the photos that were posted.  Less than two months left before 'baby Russell' emerges into the world.  I'm getting excited!!

Other than mowing, weed control, moving fence around, chores and work, life is pretty much the same-o around here.  The biting flies and 'skeeters can drive one bonkers some days.  Our strawberries are going crazy...and the Raspberries are starting to turn. 
The garden is growing good, but the peppers will be waaay behind the tomatoes ripening this year.  Oh well.  The cucumbers are blooming, so I'm sure once they really get going, we'll have plenty to make more sweet relish.  We have plenty of dill, so need to replenish the sweet.  I have a feeling I need to buy more pint jars this year.  It just means we have a good harvest and all our work is paid off in awesome food!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Getting Plenty of Rain!

You can see the toe of my boot; this is a 'higher' spot in my pasture.  Some of the water is ankle-high.

We've had 5+ inches of rain in the span of 4 days.  Heavy rains plus hail more than once leads to soggy, wet barn areas and pastures.  One night the sirens went off; so we took shelter at the neighbors.  I had to work early, so went to bed.  I slept through a big fire (sirens, trucks and all) about 2 blocks away.  Thankfully it was just a warehouse, not someones' house.  It was, however, next to our water tower, which came through unscathed.  (Thanks to our Rural Fire Departments!)  Oddly enough, the fire (started by lightening) was across the street from the Fire Department.

Some of the tomatoes got a bit of hail damage; the peppers seem to be OK.  I'm not sure if the cucumbers are going to make it, time will tell.  I'll probably have to re-plant those.
We lost a huge branch off one of the Ash trees in the front yard.  The next-door neighbor cut it up for us--I told them to keep the wood since they did all the work.
Patrick harvested Rhubarb yesterday.  It's chopped and vacuum packed into the freezer.  (Got smart this time and marked the packages, 3 cups or 4 cups!)  ;-)  We still have some growing, so will harvest more soon.

It's been to wet to till, or plant or do anything it seems!  But the grass is growing very fast--hopefully soon the weather will cooperate and the first cutting of hay will be soon.

Jared and Chandra are doing fine; Kyle and his girlfriend should come down Sunday for a visit.  I'm sure they'll want grilled steaks! :)  I should put them to work mowing (ha) since Pat got both mowers fixed.  (Two broke on me the same day!)

Any day it didn't rain, the crop dusters were out.  :(  Sigh.  At least no one does it very close to us.  (I'd hate to see what that costs--is it *really* worth it?!!)

Hopefully the rains will hold off for a week or so, but doubtful.  This all needs to soak down and replenish the sub-soils.  We are pulling slowly out of the drought, for now.  The summer is still young, and who knows what it will bring!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Flowers, Bees and Memorial Day

 If you look closely, you'll see a bee in the middle Wild Rose

Morel Mushroom bounty--found in our backyard!
 
The Lilacs have bloomed (nice to smell while mowing!) as well as the Lily of the Valley.  A couple of storms came through and knocked the blooms off-so I didn't get any photos this year.  Right now the Sweet Williams (Phlox?), Wild Roses and a few Iris' are blooming, giving the bees a feast!  (Oh, and the Creeping Charlie in the garden.....bah!)
Two of my Rhubarb are blooming...I'll need to read up on if saving seed is worth it, or a waste of time.  The Strawberries my friend Stacy sent me last year and doing wonderful.  They are blooming and have lots of green berries that I can't wait until they ripen!  Mmmmm mmmmmm good!  And the Raspberries are also blooming/growing berries.  What a feast we shall have soon!
 
Patrick and I got the peppers in the ground this past week, poor puny things that should do much better now that they are in the ground and getting rain.  The tomatoes are growing good, I gave them some 'raw milk fertilizer' last week.  (I think I diluted it 20-1, but somehow ran short the last couple of plants.  I'll say the dog distracted me while counting!) HA
 
Funny story about the Morel's--the folks who helped us "process" Dolly came by to see Lil' Red--they are the ones buying him.  Since I was whining I didn't get to go mushroom hunting, they were sweet enough to bring us a few they'd found.  I was happy, happy happy!!
So us gals are looking at the chicks, calves, critters, etc, both of the guys are looking at their own 'stuff' (lead sinkers/molds/fishing poles--ya know, guy stuff!).
 
As they are getting ready to leave, her hubby says "There's a mushroom right there!"  (I'm thinking, yeah, another cow-pie toadstool I kick over....)  He gets excited and says "It's a Morel!"  Whoa, that got my attention really fast.
He starts digging around old tires and under things saying:  "Here's another one, and another--Oh look at the size of this one!"  The biggest one in the photo is almost the size of my hand!
 
The weird part is, me and his wife had just been "there" looking at chicks earlier.  I walk past that area twice a day to feed/check on the chicks.  I'd of never saw them....HOW they got there I'll never know, but totally grateful they are.  Mushrooms in my own yard....what a Blessing!!
 
 
I managed to mow earlier in the week....I had a cable break on the "newly fixed" mower, so used my old trusty back-up mower to finish.(It's an old mower--it was one my parents gave me, I think one of my sisters gave it to them!)   I noticed as I was about done, a back wheel was wonky--the wheel is fine, the frame rusted through.  Sigh.  So until those are fixed, the grass shall grow, grow, grow.  (It's raining again--I'm not complaining, just know 'work' will get ahead of me again!)  I know it will look like I need to rake and bale it into hay.  :-)
 
 
Patrick and I went 'shopping' yesterday....uh oh, plants were marked down, so of course I had to grab a few.  He found the eggplant his folks were looking for, and I picked up some more seed to get planted.  He about crapped at how much I spent at the feed store, but had I pre-warned him I needed about "one of everything".   I haven't had to spend that much in a looong time, but with the newly acquired species, calls for a variety.
Growing some of your food isn't cheap....and different species require different foods.  Daisy probably consumes a great portion of it (quantity and cost-wise), but she is the Queen, feeding two babies right now, making lots of milk.
The chicks get one food, the baby turkeys get another, and the laying hens (uh, the two I have left) get yet another.  I could 'fudge' and give the hens something else, but I know in time the chick food will merge into the laying hen food.
The turkeys are on a 'time' basis--meaning the calendar is marked for "processing" already.  We plan on doing two at about 12 pounds, and a couple at around 16 pounds.  Wellllll, that's "the plan" for now, always subject to change! 
At least I have more room in the freezer now, so hopefully that won't be an issue when the time comes.
 
We have been getting some good rains, helping to pull us out of the drought.  I just hope it doesn't stop anytime soon for the summer!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Busy as the weather allows :)

Pat got some of the garden tilled, enough so I could get the tomatoes planted.  Then we got rain, and hail, but it seems everything made it through OK.  It has dried up enough, that hopefully he can get more tilled for me so I can get peppers planted.

The calves are growing like weeds and ornery as ever.  My work schedule will be changing (working more morning shifts) so I will put them on OAD (once-a-day) nursing in a couple of weeks:  one in the morning, and one at night.  They won't like it, but eventually they'll need weaned (Red sooner since he's getting a new home).  Hopefully then I'll get some milk as well for ME!

Sunday we headed up to Lincoln to help Kyle unload his couch.  We took his dresser up, and he took us out for a late lunch.  Wow, the place was packed, even at 3 in the afternoon.   My cousin Elaine was there, I hadn't noticed her, so she came over to chit-chat.  Was nice to see her!
Jared called, and Chandra posted more "baby belly" photos on FB.  So exciting!!

We got 6 turkeys Friday....one croaked within an hour of getting them, and one was "iffy".  I told the store, and asked them to save 2 more back for me, I'd be in after work to get them.  Low and behold when I got there after work, the dude had sold all of them already.  (UGH)  The "iffy" one died the next day.  So we have 4, and they are kind of stupid.  (I'd forgot how dumb they can be).  Nothing like chicks.....Anyhow next year I'll just take pre-orders and order the turkeys myself.  I think too much transportation without stability/heat doesn't do them any favors.  At $8 apiece, it's not like they are a cheap loss!  (Yes, I got a refund for my croaked ones).

Now off to work, so I can come home and do chores and more work. ;)  My requested 4-day workweek once again morphed into 5 or 6.  It makes for looooong days for me, as we are busier at work now, and with normal cow chores, baby chick and turkey stuff, plus the garden......at least the weather has been nice, so it makes working at home more enjoyable!  :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Snow, Sleet and Rain....it's May?!!

Thursday May 2

Snow tapering off 39°Lo 30°
...FREEZE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING...
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
THESE CONDITIONS COULD KILL CROPS AND OTHER SENSITIVE VEGETATION.

Friday May 3  Showers of rain and snow 42°Lo 38°

Saturday May 4  Breezy and warmer with rain 53°Lo 42°


This is a snippet of our weather forecast.  Monday and Tuesday it was hot and humid (80's!) and last night rain turned to sleet and snow and back to sleet.
Monday I transplanted all the tomato plants into bigger containers.  The were root-bound and needed more space.  I fully expected when I got them they'd be in the ground growing by now.  Ugh!

Then we went to Lincoln to see my friend Janelle in the hospital--she had cancer that was removed.  Thus far she is doing well as can be expected for a rather invasive surgery.  She's been through alot the past couple of months....along with support from family and friends.  It's a crappy roller-coaster ride of emotions for all involved! :(

Then we went to see Kyle and Sammi and their new apartment, and what they need.  We all went to Dairy Queen and we had some ice cream goodies.  :)

Due to the wonderful (rotten!) upcoming forecast, Tuesday was spent like this:  loaded the black steer for the neighbors and took him to the locker (I should of charged them an aggravation fee--ha). 
Came straight home and set about mowing the front yard (I think I could of baled it.....for now I let Daisy in the back yard to "mow".) 
We also moved a bale of hay and we brought the 4 baby chicks I got last week (feed store had them marked down) inside into a cage.  Then  I rounded up all the tomato plants and brought them inside.

This morning I woke up to white, not snow, but sleet.  It rained, thundered and sleeted on me while doing chores last night after work.  This weather is hard on the animals and the fruit trees that are blooming. 
Saturday the bees were pollinating the peach trees, and the cherry and pear trees are blooming.  The Lilac and apple trees are getting ready to bloom.  I'll be amazed if we have any type of a fruit crop this year, thanks to another late freeze!

Daisy and the calves are doing fine.  My "wait and see" approach on the scours lasted a whole 24 hours,  I could tell they had "something"; so started Neomycin and probiotics treatments on them.  They are fine now--and got to the point of  happily accepting and eating the probiotics like candy (sounded like they were crunching Spree's or Sweet Tarts!)  ;-) 

I have Little Red sold once he is weaned--I need to get him banded and work on halter training him for the folks who are buying him (the same ones that helped "process" Dolly).  He'll be an oxen, unless he doesn't make the grade; then he'll be freezer bound.  Thanks to Daisy milk; both calves have gained over 50# in the last month--even with their scour 'episode'.
Daisy has lost weight, I've upped her grain and tweaked it some so it's higher protein.  Putting her on grass also helps with weight gain--it's free food anyhow, and one of the best she can get!

As for Nessa, I'm 99.9% sure she is preggers--Sonny the bull is still here.  He's a good boy, doesn't test fences, and gives me a wide berth.  I was going to take him back, but with the crappy weather coming, I knew his owner would have extra work carrying hay/water to him, so called her, and we opted to just leave him here for now.  It's the least I can do (feed him!) for her generosity of lending him to me! 

Maybe, (just maybe!) next week we can get things planted into the garden, move the chicks outside and get back to "normal". 
The feed store called, the turkeys Pat ordered will be in late next week....plus I have 6 more chicks coming the end of the May (I split an order with a gal).  This way I'll have a variety of laying hens, as I've gotten and am getting different breeds. 
It seems I may be creating more work (feeding, caring for and processing them!) but I'll have more laying hens and eventually plenty of turkey in the freezer to eat.
I call it food security, because I can't eat money.  ;-)

 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kyle has Graduated!

Kyle and Pat at a rest area on the way home.
(Yes, it was chilly and windy!)
 
 
Last week was a long week.  Pat, Kyle's girlfriend and I trekked down to Ft. Leonard Wood (MO) for Family Day and Kyle's MP Graduation.  It was 72*....and as the day wore on it poured rain and by the time we left the next day it was 42*.  As we got closer to home, less rain, and more cold.  Bah!  At least we didn't get snow.....
 
Kyle has done lots since he's been home:  he has a job already and is looking for an apartment.  He's enrolled in college as well, so he has alot on his plate (plus Drills!).  Good thing he is young and can keep up with the fast pace.  ;-)
 
Jared and Chandra go in for their other ultrasound soon, hopefully baby will cooperate and not lay on it's belly so we can find out what it is! We sure miss them!
 
The critters are doing fine, but the calves have odd scours.  It started with Red, now Fillet has it.  I'm not sure if it's a "bug" or if its what they are eating (and tasting/testing everything!).  I swear they are worse than little kids.....!!  They act/eat/drink/play and nurse just fine and don't have temps.  So I am taking a wait and see approach for now.  Maybe it's what Daisy is eating--but nothing has changed in her diet, either.
 
Once again we have cold and possibly snow coming.  "Cold and Blustery" has been in the forecast too much the past month for my liking! 
The peach and apricot trees are blooming, the comfrey and rhubarb are coming up.  The grapes are coming out of dormancy, and the gooseberries and raspberries have leaves. 
And the garden has to wait even longer...at least another week.  This spring has been crazy with the cool/cold/freezing temps.  So I wait, none too patient, that is for sure.
I can't remember ever having to wait so long to put in the garden.  I just have to roll with the weather....and gripe, but that's all the good it is going to do me!  ;-)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Meet Lil' Red


 Lil' Red was born sometime during the wee hours of Monday morning.  He was still wet, but nursing when I went out at 3:30 am (I had to work that morning).  Daisy was working on the afterbirth, so I gave her some goodies (Probiotics in her feed, a flake of alfalfa, and warm molasses water brew with CMPK liquid), checked her teats and udder, checked both over and knew all was well, so went on to work. 

I milked her out after work, then on Tuesday got Red a nursemate.....named Fillet.   Fillet was supposed to be a boy; ummm, nope, he is a she!  And she's older than I thought.  She still has a dry umbilical cord, but she was eating hay, and went to the tank and got a drink of water.  (Now my truck smells like cow--I held her while Pat drove us home!) :)

Red was 55 pounds when born, Fillet is 100 pounds.  And between the two of them....they are taking all the milk already!  So I will have to get my milk first and then let the monsters nurse. But that is good--we have to pick up Kyle in a couple of weeks and I won't be so worried about Daisy not getting milked out. 
Daisy has (for the most part) accepted Fillet as her own, but Red still gets the most licking/attention.  Daisy has been a really good girl at accepting everything as normal routine.  I wish all milk cows were like that!


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Waiting!


This is me with my hand on Daisy's belly, my hand is actually feeling the baby!  Any day now she should calve....her udder is full, and everything else points to "soon".  I did feel the baby last night, it was higher up, but not in a birthing position (yet). 

I'm also waiting on the weather....we are to get snow again.  I'm not even going to worry about putting anything in the garden for a few weeks, temps look to be cold (below freezing) at night for awhile anyhow.  I will concentrate on the plants I have inside for now, and get more seeds planted/started.  I had two volunteer tomato plants come up in some mint I dug up last fall and put in pots in the house.  I have no idea of what kind they are, so it'll be awhile before we have an idea if they are cherry or 'regular' tomatoes!

Kyle is doing lots of classroom work now.....and is nearing completion of his AIT.  I think he's ready to get back here and get a job and finish up school plans.  I try and remind him to take things one step at a time, and not get the cart ahead of the horse!  ;)

Jared and Chandra are doing fine, her belly is growing as well! :)  I have a 'care package' I need to send them of goodies and baby/maternity clothes I've picked up.  I miss them, I wish they weren't so far away!

Patrick and I have been busy, working, and puttering around here working on stuff.  There is always something to get done......we got our steer back from the locker, and had to get another smaller freezer to get it all to fit!  That's the good thing, the bad thing is it has to last for over a year or more.  Feast or famine....that's the way it goes! 
And I've meant to write on here several times in the past month, just didn't get around to it!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snow and Spring Itch

With snow on the ground, I'm getting the 'spring itch' to get out in the garden!  I ran across this photo awhile back.....wishing it were my garden I'd just harvested from! ;-)

I got seed 'taters in the mail (Thanks Tammy!) and have more than enough, I can share!  Woo hoo!  I've noticed the stores are putting out their seed already for this year.  Ooooh I can't wait!

We got at least 6" of snow this past week, and more coming tonight.  Lord knows we need the moisture, but I'm tired of the cold temps!

It has been an interesting couple of weeks here....people out sick with the flu at work made for some very long days at work....everyday for almost a week my schedule changed.  I was grateful for an extra day off this week to re-coup and rest, so hopefully *I* don't get sick as well!

Jared and Chandra's checks came, so we priority mailed them.  The tracking number says they were delivered, but they don't have them.  After some phone calls, and a visit from the mail carrier, it's been deemed someone stole them.  Sigh.  If criminals took the time and effort at actually doing some honest work, they might get somewhere.  Grrrr...it's a pet peeve of mine!

Kyle has decided to switch from summer classes to fall classes. Ok, I make phone calls for him to see what is needed to get that done.   Now he's thinking of switching schools; AND his major.  I want him to do what he would like, but it's hard for me to help with him having limited phone time(s) trying to keep up with his ever-changing mind! ;)

I was watching something the other day and heard a new term:  Freegan (I think I spelled it right).  Basically people dumpster dive or get stuff for free, and they are quite happy to live that way.  I'm scratching my head, wondering why can't they simply grow some of their own food instead of  totally depending on the throwaway stuff?
They wash and soak the fruits and veggies in a *bleach* solution so it's "safe" to eat.  Ummmmm, yeah.  I am wondering how many have gut issues due to the bleach, and no milk and little cheese in a daily diet for years can not be good.
I guess to each their own, but anytime I see people who have house plants growing, but no food it makes me want to educate them on getting some lettuce or spinach or onions in a pot and grow even a little bit of their food.  Food is security.....for me more so than money.  I can't eat money, but I can grow and eat food!

Someone asked me the other day what I grow.  In a nutshell:  milk, meat, eggs, fruit, and loads of veggies.  I had a job interview and the lady asked me:  "what do you do with all that milk?!"  People forget what milk makes.....take a gander in the dairy section, ALL that can be made, and many items aren't that hard to make. 
Some things take longer to make (slower foods that take aging, like some cheeses) and some can be ready in an afternoon with some work (cottage cheese, Queso Blanco cheese, Mozzarella, whipped cream and butter for example) and some within 24 hours (sour cream, cream cheese). 
I didn't say it was easy, it's all hard work and takes some planning and time.  But the rewards are pretty tasty!!  :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Snow then Mud


We got over 4 inches of snow about a week ago.  This is what one of my electric fence gate handles looked like!  Then it warmed up to melt much of it, which was nice. 
But that also creates one hazard:  Boot-Sucking-Mud.  Mud that is thick, gooey and can purt-near pull your boots right off your feet.  It makes one choose their steps carefully! :)

We got a bit of rain last night, and it's super-windy today making it feel alot colder than it really is.  There is a big snowstorm north of us; I'm just glad we didn't get it (nor the one that hit the east coast)!

Daisy had some opaque "goo" yesterday.  It's a pregnancy thing--nothing alarming.  I know it's just a matter of time before she starts to create more and more as she gets closer to calving. 
Today (again) I felt the baby moving around in her tummy.  I think it was either trying to swim laps or thought it was on a trampoline--it was boing-boing-ing off my hand! :)

Jared was in the field this past week, and it was rainy/crappy/cold and they wouldn't let them use their rain gear.  So of course now he is sick.  Chandra has a cold as well.  But both are feeling better, which is good!

Kyle called a week ago Sunday for a bit, they didn't have much phone time.  Today he called and got to talk much longer. 
He's making all sorts of plans for after Graduation, some made me giggle.  ("More civilian clothes"--he already has enough shirts to clothe 4+ people!) HA 
I mailed him his Vida (PS3) per his request--but lets see if he actually gets it, or how long it takes them to give it to him.  (I know it was delivered there.....I love tracking numbers on packages!)  :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Awesome video/Dolly Painting

I had a painter (Debbie Lincoln) contact me a month or so ago.  She wanted to do a portrait of Dolly, just for me. 
I am so honored and humbled and blessed.....and now she has it done.  Here is a time-lapse video of her painting it:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viWonP42KB8

It is very hard for me not to tear up watching it.  It's a tribute to an awesome cow, and Debbie knew that.   THANK YOU DEBBIE!
She used my "cow board" avatar , and here is the painting:



On another note, Daisy is doing awesome--she is a great little cow who enjoys her brushing! :)  Saturday I felt the (tiny!) baby rolling around in her tummy, and again this morning. It is always awesome, no matter how many times I've felt a calf in-utero in the past.  :)

Kyle called Sunday--the are officially done with Basic and moved right into AIT.  Their 'ceremony' was a bonfire after being out in the field for most of the week.  He will graduate in April, and is already enrolled in summer classes for college.

Jared and Chandra are doing well, he's been out in the field for training as well last week and again this week.
 "They" are officially due August 14th.  I'm excited! 
On a sad note, her dad's house near here caught on fire a week or so ago....as well as another of their classmates' house.  It is a sad, heartbreaking experience, and one I pray and hope not to ever have to go through. :'(

We got some rain and lots of fog this week, and snow is on the way with some colder temps (again).  I am grateful for the moisture, but not overly excited about another wild temperature drop.  It's hard on the critters, and the vehicles (and us).  I know each day is another day closer to spring, AND the days are getting longer!!  Wooo hoo! :)


Friday, January 25, 2013

Morningland Dairy Cheese Destroyed

Today all the cheese(s) that Morningland Dairy had was destroyed ($250,000 worth.  That is a lot of work that was destroyed). 
It's been 2 1/2 years since this first all started......and it's a shame.
I am still very put out and angry of "how" this happened. The Dixons did nothing wrong.

Instead of re-writing it all, for a wonderful overview, check out TruthFarmers' Blog (Doreen Hannes) entry about it here:
http://truthfarmer.com/2013/01/18/morningland-dairy-the-final-solution/

Doreen has followed this from the start, and went to hearings, etc.  I have much respect for her, she put lots of hours and miles into keeping everyone up to date on what was going on, AND told the Truth. 

RIP Morningland Dairy.....there are many who won't forget who you were and what you stood for.
 This travesty taught others many things.....unfortunately at your expense. :'(



Sunday, January 13, 2013

A New Queen

We are back to being  a One Cow 'herd'.  Daisy has arrived--and yes, she is the New Queen.  She is a sweetie and settling in nicely.  She is a bit smaller than Dolly was, but has the same awesome attitude and laid-back temperament.

 
Wide Load! :)
 
 
Daisy is due in March....to a Heinz 57 bull (meaning a little of this, and a little of that!).   I was warned she'd get wide; really, really wide before calving.  She'll look like a barrel with toothpick legs by then!
She came with a red halter.....it was a bit tight so I grabbed Dolly's halter and sure enough it fits!  (Actually I would of been shocked had it not fit.)  :)  
 

Dolly has only been gone 3 months, but I sorely missed her no-nonsense companionship.  Oh yes, they learn our idiosyncrasies, and we learn theirs over time. 
It's hard not to get some kind of a bond with a cow you have your head on/near their flank twice a day for months at a time. 
And we worry about them: the weather (too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry!), their pasture/hay (what literally keeps a cow alive), their shelter, their feed, their water (tank and supply), when they calve, when they are ill, when they need bred, when the weather is better (time of year) for them to calve in.....it's alot of mental work for milk, not just the physical act of extracting it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Crazy New Year

I'm not even sure where to start--things have been interesting around here lately!  We got 4" of snow, that sure helps the ground moisture!  We have rain coming in a day or two.....we'll take it! :)  We had some bitter cold, now the temps are warming up in the daytime, slowly melting the snow.
My frozen hose thawed out, so I don't have to McGuyver the other hose now to fill the stock tank.  :)  That always helps cut down on the work load!

Jared and Chandra left the morning of the snow (on the 31st) , and managed to hit a patch of black ice down by St. Joe....and someone behind them ended up hitting them when they came across the black ice as well.  They are all OK, but the truck was bashed up.  It made it to NC....for which we were all grateful!  They are now home safe, easing my mind!

We got Kyle back to Ft. Leonard Wood on schedule....a big thanks goes out to the neighbor Kesha for giving us rides to and from the car rental place at the last minute.  All I know is January 3 was a loooooong day for all of us!  Driving in the cold and dark + fog isn't my idea of fun trying to get home! 
On an interesting note:  we didn't see any deer on the way down, nor on the way back.  Last time we went down that way they were all over the place!


I had two hens laying....I put them into a large enclosure next to the chicken coop, and they could get into the garden as well while we'd be gone for their safety. 
But  'something' still got one of my hens.  No dog/cat tracks....no blood, just feathers scattered about and drag mark(s) in the snow. 
Then two days later, another hen missing, same scenario. 
So I go out that night to check on things:  low and behold, not one, not two, but three owls flew out of the cedar tree near the hen house.  Culprits found! (I was thinking Red tailed/Chicken Hawk....I've had issues in the past with those.)

Sadly, it was the two hens currently laying that they got--the one was a banty cross and I was hoping she'd hatch chicks for me this spring.  (If you remember Bwocky the Bantie [a real character!], it was her chick she had hatched almost a year and a half ago). 

I will say, the owls haven't been back....yet.  I'm amazed I haven't had missing cats, as they sleep in the stanchion area which is attached to the coop.

But it also means now I am down to 3 hens and a rooster.  I had 10 hens, but the dog attack earlier this year, and now the flying predators have made the flock very nervous.  That sure doesn't help egg production any! :(

Kyles inside cat managed to scratch me on the face the day after he left--giving my left eyebrow an interesting look.  I say I have "cat scratch fever"! HA  She is mad he is gone....but getting over it faster this time than the last time.  The other cat could care less....some days I want to be a housecat with no worries! :)