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Friday, January 30, 2009

Sky High Cow Pie



OK. So it really isn't exactly "sky high", but it is pretty tall. These calves are standing on the scrapings from the holding lot by the barn. Hubby has scraped every last smidgen of this mountain of poo. It is, quite obviously, frozen solid, or else they wouldn't be able to stand on it. We got about 5 inches of snow on Tues, I think it was, so this pie actually looks pretty. Just wait until it thaws though. Ha.

Yesterday I went for a long walk down to the creek bottoms. I took a few pictures, but haven't put them on the computer yet. I will try to do that soon.

For now I will sign off.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weirdness

OK. This blogger dealy is driving me nuts. It lost my profile photo, which was OK, I needed to change it anyway. But now when I look at my profile it says my age is 1940. I don't even have 1940 checked as my year of birth. My age is 40, NOT 1940! Well, at least it gave me a good laugh for the morning.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Snow and Ice

It started yesterday afternoon. We haven't got but just enough to slick down the roads and porch, but that's all it takes to be really annoying. It sleeted on me all the while I was doing chores. Thank goodness for insulated chore clothes.

I think I am starting to get cabin fever though. Last night something happened to make me giggle almost uncontrollably; even though it wasn't THAT funny.

We were in the final preparations to finish chores last night and were draining the milk vat into this little bucket that hubby pours into the bulk tank. Ellen, being her little 2 yr old self, was having a minor fit because there were no toys in the bottom of the stroller. She did what she normally does in these situations; she wails, "Dah-wee, Dah-wee" and gives her doll a fling onto the floor. Then she usually wails to get it back. This time she was strangely quiet after it landed, but I was busy at the time and didn't look for it.

Then 30 seconds later when I went to get the little bucket of milk to hand to hubby I saw dolly; she had made a perfect basket into the milk bucket and was staring up at me with her vacuous pink smile as the milk foam dripped onto her tummy. Ellen was sitting there sucking her thumb and contemplating her perfect aim. For some reason this just struck me as hilarious. I laughed and laughed.

Of course when we took dolly and rinsed her out in the wash vat, Ellen threw a MAJOR squall session, holding her breath and turning red...the whole bit. I handed the wet wrung-out dolly back to her and she quieted down. She went to hug it, but held it back at arms length and gave it the once-over, feeling it all over. Then she politely held it up to me and said; "All wet." She sat back and resumed sucking her thumb as though nothing happened.

Kids.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We have about 1/2 inch of snow on the ground with temps 22 degrees below freezing. The sun is really bright though.



We have one of these fellows, a redheaded woodpecker, as a regular at our feeder this winter. He sure is pretty, he likes the suet.

I am not getting far with this post. Ellen keeps wanting me to draw things. Believe it or not, the first thing on her list for me to draw for her is a vacuum cleaner. Then she wants a pic of a cat, her dad, her aunt, and then her grandpa. Go figure. Oh, and she wants me to spell her name for her.

She cracks me up. Last night she was wanting to watch Barney yet again and I told her we were going to watch "something else." So I put in "Facing the Giants." (An excellent movie by the way.) After about 30 minutes of watching it she says; "done with 'something else.' Watch Barney." I just laughed and laughed. It's fun to watch as her vocabulary grows how she is able to make her own wants, wishes and opinions known, even at 22 months old.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Bull Story

Last Friday was not my husband’s day. Poor feller.

For one thing the temps were near zero, and doing chores in that kind of weather is a real drag. Then it started to snow on him while he was out choring, which makes it that much more annoying.

He had to take bales of hay to all three pastures up the road, I believe. When he was in the bull pasture, which is about ¾ of a mile up the road, the dreaded thing happened; the tractor ran out of gas. Now, mind you, he HAD checked it and thought he had enough. But the only way to check is to stand up at the seat, lean over the steering wheel and peer into the tank. Doing this while snow is blowing around you and you are swaddled in several layers of clothing with the wind whipping your scarf around is no small feat. So he miscalculated.

Well, the bull pasture is right in front of his granddad’s place, so he made tracks over there to borrow some gas (this itself turned into an ordeal, but we will skip that part) and by the time he got back with the gas he discovered that one plus one equals two…as it were.

ONE: he had left the main gate open

PLUS

ONE: one of our open heifers across the gravel road was in heat

EQUALS: The bull decided to take the initiative, exit the gate and go make an attempt to perform his dairy duties across the road.

Hubby chased said bull back and forth and up and down, but when a love-sick bull knows you are trying to separate him from his true love he becomes rather uncooperative and you will be hard pressed to get him where you want him to go when you are by yourself and on foot.

I was in the house relaxing after just having got the baby down for her nap when I heard the tractor come roaring in. Hubby was not happy. He went down and got his mom to come sit with the baby while we took both 4-wheelers up the road to deal with the situation. I went there with some feed, and was just in time to see the love-sick swain trying to take a leap onto the heifer, which was on the other side of the barbed-wire fence. I let out a shriek because I was afraid several things might happen; he might go over THAT fence (Oh, LORD what a nightmare-he’d breed a couple of those bitsy little heifers before we could get him out.), tear the fence down, OR; heaven help us, emasculate himself on the barbed wire. But he backed off before anything too untoward happened.

Hubby came up on the other 4-wheeler at this time and started chasing the bull the other way, he wouldn’t cooperate until hubby chased the lovely heifer off first. Then, while all this was happening one of the cows from the bull pen decided we were abusing her beloved and she headed out the gate to try and protect him. *sigh*

Now we had TWO of them running around and they headed out to the highway. Hubby got them turned around and going back down one of the other roads there. The bull decided he’d had enough and jumped over the fence back into his own pasture. I saw him rampaging across the field, bellowing insults the whole way. Then I heard hubby revving the 4-wheeler back up the road herding the wayward cow along. Fortunately she went in with little trouble.

And that is the short version of the story.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Why can't the calves stay with the cows?

A question that is frequently asked by visitors on dairies.

We had a case in point happen last week.

We moved a cow from the dry cow pasture to the milking herd because we weren't sure what she was up to; if she had already miscarried a calf and was going dry, or if she was yet to calve. Hubby was going to get her in the barn and examine her.

That very evening though she had a calf. By the morning one of the other cows had claimed it. And that is where you run into trouble. In every herd there is always a cow, or two, or three... that tries to claim other calves. They chase the mother cow off and nurse the cow themselves. This isn't a bad trait when you need a nurse cow for bottle calves. But in this case we are afraid she prevented the calf from getting any colostrum, or first milk, from the mother cow. This can be a very critical thing because the colostrum has antibodies and such that the calf needs to prevent health problems on down the line. When hubby milked the cow later I tried to get some into the calf via bottle, but she (the calf) had tanked up on the other cow and wouldn't drink it.

If you had several cows with calves it'd be an issue trying to get them all separated for milking, and hubby just doesn't have that much patience. So we separate them after 24-48 hours. And if we do so earlier then we make sure and get colostrum into them.

It is snowing here this morning. I cancelled my regular Friday morning shopping trip. The past couple of days it has been in the single digits and dipped down to zero (about -15C I believe) at night. It has warmed up to the teens this AM (about -8C).

Yesterday I bought tickets for my mom to visit us in June; June 26 through July 10. I hope it's not too horribly hot then, but it probably will be. Anyway, it'll be fun for her to spend time with Ellen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brrrr....


OK, this pic was from a forward. It's from a series of pictures taken in Switzerland. Just looking at it makes me feel cold. It reminds me of what we went through here 2 years ago during the ice storms. That will forever be engrained in my memory.


The temps have been really erratic here, but at least it has been dry. Tonight it's supposed to get below zero. I don't do my 4-wheeler runs up the road when it dips below 15 degrees or so; too cold. Hubby takes grain up there when he takes the hay. But it's cold for him on the tractor, too.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gnat-ty Brains and other things

Yet another saying to add:

"As wide between the eyes as a gnat." This is in reference to someone's intelligence; or lack thereof. Hubby gave that to me this weekend.

Then, here's a saying my mother frequently quoted at meal times: "Done or raw, it'll chaw." Though hubby says his mom finished it by saying: "...it'll do to chaw."

Dairy news:

We have had an influx of calves this past week or so. Three heifers and one little bull. Takes me a bit more time to get them all fed now, having to train 4 to the bottle all at once is kind of time consuming, though the little bull caught on straight off. But still, he's like the rest, slurp and then sling their heads around while the milk dribbles away before he figures out how to latch back on.

Hubby is keeping busy hauling hay for all the girls. They sure snarf it up fast.

Hubby has also busy with his other businesses. Yesterday he went over and fixed a guy's well pump; it'd been in there 35 years, so it was time for a replacement. Then he has been helping out one of the local fire departments, hauling gravel and such. He also is going to go dig a root cellar for a guy in Winchester Gap. He had another pump job to do, but they are waiting on the digger, plus yet another job was put on hold. He had been telling me all along that things will get slow in winter and pick up in spring. But if this is slow, then Katie bar the door come spring! Ha.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Good Gravy!!

Why and how did that ever become an exclamation?

Anyway.

Last Sunday for dinner after church I put a smallish pork roast in the slow cooker and seasoned it with onion soup mix out of a little yellow pouch; you know, just sprinkled it over the meat and veggies. Then later that evening I used more of that same package of the onion soup mix with sour cream to make some dip.

The pork roast was good, but lacking in some way. So was the dip.

It wasn't until Tuesday that I actually LOOKED at the envelope of left-over onion soup mix and saw that it WASN'T onion soup mix. It was a gravy mix. They both come in the same color package.

*sigh*

I didn't tell hubby. What you don't know, you can't laugh about to other members of the family.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Coloring


Here's a pic of Ellen with a couple of her Christmas presents; crayons and a color book.

She loves to color, and if you look really close you can see that she is already a lefty; she holds the crayons correctly too. I have seen her try to use her right hand once or twice maybe. Most people tell me that kids use both hands off and on until they are 4-6 years old, but so far she has been a lefty from her first month to 6 weeks. No wishy-washy back and forth for her.

Saturday Night Entertainment

Yesterday I didn't have the time to write about our Sat night experience. Here's the whole story.

Last weekend one of the neighbors called and wanted to buy some milk off of us because he had a family reunion for his wife's clan going on for New Year's Eve...all week in fact. He wanted fresh milk for them. So he came over and got some. All week as we drove by we could see all the cars and trucks out there. His wife is one of 11 (eleven) siblings and they said there were about 40 people there altogether. They have a big house, but still they said you wouldn't want to be a sleepwalker, as folks were spread out all over the floors.

This Saturday evening he called again and said they needed more milk. So hubby said come on. Neighbor said, "WE'll be right over." Hubby told me; "I hope he's not bringing a whole crew." (heh heh heh) Neighbor shows up and brings about 4 additional adults in with him. I took one gal out with me to bottle feed the calves. While we are out doing that one of the guys hops in the van and takes off. I wonder what's going on, but later as I am back in helping hubby get the last batch going we see the headlights coming back. We are working away when directly we look behind us and there is a whole crew of adults and kids outside the windows looking in. I just laughed. Hubby, who is a gracious host-even if he does pretend reluctance-had them all come in after he got the cows in and settled down. Once they were all in he asked; "How many head you got here?" Ha. Turns out there were about 17 people in the barn at once, an all time record! Most of them were kids-there were about 6 adults. We answered all their questions and let them put their fingers in the milkers to feel the vacuum...etc. When we were done they went outside and looked at the calves (we were afraid they'd spook them to jump over the fence, but they didn't) before they left. It took them two loads to get everyone back where they started from.

They were all well behaved and surprisingly enough didn't make any notable comments. My sister-in-law's comment when she first stepped into the barn was; "Pew, it stinks in here." A comment which left us in stitches-later after she'd left-and now lives in infamy. We still say it to each other on occasion and laugh. What do you expect the "ladies room" to smell like? Roses? Ha ha ha! We had one of our former renters teens come in and ask hubby if we really drink "that stuff." Heh.

Anyway. Hubby figured that the neighbors were so bored with each other after a week of togetherness during their reunion that a trip to a dairy was in order for Saturday night entertainment.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Sunny Saturday

Yesterday was a lovely day in the Ozarks; sunny and around 73 degrees. We celebrated by packing up and heading off to the Lebanon Livestock Market (auction) just to see what was going on there. Mostly hubby was intensely curious as we are looking to exchange our heifers to get new bloodlines going.

They were super late in getting started and they always start with the smaller animals; goats, sheep and pigs...or hogs as they call them, though they did have quite a few little pigs there.

After the pigs came the calves, but hubby wasn't impressed with them; said they looked like other folks' culls, kind of like what we would bring to an auction to get rid of. A guy in front of us had brought a little 10 week old bull (a red something or other, not red holstein, I forget what it was) that he wanted to sell for breeding purposes, but it only brought $85. His wife wasn't happy with him.

We left after about an hour; hubby not impressed with the offerings or with how the place was run. But I left with one lasting impression; I will take dairy smells over hog smells anyday! Lord they stink; and there weren't that many of them there really.