Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Good News...

Everybody needs some good news once in a while...

The U.S.Public Health Officials were here today, along with our milk inspectors, to do an inspection of the milk house and barn.  This inspection rates the Co-op that we ship our milk to, so it's important that we do well.

This afternoon as I pulled in the lower driveway after a trip to the grocery store, another vehicle pulled in the upper driveway at the same time. When I saw our inspectors hop out, I went into the house and watched from the kitchen.  (We're supposed to stay out of their hair when they come around)

The view from my window, minus the inspectors...


First, they went into the milk house.  They're concerned mostly about milk surfaces...that they are spotless...inside the tank, inside the milkers, inside the pipeline, but everything matters, really. Then they walked through the cow stable, looking for general cleanliness.  They stopped at the medicine cabinet which I could see from where I was standing.  They look to see that antibiotics and/or other drugs are properly labeled, and are stored correctly for either lactating or non-lactating cattle. Then they disappeared into the milk house again for a little while before they pulled out the driveway.

The waiting began.  I got a subtle "thumbs up" from our milk inspector as he walked around to hop in the truck, so I felt pretty confident that we did ok. About an hour later, the phone rang.

100% !  I wasn't expecting that, but we'll take it!!


Such a good feeling!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Friday's Hunt...

This week for Friday's Hunt, the prompts are...

"In the Morning"...

The morning sunlight (yes...sunlight!!) shining on the barley field is beautiful...


"Week's favorite"...

This close up of the barley heads is my favorite this week...


...and "starts with U"...

Jenna plays in the  Lancaster Youth Symphony Orchestra, and they had a concert on Friday evening underneath the awning at a park in Lancaster.  It was a beautiful evening...no rain !!...and they did a fantastic job.  The season is now finished.  I'm glad that she'll have some more free time now that the practices are over, but it's been a great experience...


It's been a crazy week once again!  If I don't get around to visiting as many blogs as usual, please bear with me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Surprise!...and A Mistake?...

Look what I found in the weeds of the chicken pen...


Surprise!

I wondered why I wasn't getting as many eggs lately. I counted over a dozen in that pile.

And now for "a mistake?"...


Not knowing how fresh they were, I just smushed them.  That's kind of fun, you know?  Stepping on eggs just for the fun of it!

However, I forgot how much chickens like to eat ANYTHING, and they swarmed the pile of goo immediately.  I hope they don't decide to break and eat their eggs on a daily basis!  They've been known to do that.

The moral of the story is...

Mow your weeds.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Friday's Hunt (on Saturday again!)...

It's been another crazy week!

Monday...Jim baled rye grass
Tuesday...we brought Eric home from college for the summer
Wednesday...tons of laundry
Thursday...mulching and more laundry
Friday...finished mulching just as the rains came! Oh...and folded more laundry.
Saturday...Jim mowed 1st cutting hay

Now it's evening and time to unwind!  Saturday evening, in fact, and that means that tomorrow nothing extra other than milking and feeding gets done unless there's an emergency.  Like a fresh cow.  And that wouldn't be so unusual.  I'm so thankful for a day of rest each week!

This week there will be a plethora of flower pictures again...but so be it!  :) They're so beautiful this spring, with all the rain we've had. This was the evening after we finished mulching...(thanks Eric!)...


Murphy is also ready to be done with her day.  Which flower will she choose to sleep on?!

My week's favorite is going to have to be divided this week.  I can't decide which of these I'm happier to see bloom...my Dr. Ruppel Clematis...


...or this beautiful Rhododendron...


You'll have to pick for me!

And "starts with T"...

Last week was Jenna's final track and field meet for the season...


She's in that pack in the middle of the picture...running the 1600 m.  I guess this would also qualify for evening, because it was a 6 pm meet.  We got to see most of the meet after milking, but it was cut short by a thunderstorm.

I'm also going to throw in a "Starts with S" picture since I missed it last week.  Of course it has to do with flowers again :) The sunshine on these Dragon Wing Begonias was so welcomed!


I just have to put a plug in for these flowers.  If you're like me, and forget to water your hanging baskets, these are the plants for you!  I'm serious.  You can hardly kill them.  That's what I need for my porch, because I get busy and watering my plants is often the last thing on my mind.  (Sorry Mom...you taught me better than that!)

I'm linking up with Teresa at Eden Hills for Friday's Hunt.  Click on the link for more blogs that have joined up.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Rye Grass 2016...

Oh my...the weather this spring has been a challenge!

We had a dry April...and now a wet and cool May.  It's time to be thinking seriously about planting corn, and soon after, soybeans.

The fields have been sprayed, and the weeds are dying.  That's a good thing.

The weather has been cool and rainy.  That's not such a good thing.  Not when it doesn't stop.

But first things first...

The rye grass was just beginning to mature, and to get the best nutritional value for the cows, it should be harvested before the heads form.  The weather wasn't looking too promising, but Jim thought he might get a window of sunshine, so he mowed on Thursday.  The rye grass was thick and beautiful...


On Friday it rained all day, but because the grass hadn't dried yet, it didn't do too much damage.

On Saturday the sun came out, and Jim used a tedder to spin the cut rye grass out and flip it over so it could dry more thoroughly.

Sunday was sunny and breezy.  Good news!

Yesterday was cloudy, and we hoped the rain would hold off, which it did. Jim raked the grass into windrows...


Last night over milking time, the round baler came and baled.  We got 43 round bales off of seven acres.  That's a good harvest!  No pictures of that, because I was milking and Jim was busy wrapping bales.  He finished around 1:00 am.

This morning when we got up, it was starting to rain.

Here's the line up of bales along the water way here at home.  (That's a roll of ag bag tape you're looking through)...


A couple of the bales had some damage, so my job was to find the holes and tape them up thoroughly.  The bags must be airtight, or the feed will mold and spoil...


The bags were wet, so I took a wad of paper towels along with the ag bag tape and taped them up...


Here's the empty field.  I'll have to ask Jim what will be planted here next...corn or beans?


My helpers eagerly ran along side of me on our way back to the barn.  Sorry girls...it's too wet for you to ride in the truck, and besides...it's good exercise!


Now we wait for a week or so before we start feeding the rye grass.

The cows should be happy!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Friday's Hunt #18...

For some reason this seems like a long week!  I've been confused about what day it is, all week long...but today I know it's finally Saturday.  The teenager in the other room drinking some tea is a dead giveaway!  I'm glad she has a day with no commitments for once.

On to Friday's Hunt...

I'm glad Teresa gives us extra time to get our posts done, because I'm struggling to get anything written in a timely manner.  "Spring training", as someone put it lately, is keeping us stepping!

Starts with "R"...

We finally got some much needed rain the past few days...


It didn't amount to a whole lot, but it sure helped!

I found raindrops in some fun places...




My "week's favorite" has to do with flowers and plants, of course!

I made a trip to the green house this week, and came home with a couple flats of plants...



It's a little early to plant tomatoes, but I bought them anyway.  I'll let them sit on the porch for a few days until the ground dries out enough to plant them.  I don't plant a lot of annuals, but Coleus are some of my favorite.  I fill pots on the porch with these beauties. These beautiful shades of Gerbera daisies caught my eye, and I couldn't resist bringing  a couple of them home either...


And last night I was enjoying these lilacs on my windowsill.  They have a nice soft, airy texture that I enjoy...


The fragrance isn't so bad, either!

I just love spring!!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beautiful Weekend...

It's been a beautiful weekend here...

We had nice mild weather, and even a little much needed rain yesterday morning, and then it turned into a perfect spring evening with blue skies, sunshine and a breeze.  Ahhhh...jeans and flannel shirt weather in the barn!

I missed Starts with "P"  last week, so I'm going to stick a picture in here at the beginning so as not to go out of order.  My fern leaf peony opened this week.  (some of you asked to see the blooms)  Apparently the cold snap didn't harm it permanently!  This was just before it opened...


...and just before this bloom was totally spent.  You can see the pretty yellow center...or what's left of it anyway...


On to this week's "Starts with Q"...

This was much harder.

You're going to have to use your imagination here.  What do you do when you see someone is sleeping?  Jump up and down and get them to wake up?  Well, maybe that's not such a good idea if it's me sleeping anyway.  You be Quiet, of course! This picture also fits into the "At Rest" category...


Jolyn finds the best places to rest.  The heifers' feed trough seems like a good place to sleep in the sun!

My "Week's Favorite" is of these dogwood and lilac blooms from our yard...


Although my dark purple lilac blooms pretty much froze, (the bush will be fine, and next year we'll enjoy the flowers!) the white bush which is much larger and more established, is covered with fragrant blooms right now.  The white and pink dogwoods are also blooming like crazy.  I'm loving the colors, the feel, and the sounds of spring this year!

I'm joining up again this weekend with Teresa at Eden Hills for Friday's Hunt.