Thursday, January 5, 2017

What's Wrong With This Picture?

So...on this brisk wintry morning, I went to the chicken pen to check for eggs.

I found this...


Perhaps she's a bit confused as to her true identity?  Or maybe she was trying to trick the birds that steal chicken feed into thinking she was a chicken?  I had just asked her this morning if she had caught any birds or mice lately, but she didn't answer.  Maybe I planted a thought in her little kitty brain...


Better luck next time, Jolyn!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Meet Mary...

Meet Mary...


Even back when Jim's dad was farming, the nicest cow in the barn was named Mary.  She wasn't necessarily the heaviest milker, but definitely had the best personality.  Our last Mary hung around until she was eleven years old, and that was a few years ago.  There haven't been any stand out personalities until this past week when #399 freshened!  She's a beautiful two year old...first calf heifer...and it took only a few days until the name Mary started coming up in conversations.

She hasn't lifted a foot yet while being prepped or while being milked...


Here's to a happy heifer!

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Polar Vortex Has Arrived...

The dreaded polar vortex arrived this week.  Oh how I dislike that term! Early yesterday morning the winds picked up and the temperature dropped. Brrrrr...  Cold weather has it's benefits, but I'm such a fair weather fan that I have a hard time seeing them.  Instead, I think of the headaches that come in the barn.

The box pens in the barn are full of young heifers, so we have a couple of them still at the hutches.  They have shelter, but no running water over winter.  Thus, we have to carry water for them several times a day.  Our trusty green wagon gets a lot of use these days...


Drink fast girls, before it freezes again...


My negligence in gathering eggs last evening resulted in this...


Jim had ordered a truckload of sawdust, but postponed the delivery yesterday because of the strong winds.  The barn doors are quite heavy, and if the winds catch them, there could be some pretty serious damage...both to the doors and to whoever might be in the vicinity.  The barn hill catches the brunt of the brutal north and west winds...


The winds died down over night, so the sawdust was delivered this morning...


All the animals keep the inside of the barn much warmer...although we often drain the water lines on the west side of the barn when it's really cold and windy.  Yesterday (and again this morning) we used a hose to fill a big water tub for the outside pen heifers.

In the calf pens, this young heifer and Jolyn enjoyed some playful moments this morning while I was feeding a newborn...


...and when I turned my back, Phoebe crawled into the pen and curled up in a feed tub.  It's not a good place for a dog to be, but I must say that once again, she was being resourceful!  She found a warm place and made the best of it...near her people...


And of course there's always the dilemma of the glasses steaming up, going from warm to cold and back again.  I wish I could just take them off, but...


Hopefully you're keeping warm where you are!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Boxwood Tree 2016...

My friend Brenda and I have a fun tradition...if a couple of years counts as that...of making boxwood trees at Christmas time.

I didn't trim our boxwood bushes again this year (oops!) so we had plenty for cutting and making our trees.  We started with several blocks of wet foam and a dish/vase for a base.  (sorry no pictures of this part...we were having too much fun!!)  We then headed out around the house with our clippers and filled containers with snippets of boxwood.  After about 2 1/2 hours, and numerous trips out to the boxwood bushes, we were finally satisfied with the finished products.

Here's my tree last night after I finished decorating it with some of my favorites from my angel collection.  The tree skirt was a score at our local Ten Thousand Villages store a couple of years ago on after Christmas clearance...


Here are some closeups of a couple of favorite ornaments from my collection.  I don't like to put them on our family tree because some of them are rather small and I don't want them to get lost when we undecorate, and go out with the tree!

I bought this one in Heidelberg Germany in 2006 when I took a trip to visit my sister's family...


This tree topping angel/star ornament came from my sister.  I don't remember for sure, but it might have come from her mother in law in Germany...


This one was my latest find at Ten Thousand Villages.  It's made out of tin cans, and is from Burkina Faso...


This one was also a gift, but I don't remember if it was from Germany, or from an estate sale in Chicago!


This pasta angel caroler was made by another sister...


And this one came from Lancaster Central Market in 2008.  It's not a great picture, with the glare from my flash, but it's a Springerle cookie with an angel...


I have other angel ornaments from various people and places, but these are just a few of the ones that had "stories" behind them that "made" the blog today!

Brenda and I had a fun afternoon, creating and reconnecting since our busy lives have gotten in the way!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Phoebe the Resourceful Puppy...

Winter finally feels like it's threatening to pay us a visit, and the dogs are finding warm places to sleep at night.  They have numerous options...upstairs in the barn in either the sawdust pile, the hay mow or the straw mow (their usual first choice)...in the dog house with the flannel blanket...or downstairs in the barn with the cows.  We let the door open so they can go in and out as they please.

This morning when we went out to milk, I found Phoebe curled up in the cow stable in a pile of corn fodder...


Last night this bale was intact, but by this morning, she had torn it apart and made a nice warm nest for sleeping.  She's a late riser, and was still quite sleepy and calm when I found her.  I actually curled up beside her for a few minutes before I had to get back to work!

Some may think she made a mess by tearing up a fodder bale...but since it was going into the gutter in a few short hours anyway, I call it "being resourceful"!  :)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fall 2016...

It's been a while since I've posted...

A lot has been happening, but my "get up and go" must've "got up and went"! My camera has been pretty idle.  There have been a bunch of things that I've had to cross off my list...stressful things...but hopefully I can put them behind me. The time change certainly hasn't helped anything.  This getting dark early stuff is for the birds! I need lots of sunlight/daylight to keep me going!

In the meantime...fall has been in full swing.  The rye grass behind the barn is growing, and I think this is one of the most beautiful views of the farm!


The corn and soybean harvest have been finished for a while now, and they both yielded very well.  Jim is about finished with baling corn fodder. The barn is full...


He finished cleaning out heifer pens...aka spreading pazutski...over the weekend, and now it's on to some other things like moving calves around, repairing some leaky water bowls and lots of other busy work. The weather has been beautiful!  It's actually rather dry, and the fall leaves have been hanging on extra long this year.  Jenna and I went on a college visit near Philadelphia on Friday, and the drive was spectacular!

Phoebe is growing...and is a mixture of sweet...


and naughty!


I will say, I wasn't very happy with her this weekend!  On Friday night we noticed that we are down one chicken...thanks to miss Phoebe.  :(  And on Sunday morning, Jim noticed that she had chewed off some wires on his sprayer.  :(  It's a good thing she's so sweet!

Yesterday afternoon, when Jim and I returned home from an afternoon at Eric's cross country banquet at college, we were greeted by the sweetest, most enthusiastic, warm, wiggling little brown body, and it almost made me forget that I was frustrated with her.  Puppies are definitely a lot of work.  We don't want her to be "one of those dogs" that people don't want to be around because she jumps up, destroys things, etc. We're slowly getting there!

What are your fall days busy with?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Wind Damage...

Yesterday started out to be a gorgeous day!

We said good bye to our last puppy...headed off to Church...had lunch...and relaxed a little before going to Jenna's orchestra concert...in the MGB with the top down...

But when we came out from the concert, the sky was black.  Hmmm...this was unexpected!  We hurried home, put the top up on the MGB and got ready for evening milking.

Suddenly out of the west, the wind began to blow...and blow...harder and harder.  Jenna and I watched from the kitchen window as an empty hay wagon rolled seemingly effortlessly across the yard, across the road and into the neighbor's yard, coming to rest against a tree, thankfully without doing any damage.

There wasn't much thunder, lightening, or rain...just about 15-20 minutes of strong winds.

After it was over, we looked to the west, up in the field where Jim finished baling corn fodder on Saturday afternoon...




We've never had anything happen like this before.  It looks like the side of the green wagon might have a little damage where it hit the ground, but Jim will look it over closely later today when he uprights it again.

Thankfully nothing worse happened.

There's a lot of power in the wind!