Thursday, April 10, 2014

Good Fences #3...

This is an old picture...one of my all time favorites...from about four or five ? years ago, when we had our first flock of chickens...Barred Rocks.  They loved to sit on top of the fence.

Here they are...contemplating escape...


So you see...fences are not only for keeping critters in...or out...but for your enjoyment!

Linking up HERE with TexWisGirl for more fences...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Real Free Ranging...

This is what happens when you let the chickens roam freely around the compost pile and the garden...

...and it just happens that the calf hutches are in the middle of it all...



I guess it looked and felt like a nesting box!

This is real free-ranging!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Good Fences #2

There's something about split rail fences that makes them one of my favorites...especially when they're old and weathered.

This one runs around two sides of our rental property...


This fence has been around for probably about 45 years, and its definitely old, weathered, and in need of repair.  Over time, the rails have fallen down...been put back up again...fallen down again...and some of them have been replaced.  We've had trouble finding new rails long enough to fit between the old posts, so Jim had these extension pieces made.  Up close, it changes the look of the fence, but at a distance you can't tell, and it's working for now...


In another week, this section of fence will be especially pretty, with clumps of blooming daffodils underneath...


...and later this summer, the grape vine (that desperately needs pruning) will provide grapes for some juice and a couple of batches of jelly!

What's your favorite kind of fence?

Click HERE for more Good Fences!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Feeding My Babies...


Like clockwork every morning, just after milking, the babies need to be fed.

So...I fill up my wagon with water buckets, milk buckets, and a couple of bottles and head for the hutches...


My helper is along for the walk...do you see her leading the way?  She's hoping for some spilled milk, or a broken egg from the chickens for a snack.

The bottle hummies are waiting for me...



I want to show you the difference in the sizes of these calves.  These two were born on the same day, about ten days ago.  The one closest to you was born about a month early.  At first we thought she was the first of a twin, but nope...just early.  (I actually picked her up and carried her out of the meadow, she's that light!) She's quite bouncy and energetic, and can finish her bottle even faster than the bigger one.  The bigger one probably weighs around 100 lbs, which is much more expected of a calf this age...


These two will be moved to the individual hutches soon, where I can more easily wean them to drink out of buckets.  It's much easier to do that when they're in individual pens.  Can you imagine why?  Think...chewing (on me), head butting (me) and stealing each others' milk!

The little one has already been named.  She will be called Rosanne...or more likely Rosie, for short.  Her mother's name is Bethany (my niece's name), so I left my niece choose the name for her!

The calves are enjoying the spring...and so are we!  How about you?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Good Fences #1...

Fences...

Every farm has at least one.

If they're built right, they're great!  If they're not...well, that's fodder for another post.

Here's one that is well built, and that we've never regretted putting up...



Linking up with TexWis Girl for Good Fences #1.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Random Five Friday...Glimpses of Spring...

I can't believe how quickly Friday rolls around each week, but here we are again!  Time for a few random thoughts for the week.

1.  Spring is finally here!  It feels like it should in March...breezy, but with a hint of warmth to the air, and temperatures in the 40's, 50's, and maybe even the 60's this week...


2.  Our mailbox got ruined by all the flying snow as the plows went by this winter.  We had been given a whimsical cow mailbox by some farmer friends who moved from the area, and kept it up in the granary in the barn all these years, just waiting for the right time to put it up here...


3.  This afternoon is the first track meet of the season for our kids.  They both run in the distance events, and we hope to get to see them run in at least one of their events before milking...

4.  Isn't she a cute calf?  This one was born early Monday morning.  She and a buddy are hanging out in the goat pen until Jenna's 4-H goats arrive in a few weeks...


5.   The chickens are taking every opportunity to escape their pen.  They love foraging in the compost bin, the garden, and the flower beds...


The ones that didn't find the crack between the gate and the corner post are jealous...wondering how they can get in on the action...


That's just a quick glimpse of our week here.

I hope you're finding glimpses of spring, wherever you are!

Here's the link to Random Five Friday...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

More Twins...

Twins have always fascinated me.

Before I became a Mom ...and knew how much work it would be...I wished for twins.  Thankfully, God knew better than I did, and blessed us with one at a time!

In the barn, we can't find much good about twins.  Here are some reasons...

-twins are hard on a cow...there's a higher likelihood of complications during birth.

-often times, the cow doesn't clean (she retains the placenta) and then she is prone to an infection.

-twins are often born early, so it catches us off guard

-early calves tend to be small, and have a harder time thriving

-when twins are mixed...a bull and a heifer...the heifer is often sterile, which is useless in a dairy herd

-twins heifers can reproduce...however they are prone to having twins themselves, and then the cycle continues!



These two little ones above were just born this morning.  The one on the left was born first, and the second one surprised us awhile later.  

This is our third set of twins in the past three months.  

The first set was a pair of heifers (the 3rd set of twins born to a Mom who is a twin herself!)  Their Mom had a really hard time recovering, but is now doing fine. 

The second set was also a pair of heifers, but like I mentioned above, sometimes twin births are complicated, and one did not survive. 

This morning's twins are both healthy bull calves, and will be sold. 

Cute as they may be, we'll take single calves every time!