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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Cleaning...

Well hello spring! We're so glad you're finally here... to stay!

Every day there's something more to do that seems so important, as I'm sure you can identify with! 

Today I cleaned out the chicken pen...


I had kind of forgotten how dusty chicken litter is. Ugh. Since I only have twelve chickens, it didn't take long. I think I counted seven wheelbarrow loads, and they weren't very heavy, which was nice...


Over the last couple of days, I've also been working on cleaning up my compost bins and reinforcing them, so the timing was perfect. I finally emptied the one side, pulled the pallets out, straightened them, and made them more solid by screwing some wood across the top to hold them together. (Ignore the very crooked center pallet. It's rotten on the bottom third, and I'll replace it when we empty another one)

The chicken litter went in the empty half, to start a new batch of compost. The pile on the right will soon be "finished", and if I keep turning it, it won't be long until I'll be able to use it in either my garden or perennial bed...


Here's what I did with the batch that came out of the left side...


This flower bed doesn't have the greatest soil. It's kind of dry and powdery, which is totally different than the big bed that I got rid of last summer. That one had tremendous soil and grew giant perennials! I'm trying to build up this one by using mushroom soil and now compost. It might never be great, but every little bit helps!


We're definitely in full swing here...how about you?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Cow Pedicures...

Some of you, I'm sure, love getting pedicures, right?  It's a relaxing, enjoyable experience!

Today it was time for some of our cows to get pedicures.  Because our cows are out on pasture often, they naturally keep their hooves pretty well trimmed by walking around.  However, sometimes they need a little extra attention, and that's when we call the hoof trimmer.

This morning the hoof trimmer came, and first things first...he and Jim walked through the barn to agree on which cows needed attention. Then he backed into the barnyard to get set up.  He had lots of gates to adapt to various situations...


The gates are set up to funnel the cows in the right direction...


Each cow was directed down the chute and into place...


Once she was securely in place, the trimming began.  Some needed only two hooves trimmed, and some needed all four.  He evened off the bottoms and the long edges of the hooves where needed...


When the hoof trimmer has the cows foot secured, he also checks for injuries or infections, and treats them accordingly.

Did the cows find it relaxing and enjoyable like you do?  Probably not...but it was necessary.  Anything out of the ordinary makes cows nervous, but as soon as they were released, they had the option to go out into the meadow and munch on some lush green grass, and before long they were enjoying themselves.

All in a day's work!

Linking to Good Fences today.  Click on the link for more posts featuring gates or fences.  Thanks TexWisGirl for hosting!


Friday, April 8, 2016

Wrapping Up the Week...

It's been a busy week here, and it's time to wrap it up!

1.  I'll begin with my "Starts with O" photo...


Our Orange 1958 Allis Chalmers D-17.  No green tractors here!

2.  My "week's favorite" is my fern leaf peony, pushing buds and almost ready to bloom...



I hope the snow and cold weather that's coming this weekend don't hurt it! It's one of the earliest bloomers I have, and it's pretty hardy.  We'll see.

3.  "Spring"... We've had roller coaster weather the past few weeks, and this is where I've had to keep my pansies at night...all lined up on the porch...


A little frost won't hurt them, but we've had strong winds and really cold night time temps, so a little extra protection is necessary.  I'm hoping they can all go back to their usually spots next week!

4.  I'm feeling really, really old and tired!  Last spring, summer and fall, I didn't do much strenuous yard, garden or barn work, trying to wisely follow doctors' orders and fully recover from back surgery.  This spring, I'm doing more again.  While I'm still being careful, eighteen months of doing less has left me very out of shape, and few pounds heavier.  Ugh.  Hopefully I'll get used to this new activity level quickly!

5.  We've been feeding more dry hay to the cows lately, because we're almost out of balage.  Can you believe that the cows seem to have forgotten how to eat it?!  They toss their heads around trying to tear off small pieces, and the light weight cakes go flying out of their mangers and onto the floor!  Silly cows!  They'll get used to it again I'm sure.

I'm linking up today with Teresa for Friday's Hunt, and with Nancy for Random Five Friday.  Click on the links to check out more blog entries.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Out To Pasture...

Out to pasture...

That phrase could mean a number of different things...but in this case, it means exactly what it says.

This week we put the cows out to pasture for the first time this spring, and they were thrilled!  I think they can actually smell spring in the air.  They can feel the warmer air, see more activity going on outside the barn windows, and maybe they even notice that we've put away our winter attire.  (except we did have to pull it out again for a few days.  Brrrr...)  Could they be that smart?  Well...

We put the cows out for a few hours here at home on Monday, and we put the heifers and dry cows at the other farm out this afternoon.  It looks inviting, doesn't it?


On a side note...the other farm is along a very busy road, which is being widened. The state workers who are doing the roadwork took down a big section of that nice white PVC fence that runs around the meadow.  They replaced it with temporary fencing, and we think they did a nice job.  However, there's something reassuring about a solid fence, when it comes to cows.  Hopefully they respect this temporary fence as much as they did the old one!  When the roadwork is done, the PVC fence will be replaced...


Anyway...Jim decided to section off the meadow for now.  The grass in the northern part of the meadow is higher than the rest of the meadow, so we made a temporary fence this morning.  I put in the fiberglass posts while he fed the heifers, and then he ran the wire....


The animals will have this large section to graze in for now, and after a while we'll give them the entire meadow...


They know something's up...


Here's just a short clip of them as Jim opens the wire to the barn yard...


We watched them for awhile to make sure that they knew where their boundaries were.  The temporary fence wasn't super visible, so we tied bright blue baler twine to each section so that it would catch their eye.  It's always good if one of them gets a little too close and gets shocked, just so they know it's a hot wire!  None of them did today though, and when we left they all seemed to be behaving.  There were a few that kicked up their heels and ran in circles, but for the most part they were too busy eating to be rambunctious...


If you click on the picture, I think you'll be able to see the bright blue twine that we tied to the wire...


What a life.  If I were a cow I'd think I was in heaven!
(Linking up a little late to Good Fences!)  Thanks TexWisGirl, for hosting!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday...

To wrap up this week, I'm joining Friday's Hunt, hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills, and also joining Random Five Friday, which after a long hiatus, has been resurrected by Nancy at A Rural Journal.  It's a nice way to do a wrap up of the week.

1.  Starts with "N"...kind of.  Her name is Snickers, but often I call her Nicky for short.  She's our ten year old Yellow Lab, and mother to Murphy, who got her mug shot on here last week.  She's a rather shy, sweet dog who is beginning to show her age.  Both in her actions, and by the white hair on her face.  Even though she's aging, she can still be just as naughty when she puts her mind to it!  She digs a mean hole, and tears strawbales and hay bales apart to make a soft nest to sleep in...


2.  Week's Favorite...Three years ago, my neighbor gave me a tiny start of an old fashioned, dark purple lilac.  This morning I saw this...


...flower buds!  For the first time, and I'm quite excited to see them bloom.  I hope next week's forecasted freezing temps don't hurt them!

3. Vintage...I'm fortunate to have some vintage things to decorate with on my porch.  We have two old milk cans, one from my parents' farm, and one from Jim's parents farm (where we now live).  I enjoy being able to use them year round...


4. To finish out my Random Five...the hutch halves are thrilled to be able to get outside of their hutches and see what's going on in the world.  They are so curious and content...


5.  I found some used railroad ties on craigslist.  They turned out to be only a few miles away, and had been used by the Strasburg Rairoad.  (Thomas the Tank Engine rolled over these ties many times, I'm sure!)  We've used them to make a defining line between my shrubs and my garden.  It will help to keep the weeds from the garden from creeping up under the shrubs, and I like the lines.  I have some ideas about how I want it to look, and it's slowly coming together...


Click on the links to see more posts for both Friday's Hunt and Random Five Friday...


Monday, March 28, 2016

Pickin' Up Rocks...

What kind of family activities do you do over Easter break?

Last Friday afternoon we picked up rocks in the fields where Jim is planning to seed alfalfa.  Years ago, we did this every spring.  The fields where the alfalfa will be seeded need to be as smooth and rock-free as possible.  However in the past number of years, Jim has no-tilled and so we were out of a job.  It was so long ago in fact, that the kids don't even remember doing this!

I got the driving job, and the kids rode in the back of the truck up the field lane and into the fields...


(Please don't judge me by my dirty mirrors!  :)  )

They walked along behind the truck and picked up rocks and golf balls...yes, the neighbors drive golf balls out into the fields!...and tossed them into the back of the truck...



Looks like we must've missed one...


While we were driving around, this tractor kept following us...


When we were finished, we headed down the field lane, and they tossed the rocks off into the rock pile.  Ask any farmer you know...I'll bet he has a rock pile somewhere!

Ours here at the "other farm" is out behind the barn...


It looks like tomorrow will be the day Jim seeds the alfalfa, if the weather cooperates.  How can it be that time of year again already?