Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Barley 2014

I think in my last post, I updated at the end, that the barley was being combined that night!  It's been a whirlwind ever since and I'm just now getting around to posting some pictures from over the weekend.

The barley yield was really, really good...just over 100 bushels per acre.  No complaining about that, for sure!

I was on my way on an errand, when I saw the combine in the field, but didn't have my camera along.  So no pics of the combine in action, but here are some from another year if you'd like to see them.  You'll notice the barley looks different in the two posts.  Any ideas why??

I went to the other farm after milking, just in time to catch Jim finishing up with the baler in the first field...

Jim's Dad ran wagons back and forth from the other farm to home...

...where the kids unloaded it above the outside pen.  It'll make nice bedding for heifer pens...

Just as Jim finished up baling, his cousin Wes showed up at the other farm with his dirt bike.  He was on his way home from a day of riding in Delaware, and Jim took a quick spin in the now clean field before heading home...

All the barley straw has now been baled and unloaded.  Today one field was replanted with soybeans, and the second field will be replanted with short season corn this afternoon, as soon as the corn planter gets here.

It must be summer!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Keeping Busy...

It's been a busy few weeks here!  What have we been up to?

Well...the kids are off school now, so we've all been adjusting to new schedules.

This week, Jim round baled some hay from an old alfalfa field that he's taking out, and he spent most of the next two days hauling and spreading pazutski before it's replanted with short season corn.

We've enjoyed some beautiful weather...and have had some really hot, humid days as well.  The grass and the garden are growing like weeds! Speaking of weeds...they're growing too!

I found something to kill the potato beetles that were decimating my plants! It's a spray containing Spinosad, and it works tremendously!  I sprayed late even rained in the evening...and by the next morning, dead potato beetles covered the ground!  For those of you who use organic gardening methods, you're in luck...this qualifies!  Now the plants look healthy and are beginning to blossom...

This year, finally, my tomato plants also look healthy.  I've had trouble with early blight every single year, and found a solution (too late) last summer. Once's a spray that is used in organic gardening called Liquid Copper. I began spraying as soon as I planted the seedlings, and so far, so good...

These volunteer sunflowers are surrounding a huge rock that is in the center of my garden.  I'm hoping that some of them are the beautiful burgundy sunflowers that I grew last year from seeds that I received from my blogger friend Kim!

We were at a family picnic last Saturday, and came home to a torn washline. It had been full of towels, but the kids had brought them in for me!

I finally got around to repairing one of the lines yesterday.  It's really simple to fix.  You put in a large eye bolt, thread the wire through these little thingamajigs, tighten everything up, and it's good as new!  Hopefully it will last a bunch of years before it tears again...

The other line will have to wait until next week, when Tractor Supply gets in more of the wire that I like.

These girls are growing, and enjoying spending time in the sunshine...

They're not the youngest any more, as we've had four new calves this week. We're juggling cows around when we milk, trying to get several dried up, and it can make milking time a little hectic.  Hopefully by the middle of next week the extra cows will be "on vacation" at the other farm and we'll be back to our normal barn full, with no extras.

Here's another of Jolyn's kitties.  He was watching me from behind the gate when I was out in the barn this evening.  He's getting more tame every day.  Wouldn't you like to have him come live with you?

Coming up next week, we'll be looking at combining barley and baling straw. (Update:  barley is coming off today!) We're hoping for good weather!

How's your summer been going?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Using Sexed Semen...

Ha...I got your attention!  Not exactly what you usually read on my posts, is it?

But before I get into that...I know I've been slacking in my blogging lately. We've been most of you are...and other things have to take priority sometimes.  I'm finally getting around to "spring" cleaning my house, and it's almost mid June!  The garden is growing...the grass is growing even faster...and the cows still demand attention on a regular basis.  There just aren't enough hours in the day for everything, are there?

That said...I'll move on to explain that title...

Last night I was downstairs late...reading.  Jim had asked me to check on a springing heifer before I came to bed, so around 10:45 I slipped on my boots, grabbed a flashlight and headed out to the barn.  He had checked her an hour or so before, and she was fine. It was just starting to rain, and of course she was outside by herself, with just the tip of one little hoof showing.  I got her into the barn, closed the gate and put some fresh fodder in the pen.  At this point everything looked fine, so I went inside for a few minutes in hopes that she would lay down and have her calf on her own.

When I checked her again, I saw more of just one leg, and now a nose as well, but no sign of the other leg.  So...I woke up Jim.  He came out, donned a plastic sleeve and was able to find and pull the other leg front and we helped her deliver her calf.

The result was this little heifer calf...the newest member of the herd...

Of course it's not unusual to have a heifer calf, but it is unusual for us to be expecting a heifer calf.

We primarily breed our animals artificially (AI), and we usually breed our 14-15 month old heifers to a Jersey, which results in a smaller calf, thus an easy delivery, allowing the new Mom a better chance to get off to a good start.

Last summer though, we had two heifers that Jim decided to breed using sexed semen, which results in a very high percentage of calves in the gender you want.  In our case, heifers.  Last night's calf was one of those.

It was interesting, watching this heifer as she got close to her due date...wondering if the calf would, in fact, be a heifer.  The other heifer that was bred last summer apparently didn't settle (conceive) , so we'll expect a little Jersey calf from her sometime later this summer, from the Jersey bull at the other farm.

There's always something new to learn!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Our Confused Cat...

Poor Minnie...

On Easter Sunday, she gave birth to two beautiful orange and white kitties...

Unfortunately, they died an early, tragic death.

Minnie was almost inconsolable.  After a week or so, she seemed to get over her grief.

Then...another cat who had a litter of five kitties, brought her litter out of hiding.  She hid them underneath the pallet of barn dri bags that sits outside the cow stable.

Guess who thinks that this litter belongs to her?!

She's in her glory!