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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gorillas In the Mist

Made ya look!

That should be GIIRRLLS in the mist!

I woke up to a gray and foggy day. Perfect day to stay inside and drink hot tea and read a good book but alas, calves still get hungry when it is morning, no matter what kind of morning it is outside my window.

 the cows standing at a distance around the tree like little black polka dots with their backdrop of white.

Eerily peaceful....

A beauty all its own

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What's On Your Bucket List?

Here is mine!

At least this was my Friday bucket list.........

when a calf reaches the age of 4 weeks and as long as she/he is drinking milk and water well and eating grain, they get to move to a group pen where they are feed in troughs and can run around and frolic with their friends. That means that they no longer live in an individual pen with a water bucket and grain bucket. So once they move on to bigger and better things, those buckets have to be cleaned for the next occupant. I clean them with a commercial acid/chlorine cleanser in 160 degree water. But the last step is a good old fashioned one....

I sit them out in the sun to dry and let natures sanitizer in the sky do its work.

After a few hours, the clean dry buckets are stacked in the grain room to await new arrivals.

I love the little bright bubbles of color against the fading autumn grass...

Life, like the seasons, moving on...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Last Chance

The calender may tell us its fall based on the tilting of the earth, the rotation of the sun and other scientific facts but when you live where the wild things are, they tell you in a language all their own.

The wildflowers of summer have spent themselves, outdone themselves really with one last punch of riotous color.

All the overblown fullness of summer is still there but just barely lingering

the big masses have dwindled to the last few, the late bloomers you might say.

gracing old equipment with a soft beauty

Summer hanging on,

fall moving in with the vivid colors and bright berries that are its trademark

When you go outside, what signs of fall do you see?

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Matter of Honor

Sometimes even when you try to have a system,  things go awry.

 This is never more true than when you are dealing with living creatures who have their own way of viewing the world and could care less about yours.

#27 is a prime example of this. She was due to have her calf soon and was out grazing with all the other "soon to be mommies" when she got the bright idea to walk through the electric fence, have her baby and hide it and then go back with the herd for food that night.

Most mothers will stay with their babies and that is how we find the baby. But #27 must not have gotten that particular memo and being hungry she just headed back to the normal routine. We all looked for the baby but since she had been out free when she had it and it was rapidly getting dark we had no success.

There was a pounding rainstorm that night and all I could think about was that little baby laying out somewhere all alone while its mother was back fenced in with the herd for the night. The next morning I started looking again. The road gave testimony to what a gully washer the storm had been, leaving the roads dotted with small lakes

Funny how the familiar fields and pastures can seem so vast when you are searching for something not obvious. 

The dogs waded through belly deep grass, the cows grazed unfazed and everything appeared in its place. Nothing gave a clue as to the whereabouts of one small calf fending for itself somewhere....

I searched nearby fields, everything was quiet and still.   The only thing to do was let #27 loose and see if she would go wherever it was  she left her baby. To her credit the milkers had said that she seemed "anxious" the night before when they observed her. I was glad to hear that it wasn't just me!  

So loose and on her own for a walk about, #27 headed to the tree line.

Good! That's where the baby was!


  That may be where she had left the baby but there was no baby there now and #27 seemed as mystified as I was as to its whereabouts, looking at me as if to say "I left it right here...."

 I decided to go do other things and come back and check in a bit and as I turned around to leave I saw a flash of white laying between the rows in the nearby peanut crop. 

  as I  headed toward it, the flash of white sprang to its feet on full alert.
 A night out on your own can do that to a body, danger is everywhere!  


I was only allowed to get just so close before "flash of white" bellowed  at the top of its lungs and  took off in the opposite direction from me which was perfect because that put it on a collision course with its mama white tail flying high like a flag...  

when the mother and child reunion was complete #27 looked at me as if to say "Its all good, you can go now."    

Au contraire Miss Moo, there is still the matter of getting everyone back to where we are supposed to be which is NOT the middle of a field of peanuts. So we negotiated and she took off in a lazy amble down the adjoining lane to rejoin the herd, stopping to show off her baby to friends along the way...

before too long everyone was sorted out and back in place.

All that remained was to enter this new little one (a heifer as it turns out and not a bull) into the official record book.  All of our calves are given a name and not just a number for the last two years. It makes it more personal and is working out really well.

 Lately we have been having a run of "Knights of the Round Table" character names. We have a "Hope" a "Valor" and so this calf now has a name in the same vein of thought....

  She is named "Honor" 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

An Aurora Sighting

I thought it was about time for an update on the fairy tale star Aurora.

She started life a couple months earlier than she should have, weighing about 25 or 30 pounds.

  The other animals werent sure what this tiny creature was

She went from being smaller than the dogs

to being way bigger!

She is such a big baby and will come to  anyone. She loves to get her ears scratched just like the dogs.
Tomorrow Aurora gets her ears pierced and we are going to have to think of something special to write on those tags. Something befitting our little princess!

Morning Time At My House

Drinking coffee and waiting for bottles to warm... 

Mama's are now all working girls in the dairy herd, so I feed their milk to their babies. It's daycare for calves!