Monday, October 28, 2013

Calf nuts!

Paisley and I recently had quite a bit of excitement on the farm!  

We started our day with milking Maybelle.  
Headed to the neighbors to pick tomatoes.
Driving home, we saw Slider and Maybelle together.  
That damned steak skipped the fence. 
I get a bucket of grain and stand at the gate trying to figure out what to do and the vet drives up. 
An hour early.  
I start shaking the grain. 
Maybelle and Slider start running up towards me. 
Slider had a halter and rope on to make him easier to catch for the vet. 
Oh, I bet you want to know why the vet was here?  
I'll get to it.
Apparantly the rope flapping behind him had scared him through the fence and was now giving him the run of his life.  
Maybelle shared his excitement.  
She jumped right into the stanchion with great flair. 
That was the only thing that had gone right so far. 
I went to get the calf, he flopped over and about gave up on life.  
The vet, smart man that he is, came out to check on us in the field. 
He was there to check Sliders elastration band.  His nuts hadn't fallen off yet and were looking funny.  
Wanna see?

Vet lifted up Slider's leg, twisted off the ball flap, and tossed it aside. 
Apparently, I was a horse owner for too long. 
Horse people will get that comment.  
In other words, it was fine.  
Stop taking pictures of it and looking at it. 
He proceeded to give Slider two shots. 
Then he gave Maybelle her two shots. 
He also sleeved her.
Which is a nicer way of saying that he went shoulder deep into my cow. 
In good news, she is expecting a christmas calf.
I just wanted to double check before I dry her off.  
Wouldn't that be awful to dry her off, find out she wasn't bred, and be without milk until you rebred her and she calved again?
John rolled his eyes when I asked him that.
Then i threatened him with getting a second cow to fill in the dry period.  
I think he may still be crying under the bed.
So... The vet leaves and Paisley and I run into town to get more canning Jars.
Oh, just before we left, I opened the gates between the pastures and herded Slider into his own pasture doing my best impression of a cow horse. 
In all of this excitement, I forgot to change clothes before we went into town.  
I figure I look fine for walmart.  
Going to walmart almost doesn't count as going out in public.  
I actually was not the only person in there in boots and shorts.  
However, walmart was out of canning jars and I had to go to Home Depot.
Home Depot was our of canning jars.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond DID have canning Jars.  
They did not have any other patrons wearing farm clothes.
So, we head home and start canning salsa. 
Things calmed down for a bit. 
Then, the neighbor pulled up. 
I forgot that he was coming out to look at Maybelle's hooves.
The neighbor is also a farrier, AI tech, and cattleman.
He said her hooves looked ok and didn't need to be trimmed.
What a relief and a good way to end the day!
If any day deserved more pictures, it was this one.  
I had adrenaline pumping from about 9am until 7pm when Paisley went to bed and John and I cracked open a Hamm's!

Long story short- Slider is officially a steer and Maybelle is indeed bred! Woot! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Peter Rabbit

John called me Peter Rabbit this week...  

Our neighbor is out of two for two weeks and asked me to take over her garden while she is gone.  
She has like 20+ tomato plants, beans, peppers, cantaloupe, corn, etc.  Quite a garden!

Here is Paisley with our first haul.  
10 gallons of tomatoes is a lot.  
Paisley loves the little yellow cherry tomatoes! 

Every time Paisley and I come back, we have buckets full of produce!  

So far, I have put up 23 quarts of quartered tomatoes, 9 pints of salsa, 9 pints of BBQ sauce, and 9 pints of tomato sauce.  Plus corn, cucumbers, and cantaloupe for snacking!  Phew!  And think, she has only been gone for 5 days!  I better get more jars...

The tomato sauce takes a long time to cook down, but the concentrated flavor is just divine!!!
This was the second time I made it, so I have about 14 pints in the basement! Yum!

The BBQ sauce is good and has quite a kick to it!

I am just shocked by the number of quartered tomatoes I have done.  
23 quarts.  Wow!  I kept the yellow tomatoes separate and canned them together, I think yellow tomatoes are just cool!

Paisley and I also went to a local orchard last week and picked 10 pounds of Hoshi pears.  They were SO delicious!  I made 4 half pints of Ginger Lime Pear marmalade, and canned the rest in pint jars.

 I thought the blue pint jars were a bit bland with tomatoes in them, 
but the pears looked stellar in blue!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A week in my life...

I thought it might be interesting to give you a peek into my day to day life.  

It seems like people are always asking me what I do all day.  

I started taking pictures of things we did, but that sort of fizzled.  
I did my best to remember what we did, but I should have been blogging as I went.  Maybe I'll try again some other time...  Any way, this was the last week of August.  

6:30 wake up and have breakfast on the screen porch.  Watch the sun rise.  
7:30 everyone is mostly dressed, 
chop zucchini for Maybelle, 
get milking supplies and head out to milk
(no more clocks...)
Milk Maybelle while Paisley plays in the field
Give the calf a half gallon, visually check the 'tiny chickens'
Go inside to filter and chill the milk
Get a snack for Paisley
Mow the front lawn 

 Give the clippings to the 'big chickens'

Go inside for lunch, wash milk supplies

Paisley takes a nap from 12:30-2ish.
I surf the internet or rest.  
 Paisley wakes up 
Check on the big chickens
Paisley carries eggs around while I water the garden and strawberries.  
Paisley drops both eggs she was carrying
She wants to swim in her pool on the deck, but it has lots of bugs in it, so we spend a good chunk of the afternoon scooping the water into buckets and I carry them to the rain barrel.  
We refill the pool, a bug lands in it and she asks to dump and refill again.  I did not indulge her.  Ha!  
Around 3:30-4, I start dinner.  Paisley entertains herself while I cook, for the most part.
5:15 John gets home, we have dinner, then lay on the floor in Paisley's room for family 'huggle' time.  
7pm- Paisley's bedtime.  John does the bed and bath routine while I milk Maybelle.  
I come in from milking, we filter milk and do dishes, and finish picking up the house.  
8-9pm John and I hang out.  
9pm- Bedtime!!!

Most days have the same typical rhythm.  I guess the major morning and afternoon activities change and the chores and routine stay the same.  

Tuesday, our major activity was to mow the large area between the house and pastures.  We used the tractor for that.  

Paisley discovered the 'uppadown'.  AKA- the snowblade.  
Endless entertainment! 

We also watered all of the trees on the property.  That took a solid hour as we have two trees that we have to use the wagon and buckets to carry water to.  This is always a very fun activity!  

Found a ladybug!
Paisley says "don't step in the poop"!

Maybelle tries to foil our plans by attempting to drink our water. 

Baby Pecan

Paisley stops for a drink, too.

After a long morning of watering, we went inside to drink coffee and read RRRalph 599 times.  

UPS man arrived and brought Paisley some new mud boots from Grandpa!
After we rested on the sofa for an hour or more, Paisley took her nap.  I have no idea what happened with the rest of the day until dinnertime!!!

Wednesday, we have switched Slider from a half gallon 2x per day to a full gallon+ in the evening only. 
I felt sorry for him this morning, so Paisley and I gave him some alfalfa pellets.  He didn't know what to do with him, so we got to sit down and hand feed him.  It was fun!

Wednesday afternoon was beautiful and we spent some time on the deck appreciating life. 

Thursday, I made a Gouda and some butter in the morning.  
Making cheese is an all day activity, but the bulk of the work happened between milking and naptime.  
heating the milk for cheese making

curds and whey

butter and butermilk

There is a bit of 'waiting' time while making cheese, so we went out and gave Maybelle a bath!  

brining the gouda

Thursday is also when my mom's group meets.  So, we headed to the library at 3:30 and got home around 5:30.  I had already made dinner and John popped the casserole in the oven when he got home.  

I always love meeting with the ladies from playgroup!  We started the group with the member's of our Bradley Birth class, and invited a few moms from La Leche League, friends, and neighbors.  We have gone from a group of 9 to a group of 5-6 due to moves, etc.  But this group of women is amazing.  I miss the ladies that have moved away and am so happy I have such a great group of mom friends!  

Friday, I made a Colby cheese and more butter.  

 pressing the whey out of the cheese

Paisley did not nap at her usual time.  She usually gets pretty low-key when she is sleepy, so it really isn't a big deal.  She usually drags the dog into her room and lays on the floor for a while.  
Today, she was in our closet (aka- Charley's room) and things were quiet.  You know what they say about quiet toddlers....
Turns out she was scooping Charley's water into his food bowl.
Things overflowed.  

The wet food went to the 'tiny chickens'.  
It was pretty funny.  

I decided that if Paisley wasn't going to nap, I would be productive and mop the floors.  
I can't be sure if the vinegar fumes went to my head or if it was the ridiculous pride from mopping twice in 6 months of living here.  Don't judge me.  

Around 3pm, Paisley had a meltdown.  I scooped her up and put her to bed.  She went down and has been asleep for just over an hour.  The UPS man rang the doorbell (seriously?!?!) and she slept right through it (thankfully!!!).  That brings us to the present moment- quiet time for blogging!!!  

 *I had a really hard time with these video uploads for some reason.  Let me know if they are not working*

Monday, October 7, 2013

Maybelle's new feed box!!

I've been feeding Maybelle from a feed pan on the ground in front of her stanchion.  It isn't ideal as she is on a platform raised 8" off the ground.  So, she did a lot of shuffling and dancing to make sure she could reach all of her grain.  If her bucket would scoot away, she would leeeeaaaaannnnn forward and grab it with her mouth and drag it back closer.  Cute, except for when she would step forward and kick the bucket.  So, I built her a feed box attached to the stanchion.  She now holds stock still while she eats.  Great improvement!  I used scrap lumber and had to make sure the inside was as tight as possible, so the outside is a little rough looking.  I do love carpentry, but for me it is all about function.  Wabi-sabi, ya'll.

I came back later and added two angle braces to make the box sturdy enough to hold a toddler.  
Because, when you have a toddler, you need to worry about those sorts of things.

I think its like 36wx24dx12h

A demonstration.

 She loves Maybelle.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Family pics

Waiting for dada to come home

 Chicken Farmer

 No question as to why she calls it 'lego dada'!!

 She is holding an antler.  
I won't divulge whether or not she licked it.


 We finally planted Paisley's placenta tree.  
We buried her long frozen placenta under this saucer magnolia.  
Saucer magnolias are the first to bloom in the spring here.  
They are quite beautiful!