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Blossoms Update 041819

Posted on April 18, 2019 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Blossoms Update

We’ve made progress! Seedlings are going in the ground despite the relentless wind.

Lisianthius are all in! (Whew) Lisianthus are large gentian-like bell-shaped flowers with flaring pale purple petal-like lobes. They bloom in summer from the upper leaf axils. Long-lasting flowers with four wide ruffled, delicate petals and oval leaves, they come in various colors such as white, various shades of pink, lavender, deep purple, and bi-colors such as blue-violet. Double and single Lisianthus flower varieties exist as well. The Common names of Lisianthus are Prairie Gentian, Texas bluebell, Tulip gentian, Bluebells and Lira de San Pedro.

Marigolds, dianthus, dusty miller enjoyed the rain last night in their new rows. Its so exciting to watch them grow and anticipate their blooms!

 

Herd Highlights ~ Sugar

Posted on April 18, 2019 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Herd Highlights

Sugar

Sugar, SugieBoogie, Sugar Bear, SugaMuffin and the list goes on. She answers to all of them. Raising her head from grazing, flicking her ears, searching for us. She loves to be scratched on her neck, back, shoulders, head, belly – you name it. She cranes her neck in pure contentment when we scratch her favorite spot.

We purchased Sugie from a dear friend about five years ago. She was just a little heifer. Now she has grown into a big solid cow.

Her first calf was an experience we will always remember. The day her labor started we were watching. Sugar knew she would need assistance before we did. She slowly walked into the corral and layed down. We waited thinking she had sought the solitude away from the herd. She grew inpatient and began to beller – HELP! As soon as we arrived, she visibly relaxed. Laying on her side, she patiently let us ease the calf out. Sugar got up, turning to greet her baby, but first a nose kiss for us. Awe…

Thankfully, she’s had zero trouble calving since, producing healthy solid bull calves and a gorgeous heifer. She will calve again this fall and we know – if SugieBoogie needs help – she’ll tell us.

 

Blossoms Update

Posted on April 11, 2019 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Blossoms Update

We plan, strategize, and implement only to have nature, life and reality create chaos. Greenhouse was to be assembled and functioning by the end of January. We were almost done, had to fix a few assembling mistakes. (Mine.) Then, the north wind came howling and twisted the metal frame. Ok, adapt, overcome – called for replacement parts – four months wait. Converted part of old farm house to serve as greenhouse. Not ideal, but workable. Seedlings started.

Planting started after some generous help from neighbors tilling field. 1800 seedlings in and counting. Then the flu bug landed in mid-March and now bronchitis hit. Planting delayed. More seedlings are ready-if only we can get them transplanted.

We dream of blossoms….we won’t give up…We are farmers.

 

Herd Highlights ~ Nutmeg

Posted on April 11, 2019 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Nutmeg

Nutty is one of our favorite Nannies. (Shh-don’t tell the others!) She was born at our farm in Jarrell to Lillie. Her markings are beautiful, and she is very loving. She greets us with a soft “naaa” and enjoys scratches along with hugs.

Nutmeg is a Kiko/Boer/Spanish cross goat. As a doeling she loved to jump up on objects, run like the wind and play with her two siblings until they collapsed from exhaustion. Then they would curl up together to sleep.

This past fall we bred her to a full blood Boer Billie. She kidded 03.10.19. Two beautiful doelings! It’s been a joy to watch Nutty mature into a nurturing Nanny.

 

Farm Escapades 04.11.19

Posted on April 11, 2019 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Farm Escapades…


The cover is on! High Tunnel 95% complete. Its been an incredible challenge. One we agree to never undertake again! We were waiting for a day with no wind. (Rare in these parts.) Of course, the miracle day happens while family is visiting. Nevertheless, we headed out. It took a little over three hours to pull the cover into position and secure it. The accomplishment was fulfilling.

The livestock are enjoying the rapidly growing grass. Thanks to the recent rains. We are about to wean the fall calves. They are growing well. In seven months, they’ve gone from tiny wobbly babies to 500lb plus youngsters.

The goat kids are putting on a show. Racing around in the pasture, jumping, and being just plain silly. They’ve all put on enough weight that we no longer worry about hawks. The Nannies are enjoying tender oak leaves, and spring browse. When we call them in, they happily waddle to the pen and lay down to chew their cud. Goats, like cows and sheep, are ruminants. They have four stomachs – the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum-each with a different function. Goats swallow their food practically whole as they graze, sending it to the rumen, a critical chamber where bacteria and protozoa break down fiber. Later, at rest, a goat will regurgitate the broken-down food to its mouth, mixing it with salvia and chewing what’s at this point called cud.

Lambing is on the horizon. So, we’ve been performing health checks on our ewes. We check their hooves and trim overgrowth if necessary. We check their eyelids to make sure they are pink and healthy. (Pale eyelids are an indication of parasites.) Then we shear the ones who have matted hair to be able to gauge their weight better. Dorpers are hair sheep and shed naturally, but sometimes need a little help. So far so good. Bring on the lambs!

 

Herd Highlights ~ Lady Grey

Posted on April 4, 2019 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Herd Highlights

Lady Grey

 

She had us at hello. She walked right up to us, cocked her head to one side as if to say, “Don’t you think I’m pretty?”

Yes. Yes, we did. Lady Grey is a Dorper Ewe with just the faintest shade of grey. She loves her head and neck scratched. Pretty sure she would stand for hours and enjoy the loving. In fact, on those rare rainy days, I’ve been known to camp out with her in the barn. Novel in one hand, the other hand scratching Lady Grey.

She has blessed us with four lambs – all boys. All of them with her quiet demeanor. She’s due again this May. Praying for girls this time!

 

Farm Escapades ~ 03.31.19

Posted on April 1, 2019 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Farm Escapades…

Determination pays off..

March 08,2019 was a stressful day. It has taken this long to decompress, analyze and recover.

Jazz (Dorper Ewe) went into labor. So, coffee in hand we went to camp out and watch. A new lamb was to be welcomed to the farm. Jazz was not thrilled with our presence. We had to be statue still and quiet. (So much for enjoying our coffee.) Her labor was progressing nicely. The smells and peacefulness of the barn were comforting.

A high pitched scream erupted. What?! Jazz was unnerved and bolted from the barn. Her little lamb’s nose visible. Ginger was screaming – oh no – she’s in labor too! Goats are vocal, but usually not to this degree. Her labor was intense and obviously painful. Every contraction she screamed. Thankfully, her labor was textbook and quick. She delivered a beautiful doeling in record time.

Unfortunately, Jazz was now frazzled and trying to mix with her herd. She didn’t want to go back in the nice peaceful barn. Time was running out. The lamb had been in the birth canal too long. She needed to settle down and push. Trying to catch her at this point would just increase her stress. A few more minutes then intervention would be necessary. Jazz layed down. Contractions were strong and finally the lamb was delivered.

We approached cautiously – he was breathing! We cleared his nostrils and moved back. “Ok, Jazz you need to clean him.” (Licking the lamb stimulates it and helps the ewe to pass her after birth.) She walked away. Rejection. The serenity of labor had been broken and she wanted nothing to do with that thing that had caused her so much drama.

We quickly cleaned the lamb and penned them in a small area. Maybe she would come to her senses. 30 minutes later she was still knocking him away from her. Not good. Time to step in. Holding Jazz firmly we guided the little one to her teat. He eagerly nursed. Yes! The next 24 hours were critical – would Jazz accept her lamb? We were determined. Every 2 hours we held Jazz and let him nurse. Finally, at midnight she smelled him as he nursed, and tentatively licked him. Good sign. Hope. 2 am we didn’t need to hold her! Jazz stood as he nursed.

The bond was forged.


 

Herd Highlights ~ Pearl

Posted on March 27, 2019 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Herd Highlights

Pearl

Pearl arrived at our farm five years ago. She has a beautiful face, a little bit of white on her belly, and intelligent eyes. She is sweet, but moody. Sometimes she wants loving sometimes she doesn’t.

This past year she gave birth to her third bull calf. We were on pins and needles. You see, her first two calves had to be pulled. (By us!) Pulling a calf is stressful. You are worried about the momma, worried about the calf, and praying nonstop. Pearl is a pacer when in labor, so we couldn’t wait till she stopped. Ever pen a cow in active labor? Trust us – not fun. So, this year was decision time. If we must help her again, she would be destined for the sale barn.

October 17th she went into labor. We watched her thru binoculars. Keeping our distance, cheering her on. She paced and she paced and she paced. Our stress was palatable. Then it happened – she laid down and pushed out a healthy bull calf.

We high fived, grinning ear to ear. She did it! Way to go Pearl! We made our way to her and her new calf. Congratulating her with a big hug. Relief flooded over us. Our girl Pearl – she’s a keeper!

 

 

Herd Highlights ~ Eve

Posted on March 1, 2019 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Eve

She walks with grace and elegance. No one rushes her. She will take her time and with one haughty look she puts other herd members in their place. She is Eve.

When she was born at our farm in Jarrell we were thrilled. Our first doeling. She has grown to be quite the looker. Her coloring is unique, and her eyes are the prettiest amber. Eve has a quiet confident personality. She hardly ever makes a sound. (Unusual for a goat!) When she does bleat it is very soft.

Eve loves to sleep with her head in a bucket or in the hay feeder trough. She does not like to be petted too much. She is very observant and tolerates our existence.

She is due to kid any day now. Her first! We are nervous and excited. We bred her to a fullblood boer billie and are wondering what the little ones will look like.

 

Farm Escapades 03.01.19

Posted on March 1, 2019 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Farm Escapades…

Interruptions..

We absolutely, unequivocally love farming. However, we always feel like we are pulled in too many directions. It would be so nice to finish a project without interruptions. Interruptions that require immediate attention.

The last of our ewes lambed this week. (One is hopefully beginning labor as we write this.) So, in the middle of plowing, working on the high tunnel or countless other chores we stop to monitor the new momma and lamb(s) to make sure everyone is okay. We are thankful for the new arrivals, but in the back of our minds we know we must get back to work. So as soon as we are satisfied that lambs nursed, and mom(s) are complication free we return to work. Not to mention the countless times we stop and check expecting ewes throughout the day and night. It’s exhausting but thrilling.

The lambs born November/December are being weaned. (Moms are relieved!) Lambs have taken it in stride. There were only a couple of days of nonstop baa. Since they were just used to following mom we now begin to teach them to come to us. They learn to respond to our voices quickly and soon we can let them back out on pasture.

The nannies are due any day. So, adjustments had to be made. They are now in the maternity ward (a pen close to the house) which is convenient for late night checks and safer for the wee ones. The doelings and wethers are enjoying their own pen at night. Unfortunately, this means we have several groups to keep watch over when they are out on pasture.

Nannies are in the south pasture, doelings are in the north pasture. Ewes with lambs still on are in the middle pasture, Ewes that will lamb in April are in the northwest pasture. We watch for hawks and coyotes or anything else causing an upset to peaceful grazing. (Like calves chasing sheep!)

The calves are all growing well. At this age they are very curious and are trying to figure out who or what we are. They nibble on gloves or shirts, lick hands or faces. Dance away if we move to fast, then slowly inch forward to sniff, nibble or lick again. Its hard not to laugh at their comical movements. Especially when they are grouped together and deciding who the brave one will be today.

Our flower field is almost ready for planting. The weather, interruptions, and other factors have us a little behind. Seedlings are growing and will be ready to transplant soon. Hopefully, by then interruptions will be minimal!

ANDREWS FARM 03.01.19

 


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