|Posted on August 1, 2019 at 10:30 PM||comments (0)|
We’ve operated a closed herd for so long that when we had to expand it was with fear and trepidation.
We bought Pepper in 2018 from a family farm in Taylor. We are very protective of our girls and introducing someone new …well it was stressful. We kept Pepper penned for a little while, making sure she was healthy and giving her a chance to get used to us. We fell in love with her from day one.
Pepper just felt right.
She is very calm and gentle. Loves to be petted – up to a point. When we introduced her to “the girls” very little pushing and shoving occurred. She fit right in.
Pepper is a big, beautiful girl. Peace, our bull, was thrilled to say the least. She’s due to calve this fall.
We are thrilled with her too.
|Posted on August 1, 2019 at 10:30 PM||comments (0)|
Well, we tried something new at the market this past Saturday. A Flower Bar! You could pick your stems and create your own bouquet. We would like to hear your thoughts and/or suggestions. So please feel free to leave a comment or message us. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
Fall, believe it or not, is coming quickly. Fall seeds have arrived. Seed trays filled in the greenhouse. Yarrow, snapdragons, dianthus, stock, strawflower, aster and more! Plus, more sunflowers will be sowed in the flower patch over the next several weeks. I love the oranges, deep reds and golds of the fall, and the cooler weather will be a bonus!
|Posted on August 1, 2019 at 10:30 PM||comments (0)|
The pearl millet has been scalped.
Our livestock enjoyed its yummie goodness. Now, we pray for rain, believing it will come, so the millet will once again flourish. In the meantime, the girls (cows) and Peace are back across the creek, the sheep and goats are grazing in the pastures. Every day we watch the green fade, and pray for refreshing, renewing, rejuvenating rain. Two inches would be phenomenal.
All in all this summer has been good. We’ve seen much, much, worse. 2011 is still burned into our minds. We shudder at the memories of dry, crunchy grass, bone dry ponds, dying trees. But, enough about that awful time…we will focus on the good.
We’ve also been focused on providing good mineral and salt for everyone. We use MVP all-natural mineral tubs. The livestock love them. Our sheep especially. With their white coats we can tell when they have partaken in the mineral. It literally looks like they’ve eaten chocolate ice cream. All livestock require the proper balance of water, energy, protein, vitamins and minerals to achieve optimal production. In some cases, all the necessary vitamins and minerals are present in the forage. However, it is not unusual for forage-based diets to be deficient in one or more minerals and vitamin A. Which means livestock require some form of mineral supplementation during all times of the year. The required minerals are divided into major (macro) and trace (micro) minerals. Major minerals are reported as a percentage of the diet. The major minerals include sodium, chlorine, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sulfur. Trace minerals are required at much lower levels than the major minerals but are just as essential. Trace minerals are commonly reported as parts per million (ppm). Required trace minerals include zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, iron, nickel, cobalt, molybdenum and iodine.
We also provide see kelp. Kelp is an edible type of seaweed. It is marine algae, jam-packed with nutritious minerals. (We humans consume quite a bit – frozen foods, toothpastes, shampoo, salad dressings, pharmaceuticals, and even dairy products!) Kelp enhances immune function, increases meat quality and weight gain. It also reduces stress during weaning.
Our cattle, sheep and goats have gleaming coats, alert eyes, and strong hooves. We expect a lot from them, but we also give a lot to them. Every individual is checked. Daily. If something is not right, plans go out the window and we laser focus on who needs us. We are thankful that everyone has been healthy. Calving is right around the corner (three weeks!) so please pray for rain, a smooth calving season, and for us (sleep deprivation brings out our worst).
|Posted on June 6, 2019 at 10:35 PM||comments (0)|
We started planting in the high tunnel this week. Woohoo! Sunflowers, zinnias, and celosia all like the heat so they were the first to be seeded. We shall see how they do over the next several weeks.
Celosia is another one of my favorite flowers. It is part of the amaranth family. The flame-like flower heads, vibrant leaf color, and unique shape just make me smile and plant more. LOL!
This year I focused on the Chief and Kurume varieties. It will be a while longer before they bloom, but once they start they will be hard to keep up with.
Look for lots of marigolds, snapdragons, lilies and lisianthus at the market this Saturday.
|Posted on June 6, 2019 at 10:15 PM||comments (0)|
Elsa was born in December 2016 on the coldest day of the year. It was around 20 degrees, wet, windy and miserable. We watched anxiously from the house (with binoculars) since her mom was nervous. As soon as she was on the floor in the barn we bundled up and hurried to her side. Quickly setting up a heat lamp and dry hay to keep her warm we watched as she began to nurse.
Sweet Elsa was not to be won over easily. It took us a year or more to earn her trust. Now she loves to be petted and will even wag her tail like a puppy! She has the prettiest, biggest eyes of our ewes. Solidly built yet graceful.
She lambed for the first time this past winter. A healthy ram. We look forward to many more healthy lambs from her, maybe this fall she’ll gift us with a girl. (Crossing fingers)
|Posted on May 31, 2019 at 11:00 PM||comments (0)|
She may indeed be queen of the herd one day, but until then she is our licky Sheba. She licks our arms, our pant legs, our faces. Her rough tongue hurts after a few licks!
Sheba was born to Snickers at our farm in Jarrell. She loved to climb in the hay ring and lay in the middle of the hay bale. Apparently she felt it was her throne. When we weaned her she kept finding ingenious ways to get back to her mom. (At the time I swore she had some goat in her- LOL!)
Sheba is glossy black, full bodied angus heifer. Expecting her first calf this fall, She’s definitely ready to be a mom. She tried to adopt a calf this spring from Ruby.
|Posted on May 28, 2019 at 11:35 PM||comments (0)|
Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth
We worked cattle this week. It was their turn for wellness checks, fly control, and weaning. No matter how tame when separating calves and running cows thru the chute we are on our toes. It only takes a second and a flying hoof or running cow to change your day/life drastically. We are moving quickly and constantly keeping our guard up. Self preservation.
We started off great. The cows and calves eagerly entered the corral for a treat. (All Natural Alfalfa pellets.) After being out in the North 40 for several months they were excited. Everyone looked good but we like to look them over closer, so the fun began.
First, separate the calves. Done. Then start – two by two- running the cows thru the chute. The first several pairs went easy. Then came Buttercup. She was not having any part of that chute. We tried three times. The last try ended with her turning right at the moment the gate was two feet from closing. She lunged back thru the opening. Craig and I both in positions to get hurt. Thankfully, she veered and didn’t kick. (The words that followed cannot be repeated – let’s just say we asked for forgiveness and leave it at that. ) Regrouping we let her calm down. (Read – we needed to calm down.) After a few minutes she let us approach and pet her. While I hand fed her more alfalfa Craig slowly looked her over. She passed – no wounds, hoof issues, bright eyes, alert, no nasal discharge, etc. After applying her fly spray, we released her with the others.
Once all the cows were done it was Peace’s turn. He is our big gentle boy but so big he could inflict pain with a swing of his head. Learning from the Buttercup fiasco we tried the same approach. He eagerly ate the handheld pellets while getting inspected. Passed. Done. Whew.
Weaning calves is hard. Weaning lambs and calves at the same time means a deafening noise level. Mommas. Babies. Mommas. Babies. Their calls are heart wrenching and nonstop. But its’ a necessary process. Weaning enables a cow (or ewe) to regain condition before her next baby is born.
The wailing should only last a few more days. Poor things. Correction – POOR US!
|Posted on May 28, 2019 at 11:15 PM||comments (0)|
I’m thrilled to report the Greenhouse is finished. The replacement parts arrived a couple of weeks ago. To say I was obsessed with finishing this project is accurate. The seedlings that germinated in the old farmhouse have been struggling. Lanky and reaching for the sun – weak to say the least. Starting them where they will have better light is huge! I have a whole stack of seed packets ready.
Plus, our dear neighbor came and tilled the high tunnel. Yes, now more sunflowers, zinnias and celosia can be seeded.
Snapdragons and marigolds are blossoming. Lisanthius are forming buds. Zinnias should be budding within the next 30 days.
Happy dance! Flowers are good for the soul. Now if I could only get all the weeds pulled…..
|Posted on May 24, 2019 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
Growing snapdragons has been a struggle. I’ve envisioned tall, flowering spikes for months. At our farm in Jarrell I tried growing from seed. Germination was terrible. So, when we decided to grow flowers at our Walburg farm I ordered plugs (already germinated seedlings) from Harris Seed. This year I tried the Rocket and Chantilly varieties.
Weather and other factors delayed planting till March. The snaps are now sending up spikes (Yay!) but are under attack from thrips. Conserve to the rescue. (Conserve is Spinosad which is a natural substance made by a soil bacterium that can be toxic to insects. It is a mixture of two chemicals called spinosyn A and spinosyn D. It is used to control a wide variety of pests. These include thrips, leafminers, spider mites, mosquitoes, ants, fruit flies and others.) Careful timing of application will have no effect on bees or other pollinators.
So far so good – the honey bees are happy and the thrips are not.
|Posted on May 24, 2019 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
This past week was full throttle on tractor, fencing, and livestock maintenance. The weather was gorgeous and cooperative. Craig spent lots of hours on the Ford Tractor discing and shredding. Shredding the tall growth to uncover grass which enables it to grow better. He also disced several acres preparing to plant pearl millet, peas, and clover. They are excellent sources of protein and fiber for cattle, sheep and goats.
We finished clipping sheep, trimming hooves and checking overall health. Everyone is in good shape heading into the summer months. The bottle baby triplets are growing well. (Spoiled Rotten!) They are starting to nibble on grass and venture farther from Sweet Pea’s side. We helped Annie deliver her twins Thursday. We knew something was wrong. She was talking non-stop and when she would contract she wouldn’t push. We positioned her, snapped on sterile gloves and said a quick prayer. Slowly. Gently. I inserted my hand while Craig held her. Eyes closed I began to feel the lamb. I felt the tail first – What?! It was coming out butt first! Not good not good not good. It was a true breach position. First inclination – call the vet. But that could mean hours of waiting if there are emergency calls ahead of us - certain death for the lambs. So, Craig (having assisted and successfully delivered breached calves before) very calmly talked me thru how to turn the lamb just enough to reach its fetlock(lower part of leg, just above the hoof) and pull it into the birth canal. First one hoof then the second hoof. Meanwhile Annie, although in pain, relaxed. She knew we were trying to help. She contracted and pushed. The lambs’ hooves appeared. The next contraction was hard. Annie PUSHED. Half the lamb was out. It was breathing. Next contraction the little one was out, we broke the amniotic sac and helped Annie clean her new little girl. But we were not done. Annie contracted again and we saw the hooves of the next lamb. (Apparently it was tired of waiting!) Beautifully positioned she delivered a healthy baby boy. Both were up and nursing quickly. Whew. It took awhile for our adrenaline to lower. Thankfully, Annie has recovered completely. A little antibiotic injection and she is in full Mom mode. We may never know what caused one of her lambs to be breached. A first for us and for Annie. Life on the farm – dull moments few and far between.
Now on to the coming week – full throttle ahead.