|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.
|Posted on May 24, 2019 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
Romeo, Romeo – where for art thou? Oh- oops right here wanting to be loved. Typical Romeo. He begs for loving. While the rest of the herd runs into the pasture he saunters up to us and waits. We kneel and stroke his neck, scratch behind his horns, rub his belly and so on. Once he gets his fill he runs to join the nannies and kids.
He is brother to Precious and Nutmeg. We had him wethered when he was little so he could stay with us. After all – Everyone needs a Romeo.
He is boss of the goat herd at this time. Strong but fair and still enjoys cuddling with his sisters. He loves to play, jumping, butting heads and running. Long and lanky, he enjoys reaching for the highest branches to nibble.
He is our sweet Romeo.
|Posted on May 8, 2019 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
It’s raining AGAIN. When you are trying to get seeds and seedlings in the ground it is helpful if the soil is not water logged. Needless to say not much was accomplished in the flower patch this week except pulling weeds. Aster seeds were started indoors along with Cantebury bells, basil, ageratum and statice.
I am happy to report that direct seeded zinnias, sunflowers, celosia and more marigolds have germinated and are growing well. Marigolds are one of my favorite flowers. I plant the Giant Yellow from Johnny’s seed. The flowers are big, beautiful, and have a sweet smell along with strong stems. This year I am also trying Jedi Orange from Ameriseed. The anticipation…
|Posted on May 8, 2019 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
It’s always a surprise. We make an educated guess of who’s going to lamb first and we are seldom right. 2019 Spring Lambing. We were wrong again. Sweet Pea will be first we said – she was second. Cleo lambed first. A beautiful health little ewe (girl) – we named her Marlie.
Sweet Pea shocked us a few days later with TRIPLETS! All are healthy and a good size- no wonder she was waddling! Unfortunately, she is not able to nurse them due to scarring from a previous battle with mastitis. Bottle feeding all three is a challenge. They were befuddled by the bottle the first 24 hours. Trying to tuck one lamb and guide it to drink while the others are frantically nosing the second bottle, then you finally have the one nursing and start helping the second lamb only to realize the first lamb has now stopped and can’t figure it out – so you try to gently pry its mouth open to get the bottle in all the while hoping the second lamb is still nursing plus the third lamb has grown impatient and wondered off to try to nurse from another ewe. (Who quickly headbutts it away ☹). Thankfully, Saturday evening they all figured it out. Yay! Now when we walk out and ask, “Who’s hungry?” All three perk up and high tail it to us, hungrily taking the bottles and draining them within minutes. This is Sweet Pea’s last lambing she is officially retired to enjoy the good life here. At the 3:00am feeding Sunday morning Lady Grey lambed. Textbook delivery, healthy lamb-feet dragging we went back to bed. More lambs on the way- it’s only just begun….
Thankfully, we had a break from kidding and calving before we started lambing. The goat kids are all about two months old. Growing well, jumping and playing in the pasture. The fall calves will be weaned soon. Time for momma cows to rest and recover before they calve again. The lush pastures from abundant rain will ease the calves stress and nourish the cows. Good times, good times here at the farm.