|Posted on May 1, 2019 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
She was our first bottle kid. Born on a sweltering, humid day – April 10, 2016. She was the last of the triplets. We almost didn’t see her. Lillie, her mother, was tending to the first two. We were checking them over and had turned to leave. Movement by the hay feeder stopped us. We were shocked to see a third kid still covered in goo, shaking her head. We knew at that moment she was Precious!
She’s a little on the small side but makes up for that in personality. She is tough and stands her ground. When we introduced Ginger (Dec. 2017) Precious was determined to dominate despite her stature. Ginger is a full blood boer and very stout. Poor Ginger didn’t have a chance! Precious won every skirmish. Thankfully, they tolerate each other now.
Precious gave birth to her first kids (twins ) this past March. She’s a great mom and her kids are growing well. She’s our Precious girl and we adore her.
|Posted on April 28, 2019 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
Oh, the lengths we go for our livestock. We tell ourselves often “We are too hands on” but to no avail. This past week was no different.
The forecast for Tuesday night into Wednesday – thunderstorms. Time to prepare. We cover equipment, pick up or strap down anything that will blow, check shelters, barns, and the list goes on. However, top priority Tuesday was the new baby calves.
We have a creek that runs through our farm. Its usually a quiet, tranquil little creek, but fed with enough rain it roars to life. So much so a small calf could easily be swept away. We were bound and determined to prevent that. We planned to pen the mommas and calves by the barn well way from the danger.
Trouble was newborn calves are bedded down by their moms, often solitary and spread out. The calves won’t move or utter a sound until retrieved. The hunt began. We crisscrossed the pasture on foot and quickly penned all but one calf. (of course) Evening was falling. So, we jumped in the RTV, slowly bumping along looking for this hidden calf. We were down by the creek, impatient, stressed, frustrated. Momma hid him good. Wait! There he is! Curled up in the brush on the other side of the hot wire. We cautiously approached not wanting him to spook and run. He stood up and we quickly surrounded him. We walked him to the RTV. Now how to get him across the pasture and to his mom? We made a rope halter – he wasn’t impressed. Wonder if we could put him on the floorboard of the RTV? Carefully lifting him we laid him in between us. We drove as fast as possible to the pen.
His mom scolded us all and then led her calf to the barn. Feeling a tad underappreciated we called it a day.
|Posted on April 25, 2019 at 10:15 PM||comments (0)|
We were biting our nails as the rain poured down with a vengeance. Thankfully, only minor losses in the flower patch.
We worked late into the night Tuesday to get as many seeds sown as possible. Sunflowers, zinnias, dill, calendula, celosia and more marigolds! We also transplanted out seedlings of cosmos, and bachelor buttons.
The storms started right on time. Some of the cosmos were washed away by the heavy rains. Cosmos are annual flowers with colorful daisy-like flowers that sit atop long slender stems. Blooming throughout the summer months, they attract birds, bees, and butterflies to your garden. Growing easily from seeds, cosmos even survive in poor soil conditions. So an excuse to start more seeds!
|Posted on April 24, 2019 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
Annie is a pistol. She is confident, likes her personal space, and enjoys our undivided attention. She’ll even go as far as head butting other sheep away from us so she can be the center of attention. She’s been known to go thru an electric fence or two, leaving the rest of the herd for “greener” pastures.
This got her into trouble this past fall-big trouble. We were working on the corral and noticed Annie was separated from the herd munching away. Shrugging our shoulders, we went back to our task. A little while later Annie was in trouble. She knew it and came to us, clearly uncomfortable. One look and we knew-BLOAT!
We quickly penned her and ran to our livestock supply pantry. Mineral Oil, baking soda, pepto bismol, drench gun, and gloves were snatched. Running back to the pen, we saw Annie on the ground, rolling. Oh no. We got her up and in the chute. We carefully mixed our ingredients and administered them. (Hard to do with shaking hands and racing heart!) Now to keep her walking…we walked her constantly, at a slow pace for thirty minutes. Finally, the danger passed. Her sides softened and she began to relax. To close Annie – way to close.
Thankfully, she has had no issues since that dreadful day. She still causes mayhem every once in awhile, but for the most part is an easy keeper. Annie has blessed us with three healthy lambs and is due again any day now.
|Posted on April 22, 2019 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Pastures are green, grass is growing, rain is falling. The smell of soil, beauty of wildflowers, and buzz of insects makes our hearts happy. Watching the cows, sheep and goats graze brings peace and a smile.
They ignore us now until sunset. Then the sheep and goats return to their respective pens. Safe from predators, they lay down with full bellies and chew their cud. Content and tired.
The bees are enjoying the dandelions, Indian paint brushes and prairie verbena to name a few. Lady bugs are in abundance this year. We love them because they eat aphids and other plant eating pests. One ladybug can eat up to 5000 insects in its lifetime!
Spring is wonderful but we were reminded this week to stay alert. Spring also brings out rattlesnakes. The diamond back. We know they are beneficial-keeping rodents in check, but still. This one was full of piss and vinegar. He struck at the RTV for pete’s sake! So we did the only thing we could-bye,bye rattler. The risk of him striking a goat kid or lamb was too high. He should have just slithered away.
|Posted on April 18, 2019 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
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!
|Posted on April 18, 2019 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
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.
|Posted on April 11, 2019 at 6:05 PM||comments (0)|
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.
|Posted on April 11, 2019 at 6:05 PM||comments (0)|
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.
|Posted on April 11, 2019 at 6:05 PM||comments (0)|
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!