|Posted on February 24, 2019 at 9:35 AM||comments (0)|
It was that kind of week. We had our to do list ready. Monday dawned and we hit the ground running. Weather for Tuesday was bleak, so we needed to prepare. The pens needed cleaning and deodorizing. We gathered the necessary tools and started shoveling, raking, scooping. Once that pleasant task was complete, we applied lime powder. Lime powder helps deodorize and repel insects. We only apply in the shelters/barns because we encourage beneficial insects. Finally, we scattered fresh bedding and TADA…clean pens. Well at least for a day or two…
Tuesday, we hunkered down. The sheep and goats were fed in their pens. They were content and safe. Our to do list had to wait another day.
Wednesday arrived with a promise of sun and a reminder. Coyotes still roam. Craig was glassing with binoculars and there it was heading up the fence line. It heard our sheep and goats. We quickly made our presence known and it tucked tail, bolting into the brush. We were hypervigilant that day as everyone grazed. Not much was accomplished on our never ending to do list.
Friday, we had the brilliant idea to let the goats and some sheep out front to graze down one area. Apparently, they can’t read our minds and decided the neighbors place was much more inviting. Argh! We quickly cajoled, corralled and encouraged them back home. Thankfully, our neighbors enjoyed videoing the wandering hooves and were happy to have help mowing. You know the old saying, “Good fences make good neighbors” it may be true but good people make exceptional neighbors and we are thankful. Hopefully, next week our to do list will see more crossed off than added!
ANDREWS FARM 02.24.19
|Posted on February 20, 2019 at 9:45 PM||comments (0)|
Ol’ Dottie. She is one of a kind. She is our biggest Dorper Ewe. Long legged, full bodied and gorgeous. She loves to give us nose kisses and nibble on our chins. She enjoys a little loving and she trusts us completely. (That’s a little scary.)
Dottie is one of our founding herd members. She gave us quite a scare in 2017. We almost lost her to parasites, but with vigilant care she recovered. She can be a bit pushy around the other ewes, especially the young ones. But all we must do is exclaim “Dottie” and she calms down.
She has blessed us with healthy, big lambs. This last lamb was born on Thanksgiving Day. Instead of feasting with family, we were sitting in the barn with Dottie. She was thankful and we were amazed to welcome new life to the farm.
|Posted on February 13, 2019 at 10:15 PM||comments (0)|
We were lucky to buy Snickers as a young heifer in 2014. She has grown into a good-looking momma cow. She has blessed us with two heifers who are now pregnant with their first calves. This past fall she produced her first bull calf. He is growing well.
Snickers is always attentive to our whereabouts. If she feels neglected, she will let us know – loudly! She leads the rest of the herd to us just in case there is a treat to be had. (four-legged composters!) We make sure to save lettuce, spinach, squash, carrots, cabbage and more just for her delight.
We have watched her grow and mature to a calm, level headed cow. She loves her back scratched and will eagerly take treats from our hand. She was the boss momma until recently. Apparently, Snickers is now second in command. She seems content with the change, and we are content to be her farmers.
|Posted on February 8, 2019 at 10:10 PM||comments (0)|
We’ve all been there…anxiously waiting test results, news, paycheck, packages and so on. We’ve been waiting for Elsa to lamb for over two weeks. She’s a first timer so it can be hard to judge the signs of eminent labor. We took turns getting up every night at 12:30am and 3:00am to check her. Towards the end we were begging her to go into labor. If there was a switch, we would have flipped it! Finally, she went into labor Wednesday and delivered a healthy ram. They are both doing great. We have had 2 nights of blissful uninterrupted sleep. We almost feel normal. More lambs are on the way, so we cherish our sleep for now. (Kidding starts in four weeks too – oh my)
We are anxious for spring green up. The cows are yearning for tender shoots of grass. The goats are ready for those tasty first leaves of bushes and trees. We all sense the promise of spring. Its right around the corner (even though its sleeting as we write this).
We’ve been germinating flower seeds in order to plant as soon as the soil warms. Asters, lupine, marigold, brown-eyed susans, daisies, celosia, salvia, cosmos and more. *happy sigh* The high tunnel should be completed soon. Then planting can begin before the last frost. Playing (I mean working) in the soil is calming for us. There is a bacterium in soil that stimulates serotonin production which makes you relaxed and happier. Recent studies are underway proving this fact. We experience it first hand and know when we are anxiously waiting we better get our hands dirty.
|Posted on February 7, 2019 at 5:35 PM||comments (0)|
She is a beautiful and feisty nannie. Food is her number one passion which makes her very aggressive towards the other goats. Everybody has learned to steer clear. However, Lacy has learned that when we are present, she better be on her best behavior. Bullies are not tolerated. Thankfully, she has adjusted.
Lacy is not one to be petted. She tolerates a quick pat on the back. Which is a huge improvement from when she first came to our farm. She was very high strung. Now, Lacy enjoys a more relaxing life at our farm. She knows she’s loved.
We have been blessed with twins and triplets from Lacy. She’s due again this spring. She’s an exceptional mother and we are raising two of her doelings in hopes they will be exceptional too.
|Posted on February 1, 2019 at 8:55 PM||comments (0)|
Living and working on a farm brings awareness to the Divine design (circle of life). How all things, yes even those pesky flies, serve a purpose, fill a role, in keeping nature harmonious. It’s a fragile balancing act for sure.
Take for instance the harvester ants. They are very docile unless they find a way into your glove. Then their whopping sting makes you yell and jump around in pain. These little guys serve to increase seed dispersal and provide nutrients that increase seed survival. In addition, by creating their underground chambers they provide soil aeration. We have several mounds on our farm that we protect for this purpose.
These ants help keep pastures healthy which benefit our cows, sheep and goats. The goats browse on weeds, cedars, bushes, trees which helps weed the pastures. The cows graze on tall grass and browse on some weeds and trees which helps promote stronger roots and growth. The sheep graze on shorter grass and weeds to promote denser growth. They all spread manure which helps fertilize the pastures providing essential nutrients for healthy growth. It’s a fragile balancing act to not over graze pastures yet ensure everyone is satisfied.
Farming and ranching dominate our thoughts and our lives. It’s easy for us to become unbalanced. We become so focused that we forget birthdays, miss holidays and don’t pick up the phone to call loved ones. Thankfully, our families and friends are patient and quick to forgive. We were reminded this week of how fragile and brief life is. We lost a dear friend. He was a rare soul. He exuded life with a big smile, bear hugs and lots of laughs. He was kind and helpful to everyone. We were blessed to be in his circle of life. Our prayers continue for his family. The days, weeks, and months ahead will be challenging for them and for all of us who knew him.
The circle of life is fragile handle with prayer.
ANDREWS FARM 02.01.19
|Posted on January 30, 2019 at 10:10 PM||comments (0)|
Cleo is a mess. We bought her from a couple we visited. She was not the reason we were there, but we adored her the minute we saw her. She followed us around like a puppy. The couple was willing to part with her and she came home with us. Little did we know what adventures awaited.
Cleo finds trouble. We used to use electric net fencing. Sometimes it would be electrified sometimes it would not. She always knew when it was off. We would find her tangled up in netting or grazing in a paddock we had blocked off. She’ll go under electric wire, thru barbed wire, and wander off away from the herd. She is a bit of a loner so we constantly keep an eye on her. Thankfully, she loves her shepherds abundantly.
Cleo will follow us around in the yard, the pasture, down the road. She loves to be petted and is content to be in our business. She has blessed us with healthy robust lambs. Cleo is an excellent mother and puts all she has into raising her young. We wouldn’t trade her for anything even when we are exasperated by her never ending antics.
|Posted on January 25, 2019 at 11:15 PM||comments (0)|
Over the years we have learned to adapt to the challenges each day presents. It’s not always easy, sometimes it is down right frustrating.
After a long week of working to construct a small greenhouse, our efforts are for not. The wind last Saturday picked it up and twisted it good. Yes, we should have secured it before all the blowing started- could’ve, would’ve, should’ve. We thought (well truth be told it was me) it’s only a frame, not enough there for the wind to catch. WRONG. Craig, gently reminded me – ALWAYS anchor, err on the side of caution. Think things thru.
Where to start seeds now? The temptation to throw in the towel was strong. Then we looked at the high tunnel that is still standing, getting closer to completion every day. We’ve invested so much time and effort. A friend recently posted – “No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress. Keep going, don’t give up.” So, we adapted. Our sunroom is now full of seed trays, an extra bedroom is full of transplants and we push forward.
But what to do about that Greenhouse? We called the company. Explained the situation and were told the 5 parts we needed to replace would be an appalling amount of money. We stewed for days. Our frustration level bubbling. Finally, we sent an email stating our displeasure at the price quote. They called offering a generous discount. They adapted. The Greenhouse will be repaired and erected eventually.
Of course, the livestock are oblivious to our construction struggles. All is right in their world as long as we check on them, providing food and water. We begin and end our days making rounds, counting heads, opening and closing pens. Thursday, the sheep had a surprise for us. A new lamb! JJ delivered a healthy ram all by herself. We quickly moved her and baby to the “maternity ward”. Its closer to the house so we can check on mommas and babies more frequently. It’s also very protected from predators. They are adapting to their new surroundings.
Speaking of predators. We’ve been discouraging those pesky coyotes for weeks now. Predator lights are moved every day. We make rounds at different times during the night, shining flashlights, making noise. Every morning we scan the pastures with binoculars looking for them. Thursday – Bingo! Two were across the creek. Craig silently made his way to the creek. For Tabitha—coyote down.
Coyotes – 1 Andrews Farm – 1
They better adapt to a different area….
ANDREWS FARM 01.25.19
|Posted on January 23, 2019 at 10:20 PM||comments (0)|
She was our first full fledged bottle baby. Ruthie’s mom, Divine, passed away from hardware disease (despite multiple vet visits) when baby Ruthie was only a few weeks old. It took time and patience to get her to take a bottle. Once she understood bottle = food she eagerly ran to us 4+ times a day.
When she was 2 years old she injured her hoof. Vet said to give her aspirin. We tried all the conventional methods - she would not swallow that huge aspirin. Hmm – bottle, crushed aspirin in milk replacer? Why not? It worked! So, We are pretty sure she would take a bottle to this day.
Ruthie grew up to be a beautiful Angus cow. She loves her neck rubbed, the harder the better, and her back. She gives wet nose kisses to us frequently. She has blessed us with 4 healthy calves. The last one a heifer – Babe! (Who promises to be a beautiful mess just like her mom.)
|Posted on January 23, 2019 at 9:15 PM||comments (0)|
She is second in command of our goat herd. Yet everyone follows her in the pasture. Where Lillie goes they go. Apparently, she knows all the best places to forage. When we want the herd to come in we start singing her name – they follow. Makes our job easier.
Lillie likes her back and sides rubbed. She is an excellent mother. We have heard full blood boer goats will leave their kids in the pasture. Lillie is Kiko. We breed her to a full blood boer Billie. Kiko goats are recognized for their superior maternal instincts, greater parasite resistance, rapid growth rate of kids and, fewer foot problems, fewer health issues and aggressive foraging abilities. That’s Lillie in a nut shell.
She has had triplets 2 years in a row. We supplement with a bottle, but she usually can handle all three until they are a couple of weeks old. She’s due again this spring. Will she make it 3 years straight? Hmmm…