Dreamin

This too could be yours for a small fortune!  It doesn’t hurt to dream.  I’m afraid mine is going to be made of straw bales, cattle panels and plastic.  A far cry from this beauty at Seeds of Change for a mere $3,199.00!   If I was at all handy with a hammer and nails I might go to the Restore and get old doors and windows and attach them.  But knowing how I am with hammers and nails….well, let’s just say it wouldn’t stand for long.  The first big wind would take it to OZ.

It’s In The Mail

Oh boy, my peeps were mailed yesterday!

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They are coming USPS priority and the ladies at the post office are looking out for them. This spring they had the arrival of baby ducks and turkeys so they are old hats at this. I’m not.

I think I’ve got most everything ready…..well, not really. But hopefully they can wait until I make my run to Tractor Supply later today. If they do come sooner, they will be just fine with the set up I have, but ideally I need a few things.

Honey is still asking me what I’m going to do with them. I’m thinking I can take the reciprocating saw to the dark room frame and take it out in pieces through the basement door. Then when I get it outside I can reconstruct it. It would work. For the time being, these little girls will stay in the basement in a box. Then they’ll get transfered to the small rabbit hutch that I picked up along side the road one day. After that…..well, I haven’t got a clue!!!

Stay tuned.

Ouch Mommy!

I’m such a chicken. My sister informed me that my 8 month old calf is JUST an animal. She can’t believe how I talk to my cows and love them like they are part of the family. Well….that’s because they are.

But while she was here yesterday on her vaca from CA, she did the job that I’ve been putting off. She put the weaning ring on Joy. In fact she was willing to put in the permanent nose ring and pierce my Joy’s nose……she is the wife of a vet and I guess she has a stomach of iron. But when I told her there could be bleeding she thought that we shouldn’t try.

I held Joy while Jackie got the ring in her nose. Poor baby, she rolled her eyes to the back of her head and twisted her head as far around as she could.

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I was sure that she’d manage to get it off by morning….but she didn’t. She did have some trouble getting her nose in her usual bucket for some yummy grain this morning. So I pushed it up and she figured out a way to eat in the length rather than the width of the bucket.

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Her little nose runs now off the ring and she can’t lick it. That’s got to be a real booger! 😉

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I put the girls together this morning so that if Joy did try to suck, Josie would kick her since there are little spikes on the ring. Josie was thrilled to be back with what she thinks is her baby. They played push and shove for a while and then laid down to ruminate for a while.

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I’ve got to keep an eye on things to make sure she keeps that ring in and doesn’t suck on Josie any more.

I’m so convinced Josie is going to make a first rate Mama Cow!

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Rockie’s Demise

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Rockie Rooster

I’ve become a REAL farmer. I’m also learning the hard lessons of being a farmer.

In many of my farming books, and in particular, All Flesh is Grass and Grass-Fed Cattle, the authors speak of only keeping the strongest animals in your herd or flock. Never purchase a runt or injured animal.

Well, I guess I’m a sucker. My heart is so darn soft it’s not funny. When I bought Rockie…yea, I paid good money for a bird with a broken wing. At the time, I thought he was a she and that a broken wing had nothing to do with laying good farm eggs.

Roxie soon turned into Rockie. And with that came the male voice of a rooster. You’ve seen the sleep commercial…..a rooster crowing in the middle of the night is NOT funny to the owner or the neighbors, especially those living in the rural suburbs of Washington DC.

Rockie became a good rooster though. He kept order in the hen house and protected my little Abigail Adams until she could fend for herself. He fertilized many eggs and was my own personal alarm system. He didn’t take well to strangers and would sound the alarm whenever anything was out of place.

BUT

Rockie crowed. In the early morning hours as I was trying to not wake up….he’d crow, crow, crow. I’d get so mad that I’d swear today was the day. Then, I had a dream that Rockie’s day had come. I thought maybe it was a sign.

So yesterday in the midst of great stress in my life, I caged Rockie….an interesting feat…and proceeded to prepare the table and sharpen the knife.

I made a funnel from an old milk jug and nailed it to the tree. I estimate Rockies weight to be 5-8 lbs hanging weight as they say. He was very resigned to the fact that his day was up. He was becoming Sunday dinner. Somehow he just knew for over a week what I was thinking. I just know he did.

Anyway, I tried to slit his throat quickly and humanely. He was so scared. Done. I cried my heart out and cry again as I write this. I never want to do it again. I will pay whatever the price for birds that are freezer ready. I just can’t do it again. I think it’s Gene Logsdon that says, don’t cull chickens too often because your heart becomes too hardened. And a farmer needs to have a tender heart.

Oh my heart is surely tender.

Hang in there…the story only gets better.

I left Rockie to bleed out and went in the house for a few minutes. When I returned the funnel was on the ground and Rockie was no where in sight. I swear he was dead. I watched him for a few seconds after the fact and he didn’t move and he was bleeding. But now I had a dead chicken running around.. Oh my goodness, what if an animal took him and dropped him at the neighbors front door. Oh my goodness. Where was Rockie?

I started looking around. The tears had now become lighter with a little laughter. Frankly I was glad that whatever took my rooster could have it. I didn’t want to dress him for Sunday dinner.

There he was in the herb garden about 5-6 feet from the tree. It remains a mystery to me how he got there. But the saying, “I’m like a chicken running around with my head cut off”, makes a lot more sense to me today.

Good bye Rockie Boy, you were a good rooster.

In Search For A Cow

As you know we were in the process of purchasing Butter Cupp from the Cupp Farm in VA. Unfortunately Butter “went down” last week and wasn’t expected to live. BUT she did! As a result of being down for several days the farmer did not think it was conscionable to follow through with the sale. Even though I believed that this cow was the one that God wanted for us, He had other plans. In retrospect, I can see now that God wanted Tammy and I to meet for reasons beyond our own imaginings. I have the gift of intercessory prayer and I know now that it was for this reason we met. Tammy lost her son only 6 short weeks before we stopped by cow shopping. Her son was a beautiful 18 yr old with a great future, but his life was taken tragically for reasons we will never understand. I cannot know Tammy’s pain or even begin to understand what she is dealing with on a daily basis. BUT, I do know the ONE who does and I go before His throne every day and have remembered my dear friend ever since the day we met on Nov 7. She has become a friend and encourager. For this I am so thankful.

I sat on my bed Sat morning asking God to help me understand why Butter was not meant to be ours. To help me see His plan. To go before me and give me wisdom in searching for a Jersey. You know how these things go, I wasn’t looking and there it was. My plans to visit my family in DE on Sat changed. It was the coldest morning we’ve had yet in MD. Below 20*F when I got up. It never got out of the 30’s and it was COLD with an Alberta Clipper coming through the region and snow in our forecast. (Which by the way is how my new boots got clean!!! See a reason for everything!!!)

I bundled up in my Arctic Ladies Carhart Christmas coat with my new steel toed cowgirl boots on and headed out in search of Jersey Cows. I found the farm and the farmers hard at work on their commercial dairy farm. They have 100 head of Holsteins and Jerseys. The reason for selling off their registered Jersey herd is due to a shift in roles. Their adult son wants to take over the big farm and the farmer and his wife want to move half their herd over to their house a few hundred acres over and build a new processing facility for bottled milk.

As I was given a tour of the herd of heifers, I noted to myself that I was glad that the ground was frozen solid. Nothing was movable that day, not even cow manure. Then we entered the pit or whatever it’s called where the cows are before going into the milking parlor. Remember we’re talking 100 cows! As soon as the thought about keeping my new boots clean crossed my mind, we stepped into what I really can’t begin to describe! My new boots had been christened!!!! Oh boy had they. It was all I could do not to vomit as we slushed our way through to meet the new bull calf.

Anyway…….to make a long story short. I arrived 1 hour after a Jersey bull calf was born. I was really hoping to see the event, but got there to see him struggling to stand and looking a bit confused in his new world. His Mama was the Jersey I originally found the ad for.

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Still wet, with steam coming off of him, shivering in the cold. What a shock.

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Mama was doing what Mama’s do….admiring her young.

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Trying to stand….but not quite yet!

As it turned out I had a long chat with the farmer while standing in 20-30*F weather on frozen ground for 2 hrs. It was a good chance to see how my boots were going to do….they did fine, but the Merino Wool socks failed the test! However, I don’t think anything could have kept me warm on that morning.

While there I picked out a nice looking little Jersey heifer. A bull was being brought in on Sunday for….well….you know. And I said I’d like to have that heifer bred. They also had many new calves for sale of which I now have my heart set on the October calf. I think I convinced Honey that two Jerseys are in order!!!! It didn’t take much convincing. My desire is to raise the calf on grass and sell her as a bred heifer. Or even to keep her after I see what my heifer drops next fall.

Who ever thunk? Me a real cowgirl!

I’m reminded of the Proverb 31 woman…..11) Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 16) She considers a field and buys it;  Or a cow or a goat or a chicken!