Our Dexter Family Just Grew – Again!

Helena and Beatrice Photo taken 10-19-2014

Helena and Beatrice
Photo taken 10-19-2014

Meet Beatrice and Helena!

They arrived just last night.  And we are so tickled to have them come live with us!

Both girls are Irish Dexters.  Both have been tested and confirmed to be Positive for Chondro Dysplasia – a very well-known dwarfism trait that comes from the original gene pool of the breed.

We are so tickled to have them with us!  We stalled them up last night – because they arrived after dark.  We had already decided to put them with our youngest girl in our family – Anna.  We gave her free-will access to the barn alley through the night to keep them company and settled.

Dwayne - Anna - Beatrice - Helena Photo taken 10-19-2014

Dwayne – Anna – Beatrice – Helena
Photo taken 10-19-2014

Look how tiny they are - compared to Anna – who turns 2-years-old on February 26, 2015!

Anna – herself – is due to calve around January 31, 2015.  This will be her very first calf.  She’s alone in this age bracket and circumstances at this time.  Not wanting her to be alone – we felt it would be worth a try to put her with Beatrice and Helena.  Cattle are Herd Communal type animals.  We didn’t want her to be alone – despite her pregnancy.  But – we will be moving her into our little yard around the 3rd week of January – so we can keep a close watch on her.

Anna was so little – compared to the rest of the girls.  That is – until these 2 girls arrived.  I wanted to cry.  We were so shocked by how huge Anna looks now!  It reminded me of when I saw my oldest daughter, Lyndsey, first time after having my 2nd daughter, Britni.  All of a sudden – it was as if my baby girl disappeared and became this grown –up little girl.  I must have bawled for over an hour – just holding her in my arms and loving on her!

They grow so fast.

We were not expecting these 2 new girls to be as tiny as they are.  They are so adorable!  But when we consider breeding Artist with them – I just cringe.  My thought is – “If they don’t hurry up and do some more growing – I am NOT gonna have the guts to even try!”

They’re less than 3 months apart in age.  But they fell on the rocker of a new year.  Beatrice will be 1-year-old this coming November 22, 2014.  Helena will be 1-year-old this coming January 30, 2015.  At the very least – they will not see breeding no sooner than 16-months of age.

But I’ve been told that they should put on some really good and proper growth by the time they’re ready for breeding.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed!  And at this time – we’re considering breeding them with Seamus – if he’s not sold by then!

Using Rust-O-leum's Restore 10X Deck Paint has been a Sanity Saver!

Using Rust-O-leum’s Restore 10X Deck Paint has been a Sanity Saver!

We tried something new with the floor of our livestock trailer.  Dwayne painted Rust-O-leum’s Restore 10X slip resist deck paint on the floor boards.  This stuff is THICK.  But it has 2 different types of slip resistance in the paint that make it so worth the effort.  Sweeping out was a 2 minute job.  Nothing but dust and dried manure left – which came off with a spray nozzle on a hose – and a house broom.  But he still went back over it with a mild soap cleaner for disinfecting.

It has knocked his time cleaning the trailer down by 2 hours!!

All the way around – this has been a such a wonderful experience.  And we’re looking so forward to enjoying time with these new babies!

Posted in Good News!, Misc., Preparing For New Arrivals, Yearly Accomplishments | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Could I Farm the Whole State?

Could I Farm the Whole State?.

A long posting.  Yes.  Skimming did not work for me.  I had to go back to the top and start over.  And boy… was I so glad I did that.

THIS posting by Chism Heritage Farm deserves national recognition – besides attention.  This has to be the most profound posting I’ve ever read about this country and its behavior – during the course of my entire life.

Kudos to the Author!

Posted in Misc. | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Watch Farmland Documentary FOR FREE at Hulu.Com NOW!

No matter who you are – or – where you live in the United States…. No matter what you do in life…

You have to eat food to sustain your body’s life.


Sit your kids down and watch this Documentary – as soon as you can.

It will help you understand so much.  It will help you recognize extremism that’s gone paranoid and rabid with a fear factor that is actually backfiring – and killing off YOUR food sources.

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Progress on the Bedroom for The Man of The House

2014-9-24-Artistsbedroom1

Sometimes… the hardest work doesn’t look like you’ve done anything at all.  This is 1 of 2 posts that had to be moved today.  This particular post was a booger.  It was like trying to fit my butt into a Girdle that’s 2 sizes too small.

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The whole day was assumed to be a challenge.  Getting this side wall installed and getting this gate reset – after shifting the post on its left – with a bull standing right there.

The big question was – “Will Artist let us get this accomplished without giving us problems?

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Not one bit of a problem did the boy dish out.  In fact – Artist was standing about 20 feet to the left when I took this shot of Dwayne prepping strength before installing the metal sheets.  At this point – even the corral panel was shifted open from its temporary gate position.

We have such a wonderful Bull.  He amazes me.

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He never came near all the chaos that went on in this corner – until we picked up all the tools and trash.

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Hard to tell – with the bright sunshine.  But the fence is still running through the shelter.  We’ll be installing the back wall tomorrow.  Next will come finishing this wall.  And then we’ll pull the fence out from inside.

We’re exhausted.  Our bodies are trying to choke both of us.  Tylenol is measuring up like snake oil.  But…

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We’re getting there.  And that’s what counts!

Posted in FF Freedom's Artist, Yearly Accomplishments | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Update on Ealaiontoir’s Seamus – Our Bull Calf for Sale

Photo taken 9-20-2014

Photo taken 9-20-2014

As of today – halter training has been going wonderful!  Seamus is learning how to behave while tied.  We are now working on smaller issues – such as standing still when told to stop walking.  One thing that’s helped quite a bit – has been to leave the bucket of cookies sitting on a fence post at the corner where we spend the least of our time.  The message we want him to understand is that the cookies come after he does what we want.

He’s now hooked on the cookies.  Now comes the time when he has to learn that they’re not feed.  He can’t just stand in front of us and charm us with his beautiful self to get a cookie.  Little by little – we’ve progressed from getting a cookie for each and every little thing he’s done on que – to accomplishing several tasks before receiving a cookie.

Eventually – the goal should be to get him learn that good boys get 3 cookies for good sessions.

He’s been learning the words – ‘Back’ – ‘Open the door’ – ‘Close the door’ – for the past few days – during training for going in and out of doorways.   I can tell he’s plugged in.  He will even step back and/or stop to give me room for opening and/or closing the barn doors and gates.  I’m now able to tell him to move ‘back’ from anywhere – for any reason.  And he moves back.  Looking for a cookie.  Of course!

But here’s the good thing about Seamus – regarding that part.  Seamus is willing to complete the task before looking for the cookie.  I’ve seen quite a few – young and old – that won’t budge until they get the cookie – or – see the cookie(S).

This tells me we have a Bull Calf that is willing to work with the handler.  He is willing to take the first step.  He is willing to trust.

Most important to follow through.  Never lie to him.  Promise a cookie.  You better follow through after he does his part.  Not easy to get all that trust back after you lie.  And you will need this more than words can say – once he’s able to knock over a John Deere Tractor Mower!

Even off the lead rope – this little guy is so sweet and wonderful.  He has no qualms about running up to you and standing beside you.  He loves for me to stand on his left or right side with my arm across his back and pat him on the opposite side.  We’re able to walk up to him and pat him while he’s laying down without him jumping up to escape.

Had to stand behind the barn door, just to get a photo of his face!  He kept coming up and nosing the camera!

Had to stand behind the barn door, just to get a photo of his face! He kept coming up and nosing the camera!

He’s even more lovable than his Daddy was at the same age.  And that’s been a shocker for us to believe.

Be sure to check out the Sale Page for more information on Seamus.  We’ve added a Contact Form on that page for those interested in taking him home!

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New Bedroom for The Man of The House

A wish is coming true for me!  Construction began September 16th – on a new bedroom for Artist.  I’m so excited for him!  It’s good size – 18’x18’.

 

artist-bedroom1It felt so wonderful to see those first posts go in!  Irish Dexter Cattle are known for their resilience during inclement weather.  However – very high winds and heavy rain are an issue with them.  And it’s been a real thorn in my side – watching our Herd Sire endure from under the 3 Cedars.

 

artist-bedroom2I find it so amazing – the amount of time it can take for a hired crew to build something like this – compared to how quickly and thoroughly this wonderful husband I’m married to is able to get it done.  Of course – he does get a little help from his ever-so-reliable ‘Go-fer Assistant’ – in between running down to the basement to deal with laundry – out to the paddock for daily halter training – feeding – barn cleaning – mowing – vacuuming inside the house – cooking – all the other chores.  And somebody has to do the grocery shopping – as well as all the other running around!

When you cut out all the other chores – and you calculate the actual time to the project – I’d say there has been approximately 15 hours put in – so far.  And that includes time for picking up all the lumber in Lenoir City – as well as ordering and picking up the metal roofing in Vonore.

Digging holes for setting in the posts is always a pain when the job isn’t suitable enough for bringing out the big gun on the tractor.  And for this project – Dwayne ran into a serious layer of pink marble.  But he conquered – with that hand-held post-hole digger!

The challenge has been constructing the shelter around the webbed wire fencing and hotwire…

 

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Along with a Bull in the vicinity.  (I’ll explain the filth in a second…)

Artist has been really well behaved.  I managed to preoccupy him with his feed bunker for a bit.  Naturally – having an entire paddock for space wasn’t enough for him.  He reached the point where an over-abundant urge erupted.  Strong desire muscled his attention to see what would happen if he shoved the bunker into the ladder – where Dwayne was standing upon – while operating an electric nail gun.

 

playin-n-dirtHis revenge of choice when I took the bunker away from him – playing in the dirt.  He knows I complain about having a dirty face.

We have this ritual where he digs his head into his hay – just to have me scratch it off his face.  Lately – it’s been about scratching to loosen up all the DE from that curl on his face.  He loves for me to dump it all over him when the flies come around.  He just doesn’t like it trying to build a compost mound on his face!

We had to quit at Crunch Time last night.  We’ll get the last 2 sheets of metal on the roof this morning.  But Dwayne heads back for another round of his shift at work.  So – we’ll be ordering the metal for the walls – picking that up – along with more posts for a gate.

 

artist-bedroom4 The hardest part will come when we get far enough along for pulling the fence and hotwire – and revamping the gate between Artist’s paddock and the little yard where we keep the weanlings.

Gonna be a trick.

It’s a matter of – a Bull.

But we have a plan!

 

artist-bedroom5Finishing this project will just have to wait for the next round of days off.  But Artist will be able to rest under 8′ x 18′ of the roof of his new bedroom if we get any heavy rain – in the meantime.

I think he’ll have enough space in there for a whole Harem!

 

 

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Irish Dexter Home-school Time at Our House!

Aon ready for class!

Aon ready for class!

I can’t tell you how many shots I had to trash, just to get this one.  And it’s rough!   Lately – it is a fight to take photos of Aon.  He won’t stand still – comes to me wherever I try standing to get a shot!  Seems to have become more intense since being separated from his Mom.

But Dwayne helped me get a lead-rope on him this morning.  That’s not been such an easy feat with Aon.  It’s required running him into a barn stall and pinning him against the wall with a remnant of plywood.  And we’ve noticed something good about this.  Everything we’ve done to him while using this method has pertained to his Control Halter – making adjustments; Or like this morning – clasping the lead-rope to his halter.  It’s never caused him any pain.  So basically – he just submits.

Putting the lead-rope on him gave me some back-up.  He stops when he steps on the lead-rope.  They usually do.  As usual for me – I partake of the big rule – “Seize the moment!

Ta Da!  Those poor ropes take a beating from hooves, feet... and a few other things!

Ta Da! Those poor ropes take a beating from hooves, feet… and a few other things!

There are many little issues that the lead-rope training is going to help –  where every calf is concerned.  In Aon’s case – He’s now going to learn how to “walk with Granny” on a lead-rope – rather than follow behind or beside while Seamus is “walking with Granny” on the lead-rope.

Granny?”  That’s me.  I decipher with the babies from the day they’re born.  They learn to recognize who is who – right away.  Their Dam – ‘Mama.’  Dwayne – ‘Paw-Paw.’  Artist (their Sire) – ‘Daddy.’  Me -‘Granny.’

 

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Amazing to see how different he behaves with the lead-rope.

Both of these calves were born this past spring.  Aon was born on May 15th.  Seamus was born on June 6th.  Already – I only need to say – “Go see Paw-Paw.”  They take off to find Dwayne – no matter where they’re standing – or – where he may be standing.

I have a Carly Simon moment every time I look at this photo.

I have a Carly Simon moment every time I look at this photo.

This can pay off down the road – HUGE – when you are communicating with a 1000 lb. Bull.  It works like a charm for us with Artist!  (I know.  He’s so vain.)

... and I mean.... anything!

… and I mean…. anything!

The lead-rope is being left clasped to Aon’s Control Halter.  Of course – we use old ropes for the training.  The ropes take some pretty rough trips through some – pretty rough stuff – at times.

It would be very easy for Aon to learn he has the upper-hand with being able to kick me stupid – if I didn’t take the time to keep him pre-occupied with other positive training – first.  And above all else – each little accomplishment is met with a cookie.

The calves love the Apple Cookies.  And yes - their the same cookies for horses.  Perfectly fine for cows!

The calves love the Cookies with Apple in them. And yes – they’re the same cookies for horses. Perfectly fine for cows!

You can teach them to do just about anything for a cookie!  But first – you need to spend time conning them into becoming familiar with the cookies.  The goal is to turn ‘em into Cookie Addicts.

From there – I choose my battles with the cookies.  They become my weapons.  If I want a really well-behaved bull or cow – I train them to understand that they get a cookie for doing good things I want them to do.  I also train them to understand “bad cows/bulls don’t get cookies.  Only good cows/bulls get cookies!”

The look on his face when I busted him... priceless.  Daddy's face after having to walk out of a meeting at work and come to fix Artist's mess... not so priceless.

The look on his face when I busted him… priceless. Daddy’s face after having to walk out of a meeting at work and come to fix Artist’s mess… not so priceless.

When a Bull has busted your fencing – it’s just not a day that he should be receiving one single cookie.  Period.  And he should be made very aware of that fact.  “If Mama ain’t happy – ain’t nobody happy.

For the time being – Aon can’t be trusted enough to stand beside him with my back facing his rear quarters.  I stand with my right shoulder at the 2 on the clock – left shoulder at the 7.  Eyes are always keeping the whole scene in check.

All it took was a single moment of catching his Mom kicking out when she wasn’t getting her way with me.  He was only a week or so in age.  And April became The Devil’s Daughter as soon as she dropped this first calf of hers.  We’ve gone through a lot of work with her since.  But that’s a whole different story!

The problem was – Aon’s Mom has always thrown her hissy fits in life.  She kicks at and out.  Anytime she’s ever touched me with her hoof – it’s been very light.  Her kick is just a message to let me know she’s not happy.  She’s never wanted to do damage to me.  Well – sans the first 2 months of Aon’s life – anyway.  But a brand new baby cannot comprehend messages.

Aon saw the action.  He took it at face value.  And every child wants to be the best – at anything they do – to please their parents.  Right?!  Yeah.  Well.  The little fart almost took out my knee-cap inside the stall one morning!  I was afraid he was coming back for more before I could make it to the other side of that stall door.  And getting out of there seemed to take – forever.  My poor knee was sent on a visit to Hell!  And it was sending painfully vivid artwork to my brain!

I don’t want Aon kicking me when he doesn’t want to walk beside me.  I want him looking forward to getting a cookie when he does walk beside me.

Ever see photos or video of the kids in the most serious tug-o-war with a calf that won’t budge?  Ever see adults in that same scenario – dragging the poor thing – because it won’t walk on its own?

That’s a “No-No-No-NO! Just the wrong thing to do.

That’s the same thing I tell all our calves when they’re doing anything wrong – shaking my finger side to side in front of their face – and shaking my head at the same time.  Imagine trying to drag a 1000 lb. Bull like that.  Yeeaaaah….  You can forget about that.  Ain’t gonna happen.

Aon is only a steer calf.  But the days will come when we need to lead him into a trailer to head to the butcher.  We need to be able to get him into a chute for various treatments.  From time to time – he will need to be led to a different area – without the rest of the herd – for some reason.  You just never know what may come up – that can make you feel so grateful for putting in the time for training.

Winter coats already coming on.  Photo taken 9-12-2014

Winter coats already coming on. Photo taken 9-12-2014

Seamus shares the same paddock with Aon.  And he’s a Bull Calf.  He needs fairness in his yard.  Both boys get the same treatment if I want this Bull Calf to remain well-mannered.

One of our ADCA members gave me a very valuable tool – which has cut out a whole lot of the long path that I went through with Artist.

As soon as I can get a combination lead-rope around their heads after they’re born – I begin training with some other techniques for getting them used to being around me.  (I had to use combos for lambs on Seamus!)  But the heavy time spent on training comes at weaning.  We choose to wean our babies at 3 months of age – or shortly after.

Once they have the lead-rope on and they’re out in the paddock – I take hold of the lead rope.  Right hand holds the clasp of the lead-rope.  I always tie 2 knots in the rope – first one about 2 feet from the clasp – second one about 2 feet from the first knot.  Left hand sits at the first knot closest to the clasp – while holding the excess rope.

I begin by pulling just enough until the rope is tight.  I WAIT – without saying a word – for that calf to take one step forward.  As soon as that calf takes that single step forward – I RELEASE the tightness in the rope – and praise the calf.  When the calf becomes willing to take more than one step – I let it happen!  As soon as the calf digs his hooves in and balks – I tighten the rope just enough – wait – quietly.

I Release the tightness as soon as the first step forward comes – allowing the calf to take as many step as they’re willing.  And at that point there – I praise them when I see that the light has come on – through their eyes – their ears – and their muscle action.  Their eyes will look at you – ears will perk forward – muscle will relax but roll right into stepping.  It’s as if they’re a little kid saying “You want me to do it like this?”  Once the calf takes the initiative to take more than one step – we go through several more rounds of that good fortune.

And then we move the training up a notch.  I do NOT praise them if they stop when I want them to continue walking.  I say ‘no‘ – tighten up on the rope.  And then I wait for cooperation.

Eventually – I work my way up to getting them to walk from one corner of the paddock to another.  Once they make it to the other corner – I train them to stop with one of the buzz words I use.  “Whoah.”  When they begin to stop at that corner after I’ve used that word – I praise the calf and give them a cookie.  They gain understanding that they’ll get a cookie if they go to the corners.  From there – I gradually work them up to making a full round before praising them and giving them a cookie.

There are so many times when I find myself out in the middle of a paddock – needing a cow to come with me to a different area for some reason.  And I don’t have a lead-rope.  That’s where the advantage has kicked in for us – from choosing to have all our cattle wear Thomas’ Control Halters.  They are custom-designed and sized for Irish Dexter Cattle.  And they are so worth the investment.  With the training each of them have had as babies – here at our place – we only need to hold on to the ring for clasping the lead-rope.  They walk anywhere with us!

*** Let me be clear about the training I describe on this blog:

We raise Irish Dexter Cattle.  They are nowhere near the size of standard breeds of cattle.  While they do possess an equal amount of strength as standard breeds – they are extremely DOCILE – compared to other breeds of cattle.  This breed also possesses a high rate of memory retention.  While some of these methods may work for standard cattle – others may not.

Always make sure you do your research about your chosen breed!

Posted in Aon, FF Freedom's Artist, PF No Foolin' April, Seamus, What We've Learned, Yearly Accomplishments | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Weaning Time… Uuuuggghhh!

 

The first day Aon and Seamus shared time together!

The first day Aon and Seamus shared time together!

Weaning our calves began 4 days ago.  And I’m… fairly sure we’ve managed to tick off a few neighbors.  But things could be much worse.

We could have 50 calves and Dams trying to wake the dead – instead of 2 and 2.

 

Photo taken 8-2-2014

Photo taken 8-2-2014

Seamus will be ready for heading to a new home by mid-October!  He is going to be a really wonderful Bull for some very lucky family.  You can read more about him right here!

Please feel free to contact me through the comments section below this posting – if you’re interested in purchasing Seamus – 0r – have any questions.  Be sure to leave your email address – so I can get back to you.  All communications will be kept private for your benefit.

Photo taken 9-12-2014

Photo taken 9-12-2014

We were hoping for the first week of October – until Cora decided to snap the middle finger of my right hand with the ring in her Control Halter, last Monday.

I remain very vigilant with showing her the slow progress of my healing.

 

Photo taken 9-12-2014

Photo taken 9-12-2014

My lean hopes for being able to break stride of bad habits imprinted on Aon by his Dam – April – are showing some great promise!  Aon loves to learn. He hates to be alone.  But he loves to learn!

Photo taken on 9/12/2014.

Photo taken on 9/12/2014.

He stands at the fence and takes his turn trying to scream his red head off.  But he likes to learn!

2014-9-12-aon3He learned a lot from his Mama – who continues with her guard up (in the background) – just in case anybody really is trying to murder her baby.  But did I mention – he loves learning new things?  And he learns fast!

"No, Aon.  Time to be a big boy, now.  Sorry!"

“No, Aon. Time to be a big boy, now. Sorry!”

Well.  All but the fact that his every attempt to convince Peta that we’re torturing him is mute.  It’s not working with getting me to cave in to letting him go back to his Mama – either.

But I have not endured one single kick or headbutt from him – since his first day away from April.  And the light came on for the buzzwords, “beside Granny,’ as well.  Already – we have progressed to letting Granny stand beside us while rubbing the backline.  I’ll take that as a win for the claim that he is – learning!

I know.  Even the banding won’t make a difference.  As soon as the little fart doesn’t get his way – he’ll go full throttle.  Butt in the air – both rear feet kicking like there’s no tomorrow.  And then the big turn for the hardest ram he can muster with his head!

Sadly – he just might discover how tough the barn wall is.  He’ll be too busy to see me stepping out of the line of fire.  ;)

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So thrilled with these two boys!  They both have the same Sire.  Their Dams are sisters – whom share the same Dam – but different Sires.

And here’s the funny part.  Both Dams are like twins.  One is the very sweetest.  One could be a direct descendent of Satan, Himself.

That’s one of the reasons why Aon (the red head) has been banded.  We’re hoping it’s just the imprint from him being April’s first calf.  If not – we’ll try pulling the next calf 3 days after it’s born, and see if that makes any difference in disposition.

If that doesn’t help…

Last full day that Aon and April spent the whole day together.

Last full day that Aon and April spent the whole day together.

Well – it just may be up to how much Aon is willing to learn – now that Granny’s got her hands on him!

Posted in Aon, Good News!, Misc., PF No Foolin' April, PF Patriot's Cora, Seamus, What We've Learned, Yearly Accomplishments | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

It’s No Wonder That I Avoid Video Games

Sometimes, it's not such a great idea to hide behind Mama.

Sometimes, it’s not such a great idea to hide behind Mama.

I must say… it’s been a wild year for us during this year’s spring calving season.  I thank God, for giving me the fortitude to keep records.  And every year – so far – we are learning that – the learning will never end.

And I’m okay with that.  What I’m not okay with is – a constant battle with getting my husband to understand a few things.  Two most important facts…

Cows are not airplanes.  They do not sit around waiting for parts.

Whether you have 2 cows – or – 1000… they all have a brain.  And they DO NOT all share a brain.  One brain does not come as part of the deal when you buy cattle.

And if you don’t learn how to think ahead of cows – they’re gonna learn how to laugh.  He needs to know they’ll be laughing at him.  Not me.

I prefer walking back inside the house and slamming the door.

I thank God for my willingness to be flexible with brains that depend on me to fill their water troughs and serve the hay and grain rations.  (Hubs does not drink from a water trough.)  We’re all living.  We’re all learning.  We’re all growing.  Some of us are developing into our maturity.  I’m beginning to understand the visions of a beach and a young handsome male that can’t speak English bringing ice-cold drinks with little umbrellas – mixed with lots of liquor.

And if I could shit family members to join in and help us with this prize we’re beating Hell out of ourselves to reach – we’d ALL be in our glory.  Sadly - it’s more realistic to be that Goose laying the Golden Eggs.

So far – up to this point – and according to my calendar…

PF No Foolin' April - 32 days after birthing her first calf. Photo taken June 17, 2014.

PF No Foolin’ April – 32 days after birthing her first calf. Photo taken June 17, 2014.

I am seeing that First-Time Heifers go a 30-day cycle before beginning their 21-day cycles for Hot Heat necessary for breeding.  (Thank you, Miss April.  And Artist thanks you very much, too!)

She almost looks happy about having Bling just like April!

She almost looks happy about having Bling just like April!

I am seeing that cows having their 3rd calves go right into a 21-day cycle for their Hot Heats necessary for breeding.  (And, thank you, Miss Cora – from Artist and ourselves!)

Of course it could be that cows having their 2nd calves do the same thing.  But I wasn’t paying attention enough last year.  I was a frantic MESS – dealing with “First-Time Calf Granny Syndrome.”

I’ll pay better attention after Miss April has her next calf – which we now expect around 4-14-2015!  And according to the Irish Dexter Gestational Calculator we use – Miss Cora is due to have her 4th calf around 4-25-2015!

As with all things – plans should be scratched on a board used with chalk.  But to avoid absolute disappointment – one must keep a chalkboard eraser – and be willing to use such.

Artist’s very first offspring – a bull calf – was not to be left intact.

Aon - 33 days old - Photo taken June 17, 2014

Aon – 33 days old – Photo taken June 17, 2014

Unfortunately – it became extremely obvious that Mr. Aon extracted the nasty disposition we’ve been able to trace back to his Dam’s Dam.  Among other behaviors – Mr. Aon has exhibited his utmost pride in his talents with using his right rear leg for the purpose of removing human kneecaps.

Technically – Mr. Aon weighs less than 100 lbs. at this time.  However – we never maintain interaction with any of our animals under the guise of their current weights and ages.

Our 45 lb. bull calves are considered as being 1000 lb.+ beasts from the day they are born.  And their behavior is expected to fall in proper suit with a respectable relationship of meeting in the middle with us.  Any type of physical forceful movement that would be considered violent at 1000 lbs. – is acceptable in only 1 area of our program.  The Freezer.

Mr. Aon will be reaching the goal of – our freezer.

However – we have had – yet – a wonderful ray of sunshine spread down on us this year!

Seamus - (Photo taken June 17, 2014.)

Seamus – (Photo taken June 17, 2014.)

Miss Cora’s calf – “STC Ealaiontoir’s Seamus” has had tail hairs pulled and all testing paperwork sent in to U.C. Davis.  He will be tested for Parentage – PHA – CHONDRODRYSPLASIA – COLOR – DUN – and MILK genotyping.

We have hit the nail on the head with this little boy.  Seamus is a lover!  Even through the de-horning – this gorgeous boy has maintained exhibiting the extraction of the very best of the good-natured disposition in – both – his Sire and Dam!  We are so tickled beyond belief!

Both our boys have been de-horned.  Aon was banded.  Cora and April have now been bred for 2015 calves.

Miss Cora’s Mastitis has dissipated.  We are to call Dr. Kate when it’s time to wean Seamus from Cora – so she can administer a proper assistant for drying her up after diagnosis and treatment for Mastitis.  This will help assure us of minimal – if any – issues in the future.  Cora has just become such a wonderful Herd Matriarch!  I can rub all over her and brush her.  She loves it!  I’m able to get a lead rope on her and fight with her to the chute – so far.

And – “Mama always wins!

But any further training has been shoved back on the calendar.

At this time – I am scheduled for consult with a spinal neurosurgeon – regarding issues with Vertebrae L1 thru L5.  And just as we get going into this phase of resolving my back issues…

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I wake up with sprained ligaments in my left ankle – according to my doctor.  I’m telling everyone that Dwayne did it.  He’s the only one that sleeps with me.  And this doctor swears it happened.

Seriously – I began to question her abilities as a doctor as soon as she made the diagnosis.  But she spent time explaining to us how this type of injury can occur and not present itself until hours and hours later – much like whiplash and such – after a car wreck – etc..

At any rate – I’m screwed.  I’m in a splint for 2 weeks.  If I get lucky – she’ll give me the green light for moving on to the boot.  At that time I’ll begin “ABC Exercises.”  (It’s where you write the ABC’s with your toes.)  Fortunately – I still had my crutches and my boot down in the basement – from when I broke my right foot in 2003.

I’ve been warned this could take a while.  And it really sucks.  Dwayne has the full load – while having to carry on with his full-time job that has a shift schedule that rolls on the calendar.  AND – those males at work have just informed him that they’re shoving him over to Graveyards in the middle of August.

It’ll be me – the obnoxiously noisy dogs that raise hell every time a grasshopper jumps.  And “Misty” will be right beside me at all times – too – of course.

I’m just hoping I’ll be able to start wearing the boot on my foot soon.  I’ll be able to get to the garden and salvage as much as I can – hopefully.  We had to sell all our chickens to one of Dwayne’s co-workers.

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Canning from our garden this year is out – as well.  But Dwayne has promised that we’ll hit the Farmer’s Markets to get enough for canning – even if we have to drive to the far north side of Knoxville.

I’m so glad we have plans for buying a place elsewhere in the future.  We’ve spent lots of time discussing what we’re looking for.  And we won’t be moving there alone – for sure.  We have special plans for that – as well – so we can follow through on our last goal – of passing our little farm down to somebody that will have earned the right to such a blessing.

All our hard work will NEVER land in the hands of greedy bankers.

Posted in Aon, Good News!, PF No Foolin' April, PF Patriot's Cora, Seamus, What We've Learned, Yearly Accomplishments | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Friends ‘Til The End – Together For The First Time!

Aon (red) and Seamus (black) burning off the excitement of running through the paddock together!

Aon (red) and Seamus (black) burning off the excitement of running through the paddock together!

We’d administered the last dose of Spectramast into Cora’s front right udder quarter on Monday evening.  I just couldn’t take another moment of guilt.  She’d been stuck in the confines of that little yard and the barn for way too long, as far as I was concerned.

She needed a real dish of grass… and more room!  And these two boys were not getting any younger!  They needed to have those days of little boys getting into mischief together. So… Granny set the doors wide open!

Cora will do one or the other… dry up or ramrod Seamus into eating off all 4 quarters! Today runs the course of the final hours for the 72-hour restriction after administering the med.  I’m sure Mother Nature has held on to oversight… from the look of things.  Girl looks totally lopsided.  And all I can do is laugh!  For now, anyway.

If ugly comes back to badly… we’ll just put her back in the little yard and try again!

Seamus - (Photo taken June 17, 2014.)

Seamus – 18 days old – Photo taken June 17, 2014.

But Seamus will begin punching through the growth spurts… now that he has open spaces.  And with that opportunity comes a veracious appetite!

 

Aon - 33 days old - Photo taken June 17, 2014

Aon – 33 days old – Photo taken June 17, 2014

Aon is in his glory!  He just loves having somebody his own age and size to hang out and play with!  But he’s also gained access to his Daddy.  More about THAT below!

 

April (1st-Time Heifer) on left.  Cora (post 3rd calf birth).  Photo taken June 17, 2014

April (1st-Time Heifer) on left. Cora (post 3rd calf birth). Photo taken June 17, 2014

Cora and I had, already, had a little chit-chat.  I put all I could into reassuring her that she had my full blessing to go into that paddock and square April up about who would be Boss!

 

PF No Foolin' April - 32 days after birthing her first calf. Photo taken June 17, 2014.

PF No Foolin’ April – 32 days after birthing her first calf. Photo taken June 17, 2014.

April may be pretty, but…

 

April and Cora sparring for the Throne!  Photo taken June 17, 2014.

April and Cora sparring for the Throne! Photo taken June 17, 2014.

You can’t tell her anything.  This bull-headed wench has to learn everything the hard way!  It took Cora less than 5 minutes to help April get her head back up on her shoulders… correctly!

The normal expectations for re-introductions into the paddock were better than they could have been.  Yay!  Since we’re not able to work on construction for creep-feeding, yet (outside work schedule)… I couldn’t see any reason not to provide them with all the shade possible, while we have the opportunity during these 90*-plus temperatures that are driving us all nuts. I opened up both doors of the barn and let them all have access to both, the paddock and the little yard.  But I had a special little hope that came with this decision.  ;)

I had promised Artist that he would get to see Aon as soon as he was born.  April became a hormonal nightmare after birthing Aon.  I found myself with a Heifer I had never met before.  And I will not lie.  I did not like this nasty female that appeared as soon as that calf hit the ground.  And she had other plans – refusing to go into the little yard.

Artist was ticked.  It took some serious time calming him down.  Sweet-talk… treats… he just was not having any of it.  He’d take the alfalfa cubes into his mouth, look at me and, deliberately, spit ‘em out on the ground.

I managed to get him to understand that it wasn’t me keeping him from his baby.  It was April being mean.  I saw the light come on.  That dead stare went right for April.  But I didn’t expect all the yelling to get worse and feel like it had no end!

And then he heard… ” I promise!

All our cattle know that I follow through on those 2 words.  He shut up long enough to give me a chance to say it, again.  ” I will make sure you get to see that baby when he’s a little bigger.  She won’t always have him.  I promise. ”  The ‘stink-eye‘ switched to that sweet little “coo” that he does while holding his head down and looking up at me.

Daddy meeting his 2nd son! Photo taken June 6, 2014.

Daddy meeting his 2nd son! Photo taken June 6, 2014.

The compromise came when Cora ended up in the little yard.  Artist was able to be right there (divided by the gate and fence) when Cora birthed Seamus!

They say this breed possesses the highest rate of retention.  I don’t know about the highest rate.  But I do know that they have the intelligence to learn your words and tone of voice. I’ve even tried this with Aon, already.  And it worked!

It’s fun to teach them with words.  Tone of voice and a little bit of repetition… sticks forever!  With Aon, I chose to teach him everybody’s names.  I’d say his name, first.  I’d point to who I wanted him to look at and say their name until he watched me point… looked at that cow/person… and looked back at me as I said their name again.

Once I had his attention… I’d point at him and say his name, then point at one other and say their name.  I’d go back to him in between all the others.  He knows his name.  I waited for the light to come on.  We’d go back and forth until he’d look back at me.  That’s when I’d know he had it.

After going through Auntie Cora, Seamus, Paw-Paw, Granny…. enough that I felt he’d clicked… I called his name.  When he looked at me, I asked… “Aon, where’s Paw-Paw?”

He looked right at Dwayne!

They’re smarter than we give ‘em credit for being.  They’re wonderful Beings… when we give them that respect!  And it just makes raising ‘em that much more fun!

 

Posted in Aon, FF Freedom's Artist, PF No Foolin' April, PF Patriot's Cora, Seamus, What We've Learned, Yearly Accomplishments | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment