Manic Monday – No Time To Write a Book!

Will ya’ settle for a ‘ Pause ‘ to ” Ooooooooh! ” and ” Awwwwww! ” ???

5-6-2013l

Thank God!  A break from all that rain has arrived!

 

5-6-2013h

Master Killian has but only the fur on his belly to go before that winter coat is nothing but history!

 

5-6-2013a

Two Little Boys behaving like Perfect little Angels!

 

5-6-2013f

Master Killian says, ” But… how can this little brat be my… Uncle?

 

5-6-2013g

Let me eat enough of this dirt – and I’ll show YOU who becomes the – Little Brat!

 

 

Posted in PF Cora's Killian | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Days Apart!

** Warning: Graphic Photo Below

4-23-2013b

The weather was so gorgeous yesterday – after all that massive rain that stole 2 days from us.

While Cora and Storm were content inside their stalls – Patty decided she’d had enough and wanted out!  And she knows just how to get her way when she sets her mind for her wishes.

First thing I noticed when I walked inside the barn to set up rations – Patty had been quite busy – trying to untie all the ropes Dwayne crisscrossed over the top  open area of her stall door.  Her stall was completely destroyed and smelling downright rank!

After feeding – the sun came up over the trees in our gulley.  The paddocks had dried enough that you could no longer see puddles around.  Life was just too alive to leave that big girl in that stinking stall.  I can’t stand the idea of stalls not being cleaned EVERY day.  The ‘ layering ‘ with hay option that some people use was – definitely – one I didn’t want on our list.

Dwayne got busy with hotwiring Killian’s paddock.  The 2 of us had already witnessed  ‘ Master Killian ‘ managing to get his head through the 5 lines of barbed wire.  We didn’t need any accidents – especially with babies in the other paddock.

Patty had that ‘ Psycho ‘ look anytime I tried speaking to her – until I asked her, “ You wanna go outside, Baby? “  Like Linda Blair in ‘ The Exercist ‘ – she spun her head toward me – ears forward – pure sweetness in her eyes as if she were asking, “ You mean it?  Really?  Can I?  Can I? “  She even stepped up to the door and began to sniff me!  After seeking input from Dwayne – I took down all the ropes – cleared the alley – opened the door.

And she stood there.

Finally – she headed out to the paddock after a few minutes of prodding her.  But within an hour – around 10:50am – we saw the tail coming up.  She paced all over that paddock – moving every couple of minutes.  Dwayne stopped working on the fence and we started keeping an eye on her.

PattyCalf4-29-2013a

At 1:15pm – she laid down for the 3rd time and – Bingo!

Unlike Cora – she got up quickly – and scared both of us.  This girl began a major low-tone roar towards this calf – shoving that baby around like a beast – showing furious thrusting toward the calf.  Dwayne was afraid she was trying to kill it.  I just kept a distance and repeated, “ Easy Baby.  Good Girl, Patty.  Gentle, Baby!  Gentle. “  Once the baby lifted its head – all that began to cease.  Dwayne said she must have shoved that baby almost 20 feet to the fence.

PattyCalf4-29-2013c

All the drying off – cleaning – and encouragement to stand began.  Eventually – the calf made its first effort!

PattyCalf4-29-2013e

After that first tumble – the next try was more successful!

Patty and the baby ended up back at the gate for getting to Killian’s paddock.  Dwayne was working there – digging the trench and burying the hotwire across the gate area.  He was able to get a chance to check the sex.

PattyCalf4-29-2013g

We have another little Bull Calf.  And he’s even more tiny than Storm!

Posted in Good News!, PF Patriot, Preparing For New Arrivals | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

We Have Our Very First Baby!

*** Warning: – Very graphic photos in this posting.

Yesterday was a day that went totally upside down from the moment of Crunch Time during a Full Moon.

4-23-2013j

We’ve been waiting since April 23rd for Patty to drop her calf.

CoraLabor1

But it was Cora - who was not due until around May 3rd – walking out of the barn around 7am with her tail extended without ever ceasing to fall back down.  ( We’re thinking the previous owner’s Vet may have gotten the 2 cows mixed up?? )

Dwayne was at work.  I had all the feeding chores to handle alone.  No biggie these days.  But we had a storm coming in a couple hours.  So no time was wasted getting all the cattle, hens, dogs and chicks fed.

I kept an eye on Cora as I made my way around to each paddock.  From the onset – Patty seemed to be keeping her trapped in the far corner of the paddock.  Yet – Cora would pace – back and forth – turning around every once in a while – never staying in one place at a time for more than a minute or so.  And not one time did either of the cows lay down – much unlike their behavior of lying around most of the previous day and past couple of weeks.

By the time I finished with the cattle and headed back to the house – it was obvious that Patty was taking on some type of Bullish disposition with Cora.  I tried to con the girls into the barn with some Alfalfa.  By the time I got I got them to the door of the barn – Patty jumped to stand across the door – deliberately blocking Cora from going inside.  I gave up.  Went back inside the house.

I set up the window in the spare bedroom for being able to watch things with Dwayne’s binoculars.  Couldn’t even get them focused before catching Patty trying to mount Cora!  And she continued trying to do so for a half-dozen times or more.  Events began unfolding with nervous tension so much that I began hoping the storm would hurry up and hit here – furious enough to drive both cows into the barn.

Comments I had made back in March during our Vet’s annual visit were becoming a reality – at the most inopportune time.  Dwayne was at work.  We had a vicious storm coming.  Both our neighbors that I could call for help had gone out of town that day.  And just the thought of trying to get these girls back into the barn was downright unrealistic.

Eventually – activity had me so nervous that I began setting the kitchen stove timer on 15 minute increments.  By then – the entire scenario had me livid.  I called our Vet and left a voice mail.

Patty was not gonna back down from her stubborn retention.  It really worried me.  Artist and Bruce have the only paddock with trees.  We leave the barn door open and the other stall available to provide shade for the paddock where we’ve kept the pregnant cows.

Sure enough.  The 2nd increment of 15 minutes on the Timer went off.  I looked out the back door.  Cora was lying down.  Patty was standing behind her.

I ran to the spare bedroom and grabbed the binoculars.  “ Oh, my God. “  That white balloon was already there.

I grabbed my phone and headed out there – setting up the camera on my phone as I’m running.  By the time I reached about 15 feet from Cora – I saw two hooves.  By the time I was only about 4 feet from her – I saw the nose.

CoraLabor2

By the time I got my bearings together enough to shoot a photo – this happened!

CoraLabor3

The camera barely made it with resetting for me to take another shot when this happened!

All within less than 5 minutes!!

Cora wouldn’t move an inch to stand up.  And the bag was completely covering the baby all the way to just the buttocks and tail.  The head was swimming in amniotic fluid and I could hear the baby beginning to gurgle.

I slowly reached up to grab the edge of the bag and pulled it up and off of the calf.  Fluid gushed everywhere.  The calf’s head and body began to flop a little.  Cora laid there.  I began verbally prodding her to get up and help her baby.  And she did!

And then it began to pour down buckets and buckets of rain.  After going after our dumping cart and towels, the calf was just too slimy, heavy and jerky for me to pick up.  I ran for our neighbor in front of us.  When he answered the door, all I could say was, “ I have a baby on the ground!  Baby on the ground.  I gotta get it in the barn and I can’t pick it up!

He came to help.  Got the calf into the cart.  I began wheeling it to the barn.  Cora began to follow me.  Patty interceded.  The look on Cora’s face – wow.  She was torn.

I scrambled to get the heating lamp set up – grab more towels and start drying off the calf while our neighbor began trying to get the cows inside the barn.  We finally got them inside.  He managed to separate Patty from Cora and I let her out the door.  But when I went to secure the latch on the outside of the door, the latch holding the top and bottom sections of the door came loose and the bottom part of the door flung open.  Cora bolted under the top portion of the door.

Dwayne finally made it home.  But we just could not manage to get those girls inside.  Pouring down rain.  I was a drenched rat – and just didn’t even care.  All I could think about was getting those girls into the barn – and getting Cora to her calf.

CoraLabor9

We gave up – hoping the girls would go ahead and make their way to the barn.  I conceded to mixing a bottle of Colostrum for the calf.

CoraLabor5

Our daughter, Jennifer, had arrived to visit.  And the three of us worked together to help get as much of the Colostrum down the calf as possible.

Shortly afterward - our Vet called.  She had awakened with a migraine around 4am that morning.  I’ve been put on meds for migraines.  I know how they can knock your lights out.  But she called back as soon as she woke up and got the voice mail.

I gave her the low-down on all the events.  Told her all we were doing for the time being.  She offered additional advice for handling any other possible scenarios.  And I let her know that if she didn’t hear from me – it was good news!

Dwayne got hold of Rob, the same friend from work that rode with him last October to pick up the 2 Cow-Calf Pairs.  The guys set up a couple cattle panels at the front door of the barn.  Took a few attempts.  But the panels did the trick!  Both girls were in the barn.  Rob got Patty to go into her stall.  I opened the door to the stall where the calf was – and got Cora to walk inside!

" PF Cora's Storm " born @ 10:13am on 4-27-2013.  Very FIRST CALF born at Three Cedars!

” PF Cora’s Storm ” born @ 10:13am on 4-27-2013. Very FIRST CALF born at Three Cedars!

Finally!  We had a Mama and her Calf moved into their very own private apartment to spend the next few days bonding!

Miss Cora is now the proud Mama of Master “ PF Cora’s Storm “ – a beautiful black long-legged Bull Calf – born on April 27, 2013 and weighing 58 pounds.  Storm’s Dam is “ PF Patriot’s Cora “ –  Sire is “ PF Little Big Man. “

He is a BIG Boy for a Dexter Calf!  He has the most beautiful thick – jet black – wavy and curly coat covering his entire body!  And he is a spitting image of his Auntie – “ PF No Foolin’ April “ – whose Dam is “ PF Patriot “ (aka Patty) and also Sired by “ PF Little Big Man.

We checked on them every couple of hours – until around 10pm – to see how things were going.  We found a spunky little boy hopping around like a lamb and having a ball!  He has managed to find his groceries!  Seems absolutely happy and content around his Mama!  And he’s already showing signs of being a pure ‘ Ham ’ in the world.  He loves attention!

CorasCalf4-28-2013b

Cora feels great relief!  She has no problem letting me go in to clean her stall or remove her food and water bowls for cleaning and filling.  All in all – she’s behaving as if she is very pleased and content!

CorasCalf4-28-2013c

But she is still struggling with developing trust toward Dwayne for some reason.  Hence those laid-back ears!  I keep sweet-talking her along the process.  And she keeps working really hard to trust him.  She just needs more time!

I survived it!  I was such a wreck!  And then I became a soaked rat that forgot all about being nervous!

And now… we’re ALL just thrilled!  I can hardly wait to get out there on a gorgeous day and burn up my camera on my phone!

Posted in Good News!, PF Patriot's Cora, Yearly Accomplishments | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Babies Are Happy, Happy, Happy!

Master Killian ” and ” Miss April ” wanted to give a shout-out to the world…

Hard to believe our little " Chondro King " turned 1 year old on March 31st!

Hard to believe our little ” Chondro King ” turned 1 year old on March 31st!

Killian looks so tiny up against 17-month-old Bruce!

Killian looks so tiny up against 17-month-old Bruce!

She's looking so pretty!

She’s looking so pretty!

April eats up attention as much as Clover!

April eats up attention as much as Clover!

” THE CLOVER IS – FINALLY – HERE ! “

Posted in Good News!, Misc., PF Cora's Killian, PF No Foolin' April | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Those Days When Conflict and Goals Take Their Punches

Patty - Artist - Cora

Patty – Artist – Cora

Over and over, I’m reading about the height margins of the Irish Dexter Cattle.  And I find myself comparing our own.  Out of curiousity – I had to go for a shot of our 2 Cows and our Herd Sire.

There are many issues to consider in this photo.  Patty ( on the left ) is the Queen.  She is the oldest – born in 2008.  At the age of almost 5 years – she is due to drop her 3rd calf on April 23rd of this year.  But she can be considered way over there on the high side of height in this breed.

Our Herd Sire in the center – Artist – is only 14 months old.  It will be interesting to watch him continue to grow.  We’re unable to tell whether, or not, he will add anymore height.  But we’re hopeful.  He’s always given us every reason to feel that way!

Patty’s 1st calf, Cora, stands on the right at the age of almost 3 years old.  In fact – she’s due to drop her 2nd calf on the day before her 3rd birthday!

So many times, especially over the past year, I have heard this factual comment, “ Wanna see God laugh?  Make a plan!

This past year has been one that has taught us to make plans with decisions that leave the back door open.  Anything can happen when you are involved with beings having brains of their own.  When you have other brains in the mix – you never know what choices and decisions their own experiences may bring about, that show in their own actions and behaviors.  And when they cannot communicate with voice and language – as Humans – we must depend on paying close attention – and meet somewhere in the middle.

One of the challenges I am having in this experience is communicating with my husband.

He was never there before – during all my years of experiences with animals before we met.  Both of us are left-handed people.  Considering the fact that I am a female and he is a male – Scientists would laugh when they imagine our relationship.

We are the Ying and the Yang for each other in most cases.  But when it comes to working on projects together – That Right Brain vs Left Brain belch thrives worse than a fruit fly population in an Apricot Orchard never harvested!

My husband has spent many years as a Supervisor – at his day job.  I am having to fight with getting him to understand and accept the fact that he was never given that promotion at home.  We just do not play the “ TARZAN -vs- jane “  thing here at this house!

I adore Temple Grandin to no end!  She has so much that we can all learn.  But most of her teaching pertains to the realm of dealing with large herds of animals.  When you are raising large herds – you just don’t have the time to focus on each and every single cow. School teachers get this.

There are advantages to interface I am able to give to our cattle, that help all of us get along on this small scale space.  My husband has been reading all the books.  And he wants to stay inside that box.  I, the female Lefty, have always been one to respect animals as individuals.

Every cow is different.  Just like every human is different.  And I have always enjoyed the challenge of getting to know and build a personal relationship with any animal I come in contact with.  But, of course – if I were dealing with a few hundred head of cattle – that would not be the case.

Been there.  You know how that can drive anyone crazy, after you’ve experienced a 3 year old forcing you to stand out in a parking lot at a grocery store – calling all 30 odd imaginary friends by name – to get out of your Ford Pinto.  No.  The worst part comes while you’re staring at the baby doll she’s holding – wondering why it wasn’t enough.

Anyway – back to the cows.

There was always a special moment in my life that I use as an example for describing how I tune in to animals.  It makes me wish my husband had been there when it happened.  Okay – my husband was there.  But – he’s my ex-husband today.  I’m talking about the man I share my life with today!

Maybe I should have my ex-husband explain it to my husband? ( That thought feels as pleasant as the sounds of scratching on chalkboards. )  Umm… never gonna happen.

The ex and I made a trip to Wimberly, TX with his family – an annual tradition for the July 4th weekend each year.  This particular year – there was a livestock show in Austin.  His brother and girlfriend’s family were showing animals.

His brother’s girlfriend had a Brangus Heifer that had obvious issues with men.  She kicked every male – including my ex – from the trailer to the shower stalls – until his girlfriend walked her to the grooming rack.

The ex-BIL was fighting the flu while grooming.  ( I know.  I know. Can’t fix stupid. Anyway… )  This Heifer just wasn’t into it this day.  She didn’t want anybody messing with her.  She went nuts every time the shears were turned on.  And she was determined to dismantle the grooming rack.

It is illegal to give shots of Ace today for cattle shows.  But, back then – she was given a half-dose of Ace.  Never phased her.  And the situation was becoming serious.  And the problem went on for about an hour.

With all the noise going on inside that large Fitting area of the complex – I stepped up in front of the Heifer.  I’d never been around her before.  I just started talking and singing into her ear – very softly and quietly.

She melted within a couple minutes.  He was able to turn on the shears.  And she just stood there.  But she started up again, when I quit.  My ex-BIL hollered, “ Don’t stop!  I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doin’ it!

He was able to finish with the shears.  The girls were able to groom her tail, legs and hooves.

They wanted me to go with them to San Antonio.  I laughed.  I was a married woman with kids.  They survived!  She placed.  She sold.  They bought her back.  Placed in Houston and sold her there!

Things are very different in the shows today.  And I’m glad.  Leverage makes things more fun!

I have to be able to speak to my husband when we’re working with the cattle.  He knows aircraft – sooo much more than cows.  I have a sense for knowing when you have to take that moment that you get.  I try to cue him beforehand.  I try to fore-warn him when he needs to make changes that can bring trouble if they’re not made.

The periods of time have come when yelling was all I could do.  He would not listen.  And that problem resulted in a really bad month for me, this past March.  Bruises and injuries from multiple incidents that could have been avoided – had he just listened to me and followed my cues.

I’m now back in Physical Therapy.  I have a deep scrape on one knee that just won’t heal.  I’ve had one doctor attempt to send me for a Nerve Conduction Test on both arms and my right leg.  An MRI is next on the list.  ( If I get my way – my insurance company says I can skip the Nerve Conduction Text and go directly to the MRI. )  And I had a moment where I came totally unglued on him – inside the house.

I am not a lazy person.  I am just a person with a really, really short body stature.  When equipment, tools and a workplace are put in place where I can manage safely – I can get anything accomplished.

I have had people tell me, “ You shouldn’t be handling those cattle.  You shouldn’t be doing this.  Of course – they’re people that have not handled cattle. Honestly – that could not piss me off any more.

I’m supposed to give up my dream of raising cattle because I’ve been hurt so much?  Here’s a wild truth about that thought.

We have over 3500 pounds of pure beast on our property right now.  And not one ounce of it has harmed me.

Those cows have not harmed me.  It was equipment that got me hurt.  I asked for it to be moved to a safer place.  I was told, “ Aw, it’ll be alright.  Don’t worry about it. “

It wasn’t alright.  Now I’m paying the price for it.  And I’m taking half the blame – because I refused to stay inside the house and not put myself in danger to get the job done.

Both sides have made corrections.  Equipment has been moved.  Safety measures are now in place.  An agreement has been made to trust my intuition with these animals, especially, since I spend more time with them than anyone else.  And from now on – if it puts my safety in jeopardy… I’m not doing it.  It can wait until he gets home.  That’s all there is to it.  And I should not be expected to yell around animals anymore.  I can be expected to drop everything and walk inside the house.  Have a glass of iced tea.  Get on the computer.  And… the Fairy Godmother can come get the job done, as far as I’m concerned.

Things are going a whole lot smoother, already.

Haven’t seen the Fairy Godmother.

 

badkilliana

In fact – we even managed to solve this problem.  ‘ Master Killian ‘ began enjoying the folly of pissing me off by dumping his water trough, once it was filled to the brim.  After his 3rd round…

 

 

badkillianb

All I can say now is… well… I’m happy.

Posted in FF Freedom's Artist, PF Cora's Killian, PF Patriot, PF Patriot's Cora, What We've Learned | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Surprise in My Email!

inspiring-blogger-award

What a way to start a day with a nice, hot, fresh cup of coffee!

I’ve been nominated as a recipient of the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by PioneerAnnie at Homesteading Roots.  How sweet of her!  Much appreciation and gratitude from me to PioneerAnnie for her kindness!  I’m happy she enjoys reading our updates of all the antics and on-goings around our place!

As I understand – I’m supposed to share 7 things about myself.

1.  I got in trouble for yelling back at a 3rd Grade Teacher for trying to force me to write with my right hand.  I look back now – as an adult – and I see a woman that was jealous.  Ha!  But my Dad put the icing on the cake when he raised cane and made the school put me in another classroom – to be taught by Mrs. Hudson – whom had also been his 3rd grade teacher!

2.  I never had Barbie Dolls or Baby Dolls as a little girl.  I was Tom-Boy through and through – even preferring to hang out with my uncles and my Dad when I became a teenager.  I’ve always learned something from the women in our family as I grew up down in Texas… “ Leave 3 or more women in a room for more than 3 hours and fur balls WILL begin flying! “  Stick around and it only feeds the frenzy enough for weaving an 8’ x 12’ rug.

But I do give the girls all the credit in the world for my deepest ( and heartbreaking unfulfilled ) wish of becoming a Veterinarian – and not a Nurse.  Somehow – that vision of me coming at one of them with a syringe in a hospital room was plenty of encouragement for sparing them from a moment in their life that could leave a permanent scar.  Love runs deeply, heh.

3.  I am forever wishing I had a couple of clones – and an extra 12 hours in every day.  But Our Lord – Himself – knows – give me a month of those blessings and I’d just be asking for more.

But I am grateful for the fact that He knows not 1 hour would be spent on flying fur balls.

Our first garden after buying our place - Spring 2009.  The Cattle now own this space.

Our first garden after buying our place – Spring 2009. The Cattle now own this space.

4.  Nothing pleases me more than cheating the grocery stores out of their profits – by learning to make it myself – from scratch.  I love raising our own animals for food – gardening – canning – freezing – baking – cooking – you name it!  I despise the chemicals they’re putting into packaged processed foods today – using the same names as they used back in the 1960’s – and calling it “ new and improved. “  It gives me reasons for additional prayers – asking God to bless “ Idjits “ with the Spirit of Discernment – and the will to refrain from wasting their money on man-made chemicals that God never saw reason to provide for their bodies.  “ Duhhh!

My $75 Bargain Furniture Hunt!

My $75 Bargain Furniture Hunt!

5.  Every time I’ve attempted to set up our spare bedroom into a sewing / crafting room… somebody has moved in.  I’ve decided at the age of 53 ( and moving closer to Senility ) I’ve earned my right to revert in life and claim, “ It’s Mine! “  I have 1 more week to wait until the Queen Size Bed is carried down to the Basement!  And once again – whenever I am granted the wish of sitting on my butt for an entire day and choosing my own kind of funtime – I will scream like a wild woman at a Garth Brooks concert – and get busy with some Digital Scrapbooking!  But I’ve got a fabric stash going on right now – for a headful of whims – for which I seem to be unable to pick from to begin my fun in sewing – quilting – and other wonderful needlework projects!

No.  I will not be painting the walls black.

The Fall Scenery from Foothills Parkway.

The Fall Scenery from Foothills Parkway.

6.  My most favorite escape is driving out to Cades Cove in The Great Smoky Mountains – or – driving up to Bald River Falls and the surrounding areas in Cherokee National Forest.  You could drive up to either on any given day – and you will never go home feeling like you saw the same thing twice.  The changing scenery is always something that grabs my heart!  The history is always something that humbles me with never-ending appreciation for those that first settled in East Tennessee.

3

7.  But always – all else in and of myself today comes after these beauties are tended to and led into contentment for enjoying each and every day of their lives!

( That might be 8 things.  Or 12.   I dunno.  I talk a lot. )

And now – it’s my turn – to select 15 Bloggers that I enjoy following for nominating this awesome award!

Jim and Mary at Old World Garden Farms - Every day they post, you can depend on finding such a clear and concise breakdown of the most valuable information pertaining to farming and gardening, especially for the small family version!

Anne Burkholder at Feed Yard Foodie - Wears as many hats as her husband!  This woman educates me.  She reminds me of how, too often, many people live in this country opening their mouths to ridicule before they look back and count how many people live on this whole planet, needing food for nourishment of their bodies.  She defends the efforts that are DOING something for the world, while others only do for themselves while griping about measures becoming necessary for feedlots to get the job done.  If there weren’t so many in the world to feed – she might not have a blog.  Perhaps we need to have a conversation about birth control, rather than complaining about rumors amid a few truths that many feedlots wish they didn’t even have to exercise.  Obviously, she and her family have guts and hearts to care enough.  I admire the challenges they rise up to meet on a daily basis, no matter what day of the week – no matter what kind of weather.

Cowboy Chisum’s Trail - I am a Mom!  How could I not be sucked in by this little Charmer!  He’s adorable!  And he’s one lucky kid, to have a Dad that takes the time to start him out early in a world that will teach him so many things helpful to the greatest foundation for a life!

Barrows Farm – is walking through their own experiences with their life on a Hobby Farm, taking time to educate others and share helpful hints, along the way.  Sometimes, the subject matter consists of issues most would never even think about!  And I’ll confess to my bias here, as they raise Irish Dexter Cattle, too!

Star Creek Country – Visiting their website and learning about their set-up had me yelling out loud.  ” Yes!  That’s EXACTLY what I have in mind! ”  I can’t wait to try her recipe for the fly spray!  They, too, raise Irish Dexter Cattle.  And I’m prolly gonna hound her when it comes time to training for milking.  She’ll be rolling her eyes.  Trust me.

Slow Money Farm - Talk about a hub for gathering in the social media world!  I LOVE keeping up with this lady – even on Twitter!  She is always in the thick of conversations that are so educational and enlightening, when it comes to all the variety there is to be found in growing and raising food for the table!  I just follow – sit back and soak up the learning like a sponge!  Great Networking Buddy!

Sonya May Hem - I love this woman’s sense of humor!  But more than that – I love the energy she has for incorporating cave-ins to children with her joys of sewing and other hobbies!

Chico Locker Sausage - These guys are absolutely awesome!  Talk about a Family Adventure!  I am familiar with Chico, after living up around Redding, CA for a few years!  Sorenson’s United Van Lines… Ugh.  Long story.  Anyway.  Chico State… Ohhh, yeah.  Perfect little College Town!  And this family plants its little piece of success smack in the middle of it all!  Ha!  But here’s the secret…. that’s how you roll with success, if you plan on networking with people that get together for a good time!  ” With a Meat Locker? ” – you say.   Well, of course!  Hey, those folks have to eat, too!  And they have a wonderful opportunity with being so close to such a great source for the best meat around!  Not only that, but they share lots of great information!

Bridger Vet Clinic - Great blog sharing the details of riding along with her brother, the Large Animal Veterinarian!  Photos and information can be found to be very helpful – even a stress reliever!

The Prospect of Bees - I am enjoying all the little tidbits of hefty information that I have found here!  There are 3 more ‘ big ‘ projects I want us to add to our ‘ Big Picture ‘ – and Beekeeping is one of those projects!  I love some of the details these folks share.  I keep finding myself thinking, ” I’ve never heard that before! “

Very Berry Handmade - I love this blog!  She keeps things lively, mixing in a little personal life with a sense of humor and such!  But she THE cutest projects!  I love her special niche for choosing fabrics to mesh with one another!

Molles - For me, it’s like an escape!  I get to enjoy the fantasy through her experiences of living on a small farm in Southern France!  She’s a lucky girl!

Fence Post Diaries - The daily ongoings with just about every possible surprise in life…. and a farm!  Jill’s sense of humor is like a B-100 dose!  She shares an obvious knack required for hanging in there between fence wire and barns!

Stitched By Me - Oh, my goodness!  I love, love, LOVE the pure Magic she does with her quilting projects!

Wag ‘n Tales - Wag ‘n Tales is the wisdom and sweat shared by a farm wife that dredges through to fight the political manure created by falsehoods and false agendas – to stand up and defend what is right and good and healthy for every dinner table in this country.

I sure do feel special for receiving this special award!  I hope all these folks feel a little special today, as well!

 

Posted in Good News!, Misc. | Tagged , | 1 Comment

But… Maaaaawwwm’!

1

Killian!  What in the world have YOU DONE?

2

I dunno, Mom.  It… just… fell.

Killian!  Don’t fib.  It was completely full!

3

No!  Really, Mom.  It fell.  And I’m thirsty!

Killian!  Tell the truth.  What did you do?

4

Ohhhhhhhh, alright!  So.. Maybe I did a little like this.

5

And it fell off the blocks.  And it spilled all my water.  And so I did… lots of this.

Killian!  I can’t turn on the water.  I have to wait for the sun to warm the hoses.

But…. Maaaaawwwm’ !   I’m so thirsty!

Yes.  And You should have thought about that before you knocked the trough over, Killian!

6

I’m sorry, Mama.

Posted in PF Cora's Killian | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Jumping Off Topic Today!

Planting... What?

Planting… What?

I’m probably breaking every rule this morning!  Save yourself the trouble.  No.  Wait!

Let me do that for you…

“ I don’t even care right now! “  Ha!

Hey.  I know… Let’s all just take a moment to – not care!

Now.   Take a deep breath.

Doesn’t that feel great!  Out of the way!  On to the subject.

The subject?  Jumping off the subject.

Yep.  You heard me right.  That’s what I said.

I did something yesterday, which has led to my demise this morning.  I’m jumping off the subject…

WeldrBrat's Oatmeal Cookies!

WeldrBrat’s Oatmeal Cookies!

From cows to cookies!

This dad-gum winter refusing to check out of Hotel America is getting the best of almost every one of us!

They say, “ Bullets are cheaper. “  But I tend to side with the concept of, “ Yeah, well.  Cookies just taste better, Mister! “

And when you have pressure from a demon like a nasty winter outwearing its welcome – ya’ gotta think fast!

“ Am I gonna be The Ass or The Adult in this? “

I’m choosing Cookies over Cows today!  Going Wild!  That’s how I’m burning off some of these wishes I’ve pondered over – regarding certain visions I’d love to see of Mother Nature…

Post-partum via my own hands!

I’ll just keep my bullets in my pocket – thank you, very much.

But you can have my Oatmeal Cookie Recipe!  It’s right Here !

Posted in Misc. | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Waiting Goes Along…

There have been plenty of devilish arrows coming at us over the course of a week, from various places and situations in our life under our roof. I’ll give credit to that – as the support behind all the ebbing of emotions, which erupted come the late afternoon of our day we shared a week ago, with our Vet administering Annual Care to our Irish Dexter Cattle.

But I’ve not reached the end answer to a few circumstances. In some ways – perplexed and confused. I’ll take it as part of the process. We have a bit of time before making that final choice.

" PF Patriot's Cora "

” PF Patriot’s Cora “

I’ve grown close to this cow. She allows me to walk around her in the alley of a barn. I tend to score a lot of points in her book with, “ Thank you, Cora. “ That is – until it comes to touching and girdle-tight places.

She’s a Jumper. I was blown away when I saw her jump over the stall door in the barn a few days after she arrived. She wasted no time looking for the ‘ out ‘ she’d seen Bruce take ( due to an argument I lost out on ) over a gap left between the gate and chute.

I know that will never happen again. To begin with – that chute won’t even be placed there at that gate again. Note to Cows:Mom is NOT the Moon!

There is a mere hairline that divides the tightest of hands-on bonding with Cora. She was willing to jump over me. But she just can’t seem to find the courage to trust breaking that hairline to let me touch her – brush her – halter and/or lead her.

This is very dangerous for me. I’d push my weapon to fight the failure – were it a blessing of about another foot in height in my favor – and 20 years of youth restored. At 4’ 11” and turning 54 years of age this year – along with spending most of the time alone when I tend to these cattle…

" PF Cora's Killian "

” PF Cora’s Killian “

Cora dropped our ‘ Chondro King ‘ last year. Killian was her very first calf. And he has flat-dab stolen both our hearts. He has everything wonderful about him. He even steps down in water fights that he starts with me – let’s me win! He’s a sweetheart. Those eyes of his give away that disposition of melting right back down to a baby’s tenderness when you brush him.

And then a negative genetic flaw just has to appear – strong enough to afflict integrity within the bloodline. Breeding him is out of the question. Heartbreaking.

So many good qualities of traits in both these animals leave me feeling as if I’m standing at a fork in the road. Do I dare weigh pros and cons?

For Killian – there is only one unknown factor that gets in our way. We do not know – if or how much – pain – hosts off this genetic flaw with the clawfoot on his front feet. This is a strong issue for us, since his stature carries most of his weight on the front. We have no selfishness within us to ignore the possibility; not for Killian – nor any offspring that could be afflicted down the line.

Cora is expected to drop this year’s calf around May 3. She is bred to Killian’s Sire. We have chosen to let that event hold a few answers to some burning decisions we must make about her.

Attempting to bring a brood cow into our plans is not far from trying to shove round pegs into square holes. It is asking a lot of her, considering the fact that she came from open spaces since the day of her birth. She’d never seen a barn stall until she came here – much less been kept secured inside such.

Today – she will walk inside the stall and visit – as long as the door is left open.

But she has become quite comfortable with tucking away in the alley of the barn at the onset of bad weather. In fact – she’s always the first one at the gate – waiting and watching the back door of our home!

Cora is expecting her second calf sired by PF Little Big Man around the beginning of May, 2013!

Cora is expecting her second calf sired by PF Little Big Man around the beginning of May, 2013!

Ahhh, but she’s always the first one at the gate for Suppertime, too!

This year’s Annual Care visit with our Vet was not fruitful for Cora. At the end of the day – we were not able to deworm her with the others, nor give her immunizations.

Half our photos tend to show off ‘ proud artwork ‘ by our cattle in their paddocks ( mounds of manure high enough to make African Army Ants jealous ). But I can promise you – we are anal ( no pun intended ) about keeping our paddocks picked up. We’ve had no issues of any sort of illness, beyond pollen allergies. And we’re religious about keeping water and feed troughs sanitized.

So, Cora’s health is no strong issue for us. She’ll be given rations of Safeguard after we get her separated from Artist, just before she’s due to calve.

2012 was a giant year of accomplishments for us. But we do not count that year as the ‘ first go-round ‘ in this new journey we’re venturing through. For us – a full circle will only come when we have the first calves drop on our place that will be sired by Artist.

" FF Freedom's Artist "

” FF Freedom’s Artist “

With that said – there are a lot of things we have to observe and consider. Priorities with Artist come into play, very strongly. A strong aspect to those choices and decisions have a lot to do with carrying on proper measures and respect for the integrity of his breeding.

There was a farm that put a lot of hard work into reaching the point in their breeding program to have such a wonderful specimen as Artist show up. That deserves to be met – and will be – with only the best efforts of combining some up-breeding with hopes for only improving the bloodline.

Jumpers – Clawfoot – issues.

Bruce on the left - April on the right.

Bruce on the left – April on the right.

Bruce jumped through the gap at the chute, as well – however. I’m still laughing ( now ) every time I think about the sight of him going ‘ chicken ‘ on us behind a 3-foot fence at the coop, after he jumped inside the chicken yard!

Bruce was 5 months old when he came here. I have worked with him and Artist – a lot. Once we had his halter and a lead rope on ( and Dwayne pulled up that little bitty 3-foot fence ) Bruce walked beside me all the way across our yard into and across Artist’s paddock – and back inside the little yard at the barn, before giving me even the slightest trouble as we walked through the chute.

That is what I’m looking for in these cattle.

Patty is the Dun.  Cora was her first calf.

Patty is the Dun. Cora was her first calf.

I have seen enough to know I will never see that disposition in Cora or Patty. Both girls brought 6-month-old babies when they came here. I can halter and lead both babies into a chute.

I need to see what comes from the 2 calves due in the next several weeks, from this second round of breeding from the other bull. I need to see what it takes to go through this round of working with babies and moms from birth. I need to see if there is any difference in disposition when I’ve been there from birth; and if so, how much.

We need to see how these 2 brood cows interact with us after these babies are born. We need to see if they’ll be willing to let us handle the babies for any treatment and training, etc.. Once again – this plays into the strong adjustments they’ve had to make with their surroundings.

Many people could be brushing me off about now, laughing with their opinion.  “ For Pete’s sake, they’re just cows! Let ‘em be! “ My cows can be ‘ just cows ‘ for them. I’m alright with that.

Most people prefer putting cows out on a pasture and not handling them anymore than the bare minimal, as brood stock for the freezer. I think that’s fine for them.  I see nothing wrong with that plan.  For us – we prefer hands-on with livestock.

And anyone that knows me – knows one certain rule I have always maintained about animals. I do not keep animals unfit for children.  I’m known for having put animals down that were not fit for children.

That rule is the line in the sand that determines which way everything goes with these cattle. They go into the pastures. They may go for sale to a breeder. Or they go into the freezer.

The hardest part is the length of time it takes to get from point to point! Somehow – we manage to have our own babies within a 9-month gestation period. And 18 years can fly by like there was never any tomorrow. Yet – these cattle go through the same gestation period. And 4 years feels like an Eternity!

ArtistCora3-22-2013b

A lot, and a long time. Both to endure, before we see what Artist brings to this world!

But I have faith.  No different than our common Human version of conception – I am hoping Mother Nature will prepare us as we go… waiting along the way.

Posted in FF Freedom's Artist, PF Cora's Killian, PF Patriot's Cora, Preparing For New Arrivals, What We've Learned | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Gorgeous Weather Means Breaking Out the ‘ Honey-Do List ‘

IMAG1295

We’re being warned of possible severe storms today - within the hour. But this past weekend was just packed with gorgeous weather! And its power to wake up the color of green could not have hit the mark any closer!

 

IMAG1296

The Clover is waking up – everywhere!

 

Killian began feeling a lot better yesterday, after his trimming and shots.

Killian began feeling a lot better yesterday, after his trimming and shots.

All our Dexters melted into content cud-chewing and naps – doing some milking from another source of their very own – Sunshine! That wonderful brightness and warmth was a very welcomed neighbor!

Dwayne was working. So I decided to take advantage of the day by cleaning the chicken coop. Starting early enough helps – as I am having to pace myself very carefully these days.

 

IMAG1292

I love standing in a chicken coop right after fresh pine shavings have been spread over the floor and inside the nesting boxes! Smells so Piney Fresh!

 

 

IMAG1293

The Girls had no complaints about my invasion of their home. They have been more than ready for the chance to break loose and roam the property earlier than 1pm – for quite some time now. I have to give them lots of credit. This crazy weather we’ve had over the past couple of months has robbed them of even a couple hours outside – for days at a time in some cases.

I save those occasions for special ‘treats’ that I take out to them. They’ve come to know they can expect something when they’re not let out. Over time – with consistency – it has calmed the ‘complainers’ down a lot.

Our annual visit with our Vet on Tuesday left a summary of issues that has given us reason to makes some changes. Since we have 3 of our cattle going to Butcher by this same time in 2014 – we’ve decided to hold off on cross-fencing our hay field.

We’ll be gaining another year of cutting and storing our own hay. You won’t hear any complaining about that from me!

This next round of days off is going to be totally booked! I’m so excited! We’ve revised some plans for paddocks – which will give us much more needed time to knock out a lot of other things on our ‘Honey-Do List’ for this year.

We’re starting on our area for re-establishing our raised-bed Vegetable Garden. We’ve already started seeds for Amish Paste Tomatoes and Black Tuscan Kale. I got my seed-savers storage container sorted. And I’ve started transposing all my dates for planting onto my computer’s calendar.

The tractor mower gets a tune-up. And I start knocking down weeds and mulching out the hay covering we’ve provided for protecting the grasses in the paddocks. We do this by choosing spots to drop square bales of hay for the cattle. The soil gets a bonus of nutrients. And we get the bonus of seed falling from the bales.

Many people have various choices when it comes to the subject of mowing paddocks and pastures. Some don’t mow. Some only mow a couple times a year – maybe. I prefer keeping our paddocks mowed at 4 inches for the better portion of the growing season.  This keeps the grasses tender and appealing for cattle.  It also encourages more growth with most species’.

But when the grass is in high gear with plenty of moisture – I have to keep it mowed at no more than 3 inches. We have this really thick wide-blade grass that grows really tight and holds moisture like a sponge – even during the driest periods of summer.

All our animals tend to develop eye allergies if I don’t keep that particular grass mowed down enough to dry. Mowing it short tends to encourage more spreading and growth. So it works in my favor with another bonus. But I do continue adding Hi-mag mineral to their rations – just in case.

Getting our taxes done is also on the list this round. We’re running a little late – compared to how soon we normally file taxes every year. This year has just been exceptionally odd. But we’ll be glad to get that off the list this week. An appointment to see my doctor is also on the agenda.

Spring is only a few days away. And I am so ready. We need some color and waking up going on around here!

Posted in Good News!, Misc. | Tagged , , | 2 Comments