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…


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.


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

Benefits of a Dreaded Cull in a Small Herd

PF Patriot - aka - Patty

PF Patriot – aka – Patty

When Cora came to live with us in October, 2012 – she arrived with a red bull calf at her side (her first) and confirmed pregnant, due to drop her 2nd calf in early May, 2013.  But – she also arrived with her Dam, PF Patriot, whom also arrived with a heifer at her side (her second) and confirmed pregnant, due to drop her 3rd calf in late April, 2013.

Both cows were Brood Cows, never having any halter training until some minimal prior to Dwayne picking them up from the previous owner, rarely even touched by a human hand. From the very beginning – it was obvious that Patty took on a Herd Matriarch disposition, immediately.  She wasted no time showing us what we could expect from her in the future, from the very moment she was off-loaded from the trailer to a stall in the barn.  And red flags began showing up on a daily basis – until the day she departed.

There was something about Cora that told me we had a good chance with her fitting in very well – if – we got Patty out of the way.  Cora dropped her 2nd calf during the middle of a storm, trapped by the ramrodding of Patty who was determined she would not ‘ allow ‘ Cora to have her calf in the barn.  Just as I had feared… I was home alone.  I’d never been so close to a calf being born, even worse…collecting one out of storm to get to a dry stall inside a barn.

And when our neighbor came to help me load the calf into a utility wagon, there was a moment when I read so much in Cora’s eyes… as I headed to the barn with her brand new baby.  She wanted to follow me to the barn.  She even began following.  But Patty intervened with her nasty determination and forced Cora to go back to that far corner of the paddock.  It would be later that evening after Dwayne got home from work and we had more help arrive, before we would be able to help Cora get to the stall and reunited with her baby.

My mind was made up at that point.  Patty was not going to fit in with the herd.  She kept our entire place on edge, until we took her to butcher shortly after weaning her calf a few months after she dropped her own calf.  You could even feel the tension with our Bull.  But you could feel a huge blanket of calm and peace all over our place, as soon as everyone could no longer even hear Dwayne’s truck or the rattling of the trailer driving away with Patty.

(L to R) April - Artist - Cora Taken on 8-26-2013

(L to R) April – Artist – Cora
Taken on 8-26-2013

Still – we’ve walked a careful road with Cora, as she’s dealt with conflict in disposition.  The ‘Brood Cow‘ in her has remained.  But there’s been an obvious goal in Cora’s heart.  She’s wanted to be touched and pampered the same as all the others.  She would take Alfalfa cubes from our hands like it was nobody’s business.  But then… Cora is one of those cows that will never turn down food!  She’d follow me to the barn – IF – she saw the food in the bucket.  But not until she saw the food.  No fooling her with an empty bucket.

She began following along the fence as far as she could go this spring, as if she were grazing with us, whenever I’d lead April out to the open yard where she could graze on the early clover and grasses coming in better than in the paddocks, yet.  But it became more than obvious about a month before she calved… when she, deliberately, swung her butt around to trap me in a corner of her stall fast enough that I lost my balance and had no choice but to lean on her back hip to catch myself.  She didn’t even flinch a muscle, or, tighten a leg to prepare for initiating a kick.

In fact – she’s never kicked.  Period.

Even then… I just refused to push limits beyond touching her lightly every once in a while, mostly if I needed her to shift so I could clean an area inside her stall.  But I kept a close eye on her body language… her eyes… even her muscle movement.  When we both stood outside the little yard on that morning I awoke and found her standing there with Seamus… we both witnessed her walk to her calf and begin nudging him in the butt, getting him to step forward… toward me.  It was as if she were wanting us to come see her new baby.  And once we encouraged her to go inside her stall with the calf to get him away from flies, which were beginning to show up for the season, already… she had no problem letting Dwayne come into the stall… touch the calf… and even administer his bovine e.Coli oral suspension.  We were stunned!

And I guess the gates were just fully opened on the dam when the Mastitis came around. One step at a time to get her into the chute… using one tool after another… her calf, her ration… anything.

The 2nd day was harder.  After spending over 3 hours in the chute and not being let out until after 10:30pm… she wanted no part of that chute.  But she wasn’t happy with us taking Seamus out to the little yard, either.  Dwayne was able to get her into a combo halter/lead rope and we managed to get her into the chute well enough to close the back door.  With the help of our Vet… we finally managed to get her secured into the headgate.  Dwayne thought about it.  We decided to put a Dexter Control Halter on her while we had a chance.

It paid off, because the 3rd day was even harder.  The day before entailed needles.  She was given antibiotics, Banamine, and her annuals.  We were just cruel to her, and she’d decided there was no way she was going back into that chute.  I don’t think the tractor would have even been able to make that girl budge!  It was then… that the ‘Don’t touch Me‘ era with this girl disappeared.  She didn’t care.  Dwayne was able to touch her all over.  He brushed her.  He massaged her shoulders.  He prodded with a show stick.  He even tried intimidating her with a lawn rake… began scratching her back with the darn thing.  She LOVED it!  Started curling and moving a little back and forth… making sure to keep those feel planted solid, of course.

I ended up going back in to help.  Once again, she shocked us.  She let me hook the lead rope, turned with me and headed to the chute.  And once again, she balked when we got a couple feet near the chute.  But she knows my buzz words, “I promise.”  She looked me in the eye and we crept through the chute… one foot at a time.

We followed through with the promise.  And yesterday was the easiest day, so far.  Today – we’re moving the chute away from the barn door to let her out to graze.  She’s been without green grass.  We don’t want the other side of her bags to deplete.  Today’s challenge will be to get her to walk into the chute from out in the little yard.

Eventually – the goal is to be able to lead her through the barn to the little yard and into the chute… until we no longer have to milk her.  Hopefully, Seamus will be able to nurse on that left side.


Culling Patty has been a wise decision.  It’s amazing to see all the transformation going on with Cora.  We expect her to keep that rule of not wanting to share her food.  But it’s been so worth having the joy of being able to help her become pampered like all the others.  Even more… she is really enjoying her experience with this new calf… even with the troubles from the Mastitis!


Posted in Misc., What We've Learned | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Surprises… Bad – Good – and Thank You, Lord Jesus!

Miss Cora has become a Teacher’s Lesson Plan book for us.  And we’re the students.  Trust me!  I keep telling everyone we are green as goose poop.  But she’s doing all she can to knock that out of us.  ;)


The latest surprise wasn’t so grand.  I figured she’d birth a large calf when I saw her udder blow up overnight.  But it kept growing after he was born.  I noticed the calf was confused whenever he went to that side to nurse.  He kept going up under Cora’s right front… Leg.  He’d bump…and bump…until he’d get fed up and go back over to the other side.

The front and rear on the right side just never deflated.  After spending a whole day going out every couple hours and trying to guide him to the teats on the right side with no success… I became worried.  I called Dwayne at work and told him to be prepared to come home and deal with getting some help to get the problem resolved.

We have some of the most wonderful members in our region of the American Dexter Cattle Association!  With some wonderful help from a couple of members, we were headed into a better direction.  One in particular, Jennifer, arrived ready with everything she could think of that we might need.  But even she was a handed a surprise.  She jumped right in… milking Cora and getting the clogs free without a second thought!  She’d been into it for about 5 minutes before finding out she was milking a brood cow that had never been touched or milked.  :)  LOL!

Jennifer was working on the rear teat, almost finished up at this point.

Jennifer was working on the rear teat, almost finished up at this point.

Cora hung in there for over 3 hours (from the time we got her into the chute after Dwayne got home from work) while Dwayne and Jennifer took turns milking the 2 quarters.  All that milk from 2 teats… in that 2 gallon bucket!  (I distributed it around our fruit trees, later.)  I kept Cora’s attention redirected with her precious little 3-day-old bull calf… who was doing a fantastic job with his very unexpected…expedited lesson in halter training!

Our Vet came out the next day to give her an exam.  Treated her with some Banamine for a little bit of fever.  Took culture samples to send in for testing.  Milked her out, again, before cleaning with a sterile pad and squirting a tube of Spectramast into each of the 2 teats.  With her being her ‘Don’t touch me‘ self… we decided to grab the moment while our Vet was there and give Cora all her annuals, as well.

We had the task of getting her back into the chute for the next 3 days… to milk her out and treat the teats with the tubes of Spectramast.  Right.  LOL  The only thing on our side was the fact that we’d finagled getting the chute into the little yard and back up against the barn door… trapping Cora and her calf inside their half of the barn.  (That’s another story!) But the only way out was through the chute.

After all the needles she felt yesterday… Cora decided she was NOT going into that chute today.  We got all prepped.  Had to wait for pockets of air in between all the pockets of heavy rain.  Eventually…Dwayne went in for Seamus.  I tended to him while Dwayne tried getting Cora into the chute.  Nothing working.

Tied the calf up to the side of the chute and walked around to the other entrance and climbed over a corral panel to get to Cora’s side and help Dwayne.  It began raining.  Ran to get the calf and led him to outside the little yard where our Baler sits.  We hoped it would provoke Cora to forget and come into the chute looking for him.  Never happened.

In fact… she let Dwayne come back into that barn and start massaging her shoulders and back… and she STILL wouldn’t budge!  But that gave me an idea.  We tried a combo halter/lead rope.  Within several minutes… Dwayne had conned her until he had the combo on her.  But she wouldn’t let him come to her left side!!

I had to bring the calf back inside the little yard.  Tied him to the chute trailer where he’d be in the shade.  Walked through the chute to go back in the barn.  Got Cora to turn around.  Dwayne handed me the end of the combo.  He grabbed a cotton lead rope… which we tied to the nylon combo.  And I began leading her to the chute with Dwayne in front of me.  We came out into the little yard and began keeping the rope tight until she caved and crept all the way to the headgate.

Mama always wins!

Dwayne thought about going ahead and putting one of the Dexter Control Halters on her.  We got that out of the way before Dwayne began milking her out.  I brought Seamus up to Cora so they could be close to each other.  He’s gonna be a lover!  And a very smart one, at that!  Taught him a little game the other night.  And he remembered it today!  He walks up to his mama’s chest when she’s in the chute and nudges her when you tell him to “give mama some kisses!

Another round of storms began threatening to come in.  Dwayne got Cora all milked out. Got the tubes administered.  We got Cora backed out of the chute and back inside the barn. Dwayne led the baby back inside to be with Cora.  I cleaned up the mess outside… just before it began to shower again!

She almost looks happy about having Bling just like April!

She almost looks happy about having Bling just like April!

I went inside to get this shot of Miss Cora with her new ‘ Bling ‘ … while Dwayne was cleaning the chute… in the rain.  Just like a man… priorities!  LOL

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Meet Seamus!

” Seamus ” – born 6/6/2014

Dam – PF Patriot’s Cora

Sire – FF Freedom’s Artist

Well… my suspicions held correct.  We missed Cora’s Hot Heat in the month of August, 2013.  Little Seamus was born June 6, 2014… and not so little!

Cora and Seamus on the Left - April and Aon on the right.

Cora and Seamus on the Left – April and Aon on the right.

This makes for the second time we’ve witnessed Cora having rather large calves… from different Sires.  He’s only 2 days old… compared to Aon… who is already 24 days old in this photo taken on June 8,2014!

Dwayne was not able to weigh him.  But he figures he weighed about 10 more pounds than Aon, which would put him around 55lbs. at birth.  Cora birthed him outside the barn… in the little yard.  With flies coming on we chose not push our luck beyond encouraging her to relocate him to her barn stall.

We have been so surprised by his Mom!  She took absolutely no issue with Dwayne walking inside the stall and handling her calf… so he could administer the oral Bovine eColi. serum. Since then… We are allowed to love up on that baby… all we want!

Daddy meeting his 2nd son!

Daddy meeting his 2nd son!

He is so adorable!  Very long.  Very gentle.  Yet… very playful!

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Meet Our Herdsire’s Very First Progeny!

Meet Aon  (Irish spelling for ‘Ian’) !!


Born 5-15-2014

Sire – FF Freedom’s Artist

Dam – PF No Foolin’ April

He is absolutely precious!  Aon weighed only 45 lbs. at birth.  He’s red in color, and looks sooo much like his Daddy!!

We forgot to check and see if he is polled or horned.  And that will have to wait a bit.  His mother has taken on her mother’s disposition, and is just overboard on the ‘ Protective Mommy’ role right now.  Looking forward to being able to spend time halter training him as soon as we can get Mom to chill out!

We are so thrilled.  He’s so adorable!  Can hardly wait until Artist gets to see him for the very first time!

Cora is due on May 29th – with her 3rd calf – but her 1st with Artist.  We have a feeling she may go early, just like April.  So, we’re keeping her confined to the little yard and the barn.  Her stall is left open for her to come and go at free-will.  She doesn’t share food with others.  But she will gladly make herself at home eating the rations dished for others!  lol

Taken 5-16-2014 (Due with 3rd Calf on 5-29-2014)

Taken 5-16-2014
(Due with 3rd Calf on 5-29-2014)

Wow!  It’s been over a year since I last posted.  And believe me – there’s been a LOT going on around here.  For one thing – I had to have surgery on both hands in less than a year.

I had surgery on my left hand for Carpal Tunnel Release on July 16, 2013.  And then I had surgery on both hands on January 17, 2014.  Carpal Tunnel Release was done on the right hand.  And they had to go back to the left hand and do a Trigger Thumb Release.  That one had quicker healing.  But the pain following surgery was worse than the Carpal Tunnel Release.

We had 2 steer calves born last year.  We took 1 other steer, Killian and Patty to the meat packers.  Patty has been much nicer in the freezer.  ;)  More importantly – you could just feel all the tension go away around here.  Everybody relaxed.

It’s been a year of ‘Live and Learn’ while taking huge steps.  We’re even experimenting with leaving the horns on the 2 steers that were born last year.  Amazing how polite they are around us.  They’re very gentle and so lovable!

We dealt with Dwayne’s father passing away.  His grandmother passing away.  One of my uncles passed away.  All 3 were living in Texas.

It’s so difficult for us, when there’s only 2 of us handling things here at the house, while one of us continues a full-time job 38 miles away, with a schedule that rolls on the calendar.  One of us has to stay behind and take care of the animals, while the other travels for family situations.  But we manage.

The garden is in for this year.  We have 10 Rhode Island Reds, 12 Americauna Hens and 1 Americauna Rooster keeping egg production on a constant roll around here.  And we’re now getting ready to divide our hay field into 3 grazing areas, right after we get the first cutting of hay for this year.

In the meantime, we wait for Cora to go into labor.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to post an update on her new arrival, soon!

Have a great day!



Posted in FF Freedom's Artist, Good News!, PF No Foolin' April, Preparing For New Arrivals, Yearly Accomplishments | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Manic Monday – No Time To Write a Book!

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


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



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



Two Little Boys behaving like Perfect little Angels!



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



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



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Two Days Apart!

** Warning: Graphic Photo Below


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.


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.


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


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.


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

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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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!


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