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Pastured pigs 2016

Last year we raised two Berkshire pigs as an experiment – and they were SO cool!! They were a perfect compliment to our dairy, feasting on our discard of skim, buttermilk, whey, and scraps. They were moved through a couple of our pastures and we also added some soaked oats to their diet. It was important to us to not feed any corn or soy. {Click here to read more details about Dave & Buster.}๐Ÿท

It has been a joy to have pork in our freezer! We have been very pleased with the flavor of the meat.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Since our experiment went so well, we decided to open it up to our customers for ordering this year. The response was amazing! We closed orders at 10 after a couple days because we didn’t want to be too overwhelmed in the jump from 2 to 10…๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Today we headed to Loudonville and picked up 7. (The final 3 will come from a separate batch.) They are 7 weeks old. These will be named after the 7 dwarves: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey.โค๏ธ (Can’t wait to see who will get each name!!)๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ


So fun that our friend Jennifer stopped by when we were unloading them! She also raises piggies and was excited to see them!โค๏ธ


The last one! Wonder if it will end up being named Bashful?๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿท๐Ÿ˜‰

Here they are in their new place. We’ll keep them in here for a few days to get used to us and learn what electric fence is. (You can see we have a line of fence strung along the side.)

The calves even came down to check out what was going on…๐Ÿฎ


Didn’t take them but a few minutes to start rooting around…๐Ÿฝ


No doubt, more posts will follow as they grow and the season progresses. Can’t believe May is almost here!๐ŸŒท๐Ÿ’๐ŸŒบ

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10th and final calf 2016

We knew it yesterday, as we heard the forecast for the next morning: SNOW+WIND…โ„๏ธ๐Ÿ’จ WE JUST KNEW IT. Final calf would be born in a blizzard.๐Ÿ˜

We. Were. Right.๐Ÿ˜ Fiskars is Paul’s cow. {Click here to read about her calf from last year.} Last year she had the first calf of the season, and this year she closes out our season! Even though it was a blustery, yucky morning, we are all extremely thankful it all went smoothly.

Click here to read about when she was born, and here to go to a past post that contains links of Paul with Fiskars over the years.  

Paul named her calf: Flapjack (think ridiculous cartoon: The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack๐Ÿ™„) He joins Clark as the only other bull this season. Final tally: 2 boys and 8 girls.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

I walked up to Mordor solo since we had an extra helper this morning. The boys’ friend, Blake, got to join us for this adventure.๐Ÿ˜Š

 
If you “super zoom”, you can almost see the clump of cows all the way back in the farthest corner of Mordor…๐Ÿ”  

 
 
   

Flapjack didn’t quite make it out the gate on his own, but we think he did pretty good given the circumstances!๐Ÿฎ  

3 Amigos!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

   

 
 
Horizontal snow!!๐Ÿ˜ณ    

 
Flapjack got a nice rub-down…โค๏ธ      

 
โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ 
Blake and his namesake…๐Ÿ˜    

Even though his mama had fed him some, Flapjack finished off a bottle, too. Can’t blame him. All that chaos makes for hungry tummies – calves AND humans…๐Ÿค—  

Well, Lord, what a whirlwind of a calving season this has been! Thank You for sustaining us through it, and for using it to build up our endurance for the next chapter here. We look forward to seeing more of Your plan unfold, one step at a time. May we stay focused on You. Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Thought I’d end this post with some fun stats from our first 10 years of calving. Kinda neat to see how our calving window has shortened up over the years! Perfect for our small, seasonal dairy.๐Ÿฎ

2007: 13 calves over 25 weeks

2008: 6 calves over 22 weeks

2009: 23 calves over 22 weeks

2010: 14 calves over 14 weeks

2011: 16 calves over 12 weeks

2012: 11 calves over 9 weeks (with a late one 4 weeks later)

2013: 13 calves over 8 weeks

2014: 8 calves over 8 weeks

2015: 9 calves over 5 weeks

2016: 10 calves over 3 weeks (Wow!!! No wonder my body feels so tired, lol!๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜‰)

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9th calf 2016

Look what Mike found when he went up for a calf-check on this rainy/cold afternoon: 
 Yep. Disco had her calf – ANOTHER GIRL!!!๐Ÿ˜ฑ (That makes 8 girls and one boy.) {Click here to read about her calf from last year.}

Boys have named her: Ruby. (Totally random – though they DID say she has a rosey complexion, lol.๐Ÿ˜‰)

By the time we were all suited up, Disco had moved her into an area with some trees. When Mike left them, she had fed her calf. And we were REALLY hoping she’d have Ruby all cleaned up. BUT, she didn’t.๐Ÿ˜ก Good thing I had brought some old towels to the barn. This ones gonna need some work.๐Ÿ˜  

 
  
  
  
  

Ruby is pretty large, and didn’t seem too interested in walking – especially in the muck & mire. That was fine by us, we weren’t exactly thrilled to be trudging through it either…๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒจ๐Ÿ’จ  

Michael had to make a quick detour and guard the fourwheeler… For some reason, Coco decided she wanted to beat it up.๐Ÿ˜ณ

 
Michael drove Mike & Ruby down to the barn. Paul & I stuck with Disco.  

 
  
You’ll notice the few pics I have are from pretty far away. That’s because I couldn’t keep up with Michael’s driving! (I’m thinking of renaming him Mario…๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ˜)

 
(I had to sprint AND ZOOM to get this one…๐Ÿ˜‚)  
  
  
Ruby got a nice rub down, and some fresh hay to snuggle down in.โค๏ธ    

Well, it wasn’t exactly how we wanted to spend our afternoon, since the boys’ baseball game got cancelled DUE TO YUCKY WEATHER, lol, but that’s ok.๐Ÿ˜Š

Almost done with 2016 calves!! One more left…๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ 

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7th and 8th calf 2016

What a morning! Outside temp was 22ยฐ –  but it felt like 10ยฐ because of the wind!โ„๏ธ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ˜ This is the txt I got from Paul & Mike when they went to do a baby check before we milked:

“Not one but 2 babies. Not Kidding.”

Lol. Ugh. So with full Carhartt gear and lots of layers on, we began our journey to bring down TWO MORE GIRLS with their mamas. (For those keeping track, that’s 7 girls and 1 boy!)

We decided to name the girls Tic and Tac (think breath mints).๐Ÿ˜

ScotchTape had Tic. {Click here to see her calf from last year.} We decided to leave Tac with her mama, Uno for now, since she was still getting cleaned up and eating. (Uno was our other new heifer to calve this year, and we are so grateful she had no issues and was doing such a great job taking care of Tac!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ More about them further down in the post.)

  

Here are the pics from bringing Tic down.

 
  
Yes, THOSE ARE ICE CHUNKS IN THE PUDDLE…๐Ÿ˜–  

Once we were out of Mordor, we put Tic in the wagon and Paul drove her down with Mike. Even though ScotchTape is a “veteran mama”, she was taking FOREVER to lead Tic down to the barn. We wanted to speed things up a bit because it was: COLD.๐Ÿ˜ (Tic is also HUGE, lol, so I was glad Michael helped with lifting her to Mike.๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ)

 
  
It took ScotchTape a minute to figure it all out, but she finally did…(brainfreeze)๐Ÿ™„

  
  
  
Since Tape was so lolly-gaggy, there was plenty of time for the driving crew to open the gate to drive down on grass instead of the bumpy runway. (no shocks on trailer=sore human body parts…๐Ÿ˜)

 
  
  
  
There she is:  Tic.โค๏ธ

 
  
We were going to just have her wait to get her pen until after we moved the other 3 next door, but we changed our minds…

 
  
  
  
  
  
She was a hungry girl!!๐Ÿผ

 

After we milked, we moved Natasha, Harriet, and Hope over to our barnyard to join the other 3.
  
  
  
  
  
So now we have 5 girls and one boy in Green Dragon.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ (Girls are already kinda shunning poor Clark, lol…)

 
  
Next up? Bringing down Uno and Tac.๐Ÿค—  

{Click here to read Uno’s post when she was born.}

Even though this was Uno’s first time with a calf, she led Tac down perfectly!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ   
 
  
  
  
  
  

(Couldn’t resist putting this pic in. Michael was down at the barn first and took this watching us coming down. Blake-the-cat was leading the parade, lol. This 10-year-old barn cat is always cracking us up!๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜)

  

Tac’s close-up…๐Ÿ˜‰  

  
And now? Celebration time!! We figured: two calves on one of the coldest mornings, another hassle-free heifer delivery, no time or energy to fix food to eat before afternoon feedings+baseball running…yeah – it’s time to celebrate, lol!๐ŸŽ‰

So we headed to our friend’s local restaurant for 4 Chopper burgers…mmmmm!๐Ÿ”๐ŸŸ  

  
Thank You, Lord, for Today. Grant us what we need to finish up this season. Prepare us for what’s next, and lead us always closer to You… Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Lord willing, two more to go…

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6th calf 2016

Banana had her second calf for us this morning. It’s a girl!!! {Click here to read about her calf last year.} Michael named her Harriet.โค๏ธ (Her dad’s name is Harry, lol…) 

  
  
Michael got a halter on Banana, too, so he was able to lead her out of Mordor a little easier than it would have been otherwise. (She’s kinda stubborn, but she cooperates pretty well for Michael.๐Ÿ˜‰) Harriet followed well and made it the whole way down.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ  

  
  
  
  
  
  
To see some old posts featuring Banana over the years, click here and here and here.

The other nosey mamas waiting to see who is joining their group, lol…๐Ÿฎ 

  
Natasha welcoming Harriet…๐Ÿค—  

Today is a little bittersweet. Banana has been special to Michael, and he’s spent a lot of time showering her with extra attention over the past 4 years. He really wanted her to make the cut and remain one of our dairy girls, but that’s just not gonna happen. Last year, her rumen stopped working and we needed the emergency vet out to help her. Her appetite recovered, but we couldn’t use her milk for our dairy, and we actually dried her up in July. We decided to give her another chance for 2016, but it appears she is the same… Rats.๐Ÿ˜• Culling a cow from your herd that you are emotionally attached to can be hard, and I’m grateful for the time we’ve all had to prepare for this possibility. It’s just how farming goes sometimes. We are thankful for everything she has taught us, the wonderful memories of watching Michael take care of her, and for the two calves she’s had for us.โค๏ธ

Lord, use this experience to grow each one of us closer to You… Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

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5th calf 2016

Mike and the boys were greeted by Sarge and her first calf this morning! She had a girl… Her name is Natasha (think: Avengers/Black Widow๐Ÿ˜‰). 

You never know how it will go with first time mamas, so we are grateful all went smoothly for Sarge! {Click here to read about when Sarge was born.} And some more fun trivia to make your head spin: Cookie is Sarge’s mom, so that makes Natasha, Babra’s neice…๐Ÿฎ

  
We were glad the boys were here to help walk them down to the barn… Sarge was a little apprehensive about this new routine, but she did pretty good.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

  
  
 
Natasha had to wait for a bit while her mama got a drink…๐Ÿ˜  

  
  
  
  
  
 

Natasha also had to wait for us to move Babra, Peggy, and Clark next door before she could have her own private pen. 

Babra and Peggy went in round 1…  

  
And Clark “flew solo” in round 2…

  
  
And my favorite pics – RUNNING!!!โค๏ธ  

  
   
 
So now it’s just Hope and Natasha in the barn. They’ll be ready to trek next door in a couple days.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ  

What a good feeling to be halfway done with calving for this season!! Count is now 4 girls, 1 boy.๐Ÿ˜Š

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4th calf 2016

What a beautiful morning here!โ˜€๏ธ  

Mike and I started the morning out blazing a trail through the briars to get to our cross. It was a beautiful morning of prayer together on this Resurrection Sunday.โค๏ธ

  
  
Next, we headed over to check on the girls, and spotted some extra little legs…  

PeaPod had a girl! We named her: Hope.โค๏ธโœ {Click here to read PeaPod’s post from last year.} 

I had forgotten that we’ve had calves on Easter before… If you’d like to read about them, click here and here and here.

 
They walked over to the hay we brought.  

  
And then we prepared for the walk down to the barn.

  
  
  
These two weren’t as smooth as the last three sets were. Ended up giving Hope a ride down the rest of the way while her mama sauntered down at her own pace.๐Ÿฎ

  
  
  
  
  
  
Used some hay bales to close up a temporary pen for Hope…
 
…and then she promptly did a jailbreak right through it, lol!๐Ÿ™„ So Mike had to take a few extra minutes to build something a little more durable.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ  

  
And then reinforced it with the bales…

 
Couldn’t resist sharing this pic of Blake introducing himself to Hope.๐Ÿ˜

  
We weren’t able to make it to our church service this morning, so the four of us headed back up to the cross together. Paul picked us some daffodils, and off we went. Mike read Luke 24, and we shared/prayed together. It was nice to kinda reenact the Easter sunrise service we used to have…โœ

  
Tally now is 3 girls, 1 boy.๐Ÿ˜Ž

Thank You, Lord, for HOPE!โค๏ธ