Not gonna lie. This one caught us off-guard.😯 Yes – we knew calving season was approaching. But it just didn’t “feel” like it was gonna be this soon, lol. We were thinking next week would be the earliest…🤷🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️ But God knew. And today we started our 2020 season with a beautiful heifer from Uno. This is Uno’s 5th calf for us. [Click here to see the post from her calf from last year.] [Click here to read about when Uno was born.]
Mike txted me this when he went up to feed hay this afternoon.
After the shock wore off, we stopped working on our current projects, made a list of things to do before we could bring them down, and got to work: cleaning up the milk house (which had recently been serving as a maple sap rendering station), creating temporary calf pens in the top of the milking barn, checking runway fencing, and hooking up some electric wire along the field up on top of the hill. An extra bonus was that Michael was home from work to be extra hands if we needed him.👏🏼💪🏼
We’ve been getting A LOT of rain here lately, so everywhere is pretty yucky.😬 Thank You, Lord for boots that can handle wet and slimy mud!!👍🏼
Uno did a great job cleaning her calf up. We decided to name her Roni. (Sounds like the end of macaroni. Think: short and slang for Corona. Because – well – that’s how my brain works – I think about what’s going on around me…😂)
She allowed Mike to walk right up to her to get the halter on.❤️
And off we headed out of Mordor and to the milking barn.
Uno dropped her afterbirth on the way down…
We decided to keep them both together until tomorrow, so Roni came with us into the milking barn while we did a quick check on Uno. All was well, and back out into the field, we went.
We should have 7 more calves to arrive this year. They will be spread out longer than our normal six week window, as we had problems getting our girls bred last year.
2019 was a challenging season for us. It had been another wet year, and our ground really suffered. That, in turn, had consequences in the fertility of our soil, which led to pastures that did not thrive, and health issues for both our dairy girls and our calves. It got bad enough, that we ended up shutting down our herdshare dairy in October. Severing ties with over 30 families made it an emotional end-of-milking for us, but the Lord could not have made it more clear that that chapter needed to end.😔
So 2020 will be the beginning of a re-boot here. We’ll be reducing the sizes of our herds so we have less animals on the land. That way, we can amend the different pastures with what they are deficient in, so they can recover and thrive again. Depending on the quality and quantity of our milk this season, we’re prayerful we’ll have enough to feed our family and perhaps to even feed out a couple pigs. We sold our bull the end of October, so any breeding we do will be artificial breeding as we move forward. Our desire would be that in a few years, this land will be able to support more animals again and that we’ll be able to continue providing food for our family and others.🙏🏼
The Lord will use t-i-m-e to show us what is next here. Something new He introduced for 2020 is the rotation of harvesting timber from some of the farm’s wooded areas over a pattern of years. Mike has enjoyed walking the woods with the forester and learning more about better timber management.🌳 (And drooling about a future sawmill some day.😉) This avenue fits in perfect with the firewood harvesting we do each year, and the woodworking Mike enjoys dabbling in when he can.❤️
Our prayer is that we honor the Lord with each of these decisions alongside Mike’s parents. We recognize that He is moving us in the direction He wants us to go, and we cling to Him each step of the way. There will be seasons where we work off-farm for a bit, and there will be others where we get to stay here. If we focus on what we don’t know, it can be overwhelming. But when our focus remains steadfast on Christ, He is faithful to direct our paths. We wouldn’t have it any other way! Been there, done that.😉✝️🙏🏼
We are so grateful for the support we’ve had since day one, and we appreciate all the encouragement and prayers we continue to receive in this farming journey!🥰