Category Archives: Nature

3rd calf 2020

Mike found Sarge with her new calf this afternoon, and we had quite the cow-drama getting them down to the barn.๐Ÿ˜ฌ

This is Sarge’s 5th calf for us. [Click here to read about last year’s calf.] [Click here to read about when Sarge was born.]

Mike came down to the barn to set up another calf pen and finished feeding round bales before we went up to bring down Sarge and her calf. We weren’t expecting to find Nat trying to steal the calf from Sarge.๐Ÿ™„ Nat is actually Sarge’s first calf from 2016. [Click here to read about her story.] Nat is due to have her own calf soon, so she must have thought she already had it, LOL.๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ She was very aggressive (no one got hurt, but she was running around like a crazy mama), and so-much-so that Sarge pretty much gave up trying to take charge of her own calf. Ugh.๐Ÿ˜ก

Poor calf was pretty confused. She wouldn’t walk with Nat, and Sarge went back to eat…so I walked all the way back to the 4-wheeler to give her a lift. (Of course – the ONE time you DON’T bring the 4-wheeler in with you…๐Ÿ˜†)

Anyways – through all this, for some reason the childhood story of Heidi popped into my mind…an orphaned little girl raised by extended family up on a mountain… (I know, I know – no mountains here, but my legs felt like they had hiked up one after so much walking through pockets of mud.๐Ÿ˜–๐Ÿ‘ต๐Ÿผ) I mentioned the name to Mike. He politely agreed, and there you have it: Heidi.๐Ÿ˜‚

Not too many pictures of all this craziness, as I was afraid I’d drop my phone during my quest for remaining balanced.

Next we tied Heidi to a post outside of Mordor and then headed back in to get Sarge.

Once we got back to Sarge, she proceeded to zig zag us through the field. Thankfully, we were able to eventually guide her through the gate.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ HOWEVER. She never even stopped to reunite with her calf.๐Ÿ˜ณ

So for the first time, I herded a mama cow down to the barn on the 4-wheeler, while Mike waited with Heidi for me to return.๐Ÿ™ƒ

Once Sarge was in the barnyard, I closed the gate and headed back to Mike & Heidi.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

All went well, and after we milked Sarge, Heidi enjoyed her bottle. Mission accomplished. Thank You, Lord!โค๏ธ

New tally: two girls and one boy. Lord willing, 5 more to come.๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

2nd calf 2020

 

Found this guy with his mama during our morning calf check.โค๏ธ

Peggy calving again for us wasn’t actually a part of our plan…๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Last year she had her first calf, but she didn’t make the cut to stay in our dairy herd. [Click here to read about her calf from last year.] [Click here to read about when Peggy was born.]

BUT – when you are sorting cows when the bull is in with the herd, and it takes a little longer than you thought it would – there’s always that slight chance…๐Ÿ™„

We noticed Peggy bagging up a couple weeks ago, so we knew then that she had gotten bred.๐Ÿ˜‚ No worries, though, a healthy calf that arrives unassisted is always a blessing!โค๏ธ

This pic is fun because it features Peggy’s first calf on the left – Steve. He was pretty curious about his new little brother. Continuing the Captain America themed names for this family group, this new bull calf has been named Bucky.๐Ÿ˜†

Since Bucky was eating, we decided to leave them together for breakfast, and come up after milking and feeding round bales to the two groups of cows.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Plan was working well until Mike happened upon an “extra” calf in Mordor…๐Ÿ˜ฏ He knew it wasn’t one of ours as it was too large to be a newborn, and it was all black.

A neighbor’s calf had gotten on our side of the fence, and Mike could see and hear its mama crying in the distance.๐Ÿค”

You can see our dairy girls didn’t seem phased by any of this, lol.๐Ÿ˜‰

Fixing this now became our next order of business.๐Ÿ˜‰

I was to make sure the mama and the rest of the herd didn’t make a run toward the open gate while Mike went behind the calf and herded him toward the gate. Thankfully, it worked!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Mike thinks he found a low spot in the woods by a creek where the calf may have gone under the fence. He’ll probably attach a cattle panel to patch it up as we move forward.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Next up: bringing down Bucky. The timing was perfect because he was sound asleep!๐Ÿ˜ด

Mike was able to slip the halter on him before he even got up.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Peggy escorted Bucky to the gate, and we were pleasantly surprised that he followed Mike as far as he did outside of the gate. Then Mike loaded him on the 4-wheeler for the remainder of the trip.๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

Made it to the barn, safe and sound!๐Ÿ˜„

Roni seemed pretty happy to have a new neighbor…๐Ÿ˜‰

Tally now is one girl, one boy. Lord willing, 6 more to go…๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Meet Roni – 1st calf 2020

Not gonna lie. This one caught us off-guard.๐Ÿ˜ฏ Yes – we knew calving season was approaching. But it just didnโ€™t โ€œfeelโ€ like it was gonna be this soon, lol. We were thinking next week would be the earliest…๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ But God knew. And today we started our 2020 season with a beautiful heifer from Uno. This is Unoโ€™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.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

We’ve been getting A LOT of rain here lately, so everywhere is pretty yucky.๐Ÿ˜ฌ Thank You, Lord for boots that can handle wet and slimy mud!!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

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…๐Ÿ˜‚)

She allowed Mike to walk right up to her to get the halter on.โค๏ธ

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.๐Ÿ˜”

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.๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

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.๐ŸŒณ (And drooling about a future sawmill some day.๐Ÿ˜‰) This avenue fits in perfect with the firewood harvesting we do each year, and the woodworking Mike enjoys dabbling in when he can.โค๏ธ

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.๐Ÿ˜‰โœ๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

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!๐Ÿฅฐ

Stay tuned!โ˜บ๏ธ

And just like that: weโ€™re done calving for 2019!

2:25PM 5-2-19

I got this txt from Mike. This is Ruby – the last of our 3 heifers to calve… We knew her calf would be born within a few hours, just didn’t know if she would require assistance or not. Needed to watch and wait…๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

2:51PM 5-2-19

I finished up what I was working on and headed up to the field to get a couple pictures for myself. She had progressed a little – you can see feet sticking out! But she was hungry, so she just kept eating, lol.๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

4:30PM 5-2-19

Ruby was laying down and beginning to push.

We waited around/watched for the next 40 minutes or so. Got to listen to a lot of grass chewing, lol…

5:02PM 5-2-19

Ruby continued to make progress…

And she didn’t want Mike to help speed things up! The other 2 heifers: Peggy & Nat, came over to throw some interference, lol…๐Ÿ˜‚

As I’m taking pictures and videos of all this with Ruby, all of a sudden I hear a weird noise behind me. I turn around to seeing Gluey laying on the ground and pushing for a few seconds and then she popped up and started eating again. I asked Mike if he thought maybe Gluey was going to have her calf today, too?๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Time would tell…

5:10PM 5-2-19

Decided that since Ruby didn’t appear to be in distress, we would head down to get a drink and come back up in a half hour or so.

5:43PM 5-2-19

Found BOTH Gluey AND Ruby with calves, lololol…๐Ÿ˜†

Wow. So funny how some labors take hours and others just minutes!๐Ÿ˜ฒ We could tell a rain shower was headed our way, so we decided to let the mamas clean their babies up, grab a quick sandwich from town, and then come back up to assess the situation after the rain rolled through.

It’s a boy! This is Ruby’s first calf for us. [Click here to read about when Ruby was born.] His name is Boy-o. A name from a movie my boys have memorized lines from. Kind of fun to attach it to a calf now, lol.๐Ÿ˜‚

This is Gluey’s 9th calf for us – her 5th boy. [Click here to read about her calf last year.] Gluey is always cracking us up because she kinda looks like a cartoon cow – sorta clownish.๐Ÿคฃ We’ve often said she reminds us of Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars… Therefore, we’ve named this boy: Jarjar.๐Ÿ˜Ž

7:16PM 5-2-19

The rain was done & we had eaten, so we headed back up to check things out on the hill.

Both calves were pretty cleaned up, and it looked like they either had already eaten or were in the process of eating.

If you listen closely toward the end of the video, you can actually hear him sucking!โค๏ธ

We toyed with the idea of trying to get everybody down to the barn, but with only about an hour left of daylight, it would have meant that everyone would have needed to cooperate 100%. That was not happening, lol.๐Ÿ™„

After much prayer and deliberation, we decided to allow the boys to stay with their moms for the night. With the sun going down quickly and our bodies feeling weary, we felt it would be better to bring everybody down in the morning instead. This concept is scary for us control-freak-types…๐Ÿ˜ฌ In this field, the herd is contained in just a single wire of electric, and there is no perimeter fence around the edges.๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

7:49PM 5-2-19

Mike decided to add some kelp and DE to the girls’ mineral feeder in hopes of diverting their attention from the two new additions. Perhaps then the calves could bond more with their mamas in peace.๐Ÿ˜‰

First Mike allowed Peggy to try some to see if it would entice her to get more. It worked! Didn’t take long for others to follow her.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Of course, extra attention was needed, too…๐Ÿ˜

It was such a beautiful evening.โค๏ธ

6:29AM 5-3-19

Sure enough – BOTH calves were on the WRONG SIDE of the fence when we got up there this morning, lol.๐Ÿ™„ We don’t think it had been for too long, though. They were quite happy to be laying together. Sure did have all the moms in a tizzy in the corner!๐Ÿคฃ

Boy-o and Jarjar were good about letting Mike & I get halters on them. That made it easy to get them back in with their moms.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Next we wanted to start walking everybody down to the barn as usual. This is when we realized it would be nice to have an extra set of hands to help. Fortunately, Michael hadn’t left for work yet, and was able to join us for this fun.๐Ÿ˜‰

Mike had Boy-o, and they started walking with Ruby the direction we wanted. Gluey wanted to follow, but it took a bit for her to convince Jarjar to join her…

Amidst this drama, Ruby ended up leaving Boy-o and coming back to meet up with me, Gluey, & Jarjar.๐Ÿ™„ Mike was able to walk Boy-o to a fencepost and tied him there until we could get back to him.

Then Mike took Jarjar from me, and walked him with Gluey & Ruby toward the barn. At this point, BOTH mamas thought Jarjar was their calf, lol.๐Ÿ™„

Michael & I were ahead of them and walked the remainder of the herd down to the barn.

Once we got them in the barn, Michael headed back out to join Mike with Boy-o and his two mamas.๐Ÿ˜†

It wasn’t long, and Boy-o was really losing his steam, so Michael volunteered to carry him the rest of the way down the runway. Mike was overjoyed to allow Michael to do that!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

We were so grateful for Michael’s help this morning! What a blessing that Don’s Custom Meats is so close to our home, so he wasn’t too late getting into work.โค๏ธ

Mike was then able to walk Jarjar to his stall in the barn.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Next, Mike & I headed back up to where Boy-o was waiting. He basically informed us he was DONE walking, lol.๐Ÿ™„

Mike prepped the 4-wheeler for the trek down the runway…

He scooped up Boy-o and loaded him up. This is the pose I get when I’m supposed to be driving, but turn to take a QUICK picture, lol…๐Ÿ˜ (Have I mentioned lately, that I LOVE this man? How in the world he can even put up with me, I will never understand…โ˜บ๏ธ)

Unlike Clint, Boy-o hardly moved at all in the drive down. It was a much more comfortable walk for Mike down the hill.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Mission accomplished! All the dairy girls were in the barn, and both calves made it to their pens. THANK YOU, LORD.โœ๏ธ

We were also grateful that they both ate today. Sometimes, when they’ve been with their mamas for a decent spell, they aren’t interested in eating from a bottle for awhile. But these guys drained their bottles. ANOTHER PRAISE!โœ๏ธ

11:55PM 5-3-19

Phew. What a long two days. I don’t think it’s ever taken me so long to write a blog post and get it uploaded!

Final tally for 2019 is 5 boys and 3 girls.โค๏ธ

What a season this has been, Lord. We’ve already learned many new lessons, and we know more are coming. We thank You for how You lead and teach us, and even how you gently correct us. We continue to seek Your Wisdom now as we move forward. With the Psalmist, we pray: May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us – YES, establish the work of our hands! Amen (Psalm 90:17)

6th calf 2019

Hooray! 2nd heifer had her calf unassisted and waiting for us to find this morning…๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

This is Natasha with her first calf. [Click here to read about when Nat was born.] Since Natasha’s name originally came from the superhero Black Widow (think: Marvel-Avengers) AND since this week is the debut of another one of those movies, we decided to stay along those lines, and this bull calf’s name is Clint (think Hawkeye, lol๐Ÿน๐Ÿ˜‚).

Neither Nat nor Clint minded Mike walking over & putting the halter on Clint.

Nat & Clint walked together for a few minutes, and then Nat completely abandoned her calf and left to go get a drink.๐Ÿ™„

Mike tied Clint’s halter near the gate so we could figure out how to get Nat back…

No worries, though, Clint had the yearlings on the other side of the fence to make him feel welcome…๐Ÿ˜‰

There is Nat all the way back at the waterer…๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Mike headed back to attempt to usher Nat back toward Clint and out the gate…

She did come back the direction we wanted her to…BUT she passed up Clint, went through the gate, and made a beeline to the barn.๐Ÿ™„

Soooo. We adjusted our plan. Mike hurried to escort Nat down to the barn, and I stayed and babysat Clint until Mike could get back.๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

Gave me lots of time to get some pictures on this glorious morning!โœ๏ธโ˜บ๏ธ

Once Mike returned, he did his best to convince Clint that he should WANT TO walk down to the barn…

It did work, but only for a little jaunt. Even the yearlings tried to encourage him by walking along the inside of the fence!๐Ÿ˜‚ But Clint just wouldn’t have any more walking.๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿผ

So we stopped, prayed, and the Lord enabled Mike to lift Clint onto the back of the four-wheeler. No pics of that process, or my husband would have been very frustrated with me, lol.๐Ÿ˜† It was a bit of a stressful drive down to the barn with a wiggly calf & Mike’s awkward holding positions. Mike’s top half was holding Clint down on the bed, while his feet walked and I drove 5mph+/- down to the barn. Had to stop several times, but we did make it to our destination in one piece. PRAISE THE LORD!โœ๏ธ

I got a pen opened up in the barn, and Mike then carried Clint into the pen. He was NOT light… Mike will no doubt feel the effects of this experience for the next few days.๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

It wasn’t too bad getting Nat in to milk for the first time, and she gave us a nice amount of food for Clint.๐Ÿผ

Later in the afternoon, we decided it would be wise to get the last 2 mamas, and bring them into the same field with the other milkers. Mike got the fences ready, and we headed up to get veteran Gluey and last-bred-heifer Ruby. Thankfully, everything went smoothly.โค๏ธ

We will be glad when the last two calves finally arrive. It will be nice to settle into more of a “set” daily routine. Calving season is exciting and fun, but not without its challenges!๐Ÿ˜‰

Tally is now even – 3 boys and 3 girls.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

5th calf 2019

We were so pleased to see that Peggy (the first of the three heifers who are bred for this season), had delivered her first calf without any assistance and it was all cleaned up when we arrived in the field this morning! And how fun that it was so colorful!โค๏ธ [Click here to read about when Peggy was born.]

It’s a boy! We’ve named him Steve. (Figured since his mama’s name came from the Captain America movie, his name should, too, lol.๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Neither Steve, nor Peggy minded Mike getting the halter on him, and he walked at a nice pace all the way down to the barn.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

It was a long morning, but a good one. Once we finally got Peggy in a headlock in the barn, we were able to get her milked just fine. Thank You, Lord!๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Should be three calves left to come: two more from first-time heifers, and one from veteran mama, Gluey.๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ

Tally now is 3 girls and 2 boys.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

4th calf 2019

Found our 4th calf when we went up to check on the herd this morning. Meet Ginger! Her mama is Sarge, and she’s the same shade of red as her with a splattering of white in several spots.

This is the fourth calf that Sarge has had for us. Lord willing, Sarge’s first calf, Natasha from 2016, will be having a calf this season, too.๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

[Click here to read about the calf Sarge had last year.]

[Click here to read about when Sarge was born.]

When Mike arrived with the halter, Ginger was fine until the last second. That’s when she bolted toward ME – the one who’s terrified of animals!๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜‚ But the Lord had me covered with the prayers leading up to today. His strength enabled me to tackle Ginger and hold her until Mike got to me.โœ๏ธ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ Otherwise, we’d probably STILL be running around trying to catch her, lol!โ˜บ๏ธ

Sarge had only one thing on her mind – to get down to the barn. She didn’t seem to care much about waiting for Ginger to keep up. But to Ginger’s credit, she made an excellent effort to stay close! Mike had quite a brisk walk/run most of the way down to the barn. Our bodies felt the workout this morning!๐Ÿ‘ต๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿผ

Tally now is 3 girls and 1 boy. Lord willing, we should have 4 more arriving within the next few weeks.๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ