Life on The Farm – September 15th

We’ve been blessed with cooler weather this past week. Only highs of about 75 – 80, which to some is hot, but to us (after 110s!) is wonderful. Every morning we wake up cold, and it’s wonderful! We’ve even been wearing sweaters!

Well, with the cooler weather comes some advantages and disadvantages.. For one, it reminds us that we need to be preparing for winter, and on the other side, it’s great to be able to work outside all day and not faint from the heat.

Today Mom and I put up some cross-fencing for our pasture. With all the green grass springing up again, we’re trying to conserve it for the winter. By giving a smaller pasture for Rosie and Snickers (only 50’x50′), we are able to simulate what it’s like in the wild – the “predators” – a.k.a. the electric fence – keep them in a certain area, and that gives the grass the chance to grow back before being eaten again. So far we’re moving them about once a day. Which means we’re putting up a new cross section about twice a week (Each section has 3-4 little squares in it). The technical name for rotating the cows through is Management Intensive Grazing. Of course, we’re using a lot less space, and a lot less cows 🙂

A couple weeks ago we were surprised one morning with a mama hen and her six little babies. We had just moved the hens into a confined area, and this one kept escaping – now we know why! It’s quite cute. She’s a barred rock hen, and the father was a buff orpington, so we have little “mutt” chickens 😀 Most of them have black bodies and white faces. It’s so fun to watch them scratch through the grass and follow their mama! The only downside is that I had to start tying up my dog, so she wouldn’t chase them.

We also have gotten some more baby guineas (keets). There is seven of them, and they are in the cute stage. As they get older, they get these weird bright red bags on the side of their cheeks, and a big hard “helmet” head. Very ugly. And they make the loudest, most obnoxious noise ever (even worse than my brothers)! But they do eat snakes and ticks, so I guess they’re okay. And they are the prettiest lavender color ever, so that bumps them up a little in my sight 🙂

Duke, our miniature horse foal, is getting big. He’s got this endearing habit of sneaking up (and I mean sneaking up!) behind the cows and then nipping at their legs. Well, I guess it’s endearing to us, and not to the cows! Then he does this little gallop away out of their reach, waits until they go back to grazing, then sneaks up again! It’s quite comical to see the cows try to chase him away. Duchess, his mom, also gets involved. She tries to call Duke away, but he’s a disobedient little horse, and for the most part ignores her.

Our pigs are also getting large. Bacon and Pork Chop, as we have dubbed them, are crazy for milk. They have gotten so large, and soo crazy for milk, that they have been known to climb/jump OVER the hog panel. For a creature that cannot look up, they are crafty little guys. My favorite is Bacon. His face is more cuter than Pork Chop’s, and he also (I think) is the smartest. His favorite thing is to wait until I fill up their water bucket, then dump it over to make a mud wallow. Dad finally screwed the bucket to the “pigerator”, but Bacon still managed to find a way to dump the water out. He bites the side, lifts it, and then drops it, so that the water splashes out! Goofy pig.

We’ve been trying for some time to get Rosie breed, so that she will dry up, then freshen (or start producing milk again) when she calves. However, we’ve haven’t been having much luck. We either get her too late, or too early (cows only have a short time when they are viable). So we decided to try and borrow a friend’s bull, so that he could come “courting” Rosie for a little while. Well, that was an adventure. They live about an hour and half away, and so we picked a Saturday, hooked up our horse trailer and traveled out there.

Lesson #1 – Don’t pick a rainy day.

After finding our friend, and the field the bull was at, Dad and our friend hiked out there, in the rain, to find the bull. After luring him up with some bread (yes, they love it!), they finally managed to get the bull into the chute.

Lesson #2 – Full sized bulls do not fit inside little dinky horse trailers.

That guy was soo big that it took Dad and the friend, and another friend all pushing on him to get him in. Then they were afraid that the he might break the doors. So they started searching around for some ratchet straps. This is now about 2 hours of being out in the drenching, cold rain. No luck. We didn’t bring our straps, and they didn’t have any either. Us kids were sitting in the van, and every time the bull moved, the entire van shaked! That got my mom thinking. “Honey, you guys are having this much trouble getting him in and moved, and that’s with a chute and bread. How in the world are we going to get him back here, with no chute or ramp, and only one man?” Opps. Soooo, we decided that, after 2 1/2 – 3 hours in the rain, we weren’t going to take him home. So they unloaded the bull and put him back into the pasture.

The moral of the story – Think things through BEFORE acting. Ha!

Our friend was nice about it though. He took us home, dried us up, and his wife treated us to homemade pizza and little puppies. That came out wrong. No, we didn’t eat the puppies too. Just the pizza. Anyways, just another day on the farm, eh? Live and learn.

 
I’ve got a bunch of other stories that I could tell you, but those are going to have to wait. Hope you all are enjoying your September!

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