Friday, January 31, 2014

Farm Fact Friday

Of all major dairy breeds, the Jersey's milk boasts the richest content. The milk is very high in butterfat, which provides a better-tasting product. It's also used for making cheese and butter. According to the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA), compared to the average glass of milk, that produced by a Jersey contains 15 to 20 percent more protein, 15 to 18 percent more calcium and 10 to 12 percent more phosphorus, along with high amounts of vitamin B12.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Never take your kids with you to a small animal auction......

Yep I am a softie when it comes to cute faces.  I grew up with horses and really I think that is the only thing that got me through those tough teen years.  We have had a few horses here on the farm and I came to the realization that while fun and sweet horses did not fit in our farm plan.  They were beautiful  and I loved them,but they eat a TON!  So off went all the big horses.
 It has been about 5 years since we have had horses, and this past fall we went to a small animal auction looking for guinea hens.  I made the mistake of taking a few of the children with me.  The auction started and I was thrilled to find what I was looking for at the price I wanted.  We stayed to watch the hogs go through then the sheep but in the middle out comes a few mini horses.  The first was a cute spotted mare she sold for $30.00.  Then out came a mare and foal sold for $35.00.  I was in shock and my kids were making a HUGE scene begging on knees for me to buy a silly pony.  I stood my ground...NO WAY!!  A few more came out the price dropped.  The kids are dying at this point.  The auctioneer is laughing so hard he can't do his job.  The last little horse comes out, a yearling gelding.  The kids are having an absolute fit, the auctioneer is now trying his best to send this little guy home with us...needless to say all those pleading puppy dog eyes got to me. SOLD to the lady with the pleading children.  UGHH!!  What did I just do?  Well he was very cheap at least #4 will have fun brushing him.
  I went to the auction to buy a few birds..I did not drive the home we go with a mini horse in a mini van.
The horse was named Albert and the kids had a blast with him.  He was a pretty good little guy with people...little did I know.
  I know a fellow farmer that gets bottle lambs and often we get some and feed them out.  The kids love bottle feeding anything, and lambs are so darn cute.  We feed as many as 10 some years.  Last spring we had lots of bottle lambs.  The kids did a great job and soon the lambs were ready for the pasture.  Sometimes the bottle lambs take a few days to a week to integrate with the existing flock and they tend to hang out together by the front gate.
We started finding dead lambs.  These things happen, it is hard but sometimes it is a reality.  We got a few more lambs.  More dead I thought a coyote was in the area.  I fenced the lambs in the front pasture at night to protect them.  Weeks go by and all is well so I turn the lambs out...dead lambs.  UGGH by this point I am frustrated and think that the lambs have some illness.  I call the vet but there are no symptoms.  Healthy bouncing lambs one day and dead the was a mystery.
In October Coco had a calf in the pasture.  Coco is a beautiful healthy cow and never has had any issues...her calf was found dead.  We had no idea what happened.
A few months ago we were gifted a few super cute lambs. They were weaned so went out to the pasture.
They were so sweet.  They did great for about a month, then I found one dead.
A few days later I went in the pasture to find Albert swinging the last lamb around by the neck.....He was going crazy over this lamb.  The lamb looked like a rag doll.  I ran shouting in to the pasture, he ignored me.
By time I got to the lamb he was dead.  The mystery was solved and I was sick to my stomach.  I never thought he would do that.  Needless to say he went right back  to the auction house...he sold for $30.00. I got a bill from the auction house for $7.00, this is what I owed after the commission and the coggins test.  So I had to give them $7.00 to get this silly horse that had caused so much trouble off our farm... Best $7.00 ever spent.

Friday, January 10, 2014

I have been away............farming sucks sometimes

It has been a bit since I have written, I just couldn't manage the emotional strength.  Things change so quickly on a farm.  Life is so unpredictable.
 My sweet Lucy was born here on our farm and it was love at first sight for me.  She was the first female calf born here, and I knew she would always be here with us.  I bottle fed her and worked with her daily so that she would be easy to manage.  I spent every day with her.  I learned that cows certainly have personalities and a sense when it comes to their owners.  Lucy was spunky and loved attention.  She would get into mischief and then frolic around acting like a three old that found the candy stash.  She loved to open the pasture gate and come up to the house, she would look in the windows for us and moo like crazy when she found us.  I would go out and scold her only to have her come over and lay her head on me... how could I be angry?  She always knew when I was outside and would come running to see me, we had a milkmaid/cow bond.  I loved to scratch her ears and chin she would roll her eyes back in sheer pleasure.  As far as cows go she led a perfect life.
Lucy had a beautiful bull calf recently, and there were complications.  Lucy died.  I have a huge hole in  my heart and have cried everyday since that dreadful day. She had been a daily part of my life for the past 5 years.  It is difficult to express how I feel and to some it may be silly to be so upset over a cow, but I have invested so much into that relationship.  We treat our animals differently, they are family to us.  We give them our best and they in turn do the same.  There will be other cows, and the hole in my routine will be filled with other farm tasks to ease the loss.  For now I am heavy with grief for my sweet Lucy.  She will be so missed.