I’m coming up on my second anniversary of being a full-fledged farm wife. On the front lines. Fully immersed in the red dirt and poo. Over the last year, I’ve done less and less of the actual labor part of farming. I don’t get in the milk barn much at all anymore. I spend more time at my desk with the numbers than I ever have because we continue to slowly and steadily grow. I’ve also been working part-time for an attorney in the city. I enjoy it immensely (the finances and the part-time job), but it leaves me a lot less time for my blogging hobby. Not to mention that it’s hard to feel inspired when it’s thunder-snowing with freezing rain tornadoes followed by beautiful spring-like temperatures followed by 18 degrees, quarter-sized hail, 30mph sleet-winds.
I’m serious. One day it looks like this.
The next day it looks like this.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more ready for spring in my life! I can’t even imagine how our cattle feel.
We haven’t been up to anything different than the usual around here. The farmer bought more cows in August and they’ve been sporadically calving in. He’s been busy trying to keep them alive from freak accidents and bad weather. We’ve had 3 black bulls from Solomon.( If you’re not familiar with him, click here: http://wp.me/p1lzEK-hR) However, only one has survived. The first calf born to one of our heifers met his end by falling off a 15-foot bluff and drowning in the spring below. The farmer was just sick about it because she calved early. He had been moving all of the ones that were “due any day now” close to the house. That’s one thing I’ve learned about farming. If they’re not in a barn, left to their own devices, these cows will give birth to their offspring in the most remote, dangerous spot on the farm. Let’s not speak of giving these calves a fighting chance. Apparently, our cows want to raise warrior calves and believe in the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” philosophy. I mean, not only do they have to worry about winter, coyotes, and abandonment by a heifer that seems to think she just had a really rough time going to the bathroom, but bluffs with 8 inches of running spring water underneath.
Wide loads! Comin’ through!
Then, the farmer had to pull another one, but it was stillborn. So, our luck so far this year hasn’t been the greatest. The farmer did a good job planning so that none of them would calve in January-mid February (the worst part of winter) and here we are, having terrible weather in March. One of our new, really nice cows calved overnight and the farmer has been awaiting her calf with much anticipation only to not be able to find it all this morning. The cow keeps mooing across the fence, but the farmer can’t even so much as find a piece of hair or any sign of the calf. We found mountain lion tracks on our place during the last snow, so he thinks it was either that or coyotes.
And then you always have to worry about a cow getting her back down a hill during labor. She’ll have the calf, but not be able to get back up to lick it and encourage it to eat. In this weather, it will freeze in no time. That’s the situation he came upon with another cow this morning. He got the momma cow turned the right direction, picked up the calf to take it with him, and returned to the milk barn soaked with slime. He put it in the warm bulk tank room hoping he could save it and so far, it’s worked. Needless to say, he’s been busy. And that was all just before church Sunday morning.
Peanut’s been going to preschool during the days. She’s still loving it and it’s heartwarming to watch her make friends and know that there’s a possibility that some of them might be life-long ones. She’s blossoming educationally and socially. And I find myself flip-flopping between being so proud that she can do so much and feeling sad because my baby’s growing up. Baby # 2 fever has definitely arrived!
Peanut only had a half-day at preschool last week and the weather was nice, so we went driving around checking cattle with the farmer. He turned to me and said, “Well, I guess we’ll go back to the house and get the trailer so we can load that heifer and bring her back to the house.” Just a second after that, Peanut looks at him and repeats verbatim what he just said like it was her idea all along. In a more commanding tone. He looked at me and quietly said, “I tell you what, whatever she ends up doing when she grows up, we are raising a boss.” It didn’t take her 5 seconds to reply, “You’re not raising a boss, Daddy. I am the boss already.” He was rendered speechless and I just had to laugh. (Sigh) You gotta love 3-almost-4 year olds… This picture is all the illustration you need of the role she plays around here.
I have so many stories about Peanut. I think the third year has probably been the toughest as far as child-rearing has gone. (For me, anway. Two was a peach compared to three. All I can say is attitude…attitude…attitude.) However, in some ways, three has been super rewarding because I see Peanut follow the examples her dad and I are trying to set for her. In church Sunday morning, we had our Bibles open and guess what? So did Peanut. It doesn’t matter that we were in Hebrews and she was in Lamentations; it clarified that she’s watching. Later during the sermon, she turned to the farmer and told him he wasn’t on the right page. She flipped his Bible to some other random page and told him, “Now, you’re right.” (Doing to us what we do to her.) It was funny.
She has so much spunk and my family likes to laugh and say, “We can’t wait to watch this story unfold.” Neither can I. It’s going to be interesting.
Banjo is as weird as ever.
He’s still chasing birds…as their flying in the sky.
He’s still dragging all kinds of dead things into my yard.
He still hates cats. (I don’t know of one Blue Heeler that will not kill cats if given one split-second of a chance.) However, he also hates mice. Actually, he hates all animals smaller than him. I like cats and would enjoy having some mousers around here, but if Banjo spots a mouse, it’s a goner. Problem is, he doesn’t hunt them like a cat does… He redeems himself with me by being the best alarm system for snakes. If there is a snake in the yard, Banjo will seriously chase you out of the yard and away from the snake. For that reason, him and I have a special bond.)
And he still entertains me when I catch him outside the window chasing his tail.
Somewhere between the middle and end of March, we’ve planned to start stock dog training for him with a trainer that knows more about what they’re doing than we do. Might as well, right? Why not have a dog that can gather the cows instead of the farmer going after them every morning and afternoon? Why not have a dog smart enough to sort and know what gate you want different cows to go through? That’s our plan, anyway. I’m all about productivity and efficiency around here. Even the dog has to pull his weight. We’ll see how it all turns out.
Sorry about all the rambling. Just thought I’d let my loyal readers know what we we’ve been up to lately. I’d go take some pictures of some new babies, but I don’t particularly like getting pelted with what feels like glass when I step outside the door, so you’re left to read my ramblings.
I’ll try to do better once spring comes.
Ta-ta for now,