Things to Watch Out For on the Farm

The girls and I hopped in the truck this morning for a ride along with the farmer as he fed. I brought my camera along today because sitting in the house on these cold, drab days washing dishes, “catching up” on laundry (2 farm kids and a husband that is splattered with manure daily and I have the reel of “This is the song that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends” on replay in my head except it’s with laundry), and feeding hungry kids and a husband all at different times leaves this mama feeling a little uninspired sometimes. So, when I feel uninspired, I go out looking for inspiration. Granted, it’s a little more difficult with winter not being the most beautiful of seasons, but it always there if I’m looking. 🙂 Today, it came in the form of literally “looking.” Or maybe I should say “watching.”

The first stop on our feeding rounds is the heifers and the not-so-favorite bull.
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This is Instinct. He’s two years old. Give him another year and he’ll be a muscled up, mature Jersey. Any bull is unpredictable. We always operate with caution no matter which breed of bull we’re dealing with, but Jerseys have a reputation for being extra ornery. Given half a chance, this dude will clean. your. clock. He’s a beautiful safety hazard. If Instinct were to tell you a little bit about his likes and dislikes, here’s what he would say:

“Hi, my name is Instinct, and I like my grain. Quickly empty it into the feed bunk and we’ll have no trouble here. Disclaimer: I may or may not bristle up, bellow, and paw the ground at you while you empty the feed. Depends on the day. Depends on my mood. Should you find yourself on the other side of this fence with me, my “instinct” to show you who’s boss around here will no doubt manifest itself. Drive that tractor through my field and I will exercise my right to headbutt the hay bales on the front end loader. Try…just try to put one of my lady friends in the squeeze chute and that mess of metal and I will throw down! Oh, and after I’m done with this grain, I will show you how creative I can be with feed bunk placement. I fancy metal art projects. I DON’T fancy people.”

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We caution anyone that comes to the farm: Watch out for Instinct.

Shortly after, we drove through my dad’s pasture to check his beef cows.

Lot’s of new babies are being born and, that being said, you really have to watch out for little black blobs in tall grass.

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We scoured the ground while driving through the field so as not to run over a calf and look what we found!

One must always watch out for hidden calves.

And then one must always watch out for mamas.

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It goes back to that whole “cleaning your clock” idea. Jerseys are so used to being messed with and their natures are usually docile and gentle. Beef cows, on the other hand, can make for some entertaining stories every once in a while. For example, the farmer got chased back into his truck yesterday after trying to find out the gender of a new calf. His truck barely got out unscathed. Dents in farm trucks are a common occurrence. That mama apparently wants her calf’s gender to remain a secret. (SO wish I had been there and seen that!)

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The last thing that we always have to watch out for are these two. They might be little girls, but they are FEARLESS. No concept of danger = turning Daddy into a nervous wreck, sometimes. But, neither one of us would trade raising them in the country on a farm. Teaching them to watch out for things…and for each other…will come.

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Winter Scenes in the Country

To celebrate the upcoming (hopefully) week of nicer weather, I decided to share some snow pictures I took one day a couple months ago. These are the things I see when out and about our farm.

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Heifers… and pines. Glorious pines.

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Snow-covered rocks in water like glass.

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Filthy trucks caked in red dirt insulated by a layer of snow accented with a few icicles here and there.

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White horses. There are few things more beautiful than a white horse in snow.

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Black horses. I couldn’t leave her out.

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Red horses. (More just kept appearing!)

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Men carrying axes. (????)

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Men breaking ponds. (Phew! I was concerned.)

Have a lovely week and a happy Valentine’s day!

Breauna

The Hodge Podge We’ve Been Up To Lately (A List)

Here’s a very discombobulated Monday list for you of what’s been goin’ on ’round here.

1. I wrecked my car. I hit two deer. At the same time. I cried all the way home and on and off for the rest of the evening. The End.

2. I acquired a new nephew. His name’s Drayson. I’m pretty smitten. Peanut has now lost her place as the youngest and didn’t really know what to think about this new addition to the family, but they’ve bonded and she loves to hold him now. She actually told me she wanted to take him home with her. I think it’s time for a brother or sister, don’t you?

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3. My Peanut started preschool. She absolutely loves it, but I have to say, my days now are a little on the lonely side. I always stay busy doing this and that, but the quiet gets really loud sometimes. I love that she enjoys it, though. It gets lonely out here in the middle of nowhere for a little girl with two adults, too. She’s made friends and talks about them all the time. It’s been nice for me, as well. I’m getting to know some people in the community that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. And honestly, not being with Peanut 24/7 really allows me to wholeheartedly enjoy the time I DO get to spend with her.

4. Some of my blog inspiration and material is gone during the days. (See above.)

5. I’ve totally redone our bedroom. I still have some things I want to add and do, but it’s coming along. What do you think? I’ll give ya a little before-and-after action here. I need to go open my window, take the screen off, and shoot through there to really give you the whole effect. But… I didn’t.

Before:

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After:

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(I moved the sconces to frame my closet door).

6. The farmer has been cutting hay, wrapping hay, and talking hay. All we ever talk about is hay. All he ever talks about to anyone else is hay. Or cattle. Which reminds me. We bought 20 more. Hey hey!! (Smirk for the little pun I threw in there). They’re all Jerseys. He’s pretty excited about them and what they’ll provide to the farm, not just in milk, but in good breeding.

7. We’ve been doctoring heifers. A common malady for dairy cattle is “foot rot.”

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These ladies are fine, but there’s one hiding in the far corner that’s not. She was easy to separate and get in the squeeze chute. See how her leg is swollen and her hoof is very separated? Yeah, it’s not supposed to look like that.

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One of the many roles a farmer plays is veterinarian. We gave her a shot of Excenel to help her foot.

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Banjo watches from afar. In the shade, mind you.

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After the work is over, he decides to come on over where we are.

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But, only because there’s more shade available.

If only he didn’t live on a dairy farm where he constantly has to snap at flies…

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He hits it hard, folks.

8. We did some mulching around trees in our yard. Peanut was ready to work after school, so she helped. She tells her teachers at the end of the school day that she “has to get home and feed the cows.”

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This little chick is a helper! She helps me water our flowers. She helps me weed. She’ll feed calves hay. She bosses all the cattle around and anything else that’ll let her get away with it. She plays in the dirt so much that if you pat her, dust just plumes. But, ya know what? She helps me put all the clothes away when they’re done drying. And I’m not trying to raise some city girl, anyway, right? She’s tough. She’s smart. She enjoys getting absolutely covered in dirt. And yet, she enjoys having her nails painted, wearing pretty dresses,  and doing laundry. So far, I think she’s turning out very well-rounded. And this city girl mom was very apprehensive about what kind of creature my little girl would turn out to be when the farmer moved us out here. They’ve both mellowed me out a little. A little dirt never hurt anybody. It’s good for the immune system.

That little shovel is gettin’ a work out!

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Don’t tell Peanut, but I’m glad Daddy’s there to help or we’d never get done.

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You’ll never guess where Banjo is…

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Yup, in the shade. Trying to look all cute and nonchalant while he tears one of my sponges to shreds all over the yard…

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My little family, my world. I couldn’t adore them more.

 

Have a great Monday,

 

Breauna

Tri-County Fair

The Tri-County Fair was last week in our small town and the kids were there to show their dairy heifers. I didn’t get to go this year because I was splayed out in my bathroom floor with my face on the cool tiles, mouth wide open, eyes glazed over, on the very edges of death, trying not to throw up. Stomach bugs are the devil. So, I had to rely on the farmer and his sisters to supply me with some pictures.

Here, the girls are waiting for their time in the ring.

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When you’ve got calves around, who needs chairs??

Peanut was the youngest one to show there, but don’t think that puts her at any kind of disadvantage!

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This is the visual definition of competence if I ever saw one!

Daddy was there to show her how it’s done.

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However, we have to thank Aunt Tanna for putting in all the time to get the calves ready. I have to thank her for the good laughs it gave me along the way. I have no right to laugh, because I didn’t help in any way. But, I got the pleasure of standing on my deck watching a breeding-age heifer on a rope run full boar across the yard, (bellowing and kicking because she thought she was finally free), with my husband running as fast as I’ve ever seen him run, holding onto the other end, refusing  to let go (because he hates to lose). It causes me to laugh. It doesn’t matter that he’s spitting mad. It doesn’t matter how many times this happened. I laughed. Every time.

And once the fury wears off and I give him the play-by-play of what I saw, he has to laugh, too. He enjoys a good ol’ rodeo around here every once in a while. It reminds him that he’s still got it. 😉

But, we are grateful to Tanna for doing the majority of the work, because if she hadn’t, Peanut probably wouldn’t have had the chance to participate this year.

"Mmmm, you smell like...like... apples."

“Mmmm, you smell like…like… apples.”

And here she is holding her little ribbon! She had a great time and I’m certain this will become an annual thing for her now.

A proud mama,

The Dairymaid

Name This Bull – And the winner is…

A name has been selected and the winner is…

Kim Lorton!! “Solomon…he’ll have lots of wives and concubines!”

Be watching the email you entered on the blog for your prize. 😉

Ok, everyone, I need some input and help from you today. Our dairy now has a new addition to the family, but I have yet to name him. Because I can’t come up with anything that suits my fancy.  He’s very different.

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See? He kinda’ sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s a young Angus that the farmer decided to get in order to diversify a little. And upon arriving here, he got to work right away, so we’re hoping to have some nice little Angus/Jersey calves in about 9 months.

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I just can’t come up with a suitable name for him, guys. I’m looking for something clever. Suggestions would be very much appreciated and possibly rewarded if I choose your name.

Happy Thursday!

The Dairymaid

P.S. Please leave suggestions in the comment space at the bottom of this post.