Last winter I had some frozen fruit in the freezer. I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. I stumbled across fruit smoothies in my Vitamix blender as a way to use up the fruit. I mixed it with the kefir we make from our cow and tried it out. The kids were wildly enthusiastic so this year I decided to prepare for winter. I think I am done.
Today, while moving and watering the cows, I made a mistake. I thought we had back fenced the cows into their new paddock. Thinking the cows were safely in their new paddock I went to work on their waterer which was leaking, which required me opening the pasture gate.
Then, Brian pointed out that the hot wire had no juice, none. So off we went to discover the source of the problem. After 15 minutes of fencing checks, we came back to the paddock where the cows were. Were, as in used to be, is the key word as they had disappeared. Off we went to discover their whereabouts and shortly we discovered the cows in the woods behind the wood boiler. The cows were having a merry time, crashing through the trees, eating anything that looked good, etc. They very much looked like a group of sailors just hitting port.
Brian took the gator and I went on foot with a stick I found to use to herd the cows. We chased until reaching the neighbors house, where we were able to turn the cows around and herd them back to the barn. 15 minutes and a few bad words later we had them at least in the barn yard. Phew! Crisis averted.
Just another day on the farm.
Every morning I get up, get Spork up, move the cows, move the waterer, move the mineral feeder, get the chicken feed, take the feeder from the chicken tractor, move the chicken tractor, refill the feeder, put the chicken food back in the barn, collect the eggs, and then go back home to get ready for my day. I leave my beautiful wife and wonderful kids behind where they spend a good part of the day homeschooling.
A few days ago the kids had taken a bunch of chairs and bar stools and blankets and had made a fort. It was a nice fort, quality construction. They were so excited and asked me to come inside for a tour. I looked at the cramped space and 3 foot tall ceiling and politely declined and let them show me around from outside. A few days later after my morning ritual with the farm critters, I witnessed what you see pictured on my way out of the house. School teacher SWMBO was on her belly, reading them their history lesson in their fort. Everyone was still in their PJs and the kids were having a large time. That’s the coolest day of school I’ve ever seen. Made me want to stay home and repeat 3rd grade.
I don’t really get into the raw milk debate. Until recently I had never had raw milk and frankly thought it was kind of odd to drink it. I certainly thought anyone picketing to get milk was part of the tinfoil hat brigade. Of course, it had never occurred to me that plain old cows milk was illegal and that people with guns would come and take it and you away. I was completely detached from the whole thing.
Then we bought a Jersey milk cow and I figured I would give it a try. Not because raw milk caused hair regrowth (which I could use) but because having lots if milk meant I could have lots of cheese and yogurt and whatnot. I have to say, I had some trepidation drinking that first milk. Would it kill me? Would I get sick? I certainly didn’t give any to the kids. How scary. I was still a product of the USDA.
After a year of drinking unadulterated milk, I can truly say that raw milk is hands down better than store bought milk. It’s been better for us and it tastes SO much better. Think tomatoes warm from the garden sun vs grocery store tomatoes. It’s that big if a difference. After real milk, store bought milk tastes like liquid chalk powder. It’s nasty.
For those on either side of the debate, I thought this was a good talk on raw milk. It’s long and far ranging but enjoyable.
Todays paddock on the right, yesterday’s on the left.
With the 90 degree days, the fescue has begun to peter out again, not a lot, just compared to how it did when it was 75 and rainy for a few months there. The good news is there is still plenty of it. Its supposed to be in the low 90s for the next 6 days so the Bermuda should have a chance for one last hurrah before fall weather sets in.
This is the last rotation in the front pasture and the last set of paddocks at 22 yards wide seems about perfect. 90% of the grass has been clipped of the first 1/3, 10% is uneaten and the best bites like certain types of grass and clover are mowed to the ground. The cows seem to be performing well and are carrying pretty good weight. There are still hints of red in some of their coats from the worms and some of them never slicked off. We aren’t in a position yet to cull again but soon it will be time to look at who hasn’t calves recently, who has a shaggy coat all year, and who can’t shake the worms even with treatment. Then it will be time to cull.
I think I am going to go ahead and now the rest of the dog fennel. The pastures look so much better with it knocked down. I will leave a small comparison area but not much of one.
If you’ve ever wondered what your mom means when she says you sound like a bunch of squealing pigs, now you know.
The pigs were most displeased that I had chosen to feed the adult pigs before I fed them. Every meal they act as if they have never had anything to eat and are starving to death.
It’s a funny thing when you get the cows up in the morning as compared to letting them get up on their own. All the morning rituals all happen in compressed time. There is a lot of pooping and peeing, some bleary eyes stumbling around, and of course the kids want breakfast.
This little calf was doing it all at once. He was nursing and pooping. Then mom decided she wanted breakfast and this is the part I could catch on video.
Yesterday’s paddock on the left, todays on the right. The grazing looks much better today, with no signs of overgrazing. The wider paddocks certainly make the difference.
The unseasonably cool weather continues with the foggy morning temp this morning at 56. We had to get the cows out of bed to get them moving this morning. They weren’t too keen on waking up but we were earlier than usual. The high today is going to be 85 with 90s the rest of the week. However September is right around the corner and fall with it. I had to break out a cool weather shirt this morning and something tells me I’ll have it back on again shortly.
We are now into the larger paddocks in the front pasture. They look better now that they are wider and the grazing doesn’t seem to be out of line at all. A high of 83, with a steady breeze and low humidity have everything reaching for the sun, including me. Enough sitting here typing, I’m going outside!
Kristen, one of our great friends and customers stopped by. She had her dog in the truck and Cotton took quite an interest.
Kristen is, shall we say, vertically challenged. Cotton, not so much. Darling Wifey was able to catch this moment of farm life for everyone to enjoy.
Not sure who is actually taller here.