What a view

The view of cows off of the porch
The view off of the porch

I don’t talk about our leased farm that much. Other than stopping by to check on things or go catch an errant cow, we don’t have to go over there that often anymore. We used to have our entire herd over there but now with just the brood cows and babies, it’s pretty quiet.

But at least once per year, I’m fortunate to get to go over and visit with the owners and talk about the upcoming year, visit with the kids, and pay the annual lease.

The picture above was taken from their back porch as we talked about the upcoming year and some fencing projects we need to work on. The picture doesn’t do the view justice. It was absolutely gorgeous as the sun was setting. In the medium distance, you can just see the cows and calves grazing in the fading light.

It was about this time that I told them we’d be coming to get the cows before too long, to take them to our farm for the winter. Lips were poked out all around. Nobody was happy to see the cute and cuddly cows leave. Oops, I thought they’d be happy to know we’d have them at our place over winter giving their farm a rest. I guess I don’t have to worry anymore that the cows have been misbehaving and wearing out their welcome.

But truth be told, I miss them. I’d spent some time before our meeting just hanging out with the girls and their new babies in the pasture. They came right up to me and started asking where I’d been, complaining loudly that I didn’t come visit often enough. You know how moms are. I’d committed to them they’d be coming home before long and you never go back on your word to a mom. They have a memory like a steel trap!

A new calf. #7 had a little bull calf, #43


New born bull calf.
Little #43, born just a few hours before, trying to enjoy a nap.

Wednesday of this week we were blessed with another little bull calf here on the farm. This is another Benjamin calf. For those that don’t know, Benjamin is our bull. Benjamin is HUGE and as nice of a bull as you’d want to meet. He eats out of my hand, gentle as a lamb and is usually the last one out of the paddock or to the food when we feed. However every once in a while a bull calf will test him and end up on his butt for the effort, usually after doing a flip or two. He does make some pretty calves though.

New born calf
Baldy markings on #43

Benjamin is a full-blooded black Angus, with no white markings on him at all. Our cows are baldy Angus, with white faces and some white markings. It’s neat to see the calves which have smaller white markings but Angus shining through.

New born calf
A perfectly bad picture. I couldn’t get the calf to stand in the right place.

I didn’t want to take too long at this point. We had just ear tagged this calf and banded him (that’s how you castrate them young) so besides being born, he’d already had quite a day. I didn’t want to pose him too.


Ear tag for calf.
Ear tag for the new little calf, just before being applied.

A new arrival, Dottie the milk cow has her baby, Lightning.

Jersey milk cow and new born calf
Dottie and her new baby calf, Lightning. This picture is from today, when the calf was a day old.

Normally a birth on the farm is a blessing but not a big deal. However with Dottie we had a lot of concern as she carried her baby to term. A few weeks ago we had the vet out to check all of our cows. Dottie was pregnant we knew but why not check her anyway and make sure things are progressing well. The vet checks, and says that the baby is dead and Dottie has to have emergency surgery to remove the dead fetus or Dottie will die as well. Yikes!

We finish our other cows and rush Dottie to the vet hospital to have surgery. Dottie is our only milk cow, and is the replacement for Maggie who we had to put down due to a broken back. Loosing her baby is pretty much a death sentence for Dottie as well so this whole event wasn’t one of our better days. So I get Dottie to the vet and he checks her one more time to make sure everything is the same and low and behold, the baby is now fine. The vet says she’s due any day, take her home and keep an eye on her. Talk about mixed emotions.

Well some weeks go by and no baby. Dottie’s bag swells to humongous proportions and still no baby. I woke up Saturday thinking I may have to take her back to the vet to find out what is going on. What if the baby really is dead. What if she can’t have the baby. Her bag is huge, that has to be hurting her. I walk out to the paddock to move the cows and see Dottie off away from the other cows in the distance, with a little calf circling her. This is what I saw.

The baby was only hours old, maybe hour old, just getting her feet under her and still wet from birth. She was very friendly, wobbly, and hungry. I checked on her all I could without interfering, and make arrangements to come back and bottle feed the calf that afternoon if she wasn’t able to nurse because for the time I was there, she wasn’t able to latch on. Like I said, Dottie’s bag was huge and it was tough for the little calf to lean down so low to nurse. Thankfully when I got home that afternoon, the little calf was nursing just fine and was dry and healthy. She was cavorting around the pasture and having a large time.

The Princess and I talked about the new calf and worked out a name. You see, the night the calf was born, we had a major thunderstorm here on the farm. Lightning knocked out our internet (as in burnt to a crisp components) and blew up our fence charger. The Princess decided that this little girl calf was to be named Lightning in honor of the storm on her birthday.

Curious, cow #11, has a new calf named Boyd, #32, and the rest of a perfect Sunday

This morning when I moved the cows I found Curious had dropped a beautiful little bull calf. The calf is up and moving about and we’ve already tagged him, #32. Normally we get higher and higher in numbers but 32 had been missed accidentally previously. SWMBO has informed me that we already have a name picked for our next bull calf so this one will be named Boyd. (Hello Boyd and Ava!)

Curious is a pure black Angus and so is the dad, Benjamin. I was planning on castrating this little calf but Spork pointed out he would make a good bull. Benjamin is already having his first year of calves so in two years when this little calf is ready, Benjamin will be ready to sell so based on Spork’s advice we are going to leave this little bull uncut and see how he develops. If he looks and acts right he may be our next bull. If not, he might be someone else’s next bull. Either way all he received today was an earring.

Angus bull calf, four hours old
Here is a little closer shot of the new bull calf. Sorry he has the sun behind him.

We had a visitor this weekend, Miss Katie, and of course we took her out to see the new calf. We walked the paddock twice, a group of 5 of us, and we didn’t see the new calf anywhere. Just when I wondered what had happened to the calf, Katie looked over and found him in the grass outside the paddock. Leave it to the new kid to be the calf whisperer.

Angus bull calf, four hours old
Boyd, just discovered in the grass

With no mom around everyone was able to take a turn petting the new calf. You can only do this for the first day or so. After that the calves will run away if you approach.

Angus bull calf, four hours old
The kids, petting Boyd

We had enough time with the new calf that we were able to get some video of the kids and the new calf. Too cute.

Angus bull calf, just born
The new calf, ready to take a nap after all the attention.
Spork, fishing with dad.
Spork, fishing with dad. Note he stole my hat.

Also this morning I took some of the kids fishing. Bok Bok and I fished first, then Spork and I took the paddle boat out and did some more fishing, after a stint on the bank.

Home made chilaquiles
Home made chilaquiles

So after feeding the animals, taking the kids fishing, planting 54 tomato plants, and various and sundry other things I worked on today, I was fairly hungry at 2pm. After working 6 days a week for me, Miguel decided to save my day by bringing me a kit for home-made chilaquiles (it’s pronounced like Chilli-keel-As). I’ve had these in a restaurant before, they aren’t much to talk about. Miguel’s however? Oh man are they good. After this huge plate of food, I wasted the rest of the afternoon with a big siesta which I much enjoyed. Now the sun is going down and I’ve already slept too much. I guess I’ll put the kids to bed and maybe head back to the shop to work on the apple press. It’s too nice to stay inside for long.

All in all, a pretty nice Sunday.



More pictures of our first piglets from 2014. This time closer up.

After work I was able to go see the new piglets and get some relatively closer pictures.

Penelope with her new brood
Penelope with her new brood

I’d love to tell you that this was a sweet and happy Disney moment, but in reality Penelope and I were having an unpleasant conversation about whose paddock this was. Being that I pay the taxes and bring the food, I was under the impression that I owned this particular piece of dirt. Penelope, as a new mother, was unconcerned about my support role for all this and was quite clear that she’s tackle me and eat me if I messed with her babies. She only charged me once which for Penelope was almost like inviting me over for Christmas dinner. Remember this is the girl who bit me.

So kind reader say a special prayer for your farmer who risked mauling to bring you piggie cuteness today.

Some of Penelopes babies
Some of Penelope’s babies

They really are cute when they are just born. My theory is that God makes newborns and children cute so that we don’t kill them for all the things they do that drive us crazy. It’s worked so far on my kids. 20140425-121445.jpg

And remember, there’s pork in the freezer if you’re planning on eating this weekend. If you don’t eat on weekends, well, you know something I don’t. Come buy some pork, I have new mouths to feed!

Another sign of spring

Looks like Benjamin gets around. #3 had a little girl calf last night. She’s up and moving around and looks good. We should be dropping calves quite a bit going forward now. This next month should be busy. Must be spring.

New calf

First thing this morning we went out to check on the new calf. He was still laying in a spot with no snow where he obviously spent the day and night. Mom was on the other side of the pasture, calling for him and acted like she didn’t know where he was. I think it was an act to lure us away but nevertheless we got him up and walked him to mom for some nursing. Both are doing well and there is plenty of food and water for everybody while we wait for this next batch of snow and ice.

“Spring” calf

Today we found a new addition for 2014. Our first “spring” calf. As I type this we have about 8″ of snow on the ground and it’s still snowing hard with ice coming behind. So much for spring.

Either way, this little calf is the first calf from Benjamin and the mother is #14. Everyone is healthy and the calf should be fine through all this weather. I will check on him tomorrow.

Here is a little video from this morning. The lady talking is our neighbor at the golf course.