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May 2, 2011

A week of wonder and joy

My apologies for the late posting! Last week was a busy one!
Tuesday I had the day off and went to Beaumont to help my brother, not a bad trip but the night before some friends dropped off a foster calf for us to put on Vera and he was not looking so good.
I picked up some antibiotics from a friend vet near Beaumont just in case the little fella had pneumonia, helped my brother and made the 2 hour trip home. Unfortunately the calf was dead when I arrived.
About 30 minutes later when I went out to feed and milk and separate the calf (April), Lizzie took one step toward the barn and then laid down. "Hmmm, that is really weird", fed Vera and went out to check on Lizzie in the north pasture. She was making momma-moo sounds at her belly (calling the calf!). I sat down to watch anticipating a calf in just a few minutes! It was not to be quick. One huge foot presented and from the size of it and the position I was afraid it was a rear foot/leg [presentation. (quickly text Josh--"bring me an old towel and some shoulder length gloves"). I felt another hoof following and much farther in the tip of a nose, huge relief.
The only problem was the calf was so big and turned slightly that Lizzie was not making progress after 20 minutes. AT this point I grabbed onto the front hooves and held traction and barely pulled with each push that Lizzie gave. After an exhausting hour a calf was indeed born and it was the largest new born I have ever seen! She (yes! another heifer!) looked like a full grown Great Dane! Lizzie cleaned her and the calf nursed just fine within an hour. I could not get them out of the pasture because by then Lizzie decided I was enemy and charged me, so I left them.
We got them in with Vera and April the next morning. We named the calf Tuesday. She is now almost a week old and doing very well within the herd. The first morning we brought Lizzie in to milk, expecting a battle but she did not lift a foot or do any unsavory acts in the stanchion. In fact, she hasn't since! She has turned out to be a wonderful girl to milk.
Speaking of milk, we are getting 6 or so gallons a day now, and are just milking once a day. The cream from Lizzie's milk is so bright it makes a beautiful butter color (pics below), this is genetic--Guernsey's hold onto the beta carotene they take in and put it into milk (milk is slightly darker also).
The garden is growing great guns (watering because there has been no rain for months) and the pigs, poultry and kids are all fit as fiddles.
(Except for one really bad case of senioritis!)
I love our farm and this life!

Have a great week!!


  1. What are your plans for all that milk? Cheese making I am sure. The milk and butter look beautiful.

    Glad you got the calf out alive. Our last pull in a beef heifer wasn't successful; saved the cow but lost the calf.