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October 31, 2009

Weekly update

It should be titled 2-week update, I have been neglecting my blogger duties!

The last two weeks have been very wet, the last 2 days we received 4+ inches. There is much mud and occassional mosquitos--I don't dare complain about either because the memory of the drought this summer is still too fresh. The icky, sopping cow pens and pasture will eventually dry out.

Vera is still in full bloom, I look at her closely daily and see minute changes but nothing that says the time is imminent. She holds her tail off to the side all the time now, and though that is a good sign when it is the only consistent sign it meas we still have some time to go. We have about run out of the milk supply from Hattie. She was dripping milk last evening at feeding time and I almost brought her in to milk, but decided against it.

We had homemade lasgna, enchiladas, smoked ribs and brisket last week. Tonight I am going to bake chicken, make a chicken salad and have butternut bisque on the side. I also have a bunch of veggies to chop and bake (squash, etc).

The weather today is absolutely beautiful! I spent time cleaning up the back yard, prunning the fig tree, apple tree, grapes, and wisteria. The confederate rose in the front yard is blooming. Very pretty!

Have a safe and fun halloween!

October 30, 2009

Keeping a Family Cow calendar!

The Keeping a Family Cow calendar is ready!
The proceeds from the sale of the calendar go to make the forum ad-free for a year and any additional will go to Joann Rogers author of the book Keeping a Family Cow.

Please conside ordering a calendar or sharing the link with friends!
All the cows pictured are milkied on family farms from around the world.
Thank you!

October 17, 2009

Fall weather is gorgeous!

Two days ago we had high humidity and temps in the 90s; thankfully a cool front from Canada came through and pushed all that aside! This morning it is 57 and no humidity--gorgeous!!

The sun is shining and there are many projects to work on: soupy cow stalls that need to be cleaned out, weeds to pull, garden beds to cover and solarize (cook), roses to trim, the list is endless. I haven't decided which project to work on yet, guess I'll have another cup of coffee on the back porch and contemplate it some more.

I stopped milking Hattie on Tuesday, she was rather engorged for several days. One evening when I went out to feed I spoke to her (she was standing at the gate by the barn looking in) and all four teats began to run milk. Talk about a letdown! Poor girl, I feel for her but have to be diligent and let her get dried off. Her food intake has been dramatically reduced, she is still not happy with that and can finish her 2 cups of feed/beet pulp by the time I get to the hay barn and start putting hay out. There is plenty of grass right now, thanks to the recent rain turning around the drought. If it was winter and she was on dry lot she would dry off faster without doubt. This morning it looks like her udder is reducing in size, and she did not leak milk when I talked to her.

Vera is about the same--wide load (calf not in the birth canal yet), udder developing and mucus strings on a regular basis. She has decided she will tolerate me touching her, especially when I rub her tail head.

Have a great weekend all! I am heading out doors to enjoy the weather!

October 11, 2009

Busy Saturday

Dave and I went to Houston to volunteer for a day on the Habitat for Humanity worksite. It started out as a way to get extra credit (one of my instructors is a regular volunteer). It ended up being a great way to help a great program. We worked on the neighborhood's perimeter fencing. It was very muddy from all the rain, but did not rain for the workday. We were tired by the end, but left with that wonderful feeling of being a part of something great.
To learn more about Habitat or to volunteer in the NW Houston area:

October 6, 2009

Changes in routine

Cows don't like changes in routine, especially when it involves a change in feeding!

Hattie's foster calf left on Sunday, so we are milking her once a day and have cut her feed in half to help her dry off. She is not in agreement with this particular form of cruelty.

I noticed Monday evening that she had a bloody show in her tail, so even though I saw no signs of mucus she was in heat 2 days prior. I've marked the calendar to expect the next heat and AI again.
Hattie gave 3 gallons today and yesterday, with about a quart at the stripping. Time to make cheese again!

Vera is a wide load, she looks comical when walking or running straight towards me. It reminds me of a stick drawing of a cow! Big round tummy and little stick legs underneath. I don't dare tell her this.

October 2, 2009

So far so good....

Hattie is at 22 days in her heat cycle, I am almost afraid to say anything until we know for sure...oops I guess I just mentioned it! Either way, she has no signs of impending heat; no puffiness or mucus.

Vera on the other hand is extremely puffy, and for the first time had a 12" mucus rope. With Hattie this always meant 2 weeks until delivery. We shall see what it means for Vera and what her body does to get ready for calving. I guess she will calve in October after all!