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February 26, 2011

Signs of Spring!

The weather in our part of Texas can be gorgeous and can be predictably unpredictable!
We have had both lately, though the frosts and freezing temps seem to have subsided (maybe).
Here are some signs that Mother Nature believes Spring is on the way:







Around the farm happenings:
cow-silhouette sunset

sunset over the garden

girls at hay, Vera still has a baby bump

Cap'n Dave at the wheel

New bed to protect the fruit trees

sunset drinkers

yeah! new pool!

February 20, 2011

All in a week!

The past week had its ups and downs, though nothing too drastic. Here are the highlights!

Valentine's Day Dinner--we went to our favorite Italian restaurant for a special dinner with 4 courses, a tenor to sing and a pianist to accompany. Our good friends Mike and Natalie joined us and it was a great time. The main course was lobster tail and steak, both were melt in your mouth great! (yes we probably looked like tourists taking pictures of our food, but that is what foodies do!)

Earlier in the day Vera and Lizzie posed for a Valentine's Day picture. Was it a cows way to say "we love you" or perhaps "we love hay!"?

Sunsets this week were few due to clouds, but the ones we saw were gorgeous!

Dave and I worked on re-bordering some of the existing raised beds, and we put in an irrigation system to these beds (something we have been talking about for at least 5 years)! The end result is very nice! A few days later I checked the weather forecast, no frosts or freezes for the next 10 days. That was all the incentive I needed to start planting seeds and transplanting fruit trees (and the poor camellia that has been living in the barn for months!). The hyacinth are blooming, and the radishes I planted were up and poking out of the ground 3 days later.

Josh had his first track meet this week, he ran the 400m and the 800m, here he is in action (on the left)! A couple of days before he asked that I cut his hair into a Mohawk, for speed of course. ;-)

The hens are laying fairly steadily, we are blessed with 5-7 eggs a day. Below is an example of a first-timer egg and a couple of experienced-hen eggs. (as our friend Dan said on FB "proof that there is no substitute for experience!". The ducks are so friendly, cute, personable and have been enjoying their pool. We ended up not getting any chicks this week because when they were sexed they were all male, we will try again in a few weeks.

Oh yes, and an honorable mention to the first snake of the year, found when I uncovered the black plastic from one of the beds. It is a Rough Earth snake, a nonpoisonous variety, so he received the royal fling to the back pasture.

The cows are doing well, though none too happy with me yesterday. I pulled tail hairs from each to send in for DNA testing (to determine A1/A2 milk status). For more on that read here:
I also drew blood from Lizzie, (something I should have done at purchase time for ease of mind), she does not look  like she is 60 days from calving, and I need to know! I also tried to get the magnets down them, but could not manage it single handedly, so will wait until Dave and I can tackle it together.

No fishing this week, though we did go out on the maiden voyage and put the boat in the water! The good things--we found a free, easy to use boat launch onto Lake Conroe, we know how we need to work together to launch and to load, and we learned a few extra things. The bad--the boat had a leak at an inlet pipe, which would have flooded the battery well if we had not noticed and used the bilge pump; the gas line was prohibitive in some way so the motor was not getting full juice, and finally that we didn't stay out for very long!
Dave has since worked on all these issues and we will try again in the next week.

I wish you all a great week ahead!!

February 13, 2011

Weekly Highlights

The past week was busy! 3 clinical days and a trip to Fla. for Schumacher.
Vera continues to slowly progress toward calving and once this week I got a strong kick from the calf (quite surprising because I was not even bumping the calf, just standing close to Vera and hugging her). It is a beautiful thing to get kicked like that!
The majority of the garden seeds have arrived (Seeds of Change); seedlings/rootstock we expect to arrive soon: tomatoes, comfrey, asparagus, rhubarb, ginger, wasabi, 2 pears and an apple.
We hope we have had our last frost/freeze of the season. Thankfully, we have not had any broken pipes.
The ducklings are growing like crazy and have little white feathers starting at the tips of their wings. Dave filled their bigger pool yesterday and even though it was only about 40'F out, they went for a swim.
We have turkey poults on order, and a friend is selling us some Favorelle hatchlings (chicks).
The farm grows and thrives, and is good for our soul.

February 6, 2011

Feb 6 Farm Update

Lots of challenges this past week with trying to avoid freezing pipes and anticipating 4-5 inches of snow.
The pipes did not freeze, and the snow never came (kids did get a "snow day" because the buses couldn't run with all the ice on the roads). The kids were disappointed that the snow went north of us. We ended up with some wicked nasty days and lots of frost.

All the farm critters are doing well, Vera was acting funny today--staring off into the woods (even ignoring her fresh hay), and walking around with her tail held out. She looks like she still has 2 weeks or so to me. Lizzie is very comfortable with us now, even stays laying down when I approach her in the pasture and allows me to touch her everywhere (especially if I scratch her tail head for a few minutes first). ;-)
I am doing my best not to get stir crazy about the calving and the anticipation of all the milk to follow. Honestly, my best is not so good right now.

I have garden-planting-itis, of a bad sort! I know I have to wait, it is just so hard when we have pretty days like today! I stood in it and imagined it for awhile today, that was calming.

Sometime in Feb Vera will calve, in March the garden goes in, April 9th we pick up bees, April 17th Lizzie is due, in May Charlye graduates.....the year will march on whether I am patient or not so for the sake of my family I will try to be patient.

Have a great week all!