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May 31, 2011

A week in the life

Another whirlwind week!
Charlye's graduation was Saturday night at Sam Houston State University coliseum. It was wonderful. Yes, I choked up tight for Pomp & Circumstance, how could I not?
The ceremony was gorgeous, Char grinned from ear to ear the whole time (and she spotted us in the stands!), Josh presented the American flag with the color guard, family and friends were there to share the night--it was very nice!

The garden is doing well, daily watering and weekly over-soaking are a must. I am looking forward to the first bite of fresh tomato. We had a great dinner one night last week, hobo pack of ground lamb with veggies and herbs from the garden, wrapped up and cooked on the grill. Yum! We used banana pepper, bell pepper, cilantro, dill, potato, onion, jalapeƱo and salt and pepper. Anything to not have to turn the oven on! The temps have been affecting the butter-making, it is taking forever for the final stage, I think the house is a little too warm in the afternoon so I am going to make it in the morning on my next day off.

Pigs are especially sensitive to heat, so we rigged up a water sprayer system for them to cool off. They really enjoyed it! Here they are one day when they got soaked with the hose while I made a wallow for them.

The bovine part of the family has grown! This weekend we added Party to the family, she is registered,  bred and very friendly! She is due in January with her first calf.
Dave and I had a dinner & show date one night in downtown Houston, such fun! We have another dinner and a show date in June which we are really looking forward to to (Mingo Fishtrap)!
Next week Dave travels to Iowa to retrieve one very special, precious grand daughter named Rylee Sue! We cannot wait to see her and spend a few weeks together!

Have a great week all!

May 21, 2011

Hot in Texas

Twice last week I overdid it and ended up with a headache from the heat, ugh.
The last few days have been nice though, hot and humid but a couple of sprinkles and we got a new fan for the back porch so we can cool off!

The garden is producing beans like crazy! My favorites are the "Rattlesnake" beans, so named because of their markings. They have a smooth skin and wonderful fresh flavor. I am vacuum packing and freezing them by the quart-full. We have blooms and a couple of tomatoes growing on the plants, they were planted too late and went through a horrible shock phase. We pulled up the squash due to squash borers decimating the plants. We replanted and hopefully will have some more this summer--crookneck and spaghetti squash. The strawberries and blackberries are not producing like they have in years past, I think I will go to a pick your own farm for our all-year supply. New this week in the garden are the eggplant--the white and black variety both have fruit on!
I planted more carrots and shell peas, we never seem to have enough of those!

Milking is going fantastic, we are in the groove now. The cows and calves know the routine and each day is a joy to milk them! The girls got their new fly masks this week. The masks keep the flies out of their eyes--a constant source of irritation for the cow's eyes. They look humorous in them, but hey it works! I wish I had had the video camera going the first time they saw each other--that was hilarious! "What is on your face?" "Me? What the heck is on your face?"! The calves are growing well and are a delight. I admit I do have a favorite, Tuesday. She is so sweet and lovable! I am praying she goes to a family to be a house cow.

We made a crucial error with the turkeys--we thought we could raise them this time of year without a brooder. Not so. We are down to 4 poults (well, 4 of the original 15 did get traded for future goslings). We are planning to repeat the turkey project with a brooder in the near future. We also plan to buy meat birds, so will need the brooder for them too. Next project on the list is building a poultry tractor so they can be out on pasture and still be protected from predators.

The kids are doing great--Charlye had an awards ceremony this week, Josh was part of the color guard that presented the flags, gives me a lump in my throat every time. Graduation is next week and before we know it she will be going to MA for college.

My friend Nat and I took a sushi making class, it was great fun but a LOT of work!

And finally, pictures! Wishing you all a wonderful week!

May 8, 2011

Pics from the week and the archives

I guess nursing was always in the cards somewhere!

Aerial view of the garden!

The biggest tree frog we have ever seen, 3"!

Birth announcement from Charlye's birth (she turned 18 this week). The print is from a painting my 
paternal grandmother painted while expecting my dad, in 1926.

Heifer girls!

Gigantic butterfly on lantana.

My brothers and I, 1968

My maternal grandmother, Mary Oliver and I

My brothers and I, est 1972

Vera and April 5.5.11

Lizzie and Tuesday 5.5.11

Happy Weekend!

May 2, 2011

Beautiful Registered Jersey Heifer for sale!

Our friend Damon Folmar has a beautiful heifer calf for sale.
Born in January, small in stature, gorgeous confirmation and bloodlines.
He is willing to help with transport in the SE US.
(located in Alabama)
Killer price, $800!

Spread the word about this gorgeous heifer!!

Here is his contact info:
Damon Folmar

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!!