When life gives you lemons..

Our beloved Jersey milk cow Clover died this past weekend. She was pregnant with her second calf, due to deliver next month. We noticed her laying down in the pasture for quite some time, which is not normal. Especially in the hot sun. After repeatedly trying to help her up, we decided to call the vet because a Jersey cow is fragile, not hardy at all. We had to call the emergency vet on call because, of course, this happened after hours on a Saturday evening. IMG_5460When he got to the farm, he put a tube down her throat to relieve any gas. A cow is prone to bloat, excessive gas in their rumen. Some pressure released (very stinky) but she still wouldn’t get up. The vet determined that Clover had late pregnancy toxemia, which is similar to pre-ecalmpsia in humans. This simply means that the pre-born calf was sucking too many nutrients from the mama cow and she couldn’t keep healthy. We are glad that the vet noted Clover’s body condition was good, and that we were feeding her the right things. He said that Jersey’s are so docile, which makes them good family milk cows, but they just don’t possess a great will to live. He joked that he had seen some give up and die from a mere fly bite.IMG_5465 After injecting Clover with a bottle of glucose, for energy, and calcium/magnesium for strength, the vet left. He did leave us with a bottle of something to give her if, after 24 hours, she didn’t get up. In that case, he said, she won’t survive and it would be best to try to induce labor, hoping to, at least, save the baby calf. And in rare cases, delivering the baby, enables the mama to get up without all that extra weight. Well, Clover did not get up within the time frame, so we gave her the shot to induce labor. However, sadly she didn’t deliver the calf, but died the next morning. I loved that cow. She was born here on the farm. I feel positive that we did all we could in trying to save both her and the baby.IMG_5488 Death is a reality here on the farm. And my kids are not unfamiliar with animal losses. Now, they have taken Clover’s hide and are tanning it. That is what homesteading is all about. Doing your best. Accepting your losses. Taking what you can away from the situation. Moving on, wiser and more experienced. IMG_5491

Mob Grazing June 2016

Been rotating the cattle just about everyday, Other than when they were in the neighbors bottom field for about 10 days. It was really wet down there and there are no permanent fences, so I used a lot of step in posts to fence the permiter. Plus there are poisonous snakes because of the water, so don’t really want to go down there everyday to move fences. Made it over 40 days before coming back to the original paddock. The far hill pasture had tons of clover from the hay I rolled out in late winter/early spring for them.

I have the broiler chickens on the close hill pasture and they are fertilzing it nicely. Grass is coming back really dark rich green and the weeds that were covering are gone in those spots. I guess I need to run more broilers, even tho they are a lot of work.


Have you figured out how to get more than 24 hours in a day yet?

Neither have I, but if someone knows, please share.

We have been very busy around here the last few days.

I had friends visit for a few hours on Friday afternoon.

My dog strangled itself to death on the run line on Friday evening.

On Saturday I was gone half the day in murray at a lamb showing class with charlotte and the young kids. Then we went to lowes to get supplies.

Then we started building bunkbeds and lofts for the boys room. We got it finished this evening. Well finished enough for now. We have sleeping spots for 4 boys. 1 computer desk area under Jimmy’s bed that Tommy will use for programming his robots. Jimmy has a drawing table up in his loft bed. Jack has a curtain to hide  behind in his bottom bunk. Benjamin wants some shelving in his bunk. And I have a lego building area yet to build. Need to find a storage spot for all the Mashoonga sticks. Tommy was a huge help.

My computer has been crashing on and off for quite some time. I think I finally figured it out. I sure hope so, I have a lot to do before I leave on Wednesday.

Thankfully we had two new baby calves born on Sunday evening, helped us forget about the dog. They were so soft, it would be hard to imagine without having touched them.

We have to milk our Jersey cow now some because the new calf does not drink enough to empty her. So that is twice a day.

Then I spent an hour this evening running around with one of my new south poll momma cows trying to squirt her engorged teat to get the milk out of it so that it would be small enough that the new calf would be able to nurse it. She tried to kick me every time I squeezed it. I finally got the milk clot milked out after about 5 miles of jogging(it seemed that long) with her avoiding her hoof. Then she finally stood still while I was doing it until she moved over slightly into the electric fence and we both got zapped. Then I had to get her to calm down again so I could finish. After it was back to a normal size I was resting and watching the new calf nurse and she nursed all 4 teats. So I knew I had fixed it. Otherwise she would have gotten mastitis in that quarter and probably never would have been able to produce in that quarter again in her life.  Then I looked at my shirt and realized I was full of manure. Charlotte watched the whole episode. I am sure she was thoroughly amused.

I got a hair cut tonight.

Now that I am cleaned up it is time to engineer. I will hopefully finish before 3am.

But I think I got my computer fixed. So far it seems like I may have a bad set of DIMMs. I will find out if it crashes anymore tonight if I have it solved.

Then wake up and put in a full day of engineering tomorrow.I also have to set up 8 days worth of mob grazing that is easy for someone else to move my cows while I am gone.

Wednesday we have an 8 hour drive to Naperville, IL for the ICHE homeschooling convention. Saturday night or Sunday we will drive back home the 8 hours. Then Monday we have to drive about 5.5 hours to knoxville, TN for Mia and Katie’s state livestock competition that they qualified for which is all day Tuesday.  Then Wednesday we drive back the 5.5 hours to home. Then I have to catch back up on the engineering and chores that I will now be behind on.

South Poll Heifer dies with calf inside her

Very sad day. Saw her have her water sack hanging out before the fish fry parade. Next day she tried laboring all day. Saw her in the morning laboring, then went to serve fish at the fish fry. Came home, she was still trying to labor. Nothing was showing tho. Next day she was up walking around like she was normal. I could not find a calf. Someone had told me they could turn off labor, like if a predator was attacking or something. So I waited. A couple days later she was dead when I came out in the morning. The calf was still inside her. That was an expensive mistake. I will definitely call someone the next time much earlier.

Against the odds

IMG_2289Recently we’ve had another cow go down. Now, the odds are such that once a cow hits the ground, very rarely does he ever get up again. There is just too much weight on those skinny little legs. Usually they lose circulation, atrophy very quickly and just can’t support any body weight. The vet has told us that he has seen cows go down and die simply because they stumbled and went down on a hillside, and not even a steep hillside, merely a slight incline. However, Jeremie never tires of fighting the odds. He will go through drastic measures to save a cow’s life. Perhaps because our little cows are not one of many, merely a number in a herd. They have a name, this one was born here on the farm.IMG_2302 This specific little cow tried to climb in the hay ring and somehow got his legs twisted and was unable to get up. This was not discovered for a couple days and by that time, there was little hope. We tried to manually lift him. No dice. Then Jeremie tried to suspend his body using his front end loader, just to get some of the weight off his legs to increase the blood circulation. No dice. IMG_2305Then Jeremie brought him to the barn where we could monitor him closely and feed him separately from the other calves in the field. Poor little guy still had a big appetite, downing hay, grain and mineral supplements and water with ease. The kids would go out there multiple times a day to flip him over on his other side. Similar to a patient in a hospital bed, he would get sores if we left him in one place too long. Finally, against all the odds, we saw him attempt to gain his footing. Quickly we rushed out there to help him along. With all the kids help and a small trampoline mat as a type of sling, he finally stood independently!  He was quite shaky on his feet at first, but little by little he stood for longer periods and then was finally able to walk around and graze by himself without tipping over. His growth might be a little stunted after this episode, be we are grateful to have little Latte back up and out in the field with his friends! IMG_2290

Around the farm…

IMG_0386All sorts of dirty work going on around here. I’ve introduced a pound of worms to the worm bins that are set up under the rabbit hutches. I wouldv’e like to stock the worm bin with 10 pounds of worms, but at $30 a pound, I will have to make do with 1 pound. My “worm mentor” assured me that they will reproduce quickly and he promised to supply more, if this venture fails. I hope they have enough time to be fruitful and multiply before the really cold weather sets in.IMG_0387 Also we have introduced another little calf to the farm. This is a black angus heifer. She is a wild thing and refuses to nurse off of Clover. It’s not really a big deal, since she is already 5 months old.IMG_0290 We will raise her for beef, not to grow our herd, as she is so small in size. She should mature around 800-900 pounds. We separated out the other calves initially to give the new heifer first dibs on Clover’s sweet milk. The other calves look so pathetic standing at the fence, lowing for their adopted mama.IMG_0294 Another day of castration going on around here as well. It was the guinea-shire’s turn to come under the knife. Jeremie says cutting doesn’t bother him anymore. He’s become a real ranch hand. The boys all helped by way of holding down the critters while Jeremie sliced and pulled. Blech! IMG_0394Our old dog, Maude is still with us. She is blind and deaf and has heartworms, poor thing. But she faithfully gets up to meet us whenever we return home and she still loves to chase the pigs around the yard. She also keeps her little kitten friend warm on these cool nights. Maude is so gentle she doesn’t min Roo pulling on her or climbing on her. I’m not a dog person, but I appreciate Maude’s quiet presence here on the farm. IMG_0282

Rodeo Today at JM Funny Farm!


making a human fence, non-electric of course!

Today Jeremie and the kids had to get our calves weighed. We will be getting new baby calves soon, so that means this batch has got to go.IMG_0151 One of the sad parts of farm life, saying good bye to animals that have been born here on the farm. We had to weigh them, so we could sell them. Who’s winning this rodeo… Jeremie or the calf?IMG_0152

Little Helpers

It is a lot of work, trailing littles behind you while you toil away at a task. They ask a lot of questions. They break a lot of things. They sometimes whine about the heat or the bugs. But these boys have proven that they have learned the skills Daddy has been teaching them all summer long. IMG_9924Fencing. Always needing to be moved. Always a hot job. But so necessary for the health of the herd. Rotational grazing helps keep parasites down in the animals. And gives the grass a chance to grow back before being chewed off repeatedly. Jimmy and Benja can work together to set up a grazing paddock for the cows by themselves. Some areas of the pasture are more wooded, so they need more help and direction. But here in the yard, by the pond it is wide open. So they stepped in the posts, ran the electric and got the cows to new, fresh grass. Jeremie may be well on the way to working himself out of a job!IMG_9934