So it begins, again…

I wanted to restart the blog this year as we finally got approval for a conservation program that will help us build our paddocks for our bovine herd….yes, we have switched from crops to livestock.  Our little herd is a mixture of dairy/angus and just angus cattle.

three  years ago, we decided that with both of us working and Lee on the farm, there wasn’t enough hands or time to grow crops as the whole process (plant, fertilize, spray and harvest) are all weather dependent of getting into the fields.  But it wouldn’t be difficult  to open a gate every few days to move the herd from one pasture to another.

The herd started with 5 calves needing to be bottle fed for 8-10 weeks.  They had huts and a small area to move around.  As they got bigger, we set up an area with horse panels.  Then we moved them into a pasture.  As this was going on, the farmer had a friend offer a mama cow with her 5 month old heifer to us, and she was pregnant.  We took the deal.  A customer of the farmers had two bull calves he didn’t want to mess with so we bottle fed Leroy and Jethro and would decide later who to keep and who would go to the stock yard (as of today, we still have both!).  This same customer had a heifer with a limp who he didn’t want to see struggle and thought she would do well in a smaller environment, so Haley came to our house.  Another mama came to us because she had a hoof problem and limp, again the customer thought she would do well in a smaller area.  The last one the customer wanted us to take was a little girl he considered a ‘dink’.  So now we are up to 12.  All seemed to get along.  We set up an auto waterer though the garden hose had to be disconnected during winter; and they had a hay sled.

The idea of a conservation program came up when the farmer went to a cattle meeting and heard he could be eligible from attending a grazing class 10 years ago.  So we research it, asked questions and thought it was a good idea.  However, when working with the government, the process can take awhile.

All is good, we got the green light for the conservation program so watch for pictures as we do this agriculture makeover!

By the way, the pregnant mama we bought had a boy, Iggy; the other mama had a boy, Lil Jerry (born on the farmer’s birthday last year); one of the original girls had a girl, Katy.  We sold two of the original amigos, Lil Jerry’s mom passed away, a third member of the amigos went to the butcher, and we just lost Katy’s mom, Bessie.  So our herd count right now is 10.  The farmer has a couple of contacts who we will purchase from to rebuild.  However, the main focus is the get a 14 acre spot fenced and a water supply set up.




Its been awhile…

It’s been awhile since I have posted so I do not know what I have said about our farm plans.  So if some of this is duplicate, sorry.

The farmer decided that we weren’t going to grow crops anymore.  We would turn most of the fields back to grass so we could run a small herd.  We will be fencing pastures so we can rotate the grazing.  Our largest field will go back to being a hay field as well as the 5 smaller ones we have kept in hay.  Our intent is to grow a small herd, up to 20 head with a bull over the next few years.  When the farmer retires from his off property job in about 6 years, all will be in place.  We would be more sustainable as a homestead, still be busy (counting head, putting out hay and moving the herd from one place to the next), supply our beef intake and have spring/fall babies.

Starting our herd were 5 dairy calves we bought and bottle fed.  The farm hand named them Angus, Bessie, CeeCee, Darwin and Earl.  Darwin and Earl went to the auction a couple of months back which bought our M1 (Mama 1) and her offspring Fancy.  M1 is pregnant and due in the fall.


Through his great networking with his fertilizer/spray customers, the farmer acquired two bull calves, needing to be bottle fed of course.  Leroy and Jethro are now out with the herd and holding their own; not sure which one will be the herd sire yet.

From the same cow guy the bulls came from, he is giving us a heifer that has possibly a shoulder injury, maybe out of socket.  She limps and needs a small space so a pen has been set up for her.  We also bought a young mom (pregnant also) that has a hoof condition.  The farmer contacted his college sources who are very interested to see this cow and may be help out with getting the hoof fixed – that would be a great win-win.

So the herd has increased.  Two babies this fall.  Four eligible moms.  More babies next year!


Still alive and kicking

I have let my blog/journal slip….again.  However, I am doing a seminar with a very successful blogger tonight in hopes to get me motivated again.  So we will we see what I learn tonight.

When you have live animals around, they do age as we do, and then they pass.  Which is what happened with my goat nanny, Bert the llama.  We got Bert through a friend of a friend and Bert was the cause of collecting more llamas as the farmer was told llamas shouldn’t be alone.  (Since then I have learned the goats would have been Bert’s friend and I wouldn’t have had to collect, and lose, other llamas.) Anywho, Bert would watch over the little spring goat babies each year.  But not knowing his age when I got him, I am guessing time caught up with him and he went to sleep.  This method is the way I would like all my animals to go to their next life, just go to sleep and not wake up.

But the above method doesn’t happen when you have an animal with a deformity that won’t allow a quality life.  And this is when the farmer has to take of the matter humanly.  We had to put down a calf given to us that had been stepped on by mom after delivery in a trailer.  He had a broken tibia that could only be fixed by an expensive surgery involving pens and plates.  Mom also stepped on his hind end that semi paralyzed his hips.  So he could stand and walked.  We tried to sling him but when he was vet checked and we were told the injuries, there really was only one humane decision.  It’s been done and he has a resting area in the pasture.

To chase away the doom and gloom of the above, we are bottle feeding two bull calves – one is now 6 weeks old (his mom didn’t want him) and one that is two weeks old (he is a twin, the smaller of the two, and mom only took care of the older twin).  Leroy and Jethro are progressing very well….haven’t decided if we will keep both for our herd or not….lots of time to decide.

Darwin and Earl went off to market last week, but we added Big Momma (who is pregnant) and her fall baby (pictures sent out through Instagram) Fancy joined Angus, Bessie and CeCe.  So our little herd is progressing to our goal of 20 heads in 5 years.


thing  Well, 2016 is right around the corner and we still have one CA animal.  Its been tough and we think we have our strategy.

Seizures started in September and she went on medication.  The plan was to wean her off which we did.  Her behavior return to almost normal….kept her in the house when the weather wasn’t great; when she scratched at the door, it really meant to let her out NOW and not a minute or so later or…yes – accidents.

Day before Christmas she started having seizures again….several hours apart, every two hours during the night and then every several hours apart during Christmas day.    She actually broke the lead outside and was MIA for two hours – Jerry found her across the road, down the embankment of the mine shaft!  Very cold and probably had a seizure down there as well.  Still no eating, no drinking and difficulty using her back legs.

I was able to connect with a vet on Saturday and get her seizure medicene so we can get her regulated.  Last night went pretty good; she did eat some but did not take any water.  She didn’t pace a much and we were able to get her relaxed enough to sleep with us for two hours.

This morning she did drink water and ate.  So we will medicate later this afternoon so I can get the timing closer to dinner time.

Not a fun thing to remember this Christmas about – glad Christine and the boys had been delayed 24 hrs. or they would have been in the middle of all this drama!

What month is this?

Sitting on the couch surrounded by the doggies and drinking my morning coffee when I hear an odd noise – the air conditioner!!  Hello, it’s December, 60 degrees outside, windy and rainy!!

Unfortunately, we do have to turn on the A/C at odd times of the year due to the the position of our house which doesn’t allow us to take advantage of Mother Nature 🙂



Today’s menu:

turkey brined for 18 hours (first time, hope it works!)

honey glazed sweet potatoes (one from this year’s garden; had to buy a couple for dinner… 😦 )

garlic potatoes with gravy (not from scratch)


stuffing with gravy (not from scratch)

rolls, olives – both black and green

cherry pie

pumpkin chiffon pie (recipe from a co-worker) (couldn’t use pumpkin from past garden as it’s a cold pie so there is pumpkin bread in the oven!)

Had to make one emergency trip to grocery store….all is good.  Now to feed the animals.

while the turkey cooks, i have my guild wreath to remake for the third time (should be correct this time!), my Fresno quilt, and a little cleaning for December guests.

Happy Turkey Day to all!!

Winter is around the corner

My thought process was to start getting ready for winter in October – chickens insulated, garden mulched, dog pens covered, windows insulated, etc.

Chickens are done this weekend, garden is basically done except the potato patch.  Pens and house windows are left.  The farm hand needs to get the water tanks set for electricity for the de-icers.

We should be ready!  Bring it on!

Where did they go?

My morning routine in recent months is to start the coffee pot, put on my glasses and a jacket and head out to feed the calves.  Last Thursday morning was no different except I don’t see them as I walk to their feed trough.  I see though that a panel or two had blown from the wind and their brushing up against it.

I rush the dogs back in the house, hollar at the farmer and take off to look for them.  I headed out towards the back of the property where the alfalfa is growing after helping the farmer get the fencing fixed.  The farmer headed the same way and spot them in the tree line.

From the time the calves were pastured, I have been able to call them to eat, and a couple of times in rounding them up.  So they know the lingo which the farmer used (head ’em up, move ’em out, come on little doggies).  We were able to get them back inside their area within 30 minutes of discovering they were out.  What a way to start the day!!

It’s Summertime

Well, I am getting into my summer mode – gardening, reading and knitting.  The garden is in full swing…still need to plant a few veggies which should be done by the Fourth of July weekend.  I do like my straw bales; I also have potatoes in a deep mulch patch.

I need to make my reading list and stop by the local library.  I still have a few Luann Rice books to read.

My knitting will be with cotton, replacing my dish and wash clothes. I may even be able to get a dish towel or two done in redwork.

Farm wise, the wheat crop will be harvested later than usual.  With all the wet days it has been too wet to drive the combine into the field without getting stuck.  Corn is coming along and soybeans will go in right after the wheat comes out.  Have 150 square bales from too small non hay fields…still have have hay to cut – again wet lands.  Calves are growing and in a small pasture behind the house.  Llamas have been sheared and seem to be cooler – the cut was real short so there is little protection from flies.  I have some a great product I can use on all animals for fly control as well as add it to all feed to help with parasites as well as the domestic animals.

Off to do evening feeding.

Still learning

I may have heard this fact in a class or a retreat, but I guess it didn’t stick.  I learned from a Nancy Notion’s video about 1/4″ seams that was posted on Facebook recently.  I did not know thread weight changed the width of the seam!  I use a quarter foot so I don’t mark my throat plate but I can move my needle.  I do remember my sister telling me about a scant 1/4″ but Nancy talked having seams being quilt show seams.  So I tried Nancy’s test, move my needle to accommodate using a 50 thread and voila!  a true 1/4″ seam!

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