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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Heat Relief


Woke up to a cloudy sky that promised rain but all we got was a drizzle. It was not even measur-able. At least with the drizzle we got some relief from the heat. It was nice to have a day when the heat and humidity were not so over-bearing!


I have spent most of the day cleaning house in addition to my daily chores with the animals. I usually clean house on Thursdays. I like to have things clean for the weekend but Friday and Saturday are too busy since we have the produce stand open on those days.


(Note: Picture of new male Corgi puppy that I will get when he is weaned in September. I get weekly updates showing his growth and changes. He is going to be Sadie's companion and I hope to breed them next year. I still have not thought of a name for him yet. I am open to suggestions.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another Hot Day


I hit the ground running this morning at 6:30. I really should have got up before then, but it was so nice to just lay in bed with the fan blowing on me! It has been so hot here and so dry! We do not have air conditioning and it seems I stay sweaty until right before bed when I take a shower. It's almost unbearable at times! Our grass is brown and burned. I am feeding the cows hay and have been now for several weeks. The chickens hide out and don't do much foraging. Seems there just isn't much for them to get in the way of bugs and food. I have been feeding them as well , instead of letting them just totally free range!
I got out of bed, made the bed, let the dogs out, fed and watered the dogs, hung a load of clothes on the line, fed and watered the chickens, milked the cows, fed the cows, cleaned the milker, loaded the truck with milk, eggs, cucumbers and other things I needed to take to the other farm , combed my hair, washed my face, put on a little make up and headed for the farm for breakfast. We had a big breakfast and then I helped Mike's mom wash the dishes. The people started coming a little before nine for produce and we were quite busy picking vegetables and waiting on customers all morning. At noon, I came home to let the dogs out, check on the water situation for the chickens and do some things around the house. I had a big bowl of peaches that Mike picked off the tree in our yard, so I peeled and cut them up and froze them. I made some home made bannana ice cream for tonight. I told Mike we are having tomatoe sandwiches and bannana ice cream for supper tonight! It's just too hot to cook!
About six, I will start my milking routine and gather the rest of the eggs, feed the chickens again and by the time I have everything finished and the kitchen floor mopped after supper, it will be time to lock the chickens in for the night.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vet Visit




Oscar has been scratching his ears and shaking his head. After milking the cows and feeding the chickens this morning, I decided I better take him to the vet. He is such a good dog! He rode in the truck and watched the scenery until we got to the clinic. At the clinic he was a perfect gentleman. He even rolled over on the examining table for the vet to scratch his belly! He has a double ear infection that includes two different types of infection (yeast and bacterial). The vet put him on antibiotics, gave him drops for his ears and told me to flush and clean them every week from now on. Evidently, the vet feels that he will be susceptible to more infections now that he has had them. The vet also said that he is a little overweight and we discussed a change in diet for him! Oscar is NOT going to be too happy about that!


Mike brought home several boxes of over-ripe fruit that he was given yesterday, so I have been trying to put as much of that up as I can today. I took the plums, peeled and seeded them and put them in the crock pot to cook slowly. I am hoping they will thicken and make a nice plum butter. They smell delicious and taste good too! I also had quite few yellow cherries. I am not sure how well they will be for pies, but since they wouldn't keep, I decided to go ahead and cook them up and freeze them for pies and cobblers this winter.


I had a double batch of milk clabber for making the cottage cheese ready today. We have not had any for a couple of weeks, so it will taste good. Mike likes to eat his with fruit, but I enjoy mine with salt, pepper and fresh tomatoes! The tomatoes we are getting out of the garden are so tasty this year, although not yet plentiful!


I will have a few peaches to do soon. They are not quite ripe but Mike picked them off our tree last night. If we wait too long, the bugs get in them, so we have found it's better to pick them a few days early and let them ripen inside. Mike had a time getting the peaches because Edy kept coming over and trying to eat the peaches he had already picked. I was worried she was going to knock over his ladder. She is a big pet...............or pest, as Mike says.
(Note: Picture of Oscar was taken when the kids left to move to Colorado. He sat in their car looking quite sad while they loaded their things. We had to physically remove him from the car.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pickled Peppers


Just to show you that I have done something other than milk cows and spend time on the computer today. Here are some peppers and cucumbers I pickled. I am getting ready to put another batch in to process!

Hurrah for the Heifers!


These pretty girls are my heifers. Nelly is the very light colored heifer. She is not quite a year old. Scarlette

is Jersey/Shorthorn cross and has the sweetest disposition. I am seriously thinking about keeping her for a replacement heifer when I retire one of my older cows. She is about seven months old.

The Bobsy Twins


These are my purebred Jersey girls. They are the same age and look almost identical. They are field bred to a Jersey bull and due to calve in the next

couple of months. Dixie Cupp and Butter Cupp are beautiful girls!

Magnificent Maya


This lovely lady is Mag-
nificent Maya.

She believes herself to be very special (perhaps because she is American Jersey Association registered.) She demands attention. She will push the other cows out of the way to make sure that she gets her head and ears scratched. When I brush her, she stands perfectly still enjoying every minute. She loves to be pampered and adored. She is bred to Breyer for an October calf. She is the grandaughter of Brook Bomber of Waverly Farms, a quite popular AI bull.

Lady Sadie, Barnyard Queen

In the Barnyard, Sadie Rules!
Sadie is my 8 month old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. She rules the barnyard. She keeps all of the free range chickens out of the front yard and helps me herd them in at night to secure them inside from predators. Just the other night, one of the cows was startled and running straight towards my Miniature Dachshund, Hope. I yelled out to Hope. Sadie heard the fear in my voice and came out of nowhere. She positioned herself between Hope and the running cow, stood her ground, and barked at the cow to stop. I believe with time she will make an excellent stock dog. Not only is she a good worker, but she also has the sweetest disposition. I hope to train her to be a therapy dog someday.

Delightful Doxies



Everyone has a job on the farm and the job of these delightful Doxies is to entertain their humans and provide plenty of doggie kisses! Left to right are my two miniature dachshunds, Hunter and Hope. Oscar on the far right is my standard male. Hunter and Hope have given me two litters of gorgeous babies, but I plan to give them some time off and not breed Hope again for a year.

Bully Boy Breyer


Breyer will be six years old this year. He is a registered Miniature

Jersey bull. He was bred by Tanglewood Farms in Georgia. He is 42 inches tall. Although it is not wise to "play" with a bull, Breyer is quite tame. We keep him in a pasture with a single strand of electric wire.

Positively Perfect Pet


Cracker Jack was born here on the farm in April. His dam is Edy and sire is Breyer. This little calf could not be more perfect for his new job as bovine ambassador for a petting zoo. Here he is with his new owner at his very first function. I heard he was a perfect gentleman. His new name is Tbone. I am thrilled that he will be loved and petted and taken care of by his wonderful new family!

Mighty Milk Dud


Milk Dud (aka, Dudley) is this year's calf born to Mayfield and Breyer. He has been the smallest calf born to date on our farm. He is being dam raised but I am beginning to work on taming him. His new owner will pick him up when he is weaned at the end of August. I hear his new name will be W.R. Lowrider.

Perfect Peanut


Peanut is my 15 month old bull. His dam is Mayfield and is sire is Breyer. He has turned out to be quite the looker and is eager to fulfill his duties as new herd sire for my standard size cows.

He was dam raised and has very little direct contact with his human momma. He is a perfect gentleman in the field though. I have never had any trouble with aggression and I work around him every day. I am excited to see the calves he will produce!

Peanut got his name because the day he was born, Mike was leading Mayfield to the barn and eating cajun peanuts. Mayfield loved the peanuts that Mike was sharing with her. With his coloring and small size, I thought Peanut was a great name for Mayfield's calf!

Beautiful Brindle Bovine


Edy

is my other miniature Jersey cow. She is 8 years old and the shorter of the two miniature cows. She also came from Riverview Farms in Ohio and is half sister to Mayfield. (Both cows were sired by the same bull.) Edy enjoys eating and it shows, as she is actually too fat. She does not have the same beautiful udder as her sister, but she is a joy to handle. She produces colorful and sweet tempered calves. Both of my minis give about three gallons of milk a day, high in butterfat content.

Cowgirl or Milkmaid?



The romantic side of me wants to believe that I am a cowgirl. The image associated with a cowgirl is a strong woman basking in the freedom of the open range with the wind in her face and the sun shining down upon her. However, I think the reality of the situation is that I am a Milkmaid. That image conjures up a woman who is a slave to her cows. While I do have to schedule my life around morning and evening milking, being a slave to my cows is not a bad thing in my book! I love all cows, but I especially love the Jersey!


This picture is of my Miniature Jersey Cow, Mayfield. She is registered with the American Miniature Jersey Association. Her parents were foundations cow owned by Fonnie Thoman of Riverview Farms in Ohio. Fonnie owns the largest herd of Miniature Jerseys in the United States. Mayfield is now nine years old. She has the sweetest disposition and is a lovely cow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Introduction




Three years ago I became a farmer's wife, a dream fulfilled! My story takes place in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia on our 50 acre farm where a lot of my entries will take place. Other entries may take place on the 150 acre family farm we rent from my father-in-law and the 250 acre farm that he owns and plants in cash crops. Our little homestead farm consists of 50 laying hens and three roosters, a female Pembroke Welsh Corgi, a standard Dachshund male, a breeding pair of miniature Dachshunds , an outdoor barn cat, three standard size Jersey cows, two standard size Jersey heifers, two miniatures Jersey Cows, and two Miniature Jersey bulls. On the family farm we raise beef cattle and have a mixed herd of about 50 cows with calves and two Angus bulls. We also grow and sell produce on the family farm.
As you read my daily adventures, sometimes exciting but often routine, I hope you are entertained and blessed as much as I have been with my day to day life on the farm!