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Friday, October 31, 2008

NO WATER!!!!!!


Mike and I went to town today to deliver potatoes to a small restaurant called "Harry's Lunch" and run a few other errands. We had a wooden cage loaded on the back of the truck so that we could run by the dairy where we got Samantha & Charlie. (I will tell you that whole story tomorrow, so stay tuned! :-) ) We were actually at Tractor Supply when my cell phone rang and Alissa wanted to know what happened to the water!
I of course could not know what had happened to the water, but Alissa proceeded to tell me that she had her hair all lathered up and she ran out of water. So, Alissa turned the breaker off to the well and the water softner per Mike's instructions and then she went to Aunt Cathy's to finish her shower and get ready for her Halloween parties.
Mike and I came straight home as fast as we could and found that there was indeed something wrong with the water.
I milked but can't clean the milker. I can fix supper but can't clean up. There are no showers to be had for us here at our house tonight. (Mike's mom came to the rescue and offered us showers and food! Yipee!!!!) The biggest problem is we have no way to water our animals! This is a BIG, BIG problem.
It appears the well pump is out and we can't fix that until tomorrow. So, I guess we will be hauling water in for the cows tonight! Do you have any idea how much water one cow drinks? Well, I have five cows, three heifers, one bull and four calves here at the house!!!!! That's a lot of water!
(Picture of the silos at Mike's parent's farm.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Windy Ridge


The "old timers" call this hill we live on, Windy Ridge. It's days like we have had the past two days that make it clear why it was called such! Although our temps have remained in the low 40's, the wind has been blowing fiercly. I know those friends from Alaska reading this will see what a wimp I have turned into since leaving that awesome state, but I was really thinking fall was going to last a little longer here in Virginia.

This morning Mike and I got up let the dogs out, fed the chickens, milked the cows, fed all the animals and then I made an omlette using some of that Mozzarella cheese I made yesterday. Yummy!

Besides doing all the normal, everyday routines of straightening the house, vacuuming, doing laundry, etc., I have occupied myself today by making more Mozzarella, as well as butter and cottage cheese.

At noon I had to make the trip back out to the barn and put Dixie in with the calves so that they could get their lunch. I watered the chickens and calves while I was out. I didn't spend too much extra time out there playing with the calves today! It was just too windy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mmmmmm Mozzarella!!!!


We woke up to a cold and windy day today in the Shenandoah Valley! It makes the outside chores a real chore! It's just hard to enjoy being with the animals when the wind is whipping around and the wind chills are in the 20's.


The new baby calves always make me smile! They are just so cute. Because the holstein twins started out their first three days of life being bottle fed, they are very friendly! They associate Mike and I with food and fun! Little Charlie will call for Mike when he can't see him. It's just the cutest thing. This morning, Mike was playing "peek-a-boo" with Charlie. He would hide his face around the corner and Charlie would bawl. Then Mike would pop out again and Charlie would be happy! They played this game for a few minutes until Mike had to go on down to the other farm.


I have started seperating Dixie from the three babies during the day so that she can graze and get some rest. I turn her in with the calves around noon and let them nurse. Boy do they get excited about lunch time!


This afternoon, I made a batch of Mozzarella using a new recipe that I had not tried before. I like it better than the recipe I was using. I have not made any in a while. Normally, when the rush of summer is over and the cooler temps set in, I begin my cheese making. I have been slow in starting this fall. Maybe making the Mozzarella today will inspire me to get back to making some hard cheese as well.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Alissa Joy











I love you, Sweetie! You are such an important part of my life!
Mom








Twins


These are our new Holstein twin calves, Samantha & Charlie (named after the farmers at the dairy, Sam & Charles). They are three days old. We bought them to put on Dixie and use her as a nurse cow. They are so cute! Samantha is in the back and Charlie in front of this picture.


Going to try again...........

Some of you may remember that I posted pictures of a puppy a while back that I was suppose to get. However, when vet checked, it came to the breeder's attention that he might not be able to be used as a stud dog. So, I declined getting him and waited for another litter. Everything has worked out well though, because the sire of this current litter is the sire I really desired from the beginning. Here is "Pepper". Isn't he gorgeous?




I tentatively plan on getting puppy #1 pictured below because puppy #2 looks like it might be "fluffy", a trait not desirable in show dogs. If at around three weeks he indeed does not prove to be fluffy, the breeder said I can take my pick. It's hard to choose when they are newborns like this, but I really like the markings on puppy #2.





So, which one do you all like the best? I am looking for a name as well. Since the females name is Sadie, I would like to pick an "S" name but if something else hits me, then that is fine too! Name suggestions welcome!

Around the Farm





Thank You

I know that not everyone will see what I have written here, but I wanted to express my heart in hopes that some will see and hear.

I desperately wish that I did not have to go through this terrible pain of losing my son and I pray that others are spared such pain. I can honestly say, however, that I have experienced God's love, the love of family, friends, and even strangers in such an intimate and comforting way in the past few weeks.

I have had so much support from so many people through prayers; those who brought food, sent cards, made phone calls, sent emails, made visits, brought or sent gifts, donations to the Gideons and Heifer International, and so many other expressions of love and support Each one has meant so much to me. There are tender hearts still checking on me to see how I am doing. There are people sharing their own losses and giving me hope that I too can survive. There are friends from high school getting in touch. There are friends from Alaska that I have not heard from in years. I have made a sweet new friend........the mother of Josh's friend, Sam.

I just want to say thank you for the bottom of my heart to all of you. I am blessed.

I hurt. Every single day, I hurt. Some days are worse than others, but God is good and He will see me through.

I thank God for each of you and for how you have blessed our lives during this time.

May you find Blessings and Peace in the arms of the Father.

All my love,

Tammy

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Look Who Showed Up



This young black heifer just showed up at our place.

Sadie, the Corgi was outside on the front deck. She doesn't bark much, but I could tell by her body language that something was "different" outside. I looked out the kitchen window and about that time I saw my cows in the front pasture walking along with a black cow that did not belong to me. She is obviously in heat and looking for a boyfriend. Fortunately for her owner (yet to be determined) the bull was in the back pasture. I locked her in a small paddock only to have her go crazy on me. She did the same thing Nelly did last night but suspended herself on the board fence for a while!

Now she out roaming around the field with my girls and Mike is roaming around trying to find out who she belongs to.

Life is never dull!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

House of Hormones

This morning as I went through my routine with the cows, it occurred to me that I am always dealing with bovine hormones in one way or another! Edy and Mayfield are both bred and about half way through their gestation. They are pretty stable at this point other than having voracious appetites. Edy literally runs to the milking shed to be first in line at milking time. Then she will come back a second and a third time to see if she can sneak back in line again and get another share of the vitles! Mayfield is not quite as pushy, but usually comes with a string of hay hanging out of her mouth enroute to get her grain.

Then there is Maya. Maya should calve sometime in the next few weeks. She can be very pushy with the other cows, although she never shows any agression with humans. Right now she seems to be almost glowing with her very pregnant belly.

Poor Dixie just calved a week ago and had a rough delivery. She still does not feel the best and it almost makes me think she has post partum depression.

Sugar is still young enough that she has not hit the hormonal stage. Nelly and Scarlett have regular heats (every 21 days) and are the teenagers of the group! We have to keep the away from the bull so that they do not get bred too early.

And today, Butter is in heat for the first time since she calved about six or seven weeks ago.

And the bull...................well, he's always hormonal!

What does all this mean? Interpreted it means that I have moody cows and I never know for sure what milking time will bring!

Naughty, Naughty Nelly!


Nelly is a standard size Jersey heifer. This picture of her was taken in early summer. She has grown a lot since then.
Today, Nelly was really naughty. Actually, Nelly started being naughty Sunday!
Mike had left a truck parked just out of reach of the cows in the front pasture with beautiful, green hay stacked on it. Nelly quickly learned how easy it was to step over the electric wire and help herself to the the hay! Once she found out how easy it was, we have not been able to keep her inside the fence in the front pasture. I can't put her in the back pasture because the bull is there and I don't want her to get bred yet.
Every chance Nelly could get, she would go outside the fence and eat the grass in the yard or the pears from the tree. During the day, rather than chase her all day, I have been keeping her locked in a smaller area and working with her to try to train her a bit. She has been doing really well and has been very responsive and gentle.

When I woke up this morning, naughty Nelly was walking around the house eating the grass in the yard. Mike and I drove her into a little fenced in area at the water trough while I milked the cows. Nelly was not happy to be put by herself, but by the time I finished milking and mucking the barns she had got over it. I put the lead on her and walked her over to her daytime paddock. She was as nice as can be.
After milking this evening, I thought I would just put Nelly in our new little stable for the night and then turn her out in the morning. She went in nicely and ate her hay but when she finished eating she turned around and just hopped right over the bottom section of the Dutch door and suspended herself midway. She sat there for what seemed like an eternity with her frontside out and her backside in! I couldn't move! I was trying to figure out how I was going to get her off the door when she just pushed with her back legs and on over she went!
What a naughty, naughty girl!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn

Autumn was Josh's favorite season.

When I wake up to the cool, crisp fall air and the bright colored leaves, it is both calming and hurtful at the same time. I take comfort in the colors, sights and sounds of autumn. I share the beauty of the season with Josh's memory. I miss him and the tears begin to fall. Then I think about him, smiling at me from Heaven, and the beauty surrounds me once again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oscar wearing underwear!!!!!

I went to the laundry room where my daughter was washing clothes and Oscar was in there whining to go outside. So, I let him and the other dogs head for the door and about the time he was ready to go out, I realized that he was wearing my daughter's underwear! I started laughing like I have not laughed in months................big tears streaming down my face. In this picture, he was losing them because I had laughed so hard he had wiggled around so much they were starting to come off. I swear when I first saw him it looked like he had put them on perfectly.

My two Jersey Boys


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Skunked!

After milking this evening because it was not quite dark, all the free range chickens were not in their house. So, I went inside to finish up a few things, let the dogs out, and head back down to lock up the chickens for the night.

There were a few stars out as I headed back outside, but it was still quite dark. I took a flash light along and I could hear the dogs rustling as they ran through the leaves. The cows were all gathered around the chicken house, some of them resting on the ground and others standing.

When I got to the chicken house, as is my habit when the sun has already gone down, I splashed light from the flashlight across the floor of the chicken house before locking the door. Tonight when I did so, I saw a big skunk in the back corner of the chicken house!

I began calling the dogs hoping I could get them inside before they had the chance to get sprayed. I quickly put them in the house and then tried to develop a plan to get the skunk out of the chicken house. I figured if I took the shotgun down, that I would end up killing the skunk, but also a pile of chickens. I finally got Mike's .22 and headed back down. So, here I go in the dark trying to dodge the cow piles with a flashlight in one hand and the .22 rifle in the other.

Edy decides that I must be there either to milk her or feed her, so she comes running. All the other cows were afraid they were going to miss out, so they came running too! Now I have cattle of all sizes surrounding me as I am trying to juggle the flashlight and the rifle, and dodge the cow pies. I realize in all the excitement that I have jarred the door to the chicken house, and it is half open . The only way I can tell if the skunk is still inside is to push the door open all the way. Visions of the skunk spraying me kept going through my head.

As I stood in the dark holding the rifle and the flashlight, trying to figure out how to get the door open without getting sprayed so that I could get off a shot that would kill the skunk without injuring any cattle that had gathered to watch, my dearest husband made it home from basketball and assisted me. Together we were able to determine that the skunk had left the chicken house.

If I know skunks, he will be back, and this story is only over for the time being!

To be continued..............................

More of fall in the valley.....





Fall in the Shenadoah Valley






Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pictures of Butter Scotch at Six weeks.........

Six week old Butter Scotch looking cute!









Our new baby............




This guy was born yesterday and boy did he give his momma a hard time coming into the world! Mike says he weighs about the same (or a little more ) as a sack of potatoes (Around 70 - 75 pounds) which is big for a newborn Jersey calf. (We have named him Tater Tot.) He also has very long legs, which did not help during the birthing process!



One Month


It just does not seem real that one whole month could have passed since my baby boy went to Heaven. To me, it seems like just one long, sad day since his passing.


The wonderful thing is, that although the minutes, hours, days, months and years seem long to us, time means nothing to God. Although I know God hurts when we hurt, I can't help but think that He is saying to us that although the time seems long that we on earth must be separated from our loved one's in Heaven, we are just a breath away.


Loving you always, Josh.


Mom


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The buildings in place..........




Here are the two new buildings in their permanent setting. We will add fences and gates and section off this area. It will be great when we need to seperate for weaning, birthing or training. The rest of the time we can leave it open and just allow the cattle to use it as needed.


Our new shelters........




We are teasing the kids and telling them this new little village we are creating is for them to live in. However, it is really housing for our Jerseys this winter. This first picture shows the larger of the two shelters being brough through the field by truck.





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Wonderful Poem sent to me by a friend........

My Father's way may twist and turn.
My heart may throb and ache;
But in my soul I'm glad to know
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astray.
My hopes may fade away;
But still I trust my Lord to lead,
For Father knows the way.

There's so much now I cannot see,
My eye is still so dim;
But come what may I still can trust
And leave it all to Him.

For by-and-by the mist will lift
And darkness turn to day;
Then looking back we'll praise His name,
Who led us all the way.

A.M. Overton