Friday's Featured Farmer is conspicuously missing from my blog today. That is because I have no more volunteers to write a guest post for me. If you have been intending to do so and have not, you can still send me your entry and I will be happy to post it on a future Friday. For all of those who have taken the time to contribute, I want to thank you. I have enjoyed reading your stories as I know others have as well.
It's also very evident that I have completely dropped the ball on keeping up with my blog on a daily basis. Dare I strive to do weekly updates? It's a thought, but I don't know that I will even keep up with that commitment. I am a writer, nonecessarily a good one, but a writer at heart. To fully express myself, I need to write it out. Writing is a release for me and a way that I can express myself. I do not speak half as well as I write because the thoughts and words get jumbled in my head. But when I write, they just flow. However, as much as I want to have the time to contribute to my blog, I am finding that the increasing demands of my ever growing farming commitments is taking most of my time. So, I am afraid posts will be "hit and miss" for a while.
I do try to keep my facebook page updated throughout the day. It's easy for me to post a sentence or two from my phone if nothing else. But, for those who don't have a facebook account and don't follow my farm page, I will try to recap the last week or two.
Little Rosie was born on February 3rd. She is an AMJA registered Mini. The birth itself went very well. In fact, I had gone out to check on her dam, Edy, and knew she would calve soon but thought she would wait until morning. I went to bed and the next morning I glanced in the barn and saw Edy lying down next to Princess in the stall. I started to leave and noticed that Edy's udder looked full and I thought to myself that she would calve soon. Again, I started to leave the barn only to see a little, red head peeking out between Edy and Princess. The morning was a cold one and Little Rose was tucked between the two adult bovines and warm and safe. She was completely dried off and had already been on her feet.
On Saturday, February 5th, Sugar calved. I blogged about that here.
On Sunday, February 6th, we had a downed cow in the beef herd. It was an old Hereford cow, Doris, who is somewhat of a pet. Mike was able to get the hip lift and get her up. We think she is getting close to 20 years old. She is 18 or 19 at least.
On the 16th, Princess calved. Princess was the first Jersey heifer born on our farm over two years ago and her birth was a particular blessing to me. She broke the "bull curse" that we had for several years and she brought me a lot of joy after my son's death. The birth of Princess' calf went well. She calved without assistance. However, all of the drama began shortly after. Princess did not finish cleaning her little guy off. I found him a couple hours later when we went out to milk and he was cold and had not nursed. We tried to get him to nurse but momma was having no part of it and baby was too weak and did not have the agressive nature to get up and get it. We worked and worked and got a little bit of hand-milked colostrum down him. At one point, I had to drip the clostrum in his mouth slowly. I could feel his strength returning as he began to try to suck and then the sucking got stronger. Eventually we were able to get him to nurse but momma still was not a willing participant. We had to tie her up and restrain her every time he needed to eat. Finally after four days of this, Princess got the picture and started allowing him to nurse.
The very same day that Princess calved, Tori aborted her calf. She was seven months along and aborted a perfect little bull calf. Tori did come into milk and so we began milking her as well. It was so sad listening to her cry over her aborted baby.
So, within a week's time we had three heifers to train to milk. Tori is the only one who has been particularly sweet. Princess and Sugar have given us a fit with kicking and being stubborn. Things are starting to settle down now, although we are still dealing with some kicking.
We have had a total of nine calves born in the beef herd and we did have one that did not make it at birth. We have several heifers give birth in the beef herd and they have been a bit reluctant to take their babies, but with time and persistence, they have all accepted their babies.
Mike and I are both getting over colds/virus/illness that has been plaguing us since Christmas. Always healthy and not needing to resort to antibiotics in the last four or five years, I kept resisting going to the doctor, but finally gave in. We are much better now and I am looking forward to another five or more years without being sick! (Hopefully)
ButterCupp was found to be open (not bred) and we had to make the decision to cull her. I did not want to take her to the stock yards and wanted a humane ending for her life. So, we loaded her onto the trailer which she did sweetly and willingly and took her to the butcher. The meat is being donated to the local Food Bank so that even in death, she will provide nourishment for those in need. It was a sad day and the first time I have had to cull one of my Jersey girls. Sweet ButterCupp will always be remembered and loved.
The saddest and most difficult part of the last week has been the death of a friend's wife. The friend is a dairy farmer and the wife was helping her own farming father hitch up a plow to a tractor at the family farm. In a terrible accident in which the tractor rolled backwards, she was run over and killed. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with this family who has suffered this loss.
So, as you can see, the last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs.