Buckets and buckets full of windfall fruit are doled out in small doses to the critters in the show barn and in the bull pen.
The cows love the fruit and every one of them stop eating the food in front of them when they see me set down to begin cutting the apples and pears in half. They try to wait patiently for the sweet treat, but are unsuccessful and they stand there drooling, mooing and tossing their heads while they are sliced. The damaged fruit is beyond being edible for humans but the cattle enjoy every bite and would even fight over it if they have the chance.
If given the opportunity to gorge on the fruit, they will be uncomfortable and could go off their feed completely. Keeping the fruit picked up helps to keep the hornet population under control.
After the animals are comfortable with the process of putting on and taking off the rope halters, they are released from the head gates.
This is a scary time for them. They do not understand why this thing is on their head, and why it tightens around their nose when they pull back. The learning curve is different for every animal, some take to it quickly, while others struggle, jump and tangle themselves in the rope, and can even flop themselves over. Constant supervision is needed during this phase of training to make sure the animals are safe.
These three yearling bulls calmed down after about an hour of testing the process. Once they were standing with the rope slack, they got comfortable and starting chewing their cud. They were also treated to a few sliced apples for their good behavior before taking off the halters for the day.
We will do this step for 3 days before moving to the next lesson which is moving the animals from the stanchions with the halters on.
The young calves in the show barn are getting daily rations of chopped apples to add nutrition and natural energy to their hay and grass screening pellets.
These two calves have already been weaned from mothers milk and the apples are a great way to keep them interested in feeding schedules and eating.
We have only been doing this the last two weeks and already these calves stand in their feeding spots and watch as the apples are cut and distributed before diving into their dinner.
They are becoming more vocal about how much time it takes to get the apples to them, or beg for just a few more after the portion is gone.
Growing up, we called the purple stone-fruit, prunes, it didn’t matter if they were plump and juicy, or small and tart, or even if they had already been dried. They were called prunes.
My sister-in-law reminds me that plums and prunes are practically the same thing. She demonstrates the notion when she says the trees look nicely plummed this year. Well that really doesn’t prove her point, does it? So I will continue to call them prunes. Continue reading
I have spent a lot of time drying apples and have the cupboard stuffed with what my sister and I refer to as ’emergency fruit.’ I have to tell you that those little packets have saved me from a rumbly tummy more times than I can count.
My niece took exception to the term and stated that the variety of dried fruit that gets mingled in a bag and hauled on every trip into the woods, tucked into every vehicle we own, and even poked into gift baskets should be renamed ‘adventure fruit!’ The new name fits well and now I just have to remember to call it by the new name!
Now I am weary of shuffling drying racks each day, yet I still have apples left. I have switched to freezing.
Just like the zucchini, I have been preparing chopped apples for the freezer.
Once the weather is more toward the colder side, I will be using the frozen apples in pies and breads.
Butler the dog just couldn’t resist. I had the usual bucket of apples all sliced up for the cows in the barn. He went right over to the bucket and stole a juicy half and ate it as quickly as he could thinking he would not get into trouble if there was no evidence found. He did not know that I happened to have the camera at the ready.
No, this is not a torture device and the dog in the background is just a photo hound (he seems to always know when I am about to snap a picture).
This is the basket that is attached to a nine foot pole. It is by far the easiest way to get plums, apples and pears off the big, 100 years old, fruit trees. Continue reading