A New Baby Girl For The Farm

Topanga was acting very restless Sunday evening. She was not actually showing signs of labor, but she was in a foul mood. She had stepped over an electric fence that morning to be back in with the main herd, she had decided that being alone in a big field was not where she wanted to be.

We got her separated once again from the herd during the evening meal. Topanga is one big cow and when she doesn’t want to move, she doesn’t. It took Mike and I both hollering and waving our arms and a little tail twisting to convince her that she needed to be in the secure barnyard to finish out her pregnancy. She still tried to push through the heavy wooden gate at the end of the enclosure.

It was sometime after midnight when she finally did go into labor and delivered a very lively heifer calf.

Zion was born early morning November 27, 2017 and weighs 80 lbs. Topanga had her all cleaned up and nursing by daybreak. Zion looks like she is 90 lbs. or more, but we realized that she has her full winter coat already and that is a lot of fluff extending across her body and down her legs.

And Topanga is back to her old self, no longer restless and doting on her little one with every step.

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A Quick Trim

A row of lettuce trimmed off filled a black wheelbarrow.The row of lettuce growing in the garden was out of control. I had given away as much as I could but it was still producing like gang busters. I had to trim it before it tried to bolt and then I would lose the whole row.

A quick trim to get the lettuce back under control filled the black wheelbarrow. But what is a trim in the garden becomes a snack for the animals in the show barn. They just love fresh greens from the garden and they don’t let any of it go to waste.

On Guard

Butler has given himself the job of protecting the barn as we get ready to feed the main herd in the mornings.

He sits steadfast at the edge of the barn while we are loading the hay and stares out into the fields.

He alerts us if coyotes, eagles, or elk are bothering the cows in the field by his high pitched yelps. Most of the time he just sits quietly and assumes his guard position.

The Barn Had Been Clean

A couple of weeks ago we spent quite a bit of time getting the show barn cleaned out. Working with a loader tractor, Mike had scooped out all the muck and put down a layer of fresh sawdust on the floor. The barn smelled fresh and woodsy. The herd sire, show cows and replacement heifers all seemed so happy in their areas.

That was just before winter showed up with rounds of freezing and thawing, rain and sleet, silver thaw and wind.

img_5676It found out quickly that the clean-out job had a flaw. Mike had to put some river rock in along the outside of the barn when we did the cleaning because the path that the animals entered and exited the barn had broken down and it was difficult for the cows to walk in deep mire.

When the barn cleaning was done, the repair of the path looked good, but looks were deceiving. The slope of the path didn’t quite lean correctly. During dry weather the slope would have been just fine, but with the muck changing viscosity many times each day, the whole top of the barn-yard became an oozing pool.  Instead of channeling the wet dirt and muck away from the barn, it flowed right in when the animals stepped inside.

The clean barn now has a layer 6 inches deep of muck, and now the ground outside is either too wet to get the tractor in to scoop or too frozen to break apart any of the mess.

 

Grain Delivery

In addition to the clean up and stowing away of summer equipment, we are gearing up for the winter weather with a delivery of grain for the weaning calves, show cows and bulls.

We are pretty particular about the grain we feed and do not use corn, soy, or extra fillers. The grain we use is a natural product that is made from the screenings of grass seed, this is leftover hulls and culled seeds from the harvesting of grass seed. The screenings are mixed with molasses and formed into pellets. The cattle enjoy the treat of the screenings, the newly weaned calves do well with the mixture and take to the taste quickly. The bulls continue to maintain and even gain weight through the winter so that they are more desirable for sale.

Mike hauls 2- 1 ton bags of grain in our farm pickup, but he has to go all the way to Monmouth Oregon for the special feed. It is a four hour round trip just to haul the grain, before we move it into the barns for feeding. Continue reading