Much like a line of demarcation, the space between here and there should be straight. Or at least that concepts that our minds are comfortable with. Straight arrows, fence posts smooth as clock ticks to the cars that drive by, gardens growing in formation, the list can go on and on.
On the farm, the landscape changes between dry areas, low wetlands, razor-edged embankments, steeply grooved canyons with river banks, with slopes, dips and curves everywhere. Yet, there are times when a straight line would work well. It seems that at just that moment, the direct route can be lost in the shuffle of trying to accomplish just that task.
I happened to notice our “straight” temporary electric fence that runs through the pasture that will be our hay field in a couple of weeks.
The cows munched all the foliage as they walked from the barnyard to the other pasture area and our straight fence just isn’t what I thought it was.
I blame it on the terrain.
I had noticed that something had been nosing around the cedar seedlings that we had planted and placed protective cages around.
Out of the 25 seedlings in this area, only 1 plant with cage had been left alone. The rest had cages torn off the bamboo poles, had the poles broken off at ground level, or the cages were completely missing from the area just so the seedlings could be exposed for grazing.
The tender cedar trees were just too much of a temptation for cows, calves, elk or deer that could smell the delicacy beneath the protection of the cage.
I spent several hours re-caging what was left of the seedlings in hope that the cages will stay in place through the summer for the plant to get settled into the ground. As I worked my way around the hillside, I did see a few of the cedars that we had to replant that had been pulled out of the ground completely. Some survived, but most did not.
I had to do some looking but I did finally find the two missing cages scattered away from this planting area.
One of the cages had been carried nearly 50 yards away from this hillside. We are now back to being cagey.
The view from the bridge shows one worker hard at the task of trimming back the blackberry bushes.
While other cows and calves were resting comfortably in the field this cow was doing her best to trip back the new tips of the row of blackberries that grow alongside the bridge on one side of the river.
We harvest these blackberries in the summer and early fall. Since there are so many growing in this area, there is more than enough for the cows to trim them and for us(along with neighbors and friends) to get our share of the delicious fruit.
Little and big alike plunge right in as they head across the river to the next area for the fast growing grass. Calves as young as a few hours old are able to ford the river. They walk upstream, right by their mothers side and the current holds them firm against the belly of their mom as they walk across.
The calf by itself in the middle is more than a month old and does not worry about being close to mom now that it understands how to ford the river by himself. On the other hand, the calf will never cross the river without being part of the herd. If he misses the event at the time the whole herd crosses, he will wait on the far side until his mother comes to escort him across. In the meantime, there is a lot of bellowing and crying back and forth until the family is re-united.
This herd was being sorted and moved this day so that they can graze around the far hay field. The field itself has already been closed off for grazing while the grass grows for the upcoming hay crop.
The herd is familiar with the the rotation of areas and are happy to move from one spot to the next with little prompting.
Trees needing planted along the riparian zone this day had only me to do the work because everyone else had other important stuff to do.
So I loaded the John Deere Gator with seedlings, a couple of shovels, and extra rain clothes to stave off the inclement weather. Then I had to load the dogs because they were begging.
During the wet, rainy and cold day, I paused and realized my day alone was not solitary. The dogs were guarding the trees and Gator, the herd cows were close by just in case I decided to feed them some hay, and a couple of bald eagles were cavorting around between the hillside and the river.
There may not be good conversation going on, but it was an enjoyable day out along the river.
I have a tendency to lean. Sometimes while doing the morning chores out in the show barn, the stack of hay becomes a tempting respite from the care and feeding of the cows.
This is also the barn where I feed the cats breakfast and dinner so I am never alone. The felines are always quick to remind me if their bowl is empty.
This day, the cats had already been fed. The cows are busy munching hay and I had a few minutes to lean and enjoy the soft sounds of the barn.
Leaning into the hay, I took a moment to contemplate the day. The cats noticed my stillness and came to investigate.
That is Momma cat sniffing the pom-pom on my wool hat. Tobias is busy sniffing Momma, and Boaz is posing for the picture.
Last year I had a post about Milk Stupid, relating the funny aspects of nursing for newborn calves. https://mrssusanschmidlin.wordpress.com/2016/03/26/ milk-stupid .
With twins, that dopey, full-tummy, all-worn-out-from-nursing-look is multiplied. Although I have been trying to capture the boys with their black faces all slathered with cream, their tongues lolling out of the heads, and eyes all dreamy looking, it just doesn’t transfer well to photos. It is a very messy process for the calves and the mother. But rest assured that they are getting their fill of milk and have even taken a few drinks out of the water bucket and some nibbles of hay between feedings.
After the twins are satiated, they are receptive to visitors in the pen and welcome rub-downs and ear scratches. The ‘dopey-ness’ slows down their urges to run and scamper about. They become very cuddly before realizing that they are too tired to even stand around to be petted and bed down for a nap.
Front and Back are growing nicely, but still #7 is favoring Front and if left alone, will push Back away from eating. Time is running out for the cow to decide if she will care for Back since we will not be able to segregate them from the rest of the cow/calf pairs for much longer. Time is running out for this mother and her twins, the decision will need to be made soon so the trio can get out of the barn and into the wide open pastures where they do best.