We all need a little down time, that moment or two throughout the day to kick up a heel or do a little jig. Those carefree moments can seem to transport us from a day of slogging through the rain, to light and carefree exuberance. Babies of all species learn from those times of wild gyrations or wiggly movements, new muscles are being worked while balance and new abilities are forged.
The younger calves in the nursery field are testing their strength with each other by touching heads and trying to push each other out of the way. They try messing with the bigger calf and even the mom’s in the field, with the larger animals ignoring the little ones attempts to bother them. The calves love to run toward the Gator when we are driving out in the field and fly their tales high in the air as they come flying across the pasture.
The newest baby in the nursery field is KAOS, now just a week old now and can be seen chomping on a single spear of hay during meal time. It is still more important to grab a few slugs of milk from his mother #99 than eating solid food, but he is getting the idea that when there is food being placed in the field it is time to eat.
At mealtime when we throw out slabs of hay, the babies spend time nosing around and sometimes fighting the hay in an attempt to outwit the pile that fluffs into loose hay as the calf flips it around. Once it is broken into a loose pile rather than a stiff slab, the calf changes tactics and flops down in the hay to enjoy the soft downy pile.
It was a gray, rainy day that I happened to get a few pictures of Hopper who was having a grand time scooting around a slab of hay and trying to work it into submission. He was not troubled by the muddy ground, the rain coming down or any other creatures out in the field. He was busy taking time to play in the rain.
You will have to go to SchmidlinAngusFarms to see the pictures since this site is nearly out of data space. Thank you for following my stories and all the farm adventures.
I have had several people contact me who were worried about the cows and wanted to make sure that I posted when they were all safe and sound. The herd was stuck on the wrong side of the river for several days after making a poor choice in crossing just before the good dumping of rain and the river to rising to above flood stage. The herd have been pasturing in the two small fields on this side of the river where we have been feeding them, we didn’t want to push one of the lead cows into crossing if the herd did not feel comfortable doing it on their own because of the three youngest of the herd only being a few months old with the baby only a month old.
Once stuck on the wrong side, the river kept rising with the heavy rains that have been coming down since Thursday. Finally Saturday afternoon, the sky didn’t clear but at least it wasn’t pouring. Saturday night we only had a few showers. But on Sunday morning the river was still not low enough for the cattle to cross. The small fields are getting muddy from the big foot prints plopping in the muddy spots and there is a lot of manure that has to be dodged in order to lay out piles of hay on the ground. The cows were starting to get cranky as well as us as tenders for the herd.
Finally the herd decided at the Sunday evening feeding that they were going to forge the river to be able to eat at the outdoor feeders where they prefer to dine. The young calves had to really struggle with swimming across but the whole herd made it without issue. The herd is back to residing on the correct side now.
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This is the week that I am at the second session of REALOregon, so some of the posts may look a little different while I head to Roseburg for the classes. The story today has to do with me being gone and Mike needing to do the chores by himself.
There won’t be time while I am away for either Mike or Marilyn to work on firewood, so I covered the equipment and powered down any electrical cords (always a precaution when we are not using equipment for a day or a whole season). We find that if we are diligent with preparing for a non-productive time, the equipment continues to work effectively when we do need it. It’s possible that it is all a matter of what our minds are expecting but as long as it works, we will continue to do it.
Mike backed the Gator into the barn after the evening chores and loaded bales for the morning feeding. Butler the dog watched closely to make sure Mike was driving safely.
Once the three bales were loaded, Jackson assumed his rightful position on top of the bales and sat there watching me while I closed the gates to the barn and the electric fence around the field.
With the bales loaded for the morning feeding, Mike will hopefully be able to sneak out to the outdoor feeders before the cows surround them making it a real chore to get the hay into them before they try to pull bites out of the bales. It takes twice as long to feed when they are in the way with a lot more mess. Which is why we normally use two people to feed during the morning and evening chores.
Too bad I will be away to miss the feeding times for a couple of days. But I’m sure I will be too busy with the session to worry about it too much while I’m getting ideas for new stories to share with you!
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We were on our way across the river to feed the main herd their evening meal when Mike noticed a small herd of about twenty elk in the far, far field. Not willing to let resting elk lay, he whistled and hollered at them to get out of our field. They did move but they did not run away. Mike had started a wild critter stampede. Continue reading
There is just something about the nature of things that change when Mike is away. The universe seems to sense that there is an imbalance and works to counter with unusual force.
Mike had only been gone on a short get-away and less than 24 hours after he left, I ran into an issue. I skewered a slab of hay to toss into the manger for the three young bulls and the tines flew off the top of the handle still stuck in the slab.
A broken tool now and again isn’t unusual on the farm, but this fork had survived a good long time without a warning that the handle was rotting away from the metal tines. There had been no looseness about the tool, it seemed sturdy without any wobble. Continue reading
Typically, by now the hot summer days would be baking the ground and causing lots of dust on every road and trail. We were fortunate to get our hay crop in when we did because the last two weeks has had many muggy days with light rain showers or thunderheads looming. We are still lower than average for the total amount of rainfall for the year so this dampness a welcomed opportunity for the newly planted seedlings, and for the fields.
It is a different story for those who have not yet been able to get their harvests completed. In the valley, the grass seed farmers have had their fields swathed (cut down) during this stretch where the crop is supposed to be drying, but the ongoing moist days are keeping the ground beneath the wind-rows damp and threatening to rot the crop before the drying can occur. The farmers are starting to doubt their ability to get the crops harvested.
Our far field that was the first one cut for hay, has greened up considerably with the moisture so we moved the main herd back over there to eat the new grass rather than letting it go to the resident elk herds.
There is enough new growth out in the field and around the brush at the tree line to keep the main herd busy for a week to ten days. These are valuable days that we will not have to feed the limited supply of the harvest from the barn, and easing the worries about the harvest being enough to supply the cows through the winter months.
It seems like most of the day-to-day normalcy of farm life goes on hold as soon as hay season begins. It is a scramble just to do enough laundry to get by as the fields take center stage. The lawn does not get mowed, the cows only get a cursory glance every now and then just to make sure everyone is still hanging around and the garden is dismissed entirely except for a quick vegetable grab to make salads.
I finally got the chance to do some weeding in the garden. Over the last couple of weeks my radishes went to seed, the peas filled the pods and the plants died, I have so much lettuce that I filled a wheelbarrow and fed it to the cows in the show barn and the strawberries are kaput.
But on the good side the green onions are now ready to eat, there were a few ripe cherry tomatoes, the potatoes are blooming, beans are setting on and should be perfect sized for eating by the end of next week along with zucchini and hopefully a cucumber.
And then I got over to the kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage area of the garden. While most of the cabbages are starting to form baseball sized heads, one oddball is not conforming to cabbage standards.
This one red cabbage plant is making several flower bundles where a head of cabbage should be forming. I broke off the middle one and ate it finding the familiar cabbage taste in flower form. Perhaps this was a hybrid seed accidentally slipped into the packet during packaging. It reminds me of the broccolini that is long single strands of broccoli so I think this should be called cabbagini. I may even try to let it go to seed to see if I can harvest this goofy looking cabbage.