Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ups, and downs and lambs on the ground

Well this is the first day in two weeks I've felt like making the trip down the stairs to get to the computer. I've been down with pneumonia. With me sick and Brian still in a cast it's been complicated around here to get chores done. We had to call in my son and my niece to tag team the animal care.

It's frustrating for Brian and I as neither one of us has been able to go out side. Brian has cheated a little like the other morning when we only counted 10 sheep in the pasture even after using the binoculars to scan the field from our picture window.

Brian drove up to my daughters and hobbled out across the yard to check the little sheep shelter. Once again Zarah is the first ewe to drop her lambs.

Here they are! Brian says they look like "skunks" I think they look like they have white crash helmets on.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


That's what happened to our barn today. Straight line winds in excess of 50 mph came through and destroyed our barn. Brian saw it from the kitchen window. He said it looked like the wind lifted off the the roof and rafters bounced them twice and dropped them - crunch!
Poor Brian, he thought I was up in the barn feeding the momma Dexters and their babies. Luckily I wasn't. I was in the hoop house with the hens wondering when the hoop house was going to take flight... so far it hasn't. The hens are safe and sound.
My son Anders came over and helped me fix the fence where the barn fell on it and we let the mommas and babies out with the other cows. No point in keeping them in a barn with no roof and who knows when it will collapse more. It's still howling like banshees outside my window.
At least the farm insurance will cover it. That's a good thing. But rebuilding will have to wait until Brian is back on his feet and that's almost 2 months away.
Still no one was hurt. The rest we can mend in time.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I can smell it!!

This morning I got up at 4 am to get some computer work done for the Red Wattle Association. Around about seven, I looked at the thermometer- 27 degrees, that's good I thought. It's almost a heatwave! I stuffed myself into my coveralls, gloves, hat and coat and off I went to tend the animals.

The sun was just a suggestion on the horizon as I walked up the drive. A light breeze with a touch of warmth began to blow out of the south and that's when it happened. I could smell it- SPRING! That light smell of green that the south wind carries letting you know that spring is coming north, slowly maybe, but it's on its way. I can hardly wait.

Don't get me wrong I like snow... and we need snow to help buffer the cold winter weather, but now I am wishing for spring. Spring with baby lambs, and daffodils and baby chicks and seedlings sprouting and green grass. :) I want to see Spring and touch it.

I know it's coming.... I can smell it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's a girl!

Finally, Brandy had her calf this morning. It's a nice long legged black heifer. When I got to the barn this morning, Brandy had her all dried off and she was up getting a drink of warm milk. No she needs a name: KMGF Grass Kissed ???

I can't think of anything girly to go with Ground Hog Day. Anybody have a good idea?

I'll post a pic as soon as I get one taken. :)

This is the last Dexter calf for this year. So we now have 3 heifers and 1 bull calf. The calves will stay with their mommies until they are 6 months old. Then they will be weaned.

We won't be keeping any of these calves, because we are keeping their daddy, Will, our herd bull. We'll be looking to either trade the them for unrelated heifers or selling them so we can buy unrelated heifers.

On being a pig's midwife

It was a beautiful sunny day- birds singing, snow melting and Gertrude one of our Red Wattle hogs didn't come out of her house for breakfast. When a pig won't eat something's up! So I turned the heat lamp on in the baby bumper space and went on with my chores.
When I checked her at noon- no babies. I checked Gerty again at 2- no babies.
My son, Anders, came over to help with the chores around 3:30 and Brian's daughter, Kate, and her boyfriend's family showed up about the time we were going out to feed the hogs.
As we came up to the hog fence I glanced into Gerty's house. OH WOW! We could just see 2 little golden rigling piglets.
I sent Kate for some rags and the camera. I got over the fence and crawled in with Gerty. Now I never would have done this with any other pig I've ever owned, but the RW's are sort of different. I talked quietly to Gerty and she gruffled back at me. I sat down by her and checked out the 2 piglets. They were fine, big, copper red and hungry.
While Kate was gone to the house, Gerty had 2 more piglets. Then over the course of about 2 hours she had 5 more piglets. As each one was born, I cleared it's nose and mouth, dried it a bit and tucked it in among its siblings at a teat.
When she was all done, there were 9 squealing, squirming, hungry piglets nursing away. Gerty just grumbled happily to the piglets and turned more up on her side so they could get to the other row of teats.
Gerty was quiet and calm through the whole ordeal. She didn't even notice when I took pictures and video!
I closed up the door when I left to keep the drafts out. I couldn't wait to show Brian the pics! He's laid up and it's really bothering him that he can't be out here for his hogs first litters.
This morning, when I went out to feed, Gerty was waiting by the trough and the babies had discovered the comforting warmth of the heatlamp.
All is well.

more pics at: