Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winter Fence Building...

There are a lot of things I wouldn't want to be doing this time of year, and I was reminded again of one of them today...

The last section of old meadow fence at the "other farm" is being replaced, and this is the week it was put on the schedule.  Brrrr...it's a cold week to have to be working outside all day!

Jim penned the heifers and dry cows inside the barn, where they can stay out of trouble, and watch the activity if they so choose...



The north side of the barn yard will be replaced with wooden fence and a gate.  The post holes are all dug, and the fence posts are resting loosely in place....


There are bags and bags of Quikrete that will be used to anchor the posts securely into place...


The east side of the meadow will be replaced with PVC fence.  There will be an electric wire running through the fence for added security against rambunctious animals that have wanderlust...


...and the section along the driveway will be done as well...


In the next day or so, once the posts are anchored into their holes, the rails will be snapped into place, and it will look fantastic!  It will be a huge improvement from an old fence that needed lots of repair!

I'm joining up today with Good Fences.  Click on the link to visit other blogs with more fence posts!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday's Hunt #6...

Once again it's time for another Friday's Hunt post.  Thanks Teresa, for hosting again!

This week's prompts are...

Starts with F...

We've had two fresh cows this week, and are expecting two or three more at any time!  For those of you unfamiliar with farmer lingo, a fresh cow is a cow that has just had a calf.  This cow just had her third calf, but we have a slew of two year old heifers that will soon be freshening and joining the milking herd...



*the correct answer to yesterday's post about this cow and her unusual birth is...the calf was born backwards...or breech.  The fact that both the cow and calf were facing the same direction indicates that the calf was born back feet first.  Normally the calf presents it's two front feet first, with the nose on top of the feet...as if were taking a dive headfirst off a diving board.  You can quickly determine that the calf is breech if the bottom of the hooves are pointing upwards.  (think about how the bottoms of your feet are face up as you enter the water from a dive) It's usually a little more difficult calving, and the cow often needs a bit of assistance when this happens. Jim peeked in on her, noticed right away what was going on, and was able to help her without complications.  The calf was big, but she is an experienced mother, and that was definitely to her benefit!

The second prompt is "week's favorite"...

Yesterday was my Mom's 83rd birthday, and tonight my Dad invited us down to their house for a birthday party.  Definitely a favorite from this week!


The last one is "negative space"...

I'm a novice photographer, but when I looked up what it meant, and looked at some of the other photos, I came up with this one.  It's from a snow storm about five or six years ago, but I was able to find it!  The focus is on the milk truck of course, but  I thought the blowing blinding snow gives the proper effect.  And yes, it really did look like that on that very cold winter day.  I remember it clearly...


To see more entries for Friday's Hunt with Teresa at Eden Hills, click here.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bethany's Baby...

A heifer calf was born this morning...

Because this birth was a little unusual, I was hoping to get a picture of Bethany and her baby right after the birth.  I wanted to see if you could tell me what was unusual about her birth?

Jim had to give her a little help, but once her calf was born, Bethany jumped up right away and started cleaning her baby off.  So, in the time it took me to run to the house for my camera, I missed the picture! Instead, here's a word picture of what I saw..."when she was born, both baby and mother were facing the south side of the pen." 

This is the first picture I was able to get, about five minutes after birth...


Fifteen minutes later...


...and about an hour later...


Mom and baby are both doing fine.  She was born on my Mom's 83rd birthday, so I wonder if I should name her Helen?

Put your guesses as to what was unusual about her birth in the comments, and I'll tell you if you're right in tomorrow night's post!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Friday's Hunt #5...

I enjoy having a set of guidelines for blogging on Fridays, so here we go again!

This week's prompts are...

Starts with "E"...

I could have chosen and easy E word and gone with eggs...I have plenty of those right now, but instead I chose the word EAT.  We all do it...and it's oh so much more fun if we have a good recipe to try!  Here's a photo of what we were eating last week...

Avocado Mango Salad
Last week, Jim and I were going to a meal with an Indian theme, and I was to take a salad.  I googled Indian Salads, and this recipe popped up.  It was absolutely delicious!  Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it...I don't think you'll be disappointed!

AVOCADO MANGO SALAD

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl:

Lettuce, washed and torn
1 peeled and sliced ripe mango
1 peeled and sliced avocado
1 sliced red pepper

Dressing:
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Combine dressing ingredients, pour over salad and toss until well coated.

Chill and enjoy!

The second prompt is "Week's Favorite"...

I could have chosen just about any picture from the snow storm and called it my favorite, but this one wins...


It was Sunday morning, and folks were beginning to shovel out from the big storm.  Jim had just come inside from opening up for the milk truck and to warm up and have some breakfast, when out of the corner of my eye I saw one of our Amish neighbors walking up the road, kids in tow.  The two older girls (maybe 1st and 2nd grade ?) were carrying small shovels, and the two littler ones were riding on a plastic sled, pulled by their Dad. They had walked about a half mile to check on a couple who lives in the house you see in the picture. They discovered that Jake and Lydia were fine, and started their walk home when they noticed that the neighbor who lives to the right had just opened his garage door to begin what must have seemed like an overwhelming task.  No problem.  Melvin and his four little ones pitched in to help him, and in what seemed like no time at all, the driveway was clear! That's what you call being neighborly, and it's one of my favorite things about our community!

The last prompt is "Sky"...

I used this picture in my post about digging out, but I think this sky is so gorgeous I'll use it again here.  Not a cloud in sight the morning after the blizzard, and I just love the brilliant blue...



Here's another one, for good measure.  The sunrise this morning was beautiful...but only for a few minutes until the sun disappeared behind the clouds...


I just wish the tower and telephone pole didn't have to always be in the picture, but oh well, it's pretty anyway!

I hope your weekend is a good one!  Click here for more links to Friday's Hunt, with Teresa.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Amish Farm Sale...

What a fun morning...after being cooped up all weekend with the big snow!

One of our neighboring Amish farmers had sale today....


One of the married sons will be taking over the farm.  The cows will be sold, and he will be growing produce and raising beef cattle, so there was a lot of equipment for sale today.

How do you have a sale just days after a major blizzard?

I asked one of the sons what they did, and he said they hired someone to come in and move snow.  And move it they did!  There was a cleared area for parking...


...and a snowbank for scooters...


The horses were unhitched and spent their morning in the barn...


As we walked in, we were greeted by the wonderful smell of barbecue chicken.  Neighbor Leroy was in charge of this, and it was delicious!  Proceeds from the food stands at Amish sales usually go to benefit someone...either a family in need, or in this case, the school where most of the neighbor kids attend...


The home made soft pretzels were good too...


While the women hung out in either the house or the shop where food was served, the men gathered out behind the barn to bid on or watch the farm equipment sell...


The young guy in the middle holding the iced tea is one of the farmer's sons. He said he's excited to see the coming changes, but will probably miss the cows too...


Temps are in the 40's today, so there was an abundance of mud.  I sure hope these guys take their boots off before they go in the house...



The last thing to sell were the mules.  The boys led them back and forth between the crowd.  They sold for $2500 - $3500 each...


They're huge animals, but so well trained...


It's always fun to go to these sales and spend time with our neighbors. Everyone enjoys talking and catching up on the latest news in the neighborhood, and supporting the family having sale.

And I was especially glad not to have to make lunch today!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Digging Out...

It's good to be on this side of the "Blizzard of 2016"...

Anticipation can be the worst, I think.  Wondering how much snow we will get?  How cold will it be?  How long will it last?  Will we lose power?  Will the milk truck get here?

...and so on...

Now that it's over, we can deal with the facts.

It was an almost record setting storm for the east coast, with snowfall totals in our area ranging from 26" - 30".  It was hard to measure accurately, for the strong winds that came along with the storm.  On one side of our house you could still see tufts of grass peeking through the snow, while in other areas there were big drifts.

The first snow flurries started right on time, Friday evening around 6 pm. This is the first picture I took on Saturday morning, 6 am, looking out the porch door towards the barn, while my coffee brewed...


Jim had already headed out to start milking, and Daniel was coming on his four wheeler.  He lives about 1 1/2 miles away, and we figured that was the best bet to get him here.  Getting him home late morning was another story! The roads weren't plowed, and even a four wheel drive pickup couldn't get through.  A snow mobiler came the rescue, and that was probably more fun than a truck ride anyway!

It was a long day.  The snow just kept falling, and falling, and the wind blew everything shut as quickly as it could.  We were expecting the milk truck, so Jim and Daniel worked together to open the driveway as much as they could. Daniel ran the skid loader to move the snow off the driveway...


...and Jim used the D-17 to scrape...


I had taken extra feed to the chickens on Friday, but they still needed fresh water to drink.  The trek across the chicken pen...after fighting to get the gate open...was slow going, with snow above my knees by late morning...


This is looking back towards the barn from the calf hutches.  The hutches are on the south side of the house, in a protected area, so the calves were cozy, but the path getting there was hard walking through deep snow.  Our tracks were almost blown shut in the ten minutes we were down there...


The milk truck never made it yesterady, but we were fine.  We can hold extra milkings in our bulk tank, and so those who were full, got picked up first. The roads were horrible.  Those truck drivers have to have nerves of steel to navigate in weather like this!  Next time you drink some milk, thank a trucker!

The snow stopped last evening around bed time, and things look and feel totally different this morning!

Murphy and Snickers ventured outside, after being cooped up in the barn all day yesterday.  The path that Jim shoveled to the hutches last evening stayed open...


This view is much cheerier than the same view yesterday, isn't it?



The roads are passable again...



After milking this morning Jim began widening the driveway for the milk truck, who we expect this afternoon. The driver just called to see if we are ready for him.

In fact...here he is!


We were waiting to dig out our cars, because the snow around them will get thrown on to the driveway.  Now that the milk truck is in, I guess we'd better get to work!


Snow makes everything look so clean and bright...


I still had a hard walk to the chicken pen with water, but I got eleven eggs, even though they were closed in their shed for a day and a half!  Good girls!


We are so fortunate.  We never lost power, which would have thrown a whole other wrench into things.  Yes, we have a generator, but it's one more thing to fool around with when we're already cold and tired, so we're glad to not have to use it.

Looking back, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, and for that we are thankful!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Here It Comes...

Ready or not, here comes the first snowfall of the season...

...and it's gonna be a be a DOOZY!

That's my "Starts with D" for Friday's Hunt #4, with Teresa at Eden Hills. I guess you'll have to take a description of doozy, rather than a photo! We spent a lot of time getting ready today.  The forecast is for 18"-22", with strong winds and some white out conditions.  The milk truck is due tomorrow morning, and that could be an adventure.  Those truck drivers have to go out in all kinds of conditions, just like the farmers do.

Jim put as many round bales up in the barn as he could fit...backed in a full wagon load of corn fodder for bedding...(the barn hill gets slippery and hard to navigate in this kind of weather!)...we got a load of sawdust earlier this week...the calves are cozy...the chickens have extra feed...and he's getting the generator ready, just in case.


This is my "beautiful" selection.  This morning's sunrise...the calm before the storm...


And for my "week's favorite" I chose a picture of the beautiful flowers on my windowsill.  They're what's left of the bouquet we gave Jenna after her District Orchestra concert over the weekend.  Gerbera daisies are some of my favorites, and seeing them smiling at us while anticipating a snow storm makes me happy!


It's 7 pm, and it's been snowing lightly for about an hour.  The cows are milked, the milk is cold, the pipeline is washing, the coveralls are in the washer.  Now we wait.

I hope you're warm and safe this weekend, wherever you are!