Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Stroll...Part 2...

Yesterday afternoon after walking around in the school yard and taking in the view, Jim and I continued down the road on our walk.  He suggested walking down to the Pequea Creek, which is well hidden across our neighbors' fields, down in the valley and in the woods...


I'd never seen it, but had heard about how beautiful it was!  We ran into our Amish neighbor who was walking home from Church.  He didn't mind us walking through his fields, so off we went...


We discovered that we aren't the only ones with ground hog holes in our fields. There were a lot of active holes along this fence line...


Finally, after crawling under a fence and heading to the lowest point in the meadow, we found a stream.  It sure didn't look big enough to be the Pequea...




Across the stream in a meadow, we saw an old abandoned Amish cattle trailer. How do we know it was Amish, other than the fact that we were on Amish owned land?  The wheels are metal without rubber tires.

We weren't sure what the ruins behind the trailer were from...


We wondered along the creek through the woods. The ground was just covered with all of these tiny, pretty yellow flowers.  Along the creek bank was a lot of burn hazel too.  I was really thankful for my blue jeans!


And here you go...this was the Pequea Creek.  What we had stumbled on first was just a small stream that branched off.  The water wasn't too clean, but it was pretty anyway...




I had no idea that this was hidden down here!  I had heard talk about it, but never seen it in the twenty one years that we've lived here...


I just love to sit by a creek and listen to the water run!  It shouts "spring"!

In this video, I mention the ruins that we see on either side of the creek.  We thought maybe it was an old bridge foundation, but I found out this morning from a neighbor that it was the ruins of an old dam.  Years ago the dam broke, and the neighbor's farm gained about seven or eight acres of land that had once been underwater!


We headed back after while, and found this guy...still standing in the field where he had been when we first walked through.  He was scolding us, and was clearly not happy that we were invading his space.  Maybe there was a nest nearby?


After a long trek back across the fields and uphill this time, we hit the road and headed for home...


I hope you enjoyed going along on our walk!  You never know what kind of treasures you might find hidden away across the fields, down in the valley and behind the trees!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Stroll...Part 1...

This afternoon Jim and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and took a walk after lunch.  We headed south down the road, intending to walk around the block...


Everything is so green, and I couldn't resist taking lots of pictures.  Our neighbors chickens and their lone Jersey cow were enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon...


Neighbor Melvin's horses and mules were also enjoying time off...


We headed up the hill to the school house...


The name of the school is Rocky Ridge, and here's why.  If you look closely, you can see a rocky ridge running through the school yard.  (You might need to click on the picture to enlarge it)...


The schoolhouse is on Clearview Road, and you can see how the road got it's name!  I took this series of pictures turning a slow circle clockwise.  The first picture is facing west...then north, east, and south.  The lighting wasn't the greatest, but I think you'll get the idea...



...our farm is pretty tiny looking, at the top of the picture.  It's about .6 of a mile away...











Here's the baseball diamond east of the school...


Check out what they use as a base.  Do you know what it is?


This was only the first part of our walk.  There are way too many pictures of the rest of it to put on here today.  I'll save that for another time!

Happy Sunday to you!  It's supposed to rain tonight, so we'll probably see the grass growing really fast this week.  We might even be able to put the cows out in the pasture soon...that's always fun to watch.

Stay tuned for the rest of our Sunday afternoon walk.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

You Know It's Spring When...

You know it's spring when...

There are lots of ways to finish that sentence, but one way you know it's spring here is that the pens at the other farm get cleaned out.

I'm a few weeks late with this post, but here are a few pictures anyway.

It happens every spring and fall, but there's nothing quite like a barn that's been completely cleaned out of pen pack manure.  Load after load of manure has been spread on the fields, and now bales of corn fodder are tossed from the mow, down through the hole onto the floor below...


(the windows are open now, letting more fresh air in the barn)


Fresh dry fodder has been spread all over the floor of the pens and the skid loader sits idle out in the barn yard...


The cows (with the bull, of course leading the way) are left back into the barn after spending the day outside...


They suspiciously explore their freshly bedded pens...


...and get right back to work at messing them up for the fall clean up!  That one won't take as long, because the animals will all be spending a lot of time out in the meadow before too long!

How do you know it's spring in your neck of the woods?


Monday, April 13, 2015

Featured Bovine of the Week..."the Twin"...

You know how often there's a teen of the week featured in the local newspaper? Or at least there used to be...

A week or so ago when the vet was here for herd check, he was doing pregnancy checks on some cows, and we got to talking about the history of this one particular cow.  He said I ought to do a blog post about her...

So here she is...#245, aka "the Twin"...


You'll have to forgive her not so perfect photo.  She was much too interested in chewing on some hay than posing for her picture to be taken.

Here are a few facts about her:

Birthdate:  August 13, 2005

Sibings: twin sister #244

First freshening date:  July 10, 2007

Heifers vs Bulls to date:  5 heifers, 4 bulls

Interesting facts, trials and tribulations in her life:

...Twin calvings are often hard on Mom, and she's had several sets.

...Early on, she had some paralysis in her one leg from a complication during calving.  She went down in a narrow entryway (late at night, of course) and we had quite a time getting her up again.  We made a pathway of rubber cow mats for her, and she was able to crawl until she got to a box pen.  She had better footing there and was able to stand.  Jim kept her in the box pen and milked her by hand for a few days, and then with a portable milking unit for another week or so until she had regained her strength and was able to handle herself in a stall.

...Last year after freshening she developed a mysterious infection and temporarily lost her sight.  She has since fully recovered.

...She tries really hard to be good!  She doesn't like to be surprised and doesn't like it if the milker squawks when it's being put on her udder.  For some reason on her (just the way her udder is shaped) when the milker is finished and stops pulsating, it tends to fall off of her right away.  She doesn't like it, but tries to stand still like a statue until someone comes and rescues her!

This was her last night just after the milker was put on.  She's milking like crazy...



And oh, what a relief it is when she's done...


She will be ten years old in August, and is the second oldest cow in the barn. She's seen and heard a lot over the last ten years, and she must be enjoying life here, because she's sticking around a lot longer than most cows do!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Barn Door Project...

Wouldn't life be boring if there was never anything that needed to be done? Nothing in need of repair?

This time it was the big barn doors that needed to be repaired.  Any time a round bale, hay wagon, load of hay or sawdust or who knows what needs to be put upstairs in the barn, these big doors swing open.  They're extremely heavy, and are used often.  Time, weather, and hard use take their toll.  The doors are on top of the barn hill on the north side, and when it's windy they can take a beating.  We prop them with big metal posts to help anchor them shut.

Tuesday morning, the Amish crew rolled in at 6:00 am on the dot, as promised...


They took off the damaged wood and cut new tongue and groove boards to size...


Several of the big hinges needed replaced and the ones they brought along weren't large enough.  Here, Jim and the foreman are discussing what needs to be done.  We ended up finding some hinges at an antique store nearby that did the trick...


Murphy guarded the lunches.  All. Day. Long.  (pardon her very un-ladylike pose)


All finished...


Now the doors need a coat or two of paint, and they'll be good to go!

Monday, April 6, 2015

...and the Farmers Were Happy...

What a gorgeous day today...

...and what a lot got done!

The mercury hit 70 degrees this afternoon...the sky was blue...the farmers were happy...the birds were singing...the breeze was warm...the farmers were happy...the kids were outside on the dirt bikes on the last day of Easter break...

the towels flapped in the breeze and dried on the wash line for the first time this year...


...the watering trough in the meadow was bleached, scrubbed and prepared for the cows  (the other guy decided to hide when he saw the camera!)...


...a couple of "middle school" calves got their ear tags and were moved to the corner hutch...


...Jim seeded his alfalfa...


...the pansies smiled at me...


...and did I mention the farmers were happy today?!

SPRING is here!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Fence Check...

Today I got to do one of my favorite jobs...

I walked around the meadow fence to make sure everything is ready for when the grass finally is green and lush enough to put the cows out to pasture.  They can't wait!

The first thing I did was go to the row of young trees that were planted after the electric company cut down all the shade trees on our fence line.  (You can read that story here. ) We have each of the young trees fenced off to protect them from over eager cows that would damage them.  For the past three years we had the fence around them electrified, but this year we disconnected the hot wire. The trees have grown substantially, and we'll see how it goes!


Next, I continued around the edge of the meadow fence, checking for loose/broken fence posts or wires that needed repaired.  Everything looked to be in pretty good shape, except for a few mulberries that need to be trimmed and a few wires that needed tightening.  We had very little snow this winter, so the fence along the road wasn't damaged at all...


I used to have a cat that followed me the whole way around the meadow while I did this, but he's gone now.  Instead, our energetic dogs stayed...guess where? Can you find Murphy?  You might have to click on the picture to enlarge it to find her...


This was the biggest thing that needed to be fixed.  The wire was touching the tree, which was causing a short...


Simple solution...a plastic insulator...


The insulator screws into the tree, and the wire goes through the plastic part, fixing the problem.  Easy fix...


Last, the shocker gets plugged back in.  The fence now has a good shock!  If you look at the indicator, the needle is in the green, just where it should be...


After I plugged in the shocker, as I stood waiting for the needle to move, I felt a nudge on the back of my neck.  I thought it was a heifer, chewing on my hood, but I turned around and guess who it was...


Jolyn...my shadow in the barn was coming to say hello!

Linking to Good Fences...