Monday, March 28, 2011

Just Another Moooo-nday??


So, last night my son announced that there was some water on the floor in the cellar and it smelled weird.  Suffice it to say, the septic company has been called.

This morning while I was on the phone with the septic company my son, Arliss, came running in to tell me something.  After the phone call, I threw on my boots and grabbed a flannel to go find him.

Item ThumbnailThe long and short of it; the cows found a weak place in the fence and decided the grass truly was greener on the other side.  The cows and their calves are kept in the barnyard while the calves are very young.  Eventually, they will be turned out into the pasture behind the barn, which we call the cow yard.  Well, 4 cows and 3 calves went through the spot in the fence into the cow yard.  Midnight and her calf, as well as Moonbeam, the calf, stayed inside the barnyard but soon followed the others.

Item ThumbnailTravis, Arliss, and I tried to direct the cows back to the barnyard, using a piece of fencing to "push" them toward the open gate.  It seems to work better on Animal Planet than it did today.  The cows ran toward the  opening  that leads to the back pasture.  Unfortunately, the gate was frozen to the ground and I could not get it across the opening to close it.

Quickly, Travis and Arliss took the piece of fencing I had and dragged it over to the second gate to close up an area where the two gates did not meet.  SUCCESS!!  The cows were now contained, not where we wanted them, but it was a start.
Just when things could not get more exciting,  Rover and Rufus got out.  Rufus came running over and found a small spot where he could check out the cattle.  Rufus is roughly the size of the calves, so he probably thought he had new dog friends to play with.  Duchess, the newest cow-and also the most cantankerous, charged Rufus as a warning to stay away.  Our cattle are 3/4 Angus, which makes for better beef, but it also means a less friendly cow.  Finally, the dogs were in the house, the cattle were at least fenced in, and the septic people were on their way.

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tied on with baler twine of course
About 15 minutes later the farmers, the E. brothers, who take care of fields and cattle came up the drive.  I showed them the section of fence where the cattle escaped and they checked for any other possible future escape routes.  The cows were not willing to come back without bribery however,  so one of the E. brothers went back for a bushel of corn to coax the cattle into the barnyard.

It is not even noon here and I am ready for a nap.

Wishing you a wonderful week, but less eventful than mine.  
With love from the the farm...
oxoxo

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cold Frames

It's March and that means some day we will have warm weather and it will be time to plant my garden.  To get a head start on my garden I wanted to start my seeds inside.  One of the ways I know to do that is to put my seedlings in a cold frame.  Unfortunately, I do not have a cold frame available, so in order to use one I would have to either buy one or make one.

Item ThumbnailI found an example of one through Design Sponge, using old windows.  I was in luck!  There are at least 20 different windows being stored out in the sheds until they are needed.  I set to work immediately.  Using whatever I could find here in the buildings including 3 pound nails my grandfather had brought out here years ago.
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I nailed the windows together to make the three sides of the cold frame.
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I found a window that had plexiglass in it for the bottom of the cold frame, that way everything was contained and no unwanted critters could get in from the bottom.


Travis found some boards in the barn that were on a slant, perfect for the top of the cold frame.  Obviously, the boards were not new ones.Item Thumbnail
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almost finished

After we put the top on Travis helped to clean the windows.    Once the front was put on we put it on an old metal table frame against the garage.  It faces south so it will get the most sun.  The front window is on a hinge so it can be opened to adjust the temperature inside.  Item Thumbnail The cold frame is made from completely "found" items.  It looks a bit rustic, I know, but it is not intended for the red carpet, just for growing great vegetables for my garden.
Sending love and dreams of scrumptious vegetables,
oxo

Friday, March 18, 2011

Perspective for Friday

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I love how the grass folds over the barbed wire

This week we have had hopeful spring-like weather,  I am looking forward to it coming in sincerity.  In the meantime, I took some pictures of the farm as it stretches from its winter hibernation.  Happy Friday!!


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this is what the boys call the "wanna-be pond"  it's actually a low spot in the field

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I just like the textures 

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my favorite picture of the farm so far




Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wind versus Metal Sheds

Our farm is surrounding by wide open spaces which makes for uninterrupted views and a sense of being lost in the prairie.  The wide open spaces also mean that when the wind comes, it can come with a vengeance.
We have had windstorms with such force that it tears off pieces of the sheet metal from the barns and sheds.  Last fall we had a portion come off of the barn door and another piece come off the shed where the round bales of hay are kept for the cows.
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Putting the piece back on the roof
This week we had mild weather, a hint of spring to to come, and I was able to get a piece replaced on the hay bale shed roof.  The piece was large enough that I needed to wait until a day without wind so I would not be knocked off the ladder or the roof itself.
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My view from the top of the ladder
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I replaced the wood so that the raccoons don't get in
This shed is on the east side of the barn yard and seems to get the brunt of the wind's force.  It may seem odd to be proud of putting things back together when they fall apart.  Then again, read my laundry day post from last week about making order out of chaos.  Sending love from the farm. oxox
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My view across the east hay field

Friday, March 11, 2011

YIPPEE for Laundry Day!!



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My Friendship Star wedding quilt
Today is Friday, therefore today is Laundry Day.  I love the process of laundry day; making order out of chaos, cleaning things that are dirty.  I even like the folding, not something I would have said in the past, but it's true.


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all of the pillows getting a fresh scent
As spring is finally approaching our weather is getting more and more mild.




Okay I live in the Midwest, mild is mixed with snow showers and pouring rain.  Today was mild so I took my quilts and aired them on the clothesline.  I also aired out our pillows.  After a long winter it will be so nice to crawl into bed under blankets that smell like spring.  You know the scent; cool, crisp, almost new.   The first promises of new growth, new opportunities, all of the things spring promises.
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Can you see the snow in the background?
I went to check on the cows and managed to get closer to them before Daisy Mae gave me a look that seemed more like a warning and a promise wrapped up in one.  One of the farmers told me that she has a lot of attitude.  I realized I might need to change her name to Bossie.  I watched Coal suckle from his mom.  It was kind of funny actually, as Coal kept head-butting his mother's udder to get to another teat.  I left him to his lunch and came back to the house to get mine.  
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They constantly tangle themselves in the bush on the left


Rufus and Rover spent most of the morning in the yard, tied to their tree.  Since Rufus has been wandering off a lot lately I decided the tree was best.
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Can't wait to see what they will be.

Knowing that we are changing our clocks ahead this weekend I looked around my flower beds to see if any plant had gotten the memo.  I was excited to find these.  

  
My evenings have been spent working on my English Paper Piece quilt.  I am so excited to watch it grow.  It is big enough now to keep me warm when I work on it.

I hope you have a great weekend.  
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The blanket underneath is crib size.



Sending love from the farm.  
Don't forget to change your clocks!! 
oxoxo

Monday, March 7, 2011

Border Patrol

This morning I let Rover and Rufus outside like usual.  Rover dashed across the yard into the corn field after a few starlings.  This is not too surprising, as he feels nothing is allowed in his yard without his approval.  After a moment by a tree, Rover was off again.  This time, he was off at top speed toward the geese he saw in the field.  Item Thumbnail

I know some may say it is cruel for the dog to chase the geese, but he is a Brittany; they are bred for hunting.  There were so many geese this morning as they rose up from the field I could feel the air pressure change when they flapped their wings to get off the ground.  The thumping sound of wind hitting wing was incredible.
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the field is clear now
Rover was not satisfied with the geese just leaving, he had to run the length of the field to make sure they would not land anywhere nearby.
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A tired dog, still watching the window for birds
After nearly 10 minutes Rover returned to the house, content that he had done his job fighting off any invaders.   Geese beware, your resting on in our field will not be tolerated.
Just another day, here on the farm.
With love from the goose chaser and me.
ox
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As I wrote this, geese honked nearby.  Ever vigilant; Rover went to check it out.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Another Day on the Farm

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view from the cow-yard



Today was a sunny, albeit blustery, day.  Our cows, Midnight and Daisy Mae,  are doing well with their calves.  I love watching the calves romp around the barnyard as they explore their world.  I make a point to go see the cows often so they will get used to me.  I managed to get 10 feet from Daisy Mae, who was not about to let me get too close to Moonbeam, her calf.



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the red oak bench
My dad made a bench from a red oak tree in the cow yard.  The bench looks out on the ancient trees with in the cow yard.  I found myself singing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" as I walked around looking for signs of spring.  The bench begs you to sit with a cup of tea and a good book; something I look forward to doing as it gets warmer.

We have a chicken coop that was used many years ago but unfortunately, raccoons have used it as a rest area.  I spent some time assessing what would be needed should we be able to get geese or ducks someday.  I know it goes against my family's tradition of raising chickens, but dear Andrew grew up with ducks and geese.  A good wife knows when to compromise.

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the sun setting


I spent the rest of my afternoon walking around the farm, taking in the quiet and appreciating all that we are blessed with here.
With love and hopes for spring (soon),
xo
Gretchen