Saturday, April 28, 2012

Busy Days

As expected, spring on a farm brings a lot of activity.  This week was no different.

The E. brothers, Dave, Mike, and Terry, as well as their dad, "Grandpa" E., were out checking on the cattle this week.  On Friday Rover and Rufus started barking at the farm machinery coming down the road.  It is all too common for them to bark so I thought nothing of it, until I looked out in the field to see Mike on the large John Deere with a "soil finisher" attachment on it.

a beautiful, finished field

our family prefers "red" to "green"

This attachment has a trio of tools that help prepare the soil for planting.  The discs are first, which turn the soil over, then comes the second piece-- it looks like an arrow with its head bent back toward the tractor.  This part works a bit like a plow, slicing through the dirt, cutting up any chunks the disc left behind.  The final piece is the rake, which levels out any high places, kind of the way a comb goes through your hair.
the soil finisher attachment
So, the field has been "finished" and the seeding has begun.  Even though the weather feels more like the beginning of March than the end of April, it's time to plant.  This year we will have field corn growing.

This morning Dave and Terry came up the drive with a trailer behind, which means more cattle.  Sure enough, another cow and calf have come to "summer" with us.  The mother high-tailed it for the barn when she was unloaded, leaving her calf behind to fend for himself.  He even tried to follow Terry out of the gate when he went to close it.
After a couple minutes Dave and Terry decided to "encourage" the mother to find her calf.  Terry went into the barn and shooed the cows and calves out and within moments the new mother was calling to her calf.

cleaned and ready for ducks
Today was also moving day for the ducklings.  They are about 5-6 weeks old now and have grown too large for the guinea pig cage we had them in.  It was all-hands-on-deck as we prepared the chicken coop for the ducks.  Travis brought 4 wheelbarrows of hay for bedding and Arliss helped spread it around.  Soon the sounds of quacking filled the air as Andrew brought the flock around the large storage shed toward their new home.
we put the dog kennel across the back of the truck
and moved it over to the chicken coop

Enjoy the pictures... sending love and spring kisses from the farm.
nestling into their new home.
Our family has always had chickens...
 it's even part of our farm logo 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Congratulations~it's a boy!!

Chester--less than 48 hours old
After being on constant "baby watch" for the past week I am proud to announce the arrival of "Chester."  He was born somewhere between Wednesday evening and this morning.  He's very new, still has the "lick" marks from being groomed for the first time.
I don't normally name the calves, but this time  Chester just seemed to fit.

 Momma #55 has already told me to stay clear a bit.  She "mooed" at me in a different tone than the usual cow style.  Kind of the same way a dog gives a deep growl to warn a person.  I know better than to get in the same area without some kind of barricade; there was always a cattle gate or fence between us.

So no baby presents are necessary--unless you have a bale of hay or two you'd like to give.  In the meantime, enjoy the pictures of our newest addition!!

 Sending love and cow-lick kisses from the farm.

#55 has tucked Chester away from my line of sight

Proud Momma

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quiet Mornings

It's Saturday.  I love this day for all the unending possibilities, all of the wide-open ideas with no "real" work in sight until Monday.  Before I started my part-time job every day was a kind of Saturday... now, I cherish this one day at home.

The cow (#55) that the E. brothers brought last week still hasn't had her calf.  She is due any day and I can hardly wait to see the new one.  The cow/calf total is up as of Thursday, when another cow & calf were delivered.  The new one looks a lot like Queenie or Princess from last year, but I cannot be sure yet if she is a cow from last year.

I have managed to name 3 of the 5 though; Curly Sue, Mary Moo, and Buttercup (as in Princess Buttercup).  

double bloom lilacs
The ducklings are growing by leaps and bounds and now spend most of their day outside in the large dog pen.  Andrew, my hubby the "duck whisperer," took chicken wire around the bottom and across the top to prevent escape from below and any potential attacks from above from hawks.  I have never seen anyone who connects with the animals like he does.  It's just a delight to see him interact with the ducks.

single bloom lilacs
The lilac bushes are amazing.  We have 4 on the property, 3 are single bloom but 1 has double blooms.  It smells intoxicating.  I love it!! Lilacs are my second favorite flower--my favorite is the peony.  We have 5 peony bushes but last year only 2 bloomed.  I am hoping for better this spring.

1948 Farmall H--love that red color
I just found out that my dad, brother, and eldest nephew are on the way out to get the Farmall "H" tractor.  The 1948 tractor is the same make and model that my grandfather used when my dad was growing up.  It is a treasure for all of us and reminds us of so many special memories.  Glad I took pictures of it this morning.

I have included "a million" pictures this week.  Enjoy.
Sending love and lazy morning kisses from the farm.
old pump by the barnyard

the mommas are watching me

longing for the green grass on the other side

virginia bluebells

Pekin ducklings

runt with Rouen ducklings

Great-gram Frieda's lunch bell

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lovely days continue

Today is Good Friday.  According to tradition potatoes must be planted.  My dad said that he remembers spending many a Good Friday planting potatoes with his father, even in freezing rain.  I am not surprised, in a way, I am amused and tickled.  My grandfather was a man who had reasons for doing things and they were not up for discussion.

Last year I didn't get the potatoes in the ground until almost 2 weeks after Good Friday.  I caught a lot of good natured teasing that my potatoes were not going to grow since I missed the "planting date."  This year  I made sure to get them in the ground on time.  My garden is now the proud possessor of 59 mounds with more than 59 potato eyes in them.  The potatoes take up more than 1/3 of the garden, but hey--if you want potatoes for hash browns or french fries this fall you know where to come to get them!!

The E. brothers, Mike and Terry came by with another cow today.  Travis and I went to see the new cow and were able to talk with the E. brothers about the cattle in general.  The plan is to get 10 sets of cows/calves here for the summer and they have picked the most feisty coyote fighters to be here.  I had shared with them about the coyotes Travis and I saw a few weeks ago so they decided to act accordingly.

I guess that means I won't be taking carefree walks through the pasture without knowing where my exits are beforehand.

The best thing about the cow that the E. brothers brought over is that she is pregnant.  When they bought her last fall they were told that she was so cantankerous she would just as soon kill you if you tried to get near her new calf.  So they brought her to our farm so that when she delivers she will already be here.

I also learned that Sechs, our young bull, will be returning!!

So, the ducklings are doing well and growing more and more fuzzy each day.  We are up to 21 ducklings; 17 Pekin and 4 Rouen.

Wahoo for my day!!!

I hope you have a blessed Easter and a wonderful spring.
tuckered out after a swim in the wading pool

4 Rouens and the Pekin runt

everyone in the pool

"getting to know you..."

Sending love and fuzzy kisses from the farm.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lovely day, lovely views

The violets are blooming like a purple and lavender quilt across the yard.  It calls like a siren to come out into the sunshine and drink deeply the wonderful spring air.
I gladly obeyed the siren call and walked around smelling the apple blossoms, pear blossoms and lilac bushes.  Mr. H. came by with his tractor and tilled the garden again for me.  God bless good neighbors!
I took  a slew of pictures to show the flowering beauties and other spring growth around the farm.  Enjoy!!

Sending love and sunny kisses from the farm,
virginia bluebells

pear blossoms

apple blossoms

lilacs blooming smell so sweet
these are just outside the back door

I stand 5'4" and these lilacs are easily 10ft. tall or more 

wild plant "heal all" smells wonderful

the mommas stand guard over their younguns'

wild raspberry bushes grow all over the farm

a combination of mulberry trees and rose of sharon growing

Good Neighbor, Mr. H., tilling our garden

 Great Gram's peonies

the ducklings are doing well...quack quack !

Monday, April 2, 2012

Make Way for Ducklings!

Today was pretty eventful!  Dave E., the oldest of the E. brothers, came by to check on the cows and calves with his dad, whom we call "Grampa E."  He isn't our grandpa, but he knew my grandpa, so it fits.

Make Way for Ducklings [Book]Anyway, Dave and I were talking about various things and I told him that I couldn't get the rototiller to work.  I had tried during last week but found myself more frustrated than anything else.  Dave said he would let Mr. H., our next door neighbor, know about my need to turn the garden.

About an hour later, Mr. H. came up the driveway with his Kubota tractor and tiller attachment.  His wife Sherri, had been out on her walk and came up to give him a hand.  Within 10 minutes my garden was freshly tilled and beautiful to see.

sleep huddle
While Sherri and I were talking, I asked her if she knew where to find ducklings.  My husband, Andrew, grew up with ducks and geese and has talked for years about getting them again.
 I told him that Mr. H. had seen ducklings at the Tractor Supply Company about 30 minutes from our farm.  Within 20 minutes Andrew was on his way to TSC.

Later I received a text message with a picture of ducklings at the store.  A few more texts and I quickly learned that we would have 17 Pekin ducklings at home soon.  Arliss and Travis were surprised and Arliss was quite smitten with the little fuzzy ducklings.

Andrew took the old guinea pig cage and prepared it for the ducklings.  By the time I came home from work the water for the ducklings had been changed at least twice and they were huddled together in the corner of their new home.
Travis is like a duck whisperer, his duckling was so peaceful

In a few weeks we'll have to make adjustments to their housing, but in the meantime, they will be chirping and quacking over Rufus and Rover's kennels.

Sending love and fuzzy yellow kisses from the farm.