Calf Watch Has Begun…

 

Lucy- http://Wildflowerfarm.orgI’m not going out to the barn every few hours yet. I would call this “first stage” calf watch. The vet said Lucy was due the end of this month, which is coming fast. I would like her to have the calf before Thanksgiving or wait until we get back from pheasant hunting. I have a feeling she could care less about my plans though.

Her previous owner said she doesn’t tend to show before she gives birth, so I’m trying not to look to hard to see things that aren’t there. But I do think she is starting to show a few signs. Her muscles on either side of her tail have started to loosen, making her tail look like its standing up a little taller and her hips a little wider. I haven’t noticed her loosening up under her tail much yet.

Her bag is definitely full. At this point I’m just waiting for her teats to fill. This happens 12-24 hours before she will go into labor. At this point, for me, that is the easiest way for me to tell when she’s getting close. Once that happens then I will be making more frequent trips to the barn. On that note, her and I might need to talk about a Brazilian wax. She is definitely ready for winter and looks more like a beef cow than one ready to milk. Haha.

This isn’t her first rodeo to speak of, so I’m sure it will go just fine. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be anxiously waiting for the calf to be on the ground and feeding well. I think I have concerned myself more over this delivery than I have my own… I know I have actually. But that’s ok. I like my family and animals well taken care of.

I have yet to set up my milking station. But I have a little time. I plan to use 5 panels and a gate- make a square pen to hold the calf over night and attach the gate panel to one corner and the fifth panel to that to create a little stall. The stall can then be used to hold Lucy while I milk and double as a bit of a squeeze gate if needed for vet visits and such.

The plan is to hold the calf overnight, milk Lucy right away in the morning and then let the calf nurse the rest of the day. By doing this I will be able to only milk once per day and if something happens (like I go into labor) then the calf can stay on Lucy without causing her pain and risking mastitis. Not to mention, I believe it’s best for the calf to be able to nurse as long as the cow will allow.

The Dandelion Wine Has Been Bottled!

wildflowerfarm.org

Last spring I spent a morning picking dandelions in the front yard and using an old recipe that I wasn’t too sure how correct it really was I made wine. More on the beginning of this can be found in the link above.

I left off with the bottles being fitted with balloons. After that I received a call from my aunt, who knows her wine. She said wine will age better and have better flavor if it is aged in bulk rather than in the bottles. So I jumped on-line and ordered a large cask with the “little burp cork deals”. As soon as it arrived the bottles were emptied and everything was left to age in the cask.

 

Wine wildflowerfarm.orgAfter months of waiting, not really, I kinda forgot about it, it was finally ready to bottle. There was plenty of sediment on the bottom of the cask. I am not set up with any fancy tools for this job, I did the best I could pouring the wine from the cask into the little funnel for each bottle. Trying not to stir up the sediment at the bottom.

Wine wildflowerfarm.orgIn the end I had nine bottles of wine. I could have gotten at least one or two more but the little boy was ready for a snack and a story and I didn’t want to try to strain the last of the wine just to get a little more. That means this will have turned out really well and I will be kicking myself for not getting every last drop. I will probably have to open the first bottle after the baby comes in February. I will let you know then how it turned out!