Well S#!*

Because I picked up a Saturday shift I was given a day off during the week. If the kids aren’t going to daycare for a reason other than being sick, I like to give her as much notice as possible, as this directly affects her income as well. I completely dropped the ball on letting her know the change in plans, so I guiltily dropped the kids off at daycare on my day off. In an effort to rid myself of some of the guilt I decided I was going to get as much done at home as absolutely possible.

I started my day with an appointment with our Midwife. That went well. Then I painted the wall in the laundry room in preparation for the new cupboards my husband was planning to install that night. While the paint was drying I suited up, grabbed a freshly sharpened filet knife and headed for the coop. I haven’t been out there cleaning weekly as I should have been and it was past time to do so. It was a balmy 30 degrees out, snowing giant flakes and windy as ever. But in the coop none of that mattered.

There was nothing unusual about the cleaning other than it was embarrassing how long I let it go. After the “morning sickness phase” had passed my priorities turned to keeping the house tidy (a losing battle) and spending every spare minute with the kids. I should have taken an hour during naptime and taken care of the coop. Lesson learned. As usual I had the door to the coop opened for extra air flow; in the summer it can get rather dusty when cleaning, in the winter, it’s just nice to get some fresh air.

It was blowing and snowing and I was happily taking my wheel-barrow loads of “coop cleanings” to the pile. After a few loads, the old was out and fresh shavings were down. As I was cleaning out the laying boxes I heard something hit the wheel-barrow. My first thought was a shovel blew over. I cleaned another box and realized I didn’t have any shovels outside at the time and if I did they would have still been too far away to reach the wheel-barrow. I peered out the door and with a bewildered look said “well, shit… hmm” and went back to cleaning the last few boxes.

Do I call Mike at work and let him know what happened or do I wait until he gets home…

Of all the times I remember my phone when I leave the house, today I had it, so I gave him a call on my way to the barn. No answer.

The other spot on the farm that has really been missing my attention is the cow’s pen in the barn. Again, I blame it on the “morning sickness phase”. When I was feeling my worst was when the cows were starting to spend more time in the barn and when I should have started daily barn cleanings again. As luck would have it, I didn’t start and well let’s just say the “work” has been piling up. I grabbed my new pitch fork (Mike got me one for Christmas this year!) and made a path from the gate to the door so I could maneuver the manure outside without tipping the wheel-barrow. A few loads in and my phone rings.

“Hi”

“Hi. You called?”

“Yes. It’s pretty windy out.”

“I know.”

“So I cleaned the chicken coop and the laying boxes. Martha didn’t take her place on the roost so she’s still out there.” (Martha is going to go sooner than later, hence the filet knife.)

“Ok. That’s good”

“You know how I’ve been having trouble getting the coop door open when it swells and freezes? Well, you can fix the door length a little easier now… It’s not attached to the coop anymore.”

“What?! How did that happen?”

“Umm, it’s windy out. One minute it was there, the next it was flipped over in the yard. I gotta go the boys are going to tip over my wheel-barrow again.”

I don’t know what it is about a full wheel-barrow but the cows love to come scratch on it and almost always tip it over. It can get rather frustrating. I was able to push them out of the way and get out the door without spilling the load this time around. A few loads later my phone rang again (probably why I don’t usually bring it with me). It was time to be done anyway; my back had had enough. The gate was open and I just got the wheel-barrow through when I answer and continue the conversation from earlier. Now there I am, standing between the open gate and the cracked corn storage, on the phone and the cows are lining up. Elvis, my sweet steer, G.W., the friendliest little bull and the girls behind them. The boys love to have their heads scratched and to eat corn. Elvis was after both and made his way out the gate, G.W., glued to his side, Wheezy pushing and Lucy bringing up the rear.

Try backing that train up!

“The cows are out. I gotta go again!”

Oh my! What a parade!

I got the girls backed up just by trying to scratch their heads. The boys I started pushing with no measureable progress. So I caved for a bit and gave them both a scratching. That seemed to be enough to get them to follow me back into their side of the fence. It’s going to be a sad day when Elvis goes, for me and G.W.. I’m sure I say that too often. I think it’s my way on reminding myself that “yes, he’s sweet, but he’s destined for red meat.” I’d say that’s probably why Old McDonald didn’t name his animals, but with a “herd” our size it wouldn’t matter if they have names. With that I closed things up…except the coop, and headed back to the house.

By the time I finished the second coat of paint in the laundry room and got supper going the family was home. It was a good day, not completely guilt free, but not wasted.

Coop Door

Learn to Like it

It’s not that you don’t like it; it’s that you don’t it the way it was prepared.

I worked with a chef that said this quite often, mostly to the wait staff. I’m not saying that the kitchen staff was well versed in some of the dishes that were concocted there, but those of us that weren’t, knew enough to give the dish an honest taste before making any judgment. I will admit I was not fond of fish before working there. Yes, I grew up in northern Minnesota and still preferred my walleye fried crispy with a 2:1 ratio of tartar sauce to fish for every bite. Tuna hotdish was an exception, I made that almost every Friday during lent. As a whole, fish was never on my menu…ever. Turns out, I just never found a variety and preparation method that I liked.

I have always had a bit of a “cart before the horse” method as my brother has put it. I do just enough research to get started, bring home whatever “parts” I may need and then start assembling; a lot of times learning as I go. I did this with the bakery I opened years ago. I had an idea, rented a space, and maxed out a credit card buying ovens, mixers, ingredients and so on. Then I picked my favorite cookbooks and started to bake. I learned along the way what not to do; buying on a credit card was one and not knowing the business partner’s credit history was another big one. That turned out ok, she didn’t make it very long. On the farm I ordered the chickens before the coop was built and had a cow coming before the fence was in, just to name a couple more.

So why wouldn’t the same thing be true for food? Learn the name, take a bite and then decide whether or not to take another. I learned to be rather cautious about trying food blindly and it was my own doing. The reply I had when asked “is this still good?” or “what is this?” was “let me try it.”

Seriously.

“This smells a little funky…” “Well, let me try it.”

It was 50/50 if whatever it was I just ate was still ok to eat and yet when it came to safely prepared fresh food I wasn’t sure I wanted to even give it a chance. Makes no sense, I know.

It wasn’t until I heard the chef say that it was a matter of preparation and not food in question that I started to dive into new tastes just as I did with everything else in life. In looking back, I can’t think of a single thing that I have tasted and really not liked. Shellfish being the exception here. I have given up trying shellfish, I have had so many different varieties prepared a wide variety of ways and I just don’t care for it. Which brings me to “You’ll learn to like it”.

This is something I really do believe. It can take trying something 15 different times for your tastes to change and for you to learn to like something. Apparently I have not tried shrimp scampi 15 times, close enough together to acquire a taste. As we are raising little ones, this thought needs to be remember; no matter how tough it may be. The little boy asked for pancakes every day this week, last week he cleaned his plate, this week “no, I don’t like them.”

There are a few replies I have for this: “Yes, you do.”, “You’ll learn to like it then.” and out of complete frustration “That’s too bad.” I’m not sure why people don’t take learning to try and like new foods as seriously as they do potty training their child (our newest phase). It’s so important for children to eat healthy foods and yet so many are given junk at the first refusal of vegetables. We aren’t to the “clean your plate” rule yet, right now we are at the “so many bites” rule. The only reason I cook a separate meal for the kids is if I make something extra spicy, otherwise, they are expected to eat the same thing we do. Don’t like it? Go hungry. I have made a healthy home cooked meal, you can’t be healthy eating goldfish and m&m’s (which I am quite positive our little one would give it an honest try though). It doesn’t take long for them to realize what’s be made is what’s to eat for this meal.

Learning to like a variety of different dishes keeps meals exciting. Yes, you can eat mashed potatoes, gravy and a roast everyday. It’s good but can get quite boring. There’s a million ways to prepare potatoes, why limit yourself to one taste and texture?! It really is a learning curve. Most people aren’t going to wake one day and say “I’ve been eating mozzarella all my life, it’s time for limburger!” That is one stinky cheese, and can be quite delicious but takes some working up to. I’ve found the same to be true with wine, (start with a really sweet one and work from there) and so many more foods.

If you are willing to try (repeatedly) with an open mind, you will be amazed to see all you were missing out on.

*Note- The only taste that I don’t think anyone could learn to like it toothpaste and orange juice. Pretty sure that’s not possible.

Tales of the Pregnant Farmer: Winter Pedicures in the Barn

I don’t know if this is really worthy of the Tales of the Pregnant Farmer files but that’s where it’s going today!

Every four months or so the goats need their hooves trimmed and New Year’s was the perfect day to get it done. I bundled up (yes, my coveralls still fit), put a roll of saltines in my pocket and headed out to the barn.

Over the summer my hoof trimming technique was… learned. Perfected is still down the road, but I know what I’m shoot’n for and haven’t over-trimmed anyone yet. Hank is still stinky and in a pen of his own, so I climbed over the fence into the other pen first. I have learned that Clyde is the hardest to catch when it’s trimming time so he got to go first. I pulled the roll of crackers out of my pocket and I had three of the world’s most starved goats, or so one would think. Clyde was pretty easy to get a hold of when he was preoccupied with a soda cracker.

Front hooves first. I got his head pinned between my knees and lifted his leg to start trimming. This takes a bit of balance as it is. I’m standing on uneven hay, with the other two very curious to see what’s going on. So curious in fact that to get a better view they are peering over my shoulder. Yes, there I was bent over, Clyde’s head pinned between my knees, trimmer in one hand, goat leg in the other, with both of Scarlet’s hooves on my left shoulder and Lyle perched on my right. Their little noses busy by my cheeks. I should have gotten a picture, but I kinda had my hands full. I can only imagine it was quite a sight.

Then for the back ones. After struggling with a jumpy, “kicky”, Clyde, I change the routine a bit. The other two got their front hooves done the same but when it came time for the back, I grabbed them a little quicker, it was just enough to get them to stiffen up so I could easily lay them on their side. I would think they would be expecting something as I still had hold of them from trimming their front; it worked either way. I got them laid down and was able to keep them pinned long enough to get everybody’s toes look’n nice.

Mike walked in the barn as I was just finishing up with Lyle. Perfect timing to help with Big Hank! He’s not as smelly as he was this fall but he hasn’t had a bath either. I don’t think you bathe goats unless you’re going to show them at the county fair or something… I’m not about to start anyway. He stinks, there’s no denying that. It’s not horrible, but it’s distinct that’s for sure. It’s not “what’s that smell?”, it’s “Ooh, that’s Hank.” Mike and I climbed over the fence and into Hank’s pen (that alone make us smell like Hank).  There’s no gate, by the way, that’s why we had to climb. We could have went through the gate in the outside pen, but then would have had to crawl through the little goat door in the barn. Climbing is easier.

Mike got the job of holding Hank down. With the extra help, I told him my “grab the back leg” trick, that way Hank got to lay on his side for the whole “pedicure”. For the rest of the day, even after washing up and changing clothes, all I could smell was Hank. But at least his toes look nice.

The main reason that we have to trim their hooves at all is because they aren’t walking on rocky terrain every day, to keep them nicely filed naturally. There are a few rock piles in their pen to play on but not enough to do the job. If they get over grown, the nail will cover the bottoms of the hooves. They can trap “gook” (technical term there). They can get spongy and rot which leads to even bigger problems. When properly trimmed, their hooves are really cool, they’re kinda “grippy” (another technical term). It really is neat though!


It should be noted that their hooves can rot even when trimmed if they don’t have a dry place to stand. So in the spring, when they ground is really soft and the rain is, well, frequent, it’s really important the goats have a dry place to be.

Tales of the Pregnant Farmer is Back!

I’m happy to announce that Tales of the Pregnant Farmer will be starting again. The morning I got two positive tests, yes two, I didn’t believe the first, I was out catching chickens. Starting this pregnancy off right, again!

Here’s weeks leading up to now…

Chores were done in the usual, high class fashion, at 5 am that morning. My best bedhead, bath robe, barn coat and boots. Classy! There was nothing out of the ordinary with that morning’s routine other than I had to catch 3-4 chickens to bring to town to be sold before work. I must say my chicken catching skills have greatly improved since last fall. It didn’t take too long to have the ladies in the crate and ready for town.

A few days later…

I’m not going to claim pregnancy brain as of yet, even though most days I think I’ve lost my memory and mind when our oldest came along, I’m holding out hope anyway. I was having a usual day at work, nothing exciting to speak of, when my husband called.

“Did you use the back door this morning?”

“Probably? I assume so. I don’t remember I guess.” (I did remember later, yes I went out on the porch to get a trellis for a plant that was drooping.)

“The door was wide open. Did you leave the dogs out?”

“Yes, the two big ones.”

Apparently they were all outside and the cat who lives in the barn had ventured into the house. He wasn’t in there when Mike arrived, but the evidence was stuck to his foot. The little fella must have really been snooping, because when he was found outside he was attached to a sticky mouse trap. Better than a snap trap I guess.

So after we got all that figured out and gave a second thought to the furnace that was most likely running all morning. I hung up and continued working. Not too long after the phone rang again.

“You must have been sleep walking this morning; the gate was open in the barn too.”

“Oh for heaven’s sake!”

The cows were out in the corral and if any of them would have wandered that direction it would have been the boys and they would have just hung out and ate hay off the stack. Thank goodness.

The little boy was a breeze. The little Miss was a physical challenge between chores and dress (the Christmas party incident). Number three could be quite a doozey at this rate!

 

 

 

T’was the day before Christmas

Christmas tree

T’was the day before Christmas, and all through the house
Mama was scurrying fast as a mouse.
The church clothes were hung in the laundry with care,
In hopes they stay clean for the children to wear.
The children were quiet, a mysterious noise,
My only hope is they are playing with toys.
I
in my apron and Pa in his cap,
She said “there’s no time for a Christmas eve nap”.
Then on the back deck, there arose such a clatter,
I
ran to the door to see what was the matter.
The dogs had come home and wanted inside,
One rolled in something that smells like it died.
After the children’s baths were through,
She lined up the dogs and gave them one too.
Then out to the barn, where the animals stay,
Ma filled up their water and fed them some hay.
On to the chickens to give them scratch grain,
To collect the day dozen eggs that’d been laid.
Back to the house, in the Ma came,
She whistled then shouted each child’s name:
Now Cyril, Now Mya, Now Luke and Scout!
And Deklyn, And Syndal and Michael Come out!
Take your clothes from the laundry, there’s no time to stall.
For heaven’s sake, who left their shoes in the hall?!”
The house has been cleaned twice already that day,
It will need it a third before we go pray.
More dusting and sweeping and straightening the rug.
“Don’t pig pile your sister! You give her a hug!”
Everyone together, let’s quick set the table,
We need to get moving, as fast as you’re able.
Let’s get in the car, it’s time to go.
Bring your hats and mittens, it’s starting to snow.
Christmas carols are sung on the way to church.
We made it on time! That’s sure a first.
Bowing our heads and kneeling to pray,
We thank God for the gift he gave us that day.
For our family and health and food on the table,
The birds in the coop and cows in the stable.
Out in the snow, back home we go.
Pajamas for all, as they jump into bed,
There’s great anticipation for St. Nick and his sled.
Carrots for the reindeer and cookies on the plate,
I hope Santa can stay that late.
The gifts were all wrapped and hidden with care,
Now if only St. Nick could remember where.
The cookies, now gone and the reindeer are fed.
Finally Pa and I can drift off to bed.
We look at each other as we turn off the light,
“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
Then a jingle of bells and the patter of feet,
Bright, gleaming faces, prove it’s worth the lack of sleep.

**********

May your new year be filled with blessings to be counted, good health, family, friends and happy memories!

Merry Christmas!

*********

Hopefully my writing will pick up once again after the holidays as well.

Lickin’ Ice

It’s getting to be that time of year, where I trade in my bathrobe for coveralls to do morning chores. Last week we had the first snow that has stayed and everyone’s water froze. First was the goats. I went out to do morning chores and had to break it open with the trusty bat. That night my husband put their tank heater in. It’s worked great ever since. The next morning the cow’s water finally froze. I searched for the tank heater and finally had to give up and go in to make the kids breakfast.

And then there’s the chickens…

With the number of birds we have out there for the winter, they are able to go a day without being fed and a few days for water. Not because I’m starving them, but because their feeders are big enough to hold a few days worth at a time. That being said, the other night neither Mike nor I made it out to the coop. I don’t remember the last time that has happened, if ever. But we didn’t. The next morning I marched out there right away to take care of the birds and collect yesterday’s eggs before taking care of the barn animals.

I turned the knob and pulled. Nothing happened. I tried again and again nothing happened. I turned around to see if anyone was watching. Who I was looking for I don’t know. I’m in the dark, out in the countryside, Mike wasn’t home and quite frankly, if I would have seen someone I may have had a problem. I did have an audience, on the other side of the fence. All lined up, the cows were watching what could be something worth talking about for a long time.  I turned back to the door and tried a third time. This time the top of the door moved a bit.

I dug my heals in, grabbed on with both hands and gave ‘er hell. I put all my weight into it and pulled.

Nothing.

I stood there for a minute contemplating the different ways I could get in there not using the front door. I could pull the screen out of the window in the “Ladies” room and with a running leap, possibly jump high enough to hook my ribs on the sill and wiggle myself in. Most likely landing on feeder. It was way too early in the morning to try something that requires that much effort, but not late enough to think it a bad idea.

If I take off my winter clothes, I can fit through the turkey door into the “Fry’n Pan Special”  room. (I have had to do this in the summer) The problem with that is that there is no feeder in there and the door between the two rooms is smaller than the turkey door and bigger than the chicken door. Too small for me to squeeze through… as far as I know… I’ve never tried. Even if I were to fit, what am I going to do? The feed bin is in the feed room which is accessed through the people doors that are hook and eye latched from the feed room.

I hung the egg basket on the door knob, went to the barn and fed the cows.

Later that morning I called Mike to let him know I couldn’t find the cow’s tank heater and couldn’t get the coop door open. That afternoon, he called me back. The cow’s tank heater was in the tank, it just needed to be plugged in and he was able to take care of the chickens, who’s water is now turned on as well.

 

The Goats are in the Barn for Winter

The goat houses we built this summer are super cute and work really well to keep their hooves dry and their heads out of the rain. Once we settle in for another long, cold winter their summer homes aren’t going to be enough to keep them warm. So every Friday, while I have been at work in town, Mike has been at work in the barn.

Winter Goat House

Winter Goat House

He built “kids” an insulated house that all four can share while still keeping Hank on his own side of the fence. He made the pen inside temporary because of our plans for a hay loft over the cows next summer, that would allow for a larger cow pen and shift the goats down a bit. What he has came up with will work great for now. They all still have access to their outside pens so they will have plenty of room to run. Their inside house is the perfect size to keep them warm in the colder months.

Divided Pens In the Barn

Divided Pens In the Barn

The mini water tank from outside has been moved in and placed between the two pens so I only have to run heater for them and one for the cows.

Split Goat Stock Tank

Split Goat Stock Tank

 

Halleluiah! There’s Water!

A big part of daily chores is making sure all the animals have fresh water. Simple enough one would think and it usually is. In the summer I string a hose from the spigot off the house to the stock tank in the corral. The goat tank is just on the other side of the fence of the cow’s tank making watering them pretty simple. The chickens and other animals require a couple buckets of water be filled and delivered. So not too bad but it does take some time and when there are little one to chase after it takes a little more time. Our little boy now has a gallon bucket that we put a quart of water in so he can help bring water to the chickens and not go wandering off.

Winter, on the other hand is a whole other routine. In the north is gets cold. Water freezes when it’s -30 degrees out (and warmer). Stock tanks freeze. Chicken waterers freeze. Dog dishes freeze. Cat dishes don’t freeze because the cat came with a heated water dish. Once a tank or dish freezes hard, it’s time to plug in the tank heaters and move the water from the outside tanks to the insulated ones in the barn. The hoses that worked so well in the summer, if left out, get buried under feet of snow and yes, freeze.

I had had the expandable hoses recommended to me by multiple people. They worked really well for them. They could hook them up, turn on the water, fill everything and when the water shut off, the hose would scrunch back up into this nice light ball and could be easily brought into the house. Well, that was not my experience. In fact the first time I used them one broke and they turned out to be more work than it was worth. This was really disappointing. But they do work well for flowers in the summer.

By the time Christmas came I had hauled enough water from the kitchen sink to the barn that my husband got me a utility sled. That was amazing! I could haul four full, five gallon buckets at a time to the barn, dump them in the tank and then  fill the sled with enough firewood to last me the day. By this time I was seven months pregnant and it made the work much easier.

Last winter we were keeping two and a half cows, thirty (or so) chickens, threes dogs and a cat that appreciated water in the liquid form. This summer the cow herd, expanded to four, the nonexistent goat herd had climbed to four and the chicken coop, going in to fall, is holding at thirty-five(or so) and two turkeys (Martha and George) and we just found another cat in the barn ( I don’t know if it will keep permanent residence here or not). That’s a lot of water every day. Pregnant or not I don’t want to haul that much water every day nor am I willing to give up any animals.

I was in a bit of a pickle.

With the genius of my husband and dad, they came up with a plan to put a water line from the house to the barn, attached to a frost hydrant. Sounds like a fancy hose, right? Well, not so much. It’s so much better because it doesn’t freeze! (if it does, the cows have probably froze too.)

What you do, is dig a deep hole where you want water, eight feet deep or so. Then dig a trench from the hole to your water source, about three hundred feet to the house. Then put pipe or some sort of heavy hose in the trench and attach it to the water source and the other end to the hydrant in the barn. Fill in the eight foot deep trench and voila! Water! If I were the one taking on the task that’s about how it would have went. A few years later I would be done. Good thing it wasn’t up to me.

N & M Directional Drilling, making quick work of my would be trench digging.

My uncle brought over his skid steer with an auger and extension. Between, him, my dad and husband they had a hole about 8 feet deep dug in the barn in a short time. This was after they disassembled the cow pen so they could get the equipment in there to begin with. From there on I’m not sure the “step by step” of what went on. It was a project I wouldn’t have been too much help with.

One way or another a bunch of rock was put in the hole in the barn to create a bit of a drain field, the guy’s from N & M Directional Drilling bored a hole from the north end of the barn into the hole and then from there all the way to the house, where they were able to come up into the foot and a half hole in the basement. How they managed to drill that far and find that spot in the house is beyond me! But they did. Then some sort of hose was pulled back through the hole they drilled and it was hooked to the hydrant, the hole filled in. There was some sort of work done in the basement to get the plumbing all tied in but after that there was water in the barn!

Dad hooking up the hydrant

The best part is the water that is in the barn can be used all winter long! The frost hydrant, after being used, drains back down into the rock that was put in the hole so the pipe won’t freeze and the water line was bored deep enough that that shouldn’t freeze either! I put an old hose on the hydrant and cut if off just after the first lawn mower mishap. It’s just the right length to reach the cow tank and the goats! I will still need to bring a couple buckets to the chickens but that’s only every other day and the coop is just outside the barn. So much closer than the kitchen!

 

The Hydrant set in place

The Hydrant set in place

As usual this project was a group effort and I am so thankful! This has already been a big help and we don’t even have snow yet! Thanks, to my husband, my dad, my uncle and the guys at N & M Directional Drilling!

Halleluiah! There is water in the barn!

 

The Cows Came Home

It’s been just short of two weeks ago that the cows came home. It was nice to have everyone back on the farm where they belong. The girls were bred and are due late spring. They spent their time away with my uncle’s herd of Angus. They were comparable in size to this year’s calves it seemed. So as we drove by they were easy to spot from the road. I didn’t visit them nearly as much as I should have, but one Sunday we did stop in after church. They were all on the other side of the pasture when we arrived. I stood at the fence and called for Lucy. It wasn’t too long before she wandered slowly over, Wheezy followed keeping her distance. She refused to eat from my hand as she used to but I was just happy she still came when called.

While the girls were out Elvis and G.W. settled right in. They have become so tame. I’m so glad we are not going to eat G.W.. He is so friendly, he will walk up to me in the pasture to be pet. I can get the burdock off of him without any fuss. He is so sweet. Elvis is the same. I already dread the day he has to go. That’s going to be a rough one.

G.W. and Elvis

G.W. and Elvis

Elvis took G.W. under his wing and they became good buddies. This was made more apparent when the cows came back. Wheezy’s horns look to have grown 6 inches while she was away and she has learned she likes to use them. Hers have grown much more forward instead of upward as Lucy’s are. As soon as they hopped out of the trailer they began chasing the boys around trying to establish a pecking order again.

I don’t like. Not one bit! Those boys are so sweet and they just get pushed around.

Because the girls get so territorial over the big hay feeder Mike made a couple smaller feeders in the barn. I was worried that the boy’s weren’t going to get any feed. Every time they get in the barn Wheezy runs them out. They look great! And work well. I asked for 2 more once I saw them installed, then we could remove the big feeder and give them a little more room in there.

Hay Feeder

Hay Feeder

Last night Wheezy and I had a little “get to know you”. It wasn’t a full blown “come to Jesus”, I’m hoping it doesn’t get that far, because that will end one of two ways: I come out on top and she will mind from then on out or she will take that round and when I recover she will be turned into hamburger. Lucky for both of us it didn’t go that far. I’m giving both girls the benefit of the doubt that they haven’t been home for too long and are still getting readjusted.

I went into the pen with an arm full of hay for Hank (his feeder is next to the fence most easily accessed through the cow pen). I wasn’t a few feet in the gate when Wheezy lowered her head and came towards me. It wasn’t a leap or real charge, there wasn’t enough room between us for that, but it was obvious she thought she was going to establish a Queen Bee status with me. This time she got an up close view of my boot. Right between the eyes.

Dexter Angus Cross

Wheezy

She wasn’t expecting it and she backed up pretty quick, tripped on her own feet and then stood there for a minute processing what just happened. We had a bat inside the front door of the house, only because shortly after we moved in I found it marking a gopher hole in the field, brought it in and hadn’t thought to move it since. But in the last week Mike had finally moved it to the barn and it happened to be right outside the pen. I grabbed the bat, hay in hand, and told Wheezy to get out of the barn. She left, I fed Hank and went on my way.

I didn’t have to use the bat that night. I hope I never do. I don’t want to hurt any of our animals but my 115lbs up against the 700lbs of horned Wheezy, I’m going to need Jesus and a bat if she gets mad.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and my bat…” well it’s close anyway.

This morning Mike and I moved the big feeder so it’s no longer next to the outside door in hopes the boys will be able to make their way in to the other feeders on the wall. Wheezy came in and said hi. She kept her distance.

Lucy is still skittish and has kept her distance since coming home. Hopefully it won’t take too long for her to warm back up to us and Wheezy will calm down again too.

The Girls

The Girls

Dexter Cattle

Big Hank

Hank or “Big Hank” as my husband calls him has settled in quite nicely on our little farm. He came home with Scarlet from Big Wheel Fainting Goat Ranch as well. He too is a fainting goat and a smelly one at that! He is our first buck and we have learned quickly how fun and oh so smelly they can be. The Boys are whethers (missing some of their “boy parts”) and so they don’t act “bucky”. (A lot of quotations, I know.) Hank, and all bucks from what I am learning, when in rut (breeding season) pee on everything. That’s Everything with a capital “E”. Their chin hair included! I guess the ladies like that sort of thing. I’m not a fan; good thing I’m not a goat I guess.

Once Hank has made it past this season, he will be a little more fun. As of right now he’s fun to watch and does get his grain treat hand fed through the fence (he doesn’t like crackers like the others) so he gets some attention. When he’s not going to pee on himself or me, he will get to hang out with us a little more.

As you can see, he sure is cute.

Hank