Just in case you were wondering what a cow in heat sounds like. They actually sound somewhat like an elephant. Our neighbor across the street has let his cows out by the road. It is mostly woods there and you can hear the cows crashing around. It is almost like a scene from Jurassic Park. But then there are the elephant noises…
Ruby is in heat also. Jewel just came out of heat. They are really getting serious. They want a man, or bull, and want him now!!! We keep hoping Blackie will do his duty but so far he seems much more interested in the goats. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Not trying either. I have thought of sitting him down for a long talk about birds, bees and well cows, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
I had a very exciting moment this past week moving animals. Jack went with Phil, his step dad, to return a rental part that we did not get full use out of, more of that later. I figured, I have the fence, the animals want to be moved. I have my minions and Jack’s mom, Judy. I can do this. So I got the fence all out. The problem was that since the last fence was put up in such a way that I couldn’t close the fence just yet. If you open up one part of the fence usually the animals all pour out. There isn’t much herding that is needed. They just go. They are usually so happy to get fresh green grass. Usually. Key word there. So anyway, I got the fence up as best I could. Natalie was going to open the fence, Layla was going to gently herd the animals through, Judy and Gwendy were at the fence opening to make sure animals didn’t get out there. It seemed like a good plan. And normally this is how it works and it goes smoothly. Well, sometimes. Natalie opened the fence, but didn’t lift it. Why she didn’t I don’t know. The cows and sheep don’t like walking over the fence, it was off, but they still don’t like it. The goats went over, they were fine, but I quickly saw that we were in real trouble as no one else was going over. I told Natalie to lift the fence, but she claimed they wouldn’t go near her. So I started up the pond dam, it was wet and slick as pig poop. I started the yelling and the hitting off the various animal butts, they started to go until a few sheep and then the cows starting going down the pond dam. I ran after them, only to fall face first and slide the rest of the way. The wind was knocked out of me for a short while. From the reports of Judy and the girls, it looked really scary. Judy thought I had broken something. I got up though and started yelling like a mad woman. Those animals were going to listen to me!!! It took about a half hour and finally me lifting the fence like I told Natalie to, before they all went over. Well almost all. Natalie ended up pretty much lifting Phedre, our rambouilllet corrideale up. This sheep has to weight about 100 pounds. She is huge. Natalie got her over the fence though. And then Blackie. Maybe he felt too much pressure to preform. He wanted nothing to do with going in with the girls. It took the four of us to get him in. But we did it. I felt great afterwards. Really. Okay besides all the scrapes from the rose thorns that were all over. I ended up in the pond to wash up even though it was freeze your butt off cold. I have slightly impressive cuts on my arms and thighs. I wasn’t prepared for how I would end up feeling the next day. Or today. I feel like my arms are one big bruise. It is making it hard to do things, but oh well. I will live.
The animals seem to be doing alright. They survived the heat and then the cold, and then the rain. Because we got RAIN!!!!! Yes we got rain. This was very exciting, and still is. We did end up giving BillyBob Bugerweed to a neighbor for him to service their goats this year. He was just too closely related to half our herd. I hope he enjoys his new home. My hands are adjusting to milking so many goats twice a day. And making cheese every couple of days. Today before making cheese I skimmed off the top layer of cream and got almost a half cup. Not much, but maybe enough to put in my chai our next cold morning.
Some cute pictures of the piggies. They are actually going back and forth and all playing together. The only way to tell them apart is that the first litter is just slightly bigger than the younger pigs. The mommies don’t seem to mind strange piglets nursing off of them. Sometimes all of them go to one mamma pig and then to the next one. I think they are all going to be well taken care of.
It is crazy how our weather has been lately. A week ago it was so hot!! Really really hot. Then the rain came and we barely got in the 70s, today and tomorrow though have highs in the 90s. How does that happen? It also worries me because these kinds of weather changes can really make the animals sick. They are actually moved closer to the house right now, which makes me glad. I can keep a good eye on them. I am forever thankful for the rain though. Our kale is bounding back along with our chard. The broccoli has tons of leaves but not so many flowerettes. I can hope for some more food from our garden before everything freezes. Then though we will have the cattle panel greenhouse and the south side greenhouse on the barn this year. We will probably transplant a lot of our greens and such in there.
Jack’s parents did come for a long weekend. A lot of work ended up being done, though things never quite work out the way we plan. We did get the concrete retaining walls poured. That was also an adventure. The first guy who came out has been out here a few times and he works with Jack at the hospital. He is really nice and helpful. Unfortunately, a few of the forms broke and we ran out of concrete. So we got another truck, and a new driver. This guy was horrible from the start. First the concrete was way too dry, it wouldn’t even flow. The guy ended up adding ten gallons of water to just over a yard of concrete and what came out was like a frosty on a hundred degree days. I guess I could say curdled milk, but melted frosty sounded slightly more appetizing. In other words, we were all covered in concrete towards the end. This guy also dumped concrete on our land, backed up too far, even though we were all screaming stop!!, and put a hole in our barn and in general was horrible. Horrible. Still the concrete is done, the forms are off now. We have started filling in the sides. The greenhouse side is mostly filled, the barn side still has a way to go. But soon soon, the barn will be mostly done.
By the way, the green things are five hundred strawberries. We just go them last night with two apricot trees. They will all get planted out soon and hopefully we will have enough strawberries for some jam next year. Maybe some apricot jam also 🙂
We also worked on the cistern. While Phil and Jack were out there working, I had to open my mouth and ask if there was anyway to put a small root cellar in there. So two of the tanks didn’t go down, so different reinforcing happened, and there will be a small root cellar/storm shelter. It makes me feel slightly better knowing that this spring we will have a place to take shelter if needed. And we will have a place to put some of our storage crops. But the cistern didn’t get finished, nor did the wood shed on top. Nor did the fence.
The fence was happening. Jack brought the bobcat home and went and rented a auger to drill holes in the ground for the posts. And then some hydraulic thing broke on the bobcat. And that was the end of fence building. There are five posts in the ground though. We also went to dog and gun this weekend and cleaned out Onion John of most of his t-posts. We also found a five gallon milk pail. Sadly, it seems we have not had much time for dog and gun this year though. Which is sad because we can find a lot of things there. So we are hoping that this weekend we will be able to get a little more done. We really need to get a lot done. September is almost gone and winter is coming!!
While Judy was here she mentioned that she didn’t realize how big the mudroom was. I admit it is a mess, but really what mudroom isn’t? But I thought I would take a quick picture of it. Of course it isn’t finished, and it is starting to get muddy, but it is doing an alright job for its current state.
I also have been meaning to take pictures of the solar dehydrators. These were made for us by Deep Green Machine. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deep-Green-Machine/400860190006049 They are awesome and with the return of our greens I am hopeful that we will get a few more gallons of dried food before winter.
Since I was out I also took a picture of the flax retting. It seems like it is getting close. Yay for more fiber!
And last but not least, my pantry picture. I got a good bit canned, though it still doesn’t feel like enough. It is really hard to juggle everything that needs done. Still, what we have in our pantry is more than what we had last year. So I have faith that next year it will be even more.