Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 28, 2016

What a great life it is here on the farm, and a busy one.  We have been doing so much to prepare for our cows.  We looked at mineral holders, and they cost $179.99, so instead we followed the instructions on this youtube video, and made our own.  We spent $20 on a pickle barrel.  The tire company was happy to give us an old tire, and we had some old wood and hardware. We also needed some shade for them as we had all open pasture, so we designed a shade structure with bent chain link fence and shade screen.  We put it on PVC pipe skids so we could move it around the pasture.  We shall soon see if the cows will use it. As we already had a pipe bender and a jig set up from building our greenhouse in this way, it wasn't much trouble.  It cost a little over $200 to build.  The structure is moveable so we can negotiate where the fertilizer is added to the field.

Another project we work on this time of the year is our anniversary gazebo.  It started last year with six cedar poles posted in the ground and a grain bin roof that we bought at a local scrap metal yard.  This year we decided we were going to put down the cement floor.  Since it is out in the woods and we knew we couldn't get the tractor down the narrow trail, we bought a 1,000 lb. capacity garden cart from Tractor Supply to bring the bags of cement from the truck to the gazebo.  It took 26 eighty pound bags of cement that we carted to the gazebo and mixed there and poured into the floor framework that we had put up and pre-filled with rocks that we had piled up from our yard..  We had brought in our hose from the house with a brass end ( that worked great to control the water flow and turn it on and off) that we added water to the wheelbarrow with to mix the cement one bag at a time. We were pleased with our results.

It has gotten hot here and to cool off, our dogs have started taking a dip in the frog pond several times a day.  My husband captured one of them on film. There dirty, wet coats every day inspired this song.
 We were so excited today to get some new calves from our good friends Kenny and Carolyn Clark.  As first time cow owners, we thought it would be a good idea to get our first calves from somewhere that we knew they were taken great care of in early life.  They also spend a great deal of time around their cows, so they are used to people. We also know their health history and have bugged them to death for cow advice and followed them around several times for "cow school."  By the time the cows got here, they probably questioned themselves many times over whether selling us some calves was a good idea.  Yes, we have already named them, but taking the advice of some good friends, we named them food names, as they are meant to be beef.  Their names are Meatloaf and Licorice.  They are Black Angus and together they weighed 1240 lbs. 
This will be a great adventure for us full of future learning opportunities.  Once we learn with these two, we are hoping to get some more cows, perhaps even a male and a couple females to produce our own.

Finally, readers will probably get tired of hearing how much we love our farm, but this picture of a double rainbow over our farm will tell you that we do indeed feel like we got the pot(s) of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 12, 2016

Spring is so busy!  Since our last post, we have been doing so many things, it is difficult to find time to blog.  As a matter of fact, it has been difficult to find room for anything in the calendar, but it is fabulous to be this excited about life!  Our friends, Kenneth and Lori Cherry, invited us to their farm to help with their alpaca shearing.  It was our first shearing ever.  We had a great time and learned a lot.  While we were there, they also had chicks hatching and a baby alpaca was born.  Loved the great time with friends and made lots of new friends. First they used a powerful blower to blow the dirt and dust out of the alpaca's coat.  Then they used ropes to stretch them out on the clean and cushioned floor so when the shearing took place, the other parts of the the alpaca was safe and out of the way.  My husband was brave and even helped put the ropes on the feet of the alpaca.  I helped gathered the wool in three different batches, the back, the neck, and the legs.  They were all carefully labeled per alpaca, and per part. It was organized so well by Lori, that the shearing team finished shearing all 18 alpacas in about an hour and 45 minutes, I think.  It is wonderful how many people from different farms and friends show up to help.  Many hands truly make light work.  Their website is here.

We also enjoyed being asked to chaperone an AIMS Club dance for the school where my husband teaches.  The students worked so hard to bring this together and are so polite.  Of course they couldn't do it without teacher and mentor, Rausie Hobson and her husband.  She works so hard to help the kids.  The theme was old Mexico, so we served drinks in costume. I made my husband's vest out of an old pair of black jeans, my belt out of a shirt with decorative stitching from the thrift store, and the fan came from the Dollar Tree.  The screen from the background is one I found at a thrift store for my daughter's wedding, which I added some curtains to the back.

Just because we are busy outside of the farm, does not mean progress stopped here, though.  The garden is growing, we are harvesting asparagus and strawberries, and we have been working hard on the fence for the cow pasture.  Finally finished it! 
It was a bit of a challenge since we had so many areas of the fence that were curved.  We had to judiciously decide which posts we went behind and which ones we kept the fencing in front so we could keep the fence tight and go with the curve.  Our daughter, Leah, came by to lend us a hand.  We are still awaiting a gate to arrive and for the calves to be released to us due to a vet visit before leaving their current farm.  We have gotten great advice from the Cohen family, the Clark family and the Lewis Family.  It is so nice that farm people are so generous with knowledge!  I am so proud to call them my friends.

I will leave with one last picture of the beautiful fuschias that are now blooming from the ERHS plant sale.