Sunday, September 24, 2017


The cows spent the summer at our neighbors munching down his 8 acres of weeds.  We brought them home last weekend and so instead of giving 9 cattle 3 flakes a day, just so they know who their parents are, we went up to 1 bale of hay a day.  

The sheep had to get used to sharing space with the cattle and figure out how to get around the electric fence now that it's charged.  One of the steers is a real dummy I have decided to name  him Next!  He wandered under the fence the same place the sheep go under and then wandered the property mooing the other cattle would answer him and he wouldn't go to them he just kept mooing like he was lost and no one answered him.  Normally I just open the gate and the cattle that are out just walk right in.  Not Next, he charges the fence on both sides of the gate.  I end up letting out a cow to show Next how to walk through the gate.

Next isn't in this picture.

Next has decided he will not share hay with the sheep so he gets food protective and pushes the lambs away. 

Not here either.

 He isn't a fan of sharing with the other cattle either he wanders from flake of hay to flake of hay any time another cow joins him at his flake.  

Today we moved the cattle to another neighbor's flower field.  Stick Boy and I set up the temporary
electric fencing in the space the neighbor wants cleared.  We made a narrow ally for the cattle to walk from our property to the neighbor's field without eating of the flowers that are currently growing.  I was so confident that this would work I didn't even wait for Darling Husband or College Boy to come home.  Instead Stick Boy and I got the help of 4 neighbor boys 6-10 years old only 2 speak any English.  What can go wrong?  

I get some hay and convince the cattle to follow me from one end of our pasture to the other and part way to the gate to the neighbors.  About half way to the gate the older cows that have been on this trip the last 3 years saw where we wanted them to go and took off running.  The snapping of the electric fence and those brave boys kept the wonderful girls in the ally I exactly how I wanted them to go.  The bull wasn't as sure of this adventure so was a little slower.
The gate all the cattle needed to go through.

  Just as Mooney, the bull, starts to go through the gate Next freaks out and pushes Mooney so he goes to the left of the gate and around the corner.  Next careens along the fence line not even looking at the tree he almost crashes into.  Mooney runs frantically at the fence crashing into it then he joins Next.  They start running up and down the lower fence but never going as far as the gate.  I work my way around the foolish animals and convince them to go toward the gate.

 Just as Mooney starts to look at the gate and start waking that way calmly, Next decides to chase Luca, who until this point had been a good dog and watched the craziness without adding to it.  Now Luca starts barking at the completely confused cattle and they all run the whole length of the bottom of our fence two times before I convince Luca he isn't helping.  I get the boys to stand along one side of the gate and Teen Daughter comes to help me calmly walk Mooney and Next toward the gate. 

 The boys worked perfectly moving just enough to convince the steer and bull to look at the gate where the rest of their herd was happily eating. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cows and Cattails

The problem with being a hobby farmer, having 5 kids, being married, working, having animals, having property, having kids, having property, going to school, animals, and did I mention having animals is EVERYTHING takes time.  I love almost everything we have in our life and wouldn't give it up but between time and money we often are a little short on being able to do everything we want to do.  Pond maintenance is one of those things.  

In 2012 we had a wonderful adventure getting all the cattails out of the pond and dredging it.  It was expensive but well worth it.  We used a dump truck to haul the pond muck and cattails into the pasture hoping the Lowline Cattle we had on loan at the time would eat the cattails.  

Since then we have tried to keep the cattails under control by pulling them by hand, wrapping ropes around them and dragging them up with a forklift or tractor, and even tried to get the cattle to eat them (  Nothing has worked.  

 The cattle spent the last 2 months in  my neighbors pasture until they found a weak spot in the fence.  I have some temporary fencing on order to move them to another neighbor's house next week, then they will probably spend most of the summer at another neighbors.    

I need to repair the fencing the cattle belong in but I am waiting to do it. We all hope that by the time they come home we will have time and money to fix the fences right.  Right now I am letting the cattle wander around the property.

Today I came home and decided I LOVE my cattle!  

Yes they are eating the cattails!   

Crazy Ruby isn't willing to get her feet wet.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Helping with Deer's Twins

Deer is a wide bodied girl.  I never know when she is pregnant because she always looks like she is about to give birth.    

When she didn't eat with the rest of the herd I hoped we would have a lamb.  She chose to stay under a tree at the top of the hill where she could watch the rest of the herd.

Every once in a while she would decide the rest of the sheep wandered too far away and would go round them up and yell at them.  Deer is not a sheep the rest follow but she was in such distress they listened to her.  

I don't normally watch out for the sheep to give birth but she was seeming to be in some stress and it was a beautiful day so I followed her around.

While I was watching her I kept hearing running water.  Hoping it was a neighbors hose I followed the noise.  It didn't take long for me to find the leak.

I got some help digging out the hole.   

While I was digging her labor must have taken a pause because she started eating so I took a break and went into the house and cleaned up.   

Finally she chose a place closer to where the rest of the herd wanted to be and she was protected.  

When she started to give birth the feet were pointed properly but the head was turned.  I might have waited longer to intervene but 2 years ago she gave birth to a stillborn twin, so I broke the amneiotic sac and turned the head so it was facing the right direction and in the next minute the first ram was born.  

She immediately started cleaning it.  He took his first wobbly steps and got to nurse.  15 minutes later his younger brother was born.

She got back to work cleaning the newest lamb.

Proper Livestock Guardian Dog behavior.  Being near the new lambs and watchful but not looking directly at them.  They even are looking in opposite directions so all areas that the lambs could be attacked from are covered (or Natasha is looking at her human).

Luca is so calm and protective of the babies that Deer relaxed when he was close.  That all changed when Champion the Pig wanted a look.  I didn't pause to take a picture just scooped up the babies and took Deer and her lambs into a safe pig proof place.

Here they are 18 hours old trying to keep up with the herd.

Deer will have her hands full with the black sheep.  He already is busy sticking his nose into everything and not following his mom.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Paper Flooring

I didn't take time to blog or work with the animals much this summer.

This summer I hit the "I Can't Take it Anymore" point on the carpet in the main rooms in my house.  I started with buying a 5 of rolls of paper, a wood grain tool, a rough bristle brush, and about 5 gallons of paint.

Darling Husband set up a work station 2 metal doors under an easy up.


I could roll out and tape down the paper the size of the doors.

Then down a base coat with a light cheap paint with the rough bristle brush.

When that dried I would use paint of a different color and using a wood graining tool I made sheets of "wood" about 3 feet x 6.5 feet.
A few of my color options:
  brown with grayish brown on top
light with both dark brown and light on top
 light on bottom with dark on top

dark with light on top

A lot depended on the temperature and wind when I was painting the paper always absorbed a lot of paint so sometimes I would throw some water onto the paper or dilute the paint, so the paint wouldn't dry to work with or get too thick.  I should have diluted the paint more because the papers with really thick paint ended up being very hard to work with.

After I thought I painted more than I would ever need I started cutting the paper into wood strips.  I chose 5 inch and 2 1/4 inch strips because I like the look of wood floors that have more than one size in them and since I was the one cutting the paper I could do it anyway I wanted.

We ripped out the carpet on the main floor of the house and upstairs walkway, cleaned and sanded

the floors.  Then we started gluing the strips.  

Then we put on 3 coats of polyurithane. We have had it for almost 3 months and a few problem spots that I didn't get glued down well enough.  I plan on doing a few patches.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

September and Porter


Aprils heifer September


Ruby's steer Porter.
The calves were born September first and September second.

In the beginning September was much more energetic and curious while Porter was content to hang out with his mom and the other steers.

When the calves were about 2 weeks old we moved them to clean out a neighbors flower field.

Of course September had to check the fence in several places.

Yes it is shocking.