Saturday, March 29, 2014

good quote

"Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." Winston Churchill

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

bitter sweet

Mama and son resting Saturday the 23. I took this picture and it was a bitter sweet moment for me. All of us really. We knew going into this birth, that if it was a bull calf then he would have to go. We couldn't use him for breeding, or have a "pet" and not for meat either. He was my son's calf and he decided that the sooner he went the better. My husband made calls and found someone that wanted him. So late Saturday morning he took this little charge and took him to a new farm with goats, bunnies, cows, and such.  The girls got all teary and didn't want him to go. We told them we didn't have a choice, and he had to go. Such is life on a farm and we can't keep him. My boy was gone for the day and when he got home my husband told him about it and he seemed ok with it. Dandie can have more and maybe next time she'll give us a heifer. That made him feel better.
Dandie went outside. She looked around and mooed a little. When they came back in the barn both cows mooed and looked around. I think they were a little confused. I felt bad. But all in all she seemed to take this ok too. The calf never nursed off her, so I don't know if that helped with her not being too attached to him. Not really sure. I try not to humanize it too much because it kills me. Being a mom and all I get all sad and melancholy when I think of taking the babies away.
As for the questions I got in the comments: Yes it was a bull calf.
Yes Dandie is a calm cow. She doesn't get too upset at things. Right from the get go with the calf she was calm with us being close to her, and him. We shall see how that goes with more babies as they come.
Yes Dandies tits are small. It's hard to milk her. We have to "strip" the teat rather then the regular squeeze. She prefers to have us start milking the front quarters first, then the back. Weird I know, but she stands better when we do it that way.
Have a great day ya'll!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

first milking

Here is my husband milking Dandie for the first time...
I'm actually tailing her while snapping this photo. I'm super talented like that you know. For those of you who don't know what tailing is, it's when you hold the cows tail straight up in the air. It puts pressure on the spine and makes it uncomfortable for the cow to wanna kick. Yes even though Dandie has been with us for her whole life and handled daily, and touched everywhere, she still did some kicking and dancing. We hand milk still. I know way like olden days. But I actually love to milk by hand. Again, I'm weird, and when we go to milkers I will miss hand milking. But all in all Dandie didn't do too bad at all. She's a calm cow anyways and she didn't get too bothered at this milking...

Here he is the next morning 3-21-14. It's a little blurry because my camera was on the wrong setting. My bad. But still, he's super cute. Looks like his mama. Pale brown, and not real red like Daffy was.

We feel like in a way we've come full circle on the farm. The first heifer cow that was born here, has now had her first calf.

Monday, March 24, 2014

much ado about spring

So here we are in the north country and it feels like it's the middle of January, not the end of March. Bitter cold and snow storms and more coming this week. Yuck is all I'll complain about the weather. Just looking forward to the warmer weather.

The 20th of March came. It was a mild day. The first day of spring. It was snowing and over cast, but the temps were not that bad during the day. We had been keeping an eye on Dandie as you all know. They were in the barn because of the snow. I went and did afternoon chores and didn't notice anything exciting. My husband came home around 2 and went to check the cows. He came in the house and said Dandie was in labor. We decided to put her outside so she could walk around. More room and well sometimes walking helps keep and speed up the labor (well for a woman it can). So out she went. I had my camera ready and we were in and out of the barn.

Dandie decided to lay down for a spell. She had some contractions, but nothing major.
My anxious son watching his cow labor all afternoon. We left the other cows in the barn so Dandie could labor alone and do as she pleased.
It was about 5pm and we started our evening chores. Dandie was up and moving around. Having contractions. She even let my son pet her over the fence line while she was contacting. She would put her head down, round her back and almost dance her hind end back and forth.We didn't let him in the pasture because we didn't know how she would be. Labor does weird things to a female, even the most clam of them. Right ladies?
We were concerned about the time of day, the temperature falling and not knowing how long this was going to take. She was doing fine and not showing any signs of distress. Even though we were feeling some stress. First time heifer cow and all. It was my first time with a first time heifer cow, and labor is never fun to watch. As you can see we have snow...still. And ice.
We got chores done and went in to have some supper. I had been in the barn all afternoon so we had whatever we could find in the fridge and cupboards. I wasn't real hungry due to the nerves and excitement I was feeling. Dandie laid down. I kept a watch in the window. She had been down for about 1/2 hour. My husband went out to check on her. He had a spot light because it was getting dark. I threw my jacket on and hurried out. My new camera in hand.
Can you see the feet? You gotta look close. If your into that. I ran in the house and told my boy to get outside. Thinking it would be born by the time we got out there.
It was not. We waited another 20 or so minutes. She would push and push and that calf was not coming out any father. My husband slowly made his way to the barn to get some baling twine. Not really wanting to have to pull the calf out, but Dandie was getting tired, and we didn't want it to die or worse have her die.We didn't want her to stand up and have the calf go back in either. (It's happened) Thankfully she trusts us and she stayed down... carefully my husband tied the rope around the hooves, and as Dandie pushed he pulled. He knew the calf was still alive, because the tongue was out and moving.

Three push pulls and the calf was out!
It's out and breathing and he's taking the rope off! About 7:30 pm. I felt relief that Dandie was done and the calf was out. I knew she still needed to clean and we are still not out of the woods yet, (so to speak, any number of things can still go wrong). My heart was pounding. My boy was shaking as he held the spot light. We called over and asked what was it?
A bull calf. My heart sank. But then I was so thankful. After all the ups and downs and lessons we have learned in breeding cows. Dandie has finally proved herself able to get bred and stay settled and deliver a live calf.
Scooping up our new very wet bundle and heading to the barn. Dandie was getting up. And they went into the barn.

Mama and son bonding. She was licking him and so was his grammie. You can't see her, but Maggie was all about this little guy. She wanted him too. Was really sweet to watch this love between the cows. And all the mooing and licking they were doing to dry him off and stimulate his little body. Even his little moos back to them was wonderful to hear! Don't tell me animals don't have feelings. I'll never buy that lie. I've seen it first hand.
We left them awhile later. Everyone was ok.
We checked on them during the night. Dandie had cleaned, the calf was sleeping in front of his mama and all was well.
Our new adventure was going to start very soon. But I was so thankful that things went well. I can't really find the right words to describe how I felt as I tried to close my eyes and sleep. But mostly thankful and relieved come to mind.
Have a great day ya'll!

Monday, March 17, 2014

and here...

is Dandie!!

She has 6 days left until her due date!! We are very excited for the arrival of her first calf. It will be the third generation from our first cow on the farm! I'm hoping I will be able to see the delivery and get some pictures of it! I got to see out last calf born from a distance, and hope to see this one a little closer.
Here's to a safe delivery and healthy baby and mama!!!
So exciting! SO thankful.

Monday, March 10, 2014

almost spring!!!!

Well it's almost spring, and I am looking forward to it. This has been a cold and long winter here in the north. And it's not over yet. The weatherman is calling for MORE snow! Gheez! Can't catch a break. But I guess it's almost over. I hope. Warmer temps and longer days I am looking forward to.

I have ordered a new camera. Mine died on Christmas morning no less. But thankfully my wonderful mother in law saved the day by letting me use hers. So now it's coming, and just in time too. Little ole Dandelion is gonna have her first baby soon. We are very excited about this. She is our first heifer on the farm and now she is going to have her first... bull/heifer!!! I'm hoping for a heifer, but mostly a safe delivery. So now I hope to get a picture or two before she has this little bundle so you can see how big she is. And then once the little one arrives... eeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk I'm so excited!!!
Gotta run! Life is waiting for me to get back to it!
Have a great day ya'll!!!