Author Archives: countrygirllifeonthefarm

About countrygirllifeonthefarm

I am a wife, mother, and grandmother that lives on a farm in Craig County, Virginia and I am retired. I love to cook, read, quilt, craft, garden, hunt and take long walks in the woods. I have one gorgeous teen granddaughter, a wonderful little grandson and two beautiful and caring children, boy & girl. I've been married to my farmer husband for 46 years and he's the "love of my life"!! I love doing things the "old" way such as canning, making maple syrup & cider, handcrafts and baking. I've taught myself to crochet, embroider, and quilt with help from my paternal grandmother. I could read until the cows come home. We live off the products we raise and hunt for the most part. We run 75 head of cattle on our farm, 30 chickens, three rabbits and one dog. I help my husband with the cattle, feeding the livestock, hauling in firewood, fence repair, and general maintenance on the farm. I was a stay-at-home mom to my children and then went to work when they finished high school. I was a cook at a School for At-Risk Teens and part-time substitute teacher. Then I started work at our local Farm Bureau and stayed there for 17 years. I worked at Virginia Tech for almost five years and decided to take early retirement in July of 2015. NOW, I'm a full-time farmwife and loving every minute of it! I love to read fiction and the Bible. I'm currently hooked on quilting novels and Annie's Attic mysteries. I started this blog in 2011 and have met so many interesting bloggers and have kept up with my friends through my blog. I love to hunt with my bow and rifle and with a camera. We hunt to fill the freezer and cellar but would never kill anything for the fun of it. I have friends and family all over the United States. Some of my ancestry last names are Bradley, Dickson, Hylton, and Rose. I've lost both of my parents to brain cancer and miss them very much. I have one sister and four living brothers. I was raised in Paint Bank VA and moved to New Castle VA when I married. I went to school in Waiteville, WV, Gap Mills, WV and New Castle Va with a short semester of college at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke VA.

Kielbasa Cabbage Dish

Kielbasa & Cabbage, food for the soul!

We had summer in May and June has been on the chilly side a few times and cool weather brings out the country cooking in me!  I had a head of cabbage in the fridge that needed to be used so I pulled out my wok and set to work.

I bought two packages of polska kielbasa and sliced it in large chunks.

Then I sliced up the cabbage along with a sweet onion.

I dropped the sausage in my heated wok over medium heat and with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and cooked it through. I took the sausage out after it was fully cooked and heated through.

I stirred the cabbage and onions into the leftover drippings of the sausage, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and cooked until translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon until done to suit me.

Kielbasa & Cabbage, food for the soul!  I baked some cornbread and we had a meal for two nights!!!  Great meal to take the chill out of your bones!

Berry Season

We don’t have any purchased berry plants on the farm but are overrun with blackberries.  We have a few black raspberries which are my favorite.  All of these have been planted by the birds once again just like our asparagus patches around the garden.  The black raspberry patch that is doing so well this year is on the back side of our big garage and are protected by the wind and harsh winter because they right along side the east wall.  Eddie and I both have been picking a few everyday.

We have to pick them when they’re not fully ripe or the birds will eat them before we can.

We’ve been picking this quart container full about every two days.  It’s a peanut container! Perfect size for holding and not losing any of the berries UNLESS Sadie is around!! She sets and begs for the sweet goodness of the berries too!

I bring them in and sort out any leaf or stem debris and quickly spread them on my baking sheets making sure they’re not stacked on top of each other.

After cleaning I pop them in the freezer and when frozen I transfer them to gallon size Ziploc freezer bags and pop them back into the freezer until I have enough to make jams and jelly.  

I now have two gallon bags full and have about ten bags from last year.  Raspberry jam is very easy to make and no pectin is required because they have their own natural pectin.  I’ll work in the morning and come home to make as much jam as I can!  Hay season will start again on Tuesday if the weathermen know what they’re talking about and everyone will be busy on the farm!!

Update to Old Flowerbed

I diligently starting working on my yard flowerbed in May starting with my rose garden which has been weeded, fertilized and prepared for new rose bushes to take place of so many that I lost during the winter either to the cold or the wild rabbits.

Rose Garden- rabbit proof fence around the inside of the yard and this fall I will do the same thing to the outer perimeter. It has a chain link fence but the rabbits have found places to get under it. I’ll bury chicken wire about three inches down and at least two feet high to keep them out.

I’ve worked on the front bed facing the house and to the right of the front gate but waiting on blooms for the later summer bloom. I have a few coneflower preparing to bloom with big buds next to the rose garden..  The lilac didn’t bloom this year and I’ve researched what I need to do before another year.  This was it’s first spring since it was planted late summer in 2018.   The hollyhock is blooming and the hibiscus will be later.  I have one shasta daisy that was transplanted and I’m still hopeful it will bloom once the weather stays warm.  I tried a butterfly bush beside the front gate but it did not survive, which I half expected since it was one of boxed bushes you find real cheap in most stores.  A new well-established one is on my list for spring 2020.

We patiently wait for bloom!

The bell garden was my next cleanup but a summer cold/allergies/sinus problems slammed me into bed a few days and after 10 days I think I’m near the end of the mess.  I sat in the sun in this garden on Tuesday and got a few things done.

Bell Garden-weeded but still needs some work. First I need to kill the grass at the front of the garden because it’s hiding the shorter plants in the garden.

The first row holds Primrose which I divided Tuesday. It also has a few snapdragons for some bloom in the summer months.  Primrose are one of my first bloomers usually in April.

The second section is half full of columbine and I’ve seeded for next spring to have the entire row full of all colors. Columbine likes the shade and the cooler weather.

The section in front of the dinnerbell is lupine, bleeding heart, tall phlox, bleeding heart and more lupine in that order. Not much this year but you have to start somewhere.

Behind the bell is an area that I’m hoping will have pink and purple Cleome to accentuate the entire area with tall, delicate blooms. Most all of the plants in this bed are perennials or re-seeders.

I can’t wait to feel well enough to get back in my gardens but Mother Nature needs to slow down the winds and rain just for a few days!  We also have about 65 acres of hay left to roll for our first cutting this year.

New Flowerbed

This is my newest flowerbed. It’s located between the house and the gazebo. I took with Eddie’s help all of the large chimney rock that bordered my beds in the house yard and placed them in a large rectangle in the middle of the big yard. It’s a work in progress.

The bed at the moment only has one plant in it and that’s a clematis that wasn’t getting enough sun around my porch. I placed a growing arbor in the middle for it to grow on. We stretched chicken wire around it to keep the free range chickens out of it.

I plan to add more growing medium in it before major planting next spring. I need to find some more chimney rock to build it up a bit and it’ll need about 12 large bags of MiracleGro potting mix added to it.

It’s rather dwarfed looking now but once its full of sun loving perennials it’ll be a show place, I hope! I think I want to go up one more layer of stone before adding to it. I’ll work on a plan for the plants this winter when updating my gardening journal.

The gazebo is another garden I’m working on.

I cleaned out all the stone and dug out all of the trumpet vine. This vine was too overwhelming and was growing out the roof.

After removing all the stone I cleaned up the weeds and have planted moonflowers all around it. They slowly taking root and hopefully the end of July I”ll have huge white moonflowers all around it. It’s such a peaceful spot to just sit in the late afternoon and listen to the quiet.

These were the moonflowers last summer. Can you imagine them all around the gazebo!!

Up close view of the bloom that blooms all summer.

Handmade Gifts

I love handmade!   Over the last few years I’ve asked my husband to make me gifts rather than buy them.  He hates to shop and lately I’m the same way.  Handmade means someone took the time to think about the person they’re gifting and come up with something that they think is perfect for the giftee.  Here’s a few of the things my wonderful man has made for me over the years.

This is my favorite photo of the Eddie and I. He took two old single-trees, cleaned them up and put them together to frame our photo.

 

Three spice racks made from oak, cedar and pine and now full and hanging in my country kitchen! Most of my most used spices in one spot and easy to pick out what I want.

 

Shelving runs lengthwise in my 30 ft kitchen on both sides. 

He made these in two different years to hold all of my old kitchen decor. 

I hate using plastic storage containers now. I had a large stockpile of 1/2 gallon canning jars so I moved all of my dry goods into the jars. Eddie made me this unique cabinet to go over my pie safe and that holds a lot of our food.

Staples are in airtight containers and easy to put my hands on. No more smelly plastic containers.

Eddie made me a baking tin cabinet from some wormy chestnut boards from the farm.

My round baking tins and loaf pans go in the top shelp. The baking sheets and bread pans go on the bottom shelf.

It fits perfectly beside my range and the spice shelves are directly above it.

This is my newest piece of handmade gifts from my husband! appliance/baking center in the kitchen.

I’m the luckiest girl alive to have such a loving and creative man to live with.  He doesn’t understand why I like the old, primitive look because he likes the more modern look.  I keep telling him I’m just a country girl at heart!!

Country folks!!

Three Tips

Here are three of my favorite tips around the home:

If your brown sugar hardens up or get big hard lumps in it before you can use it up, stick a single slice of bread in the container and close it up.  In 12 -24 hours your brown sugar will be fresh as if you just bought it.

 

I bake a lot of homemade cookies and at times I can’t put my hands on a truly airtight container to store them in so I treat those cookies just like my brown sugar.  Stick a fresh slice of bread in the cookie tin on top of the cookies for a few hours and those cookies will be as fresh as they were when you first baked them.

 

Like I’ve said before I love to bake and one of my favorite baked goods is a lemon meringue pie.  My oven is not exactly right and there are times that the outer edge of my pie crusts gets over done.  To remedy this I keep a long piece of foil by my baking tins.  I tear it off the roll about 30-36″ long, fold it in half until I have a long strip about 3 inches wide and I wrap it around the pie crust when the crust is golden so it won’t burn.  Make sense??  The next time I make pies I’ll take a photo of the results.  This strip of foil can be used over and over again.

More of my tips to come!

A Little Under The Weather

Where is summer???  I’m cold!!!  Last week I only worked one day and on Thursday I came down with a killer head cold and a lot of congestion.  On Wednesday last week hubby and I spent most of the day wearing extra shirts and got a big chunk of our winter wood split and stacked for the winter.

Eddie split and I stacked.

He had already stacked two ranks when I joined him.

The wind blew all day but I was never uncomfortable and we did this for about five hours taking short breaks every so often.

At the end of the five hours we only had this stack of sawed wood to split.

We had this stack of wood that didn’t need split to stack.

And these logs to saw up, split and stack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were tired but very proud of the big job we got started.  I fixed supper that evening after we finished our regular chores, took a hot shower and went to bed.  I woke up the next morning barely able to move and a head full of the awfulest mess you could ever have.  I started taking meds for it and slept off and on for forty eight hours.  I missed this entire week of work and am recuperating but still not able to be out amongst folks.  Eddie worked more on the wood pile today but I have been in the house trying to feel better.  My inhalers and Muscinex are helping but everyone is telling me it’s going to take time to get completely over it.  I truly hope that summer comes to visit next week because this crazy weather is NOT my friend!!

Road Trip With Carol

One Friday in the middle of May and very dear friend and I took a one day road trip all by ourselves and had a ball during the entire trip.

My very, very special friend, Carol Trutt

We had been planning for it a few months and when the day finally came it started with fierce thunderstorms and rain.  I don’t like to drive in the rain especially to areas I’m not familiar with and I was the designated driver on this trip.  When Carol got to my house it was a little later than we had planned and with the storms I thought maybe we would just head to Roanoke and spend the day looking in some of my favorite shops.  She was disappointed but understood why I didn’t want to drive further.  When we got to Salem we had breakfast at Denny’s and by the time we came out from breakfast the skies had cleared and we decided to head on to Staunton.Staunton, Virginia

The main reason we wanted to go here is because several times a year there is a wonderful book fair and we are both avid readers and I had been here twice with my daughter   Carol had never been and boy was she in for a special treat!  We were headed to the Green Valley Book Fair.Green Valley BookFair

The Green Valley Book Fair is a discount book outlet store featuring over 500,000 new books at incredible bargain prices.  Image may contain: outdoor

We spent about two hours there and both came out loaded with books, audio-books and more.

My daughter, the traveler, had prepared us a itinerary for the day and so our next stop was The Cheese Shop in Stuart’s Draft.  “Sugars & Spices and Much More at GREAT Prices!”By the time we came out of here it was 3:30 p.m. and we had a two hour drive back home.  Loaded up with all kinds of baking goods, snacks, cheese and the famous cake donuts we headed home.  We had not eaten breakfast and we dug into the dozen donuts I picked up before we left the store.  Stuffed and loaded with sugar we got back home safely after a wonderful day of catching up and decided we would take the trip again later in the summer so we could hit some more of the shops we missed on this trip!

Carol, I love you, and thank you for making it such a special day for me since I don’t leave the farm very often!!

Sadie is Growing Up

Sadie at 3 1/2 months

This has got to be one of the most loving pups we have ever had in our home.  She came to us with some bad habits but in three months they’ve all been corrected or being worked on.  Sadie will be eight months old next week and she has stopped chasing the chickens,  she’s learning not to jump up on everyone that comes to the farm, she’s treeing squirrels and she not afraid of Donald our drake anymore.  She has learned to stay away from the cattle and she alerts us to new guests that arrive.  She does get overly-excited when anyone comes to visit especially our kids and granddaughter.

I still bring her in the house at night or we would get no sleep. She barks at everything that moves!!!

I’m sure this will change once she becomes more aware of the wild animals that are lurking about at night and the not so wild ones!  In the meantime, she’s our baby and some hunting/training will begin more strictly once hay season is finished and Eddie has more time to train her to a lead and get her out in the woods on a more frequent basis. Until then I will keep up the simple training in the yard and on a daily basis.

Sadie sits peacefully with me as we had our breakfast.

She is not full grown yet and has so much energy.  Norwegian Elkhounds are wonderful dogs and very protective of their owners.

New Chicks On the Farm

Our farm is constantly growing something whether it be crops for the cattle, the garden, the herd or the flock.  Each spring I try to add new chicks to the flock so that in the winter months I can still have eggs while the older chickens can take a break.  Most chickens start laying at six months of age.  I recently added eighteen bitties to the farm.There are six Buff Orpingtons, six Speckled Susses and six Columbian Wyandottes.

Mother’s Day 2019

Nothing special was planned this year for Mother’s Day mainly because of the weather but my beautiful children were with me for short visits throughout the day.  My day started with a big breakfast (which we have every day that I don’t work) and then Eddie presented me with my new engagement ring which was actually my old ring with a new stone and the band rebuilt and cleaned and my wrap cleaned and so sparkly!!!

Later in the morning my gorgeous daughter came to visit and she got me new cushions for the front porch furniture and a Bleeding Heart plant for my bell garden.

Red cushions for two of my porch chairs.

Two striped cushions for the other two chairs.

This flower garden is called the Bell Garden because all of the plants are surrounding an old dinner bell.

I needed one more Bleeding Heart in my bell garden and Heather got it before I could even shop for them.

Soon after her visit our son came to visit and brought me some roses to replace in my rose garden that the rabbits killed.

This one is a Sunsprite Yellow Floribunda.

This is a white Pascali

The third rose is a peach/pink/yellow Peace rose.

We had a wonderful visit with both of my babies that I would give my life for in a minute.  I well up with tears when I think about how blessed I am to have my wonderful children and the father that gave them to me!!!

Unusual Bird

 

We had a visitor on the farm not too many weeks ago and at first glance we did not realize it was a crane that had come in during the night with the fog.  We see them all the night but had never seen one preening itself on our boat house.

He looked so very short sitting up there and I was convinced it had to be something different until. . . .

It flew off and set atop a broken down locust tree in the bull lot next to the boat house.  These birds are huge, endangered and eat lots of fish from our pond and we think are probably the cause of the demise of our frog population too!!

They are huge yet elegant birds with extremely long legs.

He sat in the top of that tree for most of the morning and I don’t think we’ve seen it since that morning.

 

Lost After 47 Years

Not too long after we got Sadie, our Norwegian Elkhound puppy, we decided we should take her for walks around the farm to get used to everything.  One afternoon we walked down what we call “Barker Hollow” (our neighbors, George and Betsy live down that way) with our pup and started walking back toward home and I realized it was gone!!  The diamond my husband got me when we got married had come out of the setting after 47 years.  I WAS DEVASTATED!!

I received it on February 4, 1972.

We knew there wasn’t much since in looking for it because it could have fell out of the setting anywhere  down through the dirt road we had walked.  When we got home I took off the engagement ring and the wrap that he bought for me a couple years back and was determined to replace it as soon as I could.

My hand looked rather naked without the whole set bu t the band meant as much to me as the entire set!! 47 years is a long time!!

Eddie replaced it for me for Mother’s Day and my hand feels back to normal!

I don’t wear much jewelry but these pieces mean a lot!!

The hands show the age now, used and worn.

The sparkle of the rings take away from the wrinkles!!

I sure hope this one lasts as long as the old one!!!

April Blooms All Over The Farm

Peonies are up and growing fast. Not blooming but going to be awesome when they do.

Iris and Allium are making a show. We are about three weeks behind everyone in town, 10 miles away.

Easter lilies

More Easter lilies

Forsythia in mid-bloom.

Pear trees blooming.

Peaches next to the house.

Second green gage and full of bloom

Cherries in the mountain hayfield.

Cherries in the end of the other mountain hay field.

Starting African Violets

Frilly and elegant African Violets are gorgeous and are the only plant that intimidates me on a large-scale.

Their beautiful bloom and the velvety leaves are the two reasons that I continue to try to grow them.  My Aunt Kathleen had such a green thumb when it came to growing these beauties.  She had so many of them in every color under the sun!  Last fall I got some leaves from a friend and tried once again to get them to grow.  I got really frustrated and took these steps.

Start with a stem like this.

Using a pair of scissors, snip most of the stem off.

Leave about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch piece of stem on the leaf.

Then cut the top of the leaf off leaving about an inch of bottom on that little stem you just cut.

I know this works because I finally got six plants started and more seem to be coming on.  Proceed!

All of the instructions I have said to use a special African Violet potting soil but I just used some leftover Miracle Gro potting mix and it did fine.  Take a lead pencil and make a small hole in the soil for the stem you’ve cut.

I used a rooting hormone called “Take Root” that I stuck the stem of the cutting in a little water and then into the white powdered rooting hormone. It works, I promise!
Next, stick the stem of the cutting into that hole and press the soil tightly around it. NOW WAIT!

It took about two months before I really started seeing results.  Truthfully,  I didn’t figure it would work so I took several cuttings and put them in a tin foil pan that I filled with the Miracle Gro just as directed above.  I had about 10 – 15 cuttings in that 10″ by 12″ tin foil casserole pan that I bought at the grocery store.

I started seeing results but still wasn’t sure they would make it through the winter. I put the pan in a north facing window of my upstairs foyer which stays around 50 – 65 degrees in the winter. It got lots of light and I only watered them when the soil looked dry, careful not to get the leaves wet. Water will make ugly spots on the leaves so water from the dirt, not over the leaves.

In March those plants took off and I had a pan full of 5″- 7″ plants and little ones coming up under the big ones.

And I had my first bloom!!!

It was time to come out of the foil pan and go into individual pots.  Sunday afternoon I went to work separating (gently) from the pan and re-potting in nice little pots I got at Dollar Tree for $1 each.

I placed them in an east facing window along with the pan that small plants are still growing in. They all got a good drink of water and they’ll be fertilized in about a month.

Now, I wait and see how they all do and when I have pots full of bloom, I’ll show them off in another post.

House Plants

I love house plants and while I’m waiting to get in the garden I thought I would share with you some of my favorite house plants.  I love plants and grow them inside and out without a lot of difficulty.  The only plants I have trouble growing are aloe, violets and beautiful orchids.

One of my favorite house plants is the prayer plant which is native to Brazil.  I’ve grown them for years and their easy to grow, keep alive and propagate.

Prayer plant

During the winter months I keep it upstairs in front of a west-facing window.  It’s watered every 7-10 days.  In the spring and late fall it gets a tablespoon of Epsom Salt.  It never stops growing and when it overflows the pot I pinch off good stems and start them in a glass of water over my kitchen sink in the window.  This plant gets its name from the petals folding up like hands in prayer at dusk.

I break stems from the main plant and stick them in clean water. If the water becomes milky before I’m ready to set them in pots, I drain off the water and refill with lukewarm water. Keep in mind that I live in the country with a well and no chlorinated water.

When I’m ready to set them in pots (you will have lots of fine roots coming from the end of each stem you pinched off), I make sure my pots are clean and fill them with Miracle-Gro potting soil.  I make an indention in the top of the soil and place the rooted stems in the dirt.  I press the soil tightly close to the stem, sprinkle a tablespoon of Epsom Salt around the base of the plant and water good.

I take this plant outside every spring after any danger of frost is gone as I do most of my house plants and they live under our maple tree on this table all summer.  They seem to dry out faster outside in the summer so I water at least once a week.

Hanging plant table used year round to hold plants in the summer and bird feeders in the winter.

My next favorite house plant is the pothos, which is really hard to kill and the one I have is over twenty years old. Several of my friends have starts from it.

This is my Pothos mother plant that is over 20 years old.

This plant takes less care than the Prayer Plant BUT while pothos plants are an easy to care for houseplant, you do need to be aware that they are poisonous. Though rarely fatal, the plant can cause irritation and vomiting if ingested due to the fact that it contains calcium oxalates. Even the sap from the plant may cause highly sensitive people to break out in a rash. It is considered toxic to cats, dogs and children, but as mentioned, it normally will make them very sick but will not kill them.  I personally have not had any problems with it but I do not keep it where children can get to it or my pets.  It’s a beautiful shade of green and if you forget to water it you may see a leaf turn yellow.  Pull off the leaf and dispose of and water the plant.  It gets the exact same care that my Prayer plant gets.

Baking Catastrophe

Saturday was a baking day.  I made bread and a pound cake for friends that help us out all the time.  So Sunday afternoon, I decided to make us one of our favorite pound cakes.

My favorite pound cake with lemon and pineapple flavoring. This won’t last long either.

Five beautiful duck eggs and three cups of sugar later it went in the oven.  It was a damp day and I knew I would have to watch carefully that it got done on the inside without getting too dry.  Forty-five minutes later it was almost done so I set the timer for another five minutes.  Thirty minutes later I didn’t hear the timer and was involved in something else and I ended up with this:

VERY WELL DONE POUND CAKE!!!  

It doesn’t look that bad in this picture but it’s black down in the pan and so dry that I’m not sure the chickens will eat it.  What am I thinking, those chickens will eat anything that doesn’t eat them first!!!

Thankfully I didn’t ruin my favorite pan!

I guess that’s what I get for trying to do too many things at one time!!!  I’ll start over today as soon as my butter is at room temperature.

Hours Later, All Gone

We went to bed with 39 degrees and woke up to frost.  In just a few short hours its ruined!

Pear trees blooming.

Peaches next to the house.

Peaches at the end of the garden.

Green gages at the other end of the garden.

Second green gage and full of bloom

The apple trees are not blooming yet and one of my pear trees are just at the bud stage.  Three years in a row we’ve lost fruit to frost.  We have cherry trees high on the mountain and in our back orchard that may not have been hurt but this is April and frost is a normal spring thing!!!

Cherries in the mountain hayfield.

Cherries in the end of the other mountain hayfield. 

With this bloom gone we just have to pray that there will be enough other bloom not damaged and the honeybees will have enough to live on until we have more bloom.

Heifer Calving Issues

March plagued us with unusual calving events but not due to weather events.  First and previously posted was the “trouble” issue from a first time mother and a calf to large to deliver normally.  Eddie assisted in that delivery which produced the largest calf we have ever delivered and to date the largest calf this year.

This is Trouble. Biggest bull calf ever raised on the farm. He was born to a black angus heifer which means it was her first ever calf. We don’t like for our heifers to have large calves but apparently she was fed well which helped him grow. The sire was a two-year old Angus with small head and shoulders. Can’t imagine what he will look like fully grown or his son!!

Our second abnormal delivery was an older cow in our spring herd and she had never had any issues in the past.  This time she delivered a normal to small bull calf that was dead.  Shortly after this delivery she had another small dead bull calf and then all of her insides came out.  I’m not talking about prolapse, this was all of her female organs and intestines.  Eddie put her down quickly after to prevent ANY suffering.

Then about 10 days later another heifer delivered a huge bull calf that Eddie and I both helped deliver in our holding.  This calf lived but mother and calf were weak for about two weeks but the calf is growing.

First time heifers are always a challenge but this has been quite worrisome

VERY GRAPHIC::

The last one born was also a five-hour labor ordeal with a heifer and we had an issue after the deliver that Eddie assisted.  About an hour or so after the delivery the calf was never able to get up to nurse.  We have found in the past that if the new babe and mom are left alone things usually go as expected.  We watched this calf and mother from our front porch and Eddie decided to take the heifers some grain to keep them away from the new mother and babe.  After pouring the grain he went to investigate the situation and found all of the calf’s intestine had come out of its belly button/naval.  NEVER had we seen or heard of this!  We called a neighbor and they had never dealt with it but had heard of it and was willing to come assist.  In the meantime, I googled it and how to fix without a vet’s assistance (the cost of the vet and having to take to a hospital would far out weigh what we could get out of the calf IF it survived).  We got a clean tarp and put it in the bucket of the tractor and Eddie and I lifted him into the tractor bucket without issue.  We then hauled him to the garage where our neighbor found us to work on the calf.  First we sterilized all the equipment with 100% alcohol and then poured it all over the intestines and tried to get as much dirt and debris from the navel and the intestine without bursting them.  This took lots of time and Andy was so meticulous about cleaning everything.  Inch by inch he started pushing the intestines back into the body cavity and at one point he had to make the navel opening a bit larger and after about an hour he was ready to close up the opening.  During this entire process Eddie was holding the back feet & legs and I was holding the front legs and feet, the calf did not move even being on it’s back during the entire time.  Andy cleaned the incision several times more and then closed it all with vet staples.  He gave the calf a large dose of antibiotics and covered the wound with more alcohol. We took the calf back to his mother and she started cleaning him all over again.  You have to remember that his calf had never been able to get up to nurse.  We tried to give him colostrum to no avail and in the next three days he got up three times that we saw but we NEVER saw him nurse even with mom’s encouragement.  On the fourth day he died and as an afterthought we think we should have used a system that you put a hose down their throat into their stomach for nourishment or may should have put it down immediately but we always try to save them after the mother has gone through nine months of keeping them alive.

I want to thank our wonderful neighbor, Andy Hutton, for all he did that day and help he has given us in the past.  He hauls our cattle, helps us find good buyers for our stock, helping in repair our equipment and there for us to answer our questions.  Though we’ve been farming for 40+ years it’s always good to get first and second opinions.  Andy is our “go-to-farmer”!!!

We only have two more heifers to calve and about 9-10 older cows in our spring herd to deliver. Wish us luck!!

View From the Front Porch

What a glorious morning with all of the green grass around the farm!  We had a horrific thunder and lightning storm around midnight that lasted 35 minutes.  It was so bad that I brought Sadie and she slept peacefully by our bed all night.  I would love for you to be sitting on my front porch and see the glory of God that I can see!!

Sadie sits peacefully with me as we had our breakfast.

For some reason my camera is showing yesterday’s date but believe they’re two entirely different days!!  Yesterday was gloomy and wet most of the day!  As soon as the cake comes out of the oven and I get the bread made I’m going to be outside enjoying the splendor!!!

TROUBLE

This is Trouble. Biggest bull calf ever raised on the farm. He was born to a black Angus heifer which means it was her first ever calf. We don’t like for our heifers to have large calves but apparently she was fed well which helped him grow. The sire was a two-year old Angus with small head and shoulders. Can’t imagine what he will look like fully grown or his son!!

His mom was in labor for five hours and I was alone on the farm with her. I tried several times to get close to her to help by pulling the calf but she would have nothing to do with it. Finally when Eddie got home from a doctor’s appointment she was tired enough to lay still and he pulled the calf. Immediately she got up and walked away having nothing to do with the pain she had been in.

Of course, he was also born on a very cold and wet day and was covered with mud. The other heifer mothers came to the rescue and cleaned him up while Eddie got a bottle of milk to warm his insides.

His mother finally came back to him the next morning but would never let him nurse. She was and is protective of him but would not let him eat. Trouble is now a bottle baby and doing really well.

He was born on March 4th and instead of one month old he looks like a three-month old spring calf. Unlike most bottle fed babies he is not pot-gutted, he’s very strong and doesn’t play with the other calves though they try really hard to get him in on the racing they do each day!!

We’ve not decided if he will possibly become a sire on the farm but he definitely looks and acts like a full-grown young bull!

 

A Little Bit of Yard Cleanup

When Mother Nature allows I get out and play in the yard.  Last week I spent three days and completely cleared the debris and now I’m ready to rearrange my flower beds and fix it up!

Two weeks ago this yard was full of leaves from the leaf drop in the late fall, limbs from numerous storms through the fall, winter and spring.

All of the leaves and tree debris are gone and now I wait for warmer weather to sow some new grass.

East side of the house would be great for a flower bed along the side of the house but because of the maple trees there only a very short time for anything to get enough sunlight. I’m thinking about those shade loving hostas but I need to wait until next spring for them because we need to do some major work to the floor of the enclosed porch on that wall this year. It is nice and clean on that side of the house though.

West side of house, big cleanup. I would still be working on it if Eddie hadn’t use the leaf blower to get around the house and the wood house. The wind seems to rotate most of the leaves in this area.  This side of the yard will need the most grass seed and straw.  It’s covered by shade from June until late fall.  When we have ice, it’s worse on this side and longer to leave.

The flower beds are ready for some new growth and I’ve started flower seeds for the “dinner bell” flower garden and I’ve expanded my rose bed.  I’ll be replacing six roses, last falls cleanup left me with the area in front and behind the yard fence and I’ll be working on a new project between the front yard and the gazebo by the pond.  More on that to come soon.