Category Archives: Farming

WORDPRESS ISSUES

If you’re received my posts lately and things look weird or spelling issues are everywhere, forgive me. My WordPress Dashboard where I write these posts has gone quirky on me and I have sent out a help request and waiting on a response.

The screen looks like it minimized within itself and I don’t know what I did or how to fix it. This issue is why I haven’t posted much since the first of the year.

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Yeah, a little crazier than usual!!

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New Greenhouse

HUBBY GOT ME A GREENHOUSE FOR CHRISTMAS!!!

We have just in the last three weeks been able to get out and start putting it together. Eddie had to dig out a 12 x 16 foot area to place it in. My son-in-law poured the footers to mount it on.

We’re placing the greenhouse where the tractor is sitting in this photo because it’s at the end of the garden and not shaded by any trees. Eddie is digging out the area with his new Kioti tractor.

This is the footer my son-in-law framed, poured cement and filled with crusher run. Thank you, Joel and Eddie!!

It took a month for us to be able to even begin the building of the greenhouse due to the frigid winds and cold rains. Three weeks ago my son, Shawn and daughter, Heather came up on a beautiful Sunday and helped us start the constructions. You have never in your life seen so many parts and pieces in one box !!

This is just the top part of the contraption!!!
The beginning and 6.5 hours later.

Friday was beautiful and Eddie and I decided we should have a run at it and we got the pitched roof frame on.

The next steps were going to take help from our engineering expert, Shawn.

The kids came to the farm around 11:00 and we proceeded with adding the four vent windows in the top and the two sliding doors on the front.

I cannot put into words how excited I am about completing the next step and it’ll be done and ready for me to grow and grow and grow all of those beautiful plants, food and flowers.

The last step is putting all the panels in and Eddie and I can do that on our own. He wants to do some reinforcing inside and out due to the winds we have here on the farm. There will be four 4×4 posts attached to the interior corners in the floor and the corner framing. He also wants to add some support on the walls inside and out for more sturdy support.

I’m going to have so much fun this summer!!!

Crockpot Applebutter

We love applebutter but the family doesn’t love it enough to make a BIG batch in a copper kettle in the fall when we have apples.  I make applesauce anytime there is new fruit ready to pick.  During the summer it’s all frozen and then in the winter I make applebutter in my crockpot.

It’s quick and easy and tastes soooo good!!

I have a large crockpot that holds around eight pints of thawed applesauce. I dump it in, set the crockpot on low and let it cook all day or all night, depending on when I get around to starting it. Once I close the lid on the crockpot I don’t take it off but a couple times during the eight hours just to give it a quick stir. It will turn dark as more of the liquid cooks out and it will thicken. At this point I add my sugar which is usually two cups but taste is the best recommendation. Stir well making sure there is no big lump in the applesauce and put your lid back on and continue cooking at least two more hours. During the last thirty minutes you can add spices if you desire. Hubby likes it without spices and I like it with cinnamon or cinnamon & cloves. I use the oil of cinnamon and the oil of cloves but it only takes a couple DROPS. You can overdue and ruin the entire batch. Taste to your liking is a good judge! Once its finished and still very hot, pour into pint or half-pint jars and add your lids and rings. I cover the jars with a towel to keep away from drafts. You should hear the jars seal as they cool. If you have a jar that doesn’t seal, stick it in the fridge and use first. I’ve never had any spoil and family & friends really enjoy the treat!

Applesauce ready to cook down
After 8 hours, almost done!
Spices—yum, yum!
Bring on the hot biscuits!!!

Preparing for New Babes On the Farm

Little Red Chick House

In about two – three weeks I need to have this little charmer cleaned out, sterilized and a couple small modifications made to house the spring chicks that I get every spring. Usually in April or May I go to our local chick stores and pick up 15 – 20 little chicks. They are raised to pick up the slack when my older hens take a break next winter from laying. It normally takes 6-8 months for the chicks to mature enough to start laying those beautiful fresh eggs. If you have ever eaten a store bought egg and compared to a fresh right off the farm egg you’ll understand why my egg customers check in and buy eggs year round.

These white hens are a few of my 2019 chicks. They lay large beautiful brown eggs.
I bought six each of Speckled Sussex, Columbian Wyandotte and Buff Orpingtons.

I start them out in a large tote that is cleaned daily. Their water and food containers are filled twice a day because they eat constantly. I house this tote on our enclosed back porch and they’re kept warm by an overhead heat lamp. They remain in the tote until they double their size and then they’re moved to the little Red Chicken Barn that has been heated a couple days prior to their arrival.

This is cleaned daily as well and their feed and water containers are sterilized daily. Can you see the difference in their size?

This is their small surroundings for at least another month and warm weather arrives. At this point I open the upper area door and allow them to explore the lower level of their domain.

Quite a change in their size in six weeks! The bottom section of the chick barn is on dirt and green grass and weeds are eaten pretty quickly.

About 3-4 weeks later I let them out of the barn to browse and chat with the older chickens. By late June, early July, depending on their size, I will introduce them to the main chicken house and living large with the old girls!! 🙂

They have plenty of farmland to graze with all the other animals.

Sadie’s Outdoor Home

 Our Sadie has really grown and I had forgotten how smart these dogs really are.    She’ll be two in October and she’s fully grown but not as big as I expected her to get.  Since we didn’t get her as a new puppy we’re assuming that she was a runt which in our case that’s wonderful.  Our runts have turned out to be the best of the breed! 

She has become quite the guard dog and alerts us when someone comes on the farm, except for our kids and granddaughter.

She has also started hunting all on her own. This month alone she has treed several fox squirrels and a coon. To our dismay several weeks back she found her first skunk and could not understand why she wasn’t allowed in the house. Daily there is chase after the ever present chipmunks, aka, ground squirrels. She never catches them but she hasn’t quit trying.

There’s a chipmunk under that propane tank but I can’t reach it!!

She rarely wants to sleep in the house anymore and I think it’s because she’ll miss something. Her crate is just outside the front door and it’s full of fresh hay and some of her toys.

Sadie’s bed just out the front door. I’m sure during the summer months it will be moved off the porch to the shade of a big maple!!

Apple Butter Anyone?

I’ve been cleaning out and reorganizing our three freezers.  We have an over abundance of applesauce in pint containers even though we didn’t have many apples to harvest in 2019.  We are getting low on apple butter so I remedied the situation!  Two batches cleared out 20 pints of applesauce from the smallest freezer and now we have over 30 pints of applesauce in the cellar.  I made these two batches with cinnamon and cloves.  Good stuff!

I used my crockpot to make it in and here’s how I did it.

I thawed the applesauce and filled the crockpot as full as I could get it.  I added two cups of sugar and turned the crockpot to high and let it cook all day.  Stirring the pot is essential because it will get thick on the bottom of the crock.  I also kept the lid on the crockpot during the cooking.  The applesauce will start turning brown about half way through the cooking.  About one hour before you think it’s thick enough to suit you, remove the lid, stir thoroughly and drop your flavoring oils.  I have a very small eyedropper  I use that’s about two inches long and I filled it up with oil of cinnamon and about half full of the oil of cloves.  Squeeze the dropper of the oil on the top of the applesauce and then stir throughly again and let cook at least one half hour longer without the lid on.  Done!  Pour it into the clean jars and seal while the applebutter is hot.  The jars will seal from the boiling fruit!! 

Recipe Updates

I’ve added several salad dishes to my blogs cooking page if you’re interested.  They’re scattered throughout the page and hope you find something you might like.  For me, cooking is literally food for the soul!!  Check it out  –  https://countrygirllifeonthefarm.com/recipes-from-my-house-to-yours/

Fresh Bread

Birds of a Feather

This lovely bird visited the farm during the night and think he may have flew into a wire. He was sitting on the bull lot fence and sat perfectly still for me to get photos. An hour later he was gone!!

He was big and kept clicking his beak together at Sadie!!  Love to hear them hooting at night and late afternoon!

2019 Comes To a End

Merry, Merry Christmas from the Caldwell Family

There are not enough stars in the sky for all the wishes we send to you and your families during this special season of the year.  We wish you good health and happiness!  We also wish you much many, many more blessings!!

Here’s a little update for you of what the farm and family have been up to in 2019:

Work continues on Heather & Joel’s new home here on the farm and if all goes well they should be officially moved in spring of 2020.  They’re very excited as are we. 

Heather opened her new business HCJ  Tax and Accounting and has an office in Salem and in her home.

Heathers new business

Joel is working himself to death with his masonry business. 

Victoria finished her first semester in Radford University and is working as a Behavior Specialist at New River Valley Community Services.  She just recently received her letter of appointment into the Education Program at Radford. She also made the Dean’s List the past two semesters.

Victoria and new pup, Butch

Grandparents day was heavenly

Shawn is working hard as a Project Engineer at Gay & Neel Engineering in Christiansburg and has been traveling a lot to New Jersey to see his son, Declan.  He also just completed and passed the Engineers designation which I can’t remember but what it’s called but very proud of him.

Shawn and Declan

Declan turned three this summer and he came to the farm to visit with his Mom and Grandmother twice this summer.  He’s such a beautiful little boy.  Eddie and I are so fortunate that our two kids live close by!!

Grandparents day/Eddie, Heather Declan, Victoria, Shawn and me.

The doctors have given me a couple scares this year with first a breast biopsy for a calcification cluster which turned out benign and then during my annual exam they found an irregular heart beat but all is well with that .

Eddie is well but for a bad thumb which he jammed to the knuckle and after seven weeks he has lost the nail but it has given him a fit and prevented him from doing work on the farm that he hoped to complete.  All in good time is my motto for the year!!

We celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary on February 4th with a road trip in the mountains AND he found us a new elkhound pup named Sadie.  She’s beautiful and all puppy though she turned a year old in October.  Eddie also got him a new hunting pup, Butch, to trail along with his older hound and train him the right way!!  He just turned five months.  WARNING:  Puppies are not good for flower gardens!!! L

Sadie at four months

Butch is a Walker coonhound

These two wrestled in my hostas until there was nothing left!! Butch was small enough to hide in them from Sadie.

They were full of play back in July but now they’re almost full grown!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We just finished calving season for 2019, my duck is laying beautiful eggs for my baking and we had one bull calf we has to bottle feed last spring and summer.  He just went to market and out-weighed all the calf herd!!  I raised 18 new chicks for replacement stock & they included Speckled Sussex, Buff Orpingtons and Columbian Wyandottes.  They’ve just started laying eggs for us.

Donald and Daisy is first on right

This is Trouble. Biggest bull calf ever raised on the farm. 

 

 

 

 

 

We had visitors most of the summer and so enjoyed all of them and hope for the same in 2020.   

Dean is doing well and turned 60 in March and Dreama turned 70 this month.  Both are happy as clams!!

Our honeybees died out last year but we had wild swarms come to the hives late in 2018 and spring 2019.  All are alive and well and they produced over 130 pounds of honey for us and it sold as fast as we could get it off the frames.  Shawn and Victoria are taking up the same hobby and hope their hives will do as well for them in 2020.

Honey for 2019, 130 pounds and it’s all gone except for what we use ourselves.

Eddie had excellent luck fishing during the summer and we have a freezer full of catfish, striper and muskie.  (Best eating you ever had, Red Lobster ain’t got nothing on us!!:) 

He’s in the process of buying a “new used” farm truck because our old Chevy S-10 just about tripped over 200,000 miles and isn’t sounding very good.  The newer one is the same color and make but only has 103000 miles so he thinks it will make it through at least another 10 years like the old one.

Striper

Muskie

I cut off my seven year old ponytail in August and it feels so weird I think I have a wig on most of the time!

Me and Declan just a swingin’!

I finished Victoria’s 2018 Christmas quilt in October and now trying to finish a Redwork quilt I started five years ago.  I’ve decided it’s time to complete all these unfinished works of “art” before I start anymore.

Victoria holding her quilt.

Just a hint of a block for the redwork quilt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been very negligent with my blog this year but still keep it going with occasional posts so watch for it at www.countrygirllifeonthefarm.com when you get a chance.  I’ve also still got my cleaning business going but not taking on any new clients.  I love the ones I have and they’re so special to me. 

Now, I’m dreaming about my gardening projects for spring. Eddie is gifting me a greenhouse for Christmas!  I’m so excited and because my granddaughter has also become quite the gardener this year, I’m hoping we spend a lot of time together in it.  I’m also looking forward to getting some of our fruit tree and grapevines pruned.  The pruning we did last year on our Wolf River apple tree proved to be very productive.

These apples were so big I could hardly hold them in my hand to peel them. They were also the only fruit we were able to harvest due to the weather.

First fruit of 2019 from our Wolf River apple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m so hoping you will all come visit our country home in the mountains of Craig County!!

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New  Year to all!!  Love ya!!    Come see us when you can!!   

 

 

 

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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!