Maple sugar time is upon us and because of the freaky weather we may not get to make any this year. It’s either raining or icing our world and we’re sure the sap has come up but we’re expecting 20 degree weather over the weekend and next week.
This is a tree tapping we did last year.
Pints and quarts of heavenly fresh maple syrup in 2018
We’re still waiting on the heifers to drop their babes but have only had one of fourteen to calve so far.
The one little calf needs/wants a playmate so much. Today he was running laps around his mom for fun!
Goodbye February! We’re anticipating the March winds, have had enough showers so April can be semi-wet and bring in some of those beautiful May flowers!!!
We only have three cows left to calve this winter/spring and I wanted to share some adorable pictures of this years crop. This years calves probably have the blackest coats and most prevalent markings of any we’ve raised. They are all about the same size and very playful and curious!
George, the orphan. He takes a bottle about once a day and the rest of the times sneaks up behind an unsuspecting mama that doesn’t realize two are nursing. Of course, being behind a cow nursing leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to a nice clean coat.
Butterfly is her name. Can you see it on her forehead? She was born last week and we had another little one this weekend.
Jumper and Butterfly
I was interrupting her lunch and Mom was watching me very warily with a camera in my hands.
Piggy and a friend
They all are about the same size except for the last three and they all run and play scaring their moms to death. These last three pics are of the ladies that haven’t blessed us yet with their youngster and they have about two weeks left to finish out the herd.
The farm is always busy but the last three weeks have been quite busy. My chickens had almost completely quit laying but now the eggs are pouring out of them. We’re getting 18-22 eggs a day and two of my ladies are starting to show broody signs. It’s just too cold to set these ladies yet so I think I’ll give them until the first weekend in April to put eggs of my choice under them.
Beautiful eggs of all sizes and colors.
I had thought about buying some babies in mid-April or May but then decided if I’ve got broody hens that won’t give me eggs, I’ll put them to work hatching me some new layers.
Then maple syrup season came on us and last weekend we made 45 pints of the golden nectar. The weather was such a hit and miss thing that we didn’t invite a lot of people to join us but our daughter had some of her clients come in to see the process. It was very, very windy the day of the cook-off.
210 gallon tank for sap storage
Gallon stainless steel bucket used to strain sap into tank.
Shawn & Heather keep watch on the pan.
Sugar house steaming.
AND, the babies are arriving and they are so adorable. The calves seem a little on the small size this year but that’s fine. They grow so fast and smaller calves are definitely easier on the mothers. Here’s a few of our recent arrivals:
And of course, keeping the driveway clear of ice and snow and feeding the cattle has been a chore, not to mention keeping firewood on the front porch to feed the stoves.
Ice on top of snow
You just can’t be a good wood fire with the winter we’ve had.
Stay well, Stay warm.
2013 Spring calves
Our spring calving season began mid-March and we’re almost done. We have three more yet to calve and they don’t look like they’re “springing” at all. We’ve lost four calves this year and one cow. The cow was Annabelle’s mother but two weeks later another cow loses a calf and hubby uses a little of his magic and convinced her that Annabelle was her daughter. All is well!!
Staying warm in the sun and off the wet ground laying on the hay.
Babies scattered everywhere!
Annabelle and her new Mom! Just in time for Mother’s Day!!
It is calving season on the farm now and we’ve lost three and have 22 on the ground and healthy. We usually have baby calves that weigh between 50-70 pounds at birth. Yesterday we had a first time mama give birth to one that Eddie says is every bit of 125 pounds and Mama is doing great. She has plenty of milk and is very attentive to the baby. When found yesterday afternoon Eddie was shocked and had to work with him for a couple hours. Then I went to help and we gave him some supplemental milk to keep him warm and give him some extra strength. We think maybe his back legs were numb because he couldn’t keep them up for a long time. Mama kept cooing at him and cleaning him and encouraging him. Eddie went to him three more times before we went to bed and tried to give him some more milk but he wouldn’t take it. This morning the big boy is up after a long struggle and doing fine and nursing alot. We’ve lost three calves this year to what we think is a bull that throws monster babies and he’s going to market in the fall if not before. It’s just too hard on the mama’s and two of the mama’s will have to be sold so as not to have anymore babies. Here’s a few pics of Mom and son.
This is a happy time of year for hubby and our finances but somewhat of a sad time for me. In the spring we had forty + babies born and now they weigh between 425# and 500# and it’s marketing season. We’re delaying it for a couple weeks because a few have been plagued with “pinkeye” and they are recovering. I wanted to share some of their pictures before they leave.
They’ve put on about 300 – 400 pounds since they were born and are grazing along side their moms now. Most will only nurse a couple times a day at their present weight and they’re first to come to the feed troughs which make it easier on them when they leave their mom behind.
Riding in to work this morning I was amazed at the many, many colors of spring. The different colors of green alone is what inspired this post. Remember those icky greenish brown cedar trees that were everywhere at Christmas and a pretty green was not to be found!! This morning the cedar trees are a Phthalo green. Trees just beginning to sprout out are a celery green. The grassy fields and yards are a brilliant green. The stems and leaves of daffodils and Easter lilies are a dark spring green. The leaves popping out on weeping cherry trees are pistachio green. The trees with white bloom are now polka-dotted with jade green in the small leaves peeping through the bloom. This is just a few of the greens that emblazoned my eyes but the real spring colors are the lemon yellow of the daffodils, the blushing pink of the weeping cherry, the blazing gold of the forsythia and best of all the pink and azure blue sky with the sun making it so vivid. The white in tulips and daffodils is a brilliant white. All we need to make it perfect is a rainbow. Spring is definitely a artist’s palette. Enjoy the spring and take a walk in the woods or ride on a country road. Sit on the porch just before sunset and maybe if you’re lucky and it’s warm you’ll also hear the pee-toots announcing spring, as well. Listen to the Canadian geese and their spring mating calls or the turkeys gobbling on the mountainside. Or even better, just listen to the quiet and revel in it!!
What a beautiful weekend and it’s almost gone!!! I worked inside all day on Saturday and this morning Eddie helped me put up three new bluebird houses. One true sign of spring for me is watching the bluebirds clean house and rebuild. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to see crocuses pop out of the ground and shine and watching baby calves chasing each other all over the field. Our spring calving season has just began and we have four new babies on the ground and lost one. The babies are such little scamps and love worrying their mothers to death just like human babies by running off with the other kids. We have three cows going to the woods, as I write and will probably give birth by sundown. The sun is shining so bright and the sky is as blue as I’ve ever seen it. The air is still brisk but bearable with a hoodie on. This all makes me want to head to the greenhouse and play in the dirt but I know I can’t jump the gun just yet. It was 27* this morning and little seeds won’t germinate as well until it warms up some more and the frost are behind us. I can still hope and dream about all the baby plants popping out of the ground. So now I end this post so that I can complete some ironing and a baby quilt before the end of the day.