Tag Archive | farming

Spring calving

2016 spring herd grazing along.

2016 spring herd grazing along.

Most of our morning was spent with our cattle, my daughter & son-in-law, and two very good friends.  We had 24 calves from this herd and they all received their baby vaccinations, pinkeye and tetanus shots, eartagged and banded if they were bull calves.  Everything went smoothly and only took about two hours.  We have some beauties in this herd and the last one was born last week.

2016 (3)Big Herd cows calves 2016 (6)Big Herd cows calves 2016 (8)Big Herd cows calves

After taking care of all of them we turned Clyde and Sam (new bull) in with the herd.  This is always a big chore but went quickly this morning since we had such wonderful help.  I hope they all know how much we appreciate giving us their time and muscles.

Now we watch them grow!!

Eddie likes to play with the little ones when they're just a couple days old.

Eddie likes to play with the little ones when they’re just a couple days old.

2016 (11)Big Herd cows calves

Patience

Definition:  the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset; the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Epistle of James, the Bible urges Christians to be patient, and ” see how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,…until it receives the early and the late rains.” (James 5:7-11, NAB).

I’m patiently waiting for spring and the first sign of spring on our farm is this little bird.

One problem, I don’t have the patience I used to have!!

Grace Has Gone to Heaven

This winter has been much, much colder than normal for Virginia, I think.  I can’t remember having a whole week of negative temperatures in our area.  We haven’t had an abundance of snow like I thought we would have (knock on wood) but the wind and cold temperatures have taken a toll.

Two weeks ago we lost one of my favorite cows.  She was a fifth generation  cow raised on the farm and though she was a headache until she had her first calf.  She was kept for breeding stock along with six other heifers and would lead those other girls through every hole in the fences or make her own wherever and when ever she wanted.  Hubby threatened to send her to market so many times.

Grace and her calf grazing.

Grace and her calf grazing.

Grace with her first calf to  survive.

Grace with her first calf to survive.

Grace with the herd.

Grace with the herd.

She lost her first two calves because her udders were so large.  Her great, great, great, grandmother was a holstein dairy cow and they can sure produce some milk.  All of her daughters were good milkers but Grace’s first two babies only lived about four days and we think starved because they couldn’t get the udders in their mouth and Grace was too unruly to pen up in a shed to milk.  We had planned last year to send her to market with the fall calves but something happened and she never made it on the truck.  She delivered a beautiful black angus heifer in early September but it took a toll on Grace.  The calf was sucking her to death and she lost a lot of weight but kept that baby of hers well fed.  During the big snow week before last, we think one of the other cows may have butted her down and she couldn’t get back up and froze during the night.  Hubby found her the next morning.  That’s the luck of farming beef cattle!  Just when you think you might get two steps ahead of the game, your forced to take three steps back!

Hay harvest slow but moving along

I wanted to share some photos my daughter took last week while helping her Dad harvest some more hay!  I think they’re beautiful!

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Jippy decided to take a nap!!

Jippy decided to take a nap!!

Everyone was enjoying the day on the farm!

Everyone was enjoying the day on the farm!

 

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It was such a beautiful day to be on the farm!

In with the new, out with old bulls!

Every few years cattle farmers have to change their breeding stock.  The bulls get too big or they may throw calves that just don’t suit.  This year we are sending to market our two big bulls.  They’ve gotten too big and several of the calves this year weighed 100+ pounds when they were born.  We like for them to weigh 60-75 pounds.  Big calves can cause problems for mom during birth and vets are not cheap!!  As it turned out the two bulls weighed just under 2 ton.  Lonnie weighed   2000+    and Caldwell weighed  1980 pounds.

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We raised one of our own that was born two years ago and his name is Clyde.  We bought another one from one of our neighbors and his name is Hammer.  Hubby is looking for a two year old bull to put with them since they are so young.

Clyde on the left, Caldwell in the middle and Hammer on the right.  This gives you an idea of how big the old bulls were.

Clyde on the left, Caldwell in the middle and Hammer on the right. This gives you an idea of how big the old bulls were.

 

So in with the new, out with the old and hopefully some happy cows come mid-June!!

Calving season on Caldwell Farm

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.

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The year is almost three quarters gone and what did I do?

                                                                                                                                                                    January -Ice and snow

February-Making maple syrup

January-February – grafting fruit trees

February – March – Seedlings started

March – Baby calves arrive

March-April – Spring turkey hunting for two of my favorite people.

April – fire wood for winter 2012

April – New equipment for working the cattle

April – More new fencing

May – Gardening begins

May – Honeybees cleaning house and we prepare for fresh honey

May – Bee swarming begins

May – Fruit trees bloom and we worry about late frosts.

June 2012 – 1st ever “duratio” in our neck of the woods. Lots of cleanup and keeping hubby busy!

June – Duratio takes down lots of our fruit and nut crop and wreaks havoc on our fencing.

June – Hay time

June – Hay lot is full!

July – Spring cleaning almost done!

July – Harvesting & canning for winter in full swing!

July – A little crafting along the way makes life fun!

July – First barn quilt in Craig County on the barn!! More fun!

August-September – Mammoth pumpkin from the garden. He almost didn’t fit the wheel barrow!

July – August – Fresh vegies from the garden.

September – Potatoes harvested and in the cellar.

September – Plowing to sow the winter crops (turnips & parsnips).

September – Spaghetti sauce and barbecue sauce from the last of the tomatoes.

And, here it is the end of September.  Deer season and turkey season is soon to be here.  Baby calves are coming and yearlings are headed to the market.  Two nights of cold temps and frost in the mornings means firing up the wood stoves.  The cycle starts again.

I been sick!!

Wow, look how long it’s been since I did a post!!  I want to apologize for being absent!  I took a sinus infection on the 16th of September and was out of work for a whole week.  I’m still only running on 60% power and get tired easy.  I seem to take these things at least once a year and I’m so tired of it.  We can’t find one trigger that brings them on but I sure wish they would go away FOREVER!!   The pressure in my face this time was unreal and caused a headache that lasted for four days.  I would hold both of my hands on top of my head when I coughed to keep the top from blowing off.  The doctor put me on 1000 mgs of amoxicillin on Wednesday the 19th twice a day for ten days and I was using Maximum Strength Mucinex for the congestion but had a really bad reaction to it on Sunday evening.   I don’t think I’ll be taking it again.  Hot wet compresses on my face helped at times and the heating pad on top of my head helped the headache at times.  I used a half a bottle of saline solution up my nose.  Nothing seemed to help!  I am such a wimp when it comes to this stuff and I never seem to take a mild case!  I used two whole rolls of toilet paper and two large boxes of Puffs tissues the first two days of the mess.  I was scared to death it was going to cause what would be my SECOND case of vertigo and this was my reasoning for going to the doctor early!  VERTIGO IS A MEAN TRICK ON THE BODY AND SOUL!!!

Anyway, I’m back to work  and feeling better.  I can’t wait to go out on the farm to see the new babies.  I’m looking forward to bow season and I’m hoping to start a new quilt this weekend.  The chestnuts are falling, the English walnuts have all fell, the black walnuts are falling, the pears are falling and the apples are falling.

 

Baskets of chestnuts – think I’ll roast some this year before the deer get all of them!

 

Fresh apples breakfast, lunch and supper.

 

End of the tomato crop but great mater sandwiches!

Yesterday when I got home  the chickens had made a huge mess in the yard (because someone left the gate open) and I have a bunch of mulch to rake back around the roses and  flower gardens.  I think hubby was ready to butcher all of them!!!

Chickens and mulch don’t make for a pretty picture!!

 

Of course, it didn’t help that while he was working with a neighbor to cut corn that the cows decided to widen a missed hole in the fence and now the fall and winter herds are all together. Hopefully, we’ll get them all separated this weekend.   I REALLY  think it’s time for hubby to take a weeks vacation with friends away from the farm!!  He doesn’t do well when I get sick and everything aggravates him ten times worse.

Everyone stay well and I’m back with more stories and pictures!!

Farm Equipment


One of the biggest expenses we have on our farm is buying and the upkeep of the farm equipment.  At this point, we have all but one piece of equipment on the farm to take care of just about anything we have to do.  The last three years we’ve looked at a larger brush-hog to keep the pastures cleaned off and try to whip out the multi-flora roses and the autumn olive bushes as well as some other noxious bushes that seem to pop up overnight.   A lot of the equipment on the farm are duplicates of antique and semi-new and some may think why would you want two?  The biggest reason is like a lot of things that we all buy nowadays the old is actually better and easier to use than the new and the other reason is having that backup in the event of a breakdown.  We are very diligent about keeping everything in working order and trying to store each piece in a covered building out of the weather.  I’m attaching some of the pictures I have of our equipment to give you an idea of the uses and all of the working parts that must be attended to on a regular basis.

 

These are just a few of

the most used pieces of equipment on our farm.

Entrance to the Farm

My secret project is complete!!  I’m so excited to show you my latest project.  I have in the last few years developed a passion for the beautiful barn quilts I’ve seen as we’ve took drives through the gorgeous farmland in West Virginia.

I decided about a month before my vacation in May that I was going to have one on the barn at the entrance of our farm.  Needless to say I didn’t think it was going to take two months to complete it but I finally did last weekend and my wonderful husband had a carpenter friend of our put it on the barn on Friday while I was at work.  I was absolutely flabbergasted when I came home from work on Friday afternoon and it was staring me in the face along with the “CALDWELL FARM”  sign I had painted and our “Century Family Farm” sign.  You’ll see pictures of all three at the end of this post but first I thought I would write about the steps it took to get the “quilt” finished.

When we told the kids what I was working on my son-in-law wondered why I thought a quilt would last very long nailed to the front of a barn in the wind and weather.  He did not realize that the “quilt” was being painted on a board and attached to the barn.  We all got a kick out of that!!

First I had to decide what the block/quilt would look like.  I had so many favorites and it took as much time to choose one block than it did the whole process of  painting.

 

I chose this design because it resembles my first quilt project and the block was called “morning star”.  This block is just a little different.  The colors I started to use were red, white and blue but when I actually marked the pattern out I decided to go with my favorites which are burgundy and hunter green.

Next I had to cut the plywood (3/4″ good stuff”) but my husband did this for me after we measured about 10 times.  Then I painted the board front and back with a  high quality exterior high gloss white paint.  I put four coats of paint on with a 24 hour delay between each coat.  Once the last coat dried I divided the board up into one foot squares, drew in the design from the picture above and marked it off for the first color.

 

Taping the design entailed careful placement so that when the paint was added the points of each block were perfect and didn’t bleed into the next piece of the “puzzle”.

 

 

 

You can see the pencil marks I drew as a guide where to place the tape.  Once it was taped up I painted another four coats of high quality exterior paint within the lines of the design.  It was easy for me to see where the design was going but hubby was totally confused and just couldn’t see it coming together.

I added the additional colors step by step and it took about six weeks just to get the painting complete and then I covered the entire board front and back with four more coats of a high quality polyurethane and let each coat dry at least 48 hours between coats.    Here is the finished quilt before mounting on the barn and after mounting on the barn.  The last photo shows the farm sign, barn quilt and the century farm sign.  I’m just thrilled with the results and I think my barn quilt is the first in the county!!

Vacation is over and what a week I had!!

My family and some friends think I’m crazy for housecleaning during my vacation! I’m not, I promise! I just love my home and like for it to be clean or at least look that way! Two weeks before my vacation I made a spring cleaning chore list for each room in the house and included the porches and the yard. The week before my vacation I made a shopping list of everything I would need to complete these chore lists. Yes, I’m a little organized when it comes to most things. I called my brother to see if he could help my quest by keeping my younger brother for the duration of my vacation and he and his beautiful wife agreed. Then the work began!
On Friday evening (beginning of vacation) I left work and picked up the groceries needed for the upcoming week and the week following because I didn’t want to spend any of my vacation buying groceries. I went home and did my normal chores and then packed little brother’s suitcase. He was anxiously waiting for “his vacation” from me to start!! I delivered him and hurried back home and spent a quiet evening with hubby on the front porch talking and planning our week ahead. He had made arrangements to be around to help with anything I needed and planned to do some more clean up of the sheds on the farm while I did my clean up in the house.
On Saturday I spent the day cleaning the pantry and finishing the cleaning job on the side porch which I started the weekend before. I worked my way from the ceiling to the floors in both rooms and they looked wonderful and I was very pleased with my accomplishment.
That evening we went out to dinner with my daughter and her family to Liberty Station in Bedford for a belated Mother’s Day dinner. We all had a good time and the food was wonderful.
Sunday found me working in the bathroom painting the shower and doing some sewing for little brother’s bedroom. Our bathroom is dated early 60’s with a metal shower, camode, sink, and water heater in a 5×7 space. Thank goodness there’s a window!! I made new curtains for the windows but mainly just a ceiling to floor cleaning and the paint job on the shower was the icing on the cake. We had to let the paint job seal for 24 hours which meant we took a ride to hubby’s hunting camp about fifteen miles away to use their shower. That was another story all in itself but we struggled through it grinning the whole time. While I worked on the bathroom, hubby made an amazing clean-out of two buildings and loaded up a truck load of scrap for the scrapyard. I’ve included a picture of the empty truck and one of us on our way. We were both on a roll!!
We hauled over 5200 pounds to the scrap yard and left the scrapyard with over $500. We were happy campers because we killed two birds with one stone by cleaning up the junk on the farm and making enough money to play with during vacation. We left the scrapyard for Lowe’s and Tractor Supply for dogfood and miscellaneous items and headed home.
On the return home I started back on the bathroom and finished it that afternoon. It’s so nice and clean I didn’t want anyone to use it but since it’s the only bathroom in the house I had to give in. The new curtains look pretty good. The cabinets have been cleaned out of all out of date meds, the clutter is gone and I can definitely live with it.
Tuesday found us riding through Giles County with Sassy heading for a fishing hole. We went through Peterstown and Lindside and found a private trout fishing business where we caught 8 1/2 pounds of nice trout. We then went back to Stoney Creek to visit a friend of Eddie’s that fileted them for us and had a short visit with him and his son until a storm started brewing. Now, I’m not a fisherman! Hubby did all the “work” and I enjoy the nice quiet day watching and entertaining Sassy. She and I don’t take well to the sunrays or the heat so we had our own adventure checking out the trout farm. Hubby enjoyed the day as much as we did and we put eight packs of filet trout in the freezer on our return home. The rain lasted a short while then we did the outside chores, fixed supper and spent the evening on the front porch again enjoying the peace and quiet.
Wednesday we had planned to visit one of Eddie’s aunts in Richmond but decided the rainy day was not indicative of a safe trip to Richmond on an interstate. So I went back to my spring cleaning and stayed at it all day. Little brothers room was the next chore on the list. I gave his closets a cleanout and hubby made him a new shelving unit for all of his DVD’s and cleared out some space in the room making it look bigger and easier for me to do the weekly cleaning. I cleaned again from ceiling to floor and it looked awesome as you can tell from the photo. When he came home on Saturday he told me he thought he had a new apartment. He’s so funny!! (Little brother was born with PKU and lived with our Mom until she passed away five years ago. He came to live with us at that point but that a whole new post for a later date!!)

Thursday found me going to back to the enclosed side porch to do some repairs. The new metal roof has found a place to let water through and we had a few leaks and stains from the leaks to fix. Hubby was furious because the old roof never leaked and was probably 30+ years old. We worked in the yard and gardens and I started a barn quilt which will be placed on the front of the big red barn as you enter our driveway (yet again another post). Did I say that I never turned on the computer the entire time I was on vacation??!!??
Friday I’m fretting because I only have three days left before I go back to work and there’s still so much to do. The wreck I’ve made of the house cleaning four small rooms will be taken care of on Saturday so this day was spent working on our bedroom. Since it’s my last day at home Eddie and I decide to take a road trip and go through the mountains. We went up Rt 42. Stopped at Hilltop Grocery and got hotdogs. Went through Mountain Lake, up Stoney Creek, through Waiteville, across Crowder Road into Zenith and Gap Mills, across Potts Mountain and back home. We didn’t take Sassy because of the heat called for that day and we saw so much wildlife. We packed a bag of snacks for the day and it was wonderful. I’m stopping here because it didn’t get finished and the front porch and yard were calling my name. I’ve accomplished a lot and enjoyed being at home with my hubby and Sassy and it made me realize also how out of shape I was. I actually lost four pounds during that week off. It’s not a “dream” vacation but it was mine and I loved it!!!

What a beautifu…

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.