The One With a Puppy {Simple Woman’s Daybook 29}

Outside my Window …
It is warm and cloudy; why is it in the 70’s in February?!  I won’t complain about the fog and early morning drizzle, we need the rain. And I won’t complain about the warmth, but I mean really?!  If this means we will have snow in May, I’d rather it be cold now!
I am thinking…
I have so much to get done this week!

I am thankful…
that we had a friend from AR come visit this weekend, that we had rain this morning, that we have a little farm, and that we added a new buddy to the farm this past week!

In the kitchen…
There is bone broth in the crock pot, eggs on the counter, and leftovers for dinner.

I am wearing…
leggings and a shirt

I am creating…
a few things in my sewing room

I am going…
to Costco and the library this week

I am wondering…
if we are going to have anymore winter between now and spring?!

I am reading…
Teaching From Rest, as recommended by so many homeschoolers … it is a good book.  Except I have already implemented most of what I am reading so far, and my train of thought is already there, so I am wishing I had picked it up at the library and not purchased it.

I am hoping…
I find more info in the book that is helpful, and not just a bunch of ideas and thoughts I already have, agree with, implement in my home. =/

I am looking forward to…
The warm week-warmth means mama and Baby can go out more (she does NOT like the cold, even bundled up, so I’ve been inside more than I’d like this winter).

I am learning…
how to work with a puppy, specifically and LGD puppy that is going to hopefully bond with and protect my chickens and family- he is NOT for playing with.  He has play time, in the evenings, but the rest of the time he is watching chickens, sleeping with chickens, and sitting with me as we learn about chickens.  The cows are too big for him to be with right now, but I wouldn’t be against adding a few calves for him to bond with soon.  =)

Around the house…
It just is.  Things are pretty clean, tidy.  I just have a ton of laundry to get through.

A favorite quote for today…
Dog best friend
One of my favorite things…

Meet Huck!  As in Huckleberry Finn.  He sure is a sweet, sensitive boy that likes adventure.  We are sure the 40 acres will be a good place for him to learn, grow, and protect.
I won’t write about how we are training him, because honestly there is a LOT that is going into it, and I don’t know if it will all be successful.  I have spoken with a consultant that has assured me Thora’s escalating resource aggression wasn’t a result of anything we did.  So I am hoping that what we do for Huck can prevent any issues and create a great guardian.  Because these kinds of dogs don’t necessarily “bond” with chickens like they will mammals, we have to do a little extra work to ensure he is okay around them.

However, so far he gets very upset when he is not in the run with the chickens.  He was raised with his parents and chickens for 14 weeks, until we got him, so he is used to them.  It is just avoiding playing with them at this point, that is important.

Huck is part Great Pyrenees, and part Anatolian Shepherd.  Anatolian Shepherds are more aggressive with predators than a Great Pyr, and are better able to take on a coyote than a GP might.  They are also more likely to stay closer to home than a GP, or so I read. So we will see how he does. =)

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Run errands, do school, get some sewing done, work with Huck, menu plan, and work around the farm in the WARMTH!  woo hoo

A peek into my day…
See Huck’s photo collage above.

Peek Into My Day {SD 29}

We did school, then went for a walk in the woods after lunch.  Aaah, fresh air, and fun!

Simple Woman {Daybook}

Friday on The Farm: The End of Summer

Friday on the Farm … it has been several weeks since I have written about the farm.

Things are pretty lively around here!  We have started back to homeschool so most of our mornings involve that.  Oh- and we have a new baby … she is 7 weeks old today!  (wow, 7 weeks have flown by!)

We also introduced 7 other babies to the farm- 7 young Khaki Campbell ducks!  Turns out 3 of the 4 are drakes, but two of those should make a good dinner one day.  Right now they are all behaving so we are going to keep ’em around a while longer.  They are all beautiful ducks though!  They really enjoy free ranging and doing their jobs- my husband saw one of them gobbling up a snake the other day, and they chase all sorts of flying bugs.  Their favorite day of the week is when we refill their little pool- they go crazy splashing and playing around.

Khaki Campbell Ducks

The calves are getting B-I-G.  Plain big.  They aren’t little babies anymore, that’s for sure.  I still call them the baby cows and they come when we call them.  They’re up to almost 5 gallons of feed a day to supplement their grazing- they eat on the pasture all day and usually go back out after they’ve been fed by us.  We are including minerals and diatomaceous earth in their feed each day.  They still love to be petted and scratched and will talk to us when we are outside.

7 month old Holstein/Angus Calves

 

We introduced the big hens to the little girls and everyone is getting along great.  They are happy in their new big coop and run.  The baby girls haven’t started laying yet, but that should happen any week now!  They’re 16 weeks old, and usually start laying between 16-24 weeks.  I am ready for more eggs!

Which reminds me, we need to get an egg basket soon.  =)

We are getting rain several times a week and have been for a while.  The grass is growing like crazy and so are the tomatoes and beans.  Our second crop of potatoes didn’t do anything; the seed potatoes we bought were super cheap and looked pretty terrible, so that’s probably why.  Our tomatoes are doing good, and we are all enjoying the black cherry heirloom tomatoes; we will have to plant 3xs as many of those next year!

I’ve made 3 batches of salsa, which we also use for rotel in chilis and soups, and have more to make! I will probably also can just plain tomatoes like I did last year.

Otherwise, we are gearing up for my favorite time of year- FALL ON THE FARM!  It doesn’t get any prettier than fall leaves after a wet, luscious August and September!

Are you ready for all things Fall?

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Weaning Bottle Baby Calves: What I’ve Learned {All Around the Home and Homestead Blog Party #2}

We were a bit late on weaning the calves from the bottle onto feed and grass; we waited until about 3 months old, mostly just because we lost track of time!  They were weaning just as the grass was really coming in thick so we were hopeful we could just wean straight to grass …

calves 3.5 months old {QuietInTheChaos.com}

Lesson #1: Bottle Babies Need Grain Feed

Unfortunately, calves that come off commercial formula have to wean onto some kind of feed or their growth will be stunted and they could get sick.  They really need the protein and carbs found in the feed. =(

So, we went from 2 full bottles of milk a day, and slowly cut back about an 8th of the bottle at a time, so as not to cause nutritional scours or other health issues for them.  While doing this, we offered them free grain in buckets in their stall.  At first they weren’t eating much grain.

Lesson #2: Cows LOVE Grain

We don’t plan to keep them on grain long; just until they hit their weight requirement, then they will be grass fed.  however, we have learned that while milk is like crack for a baby cow, grain is even more so!  Those babies go crazy over the grain!  Not that I want them to, but it is just evident that cows are bred to eat, gain, and be slaughtered.

Fortunately, they don’t have much longer before we can start weaning them from the grain.  In the meantime, I plan to call a local feed operation and see if they can make me a healthier grain-based feed.

 

All this leads into- next year we will hopefully purchase a mama/baby pair and get a bottle baby or 2 to put with her.  We knew getting these calves that it would be a learning experience, and the next time will be as well, I’m sure.  We didn’t want to invest the money in a cow/calf pair being completely new; but knowing that a nursing calf is healthier in general, and of course the way God intended it, is motivation for trying it out next time!

Join us HERE for the All Around the Home and Homestead Blog Party!

Faithful Homestead

 



Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Friday on the Farm {May 20, 2016}

So this is titles Friday on the Farm … but it is actually Saturday on the farm.

This morning was full of lots of chores- watering the meat chicks in their brooder, weeding the garden, moving the tractor coop to the backside of the fence (the big white horse fence), and prepping everything to put the meat chicks into their tractor coop. This operation is only on a very small scale, but as you can imagine, some chicken farms will have tractors from sites like fastline to keep up with the workload.

I was able to get the meat chicks all caught, put into a box (it took about 5 trips from the brooder to the coop), and unloaded into the tractor coop.

BOY were they some happy little chickens!

meat chicks in PVC tractor coop-may 2016-QuietInTheChaos.com

They are going through 5 gallons of water in about 12 hours! Hopefully that will change since they are now outside where they will get moisture from the ground, grass, air, etc. Their brooder was in the barn tack room … let me tell you that was NOT pretty and I won’t be doing that again. There just wasn’t enough airflow, even with the window, and the ammonia built up SO quickly, I couldn’t keep enough fresh bedding added to it.

The tractor coop, provided they can keep warm, will be MUCH better! They are mostly feathered out, with a few bare spots which they will likely have for some time, as the last meat chickens did. And some still have fuzzy heads… then others are completely feathered out. We will see it goes.

This afternoon after naps, we all loaded up for a trip to Heaven, e-hum, I mean Costco. After we got home the kids played a while outside, then I started my chores.

The big girls gave left me some eggs in their nest boxes. They free ranged all day, and their feeder was empty so I gave them their new feed-which they LOVE! It is a custom, soy free mix. I will give details on that via another post, but I am so thankful to have found a feed mill that makes a custom feed. And inexpensive to boot! Woo hoo! It can also be used to finish the meat chickens off the last 3+ weeks! How great is that?

Egg Chores {QuietintheChaos.com}

I took a few shots of the garden- I can’t take credit for its beauty, other than for choosing the lovely 6 seater patio set;
my husband is the gardener! He gets it tilled, planted, weeded, etc. I just help with a bit of weeding, and of course harvesting. =) The potatoes, bell peppers, and tomatoes are looking great! The asparagus has given us a large harvest this spring, and we have let some go to seed. The peas look like they need a wee bit of help, but I think that is cause we have not weeded much the last week in all this rain.

The Garden May 2016 {QuietInTheChaos.com}

The electric fence has worked out well; one of the calves got out and went straight to the garden. When the fence zapped him he didn’t bother returning. =) It also keeps Thora and Charlie from trampling through it, killing the plants, as they play and romp. The brown box there is full of marigolds my husband started from seed; we will plant them in the garden later, just for some pretty color.

We also have a smaller garden that we have not planted, but is full of strawberries … we had intentions of killing everything in that bed and planting some squash, watermelon, corn, and okra. But all the strawberries are coming in like crazy! So hopefully the hubby will choose to let those be; our oldest is allergic but so far the other two don’t show symptoms of strawberry allergies. =)

After we got the kids in bed, we looked up and saw our Great Pyrenees, Thora, herding the calves from the front pasture, back to their pasture. Apparently they have found a high spot they can easily slide under the fence. She got them all the way to their gate by the time we made it out back. Thankfully they easily went in.

calves 3.5 months old {QuietInTheChaos.com}

You can see they are gaining well! We were hoping to just turn them on grass (you know … cow-newbies and all), but because they need extra protein and carbohydrates you have to feed them feed until a certain weight, or it will stunt their growth and cause other possible problems. I am going to see if my custom chicken feed lady can do a custom cow feed, too!

They are BIG babies- I have finally gotten the big, obstinate brown one to warm up to me. Now he begs for rubs and scratches; they both like to be brushed and will take scratches anywhere you are willing to give them! That shorter black one, Ketchup, is my buddy though. He has never been scared of us and is super friendly. (Yes, I love my cows. No, it won’t be hard to send them to butcher next year to feed my family).

After that, my husband rigged up the heat lamp in the tractor coop for the meat chicks. Really they are a week or so too young to go out, so we are just praying for a good outcome. But I couldn’t handle them being in that brooder any longer! It was just too much extra work and thus wasn’t fun for me, and didn’t seem like the healthiest option for them starting out. So, he hung a heat lamp that we will keep on at night, and plug into the barn. There is also a tarp acting to protect them from wind and rain. It is supposed to be warm the next 2 weeks (80 degrees and above) but of course, rainy!

meat chicks in tractor coop May 2016 (with heat lamp) www.Quietinthechaos.com

I think he has decided to get some more metal panels and place around 3 side of the coop so we can just start brooding them in the coop and no need to worry about wind/rain/etc.

My new laying chicks don’t even have a blog post yet! Aaaah! They’re already 3 weeks old, and feathering out nicely. We lost 2 of them-1 barred rock, and 1 rhode island red, right after they arrived. I quickly moved them into the garage where I could better control the airflow and temperature-they are brooding in a big (empty) metal water tank. They have done much better ever since. We have not been handling them very much, but starting this next week I think we will- I just didn’t want to stress them and lose anymore babies. But they seem more sturdy now, and they need to start earning their names!

So, that is pretty much it for today. This week J.Tom cut the yard and my walking path around the pasture. Gotta get back to regularly exercising before it is time to have this baby! (8 more weeks til due date!) I worked on getting what seemed like 25 loads of laundry done- Oh my goodness I am ready for sunshine again- I need my clothes line back! It makes things so much simpler.

The pond is full, with spring rain! {QuietintheChaos.com}

Thanks to the tons and tons of spring rain, we have a full pond, blooming flowers, growing garden, and happy animals. So, it has been a beautiful, blessed week on the farm!

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Accomplish ALL The Things {Simple Woman’s Daybook 23}

Outside my Window …
It is gray, cloudy, and the sun isn’t up. We have had rain for 3 days now! YAY

I am thinking…
About all the things I need to start fitting into my day: more floor time with Ila, more violin practice with Lexie, more ironing of J.Tom’s clothes (one day I will be able to afford the cleaners!), more walking, more pregnancy exercises … oh. And more menu planning (really not doing good menu planning), and more blog planning.

How’s that for thinking 😉

I am thankful…
That my husband woke up before me to make coffee and feed the baby cows. =) We have started weaning them from their milk (a little late), and boy are they pushy! We don’t let them boss us, but the taller brown one sure tries.

In the kitchen…
There is bone broth that needs to be jarred up and put in the freezer.

And coffee!

I am wearing…
A maternity dress- it is one of the really old ones from my pregnancy with Lexie. It doesn’t really fit well, but they make great house dresses now, and are comfy to sleep in. Old Navy, $10 6 years ago.

I am creating…
probably a mess of everything. I have so much to do; today is cleaning day, but I also have to work in the basement (ugh) and get ironing done. I have dresses to finish sewing before baby comes, I want to put together a small unit study for the kids on Little house in the Big Woods, because we are about to finish that, and then we are going to grow crystals. That’s creating stuff, right? =/

I am going…
I need to go to Costco this afternoon; if the Mister takes a good nap we will go get groceries and then meet the daddy for dinner out.

Did I mention I have done a really bad job about menu planning lately?

I am wondering…
If it will continue to rain and fill the pond up. We thought we had a leak … thankfully the hubby had access to a few tons of kitty litter so we spread that out where we thought the leak may be. However, it may in fact just be that we didn’t have a wet winter and our runoff is blocked a bit, and there is a huge pond next door that has to fill before ours will.

Hoping the hard heavy rain we got last night started the process. We have had slow, steady rain for 2-3 days now. It has been wonderful!
I am reading…
Oh gosh! Okay, so I have a few books on my shelf, but have only really started one. The first two are homemaking books from the library, though I think I would like to own both. and the rest are books about raising boys. Cause … my little Mister is the only Mister and I am a girl. Therefore I really know very little about raising boys.

I am hoping…
really more like praying God helps me find me the patience and energy today to accomplish all the things!

I am looking forward to…
Not having a mile long to do list! It seems to come in phases, sometimes I feel like I have it all done and everything is great (obviously, it probably really isn’t). And then sometimes I am SO. Far. Behind. Like now. =)

I am learning…
That my Mister needs freedoms, and boundaries, and more reinforcement of consequences when he breaks those boundaries.

Also, that I have let a LOT of time get by me before this baby gets here! I am 27.5 weeks already, and we have a TON of rather big things to do.

Around the house…
dusting. vacuuming. switching season clothes, packing kids clothes that are too small to save for baby, and I am always decluttering. Which right now I think we are in a pretty good place with that. Minus all these girl clothes I have to hold on to! I know I should throw them away, but I just can’t do it. We’re throwing enough away though, leaving us with a lot of space now. If anyone else needs to declutter their home, it might be worth contacting a company like 1300 Rubbish to make sure they can take the rubbish away from your home. That always makes the job easier.

A favorite quote for today…

Accomplish All the Things

One of my favorite things…
that Ila has FINALLY this week, started saying more words: red car, Lexie, mister, bear, more animal sounds, hair bow, and she pretends to read the words in books by speaking her own little baby Japanese. It is really cute.

I also LOVE that Lexie begs to take Ila outside while I am prepping meals, switching out laundry, etc. I do let her take her on the porch or to the back concrete and Lexie just loves it. So does mister- he drives Ila around in the back of his little pick up truck. She is so loved.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I think ALL the lists above should cover this one. =)

A peek into my day…
This was the other day

Out My Widow ... Life on a Farm

Simple Woman {Daybook}

On The Farm: Calf and Chicken Update

The calves are now 2 months old.  They are still on milk, but I think we are weaning them soon.  That should be interesting, since they are BEYOND obsessed with their milk- much worse than any 12 month old human baby.  haha

The chickens are all good and healthy.  They gave us our first eggs on Easter, and give between 3-5 a day, depending on how much we disturb them during the day.  As they mature and get used to laying, that number should level out to about 1 egg per chicken per day.

Calf and Chicken update {march 2016}
We had many more chickens, but it turned out 6-7 were roosters, so we culled 4 or 5 (I can’t remember) and are left with two roosters and 6 hens.

I will tell you- buying straight run is just not worth it in the end; we ended up with way too many roosters.  I will do as I did in Arkansas, and purchase form McMurray Hatchery from now on (that’s where my next batch are coming from.  Can’t wait!).

J.Tom is still working on completing the new coop; it has been on the back burner for a bit while we prep the garden and flower beds.  They are find in their little coop for now.

Below is a pretty terrible video I shot spur of the moment yesterday of the calves and chickens.

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Preparing for Spring on the Farm {Daybook 21}

Preparing for Spring on The Farm

Outside my Window …
Spring is here … about 6-8 weeks early.  It is warm, there are buds on the trees, the perennials in the flower beds are blooming.  J.Tom and I spent the weekend cleaning out the asparagus bed, and pruning roses.  Then we cleaned out the flower beds around the house, cut back their bushes, mulched the beds, and fixed/replaced the sprinklers that needed work.   We have purchased the hot wire to keep animals out of the garden, and will get that installed before we plant in the coming month.

The chickens are free ranging in the back and Thora is laying on the stoop.  The wind is blowing crazy-hard so we called it an afternoon for now.

I am thinking…
I can’t believe spring is really here!  I know we will probably get a cold snap (over night freeze) between now and Easter, and if we don’t the bugs are going to be killer this summer!  But, man.  I LOVE SPRING

I am thankful…
for SPRING!  Oh, did I already mention that?  Okay, then I am thankful for a husband that loves working in the yard and making things pretty, mostly because he knows it makes me happy.  It is much more fun doing it together.

In the kitchen…
It probably still smells like bacon from this morning.  But everything is mostly cleaned up from lunch and ready for dinner.

I am wearing…
Denim shorts and an Old Navy maternity tshirt. It is warm enough for shorts- whew I love the sunshine!

I am creating…
Dresses for the girls.   I just finished Lexie’s, and I am almost done with Ila’s.  Then I will start on their next few sets.

Pages in journaling bible.  I will do a separate post with those details.  It is so much fun!

I am going…
to Walmart this afternoon for a few random toiletries and sewing notions.

I am wondering…
If this wind is going to die down, it is so windy!

I am reading…
My Bible a lot more.  I have been Bible journaling (it is so fun) and it has me constantly wanting to get into the Word.

I am hoping…
This week we get a good spring thunderstorm.

I am looking forward to…
My chickens laying their first eggs!  The girls are almost mature.  Their combs are just starting to get really red.  They’re about 22 weeks old, so in the next 2-6 weeks we should have eggs!

I am also looking forward to our newest addition!  Well, newest additionS.  

We have:

-15 laying chicks on the way

-50 meat chickens on the way

-and my most very exciting announcement: A little heifer on the way!  We should hopefully be picking her up next weekend and I cannot wait.  Hopefully we can get her tamed and easy to handle so she will be the resident pet heifer and one day mama cow of the homestead.  We are really excited, and haven’t told the kids yet since we won’t get her for another week.  She is a Hereford/Dexter cross, and needs a name!

I am learning…
how very addictive farm animals really are, how much I *love* spring on the farm and am truly amazed at God’s world, how fast my children are growing up.  We look at our babies and see them learning new milestones and turning into toddlers.  But it seems like now that Lexie and Mister are almost 4 and 6, they’re really en-truly so different than they were until this point.  It is amazing.

Max went out with J.Tom today for a boys morning out and I swear he came back more grown up than when he left.  =/  Lexie has her daddy daughter date this afternoon to the orchestra.
Around the house…
Things are mostly picked up and done.  We have spent so much time outside that it is hard to make messes inside (YAY).  But, I can say ALL the laundry is DONE!  bahahaha

A favorite quote for today…
Spring Quote Some Seed a Weed ...
One of my favorite things…
SPRING!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Get the tags on my car, sign the kids up for swim lessons, truck on through school with the kids, prepare for the heifer, enjoy the weather, pray for a thunderstorm.

What is your favorite season?  How do you prepare for spring?

Simple Woman {Daybook}

On The Farm: LGD {Great Pyrenees} Sleeping with the Chickens

If you are a friend or family member you have probably already heard this story .. because it was so insane I had to tell everyone I knew.

I affectionately titled Thora, “the protector of all things farm and child,” in hopes that one day she really would be.

After the loss of a young chicken to Thora’s playfulness (ehum, chasing the chicken, killing it … then proceeding to eat it), and then continuing to chase the chickens at times for a few weeks after, I wasn’t entirely confident in the title which she had been given.  We did zip-tie the dead chicken to her neck in hopes that would help deter her.

Because we couldn’t completely trust her yet (she is still a 1 year old puppy, despite her 80lb status, and wasn’t raised the first 9 months around chickens), we would tether her to a tree while the chickens were free ranging if I wasn’t able to keep my eye on her for a few minutes.

Slowly, I became less and less worried, and over the last week we have been leaving her out with them all day long with no concerns about the chickens’ safety.

Okay- on to the story …

Last Monday night I went out to put the chickens in their coop-it was pitch black, I forgot my phone for a flash light, and Thora didn’t come to greet me.  She always, always greets anyone who opens a door on the house.  I thought it was strange but maybe she had found and dug up the calf we buried?  (we lost a calf)  So I locked up the chicks and went to bed.

The next morning JTom left about 4:00am for out of town travel, and I went out to feed the baby cows at 5:45am.  Again, Thora didn’t greet me.  So at this point I was concerned, so I texted J.Tom.  He hadn’t seen her either and was also concerned, but had the same thought I did the night before- maybe she was eating a dead cow in the woods ….

LGDs Sleeping with The Chickens

So, I got dressed for walking in the woods, and set out to find her, hopeful she was rollicking in the disgusting dog heaven of a dead animal.  On my way, I decided to go out the north gate, to walk past the calves in their stall, and as I did a chicken ran out of the barn!

I couldn’t understand how I had missed a chicken the night before, but went around back to let it into the coop.  As I approached the coop there was this ruckus, and when I opened it I half expected a fox and 12 dead chickens … instead

Out bounced Thora!  The dog had apparently gone into the coop the night before and was in the run when I locked up the chickens in the dark.  One chicken didn’t go in with the others because she was in there, and he found me the next morning.

*whew*  I started counting chickens and assessing the aftermath of Thora’s slumber party.  Every single chicken was untouched.  She had laid in the run, digging and sleeping.  The chickens were fine.  =)

So, it is safe to say, we now trust Thora with the chickens, and mostly with the calves.  She tries to pounce with them a little but I don’t think it will take long and she will see them as something she needs to protect as well.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Fridays on the Farm are Beautiful {Simple Woman’s Daybook 20}

Walking in the Woods

Walking through the woods; jumping in the dry part of the creek

Outside my Window …
The sun is just coming up over the trees in the front of the house.  The calves have full bellies and are resting in the barn, Thora is laying on the front porch being protector of all things, and it is SO beautiful and nice we will be reading on the front porch today.  We don’t usually do much school on Fridays, just because we don’t have to, but I always try to read lots of books and maybe throw in science or art- both which can be done outdoors!

I am thinking…
Oh, I hope we don’t lose the other two calves.  Yesterday we lost one; the biggest one, and healthiest LOOKING when we got them last Saturday.  However, he was the most sickly acting the last 5 days.  For two days he had some light scours we were treating as directed, and before running to the vet yesterday I went out to check him one more time, and he was gone.  =(

I am thankful…
That the kids weren’t devastated.  They were very supportive of their sad mama.  Lexie wanted to know if we could just turn it into beef.  =)  I cried; not so much because the calf was dead, but because I felt defeated, helpless, despite all our efforts and hard work.  Part of it, I know.  But I don’t like defeat….

In the kitchen…
Oh gosh!  It is a mess.  There are dishes from J.Tom breakfast, a pot that needs to be washed, and a skillet on the stove for me to cook our eggs this mornings.

I am wearing…
Pajama pants and a maternity shirt; I am running out of clothes that fit well.

I am creating…
Nothing.  I was crocheting, but with it being so warm I got out of the mood.  And I have started the girls some dresses, I should really finish those  😉

I am going…
To never take advantage of my computer again.  My hard drive died last week; and I was one saddened girl.  I can’t think on a teeny tiny screen (my phone) to pay bills, write blogs, and look up recipes.  I always go to my computer …

I am wondering…
What else I need to add to my list for the store today.

I am reading…
A new book, but can’t think of the title … I will come back and add it later. *edit- The Liars’ Club: A Memoir*

I am hoping…
These calves survive!

I am looking forward to…
The weekend- in the 70’s and sunny.  I am starting on my tan!

I am learning…
Although my life is pretty nice, life is hard.  Losing calves is hard.  Losing baby chicks is hard (not as hard as losing a calf…), getting up at 5:30 am is not as hard as getting up at 6:30am …

Around the house…
I need to vacuum.  Just ew!  (since the weather has been like spring, we have been tracking in LOTS of dirt.)

A favorite quote for today…

When Life Gets Hard ...

Something my Dad would say.  =)

One of my favorite things…
baby cow noses, watching the kids play in the dirt while the chickens free range, Ila’s BIG, ginormis, baby hugs, the sound of her saying, “Yes ma’am,” our new friendships with a beautiful family that lives very close by, watching the sun come up on the front porch.

pjs and chickens
A few plans for the rest of the week:
It’s Friday Y’all!

A peek into my day…
This past week: plying in the dirt and loving on the chickens

Chickens and Dirt

Simple Woman {Daybook}

Our Newest Addition: 3 Bottle Fed Cows {on the farm}

Adding 3 Calves to the Farm

Last week my husband came across an ad for bottle fed calves (meaning they are never nursed on their mama-also meaning we would become baby cows’ mama!). We discussed the pros and cons of starting cows right now, and here are a few things we came up with:

  1. We are most definitely NOT professional farmers/cattle raisers. So starting with babies that are less expensive than our “dream” cow/calf combo is probably best
  2. In July I will have a 4th human baby to nurse- it is probably best that we (translated to I) am only nursing one species at a time … so to speak. So starting calves now, while I am in my 2nd trimester, feeling good, and have less to do would be a pro; waiting until our 4th human baby is a year+ old to get cows would be a con. Plus, by the time human baby comes, baby cows will be old enough to go out to pasture.
  3. Soon we will be out of our side of beef we bought last year, which means that when it is time to butcher these guys, our freezer should be nice and empty for them.
  4. Butchering bottle fed calves that we (the kids and I) have raised will kinda suck … but we can always do it again, starting with more fluffy little calves.
  5. Our own meat in the freezer will ROCK!
  6. Selling the beef once it is ready for butcher shouldn’t be too hard; we know lots of people looking for farm raised, antibiotic free, grassfed beef
  7. Does adding beef cattle make us official farmers? =)

Well the answer to the last question is no. I think successfully raising beef the way God intended will make us official homesteaders/farmers … so we will see how this goes!

After the above discussion, we decided that we would give it a go!

J.Tom promptly started re-building the stalls he just tore out of the barn, and moving some equipment out of the barn to make room for the baby cows (yes, we just call them baby cows around here). We also had to check the pasture was safe and secure and J.Tom bought two Cattle Guards to go at either end of the pasture.

We made our list of necessities based upon hours and hours of reading and youtube-watching which consisted of:

  1. soy-free milk replacer
  2. bottles
  3. bottle holders (for when I don’t have time to feed them myself)
  4. calf starter pellets
  5. straw for bedding
  6. a trough for their stall until we are ready to turn them onto the small pond pasture
  7. a halter

We quickly realized J.Tom’s knot and rope tying skills could make us a much nicer halter than the ones at the stores; so that will be returned. The reason for halter training them is so they’re easier to bring in from pasture if you have to, return to pasture if they get out, and put onto the trailer on their big day.

When the farmer delivered the cows, he commented on what a nice set up we had for them, and how that was one of the first things in keeping them healthy; basically, if you can keep them alive the first 3 weeks or so, you should be fine, he said. Also, he offered for us to call him with any and all questions, because he gets really upset when people lose a calf. He feels like there really isn’t any reason to lose a calf; just call him and he will tell us what to do if anyone gets sick. *whew* That was a relief for this beginner! The calves are about 9 or 10 days old.

I was really impressed when he told us they have been on colostrum for several days, bottle fed, and NONE of the cows they come from ever get antibiotics or shots. That means our three little cows are getting the best start in life they possibly can; doesn’t mean they will all make it (fingers crossed they do!) but they do have a head start.

He also mentioned to feed them MILK protein only replacer- NO soy. This was another relief because A) soy is evil and B) I’d already bought a more expensive, quality milk replacer that was soy free.

Quite honestly, I can’t tell you how excited we are; the 3 days leading up to their delivery included some SERIOUS nesting on all our parts- think nesting for your first baby but on steroids!

They don’t have names … not sure we should name them since they aren’t pets; the kids joke about hamburger and ketchup for names (definitely their daddy’s sense of humor). I think maybe we should just call them “calf 1, 2, and 3.”

It stinks that not all calves are raised with their mamas, but that is just the reality of some farms, not all farms can afford to have fabric buildings, but we are so lucky we have the space to keep ours safe. I am happy we could take them in and raise them to be healthy, grass fed cows so we and other families can have beef the way nature intended.

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