Friday, August 26, 2016

Greener Grass

I have found Fridays to be my one day to sit and enjoy the morning. Because of the many projects I am wrapping up before starting school and having this baby, I have been extremely busy.

One major project I started was to write up a junior entomology curriculum for the younger kids. I searched high and low for a bug program for the boys to no avail. Everything was geared for much younger kids, and Zeb is especially ready for something with more detail. I will post an update once I am finished.

                        ****One of many bugs Zeb has found around the farm and admired****



This was also a summer of no rain. It was very dry and hot until late July. We finally started getting some rain and the grass finally decided to grow.

In fact, it was too dry for a cutting of hay in June, but we should get a good cutting in a week or so. This should, along with all of the pastures, give us enough food for the cattle this winter.

A couple of days ago we moved all of the cows into the yard around the house.


                                   ****Valentine and Molly****


No fancy landscaping over here. I use cows to mow the lawn and I honestly do not care if they munch on bushes.
Not to offend anyone with beautifully landscaped yards, but I truly find more peace in watching my cows graze the yard. Grass based farming has so many advantages and we are blessed to have the ability to farm in this manner. Thank you Joel Salatin for all of the inspiration!

                       ****Baby Chance, who is not so much a baby any longer****


They were very excited to move to fresh grass and spent a good part of the moment jumping and bucking their way across the yard. We will let them graze a few days before moving them again.


Journee's elderly goat has spent each morning, now that they are cooler, basking in the morning sun on the drive. I have washed the drive twice this week of goat droppings, but it is a lost battle.

                   ***Brownie. One of the steers ready to process this fall***


Our next big project is too get a blueberry orchard planted. This would be an easy task, except we must fence the orchard to keep the cows from chewing down the bushes. Devin will be better able to tackle the project once Dragon Con is over.

We spent a good deal of time Tuesday sewing the finishing touches on some cosplay costumes for the Dragon Con event. I know it will be  great time for everyone attending.

Moving the cows, cutting hay and prepping school supplies must mean one thing: Fall is almost here.

It's time to soak up these last few days of summer and that is exactly what I plan to do this weekend.

Happy Friday Ya'll!!!

Sami




Friday, August 19, 2016

Summer of Birthdays

It was a summer of birthdays.

Willow celebrated her 14th birthday in June. She loves to celebrate at the lake, so a lake gathering is what we do.
Willow loves having her best friends and siblings at the lake. We always pull out the jet skis, and all of my kids LOVE jet skis!


My ever loving bug boy always seems to find a new critter to hold and examine.




Fletcher loves playing in the wet clay/mud.....so common here in the South.


We also had a new calf born near the end of June.



We came home from a family dinner to find that Penny had calved while we were gone. She had a healthy bull calf that is half Jersey and half Swedish Red.



I usually band my boys into steers and raise them for beef, but I decided to raise this guy for a bull. I will need a bull next year to breed many girls.  Indiana has named him Kai. Here's to a new farm adventure.

Finally, while we were in Florida, we celebrated Zeb's 7th birthday. Actually we celebrated his birthday and a friend's birthday, who came to the beach with us.


Of course Zeb got more items for his constant bug collecting.



We bought a couple of ice cream cakes from a local grocery and ordered pizza for dinner.



The next day Zeb bought a hermit crab with his birthday money. I am happy to announce that his little crab, named Happy, made the trip home and is living happily in an aquarium habitat.
Zeb likes that he now owns two pets. He got a leopard gecko for his 5th birthday and that little guy is still doing great.

It has been a summer of birthdays. It has been a summer of family gatherings and friends hanging out.

We still have a few weeks of summer left, no school here until after Labor Day.

This weekend I plan to work on some sewing projects and finish getting some school stuff organized. I will update next week on my new curriculum.

Happy Friday Ya'll!!



Sunday, August 14, 2016

We Stormed the Coast

Sometimes you just need to unplug, unwind and revamp. 

A beach vacation usually helps.

Last week we stormed the beaches of Florida.


This last month has been all about me trying to make sure I am resting my feet, enjoying this pregnancy and getting life organized and prepped for a new baby.


We also took a week trip to the Gulf Coast. Sandcastles and sea shells were the top priority for 6 days.


Journee, ever the homeschool student, bought a couple of books to bring along that helped us identify the many sea critters and shells we collected. Of course the live critters were tossed back to sea once we had identified them.


We rented a townhouse that slept 14 people, so we brought along a couple of family friends to enjoy the week. We cooked most of our meals, took afternoon naps and played board and card games late at night.


The area we stayed was not crowded at all, so we were able to really swim and sprawl out on the sand.

Here are a few of the water critters we caught and identified. It was very exciting for the kids to experience the salt, the sand, and the marine life.







Of course we had to venture out in the evening to catch sand crabs and walk along the shore.



So now that we are back home, I am getting school work organized and some sewing projects finished. Lots has happened here over the last month, but I will get everything posted and updated.

We really needed a summer break and thanks to a fabulous teen, who can milk cows, we escaped for a fun 6 days.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous summer. I leave with a few more pictures from the coast.






Happy Sunday Ya'll!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kid Ears

 Journee finally, after many weeks of waiting, got her German Shepherd baby.

She arrived at 8 weeks old and was quick to learn some basic commands. Journee paid high dollar for this dog's pedigree and breeding. She came from a local breeder and has so far been a wonderful pup.



Journee named her Kid and plans to use her to train for K-9 Search and Rescue, something she has always wanted to do and has researched extensively.


Because she is still so young, she isn't able to handle or process intensive training, but she has learned basic commands and loves to play a game Journee calls "Hide and Seek." Basically someone holds Kid while Journee runs away and hides. Once Kid is let go, she is commanded to "find."  She finds Journee every single time. It's amazing.

Journee must also go through some training and exams for this type of work, and last weekend she took an intensive field navigation class near Atlanta.
She is managing nursing school, work and her dog. Lots of work for her and she is never bored.

Of course we get to babysit when she is at school and work. The pup has bonded well with all of us and is super friendly.

Those ears? Oh yes, she has the best ears.


I can't wait to see where this adventures leads these two.

Happy Tuesday Ya'll!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Back Deck Garden

Hot, hot, hot! It has been a very hot start to summer here, and unfortunately we are also experiencing a severe drought.

I wanted a few garden vegetables this year, however, so I recruited the kids to help me get a back deck garden started.


We had a very nice pile of compost near the barn that was ready for use. It was mostly manure and hay from the cows and the horse. Devin kept it turned well the last couple of years. He scooped me some up with his tractor bucket and parked the tractor near the pots.
This is when hoarding is nice. I was able to round up several pots that were stored in the barn.



The kids helped shovel the rich soil into the pots for me and then helped me move them to the back deck. My back deck gets solid sun all day, which make sit good for only two uses. 1) Drying clothes and 2) Growing vegetables.


Along with the beautiful pool towels drying after swimming, the deck looks much better with some green life on it, and the plants do great with a good watering each evening. In fact, the boys have been helpful by helping me keep the pots watered. We have tomatoes and peppers in bloom this  morning . Who says you need tons of land to grow food?

In other farm news, we were needing a way to get some dairy ladies bred. Last year we borrowed a neighbors black Angus bull and I also had a few cows AI'd.

This year I was lucky enough to have friend loan me his Wagyu bull, Ralph.

Because we had a few weak spots in our fencing, Devin made fence fixing a priority.


We had some wooden boards that were starting to rot and lean some, so Devin secured the posts with concrete and replaced any rotted boards.


It was a day's project, but it needed to be done because you really do not want ANY cows escaping, especially a bull.

Now Ralph has been with us a few weeks and he has settled in nicely. We keep three dry cows with him: Belle, Molly and Valentine. I have the two ladies we are milking who will also need to spend some time with Ralph before his visit ends here.
I also have a smaller Jersey heifer ready to breed, but I will have her AI'd. This should give me 6 calves next spring!
It has been a slower way to build a beef herd, but it works....and it fits my budget :-)

It will be 95 degrees today! We are expecting some rain this week. Please cross your fingers we get some too, or there will be no berries to pick!

Happy Monday Ya'll!





Monday, June 6, 2016

My Lucy Girl

My computer is up and functioning again, and all ya'll are way past due for an update. Sadly, I have to break the bad news today.

Last week, my old milk cow Lucy died.


We bought Lucy 5 years ago from a commercial dairy near Nashville. She was 9 years old at the time and was about to be culled. She was headed for slaughter, but we liked her and decided to bring her home as my first milk cow.



Although she had a huge udder, she was a very docile cow and very patient. We could hand or machine milk her. She was milking machine herself, peaking at 7 gallons a day. She knew her name and would look at you every single time you called for her.




She had babies easily and had three while she lived here. She was a good mama cow and her calf last fall was to be her last. I was planning to use her as a companion cow for the rest her time here.


She was doing well and I was shocked to find she had died in her sleep, peacefully. She died in the back yard, near the wood line, laying down with all of her cow friends laying near by. She was a great cow.


She left a legacy here, not only with her two heifers that I will always own, but with the knowledge and lessons she taught me as my first family milk cow.

Rest in Peace Sweet Girl. 

Lucy 
June 2002- June 2016



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