Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Abscess

The weeks and weeks of rain paid off with a nice cutting of hay.  I hope to be mob grazing next year with movable fencing and then keep standing hay for winter. This year, though, we needed to get some hay put up for winter food for cattle and sheep.

It is always nice to get the field cut. It looks tidy and trim. I am hoping we get some good rain the next few weeks so that it will grow nice and tall before the first frost in October.

Molly has yet to fully recover from foot rot. Her back foot is still bothering her so I had the vet come out and tend to it.

Cows are not like horses in that they do not volunteer to have their feet held up and inspected. We got Molly into the milking stanchion to feed her grain and then proceeded to tie her back foot and pull it up and out with a rope so the vet could look at it.

He cleaned it all out of muck and then saw the issue. She did have a considerable abscess on the bottom. He slit it open and was able to get a fair amount of thick pus out.
She is still not walking very well, although some swelling has gone down. We gave her another antibiotic shot last night, hoping to see more rapid improvement in a day or so.

In the meantime, I am keeping her close so I can watch her and feed her.

I have 4 cows I am sending to a neighbors farm to  be bred by his beef bull soon. While sorting out those 4 cows, I noticed one had a huge and hard udder. 
Annabelle has been dry for several months, but I brought her in to see if it was a milk issue.
I was not an udder full of milk, but it was swollen and very hard, so I had the vet check her out too.

It was an abscess as well, so he slit and drained the huge volume of pus. I do not know how she got this infection, as it could have come from a simple poke by a twig. It was gross though and I am sure she feels better with it drained.
I am also keeping her close to watch her and make sure it keeps draining some. 

Meanwhile, Indiana and Willow got to spend a night with their grandparents. I was in charge of their chores and discovered one of Indy's pigeons had escaped. I tried for two days to catch her but failed. Luckily nothing got her during the day or night, and Indiana was able to catch her. 

Finally, I am slowly getting my homeschool books and activities and schedule figured out. One activity Rose wanted to do was sew a quilt for her bed.

I found a free pattern that is quite simple and pretty and then we ordered her fabric. She has it sorted out and should be ready to start sewing this weekend. The pattern uses pre-cut fabrics known as a Layer Cake.  I am excited to see her finished quilt top!

Also, in preparation for the school year, I am decluttering and deep cleaning the by room. It will take me an entire month, but so far I have deep cleaned one bathroom and the laundry room. I focus better when the house is clean, and I know the days will get more hectic as the wedding of Journee and Jared gets near. Like I said, one room at a time. I have a list of all the rooms and I mark them off as I finish them. 

Happy Thursday Ya'll!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rain. More Rain.

 This image sums up my life right now. Demanding baby, demanding farm. Exhausted me.

"Nap when the baby naps" is the most often heard term a mom will hear when raising babies, but the reality is that meals must be cooked, other children must be cared for and the laundry must be washed. Add to this list the farm must be managed and you have my situation today.

This post is not to complain about all the many chores and demands, but to rather explain that there are days when the farming gets tough.
We have had lots of rain this year, which is a stark change from the horrible drought we suffered last year. The hay is thick and the grass recovers quickly. It has been so nice.

Except it has been hard on my herd of cattle. Although the cows have lots of dry pasture to stand in and graze, they tend to stand in water. When it rains inches upon inches within a few days, the ground becomes very wet. 
I knew that the wet ground could be an issue for my sheep and horse, but it seems the cows have suffered most. We have been battling hoof rot over here.

4 cows had hooves that were swollen and sore. A call to the vet confirmed the issue and we began treatment right away.

This girl, Ivy, had the skin break open above her hoof and there was a ulcer type of sore. We managed to get copper sulfate on the wound daily and it has healed up nicely.

 My girl Molly, however, had the worst case with all four of her feet swollen. After several treatments she now has only her back feet swollen, but one back foot is so bad that she will not put much weight on it. 

So we are still giving her medicine for pain. We are also feeding her grain to get some weight back on her, since she has lost many pounds. Poor Molly!
This morning she had a little puss oozing out from her foot, so I am hoping it will drain and start to heal.

I have been bringing cheddars out from the cave and this one is particularly yummy. I had run out of cheesecloth, so instead of wrapping it with lard and cloth I rubbed it down in olive oil and Thai Spices that I purchased from a local spice company. The results are delicious, and this 7 pound wheel is nearly gone! 

The baby turned 9 months old last week. He is crawling every where and getting into anything within his reach.  It always amazes me how quickly a baby can move and get into things.

It has been super hot every day here, with high humidity. The result is a heat index of 100 and greater. The only way to spend the day is in air conditioning or in the pool. Even the pool feels like bath water, but it is still refreshing. 

ome homeschooling supplies are starting to trickle in from various suppliers. My main focus this year is STEM, and I have purchased a couple of robotics sets. The kids are excited to get started. 

You might have noticed the blog look differently, thanks to photo bucket. I have been working on fixing broken widgets and expired photo bucket photos. Thanks for sticking around while I clean house here.

In the meantime, send good thoughts this way for my cattle and I will post updates!



Monday, July 10, 2017

J and J

Well, it happened. 

My oldest is engaged. 
Journee and Jared started dating back in March when his mom and I introduced them. We knew they would hit it off!

They are the cutest couple around these parts.

Now, after a proposal at the Tennessee Aquarium, we are planning a mid October wedding!

I could not have dreamed up a better guy for this girl. I just love him.
The entire family adores him.

He's a cross fit guy and loves dogs.
She's an ER nurse and loves dogs.
So now we plan a farm wedding in 3 months' time.
No worries.

 Young love.
Let's all hang on to that.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fleeting Moments and Traditions

Fleeting moments.

That is what we have when we raise children.

Days that seem so long and difficult are really just moments that are gone with the blink of our eyes.
You feel like you are going to be in the thick of it forever, but actually it ends too soon.

You wake up and the kids are grown up.

What of traditions? What will your children relish and remember most of those days?

Will it be the clean house? The new car? The organized closets?

They will cherish and carry with them the traditions.

It will be the birthday meals and the games played outside in the summer.

It will be the blueberry picking and the lightening bug catching.

It will be the Harry Potter movie marathons with popcorn and  smoked gouda and frosty punch.

It will be the swim days and the times the baby belly laughed while getting lotion on after his bath.

 It will all the times crafts were done together at the kitchen table. It will be the chores done side by side as a family.

 It's the family cookouts and days spent visiting.

Traditions are not elaborate schemes carefully put together. It is the small and repetitive occurrences that make your family a family.

It's the chance to snuggle the youngest sibling while he sleeps.

It's those fleeting moments. 

Hang on to those. Hold on real tight. It's those moments you will carry with you always.

Happy Wednesday Ya'll.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

This Past Week

Although the calender disagrees, it is officially summer over here. The weather has been mid 80's and we are getting quite a few pop up storms and heavy rain showers every week. Thankful for the rain.

The main pasture is ready to be cut for hay, we are just waiting for a dry spell of a few days. We have a farmer friend up the road who always cuts and bales the hay. Thankful for him and everything helps us do.

The beehives have built up quickly and we put a third hive body on each hive two days ago. Early spring and a heavy nectar flow all contributed to their quick build up. Hopefully they will continue to thrive here in my new blueberry orchard.

Here are a few pictures from the week that I snapped and want to share, a glimpse into my week here.

Devin helped me build dice for a yard Yahtzee game. Have you seen them on Pinterest? He used a drill press to make the dice holes. I painted them in black and then sanded and used poly on them. I made a set for us and a set for my sister. We played it yesterday and it was fun!

I have been sorting and washing Flickas's fleece. I am planning to lock spin it all and knit something with the yarn. Stayed tuned :-)

I have had several days with none of my teens here to help. I have been getting up early to take care of the chickens and pigeons and ducks first. I then come inside for coffee before going back out to milk. Two mornings ago I came in to find Rose feeding the baby chocolate pudding! You can say he was very happy!

My milking chores happened with the baby on my back. I like taking him outside so he can get some fresh air, sunshine and some experience with livestock. The milk cows are gentle and he really likes to be around them. My legs got a good workout too because I cannot bend over with Ace on my back. I must squat! My thighs were a tad sore after several days of squatting with that heavy baby on my back.

Devin's little dog, Luna, likes to jump on the bed and sit next to the baby. The baby likes to try and roll over to pull on Luna's fur. I like to take pictures of them together and send them to Devin when he is at work.

I bought two hanging ferns for my front porch this year and both have nests. Finches have taken up residence in both ferns. One has eggs that just hatched while the other just starting laying eggs.
I carefully take the plants down every other day and water them..and take a quick look at the developments.

Quinn is so busy with school and work that I literally only see her about an hour a week. She was off Memorial Day so I was able to catch up with her some. I also snapped a picture of her with the baby since I seem to have pictures of everyone holding him except her.

We went to my sister's house on Memorial Day to cook out and swim. It was the first time the baby has been in the pool. Indiana held him and he liked it until we put him in a baby float. Next time we will just hold him.

I hope everyone had a great long weekend!

Happy Tuesday Ya'll!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

All the Fleece

All the fleece. I want all the long and curly fleece I can get.

When I bought my Cotswold sheep I was introduced to the beauty of long wool with curly flocks. It was only a matter of time that I dive into the most luxurious of the long wools.

We took a semi-short drive to North Carolina yesterday to pick up the newest additions to my wooly family.

Teeswater Sheep.

 This is my new ewe named Cracker Jack.
She is very sweet and has a beautiful soft fleece. She was shorn in Feb, so you can see how much she has grown already.

This is the baby whether to Cracker Jack. His name is Sparrow. Born in Feb, he is already full of soft fleece and is very sweet.

We also got this little girl lamb.
Her name is Dani.
Also born in Feb, she is just as sweet and beautiful. She does have a pinch of Cotswold her in her as well.

Then I needed to buy a ram and lucked upon the most beautiful Teeswater ram around!
His name is Hercules and he is a beauty.
I plan to breed all of my ewes to him this fall.

When we got them all home, we put the mama and the babies in one paddock and we put Hercules in with my other sheep.

He is quite happy to be with my Wensleydales and Cotswolds, and they can all get to know the newest ewe and babies through a fence. I didn't want to risk my Cotwolds picking on those sweet lambs.

I have been working on some lock spinning and knitting with curly locks from my Wensleydales. I hope to have a nice project finished soon for a show and tell.

Until then, we have expanded the flock and it promises to be a rewarding decision!

Happy Tuesday Ya'll!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

What Just Happened?

It happens.

It starts when you are fixing dinner, doing laundry, reading story books and preparing for the next days' activities. It just happens so quickly.

Your kids grow up. Just like that, in the midst of living life. They are graduating from school and starting their own journey.

When they are babies you can't even imagine what this day would be like because it cannot be tied to any ONE day. It is the accumulation of many days, many years.

Journee graduated from nursing school and landed a full time job in the emergency room. She still has her nursing boards to take, but the girl is done. Homeschooled from the start, never a day in public school, and she did just fine. 
I am still amazed at everything she has accomplished in her young life, not just academically, but personally and spiritually. She has a strong work ethic, a loyalty to others and a sensitive heart. 

Quinn graduated high school. She was also educated at home and finished high school with dual enrollment. This kid has been able to combine her art skills and math skills to jumpstart her goal of earning a degree in mechanical engineering. She works full time as an intern and has classes at night.
I rarely see her around here anymore because she is grown. She's independent. She's a hard worker. 
She also amazes me in her growth and accomplishments.

This last month has been very busy for me with farming and with graduation celebrations. When I am able to slow down I can't help but ask myself, "What just happened?"

One day you are reading bedtime stories and the next you are celebrating graduations. 
It happens.

Life goes on and I am grateful for all of these milestones in my life.

I am also exceedingly grateful to farm. We are currently busy with pastured chickens and honeybees, both are doing really well. 

I have been making cheddar wheels like crazy thanks to an abundance of milk. My cheese cave is housing 10 wheels and each wheel is about 7-8 pounds.

Tomorrow I will drive to pick up more fiber sheep. Tees water sheep.
I have longed for this breed for a few years and now I will have them . I spent a few hours this weekend lock spinning my curly Wensleydale fleece into a beautiful yarn. I am excited for more curly lock sheep.

The farm is growing and that is reason enough to be optimistic, even when things happen, like children growing up.

Congratulations to all of the new graduates in 2017!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mama Tired

The last 3 weeks have been exhausting for me. Literally. Exhausting.

Aside from the typical spring farm chores, I have spent a good deal of my energy cleaning up the front porch and attempting to sort fiber projects.

The porch is clean and ready for some serious and not so serious conversations and board games and the occasional reminiscing of happy memories.

New laying hens are officially moved into the egg mobile and the meat chicks are about to move to pasture.

We have cows happily grazing long blades of grass, a summer pasture area planted and wildflowers in the ground for the honey bees.

Did I mention that I am exhausted? This sweet baby has not been sleeping well which means I don't sleep hardly at all. I am typically a very upbeat and optimistic person but there is no tired like mama tired.
Mama tired makes you see your home as total disarray and forces you to question your very being. Isolation makes it all seem worse too. Why am I doing this again? What was the point of farming?


Mama tired. It literally drains the life and motivation from you. 

There was a short break in the mama tired yesterday evening. It was a reminder to "hang on."

There was, after a few days of heavy rain, a beautiful reminder that the sun will come out and the rain will dry up.

Why am I doing all of this?

Maybe because this boy and his siblings love it and need it. Maybe because being able to walk the land and raise animals is something we all need, really.

For just a few minutes the mama tired left me and I was able to appreciate the joy and beauty of family and farm.

Perhaps like me you are frustrated and weepy and ready to quit. Perhaps you too are exhausted. 
Mama tired.

Go ahead and cry and validate your sorrow, frustration and pain. You ARE exhausted. 
This life is not easy.
This life, however, is worth it.
Hang on.


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