Our Birds

IMG_2091

Our birds live life with the sun, the rain, the cold and the “what’s the weather like today?”  They eat bugs, worms, alfalfa leaves and grass.

Today, we moved some birds to the pasture.  Our thespian children helped.  After taking a photo or two, I felt confident that Brent and I could make this whole operation go quicker without them … but not as many laughs.  So, I went back to my tasks and left Brent and the kiddies to it.

 

IMG_2097

The pups want so much to be a part, but they waited patiently for us to return.

IMG_2112

Lucy, who is not short … no really … okay, I think she is short, but not by French standards … shows us our chook tower.

IMG_2134

Otto and Lucy pop the chicks in their new home.  One lot at a time.  Brent moved two to their one.  You see, the taunting and trash talking between these two slows down the operation.

IMG_2146

 

… leading artwork by Otto Curtis, age five ( at the time ).  We both said it was a duck, but now think he painted a chick.

Advertisements

Chickens On The Move

DSC_2709

Brent and Otto moved the chooks for the second time today.  The chickens are young, so they are still working out how to work the pasture.  They are always on fresh grass for them to pull out the bugs and worms and nibble the alfalfa leaves.

DSC_2696

Lovely day today, not too hot.  Otto refreshes their water.

DSC_2703

He likes to see how high he can raise the hose while still making it in the tank.  I know I’ve set myself up for “boy jokes,” but he is very specific about his work.

DSC_2711

The herd are fat fat.  So much grass.  They got so bored today, they did a little jog then hung out by the water cooler.  I’m not a fan of a herd jog, but they settled in.  It’s nice to see them work a paddock.

DSC_2710

Cozy Calves

IMG_2116_2

While waiting for the water bowl to fill, I grabbed some shots of the calves.

IMG_2117_2

When the cows are moved, the calves get excited.  They run around and then get bored.  The sun is on today, so they snuggle into the grass while they wait for mum to have her tea.

Lots of chatter about the water cooler today.  I stood there for thirty minutes or so waiting for the bowl to fill.  But it was sunny and I haven’t sunbathed for years, so it was good times.

IMG_2068_2

The herd gets cozy when it’s warm.

IMG_2113_2

The grass is good.

IMG_2114_2

Poor mum can’t have a break to take a drink without junior.

IMG_2070_2

Milk Nose and Ear Tags

IMG_2058

After a calf has a feed, they get milk nose.  Milk all over their face.  They really get into feeding.  They butt their mother’s udders with their head and then feed.  I’ve fed a bottle calf before, you must watch out because they will butt you too.  They’ll butt anything to get more milk.

Brent tagged another calf today.  Can you see him?  He’s in the middle of a curious herd.  Don’t try this at home.  He has a technique.  A technique based on a foundation of calm.  If you are calm, then they are calm.  We’ve tried other ways of tagging a calf that were successful, but this year has been smooth.  He also castrates the boys as well.

IMG_2055

I’m not a fan of tagging calves.  It can be dangerous.  Have you seen those horns?  But regulations say we have to.  In France, you tag both ears.  I see that America has gotten off easy with one ear tag.  If you don’t tag the calf the first day, you will never catch it.  I believe there are rodeo events based on this principle.

Woodhenge

DSC_7713.JPG

This is Woodhenge.  Brent took the photo above a month after we moved to the farm ( October, 2010 ).  It was early morning.  I’m not sure what the structure was intended for.  It rests in a paddock we call “Detroit.”  Detroit was named because it was overgrazed for too long. Then the auto industry of fertility left, leaving the paddock full of thistles and weeds.

We didn’t do anything major to Detroit.  We used it as a sacrificial paddock as it is close to the yards.  Brent over-seeded clover and rolled out hay.  The cows graze Detroit to work the soil.  Year after year, Detroit seemed to perk up.  Now, Detroit is full of many grasses.

Detroit is green, green, green and the thistles and weeds have lost.  But, check out Wood Henge!

Our silly cows used it as a scratch post and this is all that remains.

IMG_1975

I took this photo today from a different angle.  Don’t worry, the old trees in the “before” shot are still there and even bigger.

And The Cows, Oh How They Laughed

IMG_1773
I moved the cows yesterday.  I wasn’t intending to.  Brent was coming back late last night.  I thought I’d set up the fence for him so that when he arrived, he could roll the hay out and move the cows.  It was getting darker by the minute and Brent was not home.  All this talk about squatting and hay bale rolling.  I thought I’d give ‘er a go.  Why not?  I’m on my own, I have no walkie talkie, I’ve never done a cow move by myself,  it’s getting dark and the cows with the big horns are staring at me.  What could go wrong?

IMG_1778

I removed the hay net, easy.  Then went in for the deep squat.  But did it budge? No, not a bit.  I felt them roll their eyes.  “Come on lady, he does it each day, three times a day,” they insisted in a Seinfeld cow kind of way.  I squat again.  And I push and push and again and squat and push.  Nope.  I switched tactics and used momentum and gravity.  I got the ball rolling.  As it rolled down the hill, I noticed that is was not unrolling.  I needed to turn it.  A round bale of hay weighs a ton ( well, not exactly a ton, but it felt exactly like a ton ).  Darker it gets, their laughter increases, so I stopped.  I left a small line of hay with a ball at the end.  I started winding up the temporary wire fence to let the cows through.  The cows were lovely.  Perfect move.  Except for the silly me winding the wire.  While watching the cows come through, the wire popped off the reel, but I kept on reeling it in.  Then, well, the sun had set.  I couldn’t see how to fix it.  So as the cows were munching, I gathered the wire and picked up the posts. As I came to the end, the gate hook attached to the ball of wire I was holding caught on the live fence.  Yep,  zapped four times.  And anther zap on my way out of the paddock.

The next morning the cows were in!  In the wrong place!  The abandoned ball of hay rolled over the temp fence, knocking it off and low enough to cross.  They had a lovely Grand Slam morning breakfast on their next strip.

Brent is back home and thankfully all is right.  No new calves today.  Whew.

Don’t Eat The Golden Snowdog

IMG_1557

 

Snow day today!  We’ve not seen snow here since 2013.  A great day for the kids.  When the snow falls, you know your day will be different.  All your plans of driving and doing things are arrested and you spend the day understanding just how cold snow can be.

DSC_9900

 

 

I kept the fire piping hot.  I’ve been here before.  Snow is great until your mittens get wet.  Then they come in crying.

Lucy made a giant snowman.  Brent pointed out that he has never made a snowman.  I share that same attribute.  But I have made my fair share of sand castles.

DSC_9907

Zelie doesn’t remember the snow.  She slept in and was so incredibly excited to get out there.  Her world turned into a “fluffy cupcake.” Her words, not mine.

DSC_9911

Brent finished off his morning coffee dodging puppies, gazing at Lucy’s giant snowman wearing his best snow Crocs.

DSC_9901

But the snow must go on.  The herd had their second bale of hay when things started melting.  They are rustic cows.  This snow ain’t nuthin’ compared to where they came from.

IMG_1563

 

They are loving the hay, but still manage to find grass underneath the snowy bits.

IMG_1566

IMG_1569

This is what cow poop looks like in snow.  I knew you were curious…

IMG_1575