F-ing Calves

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Calving season is never dull.  There is stuff to do when they are born.  There is the making sure mom and calf have bonded … usually good.  Then, there are nutty calves a week old that like to run around and chase each other.  Age appropriate behavior, but GEEZ ….

Today’s move was a bit animated.  The running calves set the herd off a bit.  They settled soon enough.  Though, two silly buggers got stuck in an empty riverbed covered in blackberries.  Brent hopped in and with HIS BARE HANDS started ripping the brush away to get to the calves.  He called for back up.  I showed up with a ski pole and Cindy ( our garden lopper ), he requested a tough, yellow fence post.  He managed to chop his way through, lift the calves to high ground and get them back with the herd.

 

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No photos.  Just didn’t think of it as I was worried about the calves … ah!  and my husband!  But I do have a photo of one of our rump steaks.  I ate it with veg and it was tender and delicious.

 

 

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Hot Day, Water M.I.A.

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Nice, hot August day yesterday.  It was all going fine.  Then, the water shut off.  This happens occasionally, usually with warning.  But not yesterday.  5:ish on a Friday, no water.  I waited for it to return.  One hour.  Another hour.  Worried about the weekend,  I went into town to see if I could see anything.  There was a digger and a very long pipe being carried by a local water peep.  They were working on it. Whew!

We have a well for backup and someday for year-round service, but the pump is busted.  Worried about the animals, we called our fix-it guy and he came around to get the pump going again.  Unfortunately he needed pieces to fix it and the shops were closed. Here in country France, the shops close.  No 24 hour business.  A bit more worry.

I contacted my friend and she told me a little diddy I did not know.  When the water is out and you are a farmer with animals, the fire department will bring water to your animals.  How fucking cool is that!?   We could fill a couple of water dishes ( I say dishes, but my kids swim in them ) for the cattle.  Turns out, the water was fixed just as our fix-it man was fixing the well.  We all good.  Then I flushed the toilet, washed my hands and made some espresso.  No need to call the fire department.

In other water news, we have new waterers for the chickens which are okay.  Definitely better than their plastic predecessors.  Otto and Brent below constructing them.  … as well as new feeders to save on food spillage costs.

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Here’s the big bad boy sitting off in the distance as we chill into dusk.  Jiggy, the fuzzle butt, sits close.  Lumi sits away, guarding us from those aggressive owls.

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A Lawn Mowed by Cattle

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This is what they did to that mowed paddock.  They mowed it a bit more.  Uniformly cut to perfection.

Tonight, the herd is back to work cleaning up paddocks.  This paddock isn’t stockpile, but as you can see, it’s not perfect.  They aren’t picky.

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Here’s the photo from yesterday for comparison.  Both taken within five minutes after the move.
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In other news, this bad boy can climb hay bales.  Lucy took this photo while out on a walk.  He’s very pleased with himself.

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Make It Look Easy

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I come from a dance background.  When we do amazing feats or kick our leg high, we make it look easy.  Nothing hurts.  Simple.  Casual.  Do this all the time.   That’s part of the art.

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I also dabble in the geek world.  Their art has a note of “duh,” which for geeks means make it look easy.  Sometimes, those amazing feats and solutions are not all that easy, but we make it seem so.

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We move children and we move cattle … and actually, we move chickens.  Chickens, that’s easy.  Children, meh … really depends on the temperament.  … not always predictable.  Hard to make that look easy when they scream and you scream back.

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Cattle?  you need to know some tricks.  I really enjoyed this move.  The cattle ( some new to the system ) crossed the road.  Seems simple, but is it really?  Over the years and with concrete examples of cow moves gone wrong, Brent has set up subtleties that make it all look easy.  And just like a ballerina “floating on air” on her toes, weightless … the herd popped over too easy.  What you don’t see are the bloody toes ( ballerina point dancer ref ) of the past getting this art down to making it look effortless.  Behind that move is pasture planning, cow chess moves and temp fence props.  Add to that when to get the herd back to the yards mixed with do we feed hay?  Do we feed hay because the pasture needs it?  So many inputs to make it look easy.  Here they are, the herd, crossing the road.

 

When I lived in the city, I would have loved to be part of that cow move.  That’s why we are offering an opportunity to stay on the farm.  Seems easy, but what are those tricks?  Accepting reservations starting in May.

The Wading Pool

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Hot again today.  This is our local pool.  Seven minutes away and the kids love it.

These are our cows before they moved to “Club Med”  the cow equivalent.

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Minty has a swimming lesson each evening.  While this is going on, Z runs and splashes and runs and splashes.  Once you learn how to walk, every moment after, you run.  Why walk?  So slow.  So she runs.

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The cows greeted Club Med with similar appreciation.  They didn’t run, but they tucked right in to the cool water.  It’s nice to have a splash when it’s very hot outside.

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The calves appreciated the water just as Z would.  In and out.  This one jumped out

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Then he did that calf stare.  See?  The calves stare at me.

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This gal found the cow scratch post.

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Nothing like a pool of water to ease this weather.
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Don’t Eat The Golden Snowdog

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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