Cow Scratch Time

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It’s that time of year where the cows are extra enthused to scratch on any solid object.  And OOOH they love it.  Especially when we bring them up to the yards.  So much to scratch on, so little time.  They really get into it.

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Which is fine.  Though we have this one barrier to our yards that took a beating when the gutter system gone wrong weakened the underfoot, so the giant concrete pillars would wobble if some massive force … or cow scratch … tested it.

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And OOOh they did.  The herd LOVES a good scratch.  Especially now when the weather is warmer.  We used to park the digger to hold the wall up, but in the last few months, we didn’t need that safety net.

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The top bar is made of heavy pipe.  Except for the last bit … the wobbly bit … that is a plank of wood that has been winning the herd triage battle for years.  They test it, but that wood held strong.  Except for today.  The herd came in for triage, Brent went out to set up their next move and I herd a crack.  Instead of helping him, I manned the corner.  There was a snap in the wood, but it might hold for this round and we could fix it after.

I was trying to think of ways to quickly reinforce the plank while we triaged.  All options involved materials and time.  I stepped away to check the water and I heard the final “crack.”  Quickly!  What material can bind two planks of wood withstanding a half ton animal head in search of a scratch?  Duct tape.  Just so happens, I had some close by.

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I quickly patched with duct tape the two pieces of broken plank together to make it, presumably, stronger than it was before.  As a back-up, I asked Brent to drive the digger round to hold up the fence and detour any fence jumpers.

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Hahahah.  We’ve not had a cow jump a barrier.  Don’t worry.  Except for today.  It wasn’t over my outstanding duct tape improvisation.  She tried to jump over a proper barrier.

 

 “She’s going to jump, Brent”

“Don’t worry, she won’t jump”

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“She jumped, Brent”

Yep, she JUMPED.  Amazing.  We moved her safely with the other triaged cows.  They were a bit on edge, but calmed down soon enough.  Now I’m hoping she won’t remember her super cow jumper powers.

 

… and now this.  Monster Cars in France.

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And We’re Back

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I won’t lie, I got caught up in the election.  But politics aside, we keep on keeping on. Cows need new grass, water bowl needs to be moved, chickens need to be fed.  No change there.

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We are working through stock pile grass.  Brown on top … green underneath.  This is the season when the grass gets greener as the herd munches on.

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Ms. Mouse is a household celebrity.  She has persuaded us that this soft pile of warm is what you want.  “Oh … and I kill vermin.” Ms Mouse cracked and ate a mouse in two minutes, tail and all.  Perhaps you’ve seen her Twitter account.  Alt-Cat.

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The dogs keep it real.  They want so much to be in the field, but really not a good idea … says the farmer’s wife.  So they keep the angry birds off the chickens.  They do a good job.

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We are shifting a lot of chickens at the moment.  Tasty, juicy birds.  You can feed your family with one of our birds.  Even better, our kids help out.  They help out with the cows as well, but to their chagrin, most cow work happens during school hours.

My Jogging Buddy

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Two new calves this day. Brent moved the herd and then went to tag the calf left behind. As he does safely, while the mum was off munching. This gal was not so impressed with getting her ears pierced. ” The calf is running the wrong way,” I hear from Brent on the radio. She crossed to the next paddock and Brent asked for some back-up. I drove down in the truck. She wasn’t running too fast, but steady. She was too far ahead of him, so when I met her with the truck she stopped. Honked my horn to get her to turn around towards the herd. No such luck.

She kept running, running, running. Up the hill to the next paddock. Towards the courtyard she went, I jogging beside her as to not lose her. I used to jog in Discovery Park in Seattle Washington. I worked on my breathing back then which helped for this moment now. So we jogged next to each other. I tried not to panic. Catching a calf in this mode is not easy. They have rodeo events for this situation. Calves are random with their direction. They are fast. They are strong. I without a horse and a lasso, all I could do was jog.

Her tail flicked up, I reached for it, grabbed it then tackled her like a rugby player. I radioed to Brent that I had her. It was all I could do to keep that girl from running some more. She was so incredibly strong and I am not a small woman. She must have been all of two hours old.

We drove her back down to the herd, she found her mum. All is good.

She had quite a motor to run all that way uphill after just being born, Brent called her Motörhead. The photo above is Brent beginning the words, “She’s weeing on me.” I suppose being a rebel by running away and then pissing on the farmer also supports her name.

Welcome Spring, Welcome Mooshroom

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Technically, not Spring yet, but our first calf has arrived.  Brent’s been suffering from calving withdrawal, so it’s nice to get these babies out and tagged.  Her name is Mooshroom ( a Minecraft ref ).  If you don’t know what Minecraft is, don’t worry, it’s still a cute name.

 

Our piggies have moved to a new pad.  They worked the soil well and it was great to get them on to a new project.  Here they are when they first arrived.

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Then they did this.  Ready for veggie patch preparations.
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We moved them here.  I say, “moved,”  but it wasn’t easy.  The three big boys followed the bucket and totally got it.  Yum, new grass.  The two little ones were tentative venturing out to a new paddock with fresh food.  They wanted to stay put, live in mom’s garage, lay on the couch and play video games.  We are used to herding animals.  They are fantastic.  Even when things get crazy, you can move a herd like a magic pen on a Magnadoodle.

These two little piggies were very confused as were we.  “The grass is over there!”  “Pig, what ARE you doing?”  We said.  Finally, we lifted the fence and let them slowly, slowly nudge and munch their way to the new paddock.  Crazy pigs.

This morning, they were sunbathing and enjoying their new digs.

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New Neon Barbie Pink Gate Handle

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Glimmer.  Shimmer.  Shine.  Neon gate handles in the Gers.  All the rage.  This may be the first instalment in our region.  Take in the neon-ness under the sunset glow just before the herd move today.  It sparkles from a distance.  Even the man noticed its peppiness.

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He hauled salt out to the herd just after.  Do you see those black birds in the sky?  They’ve been doing that for a few weeks now. They swarm and fly. The shape changes continuously. Sometimes making a heart shape. aaaah.

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The herd is patient.  Good cows.  They worked the last patch nicely.  And now, they are ready for their next project.

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Thankfully, the grass is still pretty awesome.  Munch and munch.

Sleepy Pigs, Sleepy Cows

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A bit of computer work today.  Not a lot of animal movement.  The sun was strong, so I don’t think anyone was worried.

Brent was busy and off the farm.  I tethered myself to the computer with the door open.   The piggies took a nap.

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The cows are very interested in the pigs.  They like their smell.  Though, they both chilled during the afternoon in their own way.

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I’ll keep posting this blue sky as long as I can.  I’ve never been so warm in December.

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Giddy

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This weather is amazing.  Just giddy.  T-shirt?  Open doors?  Optional fire?  Whah?

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The cows crossed the road today.  Finishing up the alfalfa.  Unbelievable.

Yesterday was sunny, but turned cloudy at dusk.  The herd started out like this.

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This morning they were like this.  Munched down.

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Then, they moved to Vila ( the paddock named after a character in Blake’s Seven ).

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Here’s what they look like crossing the road.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Farm Symphony

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It’s very quiet on the farm.  Usually.  The cows are in the pasture and the chooks are in the back of the farm.  Though, in the morning you can hear the cockerel crow.  He doesn’t know about daylight saving time.  He has a high pitch.

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The cows are mostly quiet.  Except when they munch.  They moo when they move.  If you put your phone on vibrate and lay it on a plastic table, when it rings, that is the sound of a cow in the distance.

So many noises, yet so quiet and peaceful.

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It wasn’t until the pigs arrived that I realized that we were missing that bass.  These pigs have a low snort sound.  They run to see you snorting this low sound.  They squeal high when challenged or picked up, but generally, their sound is low.

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With the alto cows, the soprano cockerel, the piggy bass and the child percussion, there is music to be made.

Sheep you say?  Highly unlikely.  We’ll bring in the retrievers dressed as lamb.

Flavor Flav

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The herd is still munching through the alfalfa.  I feel like I keep saying this.  I keep saying this because it’s October and we usually feed a bit of hay by now.  But not this year.

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Brent is still planning the route through our alfalfa fields.  Alfalfa is great for flavor.  Flavor is what we’re after.

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Today Is Pretty Much Over

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It all happened so fast.  We got a lot of shit done, but when you reflect, you think to yourself, ” wow!  that thing happened  this morning!”  All good here.  All great.  Still haven’t checked the mail, but sometimes no gah-newz is good-gah-newz.  Minty took a pano shot of our hallway.  I thought it was creepy.  I worked with her to turn some knobs and creep it up a bit.  Gotta love living in an old Gascon farmhouse that hasn’t been touched ( other than some windows and doors ).

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Hot today, but with the breeze the cows seemed cool with their paddock.  We moved them after Brent returned from the butcher.  We are selling super fancy steaks this week.  We tried our “rumsteak” as we do and were happy with the flavor and  tenderness.

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The sun and moon were battling it out in the sky when we moved the cows.  They moved well.  We had to push them through the lane because they were munching the grass in the lane.  This part was planned, we took our time and they arrived in California, the vineyard turned pasture.  Happy as a cow.

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Shoe wear today was the Brown Blunnie.  I do love shoes, so I feel like I should share with you what foot attire might step foot on our pastures.  These Blunnies are veteran cow mover shoes.  A bit slippy and no good in the wet, but they rock and roll for any given cow triage.

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The herd moved to California, the paddock.  After the big move, they stopped and ate.  Great to see.  California hasn’t been munched for months.

I caught a calf milking while mom was trying to eat.  I do loves me some milk nose.

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