Monday, June 27, 2011

Been Busy

Lotta things going on. Used the incubator in the basement to warm up some of our chicken's eggs; half of them hatched and we now have some almost-ready-to-go-outside chicks. Would have put them out last week, but the severe June storms dropped the temps at night down into the 40's.
A cute little neighbor girl wants to show one of our calves for 4H. She has been coming over every day since he was born. Little LTF Ashley Wilkes has already been banded and his little nuts have atrophied and are about to fall off. He is an adorable little steer - black with auburn coloring, and so stocky! His Mama is Billie Jean, the "boss cow" tough and temperamental. Every day Margaret separates the calf from his family, and is trying to teach Ashley to walk with a halter and lead. They are funny.
Gracie the horse didn't come in to supper with everyone a few days ago. The calf was in the corral with Margaret, and Freckles the cattle dog had herded all of the other cows over the hill away from the corral. I walked up the hill to see if I could see Gracie. There she was, way, way down at the bottom of the third hill, at the tub salt lick. I whistled and clapped my hands. She looked up and started trotting toward me. Suppertime!
Unfortunately the cows heard me too. Here came Billie Jean, mad as - well, a mama cow, straight for me. Freckles was gone, nowhere in sight. Gracie was still a hill away, coming fast, but she wouldn't get to me in time. So, I did what my instincts told me to do. I dropped straight down in a squatting position, and made myself as small as possible. Billie Jean, her big eyes rolling, stopped. She didn't know what to make of me. Had she charged, my legs were gathered under me to roll out of that straight line charge. Even though she is dehorned, being slammed and then trompled by 950 pounds of 'mad cow' was not appealing.
Billie Jean is usually a tractable cow; she will stand for an hour and let me punch and massage her udders and milk her, loves to have her back and neck scratched, loves to take alfalfa cubes from my hand. But a mama cow seperated from her baby is nothing to fool with. Wile Billie Jean was deciding whether it was still worth it to charge me, Gracie came trotting up and put herself between me and Billie. She didn't move until Billie walked off, still bawling for her calf. Then Gracie and I walked down the hill together.
Just another day in the life. I stay busy; now that my job is over for the summer, I am working with the plants, the animals; the town dumped abt 10 cords of wood in the yard from their tree trimming in the park this year and I am working to get that all put away and neatly arranged. It's mostly 'green' wood so it is going on the bottom of the pile, while the wood we got from last year's harvest will be split and stacked on top. Tammy and her fiancee are coming the last week in July and we are looking forward to that. The weather has been weird - very wet and rainy, and colder than normal (today it will get UP to 75 degrees). Egg sales have dropped off like they always do in the summer; folks are more able to go to town and shop, and many locals leave for the summer and go elsewhere; to families, on trips, etc. It is normally very quiet in the summer here... which gives me time to do things I need to do. And then of course there are the forums I write for, as well as my FB friends to keep updated. There are two quilts and a pair of curtains in the sewing room I'm working on; I just finished a 'way kewl apron last week. I also did the final firing on a really nice ceramic pitcher and bowl I've been working on.
I have a lot more energy now; I started using Melaleuka products (made in Idaho) - vitamins that REALLY work, and natural products that don't impact the environment, that are even cheaper than store-bought because they are concentrated. We've cut out most of the artificial food now; grass fed beef and corn-fed pigs come from local ranchers and farmers, my neighbors and I swap and share canned and fresh vegies, and even our grain is grown in South Dakota, a stone's throw away. We are stocked up and content. This fall our first home-grown steer will be ready for butchering; he is strong and muscular and should make good eating.
Life goes on.