Sunday, June 16, 2013

Getting Motivated

The Bigs put up the temporary fence between the chicken coop and the barn.  That's Toothless behind the fence, looking much prettier and much less evil without his winter fur.  He has a bit of an attitude right now- Nelly's in heat.  Overall though, when none of the girls are in heat, he's still pretty much a big baby.  I'm reconsidering butchering him this fall.

This is where we'll be digging down to the water pump.  You can see that it's still a muddy mess.  The water to the coop has been shut off in the basement for over a month now, and this area still hasn't dried out.  The plan for now is to dig it out, then cap off the pipe where it splits off to the barn.  Hopefully that will solve the problem.  We'll have a better idea once it's dug out.  For now the critters will be kept at a safe distance, and the boys will have a safe work area.  Well, except for the goats, who have yet to meet a fence they can't go over/under/around or through.  I won't be surprised to find a goat or two in the hole from time to time.
Mary Jane and Max

 The calves are doing well on pasture, Mildred, and 4 bottles per day.
They like to sleep in the original turkey shack (it was here before we bought the farm), so I guess my plans to tear it down are on hold once again.  It's not really a problem, just an eye sore, although it does contribute to the snow build up on top of the hay lean-to. 

Mildred seems to be part goat as well.  It seems we were spending more time catching her and putting her away and patching the fence than we did even with Casper.  We now have five strands of barbed wire on the yard fence, better gates, and a cow who still gets out and wanders four or five times a day.  She doesn't wander far, and isn't hard to catch, and was actually at the point that we'd find her grazing in the backyard or the ditches, tell her to get back in the yard, and she'd put herself away. 

The yard grass was getting pretty short, so we tried tying her out in the back yard on a stake.  First she broke her halter.  Then she broke the lunge line.  Then she pulled the stake out of the ground.  Every time she broke free she had had enough of the long grass and was on her way back to the side yard to feed her calves.

Finally, the other day as we came back to the house with a load of firewood, she was out in the ditch.  I drove past her, parked my quad in front of the wood shed, and put my chainsaw away.  I was about to go and get her when she walked up the driveway to see what we were doing.  She stood there eating the long grass in front of the wood shed while we unloaded.  I pushed her out of the way a couple of times (she was blocking the door), and kept talking to her as we unloaded.  We left her there when we finished, and watched her put herself away about fifteen minutes later.  I didn't think we'd ever have a friendlier cow than Nelly, but it seems a milk cow has a very distinct personality of her own.

At that point I gave up.  She isn't going anywhere, at least not for long, so what is the point of trying to keep her fenced in?  We opened up the gate, so now she is free to wander.  She goes in the backyard, or out by the garden, eats her fill, and returns to the hay lean-to to chew her cud.  With the side gate open she is staying out of the ditches, which is probably safer than when she was sneaking out, so, so be it.

I still want to finish the fence from the edge of the turkey pen to the corner of the yard, and put gates across the driveways, to try to discourage her from going out on the road, but for now I'm giving her the freedom to mow the lawn as she pleases.  Over night she still gets locked up in the chicken pen.


The last batch of chicks I incubated are doing well.  They've doubled in size.  I was out of chick starter when they hatched (the larger birds are on a mix of cut corn and duck grower, along with all the weeds and bugs they can eat).  I took equal parts corn, oats, barley and ground them up in the magic bullet.  I added some pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, and oatmeal.  They're doing well on it, along with a handful of weeds every day.

Notes from Daddy
Grease is cheap and easier to apply than fixing mechanical parts.  A trailer hitch is a ball joint and ball joints need grease.  I greased my quad today, including the trailer hitch.  I'm not sure exactly what I'm doing, so I just gobbed grease on anything that looked like it should have it, or used to have it, or might rub. 


  1. I love the attitude of Mildred. I love how she just wants to go out for a bit and not run away forever. The more you talk about goats, the less I want them. I don't like goat milk or chevre, so that only leaves me with goat cheese and butting.

    Notes: Repeat these to your children and that they are from him. I don't think too much grease hurts mechanical things. But, what do I know.

    1. Goats are the most illogical critters we keep. We don't milk 'em and we don't eat 'em! They are supposed to be a purely profit making venture for #1, hardy har har... He generally sells one billy per year, but this year he won't even be doing that. We lost Sheila's boy and Mama never delivered. They're more like pets than livestock. I can't imagine not having them, because they're very entertaining, but I can't imagine ever having a whole herd of them either.

    2. All the butting would be annoying. Plus, I have heard of adults and children being hurt. And, the escapes and jumping on things--pure bedlam for me. However, I can imagine how entertaining goats can be. Actually, when I was young we had a goat for a short time. Why? I don't know. But, that goat wanted in and thought he should be allowed to play on the piano. He was not much of a musician, but you could see he knew he was making the sounds as he ran on the keys. Some of the goat videos are hilarious. I had forgotten about his venture.

  2. i love the crazy goats and can imagine how entertaining they are to watch! Mildred seems like a good dog to me - ya know, the ones that go for a stroll but always come home. the notes from Daddy are awesome and i hope that they will be a regular feature. i love all the pics!

    your friend,

  3. Mildred sounds like she's very comfortable in her own skin, so to speak. What a smarty! I hope you find a solution to the water issues soon.