This adorable little girl has found herself a new temporary home in the barn. She was born this morning and her mother (a first time mother) refused to let her nurse. Her mother didn't mind her and would not hurt her, she just wouldn't let her eat. After multiple attempts to get her mother, Snowflake, to accept her, Dave decided we had to give her a bottle and bring her to be raised by us as the rest are out in the pasture. Her mother, Snowflake (named because of the single, white spot on her forehead), was abandoned by her own mother. Her mother actually tried to hurt her. Whenever Snowflake would stand up after birth, her mother would charge her and knock her down. Snowflake's mother was hamburger that following winter and Snowflake was hand-raised. We knew that there was a chance that Snowflake too would turn out this way. As a result of her refusal of her calf, Snowflake too will be culled this winter as we want only good mothers on the farm. Our little girl is half lowline and will be bottle fed by us. So while I'm up for our little guy's middle of the night feeding, Dave will be up getting ready for his little girl's middle of the night feeding.
She seems to be a boisterous one as she charged at Dave when he went to go get her and then ran away as if she wanted him to chase her. Now being a city girl, I found it odd that the animals aren't named until it was explained to me that it's harder to eat an animal you named and have a connection to. However, I have changed a little bit of my husband's beliefs and have named the little girls that we have to bottle feed or needed a little extra attention. Daisy, Daffodil, and Lily are all girl's names we have in our herd. I like to name them after types of flowers because those calves that need us are like flowers; they need lots of tender love and attention to grow. Both Daisy and Daffodil were calves that we never thought would make it. I would spend hours out in the barn with them (David would come too, while Dave worked at school) talking/encouraging, singing, petting them, and rubbing/stretching their legs in order to get them to walk. Some people may find it strange, but like flowers, they really flourished.
Though this little girl is strong and healthy and seems to be flourishing on her own, my next task is still to find a name. Immediately, Tulip or Rose comes to mind, but I just don't think it fits her. I started thinking about Violet or maybe Peony...perhaps someone reading this post has a flower that they have a love of or a special connection to (like Gardenia's always make me think of my Mom-mom) that we could use to name our new baby girl. Let us know what you think.
Next year we would like to focus on providing more vegetables for our customers. What would you like to see? Leave a comment for us.
I just laugh when I hear the comment " I am bored" or "there is never anything to do". Growing up in my grandfather's house I learned to eliminate those phrases from the vocabulary. I still refuse to say it. Not that I am able to. I told my wife "just wait until the silage is in, then it will settle down". Well, I am a liar. We are right in the middle of our calving season. We have had 4 calves in 7 days. We had a nice little bull today. He was not expected at all. According to my calendar he is about 3 weeks early. I am not sure if I lost eh ability to count, or she was early. We should be expecting another later this week as well. That gives us 7 calves to date with 7 more on the way. Keeping track of all these mommas and babies is enough to run you down, not to mention I have had to start supplementing feed as our pastures have not grown back due to the lack of July rains. Well before the sun comes up I cut a load of silage to feed the cows and check the herd while I am there. Then we have to get 250 broilers moved to new grass and fed and watered. The turkeys go with them. On the way by I let out our laying hens and move them to a new pasture before graining them. Then in to shower and go to school for the day (to teach in case you were unaware). After school, animals are cared for again (same as the morning) and then I get into something (normally never what I had planned on). Yesterday was covering the silo and putting about 450 tires on it to hold the plastic down and keep oxygen out. Luckily I recruited the help of a neighbor boy. He did not know what he was agreeing to until it was too late. Today I had to go pick up our boar who is now wrapped in nice white packages. He is currently on the other side of the food chain. I just returned from putting the chidkens away for the night. They stay out until it is dark. Not almost dark, but until you can not see anymore dark. That was ok for tonight, though, because before I drove by them I was breeding a cow for a neighbor up the road. I am not sure what his herd ate, but I have bred 4 animals in 5 days! A quick bite to eat and to bed it is. Tomorrow we start again.....I am sure this compares to the rest of rural America and small farms. We are all alike. The busy are too busy and the bored are not looking for work. I just have to laugh when I hear it, though...."If only I could find something to do."
It's getting to be the time of year in which more worms are found munching on the tops of our sweet corn. Growing up in the city, I was always told that you wanted the corn with the worm on it because that meant that ear was the sweetest ear. True or not, I don't know...my mom usually ate that ear. Some people refuse to take an ear of corn that has a worm in it; we just cut or flick it out (the chickens love them). I know it's good corn if the worms want it. We take pride in not spraying our corn with insecticide. It's not something I would want my children exposed to, so I certainly won't have yours exposed to it either. The truth of the matter is that ear worms are sprayed for when the corn is in the silk stage. That is where and when the moths lay their eggs in the silk. So, this insecticide is sprayed on top of the silk while the ear is inside it being formed. You may as well pick up the jug and take a sip! (At least that is my best analogy). Anyway, I would rather deal with a hundred worms than to leave spray residues on the food we are about to consume. As is, we only spray our corn for grasses and weeds before the corn is ever out of the ground. Without that practice we coiuld never grow the quantity of corn that we do.
Then over the summer some information was re-released about worms in canned and frozen corn. I decided to look it up (now that we are seeing more worms again) and pass it on. For those that are concerned when they see a worm on one of our ears, just note that thankfully you can see our worms, you can't see the worms in the canned and frozen corn. As a result, we freeze our corn (as this is the best tasting and best for us) and I make sure we have enough to last us until the next sweet corn harvest. Generally I make enough that the pigs end up getting a little treat last spring because we don't eat it all.
As per the FDA, Canned corn is allowed -- 2 insect larvae per 100 grams. Or as more specifically written, any insect larvae (corn ear worms, corn borers) longer than 2 or more 3mm or longer larvae, cast skins, larval or cast skin fragments of corn ear worms or corn borer and the aggregate length of such larvae, cast skins, or if the larval or cast skin fragments exceeds 12 mm in 24 pounds (24 No. 303 cans or equivalent) is not allowed. Anything under that is a-okay. (Source: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/Sanitation/ucm056174.htm)
If you want the instructions/recipe for freezing corn, I'd be happy to pass it on. It came from Dave's grandmother and anyone around here knows how wonderful of a cook she is. I've heard stories of people eating in shifts because there wasn't enough room for everyone...Dave's out of luck because my cooking will never compare!
This weekend will mark one of our busiest of the year. We will be harvesting about one-third of our planted corn for silage. This silage serves as the main winter ration for our animals (cows and pigs). The silage is the entire corn plant chopped up and stored in a silo. We have a trench or bunk silo. It is a trench with dirt banked on each side. We chop the corn into wagons that unload out the side. We then drive through the silo unloading as we go. Once unloaded we pack it with a tractor. It is great driving practice for youngsters as it is back and forth lots of times. This part is very important, though, as unpacked silage will spoil. If air is allowed into the center the silage will go bad. Once it starts to mold good luck stopping it. So, we pack constantly. Stopping only to unload. We will get about 30-35 loads in which is plenty to go us through a hard winter. We will spend Friday night, all day Saturday, and part of Sunday chopping. We will pack the rest of the day Sunday and Monday and cover it on Monday night. It will then ferment (yes turn into alcohol) and stay fresh until December when we open it up and begin feeding. The cows will get silage in the A.M. and hay in the P.M. What we do not feed will be put back into the soil in the spring.
We have two fantastic looking calves on the ground right now and probably another one on the way tonight. This fall calving season is new to us but should work to our advantage. We have grown our calves on great pasture all summer long. After our calves are born and we have our momma cows making milk we will be feeding silage. Silage is filled with protein to make lots of milk. Calves drink lots of milk. That math works out great. In the spring our calves will be ready for the greening pastures and rapid growth. They will be ready to butcher around the following January/February. Thus they are really only feeding in the barn for one winter. Most of their growth will be pastured. At least that is how the plan looks on paper. We will analyze it next year to see if that is how it works out.
Thursday my (our) long awaited arrival finally showed up marking the beginning of an era of progress. My first Artificially Inseminated (AI) calf was born. He was sired by a Lowline Angus named Smoky Mountain Awesome. I chose him as our sire for a few reasons. He is a calving ease specialist. All of the bulls I have chosen meet that requirement. In my 5 years back on the farm I have pulled out more calves than I would like to speak of. That trait is mandatory for any bull used in our breeding program. Secondly, the breed itself is known for small body frames and early finishing. They can marble on grass and have excellent maternal traits. The last traits will be tested in the coming years, but the first trait has proven true. A nice little bull was born overnight to a second calf heifer that I had a heck of a time pulling a calf out of last year. This year no help was necessary and she is doing a great job caring for her calf. This guy is the first of many lowline percentage animals we will have on our farm. We are moving toward them as our herd grows. A picture of the little guy will be up shortly. The coming months should be exciting for us as the rest of our calf crop will be showing up. we have 11 more cows due to calve. They have all been through the AI program. Most of them are carrying "smoky" babies, but a couple of our larger cows are carrying a red angus "Impressive". I am very interested to see how his calves turn out as well. We will keep you updated as our herd continues to grow!