Look what we found in the field the other evening!
My husband and I were munching potato chips on the deck and enjoying the evening breeze when my daughter came out to grab some chips and, just before she headed back inside, she looked down at the field. “What’s that?” she asked, pointing. “Who put a calf in our field? Is that a calf? THAT’S A CALF.”
So then we all went sprinting down to the field and, sure enough, Emma had her calf!
I’d been home all day and I still somehow managed to miss it, grr. I’d thought she wasn’t due for a few more weeks, and she looked so much smaller than Charlotte (who is due a month after her), so I hadn’t been paying her much attention. Even when my husband said that Emma had some discharge, it didn’t register.
the little family: Mama, sister, and baby brother
We named him Ferdinand. He and Fiona are full siblings.
In case you need a crash course in the state of our small dairy (it’s kinda hard for even me to keep straight), here’s a rundown:
Emma: A2A2 Jersey. Beginning lactation.
Fiona: a Devon-Jersey cross, Emma’s second calf. We are planning to sell her this fall as an open (not pregnant) heifer.
Ferdinand: a Devon-Jersey cross, several days old. We’ll castrate him and either sell him or raise him for meat (though now that we named him Ferdinand, I sorta feel like we should keep him a bull, ya know?).
Butterscotch: a cross of some sort that my daughter bought from a local farmer. Bred to a Devon and due in a few months (and currently living at our friend’s farm where she hung out with the bull). We are planning to sell her this fall as a bred heifer.
Charlotte: A2A2 Jersey, due in the next month or so.
Fiona has the most spectacular coloring.
There’s nothing quite like a newborn calf to kick our non-farming butts into high gear. The very next day my husband stayed home to clean out the milking shed . . . and wage full-scale war against the rats that have taken up residence under the floor mats.
They flushed the rats out of the walls where they hid and chased them back and forth between the milking shed and the goat shelter.
Lots of screaming and hollering was involved.
It was quite the entertaining morning, what with all of us circling the shed armed with shovels and logs, and excited dogs (who proved their mettle).
rat carcass headed for the burn pile
I mean, seriously. Who needs a roller coaster when you’ve got scrabbling rats to give you a thrill?
While I was down there, I checked up on Fern and Petunia.
The ladies are porking up quite nicely. They go for slaughter later this month. I have a feeling I’ll be swimming in lard.
Now I’m trying to convince my husband to get two more pigs. I mean, with cheesemaking ramping up, I’m gonna have buckets upon buckets of whey, we might as well put it to good use.
This time, though, I think I want regular pigs, not these slow-growing Guinea hogs. Unless their meat is exceptionally delicious, I don’t really see the point in feeding pigs for 18 months when I can get as much meat from feeding them for half the amount of time.
And here’s a shot of Charlotte.
She’s so big she looks like she swallowed a small car. I’m a little concerned she might be having twins. Her last pregnancy was twins that she miscarried at about six months, and I’ve read that cows that have twins often have multiple twin births. I might have the vet come out next week to check on her.
And finally, with the milk tsunami fast approaching, I knew I had to get my next batch of mead going right away (I use my cheese pot to start fermentation), so I spent the rest of the morning blending up a vat of red raspberries and rhubarb and stirring in the honey like some sort of sweet witch.
I guess my cheesemaking break is over!