Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What's Happening Around The Farm

Summer has surely awakened me from my winter stupor and I've been busy. Remember that old fashioned rose? I read that the pioneers took shoots from their roses, stuck them in the ground and placed a gallon jar over them. So I tried it. Alas, it looks to me like the poor cuttings are baking inside the jar. But I won't give up until they've had a month or more to get started:

The Peonies began to bud and the Mountain Ash bloomed:

The neighbors proudly showed me their five day old heifer calf and her mom. Both were beautifully colored and the cow had the biggest udder I've ever seen. I was told that she does have a big udder, but in this case it was still swollen from freshening, or beginning milk production:

I built a free choice mineral feeder so the cows could eat as much or as little as they wanted, whenever they felt they wanted some. It worked nicely, except that they also used it to scratch their heads. I'm not sure how long it will last with 1200 pound cows pushing on it:

I put up temporary fence posts with a single strand of electrified wire across the middle of the big field to keep the cattle out of half of it. They were eating only the grass, leaving just weeds to grow and reducing both the quality of the pasture and the amount of hay I'll get this year. Now I have 3 sections of pasture closed off to them:

Gracie was due to come into heat one day but instead, Violet (who I'd thought was already pregnant) came into heat. I called the artificial insemination man and, just before he was to arrive, called the cows into the barn for grain. Then I shut the barn door to keep them in there:

They milled around and munched on hay until he arrived. Then we began closing the gate on them, crowding them more and more into the corner where the entrance to the squeeze chute (that aisle on the left) was located:

Violet was the first cow into the chute. I locked her head in the gate and gave her more grain. Then the A.I. man checked inside her to be sure she was in heat. He said she was very much in heat, meaning our timing was good:

"Hey, what's going on back there?"

Then he got the straw of semen out of the storage tank (liquid nitrogen) and emptied it into her. She didn't seem to mind. Now, if she doesn't come back into heat in 21 days, I'll know that at least one cow is pregnant:

My neighbors began haying their fields:

Hay in windrows basked in the sun beneath puffy clouds. As brutal as this past winter was, the summer so far has been glorious:

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