Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Red Poll Cattle, An Update

It's been a busy springtime for the Red Poll girls, what with burgeoning pastures, new babies, moving from one field to another and temperatures ranging from 30 to 90 degrees:

Gracie has been a wonderful mother although her udder produced much more milk than her baby could use, at least at the beginning. But she stayed even tempered and kindly disposed toward me in spite of her protective instincts toward her calf:

While they were in the north field, they had Shadbush in bloom as a backdrop:

And they spent much of every day lounging in the sun. That smaller animal in the foreground, by the way, was Annie. She was born on March 27 but grew at an astounding rate. Rosella, who was born last August, is almost full grown already and difficult to pick out when viewing the herd:

Gladys, Gracie's new calf, could run like the wind from her very first day. And run she did, as much as possible:

Annie and Gladys stuck together. They stayed with the herd, but I could almost always find one of them beside the other:

The chickens quickly figured out my routine and also learned that the cowbell meant I'd soon be putting bowls of grain down for the cows. And they were not shy about stealing whatever grain they could get their little beaks on:

Gracie, Gladys and Annie:

See anything odd about this photo? Look on top of Annie's head, clicking to enlarge the picture if necessary. She had been standing too close to the rear end of one of the cows and wore a dried poop-cap for a few days:

When I moved the cattle back across the road to the south field, they were happy to reclaim their shady spot beneath the Box-Elder trees:

And they again began eating grain inside the barn, not that the chickens were impressed. They were just as happy to steal grain inside as outside:

And I learned one day that drainage ditches have a second purpose. They're cool and damp, just right for two calves to get into on a hot day:

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dogs And Cats, Cats And Dogs

The cats and dogs are also happy that warm weather has arrived. Even though the cats stay indoors, they enjoy having the windows open and warm, flower-scented air wafting through the screens. Here, Draco was purring loudly in the living room:

Bramble doesn't purr very loudly, but I've caught him quietly purring to himself as he goes about his business:

Georgette is a playful cat, usually acting coquettish atop her cat tree as I walk by. Yes, she always gets petted:

The dogs all collect together on or near the bed when it's nighttime or nap time. I am retired, so I allow myself naps. Jack was underneath the bed when I took this picture, but usually he's on top of it:

And Jack is beginning to join in the dog piles, at least a little bit. I have trouble getting a photo of him doing so, however, because he usually jumps up and runs to me when I get near with the camera. This collection of pets is Jack, Clover, Snoozey, Bramble and Daphne:

A smaller collection, this one consisting of Bramble, Clover and Rocky:

Rocky, Snoozey and Clover. I am particularly fond of this photo because Snoozey was resting his head on Clover's back and purring his heart out:

Fergus, Clover, Daphne and Seamus:

Fergus, Daphne, Clover, Seamus, Bramble and Draco:

Best buddies, Snoozey and Draco can often be found on this padded kitchen chair:

And our beautiful weather has allowed the dogs to spend lots of time outdoors, which they seem to enjoy. Of course they also enjoy being inside. I guess they're happy about nearly everything. Oh, of only we humans could learn to live with such joy!:

The last picture for today is of the Silly Sisters, Daphne and Clover, on a kitchen floor pillow. They live a charmed life:

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Ugly And Stinky, The Lovely And Fragrant

The incredible display is over now, but it was just recently that the orchard was white with apple blossoms and the lawn was yellow with Dandelions. Winters may be rugged here, but spring is pure delight:

The extra large, white blossoms in the foreground were pear blossoms. There was a cherry tree blooming right beside it, but you can't see it in this picture. All the rest were apple trees:

And as if the apple blossoms were not enough, the lilacs bloomed so profusely that the air was perfumed. Simply walking out the door was a treat:

Well, that was the lovely and fragrant. Now for the ugly and stinky. I had a two foot deep layer of bedding hay, mixed with cow manure and urine, next to the barn. I wanted to remove it and add it to the manure pile for future compost:

I found it incredibly difficult to scoop it up in the tractor bucket, but I finally learned how (sort of), and began removing it, one scoop at a time:

Mostly the tractor bucket merely rolled it up into six foot high piles. I had to roll it back the other way and then back again to pull apart the long stems of hay before the tractor bucket could scoop it up (sometimes). It took two days, but I managed to get most of it over to the manure pile. And yes, it was sure stinky:

But lets return to the lovely and fragrant once again. Apple buds are pink, but the flowers are white when opened. They have a wonderful aroma, but I have found that I have to stick my nose right up next to them to detect it:

Here's the fully open, white blossoms:

And a view of the farm house and orchard from the barnyard:

A view from the south lawn. Yes, I took a lot of pictures because I was so enchanted by the great beauty of it all:

More apple blossoms:

And let's not forget the animals. The chickens have been roaming free for many weeks now, but the fantail pigeons took longer to avail themselves of their open window. But they too are happy that winter finally ended:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Few Of The Flowers Of May

Things have been blooming since the month of May began. Apple blossoms, for instance:

And wild Violets in the lawn:

And my old-fashioned Bleeding Heart:

I couldn't neglect to mention the beautiful Dandelions:

And along three local roads I saw strips of white flowers:

Of course I stopped to see what they were and they turned out to be Large-Flowered Trillium. I'd been accustomed to thinking of Trilliums as a somewhat rare woodland plant, but around here they can be a roadside weed!:

And they are beauties, these flowers. Their common name is Large-Flowered Trillium or White Trillium, and their scientific name is Trillium Grandiflorum. Here's a closeup:

And not far from the Trilliums were these boggy areas of yellow flowers:

A little closer look revealed them to be Marsh-Marigolds, or Cowslips:

There is an introduced alien, called Lesser Celandine, which is easily confused with our native species. But Marsh-Marigold has more petals and slightly different shaped leaves. After much inspection of my field guide, I was happy to pronounce these the true native, Marsh-Marigold:

My Rugosa Roses have done so very well that I dug up some runners with shoots and transplanted them to the front of the house. They looked a bit droopy:

But the old-fashioned roses I transplanted last year by inverting a glass jar over them did so well that I decided to use the same technique, supposedly the way the pioneers moved their favorite rose plants with them as they moved westward. I needed a jar with a wider mouth for this one, though, so I inverted a plastic pitcher. So far, it seems to be working:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Red Polls In May

I've been taking so many photos of the cattle this spring that when it came time for this post, I randomly selected every other photo until I had twelve. I'll keep the other photos for possible use in the future. In this picture, Annie and Rosella lounged together near the mineral feeder:

Big-bellied Jasmine was too lazy to get up and eat her grain, so I carried it over to her. Breakfast in bed, so to speak. I guess it's true that these girls are spoiled:

Gracie and Rosella. It's amazing that Rosella is almost an adult already:

Gracie again:

Scarlett and Violet:

I continued to carry grain out to the cows while they were in the north field - less because they need it and more to keep them tame:

When the Shadbush burst into bloom, I took some photos using them as a backdrop for the Red Polls:

And the chickens always come running when I feed the cattle. They scarf up any dropped bit of grain:

I named Gracie's new heifer calf Gladys, after my mother. She and Annie (named after my aunt) became instant best friends, so much so that I've wondered if Gracie might be letting Annie nurse too. I haven't observed it happening, but I've wondered:

Jasmine had to gobble her grain quickly to keep the vultures - I mean chickens - out of it:

Mealtimes became picture taking times. It gave me something to do while the cows ate:

Annie, Gladys and Gracie, a threesome lately: