Saturday, April 30, 2016

It's A Girl (I think)

Amy had been due to calve for eight days and every morning I checked, but found nothing. Her udder grew until it looked as if it would explode. Finally, one morning I looked out my bedroom window at 5:45 AM, just as it was becoming light, and saw Amy with a little calf following her around:

I went out to do the regular morning chores and then, while the other cows were in the barn eating grain, I walked out to see the new arrival:

I carried a bowl of grain out to Amy and took a closer look at her new baby, still wet but up and strong, the calf trailing umbilical cord and mom trailing afterbirth:

While Amy ate her grain, I took photos, all the while trying to ascertain the calf's gender. I've decided that it's a heifer calf although it never lifted its tail for me to get a definitive look:

So I've named her Tabitha, keeping in mind that there is a small chance I have the gender wrong (but I don't think so):

Tabitha nuzzled her mom's neck and I began to worry that she'd never find those gigantic, low hanging teats. But last year's calf had no trouble doing so, and there wasn't much I could do to intervene anyway, so I just watched:

Tabitha lay down briefly but Amy licked her until she stood back up:

It was a lovely, early morning scene:

Mother and daughter:

Blue and Remy (and another cow, Violet) came near, trying to get a closer look. Mom didn't mind me getting close with a bowl of grain but two nosy horses were too much for her and she took her calf out across the field.

I took a few more photos, this one of Tabitha licking her mom's collar:

Later in the day I found mother and daughter, both looking dry, well fed and peaceful:

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Red Poll Girls

We are all happy that spring has arrived and the sun is shining. Rosella just wanted to relax on some fallen hay:

There have been cold nights and lots of mud, but the Red Poll girls don't seem to mind:

The little horses haven't yet tried eating hay from the cows' bale feeder, but they do enjoy dancing close by just to get a reaction:

Jasmine lifted her head and watched me with interest as I walked around, snapping photos while trying to avoid stepping in cow pies:

And when the grass finally began to turn green, everybody was happy:

My animals ate an awful lot of hay this year - more than I had thought possible. That will have to figure into next year's planning:

A peaceful scene:

I was on my way to an appointment when I stopped along the road to snap a photo of my own cattle. This is what many drivers on the dirt road see as they go by:

I have six cows. I found three of them enjoying the waste hay at a former feeding site:

And the other three lounging on the waste hay at the current feeding site. Summer is almost here!:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Around The Farm In April

This is a mix of photos from around the farm at various times, beginning with this Great Blue Heron's nest which my sister and I stopped to watch from the road:

Another view of the Heron rookery. This tree had two nests plus a Heron at its very top:

My sister and I also stopped to watch a Woodcock beside the road. We watched for some time, fascinated by its fantastic coloration, its odd bill and its bouncing, bobby walk. My picture is on the left, an internet picture on the right:

The chickens cover every inch around the house and barn many times per day. They sure do get a lot of mileage!:

And the little bantams love to come inside the barn to cool off and find tasty treats:

They have also begun laying eggs in the bedding hay, a habit I have come to like because I know where to find the eggs and because the eggs are clean when I find them. Some days there are only two:

Other days there are up to nine eggs. I eat very few and give the rest to my neighbors:

This rooster has been non-combative, though his father was a real problem. I suspect that my ignoring this rooster and not trying to make a pet of it have made the difference:

My strange fascination with miniatures found a couple of new items recently. This tiny birthday cake came with four matching cupcakes:

A roast ham and what I think is supposed to be a plate of short ribs with vegetables:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Remy And Blue, Miniature Horses

Some estates have marble statues of lions on either side of their doors, but I have Blue and Remy to grace my barn door:

The grass was slow getting growing this year but Blue and Remy were determined to snip off every little green blade:

And they are nearly always together:

Remy and Blue were wrestling and the cows watched, unsure what was happening - or perhaps they wanted to be sure it wasn't going to involve them:

Remy seemed to have grown taller since I got him. I measured him the other day and he has grown 2" at the withers since I got him, growing from 36" to 38", the upper limit for miniature horses:

Blue grazed while two cows tried to do likewise. It's easier for horses to snip of short grass because they have both top and bottom teeth:

Blue did a bit of fancy strutting:

Blue had several episodes of morning lameness which, it appeared, was from locking stifles. So I quit putting them in their stall each night and allowed them to stay outside all day and night (with access to the barn). That way, they'd get more exercise and strengthen their muscles. This was one of their last nights in their stall:

They do love to run and play, but they also know how to be lazy, luxuriating in the sun:

The ground beneath him had been warmed by the sunshine and Blue was a happy boy:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Spring Romp In The North Field

This blog post was reserved for pictures of the first calf of 2016, but I'm still waiting for the calf to be born, a full week beyond its due date. I'll post pictures of that later, after if happens. But we had a lovely spring day and I took the dogs for a walk across the north field, a wonderful adventure in itself and worthy of a few happy pictures:

I've seen at least four Meadowlarks flying around this field and have found their nests before, so I hoped I might see one today. Alas, I never did although the dogs found lots of small items of interest. I suspected that most of them were imaginary, but they made the dogs happy:

We made our way slowly across the field, the dogs stopping to sniff things or to scan the distance:

Fergus alternated between running ahead like a deer or tagging along at my feet, hoping to keep me happy:

When we reached the fence at the far side of the field (the electricity was turned off), I turned right towards the gate:

I opened the gate and we all dropped down into a gully full of weeds, headed through a narrow strip of woods with another hay field (most of it not mine) just beyond:

I stopped when we got to the creek, but the dogs found it extra fun, and the source of a good, cool drink besides:

But it was time to head on back to the house, so we climbed up out of the gully and back through the gate (which I closed again after we passed through):

Seamus struck a pose to show off his newly svelte body:

While Jack and Daphne went after a Woodchuck which had had the effrontery to dig a hole in the field:

The barn and the farm house were just ahead of us and I began to concentrate on keeping the dogs with me instead of bolting across the gravel road (not that there is much traffic):

It was a spur of the moment mini-adventure, but I returned home with five very happy dogs: