Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring is Here!!

Seems like a cruel joke to rural people in the north east to have the official first day of spring in the middle of March. Wayne at the gas station was cranked up. I guess he was tired of people telling him it was the first day of spring. Dave went in just as he was telling a customer that the official start of spring was to be at 1:30 pm and that the weather was to jump up to 75 degrees and leaves will magically appear on the trees. Well something like that. Bruce, Dave, Tim... everyone else we ran across had the same feeling about spring. Kinda like politics. They tell us the was is going great... we don't believe that anymore than we think the flowers will be blooming under 3" of snow and 20 degree weather...

Moonbeam has graduated to standing cows in her cow surfing. Dave found her on 336, who stands next to Frosty. 336 is a smaller Ayrshire heifer we got out of Vermont. THe goat apparently jumps onto Frosty, then leaps up to 336's back. The cow loves it. She makes the lip movements she does when I curry comb her. It is a new service that is offered to the cows... Goat Massage. We'll see if milk production goes up.

Had to ship Harriette. I have to get the words to the song that Elizabeth Smith's interns made about her. She didn't breed back. Old cow. She was so crampy with arthritis in her back and hips. We loved her. Bull of a cow, but she was one of our characters.

Claire had a fit when Wayne (WrattenDVM) was doing the herd check. See, when a vet checks to see the reproductive health of a cow, he sticks his whole arm up a cows butt. Based on the feel of a uterus, lumps and bumps, where the CL is on the ovarie, etc. he can tell us if a cow is pregnant, missed a heat, not right... We checked on the Kerry cows as well. They are housed near the heifers because they are a smaller animal and to keep them cleaner, they are there. Claire's heifer is there. Her pet, Sun Cow. (Sun is a theme with Claire. Everyone has sun in the name lately).

After Wayne left, Claire had a talk with Dave about what she saw. She already knows that boy calves are sold to Unger. We keep the girl calves to milk. But the arm up the butt to see if she is pregnant was too much for her. She told Dave that he wasn't to breed Sun Cow. She didn't want her to have baby's. Oof. Poor Dave. She is only 3 1/2 years old and we have to explain aspects of the facts of life via the dairy barn experience... After that was cleared up, she then announced that we have to have the "sex semen". Sexed semen is new on the market. Kinda expensive. Through various patented methods, semen from bulls are sorted and dairy farmers can inseminate cows with semen that has a greater liklihood of having a heifer. Well. How did Claire figure that one out. I am not sure of the exact parts of the conversation, only making it brief, but some how she listens to us (selective hearing) and already understands that there is a way to make sure her heifer's babies are heifers and can therefore stay! I'm crazy impressed and SOOOO glad Dave had this conversation with her, not me.

Milk price is "going into the crapper". Our pay price is $14.10/hwt. this month. Going down. I'd like to see what the impact of rural communities will be economically with the Dairy farmers predicting $12/hwt milk again. Independants already dropped 12-20 farms regionally. Not so good. We know a metal guy who closed his doors due to high accounts recievables and our dairy supply man (Tim) was talking about how pay at delivery people are asking for credit. Harriette went, not just because she was old, but because we wanted to pay our electric bill on time.

We are making more cheese. So much for gradual shift to processing again. Already sold out. Found a 4# wedge of Honey Gouda in back of cooler. Circa wants it. Have a waiting list for April 8th cheese! Making Caerfili tomorrow and Gouda the next day. Looks like we can do twice a week cheesemaking. There is also call for cheese classes. With the milk price going down, it is a good time for offer these workshops. We want to pay off all working loans before Bush sends interest rates up again with his trashing of the economy.

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