Saturday, April 22, 2006

Two little pigs and a sore knee

Claire named the pigs "Sun" and "Moon". Everything is stellar to her. Most every name invloves sun, moon or star. Ok. Dave named some of this years heifers "Lake Effect", "Spot", and "Whimpy III". My Pomegrant goat became Karo after Dave fed him Karo syrup, injected him with Se and Pen G to save him.

We also have a "Ringer". She was technically named that after it took 24 bags of Lactated Ringers to keep her going after she had this persistent scours that was going through barns in the area a couple of falls ago. Most people let the calves die. We put her on an IV, charcoal boluses and electrolytes with her milk. She lived and is due to calve this year.

Lisa and John stopped in after dropping a gas tank off at Metals N Trucks. Doug was going to try to fix it for them. They kinda got a little lost coming back and found themselves above our farm. They stopped in for my roguey coffee and a short conversation. While going out to the barn to see the baby pigs, I slipped on the wheelchair ramp (for Marcia) and twisted my left knee. It is swelling behind the knee. I elevated it and then took some asprine. I think it becomes stiffer as I sit around. (like now). I have to beeswax some cheese and put dairy dishes away. We'll see.

I was suppose to shear the sheep this weekend. They are awful wet. The knee gives me enough excuse not to do it, but I's like the Green Rabbit ones to go down the lane and Gary Champine is busy I guess - he isn't calling back too fast. I know he had a hard time of it at Lisa's, but for a handful of sheep he is ok. It is the 50+ sheeps flocks that he is too old for.

Well, off to the Fedco catalogue. Have to look into apple, pear and raspberry bushes for this year.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Last of the Calves

Annie's heifer lost her first calf. It was dissapointing. She was on schedule. Not sure if it was born dead, or if something happened while we were giving a tour, handling cheese or fixing fence. Dave and I brought the heifer back into the barn. Her udder isn't much. An Ayrshire. Dave will try to milk her tonight.

Musketeer's heifer had a bull calf yesterday about 1:20 pm. A funny market fellow. He is out of a Scandanavian Red bull. We are trying to work on fertility and components in the dairy herd without loosing production. Dave figures he'll keep this bull calf to raise for a herd bull next year. He isn't taking to bottle to fast, but that happens with dairy bull calves sometimes.

Dave brought the Hesston 530 baler and Grimm teddar to Devon Lane (Belchertown, MA) yesterday. Well, actually he came back yesterday. I milked at Bruce's Wednesday eve so he could go to an insurance training session. I then milked our cows while Dave drove everything back in the Kirby trailer. He made it. The next morning Ken drove with Dave to Belchertown to drop the baler off. Irony is that Massachusetts has driven real agriculture out of business and suburbia is expanding so fast, yet we can make more money on our used equipment in MA than if we tried to sell it here in NY... I dunno. Dave then drove back. We loaded up the two bales for rent of the trailer and brought them back to Lisa. I made cheese last night.

Cheese. I was up to about 12:30pm making Gouda. Good yield last night. I was sleep walking during the last turning. Had to straighten one 2# wheel out and the baby's didn't press as well as expected. Have to get a small scale to weigh each baby to make it more standard. One big one and the little ones around it don't get fully pressed. pH dropped a wee lower on those baby's that didn't press overnight becuase I had to add more weight to it and let it sit for a part of the day to get it to nit nicely. It worked. Brined then and now they are sitting in the drying room to be waxed.

Will have Donna out to do a cheese class in June. That will be nice. I like to have the input from all cheesemakers. Elmond doesn't see the point, but I guess that is the difference between wanting to learn how to make great cheeses and wanting to make what you think is a good cheese. I'm not the industrial sort. Maybe there is a happy medium. I think about things too much.

Got the Ta set from Margaret. I'll be switching to that. $137 for a Ta or get a proper pH for $300+. I erred with Ta. Besides Patrick and Kathy Biss both figured that the Ta was a better measure of what is happening with your cheese.

We got our whey management system today. Tim dropped off two Hampshire/Yorkshire cross pigglets today. He was meeting with Jay Graham and family. We all thought it was a good time to drop off the piggies. They are small. We had the,m in the pen with Kiwi and the two kids (hers and Heather's fall kid). Kiwi wasn't overly nice to them. Had to move Kiwi and group down to the pole barn/paddock. They will move to the pig pen at above the manure pit for a bit (they are crazy small now). Dave will try to work on it over the forcasted 4-days of rain.

Never got the fence completed. Cannot find the charger from the sheep/goat management area. That and Dave had another "attack". He goes under the knife on May 5th. He figures I cannot do things, so is frantic to finish EVERYTHING before the surgery. He is a bit of a jerk before surgeries. I'm use to it now, but it does ware on you. 2 1/2 weeks to go.

I shear the ewes and rams over the weekend. I want them at Green Rabbit farm by next weekend. Wormed, vaccianted and hooves trimmed and they are good to go. Good luck Green Rabbit. I hope the fences are on. Sheeps love mesculin mixes... I think they'll do a good job, I just hope they learn to judge the sheeps need for ample water/green grass before they learn the good old fashioned way...

We've made a deal with Claire to get 2 chickens this summer. She has to do some chores to earn money to feed the birds. She tried to get Grampy to make a chicken house for her. We'll see. She does have this odd ability to walk up to these birds and pick them up any time she wants to. They see me and run like heck in the yard. I can pick the eggs fair enough (without a peck), but catch them when they are free in the yard... that takes talent.

One more cow to go for a few more weeks. I think there are only a couple more before summer, but I think the bulk of them are fresh now.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Fences Make Good Neighbors

Well that is my theory at least. We got ugly when Tom's heifers kept getting loose when he and his wife went on holiday, knowing the fence was down and figuring his neighbors would fix it...

We are rebuilding whole lines of fence this year. Dave has been furiously ripping old fencing out. We'll at least finish the perimeter and work with the temporary stuff this summer for interiors.

Sheeps and goats require the 5 strand minimum. It is a nice idea for heifers as well. Cows only need 2 strands. We'll do the perimeter 5-strand. Just in case sheep or goats want to go for a walk. I'd prefer it to be in the farm, not on the road.

Claire is busy throwing rocks into the stream bed. Dave figures it will stabilize it some and Claire loves the sport. It's funny she have named that stretch of stream (or rather "river") "the Jungle". Didn't think that those leaveless trees and bushes could look like a jungle, but not a bad idea really. These is the "Big hole" too. This is an erroded bit on the lower stretch of the "river". Kinda a miny grand canyon effect. The previous owners brought fill in and let the stream make its own way. With heavy rains for two years and then drought, it took a toll on the stability of some stretches.

We are going to fence off the stream. We did take it out of the EQUIP program because they wanted 40' stretches and that would take up the whole blooming pasture. We are going to plant bushes and maples along the stream. I also want to encourage the tiger lilly and wild iris's like we had in Chesterfield. Oh, they were pretty. I looked in a book on native endangered plants for NY and they are in there. I have to return the book, but it gave me ideas for the plantings I want to do for the buffer stretch in the southern part of our farm.

The surveyers have finished in the swamp. There is going to be potholes, maybe a nature path and some plantings to improve the swamp. We should be meeting with the designer/contractor some time this week. I was firm about invasive species and told him I was more interested in native wet land species. Theresa did say that they could get us wood duck houses and the like if we sign something about maintaining them. Gives us more reason to have a path I figure. Some of the wetland vegetation is pretty cool. We already have Canadian geese, wood ducks, peepers, coyotes, deer (too many), foxes, musk rats, porcuipines, littel weasles, owls, a red tailed hawk, some chicken hawks, and other creatures. Claire and I also find a lot of fossels in the stream beds. I'm not sure if that is native to this property or brought in with the fill. The little shells look pretty awsome.