Birthday boy

Look at the card that Lilly the cow colored for Wes!  I think Emmi may have helped Lilly.
Wes was smiles early birthday morning, then he threw up, right there in front of Lilly.
So, our celebrating was put off a few days, and Kristen got to come on that day.

Wes is now 11 years old.  This kicks off our string of 5 birthdays in 4 weeks=)

New goats

A Nubian goat family is here.  The baby boy has the neatest coloring.
And look at the wavy hair going down his back.
The family is registered, DH and Emmi are getting serious about goats. 
It was quite entertaining to watch the new goats meet and greet the old goats.  
Emmi is hand milking Felicity twice a day.  I showed her the process, including straining the milk, and she is totally responsible for Felicity's milking every day.  Felicity is giving almost a quart per milking.  


We've been busy


I have 8+ quart jars on the counter overnight, at least twice a week.........
to make 4+ pounds of butter the next morning.  I enjoy doing it, and love the butter, but it is time consuming. 
We found  blackberries in the orchard.
Becky, on the left, NEEDS to go to jail.  She makes me walk across the whole pasture to get her at milking time.  A GOOD cow waits at the gate!
(FYI, many road signs were left on the property, I did not obtain them by illegal actions!)
Many of our mornings are looking like this.  Lots of haze on the mountain top, then it burns off in a couple of hours and gets HOT!
More goats coming tomorrow!

Thankful

Thankful that we are blessed to have a garden!  We did not get to have one last year.
My past attempts at lettuce have not been good, I am very excited.

I thought we would never get the garden planted, we had so much rain!
The garden is not pretty, or set up the way we wanted.  By the time we could plant, our plans went out the window, and we had to just get it done a little each day.
This is a volunteer tomato.  I'm sure I've pulled up other volunteer plants from the previous owner's garden.  Unfortunately I'm not a seasoned gardener, and cannot tell what things are until the vegi actually shows.
Thankful that our hay is finally done.  Again, all that rain interfered.  
Thankful to have a neighbor with hay equipment.
Thankful for eggs, they are $3.09 at WalMart!  That's just for normal eggs, not organic or free range.  We get about 10 a day from our chickens.  I am also thankful that, if all goes according to plan, my last case of chicken purchased at Whole Foods was MY LAST!  We have chicks due to be butchered in July, and plan to figure out a regular hatching/growing/butchering schedule.  

95 degrees and it's not even summer yet

I'm a bit concerned what August will be like.
Three cows in one pasture drank 40 gallons of water last night, plus they have access to a creek.
Seven cows in another pasture drank over 150 gallons today.  WOW!  Water cost more than double here than it did in Birmingham.
I need to get them back out to the front pasture, where they drink from a pond....for free.
Moe got a new collar today.  Girls picked it out, can you tell?  He couldn't stop munching long enough for a good picture.  He LOVES feeding time.  It's so cute, he gets so excited.
Emmi said goodbye to Jennifer today.  
She said hello to money for her increasing bank account though.
Emmi hopes to buy a Nubian tomorrow.  

Hired help

actually she's working for free--sort of.             
Kristen lost her job a couple of weeks ago.  This happened the same week she/we decided to put her house for sale.  It's the house we bought, for her to rent, two summers ago.
We got an offer on the house the second day.
Good news, the house isn't sitting on the market an unknown amount of time, with a daughter in it who cannot pay the rent.
Bad news, it was a low-ball offer.  Not as much profit as we were hoping for, less money to share with Kristen, who needs that sweat equity money to move on.
Kristen ended up being able to pay for a travel trailer to live in, and have money for lot rent, etc.
Today she is working off the last utility bill for the house. 
 We believe in helping our kids, but not giving them a free ride.

After much weed-eating, she helped pull posts and fill holes.  
Also, we have been working on the dam to one of the ponds.  We relocated the overflow pipe, and are filling in the trench made by the old overflow pipe.
Since I did not have to be out helping DH today, I got some things done inside.  
Like making butter.  I'm getting pretty good at holding a glob in my hand and knowing when it is 4 oz.  I wrap them in parchment and freeze them in large baggies.  I pre-weigh to make using the butter in recipes easier.
That's all the excitement here; milk, work, school, repeat.

Ze Bull and another guest

"Ze Bull", as the kids call him, will be visiting with us for a few weeks.  His mission is to mate with Lilly.
Since she is part Jersey, we wanted to breed her with a Jersey bull, so the calf will be almost all Jersey.
Ze Bull is used to travelling around to different farms, call him "Mr. Rent a Bull".  His "family" owns over 600 cows, and sells to the big dairies.  His  owner is a vet, and is who we got Josie from.  
Ze Bull will be visiting again in a few months to mate with Josie.  It is a huge blessing to have found Josie, and in doing so, finding bulls to meet yearly breeding needs.
I guess we somehow made an impression on the man, as he asked us to "babysit" another Jersey as well.  
We've named this girl Becky Botsford, for her time here.  THe busy owner did not have time to milk her.  He did not want to dry her up yet, but did not have enough calves to put with her to drink all the milk, so she needs milking for a couple of months.  In nature, her own calf would be enough to milk her out, and the supply meets the demand.  But breeding practices being what they are, the owner needs 3 babies to put on each cow!  Since the family has been raising cows for generations, and probably know everybody in the county, I feel pretty special to have been called on to "babysit" this girl.
We don't need more milk (currently 7 gallons a day), so I will make butter with Becky's milk.  Currently I am able to make 7 lbs of butter a week, so it will be interesting to see how much I can grow my freezer stock of free butter with Becky's help!

Finally swimming

A week into June, we were finally able to swim!!!  Our weather has been crazy, plus the drama with the pool liner.  Paid for the pool the first week in February, swam the first week in June.
We love the swim shorts from Lands End.  Perfect coverage, with a built in panty.  Better coverage, and less clingy than the skirts.
We got them the end of last summer on clearance; I hope they are still making these!
Nellie (6 weeks old) got a halter this week.  She escaped through a gate at milking time.She got to explore while I milked, then she made me chase her all over the place.  I did have enough wits about me to get the halter that had been bought for her, and get it on her during this time.  A friend left a lasso here when the used our squeeze chute to help in the medicating of some of their cows.  I felt like a real cowgirl, as I was able to lasso the escaped calf!  Of course, kids running her in the right direction helped too.
Our pear tree is loaded.  Very exciting! We didn't have any pears last year in the city.

Beatiful day for a stroll

Moe and Flossie thought so!!
Both of them are PLENTY tame, but need some work with walking on lead.
As a reward they got yummy "yard" grass.
I guess it's quite a treat, being different from what they get in the pasture every day.

Farm beauty





More bullet points from our week

Keeping the grass around the pool dead, until landscaping can be done, is not pretty.
Jennifer was hurt in a playful stampede, which left her laying in the mud, screaming, and with a torn ear.
William is a big boy now, and is gradually being weaned.  
Flossie is one month old.
We have grapes!