Monday, March 16, 2015

Long winter's nap

I just realized that I have not written down anything all winter long.  Now that I am looking towards the end of the week and the calendar start of Spring I realized I have had a long winter's nap from my blogging.  That does not mean there was nothing to report, just never thought about it.

So let's get up to date. . . .The pumpkin patches did wonderfully and I sold out of pink pumpkins faster than I expected.  I roasted all but 2 chocolate pumpkins; 1 of which is still hanging around since cows don't seem to think that pumpkins are very tasty.  Christmas time was filled with family and friends and a very emotional Christmas eve church service a year after my grandmother passed away.  January and February found me traveling every weekend to the Tien farm so that I could go to beginner's dance class with Larry.  I know how to dance; so it was so he would have a partner to learn to dance with.  That was fun and culminated with a dinner and dance for both the beginner and advance classes on March 14th.  I am so glad I remember how to dance from my teens and 20s and have not forgotten; it is just challenging to not lead and dance backwards even when trying to teach someone the moves.

Some of the winter weekends found me coming home with kindling or small loads of firewood as we started to clean up around the farm.  My car seems to think that maybe it is a small pickup.

March also brought out the sleeping gardener in me.  I have my seeds ordered and have plans already of a big garden at the Tien farm with pumpkin patches in both Rawlins and Phillips counties.  I am also working to partner with the Rawlins County High School FFA chapter and some local 4H members for growing the pink pumpkins.  Trying to figure out how much seed we all need is proving to be the biggest obstacle right now.

Daisy dog is having a great time at the Tien farm.  She helps with the cows when she is allowed.  She is sometimes a bit more zealous than what they need.  She helps me when we are trying to get them in one part of a feed lot so we can open the gate on the other end for the hay bales to be delivered.  She is so fast and she can jump fences if necessary.  She is also very smart and can look at the different fences to figure out if she needs to crawl through or just jump.  She loves to ride in the tractor and on the 4-wheeler.  Of course, riding in the pickup is always fun.  She can even run up the side of the big round bales and likes to sit up there while the hay grinder is on the yard for grinding silage.
Daisy helping me feed fall cows.
Daisy watching over silage grinding

Daisy looking for the cows

Riding along in the pickup

Warm sunshine means naptime!

Larry has chosen a location for him to build his house on.  I am being helpful as we are currently working on pulling up fencing and posts, moving buildings or taking them apart, and have even had a tree person stop by for tree removal.  That is the big project for the rest of the year is getting the spot prepared for digging of a basement and ultimately building a house and garage that he can call his own home.  It will be great when all the family is at the farm because with the extra house there will be extra bathrooms and bedrooms for everyone to have a little room to themselves.  Some of this clearing and cleaning up includes my garden area so hopefully we will have that ready for planting by the 2nd weekend of May.

So as spring has sprung and the trees start to bud out and the flowers start to emerge from their long naps under the dirt, it is time to think about trimming back the pampas grass, spray the weeds which are always the first to wake up, trim back the flower beds and get them all cleared of last years dried mulch and such so they can bring their beauty forth.  So I am going to be getting the smaller garden spots in my care ready for planting of a pink pumpkin patch, get the mowers ready for the mowing season and try to clean up from winter's drying out.  All we need now is a whole lot more moisture than we have in the ground or it could be a growing season cut short by Mother Nature's design.

Calving season has started with Franklin being the first calf born.  He is all black with a white face.  Black calves are not supposed to show up in the Tien herd so we were wondering who had an unauthorized visitor.

I have been lucky enough to be around for a few of the calves arrival to the farm.  Lucy and Linus showed up on a very cold afternoon and had to go to the warming box for the night.  The next morning we took them to mom in the barn to see how everyone was going to get along.  Linus and mom are back out in the pasture and Lucy was adopted to another mom who lost her calf.  They are doing great as well and back out with the cows too.
On March 15 I helped Larry deliver a very large bull calf who is now being called Pig Pen.  He was HUGE - over 100 pounds.  Mom and he got moved to the barn and it took both Larry and I to lift him up into the trailer.  Mom was working on getting him cleaned up and is patiently waiting for him to get with the program.  As I am writing this I got a text letting me know that Pig Pen is now standing up and doing better as the day progresses.  

I promise to do a better job of writing now.  I guess I just lost the creative juices for the winter or they needed a rest or something.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Daisy the Cattle Dog - checking cows

We must begin with last night and our attempt to have Daisy sleep in the dog house with a cattle panel fence.  The first failed attempt came with the realization that she has some Houdini genes because before Larry got around the barn to the bale, here came Daisy running up to him.  That prompted a fence fixing attempt with a board, some staples and some bricks.  So after securing the cattle panel one more time the second failed attempt was proven.  Larry headed up to finish feeding the cows and sheep their hay for the night.  Pretty soon here came Daisy trotting along like she was not supposed to be in her pen with her dinner.  This time her escape route was not evident.  It was either through the bigger openings or possibly even over the top.  This stunt won her an all expenses paid night in the garage.  So her food and water were retrieved from the dog house and a bed was prepared with the sheets that came with her in my car.  Whether she slept on her "bed" or not, we do not know but she did eat and drink some overnight.  She was ready to go this morning when it was time to go do chores.

This morning Daisy could be seen in the barnyard checking out the spring calves as they ate their breakfast.  She did much better this morning helping Larry with the sheep.  When I walked around the corner to go to the barn in the hopes of washing up some crusty kitten faces, Daisy saw me and came running with her tail wagging and a smile on her face.  I think she likes her new farm and family.

After barnyard chores were done, Daisy and I jumped in the pickup with Larry to go check cows.  This involved 4 sets of cows, sometimes Daisy got to get out of the truck and other times we just counted cows from inside the truck.  On the last group, a Sunday plan changing discovery was made.  First, a whole lot of broken fence.  Secondly, cows in the milo field that were making their way back through the broken fence.  Lastly, a number of missing cows and calves in the pasture with the broken fence.  This meant back to the farm to get fence fixing supplies and the 4-wheeler for cattle checking in the deep ravines.

Daisy and I went with the work truck.  She rides so good.  She likes to curl up on the floor board and has a hard time laying on the seat between 2 people in the truck but she can lay down on the seat if she is encouraged to do so.  Daisy and I headed back in the truck with Larry close behind on the 4-wheeler.  We had the gate opened and were headed to the first spot of broken fence when Larry rounded the corner on the 4-wheeler.  There were about 6 spots to fix, sometimes 2 or 3 rows of barbed wire.  Daisy would get out of the truck and do a perimeter check.  The cows were no where to be found where we were working so she just explored the area around where we were fixing fence.  She was checking both sides of the fence and each time we moved we would call for her with a "Daisy, let's go."  She would jump into the truck and sometimes would let me also sit in the driver's seat.  When the fence was all fixed, Larry took the 4-wheeler down over the hill to count cows and calves, believing they were all back in the pasture.  Daisy and I just sat at the top of the hill and waited.  Daisy curled up on the floor board and was napping when Larry finally came back to report all cows and calves were present and accounted for.  She stayed in her spot on the floor for the ride back to the farm. 

The rest of her day was spent napping in the garage during afternoon nap time and helping with evening chores.  She even will put her front paws up on the wall at the end of the stall and watch Fred take his evening bottle which was just as darling as possible.  So ends Daisy's day.  She is tucked inside the garage, was eating her supper and will sleep on her sheets or in her carrier.

Daisy the Cattle Dog . . . .stories to share

As Daisy was getting familiar with her new farm she was learning about where all the animals were located and checking out animal she had never seen before.  Thus today's story.

The sheep are separated in 2 pens because one group is going to market on Monday.  Daisy and I of course caused a stampede of sorts with the sheep as we walked up to the pens because they are scared of anything new.  It did not take Daisy long to figure out how to run around through an open pen and get to the west side where the sheep were now huddled.  She said something to the sheep, not sure what but they ran back over to the side of the pen where I was standing.  So here comes Daisy, full speed ahead, back around to where I am standing.  So as soon as she got back to me, the sheep took off back to the west side of the pen.  This created a loop where Daisy would run around to send the sheep back to the other end of the pen.  After several trips back and forth I called Daisy and she came running and we let the sheep rest from their laps around the pen.

I knew then that she was going to do just fine and we walked back down to the yard where she then went with Larry to go up to the machine shed and work on getting the combine ready for corn harvest.  She rides very well in the pickup and lays on the floor if no one is sitting in the passenger seat.

Stay tuned, more stories are coming.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Update on Pink Pumpkin Fundraiser

11 days into the fundraiser now. 

All but 2 pink pumpkins have been sold, one of those still not sold is still on the vine.  There are potential buyers for them.

Fundraising goal has been surpassed thanks to some very generous donations I have received both online and in person for my pumpkins that include all of my sugar pies I had picked. 

I have 5 Musquee de Provence chocolate pumpkins still trying to turn in the patch.  These are HUGE, at least 12 inches in diameter.  Reserve yours today before the bugs get to it.

So excited about the outpouring of support that we have decided to plant 75 seeds next year, use 3 pumpkin patch spots and have an even bigger sale to surrounding areas with Saturday hangouts in neighboring towns with a trunk load of pumpkins.

Daisy, the Cattle Dog

Today marked the start of a new forever home for Daisy, the cattle dog.  Daisy is almost 2 years old and needed a new forever home because her family was moving into town.  I went up to Hayes Center, Nebraska this morning and met Daisy and her human before she was turned over to me.  Now I know many of you are asking yourself, what does she need with a cattle dog?  Daisy will be my dog, but even more so she will be Larry's dog.  He is the one with the cattle that needs a little help when moving or working cattle.  So when I saw Daisy was in search of a new home I knew this was the dog for my friend, Larry. 

So Saturday morning (10/11/2014) Mom and I drove up to Hayes Center to meet and get Daisy.  The first order of business was a flea dip bath because she was fighting a few fleas.  Did you know that car washes are also good for flea dip baths?  You do now.  I took a big plastic tub, some rags and a cup  to assist me in the flea eviction process.  Then we had a fun drive back to Atwood.  Fun because I had sheets down in the back with the back seats laid down flat.  At around Trenton Daisy decided she needed a more secure place to ride and burrowed down between the seats onto the floor board behind the front seats.  Now normally you would think sure, there is plenty of room, but the fact of the matter was that is where my grocery sacks were stored, my computer bag, my cross-stitch bag, and both mine and mom's purses, along with an extra water pump for the engine.  So I pulled off to the side of the road and put one of the seats up so she was not so sandwiched down there and we headed into the vet for shots, weight and a new leash.

At the vet, Daisy was the poster child for well behaved dogs.  She sat right beside me, did not pull or tug on her leash and was not barking or whimpering.  In fact, mom and I were commenting on how good of a car rider she was leaving her human and going off with a couple of new humans.  She was quiet, didn't cry and didn't bark.  After we found out she weighed 38.4 pounds, had her shots and got everything all squared away at the vet we headed back to the farm north of Atwood.  Daisy up to this point has been an outside dog all her life.  The only time she is in a building is at the vet.  I did not want to take any chances that she would run off and since we had no dog pen to speak of in the house she came.  Obviously that made the cats very upset and the ones that stayed to witness this dog in their house were 3 sizes bigger from puffing up.  The rest hid under the bed in my bedroom or found the highest shelf possible in the cat lounge to sit on and glare at this dog roaming about their house.  I had a few more things to get done before Daisy and I headed east on the final leg of her journey so she did her best to get comfortable in the house.  She mostly kept track of where the cats were I believe.  She likes to eat cat food.  Mom brought her over a dish with some dog food in it and she ate that with her good manners.  She never would drink from the cat bowls and because of her taste for cat food, all recently filled bowls were put up out of her reach. 

For the next leg of our journey I had the seats up with fresh sheets covering them not knowing if she would want to ride shotgun or curl up on the floor of the front passenger seat.  She had no desire for either of those.  She sat in the back seat like a good girl  when we were going slow through town, but as soon as I hit cruising speed she was down on the floor, stretched out and resting. 

Upon arrival at her new forever home, first she met Larry.  We stopped at the machine shed on the way in so he could see her.  Then we came on down to the house where Larry's mom was quick to come out and meet Daisy.  She and Rags exchanged growls for about 30 minutes and Rags did a lot of circling around us but for the most part they did well meeting each other.  After a walk to the barn to meet Fred the bull calf (that is another story) and see where the kittens eat, we decided to give her a little room to run off the leash.  Now is when the real fun started.  First she had to go explore where Rags eats and sleeps.  Then she checked out the rest of the yard.  Not very exciting - I know - but the visual was so hilarious.  The calves in the barnyard don't normally pay attention to Rags.  But suddenly, they were all lined up at the fence watching Daisy's every move.  When she went behind the lilac bushes we knew where she was because the whole group was squeezed into the corner of the lot watching her.  She never went into the cow lot where the calves were but she did check out the side where momma cow and the twin calves were kept.  She went through the fence and back out like a pro and she did her cursory perimeter check as well. 

I get the feeling that Daisy is going to be the source of some new stories here so stay posted.  Pictures are difficult because she rarely sits still and if she does it is right beside me, one of her new humans.  As I end today's post, leaving out a very animated sheep story that will be told soon in another post, she is up at the machine shed with Larry helping him grease the combine for corn harvest.  Actually I think she is just supervising his progress.

Good evening from Western Kansas!  Giving you a pretty sunset to close your day!