Thursday, August 6, 2015

Varmits on the deck

Last week on an evening I was actually home there was a bit of excitement at my house.  I was sitting in my office trying to upload pictures to facebook when I heard a horrible growling sound come from the living room.  I got up and came out to see what the fuss was.  There was Chevy sitting on his cat bench staring out the french door glass at some unseen enemy.

As I looked out the other glass door I could see the problem.  There on the deck was a raccoon eating the cat food it had pulled down off the ledge, spilling the food all around.  The raccoon was not very old, or should I say not very experienced, because it looked up at me as if to say (read in your best cartoon animal voice), "hey there, what's up?  I am just grabbing a snack since all the cats were inside, so don't mind me any cause I am not concerned about that growly cat on the other side of the glass."  Yes that is exactly what that raccoon said to me.  His face and body language spoke loud and clear.

So I calmly turned away from the french doors and walked across the house to the other side where my trusty 0.22 rifle was leaning against the wall by the other door.  I picked it up and walked back to the french door.  Now normally, the wiser wild animals would see me coming back and take off.  Not this guy.  First I walked over and switched the yard light on to illuminate the deck and west side of the house.  Next I came back to the french door, took the safety off of my rifle and slowly opened the door.  Again the raccoon looked up at me coming out of the door as if to say, "Oh you are back?  Look, this was just knocked over and me and my buddy here were passing by and figured if your cats were going to be that careless we could at least help clean up the mess."  The next thing he knew I was yelling at him to get off my deck and to stop eating my cat food.  The raccoon turned slowly to leave as I raised my gun to shoot it.  One shot laid it on the deck where it kicking its feet like it wanted to run but couldn't because his legs were now parallel to the deck.  Then I yelled again and told it to get off my deck because I didn't want to have to clean up a bunch of blood.  About that time I heard the 2nd raccoon exit stage left rustling the leaves of my pampas grass and taking cover under the deck.  When I looked back the raccoon I had shot was gone.  I looked beyond the deck and did not see anything dragging itself towards the windbreak so I figured it had gone under the deck to die.  Oh great, that is just what I need (I thought).

I got the broom and cleaned up the rest of the spilled cat food.  Picked up the dish and took it inside.

Sunday evening when I came home my worst fear that the raccoon had crawled under my deck and died was verified.  When I pulled up on that side of the house to unload the car from the weekend I could smell the distinct smell of death.  Great, I thought.  I took a walk to the gardens to check on them and on my way back I was surprised to discover that the raccoon had not in fact died under my deck but rather beside it.  Right there in plain sight.  The death beetles were already hard at work on the dead body but I couldn't have that stench right there by the deck where I want to work on my project for the next week or so; and I especially did not want it out where the dogs would easily find it when they got home on Tuesday.  So I grabbed a bucket and my shovel and removed the dead body from its resting place.  Cremation followed in the morning when the wind had died down and I could burn my trash.

So you see - you never know what is going to happen on the farm.  A lot of the time things go on all the time and I am just not there to observe them, but on the rare occasion I get to, I might just have a story to tell.

Gearing up for Pumpkin Season

I have not had much of a creative writing streak these past few months and for that I apologize.  Sometimes my stories just take a while to hit me.  Maybe it is because my creative energies are working in a different way.  Let me tell you what has been going on.

Firstly, I am working hard to be a master gardener or maybe I am just trying to be a better gardener.  Either way, I have 3 gardens in 3 locations this year.  This takes a lot of work and thankfully I have help where the biggest garden is located.  That is also where all my creative ideas have been working on other projects because by this time next year there will be the beginnings of a new house that I will get to call home and with that comes lots of creativity needed to make it comfortable, functional and easy to live in but not look like it is brand new out of a box.  But back to the gardens; I planted 200 pumpkin seeds this year.  Yes 200!  I have 100 pink pumpkins in a patch all their own on the East farm.  In another garden plot there I have 7 other varieties of pumpkins, none of them being the normal orange jack-o-lantern style.  At the farm I call grandma's, because that is who used to live there, I have another smaller patch of 10 pink pumpkins with a volunteer baby boo left over from last year.  At my house I have 2 patches of approximately 18 each of the pink pumpkins.  With all of the pink pumpkins growing, I have decided to continue raising money for breast cancer research by selling my pink pumpkins and sending the funds to 2 different foundations - The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation.  Between these 2 wonderful foundations I will split 75% of my proceeds of my pumpkin sales.  All of my pumpkins get to help, not just the pink ones.  My plan is to set up every Saturday morning somewhere in NW Kansas the 5 weeks prior to Halloween with the last sale culminating in a special presentation to a Lion's Club in Shawnee Mission, KS for my sorority sister, Kimberly Morrow.  So if you are in NW Kansas and see a dark blue hatchback with a royal blue canopy in a parking lot, that is likely me selling pumpkins.  Come and see what I have and get yourself a fun and unique pumpkin.  Look for banner too as it pictured below.  My fundraising website is listed on it and if you can't get to me to get a pumpkin, you can always donate to my fundraising efforts.

Secondly, my creative energy has been channeling into designing a house.  But it does not stop there.  I am trying to envision everything from the skeleton parts to the electrical and plumbing and just where all that will be located, how it all fits inside the walls and then once all of that is set, what will it look like when a person walks in.  Of course, I see a finished product in my mind, but making what I envision come out and appear in real life, that is the true challenge.

Third, I am trying very hard to find a creative way to make my life work.  I feel like I am stretched thinner now than I ever was when I had a child under my care.  I work 2 part time jobs and try to help my family and my future family on top of that which is another part time job essentially leaving me no time for myself.  My house is a mess.  The cats are almost certain that I have abandoned them and whenever I am home they are all glued to me like they fear I will disappear again for days on end.  No one ever told me when I was a kid that being a grown up was such hard work.  None of my teachers in high school sat down and told us what real life was like or all about.  That would have been a great educational tool to have but as I look back I realize, we were confident teenagers who thought they had it all figured out and that there was nothing we couldn't do successfully.

Finally, forgive me for the lack of blogs and quirky stories about life on the farm.  If anything has been going on, I have not been around to observe it and weave it into a fun little story for you to read.

Stay posted, pumpkin selling starts in about 6 weeks and surely that will bring some stories around.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summertime on the farm

Sunday, June 21 ushered in the longest day of the year and the start of summer.

The things I love best about summer are varied.

I love the fireflies - they go about their nightly display as if on queue and greeted me Sunday evening with a dazzling display in the waning sunset and shortly there after flitting and twinkling about in the grass, my holyhocks, the wheat, the trees, everywhere.

I love sunset after 9:30 p.m. because even though I only get to see the very end, sometimes that last bit of twilight is the most beautiful as the stars in the skies start to show but the sun is still adding its glow on the horizon.  I was able to enjoy both edges of night time this way.

I love the night sky.  My most favorite night in the summer is August 12 when the Perseid meteor shower comes through and I can sit outside in the middle of the farm yard where I have no light pollution and watch the meteors fall for an hour or 2 before I make myself go to bed.

I love sun tea.  I always have some on hand and use a very old recipe that is tried and true.

I love my birthday so near the 4th of July so I can have sparklers to celebrate with.  The downside is that I can't do fireworks on my birthday if the wheat is still in the field because it might catch fire and I surely could not blow those candles out.

I love watching the wind dance through the wheat fields as it ripens and dries out the heads just before harvest.

I love the song of the summer night chorus when the crickets and birds and other bugs sing their songs together in one beautiful serenade.

I love to watch my garden grow.

I love to go to the cabin in the Rocky Mountains and unplug from the hectic daily grind, reconnect with mother nature there and find my inner peace in the sound of the wind blowing through the pines and rustling the aspen leaves in my favorite aspen grove.

The last thing I love about summer is that when it comes to a quiet close my most favorite season starts and that means pumpkins, Halloween, cool, crisp air and football games on Saturdays.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Daisy the Cattle Dog - farm work

This past weekend was supposed to be tree removal day but due to all the rain we have had in the past week to 10 days it got rescheduled because it was just not deemed dirt stable enough for a tractor and a big bucket truck required to drop a whole elm tree and manuvering to trim other trees around what will be the house location.

So instead of tree work, we continued to work on the clearing the build site.  That includes 2 more border fences that have to be removed so we worked on the longer of the two.  First was the 2 rows of barbed wire.  This was easy enough until it got to be time to roll the stuff up.  I failed barbed wire rolling and Larry took over that task as I continued to pull staples holding the fence to the posts.

 Now this is a story about Daisy - she was my supervisor the whole day as I was working on this task.  She would lay down next to the fence and watch me.  I never could get her to dig at the base of the fence post where the dirt had actually buried the bottom row of staples, but she was encouraging with lots of loving licks and shaking my hand for a job well done.  She also was busy doing border patrol to make sure no stinky varmints bothered me while I worked.  We had seen a skunk run across the county road that goes through the farm the night before.  The long fence is now rolled up and all that is left to do is pull the posts.  So progress is being made.

Daisy would also help me check on the garden growth by walking through the garden with me.  Of course, she was not as careful about where she stepped and I am sure there was more than one plant that got a paw push.  Her new responsibility is keeping rabbits out of the gardens so the plants can grow big and strong.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Serial Miller Moth Murder now. . . .

I have to admit that I am officially a serial murderer of miller moths.  Actually I have been for a long time, but I am finally ready to admit such.

They showed up the last week of May and every night I am armed with my weapon of choice - the fly swatter - and I kill every single miller moth in the house that I can find.  In the mornings I open the french doors to let cats out and there is always a cloud of millers trying to escape the safety of the door jamb where they have nestled into for the night.  Morning murders are especially fun because I have help - the meadowlarks (Kansas' official state bird) will swoop down and pick them out of the air for a tasty morning treat.

Just the other night before I went to bed there were no less than 6 in my bedroom and that is a sacred room where no miller moths are allowed to live for any length of time.  I killed 5 almost immediately as they were gathered around the door.  Easy targets really, hardly any sport in the murder spree.

Then last night it was another onslaught in my bedroom but this time I was ready for them.  I had finally found my backup fly swatter and was armed as I entered the room.  I used the bathroom light to lure them away from my bed.

They have also invaded the office and so I have a secondary murder location with dead miller moth bodies strew about.  I think it is almost time for a clean up and that will require enlisting the help of the vacuum cleaner to help me dispose of the bodies and leave no trace of them behind or the murderous carnage that I bestowed upon them.

There will be window washing and possibly curtain washing as well before the cleanup is all finished but for now I fondly look forward to the end of this season because I am just getting to old for all of this.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Farm Bureau Financial Services official pink pumpkin

Just a quick portrait update on the official FBFS pink pumpkin plant in the planter box at the office.  Just like kids they grow so fast and so I will be adding updates through the growing season here so check back on this post to watch "Pinkie's" progress.  The early baby pictures are on the other post about the gardens.  So we will watch Pinkie grow from this post from this point forward.

June 2, 2015 - friends are fun to grow with.

June 10, 2015 - Pinkie is really growing but so are his friends and it looks like we will have some more flowers soon.

June 23, almost 2 weeks later.  Pinkie has really taken over the flower planter and is spilling over onto the sidewalk.  Now comes the challenge of keeping the vine from reaching out and tripping small children.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gardens are planted!!!!

Yes folks you have read that correctly - multiple gardens are planted this year.  There are 2 plots at my house, 1 down at Rogers Farm and a HUGE garden at what is lovingly called the East Farm in Phillips County.

I suppose you could count one more garden if you consider a container outside the Farm Bureau Financial Services office a garden because in there is a single pink pumpkin plant that has emerged after 1 single seed was planted there at the end of April just for fun.
May 4, 2015

Friends arrived to encourage happy growing on May 5, 2015

After a rough couple of nights of freezing temps the group is still alive and the FBFS pink pumpkin plant is growing by leaves and bounds.
So what do I have planted in all these locations you may wonder?  Are you wondering that?  At my house there are 2 plots; the east garden plot houses 18 pink pumpkin seeds and approximately 15 gadzukes zucchini seeds.  The west garden plot has approximately 18 Oriental cucumbers, 20 saffron yellow summer squash and another 18 pink pumpkins.

Down at Rogers Farm is a little monster patch of approximately 10 pink pumpkins.  Considering how they took over last year, I think that will be plenty.  They are designated to grow for fundraising for the Atwood FFA this year and hopefully will be just as fruitful as last year's group.  There was even a volunteer pumpkin plant come up so it will be fun to see what kind it decides to become.

Obviously from the picture taken the morning of June 2 shows that I need to do some weeding and get this patch mulched.  So that is now on the schedule for this week.

The HUGE garden at what is lovingly called the East Farm in Phillips County is where I have veggies in the main garden to include pickling cucumbers, Oriental cucumbers, gadzukes, saffron squash, regular zucchini, green beans and 12 tomato plants.  

Picture 1 - oriental cucumbers

Picture 2 - 12 tomato plants

Picture 3  -pumpkins in the garden.  Hard to tell which row this is.  There are blue skinned, chocolate skinned, bat wings, baby boos, lumina ghosts, sugar pies, and warted pumpkins this year that will be for sale.

Picture 4 - Green beans galore!

There are 2 dedicated pumpkin patches and where "Nancy's Pumpkin Patch" is officially located this year.  If you want special or unique pumpkins, that is where you want to go.  There are 100 pink pumpkin seeds planted in the dedicated pink pumpkin patch.  Then the garden plot houses another 7 pumpkin varieties of approximately 10-20 seeds each.  That means there are over 200 pumpkin seeds planted in my gardens this year.  That should be plenty to sell to raise money for breast cancer research and to have to decorate your porch or table during the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays.  

Garden management is always hanging around - today's group is fluffy boy, little books, and orange boy.  They made sure we stayed on task of getting soaker hoses laid out and weeds hoed.

 Nancy's pink pumpkin patch.  89% up at this point.  Look at how lovely those little plants look.  

Friday, May 29, 2015

Cowgirl lessons continue, day 2 - the squeeze chute

Who knew what all that metal contraption could do?  Now those people who read this who have been around squeeze chutes all their lives probably know more about them than I was shown this day but these are my lessons and I still don't know how to operate all the levers and releases.  To make things easier, we worked calves with this squeeze chute. 

Obviously when you are working calves it is hard to get pictures because someone would have to be the designated photographer, but working calves is the priority so unfortunately you get to see me with the staged pictures and no calf in the chute. 

First there was the working of the momma cows.  They each got a shot and dowsed with fly deterrent goop. This was accomplished by corralling about  10 at a time in a very small area.  Larry would stand up on the fence rail and reach across with the syringe giving each a shot in the butt and then hand off the syringe for the fly goop sprayer.  This was done with relative ease as Larry's dad was also on the gate side of the area facilitating the gathering of each small group of momma cows.  The calves were already separated and not happy to be away from their mommas.  Once this was done it was time to turn our attention the calves. 

Now one thing to realize is that both the calves and myself had never experienced this before so we both were very confused and a little unsure about this big metal contraption.  Timing is huge I found out because if you were not ready with the right lever to catch the calf on its way through the chute it would shoot right out the other side and you would have to start all over.  So I helped to coax the little ones into the chute and did not partake of any of the levers that captured its head on the other side.  After everything was done, shots, branding, ear tags if necessary I let the little one out the head captured end.  Most of the time the calf and I were not coordinated and it took several tries to get the gate to open and the calf to push or pull at the right time with its head so the body could escape.

As we worked through each calf I was surprised to find out that the chute actually would rotate so that the calf could be laid on its side for shots and branding to be done with a lot more ease and safety for all concerned, humans and calf alike.  

Let's see if I can remember the exact process:
1.  Sort a single calf from the group into the small holding area to the left side of the picture.
2.  Identify gender for immunization set.
3.  If identified as a bull calf, then the extra step of preparing the rubber band for placement and steer making.
4.  Immunization loaded in syringe and given to shot administrator (Larry).
5.  Tilt calf on side for branding and band placement as gender dictates.
6.  Lock chute upright and release.

I would not say that I passed this part of my lessons with flying colors.  I am still not sure how to work all those levers or what each of them do and the minute you add a calf in there that weighs a few hundred pounds adds a new level of difficulty to the whole scenario.  I think this is a lesson that is going to take a while to learn.  It harkens back to the old adage of practice makes perfect.  Larry has had years and years of practice.  I will likely never get to that level but I still can be helpful and that is all I strive to be!

After all the mommas and calves were immunized, gooped, branded and ready for the summer pasture we loaded them up into the trailers and headed west to the summer pasture; 2 trailers, mommas in one and calves in the other.

The cows and calves are all out to the summer pastures now so the cowgirl lessons have come to a summer break of sorts.  I am sure in the fall when my brain is geared to pumpkins there will be a refresher course offered and I will hopefully get to be involved in some of that activity.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

How to transport a queen sized bed in a compact hatchback

My sweetheart of a boyfriend decided that I needed to sleep better and with less pain.  We are slowly purchasing items and materials to build us a house in the near future.  This past weekend we went furniture shopping for beds and dining room table and chairs.  Struck out on the dining room furniture, but did manage to get 2 very nice chairs for our eat at counter for the kitchen.  That will be our spot when it is just the two of us.  Then we checked out some of the beds.  We found one for the master bedroom - had to order it but paid for it so we are guaranteed to get one before they close up shop.  Then we found another gel memory foam mattress that can be put on a platform bed or box springs.  It will be perfect for the guest bedroom on the main floor.  Until there is a guest bedroom on the main floor, it is going to live with me so I can sleep better at night. 

Transportation to the Tien Farm:  So we bring the bed and the chairs back to the farm in the back of Larry's farm, no problem.  Chevy Silverado, lots of room for a mattress and 2 dining room chairs.  Then we unload the mattress and put it in my car and take the chairs to the trailer house where other items are being stored.  I know what you are thinking - how did they get a queen sized mattress in a little hatchback car?  Well the proof is in the pictures below.  The secret is, the bed comes in a box all compact and snug.  It won't be "unfolded" and stretched back out to its original size of 60x80 until I take it out of the box which will not happen until Tuesday evening.  Very cool product and I can't wait to see how well I actually sleep on it.

Cowgirl Lessons Begin

Cowgirl lesson #1 - Sorting fall cows

The afternoon started out with the wearing of the cowboy boots and being assigned a sorting stick.  There were rules to sorting that I had to learn quickly in order to pass my sorting lesson.
1.  Pay attention to ear tags.
2.  Don't get run over by circling momma cows.
3.  Assess cows by visual cues.
4.  Keep track of which ear the tag is in.
5.  Use the sorting stick to poke cows in the butt, encourage them to move with a gentle tap on the back side or smack on the head when the cow comes straight at you with that look in her eyes.

First activity was getting the momma cows from the lot up into the sorting pens.  This required all 4 of us.  My job was guarding the section of lot where the windbreak wall was so they did not go hide in the corner of that particular area.  Cows really like to bury their heads in the corner so you cannot see them and they cannot see you.  So here I am with 2 sorting sticks, one in each hand, so I can be a much longer visual cue to the cows, guarding the windbreak area of the lot.  The 2 class teachers were chasing the cows with 4-wheeler and on foot, trying to round them up and head them into the direction desired.  Success was had relatively quickly and easily and all cows cooperated and went into the first sorting pen without incident.

The next activity involved being a little more up close and personal with the cows.  Now was the time to really put my understanding of the rules into play.  No 200 tags, no skinny cows, only white tags.  So here we go, chasing about 15 or so from one sorting pen to another making sure we got some white tagged cows.  Then we opened up the holding pen to get just the white tagged cows in for loading.  Sometimes a cow would escape the holding pen as we were getting another one chased in there and we would have to start all over.  There was one red cow in particular who was very stubborn and was refusing to be sorted into the holding pen.  First group was made up of 8 white tagged cows so Larry's dad could take them to a special pasture as they will be sold later on this summer.  The next batch was 6 red cows to go to a small pasture by themselves. 


Time for a real test.  Activity #3 was moving cows through one area into their assigned pasture.  The next small load of 8 were sorted out and loaded to go to the pasture behind a field.  This was were I got to do some transporting activities.  So Daisy and I headed up to the pasture where this group was going.  Our test was to pick them up and drive them across the first pasture to the gate in the northeast corner and down the alley way to the other smaller pasture.  Daisy and I chased them with the mule and were doing really good all the way to the gate they were supposed to go into.  Then the cows decided that they were going to go left and not right.  So now they have circled around the entire perimeter of the pasture they are not supposed to be in and are quietly munching on grass down by the road they just got transported in the trailer on.  Of course, going down in the mule to get them was not really an option; so I grabbed and extra sorting stick from the back and trotted myself down to where the cows had congregated.  Then giving Daisy the order to head them back up the fence line to the gate and we were off.  Daisy running and barking at them to get them moving.  Me following behind trying to run in cowboy boots, waving my sorting stick and telling them to get moving.  By the time I got to where the mule was parked up on the top of the ridge, they were half way to the gate.  I was able to catch up, well sort of, enough to keep them from rounding the corner and going back down the fence line to the south which would have been just a total back track.  Pretty soon I hear the other 4-wheeler and here comes Larry with a smaller group of cows.  They did the same thing, except they just went straight to the bottom of the draw in the corner without the whole circling of the small pasture option.  So he comes up the hill with them along the fence line and into the alley way they go.  Who knew?  Daisy and I thought we should get an A on that test because even though we had to do some extra work, we accomplished the goal without wrecking the mule, losing a cow or getting kicked!

Daisy and I discussing what worked and what did not, happy we were successful in the end.

Then back to the sorting pen for one last sort.  This was the rest of the white tagged cows and the few gnarly cows that were going to be sold soon.  Now my job was to find the cow with the toenails that are about 6 months over due for a pedicure.  So instead of looking at heads, I was looking at feet.  Of course she was buried clear back in the corner, with at least 4 cows between her and me.  I finally got her identified and slowly was able to get the other cows to part ways and let me get to her.  After that, she went into the holding pen easily and off they went into the trailer.  This made a total of 38 cows gone through and sent to their pastures for the summer.

One last group to move.  This was the biggest group, 33 of them.  This was supposed to be the easy move because we just let them go back into the lower feedlot area, open the gate by the road, let them cross the road and drive them through the corn stalks to the gate in the northwest corner that takes them to "grandfather's" pasture.  This was pretty successful and Daisy had a blast barking her orders to cows and chasing them in the direction of the gate.  When she gets tired she rides in the mule with me.

So ends cowgirl lesson #1.  I think I passed with flying colors.  I was not told I failed so I am going with a passing grade for that one.

Fred and I discussed it and he agreed that I passed and did a wonderful job.

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.