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Posts Tagged ‘building’

Here’s some new pics of the girls, closer up.

Ellie Mae

Cranberry

Norma

Eleanor “Lannie”

I’ve been a cow owner for almost 3 weeks now, and have been milking Ellie for over 1 1/2.  I’m SUCH a wimp- I can only get about 2 cups worth of milk before my arms and hands give up on me.  In my defense, Ellie’s been “holding up” some on me, but mostly it’s because I haven’t milked a cow since I was a teenager (and didn’t do much then, either!).  But she is very nice, workable cow.  I milk with her tethered in the field (no stanchion built yet) and she usually stays pretty still for me, even when the grain is gone.  It by no means is meeting our 5+ gallons a week that we use, but it’s a start.   Here’s my first day’s produce.  I get about twice that much every day right now.

They cows are much happier now that they can be free and together in a pasture rather than on a tether.   I think they missed being able to interact with each other and it made them a little crazy.

  

The first section of fence got posts (compliments of John, my parents, my kids, my brothers tractor and my grandpa’s post hole digger) while I picked up my Chantecler chicks the day before Easter.

      

John helped me to string the top wire for that section and he and my dad put in posts for the second section this past weekend.  I’ve been plugging along at stringing barbed wire since then.  I got a small section done when Norma unclipped her halter on the water bucket one day.  Rather than try to catch her, I just figured I should get the pasture done. The cows have eaten anything edible in the small section already, so I got the rest of the fence done yesterday afternoon so they wouldn’t hate me for starving them.  They were so happy to have fresh grass!

The calf is still tethered so I can keep her separate from mama, or I’d get NO milk.  We managed to catch her once to get the halter on, but couldn’t catch her again without that lovely rope clipped to it!  Cranberry is gentling down a little, but has a ways to go.  Norma and Lannie won’t really let me touch them yet, but at least they’re in the pasture now so I don’t have to try to move them anymore!

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We’ve been looking at our goals for the year and trying to decide project priorities.  This of course all comes after taking care of the kids!

Major priority number 1:  We’ve been planning to build a masonry heater since the time we started drawing our house.  Now we’ve reached a point that we can take some more definite action.  We’re talking with someone who knows how to design them, digging out our supplies, and brushing up on all the information we’ve collected over the last few years.  Hopefully we’ll be able to have a drawing in hand over the course of the next several months and start building it this fall/winter.  I’ll share some more of the details as plans solidify for us.

Major priority number 2:  Chickens.  Okay, a much greater priority for me than for John, but he’s willing to let me do this one this summer.  The plan is to double our current garden space, divide it in half, and enclose it.  This will let us run chickens in one side and garden in the other, switching sides every year.  The idea is the chickens get to clean up the goodies left from last year, including bad insects that can over-winter in the garden, as well as scratching things up and making “deposits” for the following year’s garden.  It’s an idea I ran across at backwoods home that I think would work well for us.  I’ll let you know what kind and why later.

Major priority number 3:  The garden.  Last year was our most productive year so far, and I’m hoping for even better this year.  I’ve ordered most of my seeds.  I’m trying heirloom varieties, with the hopes of being able to save some of my own seeds for next year.  I doubt I’ll get into saving any of the biennial crops this year, but we’ll see.  I’ve also selected some less common varieties to try. More about what I picked and why later.

Major priority number 4:  Alright,another major priority for me.  John’s not thinking it’s a good idea this year, but I just can’t help but keep an eye out… I’d like to get at least one Dexter cow to milk.  Eventually 2-3 on a staggered freshening schedule to meet our milk needs.  Right now we go through 5 gallons a week, and the girls are only 2 1/2 and 1!  The major obstacles right now are time (of course) and a barn.  For some reason, the garage isn’t available to me for this purpose ::)

At some point, I’ll have to do a posting of our goals for the year.  Maybe it will help us stay a little more on track if I have to check in here with how things are going!

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