Tuesday, April 08, 2008

farm update

the new cow is officially named Rori. all other names were rejected. she is producing a gallon and a half per day. we have ordered feed from a grain mill in Clever, MO. i'll have to make the drive tomorrow and pick it up. leaving after work means that i'm well on my way there already.

the other cows are jealous of rori getting milked. the ration of food that the cow gets while being milked is a coveted thing. they stand around at the entrance and try to get in while tabitha is milking. we need to re-think the entrances. maybe a dutch door will be in order.

tabitha and i scooped all the manure from the field today. i had to construct a compost bin from pallets. we filled the entire thing--many many wheel barrow loads. i make a little rampart from a flat board and drive the wheel barrow up and tip it in. it saves scooping the manure from the wheel barrow to the bin. we cleared the entire loafing area next to the milking shed.

we then forked ruined hay from the last round bale and scattered it around the loafing area. it makes for nice bedding especially during the impending rainy days ahead. we also put some of the driest stuff in the milking shed floor--cozy.

nimue, since her illness has been growing deformed hooves. we have tried to find a farrier without success. finally tabitha and i decided to try to cut them ourselves. i have some flush nail cutting pliers that are just like hoof trimmers. i held nimue while tabitha clipped. we only did a little and will do a little more in a few days. it was hard work even with tabitha's milk-maiden hand strength. nimue would lean all her weight onto me as i lifted each leg. what fun, we are proud for the progress and attempt.

i went to MFA and picked up more woven wire fence and another roll of gaucho barbed wire. we'll be able to finish the lower paddock this weekend. we also need to surround the bees with fence from the cows. we also plan to get another hay delivery of two round bales into the lower paddock. this should go a long way to getting them improving the soil in there. while the cows are in the lower paddock i plan to reseed the the barren areas with clover. we also hope to treat all the cows with whole grain oats while they are down there. this will encourage the chickens to spread the manure into the pasture.

three cows are pushing the bounds of our property. tabitha calls it o'melay-intensive. we collect the manure for our garden and improve the soil using the broiler chicken tractor. the areas where we moved the tractor the last two years are strangely free of weeds and healthy with grass that we never planted. we'll continue these measures until we need to expand further into the "way-back" beyond the ravine. i'll start cutting paths and getting fire wood from there next year. i have been contemplating what sort of vehicle i'll need to get in and out of the "way-back" with wood.

now to answer questions:

wendy, lisa, tansy, suzanne, beth, thank you we have been busting our butts. hard work feels good when you have so many aspirations.

nt moore, if you saw the soil here you'd not believe it. it is mostly rock. digging with a shovel is often impossible. we dig our holes with a HEAVY steel pointy rod. it is used to break the soil (clay and rock) like a pick and scoop it out of the hole usually by hand. even augers mounted on tractors are useless in these parts.

lisa, the kids slept the-sleep-of-the-just both nights.

donna, cedars are weeds in these parts. they are feral and invasive. they are habitat for ticks and chiggers. the "way-back" is filled with cedar. it is just a pain in the ass dragging them to where we can use them.

madeline, hot baths--yummy

hillbilly, still sore today--maybe even worse.

cat, tabitha is due july 24th.

danielle, yes tabitha is a superwoman. passion drives you to take your body further than you thought you could.

note to self: fix roof leak above laundry room.
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