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Posts Tagged With: farm animals

Better Make Hay

You’ve heard the expression, “better make hay while the sun still shines?”  It falls in the same category as “shake a leg” or “get a move on.”  And while I have no idea how shaking your leg helps get any work done, “better make hay” isn’t just a saying for us.

Better Make Hay While the Sun Still Shines

Baling hay tends to get put on the back burner because there aren’t many cows on our row-crop farm.

Better Make Hay While the Sun Still Shines

The tractor on the left pulls the mower, which does what any mower does.  Behind that is a tractor pulling the red and yellow rake.  The rake pulls the cut grass into rows, ready for the baler.

Better Make Hay While the Sun Still Shines

The tractor drives over the rows of grass and the baler sucks them up, winding the grass around and around until the bale is big enough.

Better Make Hay While the Sun Still Shines

Then you open the baler and the hay rolls out.  (Funny story, round bales roll.  You have to be careful opening a baler on a hill.  There’s a surprising amount of physics in farming.)

All this, of course, depends on any number of things– most importantly the weather.

Fresh cut grass has water in it which evaporates as the grass dries to hay.  Baling dry hay is very important because wet hay will continue to “cure” after it’s baled and the steam inside a wet bale can actually cause the whole thing to smolder and smolder until your hay bale goes up in flames.

Better Make Hay While the Sun Still Shines

We rely a lot on the National Weather Service when we cut hay.  We need a minimum of two sunny days in a row, one for the grass to dry and another to do the baling.  But since no one can predict the future we often see rows of hay like the photos–wet.

Better Make Hay While the Sun Still Shines

This hay was cut with a 0% chance of rain, only to experience several inches and a hail storm.  At this point all you can do is hope it stops raining and the hay can dry out again.

And when you’ve got a sunny day, well, better shake a leg.

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Categories: Animals, Farming | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Because Only Chandler Bing Doesn’t Like Puppies

After reading this post you’ll know that I both binge watch F*R*I*E*N*D*S on Netflix and that I brought home a puppy.

The cutest puppy ever!

We've added a puppy to the farm!

I can remember Brian talking about how much he wanted a black lab before we ever dated.  In 1998.  Just before our wedding (in 2004, if you were wondering) a half-grown yellow lab showed up at his paren’t farm in the way that animals do when you live in the country.  Brian’s plan was to move the dog to our house once we got married, but since we live so close to his parents Ben just kept finding his was back “home.”

Ben is still keeping Brian company when he goes to the farm to work, which is a large portion of his time, so I’ve not thought much about him needing another dog.

Until friends posted pics of their (sort-of black lab) puppies to Facebook.

And Brian wanted one.

And I got to thinking that we take care of two goats, a sheep, 20+ chickens, a dog and two cats as it is.

What’s one more animal, really?

So the kids and I went and picked up the puppy as an early Father’s Day surprise.  I’m so glad we did!

After a few days Brian settled on the name Case, although Thor was a close contender.  This face just doesn’t say “Dog of Thunder,” no matter how funny a labra-thor was.

We've added a puppy to the farm!

Give it time and I’m sure he’ll eat a few chickens and probably my favorite flip-flops and end up on my naughty list, but that’s just the price you pay for this much cuteness!

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Of sheep, goats, and chickens

In the six days I’ve owned a lamb I’ve learned they are only slightly easier than baby chicks to keep alive. The advantage of sheep is they are large enough to avoid predators like opossums or raccoons. Their main disadvantage is that they baa loudly, inviting coyotes for a four county area into the backyard. I’m thinks about setting out a guest book to see who travels farthest.

The new lamb has also reminded me how much the goats have grown! This morning I set out to trim the goats’ hooves. Trimming should be done every three months or so and my calendar kindly reminded me yesterday that this job needed to be done in December. Last time I trimmed Harriet and Fanny’s hooves I held them with my legs and trimmed with both hands.

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As you can see, the much larger animals were not so easy. I had Brian get a few more shots of the process and then he had to help me hold them. Thank goodness, because Fanny’s hooves were pretty pointy, despite the fact that I trimmed them at the beginning of October. A goat in the wild would be climbing rocks and such, wearing down the hoof material, but soft grass just isn’t doing that for these girls! Since feet are vitally important to animals 😉 caring for them should be top priority for goat owners. I think I’ll set my next calendar reminder for February, instead of March!

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By February I imagine Lizzie’s toes will need trimming as well. Thank goodness the chickens will be fine! If only they’d finish molting and get back to laying eggs. Animal ownership– gotta love it!!

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Surprise!

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Tomorrow I’m hosting my family’s Thanksgiving, so you can guess what I was up early this morning accomplishing. That’s right. Bottle feeding the lamb. And if you were unaware that Marshall Farms had a bottle lamb, well, don’t feel left out. I only found out yesterday myself.

We started looking for a lamb this past spring, about the time I came home with goats instead. And when I say “we” I actually mean I called out veterinarian to ask if he could keep his eye out for a good lamb for us. This is not a normal veterinary service, by the way. Out vet is my Dad. :). He had a specific farmer he wanted to get our lamb from and we found out this farmer plans lambing for fall, not spring. And yesterday, just as I was dropping Brett off to work cows with Grandpa, an emergency lambing call came in. Not exactly sure how it happened, but there is now a three week old lamb in the chicken coop!

I think her name is going to be Lizzie, in keeping with the Jane Austen characters the goats are named for. However, MaryAnn and Eleanor are also on the list. Brett wants “Last Born.”. Nuff said. Anna has recently named everything a version of Lacey, but there is no way we are showing a sheep named Licey. Daddy is all for Lamb Chops. Clearly, I get to make this decision. Bt I’ll make the decision later, because I really am having Thanksgiving here tomorrow!!!

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Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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