The 2016 Winter Farm

I feel like every year I post about winter at the farm, and every year it’s the same thing. That said, I find comfort in structure and familiar things, and it’s my blog, so let’s do it.

It’s been a super mild winter here in Maine, at least compared to last year. Tomorrow alone is supposed to be 40 degrees which is admittedly a little bit insane and ridiculous. I really wish we would just get slammed with a blizzard. Just once. It’s not winter without a blizzard. I’m pretty sure the ladies and gents up at the farm are pretty happy though to not have weather colder than a witches tit.

This past weekend I went up to do my annual “I’m cold. I’m feeling claustrophobic. I don’t want to move but I have to move.” photos of cows at the farm. It gives me a chance to get out, to stretch, and to most certainly plan all of my ways of escape should the bull become ornery and decide I’m not welcome. Granted, this has never happened [knock on rock hard manure]. They are all super well behaved and curious. I’d say pretty friendly to boot.

So with that said, here are the 2016 stars of the farm.

DSC_5957DSC_5970DSC_5980DSC_5995DSC_6004DSC_5955Finally, it wouldn’t be the same without the shy one:

DSC_6015The one who tries to eat the camera:

DSC_6017Or the sass masters:

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Et voila my friends, there you have it. A 2016 winter at the farm.

Stay warm, but don’t forget to crunch around in the woods some.

xo,

Heather

Farm Update: June 2013

It’s almost hay season on the farm, with a few more weeks to go before harvest. This time of year also means it’s time to do one of the more glorious farm aspects—mucking out under the barn with the tractor. Our tractor is small enough to fit under the barn with the roll bar down, so that means every May or June Andy heads on down and gets to work.

DSC_4926-01DSC_4927-01There’s no two ways about it, a barn filled with fresh manure in the hot sun smells like roses. Roses that the cows have eaten and then digested and then crapped out.

DSC_4937-01Good job ladies and gents.

DSC_4928-01DSC_4936-01DSC_4931-01 DSC_4934-01It honestly doesn’t take too long to do, maybe 30 minutes or so. While it doesn’t get all the manure out, it gets enough. We could shovel the rest out but the farmer doesn’t seem to worry about it so neither do we.

DSC_4956-01DSC_4957-01 DSC_4959-01Eventually some of the fresh manure Andy mucked out will age and become compost for the gardens, while the rest will be spread back across the pastures to keep the greens populating that the cows love. Where some might find pungently horrible crap, I just think about the fact that it gives the cows more food to eat as the seeds in the manure re-seed the pasture, and with the composted manure it gives many of the neighbors soil an extra boost of nitrogen to help our gardens grow big and strong.

Some people might say happy life, happy wife but I think it’s happy animals, happy life. It might not rhyme, but it’s true.

xo,

Heather

February Farm Update

It’s been a while since we visited the farm, so while I can’t look at anymore sheet rock photos for a while I thought I’d stop in with a quick farm update. By “quick farm update” I pretty much mean “lets look at tons of photos of cattle with some information thrown in.”

First, the upsetting news. Do you guys remember the calf I called Roxy? The first one I ever saw born? She was a beautiful Hereford and Red Angus mix, center in the photo below. I loved her markings and she had a quirky temperament. Well, unfortunately Roxy is no longer with us. We aren’t sure what happened. She seemed okay but after we sent a few cattle to slaughter we heard a lot of mooing from the farm. We all assumed because there were no signs of sickness, that maybe it was because they were worked up. Unfortunately, the farmer found her a few mornings later and she had passed. We’re still not sure what took her but it was a hard one. She was a damn near perfect hybrid of Hereford and Red Angus and was a great cow. She was going to be around for a very long time. By the time she was found there was no way to process her so her life proved at least worth something. It was most definitely sad.

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The herd is also pretty small now, so losing her was a little more of a hit. The farmer wasn’t planning on breeding again this year but here is where we hit the hopefully happy news.

After much “neighbor nagging” as he once said to me (in a very loving tone and a joking glance) he decided to breed the herd again. So, he brought in a Hereford bull from an outside farm for a couple months, in hoping something would happen. The bull is since gone, and no one saw the process (bow chicka wow wow) but we’re crossing our fingers. There were definitely ladies going through heat cycles so we’re hoping come late summer we’ll have some baby calves up at the farm. As much as I love cattle I am admittedly not some cattle expert, more like a novice at best. That said, I’ve been reading up a lot (how else do you get educated besides reading and learning first hand?) and I’m trying to go up each weekend to see if I can catch any signs of a heat cycle. We could do a pregnancy check in a little bit but they never have in five generations. Have no doubt that I’ve watched videos and read up on how to pregnancy check a cow and I would suit up with a shoulder length plastic glove in about two seconds flat if they wanted me to check (after further extensive research).

So while we wait to see if there are any calves on the way, let’s look at some photos. That’s all what you’re interested in anyway let’s be totally honest.

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I couldn’t end this post without two very special photos. This sweet moment…DSC_1794-01…and of course, a Hereford photo bomb.

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All for now from the homestead!

xo,

Heather