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Big Work Day

Jan
8

Yesterday was a big work day on the farm! That is one of my favorite kinds of days–a day when a whole list gets knocked out in a few hours, a list that’s been growing and bothering me for months. Adam, my favorite hired man, was back on the farm after being gone to work out of town most of the fall.

We started with Dumplin.
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That’s right! It’s a HALTER, baby!
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I still have Glory Bee’s calf halter, but I knew it would be too big. Glory Bee was two months old when we got this halter on her.

It was still too big then, and I also kept a collar on her for awhile because I didn’t trust the fit of the halter. They don’t sell newborn calf halters. However, they do sell all kinds of other little halters!
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Over the weekend, I picked up a goat halter and a mini horse halter. These aren’t perfect fits for a calf, but you can make do temporarily. The pink one is a billy goat halter (yes, pink, marked “billy”) and the purple one is a mini horse halter. We found that the pink one fit just right. She’ll wear it for awhile then move up into the mini horse halter, which is a little bit bigger. Maybe after that she will be big enough to move into Glory Bee’s old calf halter.
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She ran around for a bit trying to shake it off! To no avail. I walked her on a lead a little bit, too, and she loved that. Or not. But we will be walking! Or dragging, pulling, fighting, and testing our individual wills. I plan to win.
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Eventually, she gave up and accepted her halter fate, if not the walking part. Possibly, she looks a little angry there. Meanwhile, Adam got to work on the rest of my list.
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I’ve been having trouble with this faucet at the barn freezing.
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He dug it out, found a clog which he cleared, then put rock in the hole to let water drain instead freezing around the bottom of the pipe.
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On to the next project! Last summer, Adam used a creep feeder my cousin got for me at an auction to build a hay feeder for the goats, with a roof to keep the hay dry. It’s built into the fence line of the goat yard so I can toss hay over the fence into the feeder. (This photo is taken from inside the goat yard.)

At the time, I didn’t realize I’d have a mama cow and baby in the barn yard for the winter. Wasn’t really thinking ahead or sure that Glory Bee was even bred. And the trouble is that Glory Bee sticks her giant head right over the fence, which was cut down slightly to make it easier to load hay, and eats the goats’ hay for them. The goats don’t really appreciate that, and neither do I. So I asked Adam to build a hay feeder for Glory Bee backing right up to the goats’ feeder, extending the roof, yet still allowing me access to toss hay into the goats’ feeder while blocking her access to it. Using materials I had on hand already, he got to work.
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On one side, he put a board up to prevent Glory Bee from sticking her head very far in there, but he left the other side open for me to toss hay on into the goats’ feeder. I can also toss hay straight across the feeders into the goats’ feeder. Glory Bee tested how far she can get her head in there.
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She can’t quite reach the goats’ hay, even from the open side.
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Problem solved! On to the next one! And there were several. I’ve had trouble keeping Gwennie contained anywhere–she can break out of anything! Every field. Every stall. She broke the gate off the alleyway one time. I take her everywhere I go, to the store, to the post office, anywhere. She is a car ridin’ junkie. She LOVES to get in the car with me. And mostly she is well-behaved in the car. She knows about how long it takes me to come out of a feed store or how long it takes me to pump gas. But on extended outings, she’s not as good. She gets antsy if she has to wait too long in the car. The other day, she ate the seatbelts out of my Explorer during an extended wait in the car. Adam fixed one of the stall doors to where she can’t escape. I’ve had trouble with my old stall doors since moving here. He’s worked on them before, but I think this time it’s finally right. While other work went on, Gwennie was stalled, testing, and she had to give up. Yay. Then I took her back to the house because she won’t actually be stalled very often, but it’s nice to know that I can put her up, securely, at times that I need to do so.

Meanwhile, Adam stretched the barn yard fence in a few places where Glory Bee had been leaning, checked on a new piece I’d put on my saddle, moved 20 bales of hay to the lower level inside the barn so it will be easy for me to load into the horses’ feeder, filled all my water buckets, and fixed the lock on the back alleyway door. Before he left, we sat down and made a materials list for a three-sided horse shelter with a hay feeder that I want him to build in the “park” field out past the driveway so I don’t have to keep the horses in the back barn yard all winter.
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Once I move the horses and donkeys there, I can open up the front and back barn yards to allow the cows full access, also allowing BP to get back together with Glory Bee. It will give the cows a little more space to move around, and take some of the winter pressure of large animals off the barn yard.
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And now for the big Dumplin news. As if you didn’t know this was coming.
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I’ve decided to keep Dumplin and start a little beef herd.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 8, 2013  

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  1. 1-8
    6:35
    am

    Fantastic idea! Clean meat for sale!

  2. 1-8
    6:46
    am

    Like we ever thought she’d ever leave :-)

  3. 1-8
    6:56
    am

    Eating seat belts sounds like something my Pry would do. He respects the baby gate, so I used to keep him in the hallway when we were gone. Then he started eating the drywall.

  4. 1-8
    6:59
    am

    Boy, did I see that coming. :moo: Dumpling is beautiful. She will make an excellent addition to your farm. Cows are soooo addicting. :snoopy:

  5. 1-8
    8:39
    am

    Sure was a BIG work day Suzanne! Adam is a wonderful find :) I’m laughing here, I kinda knew Dumpling might be staying :lol: I just :heart: her, and the pink halter looks so cute!
    Rose H
    :cowsleep:

  6. 1-8
    9:31
    am

    Dumpling will be a happy girl. She is so adorable. I am glad Adam is back to help. Living in a neighborhood means I will never have a Glory Bee or Dumpling, but Our city council has just ruled folks in neighborhoods may have up to 6 hens. I will be talking to a friend of ours who will be building a coop for me. have blessed day.
    karen

  7. 1-8
    9:38
    am

    I LOVE the last picture!

    Dumplin’: “I.HATE.YOU!” :hissyfit:

    GB: “Woman, WHY did you do this to my child??? Wasn’t it enough you tortured ME?”

    I predicted a week or two ago that Dumplin’ was a stayin’. :moo: Anything that’s named after a dessert instead of a main dish is NOT going on the table. :yes: And her babies will be just as cute as she is and THEY won’t be going on the table, either. ;)

  8. 1-8
    9:54
    am

    Awww… good. I think that’s what our kids will be doing with their calf, when it comes.

  9. 1-8
    10:02
    am

    Good for you. Dumpling should make you a really nice beef cow. All our cows are half Limousin and they have beautiful calves. The best thing now is that you can get a bull to bred your cows and not depend on others. When we first got our cows we didn’t have a bull and it really got to be a hassel trying to get them bred.

    :moo:

  10. 1-8
    10:30
    am

    I SHUTTER WHEN THE WORD “BULL” COMES INTO THE PICTURE.
    THINK OF THE COST OF MAINTAINING A BULL FOR A YEAR???? PLUS THE OTHER FACTORS….I FEEL THAT YOU WANT THE FARM TO BE USER FRIENDLY.
    NOT SO WITH A BULL FENCED IN – I HAVE DONE A LOT OF RUNNING THROUGH THE BULL LOT – CHASED BY THE BULL – CRAZY KIDS… THERE ARE OTHER ALTERNATIVES. YOUR FARM’S SIZE DOES NOT JUSTIFY A BULL. REMEMBER YOU ARE A WOMAN AND NOT SUPER LADY.

  11. 1-8
    10:46
    am

    I’m laughing! Glad Dumplin’ will be having babies of her own some day.

  12. 1-8
    10:53
    am

    Yay! I’m happy to hear that Dumplin will be staying on the farm, and not going away to freezer camp. I look forward to hearing about all of her adventures. :yes:

  13. 1-8
    10:54
    am

    Did you say something else ’cause all I heard was “I’m keeping her”!!! Yay, now I can read posts about her and not cringe :snoopy:

  14. 1-8
    11:02
    am

    All of my experience came from my Grandfather’s farm. He had a large farm with sheep, cattle, turkeys, mules, a silo, fruit trees,
    bee hives and a large general store containing the post office. and a large potbelly stove…We were not allowed to listen to the “stories” told by the men around the big stove and the spit-toones.
    So we were out pestering the bull. ha ha Oh well noone got killed we were all fast runners.
    PS Grandpa always had a cow-dog that would be sent to round up the cows and bring them into the milking gate. If he missed one he was sent back to complete his task.
    Just remember you are now compiling your future “memories.”

  15. 1-8
    11:46
    am

    :moo: Dumpling is so cute in that pink halter–glad that’s the one that fit. I’m afraid you’re in deep trouble, though–all the future calves are going to be super beautiful too, & nearly impossible to part with.

  16. 1-8
    11:59
    am

    Love the next to the last picture. They all hate you! What a hoot. :D

  17. 1-8
    12:53
    pm

    Yay for having Adam back…whew!
    Love his coffee cup holder in the picture, lol.

  18. 1-8
    1:19
    pm

    I just want to give AP a big noogy in the middle of her forehead…sooo cute. Also noticed your territorial seed catalog in one picture. I too am poring over them and noticed how expensive they are this year. I did a little research and thought I’d share that http://www.mypatriotsupply.com/Articles.asp?ID=245 sells much of the same seeds in a package that I plant for far less. They are a bit of a survivalist site but serve my current gardening needs. I received them in the mail this week and they come with a guide also on how to save the seeds from each planting. Pretty cool!

  19. 1-8
    1:57
    pm

    I think the last photo is Glory Bee say, “You’re darn right you’re going to keep my baby!”. :)

    ~Amy in WI

  20. 1-8
    2:10
    pm

    I had to laugh when I saw Adam’s outfit – it was like he knew he was going to be featured on the Internet, so he dressed a lot nicer than in that picture where he made the hay feeder. :lol:

  21. 1-8
    3:15
    pm

    I’m so glad you are keeping her. You made me so attached with all the posts about her I was having trouble thinking of her in the freezer! (Will she be the subject of your annual christmas photo now?)

  22. 1-8
    3:39
    pm

    Have you been mulling over the possibility of artificial insemination? I know you explored it earlier and decided to try sending the girls off to visit a friendly bull but maybe its time to revisit that idea.

    I know that a bull is a BIG investment not only in cost to buy but in the hay, pasture, vet bills, etc. for a once a year “duty”. Or, maybe Dumpling and GB would enjoy a “staycation” at a neighbor’s place with a handsome guy around for a couple of months.

    (Still forbidding hens in my town. Sigh! Good luck Karen.)

  23. 1-8
    4:03
    pm

    Looks like someone gave Adam a shirt for Christmas. :D
    If I recall previous postings you studied the pros and cons of a bull on site and decided against it. Vacations are always nice for the girls.
    She looks so cute in that little halter.
    Anyone want to look at in city chicken coops, check out Portland, Oregon. They have contests for the nicest hen houses. Some are v.e.r.y. nice.

  24. 1-8
    4:08
    pm

    I think Dumplin’ has a stubborn look in her eye. I bet she gives you a run for your money. Like her mama did.

  25. 1-8
    4:33
    pm

    There was never a dout in my mind! :cowsleep:

  26. 1-8
    5:58
    pm

    “Beef herd” as in beef critters to be turned into hamburger and steaks? That sounds like it would be hard to do, especially if they’re all as cute as Dumplin and GB!

  27. 1-8
    9:35
    pm

    I have to tell you that when my children were a lot younger, we decided to raise calves. We went to an auction, bought a calf and brought him home. His auction number was 767. We told our kids that they weren’t allowed to named this calf because we were going to be eating him in the near future. We put him out to pasture. When we arrived at this pasture, we would holler “767″ and he would amble over,turn around, and throw himself into you to be petted.

  28. 1-8
    10:52
    pm

    Thank goodness. I just kept looking at that face and wondering how you could put her in a freezer. ME VERY HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!! She is very cute baby!!!! :snoopy: :happyflower: :shimmy:

  29. 1-8
    11:30
    pm

    Ya know, all those beef calves are going to be just as cute as Dumplin. It’ll be a miracle if you don’t become vegetarian, just because the food is too cute. :lol:

  30. 1-9
    3:20
    am

    I do not have cattle, even though I live in the country. I would love some great beef for the freezer, but between not having a processor for 100+ miles and naming anything with 4 legs, well, it isn’t gonna happen.I have however been around tons of cattle, small and large operations. Unless you are thinking of a pretty good size beef operation, give a.i. another chance. Talk to your large animal vet, your extension agent, or better, a Limo breeder in the area. I can imagine that taking the girls is a headache, but bulls can be a handful. Even the gentle ones. The big old guys can be as friendly as pups, but you keep them from their “women folk”, and honey it’s ON! Some small operations here don’t seperate the bulls from the herd, but they do loose calfs to winter weather. Not good animal husbandry really. The calf is about as cute a calf as I’ve ever seen. Good luck with her and the seat belt munching Gweenie.

  31. 1-9
    6:11
    am

    I’m catching up on the 2013 posts, and when I saw that hay in the barn, I thought, Fire, and not only the barn going but all the hay supply. Might you put in a sprinkler system?

  32. 1-9
    7:20
    am

    I didn’t say anything about getting a bull of my own! I don’t have any plans for that.

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