Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March Madness

March Madness continues on the farm as well as on the basketball court.  What we thought may be a quiet Saturday in fact turned into quite the opposite.  I started off the day with taking JM to a baseball clinic at the school this morning.  Then, after lunch, we walked the cows and discovered a heifer struggling to have her calf.  Roger got her into the calving pen and went to work pulling her calf.  It was a large calf and required more than just normal pulling to get the calf the rest of the way out.  I helped him gather some more calf pulling equipment, and we were able to get the calf out in time to save her. 

Our new little girl!

She turned out to be a very spunky little girl.  She got up quite quickly and was looking to find her own lunch.  Mom and baby came through the delivery very well and are getting along fabulously.

This is another very special little baby.  He was born on Wednesday and is the son of one of our very important mothers, Sally.  His mother was a bottle calf of ours from 5 years ago.  She came to us from Roger's dad when Sally's mother died giving birth to her.  The day she arrived at our farm it started to snow, and we had a 3 day blizzard.  Sally immediately became part of our family, and we decided she would stay with us as part of the cow herd. 
Sally has managed to give us great calves and is a good mother.  She is still very comfortable when we are around her and her babies.

 Later this afternoon, JM decided he should go out and take a walk through the calves to make sure everyone looked OK.  I looked out the window and saw him walking through the yard so I went back to what I was doing.  I thought it was taking him a long time to come back to the house, so I looked back out the window to see if I could find him, and there he was.......standing in the same spot I last saw him.  I called out the door for him to come back to the house, and he replied that he wasn't able to because he was stuck.  I seriously couldn't believe that he was literally stuck in the mud!!  I started to laugh, got my coat and boots, and headed out to "pull" him out of the mud.  He was stuck all the way to the top of his boots.  Oh...and I also managed to grab my camera on my way out the door.  This had to be a moment to remember.  Roger pulled back in the yard as I was heading out there to JM.  Good thing he was there to help.  I don't think I could have gotten him out as clean as Roger was able to.  I think this was a good lesson for him to watch where he is walking.  But, we all had a good laugh anyway!

This is a job for Tow-Mater!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mud Pies

Happy first day of Spring!  The beginning of this wonderful time of year brought us a nice little thunderstorm early this morning complete with hail.  I hope that is not what the rest of the summer will hold in store for us as well.  We received about 3 tenths of an inch of rain this morning.  Although the rain is needed in the spring, it just added more MUD for us to deal with.  Back when we were kids we would have loved to see all of this mud to play in. adults with livestock to care for, the mud is quite unwelcome. 

We completed our daily round of bedding all of the pens tonight.  All of the cattle need to have a place to lay that is out of the mud.  As soon as we were done bedding the pen of 350 pound calves, they all tucked in together on the new pile of straw.  One of our cows chose to have her new baby out in the field just before we got to the other farm this afternoon.  After we bedded their pen, Roger walked out to the field and carried her new baby about 1/4 of a mile back to the fresh straw.  Their comfort and care is our primary concern.

Mud is something we deal with every spring.  We just have to try to anticipate the needs of the animals and keep the pens as dry as we possibly can.  JM was havig a great time investigating each and every puddle to see if he could find one deep enough to go over the top of his boots.  Fortunately, he did not find one that could accomodate his wish.  :-)  Not that the majority of him was not already covered in mud.  Luckily, the washer was not in use when we arrived back home since that is where everyones clothes needed to go.

This new little girl was also born in the mud yesterday.  But, she was very clean and dry today and enjoying the attention she was getting from JM.  Her mother was not equally happy with us giving her baby all this special attention.  She was trying to call her back out into the mud, but Macie was in not going anywhere.  As spring progresses the mud will dry, and we will be on the field work.  I can't wait to get the fields ready to plant!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The excitement of Spring

As the weather keeps getting nicer, we are getting very anxious for the arrival of Spring.  It is more fun to be out with the cattle, and they are enjoying the warmer temperatures as well.  We are starting to give the little ones some creep feed. 

The calves know what that bucket means.  They become JM's best friend when he walks through the pen carrying the white bucket.

Harley also enjoys an occassional ear of corn to nibble on.  He is usually found with his head stuck in the bale feeder filling himself up with hay, but will also stop to see what JM has for him.  JM likes to pet him every day when he heads into the pen.  Maybe this year his mom will even let him go for a ride on Harley.....maybe!  Mom is still not sure he is ready to handle a large horse.

JM is just one of the gang when he is walking through the yard.  We only have 11 calves here at home, and the other 23 are over at the other farm.  The calves at the other farm are equally as tame and enjoy the extra attention. 

Since Spring is starting to give us a sneak peak at the coming attractions, we are using a lot of extra bedding to maintain a dry place for the cattle to lay.  Last night we put bedding in all of the pens.  It was a little cooler last night, and the cattle were running and jumping as we spread the bales out in the pens.  We have a new group of holsteins at the other farm, and they are quickly becoming pets for JM.  A few of them come running when they see him come to the gate to be first in line to get petted.  The show cattle are getting used to being combed again, and we will start leading them again soon as well. 

This week was busy trimming up some trees at the farm and getting a shed ready to be torn down.  We still have a lot of work to do around the farm to get things back in shape after winter.  We also bought some seeds today to start some plants for the garden this summer.  Our family definitely has spring fever!  The planter units have been test stamped on a Meter Max machine, and it is time to start getting it ready to head to the field.  I can't wait to experience the smell of freshly worked soil.  That truly means Spring has Sprung!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Our Growing Family

I took advantage of the sunshine this morning to go check out the new baby calves while their mothers were having breakfast.  Some were just hanging out together, a few found places to lounge in the sun and after we arrived to watch them, some of them decided to show off and run around with their tails in the air.

The Rat Pack!

This little girl found herself a great place to tuck in out of the wind and sun herself. 

These two little guys ran out from the "rat pack" to have a little fun on the mound.  They ran around for quite awhile showing off.

Our little farm family keeps growing every day.  We now have 31 calves on the ground.  At least the temperatures are getting warmer for the calves to be born.    We have had a pretty good calving year as most of our mothers (even the new ones) have been able to have their calves without assistance.  The cows are being monitored both day and night since we do not want any of our mothers to have to struggle to have their calves.  It is always worth the extra work to make sure we have healthy mothers and babies!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Rudy and Lu Lu at feeding time!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Back To Work!

We arrived home from our trip to Commodity Classic in Tampa, Florida this afternoon.  The first place we visited before even making it to the house was to check the cattle and cows/calves.  It has only been 4 days since last seeing them, but it feels like a month.  Always great to be back on the farm!  There were 10 calves born while we were away, and it looks like we will have at least 2 more tonight.  After unloading the luggage into the house and starting laundry, we all put on our winter gear again and headed out to walk through the new additions.  The bottle calf, Ernie, was happy to see a smiling face as well.

JM and Harley
The calves were enjoying the day, and had to show off while we were walking around.  The additional 10 calves puts us up to 24 babies on our farm.  And....we have names for the all!!  It looks like the boys are outnumbering the girls this year.  While we were gone, we also got in 77 new heifers to put in the pasture this summer, and these girls will have babies next year.  We also walked through them to see how they were doing in their new home.  Everyone looked like they got along just fine without us even though we can't help but think about them while we are gone.

This cow is a very good mother.  She was letting 3 calves nurse while we were walking through them and only 1 of them belonged to her.  The more the merrier I guess. 

It is fun to watch the calves grow just like kids.  They try so hard to act like the adult cows.  Addi had her head in the hay feeder tonight with the big cows.  She is growing so much!

Now that we have reacquainted ourselves with the rest of the family, we can concentrate on getting everything ready for the snow that is headed our way this week.  We had a great time attending Commodity Classic, but now it is back to work!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Commodity Classic

We are at Commodity Classic Tampa, Florida this week.  Myself, and 3 other Common Ground Volunteers, are helping out at the National Corn Growers Association booth and the United Soybean Board booth as well as hosting a learning session Friday at 1 p.m. talking about food and farming.  There is a lot of enthusiasm for Common Ground, and we are all very excited about the program!!

This is our first time at Commodity Classic and are having a great time visiting with people.  If you have the chance to attend Commodity Classic in the future, please do so.  It is well worth your time to attend the fantastic presentations and trade show.

JM and his favorite things.
Roger and JM enjoyed checking out all of the farm "stuff" at the trade show today.  JM was in seventh heaven having a look at the Case IH and John Deere equipment on display.  Both of them had all (or at least most) of their favorite things all under one roof.

Common Ground has a lot of good things to look forward to.  We have the opportunity to talk to people about what we know and love.....farming.  It is our way of life, and we can share how proud we are of the food that we work hard to grow.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Tampa, Florida......nice break from winter in Iowa