Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cranes



Last year, we stopped by the Bernard W. Baker Bird Sanctuary in Bellevue, MI to see the sandhill cranes as they migrate south.  Last night, we spontaneously decided to field trip over to see (and hear!) the birds again.

Just like last year we were treated not only to the amazing sights and sounds of thousands of sandhill cranes, but also to the majesty of a bald eagle. 

This year, The Mister, with his amazing hawk-eyes, spotted two eagles!

Now that's our kind of Saturday night!


Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Shelter



Last weekend, with the expertise of Bear, and the help of Jules and George, we built Samson and Delilah's shelter.  Bear's wisdom and experience in building was vital for us.  We, as many people know, are a little more of the "Does it look okay?  Then it must be level." kind of people.  

The Mister had many important jobs.  Cookie sampling was one.  Holding the ladder was another.  You can't accuse him of not being able to multi-task!
(And yes, Dad, that is the wooden ladder you bought for Jules and Bear almost 25 years ago.  I believe you remarked at that time that it "wasn't rated for Bear's size.")

Actually, The Mister was very involved in the construction
(once Bear told us what to do so we couldn't screw it up).  


And now, out by the maple tree that I love so dearly, is our shelter.  
We are certain, after this experience, Bear and Jules will not be calling us when they need help with a project.  But we cannot thank them enough for all their help.  We had a great time, we laughed a lot and we have one huge item checked off our list!

Finch

I am guessing this is a finch of some variety.
He (she?) was sure singing away on a branch just outside my dining room.  


Sunday, October 09, 2016

Delilah

The real Delilah!!

The farm where we found Samson (the bull calf) connected us to another highland breeder who had a yearling cow for sale.  She was all the things we were looking for - except that she's in Nebraska!!  After many, many phone calls to other local highland farms, we finally decided we weren't going to get a better option than this beautiful cow!  We bit the bullet, wrote the check and will be having a cow delivered from Nebraska in three short weeks!

This yearling has been to many shows and has been handled by adults and children alike, which is exactly what we wanted.  

So, the first weekend in November is going to be a busy but very exciting one at Someday Farm!  We will be going to get Samson (who was weaned this past week, the poor thing) on Saturday and then having this beautiful cow delivered on Sunday.

Sure makes me want to call in sick that Monday...

Sunday, October 02, 2016

The Search Continues

So, the Delilah we thought was our Delilah turns out not to be our Delilah.  After spending more time with her, we had some concerns about her temperament, which the breeder was understanding about and so our search for our Highland cows continues.

We have now talked with probably six or seven farmers who raise Highlands and yesterday we visited our fourth or fifth farm.  We have learned so much from every farm we visit!  Highland owners are so proud of their livestock and of the care and passion they have put into raising their herds.  They have all been overly generous with their time and have not only talked with us about the cattle, but have answered all our questions about fencing, shelters, breeding and more.  So far, every one we have spoken with started out just like we are - with a love of the highland breed and a pair of cows they considered to be almost pets - which should perhaps serve to us as a cautionary tale of how out of hand this passion could get if we aren't careful!  We might be very thankful that we don't have room for expansion on our farm!

Yesterday's visit was no different from the others.  We walked and talked with another breeder of Highlands in the drizzling rain for nearly two hours.  We stood in her pastures petting her cows and asked question after question, while she patiently explained her experiences and wisdom to us.  While we were there, we fell in love with a little bull calf.  We had been looking for a two-year old heifer that we could breed, but when we remarked on this calf, this woman suggested maybe we start with a bull and a yearling cow and let them couple up on their own to produce offspring on our farm.  We had considered this option awhile back, but then had sidetracked ourselves with the thought of a cow and her calf.  Three is the most our pasture will handle nicely, and so future breeding might allow us to sell the calves and earn a little money back to support our hobby.

In any case, we left there feeling very excited about all that we had learned and about the prospect of bringing this little bull calf home to Someday Farm.

Bull calf - five months old

His mother.

Of course, you don't just get one cow.  Cows are herd animals and they can get quite lonely on their own, so we need a companion.  Ideally, we hope to find a yearling cow that we can then mate with the bull calf next summer.  If we can't find the right one in the next month (when the bull calf will be weaned and ready to come to our farm), James is pretty set on acquiring a donkey.  The donkey could stay even after we find a yearling, but it would make a great companion animal until that time.  

All of this means that instead of spring being our deadline for having the farm ready for cows, we have about a month.  We are so close on several projects, but have several things left to do.  The Mister is out this afternoon working on the well again.  He is so close to having it running, he feels like he is just missing one simple thing.  This week he will be off to get lumber and supplies so we can build the three sided barn structure in the pasture that will serve as shelter.  Although everyone has said that the Highlands will just use trees for shelter and don't need much in the way of a barn, we would like to have at least one shelter built in the main pasture before winter.  Eventually, we will build another in the second pasture as well.  But that's a project for next summer!  

James likened our search for a cow to our house-buying process.  He said, "I think we will just know our cow when we see it."  Yesterday, I knew for certain he was right!