Wednesday, June 06, 2018

When People Ask...


..."When will you sell him?"  or worse..."How old will he need to be to butcher him?" I just want to scream LOOK AT THIS CALF!!!

I mean, I LOVE my steak (and my burgers and my tacos and my...) but if I had to kill this little guy in order to eat any of those, I'd become a vegetarian in a heartbeat!

Friday, June 01, 2018

The Baby

Delilah and her new son


About two hours old



Samson and the Calf

Family

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Grateful

Why I'm grateful a large branch fell on our roof at 8:00 pm on Friday night:

1.  It didn't fall on our roof at 3am on Friday morning.  Dealing with this in the middle of the night would have been tremendously worse.  Obviously darkness would have made things much more difficult, but it was also raining later that evening and there's always my biggest concern:  bats.

2.  It didn't happen at 9am Friday morning, either.  We were home at 8pm.  Any other time and we might have been at work, or out for the evening and come home to this mess, or even gone for the weekend, but we were home when it happened.

3.  We had the whole weekend to deal with it.  We didn't have the added stress of going to work and trying to make phone calls and arrangements with the insurance company.

4.  It wasn't raining yet.  The sun was still shining while the holes got covered and tarped.

5. We didn't have a houseful of company this weekend.  We did not that long ago and we will soon, but this weekend it was just us.

6.  Rob and Julie were home.  Not only was an extra set of hands helpful, but someone not emotionally affected by several holes in the roof was also a plus.  The best part?  I didn't have to go on the roof!

7. We now know what it's like.  Maybe that sounds irrelevant, but when you live in the woods and your home is surrounded by trees, this is bound to happen.  We thought it would have happened with the dead ash we had taken down last month, but in any case, we now know that while the event itself is rather frightening, we have awesome insurance (with extra coverage for trees!) and a great agent who made the whole process simple and relatively painless. 

The one thing I am NOT grateful for:

Why couldn't it have damaged the deck that so badly needs replacing!??!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Trudy

Meet Trudy, our seven week old bernedoodle puppy.

She has quickly charmed her way into our hearts (despite the piddle on the floor)
and has reminded us in many, many ways of our beloved Eli.

She is always excited to see you!


And is as happy as can be with just a stick to play with!

Of course, sticks are more fun to chew on when you sit on someone's lap!

(And Mom might get frustrated when you constantly sit on her lap when she is trying to take your picture!)

So, a puppy selfie with a stick will have to do!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Snow Day

Delilah 
Delilah and Samson

Samson (left) and Delilah

Samson and Delilah

Samson




Saturday, February 03, 2018

Herd

Last spring we had high hopes that Samson and Delilah would, well, to put it the Dixie Chicks way, "do a little mattress dancing".  By fall, we called the vet thinking she must surely be pregnant as we hadn't seen any signs of her being in heat all summer.  The vet, however, delivered the bad news.  No calf was on its way.  He did assure us that Delilah was in great health and he found no reason for concern.  He gave her a vitamin shot, told us to "keep doing what you're doing" and that was that. 

This week we had the vet back out.  We still had no signs of her being in heat and we knew there was a shot he could give that would help jump start the process.  Anticipating a fall birth, we thought this was a great time to try to get that ball rolling.

Samson wasn't too thrilled about being moved to the other pasture ahead of the vet's arrival. Sure, an extra bowl of grain is always welcome but then he seemed anxious to be back with Delilah.  For her part, Delilah really didn't seem to care about being in the pen as long as there was grain to be had.  The Mister has to adjust his system every time the vet comes as her horns get longer and make the confining mechanism a little more complicated.  He always gets it worked out, however, and Delilah was all set and ready for the vet.  And boy, do they know the vet.  The moment he pulls up, she stands stock still.  She watches him like the proverbial hawk.  After the last visit, however, I learned that she hates shots far worse than the "check-up" even when the "check-up" puts the vet shoulder deep in her, well, you get the idea. 

In any case, the vet wanted to check her out before giving her the shot and we welcomed the chance to ensure nothing was wrong again.  James was just re-entering the pasture from checking on Samson when the vet calmly declared, "she's pregnant".  WHAT?!?!?  I turned and looked at James to make sure he heard it, too.  "I'd say five or six months along," the vet confirmed.  Apparently when he reached in, he was able to put his hand right on the calf's head.

At this point, I might have screamed.  I might have shouted at an unreasonably excited level.  I might have jumped up and down and repeatedly said, "Good girl, Delilah!!  Way to go!!"  A calf?!?  Due in May?!?  Could this be more perfect?!?  The vet, who resembles Barney Fife, walked back to his truck as though a crazy woman jumping around a pasture was an every day experience for him.  We threw about a hundred questions at him rapid-fire, "What do we do now?" (Nothing.) "Do we need to separate Samson when the time gets close?" (Not unless he seems to be a problem with the calf.) "How will we know when it's time?" (It will be udderly obvious.  Okay, the vet didn't say that exactly, but it's my version of the story.) 

We wrote the vet a check.  Somehow $33.50 just doesn't seem nearly enough in my book for being shoulder-deep in a cow's arse, but it's his business, I'm not going to tell him how to run it. 

I then continued to run around, jumping up and down shouting to Samson, "You did it!!  Good job, Samson!!" and to Delilah, "I'm so proud of you, girl!!  Way to go!!  A BABY!!"  Even The Mister thought I was a little over the top.  We released Samson back into the regular pasture with Delilah and he went a running and bucking to see her.  Maybe he was excited about the news as well, maybe it was just that she had another bit of grain from The Mister and he wanted some of that golden goodness, but either way he seemed glad to be together again.  For me, I may have continued saying, "A calf!!  Can you believe it?!" well into the evening, giggling all the while.

Somehow the calf to me just represents pure joy.  We love Samson and Delilah to smithereens, but this calf came about on our farm, and will be ours from Day One.  There are few things in this world cuter than a highland calf and we're going to have one within just a few months.  Running around like a crazy woman and shouting was the least I could do with all the excitement I felt.

When we were originally talking with farmers about getting highlands of our own, several people reminded us of the importance of having more than one.  "One is lonely. Two is a pair.  Three makes a herd," several people told us.  Samson and Delilah are creating their own little herd.  Out in our beautiful pasture.  I could not be more thrilled, nor feel more blessed.  These magnificent beasts bring us such joy it is beyond measure (and well worth the cost of hay). 

Way to go, Samson and Delilah!  This is bound to be such an amazing experience for all of us. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Puppy

Let me start by saying there is no creature in this world that could ever replace Eli.  We both still tear up at any reminder of our beloved dog.  An empty jar of peanut butter.  Being outside working in the yard.  Sometimes just walking in the door.  Even Charlotte lying in a certain place on the carpet.

But our hearts need another dog.  We are animal people and this farm just isn't complete without one.  I've had my heart set on a Bernedoodle for many many years, but they were financially out of reach.  For a long while, the only breeder I could even find of these adorable dogs was in Canada.  Not that I ruled that out as an option but having to get a passport just to get a puppy does seem a bit extreme.  Recently, however, I have found more and more breeders of Bernedoodles and the idea started to become slightly more realistic.

Last year friends of ours who have bred Bernese for years decided to breed Bernedoodles.  We were overjoyed until we heard the price tag.  Still out of reasonable reach for us.  But then I found a breeder, new to the scene who has the same quality of dog, but since she's just starting out, they aren't quite as costly.  With encouragement from my dear friend we sent off a deposit to hold our place in line for the next litter.  We also visited her when she had a litter last fall and got to see the pups and meet the parents. 

We got the news today that the puppies have been born.  We have yet to see pictures, but being second in line for picking rights, there is hope that we will get the color combination we were hoping for but we aren't yet certain if we will get a male or female (which just means I'm in a naming crisis!) While my heart will always ache for our amazing Eli (and I'm sure the challenges of training a puppy will make me miss how easy Eli always was), it's time for us to put another four paws in this house.  Sometime around mid-March our pup will come home.  We are excited beyond words!

I'll post pictures as soon as they are available!!