Friday, July 13, 2012

day in the life (sometime last week) :: with oh so many pictures!

I thought it would be fun to do a "day in the life" again - now that were on this farm and in full swing. I thought my day would be more of a mix (kids, reading, writing, farming, photo-related) but it turns out this day was ALL farming.
Lots, and lots, and lots of pictures ... and a hiccup half way through. Just roll with it ;)
8:30am Here's an idea of our routine - I just recently wrote this up on the freezer that is right as you walk through the back door. My parents were asking what they should be doing and when, whenever we aren't around for whatever reason. So this was to give them an idea:


So first thing: time to milk. Ren Man's feet had been bothering him a TON, so I was doing most of the farming - including milkings. So the milk bucket is ready to go.


My view when I walked towards the parlor (to the left of the picture). The camper in the background on the left is where the laying hens are, the a-frame roof a little closer and almost centered in the picture is where the pullets are (and behind them, meat birds), and the truck cap right behind the split rail fence is where the ducklings are - where are the cows?


The second post on the split rail fence from the right, look straight up. That dark lump, that could be a rock - that's Hope. Right above Hope is a post from the fence behind, move to the post to the left of that and then come down almost even with Hope, - that's Shadow. I see her ears there.

8:36am This is me with the view of the camera shifted slightly to the left - see the hens camper in the right middle of the frame? That bucket is heavy - even with no milk in it! And that's Thurman, a rooster following me.


There was big drama here because I thought a piece of the tubing that connects the milk pump to the bucket was broken ... but I had simply lost a piece on the way. So several minutes passed before I realized everything was okay. I was grumbling about - not a good day for "day in the life".

8:46am I noticed the ducklings making a lot of noise - they were hungry. I asked my mom to feed them while I milked. Here she is with all the backyard chickens following her - hoping for some food :)



8:50am My dad opening the gates to let the cows through for milking.


Hope meandering up for milking. Sometimes they are waiting by the gate, but rarely. Usually we have to go and sweet talk them up for milking time.


8:54am Teats are dipped with iodine, wait for 30 seconds, then wiped off before the milkers are put on.


Each quarter is a different unit, independent of the other quarters, so we have to make sure each one is milked out.


9:25am Shadow being milked. It doesn't normally take this long but both my parents were there and Josh had come out so we were probably talking and then Shadow wasn't convinced she wanted to be milked and Hope takes a while to milk ... so looking at the times the pictures were shot apparently it was a slow morning.


While I finished milking someone (mom?, Ren Man?) went to feed the calves with Hope's milk and a bucket. We went back and forth on having the calf (which we assumed it would be one calf - wait I haven't shared the calving story!) nurse from it's mother. For many many reasons we thought it would be best for the calf and cow to be together. Then we read about a cow holding her milk back for her calf. So there went that romantic idea.

9:30am Milking done, one last dip for the cows before they head out.


We needed to get the calves (with their Babydoll sheep, Zeus) out to pasture, and we needed to get "the girls" (the female Babydolls) out to pasture too. That meant setting up fence and here is where we planned to put in the fencing for the calves and Zeus, with the barn as shelter for them.


This is where we planned to put the girls:


But first breakfast.
9:49am duck eggs and sausage with a hotdog roll.


Oh, and Ren Man should prep some cream for butter making.


9:52am Noah decides he'd like some eggs for breakfast too.


10:10am Oh yeah! Before fencing I should clean the milk bucket too!


Cleaning supplies for the bucket - I like Ren Man's descriptive warning label.



10:38am check on the girls and tell them we're working on fencing to get them OUT of the barn today. We got them three days before and we'd been trying to figure out fencing needs for outside. All the sheep came named (just a disclaimer of sorts ;) ). This is Sydney:


Sweet Thing (yes, that's her name):


Check on Turkeys and Guineas. Here is a Guinea:

and a Turkey:

We have a couple of broody ducks - here's a nest that was still being added to:


Finally really working on fencing!
11:03am My mom has the day off - and the Babydolls are "hers" so she's all about working on fencing with us - perfect! There is a ton of high tensile wire surrounding the perimeter and we need to make sense of it all.


17 seconds later - the perils of fencing:


I totally blame Ren Man - I told him to "WAIT!" but he pulled the wire a little more and the end I was holding sliced through my hand.
11:10am consent to bandaging up poor ouchy hand


A view I often don't see - this is in a pasture that seemed REALLY abused when we moved in but it's very much bounced back. Unfortunately (for us) it's too tricky a field to mow so fortunately (for us) it makes awesome pasture. The calves and sheep are the first to enjoy this bounty.


11:28am in the more overgrown areas straightening the top line (the only line we were electrifying).


Farm Girl showed up to check on the grownups after a morning of playing inside. It wasn't long before she was back in the house.


11:55am When we got to the top end of the fence project we realized there were insulators on the barn and decided to attach the fence to the barn so we could get electric to a small piece for the calves/Zeus right near the barn. The insulators were higher than Ren Man could reach...


and we didn't want the hassle of getting a ladder


12:06pm Ren Man wanted to move this upright freezer to use it as a cheese cave in the workroom right near our backdoor. So a little freezer-moving-break.



I'm not sure what I did next - lunch would be the sensible thing but I'm pretty sure it wasn't lunch.
1:55pm trim the overgrown shrubbery around the top line to maximize the power of the line.


During trimming my mom heard crows cawing and given our recent weasel problem I thought it prudent to check on the meat birds. No weasel and I couldn't figure out what the crows were freaking out about.

3:31pm trimming is done and final hookups on the fence are being made - we want to avoid turning the fence off once the animals are in so we want to get it all perfect now.


3:46The calves and sheep are in their grassy paddock! Zeus:

Poor Zeus with these immature calves who are running around like crazy things! Libby:






Lots of Chance because he seems to be the most excited!

3:50pm Chance ran through the fence and Zeus followed him.
3:51pm I go to turn off the fence and notice our pears are coming in well. So that's nice.


Cows are put back in the barn and Ren Man and my mom start working on fencing. There's a big lag in time here because we see a random red car pull into the drive. They are people who own a camp on the local lake and are up for the summer. They explain that they'd seen our farm sign and wanted to stop for a pastured chicken. This lead to a couple of hours of talking and a farm tour.

7:55pm dinner time!




We're running late - but we like to say we milk in the "8 o'clock hour" - so off for evening milking.


Since the afternoon was missed in pictures from the day before - this is the afternoon chores the next day ...

4:41pm whey to bring to the pig feed. We mix local corn and soy with whey to soak for about 12 hours and then feed the mix to the pigs who gobble it up - so apparently it's yum.


The mix soaking for the next day:


4:55pm Farm Girl is coming to do chores with me, we're almost to the pigs - they are snorting like crazy, anticipating their feed.


Farm Girl after tossing the tiniest handful of feed in - that the pigs didn't find when we were there.


Pigs gobbled up the two piles I poured out for them. And then wiped their mouths and thanked me mightily for such a scrumptious meal.


It's tricky convincing this girl to walk ... or to have her picture taken. So when she wasn't walking, I couldn't help but take her picture, that was the news I told her.



5:02pm so we're walking


5:08pm and egg collecting.


Hope the hodge-podge day made sense! We're currently helping neighbors hay, reading a ton of Jack and Annie (as the kids call it), enjoying lots of visitors to the farm, and the summer weather!


Lppick said...

I LOVED your description and pictures outlining life on your farm!!! Thanks for taking the time to put it together. I know from my daughter's and son-in-law's farm experience what these busy days are like. It's hard but rewarding work. I give your mother high marks!!! I'm afraid I'm an onlooker, not a worker bee on our kids' farm. I do babysit though! lol. I think I share you and your mother's taste. I have the same set of dishes! Love the pattern. I recently bought  a framed photograph at a craft fair I think you would love.It shows just the faces of two baby calves-the same breed as your. It reminds me of your photography.

Lppick said...

This is a test. I had typed a long comment ths morning and tonight I notice it is not there so something didn't work. I'll see if this post is up and try to recreate my former post tomorrow. Don't know what happened.

lovermont said...

hmm, I didn't see the long comment - I hate when that happens! I'm so sorry. So this is just to say that this one worked.

Lppick said...

Hello again! I LOVED your descriptions and pictures painting your day in the life of a farmer! Thankyou for taking the time to put it all together. Given the short amount of time you have lived there you've done an amazing amount of work between the paintng and the work involved in getting all of the animals settled in. I know from watching my daughter and son-on-law on their farm just how much effort all of this requires. Tell your Mom I give her high marks for her farming contributions!!! I'm strictly an observer aruond our parts butr I do babyst. lol

Lppick said...

My comment was extending outside the box  (hence the typos- couldn't see the words to correct them) so I thought I had better send it and add on with another comment. You and your Mother and I have similar tastes. I have the same dishes! I'm also thinking our days at Butler doing things like insurance reviews seem lke a millenium ago!!! lol

lovermont said...

Thank you! It feels like we're so busy but when the to-do list is still SOOO long it's hard to recognize all the progress that's already been made.
I think both my parents say that they like to dabble in farming at their whim and love that the responsibility is all ours (mine and Josh's).