Monday, August 18, 2008

August = chores!

Yet another load of hay stashed in the garage. Some really nice fescue/orchardgrass that the critters approve of heartily. We have a pretty good menu of various cuttings and grass varieties to accommodate the needs of all our herbivores. I wouldn't mind having a round bale dumped in the barnyard to give them something to snack on between meals. With just one of us taking care of the place for the next 6 weeks, every shortcut helps.
Here's Princess Stella having a pedicure. Too bad we didn't get the lifting process on video. The metal stall part starts out upright. She walks into it and gets lifted and turned with heavy duty slings.
The giant "bolt cutters" take off the bulk of overgrown hoof, then she gets her nails filed with a hand-held grinder. She wasn't too thrilled with the process, but she looks great now. There aren't too many people willing to come work on just one cow, so finding such a skilled and friendly trimmer was a huge relief. Email us at the info link or post a comment if you want his contact info for cow trimming in Whatcom County.

Beets! These are Early Wonder Tall Top, a new variety for us this year. The greens are just ok for eating, but the beets themselves are really tasty, and even better pickled. I still blanched & froze the greens anyway, since come winter we'll be happy for any "free" veggies we can get. We've been harvesting chard, kohlrabi, the last of the lettuce, carrots, cukes (8 quarts of dill pickles so far), a few Stupice tomatoes, Anaheim & Islander peppers, and of course lots of potatoes. The Reddales are about ready to dig up completely, and the Island Sunshine & Ozette fingerlings are not far behind. The garlic is harvested and drying, green beans are getting a late start but starting to shape up, and the corn looks very happy so far.
Got the trim on the back corners of the run-in installed. Now Gemini & Ryder have a lpace to get out of rain & wind and still have lots of fresh air. We'll keep fancying it up later this year though.
Stella and Doug, posing for the camera. The vet didn't think she's pregnant, but we think she is. With Dexters, sometimes the fetus is too small to feel so early, so there is a margin for error on his diagnosis. We could do a blood test to be sure, but we'll just wait & see. She's weaning Doug right now, and will all we have going on this summer, I decided to stop milking. There just isn't time to do twice a day milking, and I also don't want to deal with the bellowing that will commence once they are separated. We got 5 good months of milking, and later I'll post a grand total of how many gallons we got over how many days. I'm still pondering how I want to milk next time. I'd like to milk longer, but the convenience of letting the calf do most of the work is very tempting. We are back to buying milk. It's raw, local Jersey milk from Jackie's Jerseys. Tasty, but nowhere near as rich as Stella's.
Here's Ryder, modelling the new stanchion. He got dehorned Friday, and his shots. He's settling in ok, and we've been walking him and working with him, and enjoying the learning process of training a bull calf.


Oldnovice said...

Why were you unwilling to dehorn Stella? I certainly understand your dehorning the bull, but think you're taking quite the chance on Stella always being docile.

Seven Trees said...

Stella was already 8 months old when we brought her home, so dehorning then would have been major surgery. But also we just wanted to have a cow that looked traditional. It's amazing how many people have no clue that both cows and bulls naturally have horns.

And if Stella had been to naughty with her horns, we'd have either put blunt tips on them, or she'd have been hamburger. But she behaves pretty well with them so far.

Dani said...

Leaving a bull with horns is just asking for trouble. They by far more dangerous than a cow, larger, stronger and packed with testosterone. The vet did bullies horns at about 2 weeks shy of 5 months old and his horns were just poised to grow into and become part his skull. We were lucky and smart to have not waited even a moment longer to have his removed. Once the horn has grown into skull it involves major blood vessels, and leaves an open hole right into the head of the animal. The problem then is maggots as flies are very attracted to laying eggs in the open wound. With Stella we wanted a horned cow, and as stated at 8+ months old, the surgery would have been both torterous and dangerous for her. Stella is not always docile, but she is manageable. There is also nothing that says a dehorned cow is any more docile or less dangerous than a horned animal. I have respect and use caution around both. Best thing is to have tamed them down a bit by handling, grooming, treats and so on, in addition to learning cow body language. Cow or bull still out-weigh us by hundreds and hundreds of pounds and if they wanted to hurt us certainly could. Are they trying to menace, or is that a friendly gesture... we have certainly become familiar with both and if Stella shows any aggression we are quick to put her in her place. I also like that she has horns to defend herself and her baby when we aren't there. If a pack of dogs, which we have had roaming the neighborhood, got in and tried to attack her, she'd have some defense against them. We also have coyotes, etc. so same is true for them. And as pointed out... no one knows anymore COWS also, not just bulls, have horns! That's plain tragic... it's not just mess with the bull get the horns, it's also mess with the COW! We are doing pour part to educate people on that fact, if nothing else.