There is a new cow in the barn

She came to us with no ear tag. Just a sticker number on her back.

caramel cow

My son bestowed her with the name of ‘Caramel.’

There’s nothing wrong with naming a cow after your favorite ice cream topping, right?

We don’t know much about Caramel, only that someone put her in a trailer and shipped her to the auction. There she went through the ring and was sold to the highest bidder, which just happened to be us. She was then loaded onto my dad’s trailer and he brought her to the farm.

Talk about having a long day.

Imagine leaving home in the morning not knowing where you were going and by supper finding yourself in a new place. A new herd.

Distressing.

Reality.

There are some of us who are born and are buried in the same place. We spend our entire lives in one place. Dairy cows aren’t much different. Once in a while, however, some of us may leave home. We see the world and leave traces of our journey through the friends we meet and the people we impress.

Some of us return home.

Some of us join new herds and find new barns.

No matter what the circumstance, I believe people come into each others’ lives for a reason. Whether they stay for the long haul or a short while, the impact of knowing them is priceless.

Here on the farm, cows aren’t much different. Some come, some go, some travel and some never leave.

Welcome to the farm.

Can Your Kid Drive?

With the skid loader parked and our backs turned, little Ruby decided it was her turn to drive!

Even after all these weeks on the farm, even I haven’t got to drive the skid loader…yet.

 

kid drivergoat drive on farmgoat comicgoat joyride

Sorry, Ruby. Skid loaders are for the big kids and those of us who have feet and hands to operate the controls.

You just stick to the weed eating and we’ll stick to the barn cleaning.

 

Community Farm Auction

You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality. (Walt Disney)

This past Saturday, a neighboring farm was sold by auction. The contents of the house, the barn, the farm equipment, everything but the kitchen sink was sold.

It was already a given that the new Amish residents would purchase the farm. We’re fast become the new Lancaster in the area with all our new immigrated neighbors. I don’t blame them. One of the reasons I love this place so much is because of the farms, the peacefulness, and because of the people.

Walt Disney wasn’t far off with his quote about people making dreams a reality. Without people, there would be no community.

It’s really community that makes a place, not the land or the buildings or even the roads to travel. People are the places and it’s the people we remember the most.

farm auction

farm auction crowd

Normally, I’d see these folks about once a year during fair time.

It was good to see faces again and to be recognized and have some say “It’s good to see you again.” and “How long are you staying?”

While I may not have left that farm auction with anything more than a new colored copier for my office, it did a heart good to hangout in a community again.

 

7 Ways to Entertain Your Kids

Mothers of preschoolers around the world will agree – small children are in consistent demand of being entertained. As parents it is sometimes hard to be creative when we’ve been up since three a.m. with our youngest one. For most of us, with more than one child, this is usually the case.

Here are few tips for keeping your children out from under your feet and pulling you down by the shirt tails every moment of your day.

Photo Credit via Flicker Creative Commons Shardayyy

Direct your first play. You’re a mom right? You take on many roles, and today you are about to see a new star born. Pull your kids together, raid closets and dress up clothes, and act out your child’s favorite story book. If you have an old sheet put it on the floor. Take washable markers (for your child’s benefit more so than the sheet) and let them uncap their creativity on creating the scenery. When they are done, hang the sheet up on a clothes line or over the backs of chairs for your backdrop.

Board Games. Kids love to learn when parents take the time to spend with them. Pull out age appropriate board or card games and teach them to play. If you have more than one child you’ll find them playing without you in no time. You may join in for the sake of not being left out of all the fun.

Send them on a back yard expedition. Write of list of ten things to find in the backyard. It could be simple as finding a white flower blossom to a four leaf clover. They will be delighted to show you all their great finds. Hugs make a really wonderful reward for their tedious efforts.

A few household chores never hurt anybody. If you start your children on routine chores when they are young, they will be more agreeable to them as they get older. Every Saturday morning we set aside for chores for our house. My five year old matches socks from clean laundry, while my three year old runs around the house with the duster, and the baby takes her nap. When all the chores are done, we sit down and play together.

Older children are harder to entertain and become bored quicker. Their days of finger paints and dress up are over by age twelve. But there are other things you can do with them or encourage them to do own their own with no money involved. Video games and computer activities can time consuming, but try also to encourage your child to set away from electronics and try something new, like a craft or hobby.

If you have a local library – use it. Teaching your child to read and encouraging them to let their minds paint the picture of a good is priceless. Kids who read do better in school, and have a wider span of knowledge than children who don’t.

Puzzles. My three year old loves to sit do puzzles. Not to mention my oldest sister who likes to frame them. Today puzzles come in 3-D. Is that pretty cool or what? Older children think so, and it gives them a great sense of accomplishment when they’re finished.

Most of these suggestions are things you most likely already have around your home. There are tons of ways to entertain your children without having to spend a dime. Think outside your everyday activities and I am sure you will be able to come up with other ideas, besides the ones listed, to keep your kids from getting bored when they are home.

Have some ideas of your own? Please share in the comments section below!

Finding Parts to Replace What’s Broke

There’s nothing more useless than a broken piece of equipment. It can’t function to do its job. And on a farm, everything has it’s purpose.

Take a forage harvester for example.

A forage harvester’s job is to chop and blow hay or corn in a field. In order for this to work, all the cutting blades have to be sharp and functioning, along with the blower working to suck up and throw the chopped grain into a silage wagon that is hooked behind it.

This is all pulled by a tractor and ran off the tractor’s PTO shaft that connects power between the chopper and the tractor.

All it takes is one part and the entire system fails.

When your car is broken, it can’t take you where you need to go. It’s not safe to travel with.

When you break a leg, you’re unable to walk until it heals. You seek a doctor at a hospital to set it.

Yet, when your heart is broken, it can’t beat the way it once did. What place is there for it?

It’s a good thing there are places to go to find parts when your farm equipment is broken.

This past week, I went part hunting and found myself at a farm machinery place.

used farm equipment

It’s like a junk yard for broken farm equipment.

farm junk yard

I walked into a red shed in the midst of it all, which was the office. When I walked up to the counter, a gentleman asked me if he could help me. If only finding the parts we needed were so easy, right?

I told him what I was there for. “I need an electric motor for a 1260 Gehl Harvester with the tin cover.”

He flipped through pages of parts and notes and I told him, “We called a few days ago.”

“Last week maybe?” he asked.

“No, just a few days ago,” I said.

“There it is,” he said. “Days, weeks, they all fly by here.” He laughed as he picked up the phone.

A few minutes later, another man came and my request was relayed. “It’s Hydraulic,” the man told me.

I shook my head. “It’s electric.”

“No, that’s the motor for the blower, it’s hydraulic,” he insisted.

“Its electric,” I assured him.

I know I’d been off the farm for a while, but I knew the difference between a  hydraulic motor an a electric one. Plus, my brother told me it was electric before I went on this adventure to get one.

So then I waited…and waited.. and waited.

It was hot and sweat slicked my face. I could have sat in the car, but I’d rolled down the windows and left my pouting tween to play her Nintendo DS and hang her elbow out the window. I’d told her if she was too hot she could get out of the car. It wouldn’t have mattered if the air condition was left on or not, the window breeze was cooler than the air blowing from the dash. Note to self, gotta get that checked out this week.

Farm Equipment PlaceWithin an hour of arrival, I had my electric 1260 Gehl Havestor motor in the back of my car.

“You’re right, it’s electric,” the man said with a half smile on his face. It was that kind of smile where you get the impression that he knew, and this was just a test to see if I wasn’t just some city girl on a blind mission.

While my open-toed sandals and stripped blouse may have made me look like I just came from sitting behind a desk at a bank, inside I’m still a farm girl, through and through.

While I drove away, I got to thinking about that part in the back of my car. Soon the forage harvester would run again. Maybe not good as new. Perhaps even better, who knows. But I know one thing, when you’ve been missing something and a part of it gets restored, it’s like hooking up that motor and being able to run again.

The Loss of a Dairy Cow: RIP Midget

At times of great joy, there is also great sorrow.

During a time where we celebrate the improvement of one cow, today I’m sadden to say we lost one.

It happens. Its apart of life – farm life.

If there is one thing that my dad and I have always shared, it’s compassion for the cows that need a little extra TLC. It’s hard when you go to a livestock auction and you see animals that will never see the other side of the sale barn again, or know they’ll walk onto a trailer that is destine for the slaughter house.

We eat beef, even though they’ll called dairy cows, the meat is the same.

A few months ago, the decision was made to bring this little Jersey heifer home from one of the dairy sales. You take a chance on any cow you bring home from the unknown, but when you see potential its better then watching them walk down the ramp of no return.

rip midgetShe was a little dame, needing some extra groceries, and her tiny bag milked out.

It’s hard being little in a herd of cattle. That’s why she was called Midget. She was the smallest.

Was….

When a farmer loses when of his cows, it’s more than financial. A herd of cattle is like a family. After they walk through the milking parlor long enough you recognize them, you appreciate their personalities.

Yes, dairy dames have got personality.

Midget was a little rundown when she came to the farm. Like all the cows that come into the herd from other dairies, she hadn’t got acquainted with all the other dames, nor had she fully adjusted to the move.

Then she got pneumonia.

She couldn’t tell us.

The only way to know is to look for the signs.

1.Fever

2. Depression

3. Loss of Appettite

4. Eye and Nasal discharge

5. Rapid shallow breathing

6. Crusty nose

7. Coughing

8. Diarrhoea

9. Stiff Gait

You may not be able to recognized all of them, but even a few symptoms is worth keeping an eye on your dame.

Unfortunately, pneumonia is a common cow killer on any farm.

Midget started out with loss of appetite then moved on to a stiff gait and a runny nose. It moved on to shallow breathing and then she laid down and didn’t get back up –it seemed like not enough antibiotics or aspirin could bring her back around in good health.

And then in the early hours of the morning, she became lost to us. Resting in peace.

I wish we could save them all, but sometimes letting go is for the best. Especially, when you know you’ve done everything in your ability to try and help.

R.I.P Midget

 

 

Scenic Farm Route

 

I love seeing farms.

When of the things I love most about coming home is seeing all the farm land and the old barns.

A few weeks ago, I drove through New York State on the way to take the kids camping with my husband’s family. There were wineries everywhere you looked, but there were also farms. On the way home, my husband drove and tried my best to take some photos of the farms we passed.

 

Farm in NY

 

Barn in NY

tractor in the field

This green tractor reminded me of “Big Blue” a tractor my dad has had since the year I was born. If you thought I was old, I’m guessing my dad’s tractor is close to being antique. We have to order out to get parts when it is in need of repair.

Go ahead, pin it. I allow you.

Not everything that ages loses it’s value. The same goes with an old tractor or an old barn.

What road have you traveled lately? What scenery did you enjoy the most?