Saturday, October 24, 2009

a few days visit . . .

Miss Leisa came to visit us again while she was on ANOTHER one of her many travels. Must be nice to take work off and travel the world huh?

We first met Leisa when she was a tenny little 16 year old exchange student from Down Under. She came to stay with us for a month during the summer, and since then, we have stayed in touch. This year, she decided to "pop in" on us at the farm on her way back home from another world tour and visit for a few days. Little did she realize that she was going to be doing some real, down to earth, homesteading activities. Along with milking Janey, she has ridden the go-cart around the property, and tomorrow she will butchering her own chicken. Nolan is also going to teach her how to shooot a rifle! She is going to go back home with lots of stories and new experiences to share.

Friday, October 16, 2009

training time for everyone . . .

Officially her name is Intercept Golden Jana (American Jersey Cattle Association) and she is a Registered Jersey. The previous owner called her Baby Jane, but since she has had a couple of calves, we decided to call her Janey.

It seems that what we have been doing is working. And we are learning quite a bit about her. The first few days were a little rough being new at the milking thing, and the whole cow thing, however, after a week of it, it's running pretty sMOOth.

The children are taking turns, like everything else, by milking on their day of the week. Years ago we assigned a day to each child to have for their day to pray, get the mail, and things like that. Well, it was only natural to let them milk on their day as well. Nolan is taking on most of the work and he is the constant milker along with me. In the evenings, the others join in to get the practice to be able to milk her by themselves. It's a training time for everyone.

The first few times Janey moved around ALOT and it was like milking in a moving van. She wanted lots of feed (which is like candy for her) and was ready to move on real quickly. Now she is eating her small cup of grain we give her, and patiently standing and waiting for us to get our work done. And currently, she is giving us about a gallon and a half per milking. We are almost swimming in milk! The benefit of having her as well is that we are able to have cream regularly for our coffee without going to the store, and the children have been making really rich BUTTER from the cream as well. What a treat.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

hard to believe . . .


Two years in the thinking, planning, and praying, and finally the time has come for us to get our milk cow. It's hard to believe she is actually here.

Janey came to us last night via a wonderful young couple from Leesburg, Ohio. Last Wednesday, I took a half day off from school to drive down to their farm and look at the Jerseys they were selling. My neighbor Steve went with me to help me since he has had quite a bit of experience with animals, including cows. I decided to get the one they took to the local elementary to let the kindergarten students milk. He said she was real calm and would make a great family cow.

It has been fun to watch the children dawdle over her already. Milking her this morning and evening was a real learning experience for them. The morning milking yielded a couple of cream filled gallons. However, this evening's milking was a bust not being able to keep her feet out of the milk pail. :) The things you learn in a day with a cow.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

hole in my pants . . .

The same morning that the chicken incident happened, I also had a little accident at school. In the process of cleaning up the storage area of the art room, I was taking a poster filing cabinet off the table to store it in a different place. (I needed the counter space and the cabinet looked a little shabby as well) As I was pulling it off the counter, I realized that it was a "little" heavier than what I expected, so I used my knee to hold it up and lower it slowly . . . stopping it from crashing on the floor and putting a hole through it! The last few seconds of the descend it ripped a hole in my pants at the knee, and finally dropped to the floor. "Whew . . . that is over" I thought to myself as I wiped the sweat from my forehead. A minute later my knee area started filling up with blood. I sat down on a small stool, raised my pant leg and noticed that I had torn the skin on my knee all the way to the cartilage! About an inch long altogether. Blood was soaked into my pants at the knee, and was now running down my leg. It's a good thing I did not panic, because right then, my third grade came into the class for art.

Long story short . . . even though I was advised by the school nurse to go the emergency room where I should have gotten 5 to 10 stitches to close the wound, being the MacGyver kind of guy that I am, I just used some bandages and some tape for a make-shift butterfly to close the wound and to keep my knee from bending. And one week later . . . God has brought about a complete healing! Don't hate me Mrs. Thompson.

Friday, October 2, 2009

right on top . . .

Today we had our first chicken tragedy. It was one of those situations that had we been a little more prepared it wouldn’t have happened. Since we've been raising chickens, we have only lost a few to inexperience; splayed legs, accidents, and a few things we don't understand about birds. But last night we had a situation that caused the loss of 4 of our meat birds. Not a good thing.

I bought a new tarp to cover the birds and to keep the elements away from them. Elements like ripping winds and rain that is harsh at times. The wind and rain out here is vicious! The tarp I bought big, and was very sturdy. I was really happy about my purchase and was excited to show Nolan . I brought it home, and Nolan fitted it perfectly onto the chicken “play yard.” Last night we had quite a bit of rain, and the tarp collected a whole bunch of it. RIGHT ON TOP! It probably collected it because it had a flat roof. Duh! When Nolan went out to check on the birds this morning, the top of the structure was broken in and the birds were all huddled in the corner and were wet and cold. One of them had died. (the fact that it was 45° and rainy didn’t help the situation) We spent about a half hour changing the structure to another one we had and trying to get the birds under the lights and sheltered from the rain. What a mess!

When I got home from school today Nolan told me that three more had died. :(