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Archive for May, 2014

Saturday, May 31 2014

May 31st, 2014 Comments off

Farm life is a lot like jazz; it has a rhythm, but the music veers off course just when you settled back in your seat. Today was fairly low-key: basic farm chores were carried out but there weren’t any big projects to work on. I did get a lesson in rabbit doctoring when Grandma gave several of the mangy rabbits shots to (hopefully) clear up their illness. You stick the needle above their back legs where there’s plenty of muscle. Although the bucks are more difficult to do since they have a thicker hide, they barely flinched. Sadly, we had to cull a few of the sick bunnies and they will soon be made into rabbit stew. Life and death revolve in an unending cycle at Woodcrest.

Joe and Grandpa revamped the watering system for the chickens; Beth worked hard in the garden; and Grandma helped breed dogs, sold onions, labeled milk, assisted customers, healed, culled, and skinned rabbits, and still managed to find time for choir practice at six. Tomorrow our new intern from Taylor University, Megan Klayum, joins in the craziness.

 

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Friday, May 29 2014

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Today was one of those days where everything gets done, and nothing gets done. I spent the morning weeding the hoophouse and a row in the garden. I realized that kneeling in the dirt and straw in shorts gets old pretty quickly.

One of the rabbits has been infected with an unknown disease for a little while and she got much worse today. After lunch Grandma, Joe, Alice, and I set out to put her out of her misery but she was already gone. Thanks to Google, we discovered that she had mange mites, a highly contagious skin parasite. Grandma checked all the other rabbits and found several that were in early stages of the disease. Since the sickness doesn’t go beneath their skin, the infected bunnies can be saved for meat purposes.

While Grandma investigated the rabbit problem, Dillan continued seeding at Woodcrest East and Beth planted more seeds in the garden. I had to army crawl between hay bales to collect several of the eggs that were hiding almost out of reach. Why can’t chickens just stick to an obvious nesting spot….

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Thursday, May 29 2014

May 29th, 2014 Comments off

After we got all the morning chores finished this morning (I was on milk labeling duty), Beth, Alice, and I weeded the hoophouse and pulled some of the greens that bolted. The forecast called for rain, so Grandma, Jeni, Mykah, and Jaryn all went strawberry picking before lunch and came back with buckets of red gold that were cut and sugared before going in the freezer. None of us were hungry after eating fistfuls of fresh berries all afternoon. When the weeding was finished, several of us went to Woodcrest East to hill up the potatoes. I operated the tiller until the hoses got caught in the blade (oops). Luckily nothing was broken and we finished the job fairly quickly. While we gardened, Dillan put down seed for the soon-to-be pasture area at East. Joe was a good sport and cleaned out the pig pen (and cleaned off his dog Suki, who rolled in the muck).

Rachel's goodbye celebration

Yesterday we said goodbye to Ann, and today we had to say goodbye to Rachel. We went out to Los Bandidos to celebrate, and Rachel was thrilled with her fried ice cream for dessert. We’ll miss you Rachel!

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Wednesday, May 28 2014

May 28th, 2014 Comments off

This morning was my first lesson in milking. Five cows and four goats later, I was slightly more competent although I still need plenty of practice to nail the system. Anyway, here is the rundown of the milking process for a Jersey cow: You first wash their teats with iodine water, then you dry them. Next, you squirt a stream of milk into a pail because the first milk tends to have the most germs/impurities; the process is called stripping. The final step before you officially begin milking is wiping their teats down one more time with a wipe. Now you can really begin! The machine used to milk uses suction to pull the milk from the udder and into a large metal canister. After there’s no more milk, you wipe down the udder with special balm and spray the teats with iodine. Quite the process, especially with nine animals every morning and evening.

Today we also finished mulching the garden at Woodcrest East, which was the second attempt to do so. Yesterday the wind blew the straw and paper all over the place so we spent the afternoon fixing what nature had graciously undone. I learned my lesson and will now bring my water bottle everywhere I go; the heat is already intense and will only increase. Anne had to leave this afternoon which was sad for all of us. Her sunny personality and knowledge of animals was a winning combination. The dinner table was full since many family members stopped by. Our meal was topped off with homemade apple crisp and ice cream from Mapleview Dairy down the road. While we were sitting on the porch afterward, we found the third baby Screech owl of the trio that had gotten separated from their parents. The other two were taken to a rescue center yesterday and this one was rushed over tonight. Here’s a picture of the healthiest one (the others will be taken to the vet tomorrow).

One of the three owlets we rescued 

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Tuesday, May 27 2014

May 27th, 2014 Comments off

 

Greetings from your new farm blogger for the next few months, intern (and granddaughter) Julia Oller. I arrived at Woodcrest after a lovely nine hour car ride from Ohio and am here through the summer. Life at the farm never slows down, and I arrived only to discover that the mulch spread over the garden this afternoon has to be re-spread tomorrow since the wind blew it off. On a more positive note, several orphaned baby owls found in the yard were rescued and taken to a nearby wildlife rehabilitation center. Grandpa also fixed the wheelbarrow. I have no idea how many adventures are in store for me, but I do know that they begin early tomorrow when I have my first lesson in milking the cows.

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