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Thursday, May 2d, 2013

May 3rd, 2013

With apologies for the long delay between posts, I am redoubling efforts to keep current on Farm happenings, news, and comment. I’ll start with today, because it marks a number of milestones, and also was a typically busy and (ultimately) marked some significant milestones here at the farm.    I should note also that this week the Oller family is visiting us and we are having a blessed time with our grandchildren and their Mom, Jeni.  (Dad Rob is on assignment in Charlotte)
Our morning began as usual with milking, and as usual, with the problem of persistent mastitis in Fiona and Carnation. We test and reserve all the milk from affected quarters, but of course, that cuts down on what we can sell. The pigs are very happy with the situation, but its been going on for awhile despite repeated interventions by our vet, changing sanitation procedures, changing feed, etc.   We decided that we needed to address the worst-case scenario, i.e., no milk to sell, and be in a position to cull Fiona (sad, sad)  and Carnation (very sad, sad).     The prerequisite is that we have healthy replacements, and Chris began looking for Jersey’s in milk, and found two in Virgina for sale.   We made the trip, and found two gentle, but very thin cows.   What to do?  In the end, we decided to bring them home, not a good business decision, probably, but after a lifetime of rescue work, and providing multiple opportunities for God to close the door (He didn’t). we bought them.   Our grandchildren have named them Tyra and Heidi (after Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum)  – emaciated now, but with potential if they gain some weight.   That was Wednesday.

Today was Pioneer day, so my morning was devoted to a hike at Umstead park, accompanied by Julia, Grace, and Drew.   Back home, we began Tyra and Heidi’s introduction into farm life.   Drew and I built a cattle chute to get the new girls from the upper pasture to the milk house, and had it worked, things would have gone much better.  It didn’t – the cows escaped and we had a two-hour roundup to get them back contained.  But, finally, with the whole crew working, we managed to get both into the milking parlor, milk them, and return them to the upper pasture.  Words (at least, polite, civilized words)  are inadequate to describe my personal frustration with the vagaries of cows, inadequate fencing, and equipment that doesn’t cooperate, which might explain (not excuse) my resorting to a selection inappropriate for sensitive souls to hear.   God knows I am sorry.  But, the upshot was that we milked both cows, wormed them, and hopefully all will go well on Friday.

As if that wasn’t enough for a full day, Julia was eager to get the plot at Breeze finished by mulching the open rows before we transplant all the summer crops up there.  That operation started early with Christopher and Kevin (right) picking up some mulch hay near  Scot Hudson’s land.  (Kevin joined us for a “temporary” stay last week, and has been such a help we invited him to stay  as an interim intern.  Or something)   While I was pioneering, Kevin, Duncan, and Julia went to Breeze with the hay, mulched, and we are ready for transplanting on Monday.

On top of all that, we had a wonderful Indian-cuisine dinner prepared by Kirin, Julia’s friend.  And, best of all for the Oller family, Rob arrived safely home from his trip to Charlotte.

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