Sunday, July 31, 2011

Save This Farm

Finally a relaxing Sunday

I know Sunday has been my day to relax and reflect; but, lately it has been a day filled with doing chores with Bob which I can't do alone. So last night I declared today a day off...I need to stop making such plans. We ended up mucking the feed lot...yeah, really relaxing..and I was doing a lot of reflecting... After the lot was clean enough for cows we did take a break and spend time with our two older children. After lunch we took a long nap (a really long nap).

Sometime between napping and napping I did take time to reflect on the many good things which happened this week; I purchased my first calves at an auction, I have good neighbors who help me a lot, Jake was found and purchased back, and my time with my family and friends was priceless. There are so many things to be thankful for I might need more than one day to rest and reflect. (sounds good to me)

Things Jake is thankful for:

1) raw egg at breakfast for a good looking coat

2) air conditioning

3) never ending all you can eat dog food buffet (I'm sure he missed these while away)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Save This Farm

Warts and all...

Okay, so who knew cows get warts??? Well, one of mine came with them and like all small creatures shared them with some of his closest friends. I am sure eating from the same bucket was exactly like wearing the same hat when it comes to spreading things that are hard to get rid of. And, no matter how many I time I lectured them about rubbing heads, they just would not listen. (what's a mother to do?) So this morning we vaccinated all twenty of them with a "wart vaccine". (I know, I know) This involved loading them up, carrying them to a friend's farm who has a head stock, weighing, and vaccinating them. It only took three hours of six people's Saturday morning. (I used to sleep in on the weekends....heavy sigh)

After a morning of such thrilling fun I had lunch with some of my closest friends. We have been meeting once a month for about five years now. At first it was about the cleanest house, the best cook, but now it has become about the people. We are the first to admit we have warts, but somehow sharing them makes them easier to handle. (maybe my cow knew something) We have shared our ups and downs. We celebrate the ups and often laugh about the downs.

Wart facts:

1) whether we want to admit it or not we all have them

2) I don't want to check Jake for his (I am afraid of where they might be)

3) masks really don't hide them

Friday, July 29, 2011

Save This Farm

Bucket List Kind of Day

I crossed a lot of things I did not even know I had on my "Bucket List" off my "Bucket List" today. We began the day shopping for ear tag kits. (really, choosing tag colors/marked off list) The next stop on our fun filled day was actually using the ear tag kit. The four calves I purchased at the auction Wednesday didn't have tags, so we tagged them ourselves, just me and Bob. It was way more fun than the brochure showed. The first one knocked down one of the gates we were using to hold him. The next one was a great kicker. (no one got hurt, but shit did fly) The next two were just as enjoyable. (tagging cows/marked off list)

Tonight when I thought I had had all the fun one day could offer, the lady who had Jake, my dog, in her fenced yard showed up wanting to be reimbursed for keeping him. (really, being charged for my dog/marked off list) She was not totally nice. She really didn't want me to keep Jake. (aka Sam; yes, she had named him) She felt she had rescued him because he loved her; he loves everyone. (confrontation with someone over my dog/marked off list) I tried to be overly nice, but ended up $100.00 poorer. She had taken him to her vet and had him tested and vaccinated for everything he had already been vaccinated for. (being a pushover/marked off list)

Reasons today being over is good:

1) I learned how to do a lot of new things

2) I still have Jake aka Sam

3) My "Bucket List" is so much shorter

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Save This Farm

Welcome Home!!

We have found Jake!! (Thank you, thank you) Remember the fools and small children saying? (yes, I still know which group I am in) Today my sister called from Florida where she is on vacation. She said I found Jake while I am at Panama City Beach. (of course she was laughing) The story is her daughter visited a friend who lives about one mile from us, her friend was telling her about their new dog; their new dog was actually my old dog. My niece called my sister, who called me.

Jake was indeed in a fenced yard and could not come home. (Bob was right, I was wrong, again) He looked great and was thrilled to see me. He has been given the "stranger danger" lecture again. I hope he listens this time. (but in dog years he is 14, and teenage boys are invincible)

Hope facts:

1) My friends never lost hope Jake would come home

2) Jake never gave up hope

3) We all should never give up hope

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Save This Farm

Sold to the lady in the third row

Yeah, I finally did it. I got the nerve up to purchase calves at the auction. I now I said I would never go back after the first trip. Women and their changing of the mind.... So today I went to the livestock auction by myself. I checked the calves in the holding pens, chose five that were possibilities, and waited. When the time came for the calves to be sold I purchased four different calves. (it was hard to keep up with calves running through the pen)

Now, here comes the God looks after fools and small children part (and yes I know which group I am in). After I had bought four calves I called the guy who hauls for me to be sure he could come. (I know, I know) He could, but it would be four hours later and I would have to wait around. Just as we agreed on everything my neighbor showed up and asked did I buy anything and if so he had his trailer and would just bring mine home with his. I called the first guy back and thanked him, but let the guy who was already there do the hauling.

Blind luck facts:

1) sometimes even a blind pig finds a mushroom

2) blind faith does pay off

3) Bob blindly lets me go shopping

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Save This Farm

Donkey shopping...Really???

We have noticed several cattle farms have a donkey with the cows. So, being new to the game we asked one of the farmers why a donkey. He said they watch over the cows and protect them from dogs and coyotes. (who knew). He also said we needed one. (who knew) Now we are shopping for a donkey. (Bob is so excited)

My mother and I drove around some local farms hunting donkeys. Luckily we found a donkey farm near our farm. I took pictures for Bob to see. They seem cute enough.

Donkey questions:

1) How old should your donkey be?

2) Should your donkey be a jack or a jenni?

3) What should you name your donkey? (the farmer we asked named his Elvis...)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Save This Farm

Harden My Heart

Jake our yellow lab has been missing for a week. We have asked everyone in our neighborhood, riden the local roads searching and called the county pound. No one has seen him. We are at the point of accepting he is gone. We hope he was picked up by someone who really would love him as much as we did.

Jake facts:

1) he was one of the most loved dogs ever

2) we believed he loved us just as much

3) he is missed (heavy sigh)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Save This Farm

Our new second home

We are making payments on our second home a little bit every week. (too bad it doesn't have a bedroom, and I haven't seen a kitchen either) We are dropping about $400.00 a month on this sweet little place. The current owners know me by name. They have even called me at my old address to let me know I should come by and make another payment while picking up deliveries they have for me.

Actually, they allow us to pick up 50 pound bags of cow feed for our small installment payments. The other day they trusted me with cow vaccines and needles. (scary thought, right) Last week for a little larger payment they sent me home with 650 pounds of brown top millet seeds. (very generous of them) Truth is, this is the local farm and seed store. The sales clerk and I have known each other for years. She has a been a hugh help with my new career. She has only laughed in my face once. (there has been some snickering behind my back) She has probably saved my cows lives.

Local farm store facts:

1) you need one with knowledgeable clerks

2) they haven't seen Jake either (I asked)

3) a clerk who knows you well enough to call your mother to get your cell number is a keeper

Friday, July 22, 2011

Save This Farm

Field Trip - literally

We actually went on a field trip to a field. (yes, we have a dull life) A local cattle farmer had invited us to come see his operation. So, we took the afternoon to go visit his farm. We learned a lot and purchased another calf. I know I started this adventure saying I was not birthing anything; well I have pulled a woman. I have changed my mind. I am building a herd and buying small bulls to raise for a few months and resale. The calf purchased today is staying and becoming part of my herd. (aka my girls)

I would like to think I am becoming knowledgeable about cattle, then I meet someone who is, and realize I don't know much. I am still researching the topic and have learned a few more of the words. At least I now know the difference between a bull and a steer.

Field trip facts:

1) it helps to know where you are going (Bob was right and I was wrong; again)

2) really, really wish Jake would come back from his trip

3) you can learn a lot by going on short trips

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Save This Farm

I swear it wasn't me...this time

My cows have a habit of escaping..not sure what they are running away from or to. I have had three major escapes, so today when cows were spotted in the road near our house, everyone assumed they were mine. Of course when the call came at 8:00 this morning, it came to my brother who has nothing to do with the cows. (he is not a morning person) He called me where I was baby sitting, so I called my brother who is involved with me and the cows. He immediately went to check on and count our cows. All twenty were present and accounted for.

Two hours later I went to check on our cows again; just to be sure. (we do not have a good track record on missing cows) Still counted twenty. (yes!) While I was walking back to the house my Mom called me to say there was a cow in her yard and was I missing one. (Good Lord) I hunted the cow and never found it. I do not know who else owns delinquent cows, but glad to know I am not alone....

Cow facts:

1) they will run away

2) Jake might have taught them (he is still missing; and I am not feeling good about it)

3) Someone besides me owns runaways

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Save This Farm

Man is it HOT

Georgia is one of the states affected by the current heat wave. Our temperature has been above 90 degrees for most of the summer. The one thing about Georgia weather is you can always count on high humidity. There is one good hair day per year here and it is February 7. The other thing you can be sure of in the summer is flies. And flies love cows. (oh joy) So every few weeks I soak the cows with a fly treatment. (actually me and at least one of the guys) my luck is going this week; the cows needed spraying and no one was here to help me. I put on my work shoes and set out to prove to myself I can do this alone. (yeah, right) I brought out the "sweet feed", got the cows in the corral, closed the gate on them, set up the sprayer, hosed them down, and then...well needless to say things went downhill. I could not get the gate opened to let them out. I pushed, I pulled, I huffed and I puffed. When I went into the corral to try opening the gate the cows all wanted more "sweet feed", which I didn't have. I did manage to move the gate, but the cows would not get out of the way...they wanted me to furnish more treats. My sister finally came to see if I was okay...this was taking a long time. I had her take my phone just in case; she had 91 entered I went back in and shooed the cows out of the way. (moving twenty 600+ pound animals is a little scary) Success...but I did have to climb over the fence. (not my best moment)

Summer facts:

1) It is hot in Georgia

2) If Jake is on vacation he could at least call

3) I will remember this summer for a lot of reasons

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Save This Farm

Christmas stocking??

Well almost. This is the canvas with the needlepoint part finished. I started it in June to be sure my part of it was finished so I could pass it on to my friend to do the embroidery part. She will do all the pretty stitching then send it back for the finishing part. In return for her embroidery work I alter her pants. (she is shorter than most companies think women should be) This system of helping each other has paid off many, many times.

I am trying to build a relationship with some of the local cattle farmers. I have talked with a few of them and we are planning a visit to one on Friday. He has a couple of calves to show us and he is very proud of his farm. He wants to give us a tour to help us with our farm. (you need a lot of friends in a lot of different areas)

Friend facts:

1) I need all the friends I can get

2) my friend Jake is still unaccounted for

3) I hope I am a friend

Monday, July 18, 2011

Save This Farm

MIA (missing in action)

I really don't know where Jake is. This isn't his first walk about, but I still hate when he does this. We last saw him at 7:00 Sunday evening. He did not come in last night and this morning he was still a no show. One time he was gone for a week when he returned just as happy as when he left. So....I am trying not to think the worst.

Talk about a blue Monday; missing dog, yellow jacket sting, not getting an answer from two possible places to purchase calves, missing dog, and Bob going out of town for the week. Well, when life gives you lemons make an egg custard. Sugar, vanilla, eggs, butter and milk; what more could you want from a comfort food. So now I am sitting here all alone eating the perfect desert.

Loneliness facts:

1) food really does help

2) Jake; well I don't want to think about it

3) not a good year to stop drinking

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Save This Farm


And I don't just mean the meal. It's Sunday and I am determined to relax; if just for a few minutes. So we ate dinner on the patio and enjoyed the freshly mowed lawn. We discussed the week's jobs which we completed, or at least began. It has been a very busy week; selling cows, sale barn visiting, general farm upkeep , and the housework....

We relaxed, but just for a little while...the three phones on the table are a true indication of our now very busy lives. As soon as the meal was completed the phones began ringing. We dealt with each call and then began planning next week. You never know what you might be doing next...

Sunday facts:

1) relax when you can

2) Jake has relaxing down to an art form

3) I need to be more like Jake

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Save This Farm

Perfect ending to a busy day

Ever had one of those days where you resume could list a dozen different occupations? Today started with being a maid (think bed making), then farm labor (think mucking), then vet (think vaccinating calves) and ending with chef (think preparing dinner). I am not sure I really enjoyed any of these occupations; so tomorrow I am going to try some different ones.

The thing about days like this is you do accomplish a lot. The house looks presentable. The corral looked good for a little while. The calves are vaccinated for a year. And, well dinner was a good chance to just rest and enjoy a hot meal. Now it is raining on the fields where my brother has just finished planting brown top millet. It has been a good day.

Busy day facts:

1) what you are doing will change in just a few minutes

2) Jake actually followed me around to see what I would be doing next

3) Bob had more occupations today then I did

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Save This Farm

It's a new day!

Yesterday was so much fun at the sale barn I was too tired to sleep last night. So, this morning I decided to do something non cow. For a change of pace Jake and I went blueberry picking. Jake just loves blueberries and gets to pick the berries from the lower branches. I have several recipes which use blueberries, but my favorite is a muffin recipe my friend Gina's mother created. Her parents had a blueberry farm in south Georgia and her mom spent years perfected these muffins.

Gina's Mother's Blueberry Muffins

1 3/4 cups plain flour 1 egg

3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup milk

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/3 cup oil

3/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup blueberries

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl. Mix egg, milk and oil together in a small bowl and add to the flour mixture. Stir just until everything is moist but not smooth. Fold in blueberries. Spoon into a greased 12 count muffin pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until brown.

Blueberry facts:

1) picking blueberries is calming

2) Jake only picks what he can eat

3) sharing warm blueberry muffins is calming

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Save This Farm

Cattle Sale Barn


somewhere I may never go again

Lordy, lordy...I didn't remember the sale barn being this much fun from my childhood. Today I chose my green strappy sandals, black carpi's and pink polo shirt to wear to the sale; what I should have done was knock the cow mess off my work shoes and worn my old grey t-shirt and denim shorts. I was the entertainment of the day. Every time a cow kicked down the gate, lunged at the helpers or fell down I jumped, gasped or cringed. One ole' timer asked would I be back every week so he would know to come.

The most shocking part, besides the cattle prods, was the fact people were eating while seating around a pen full of cows...really??? I think I might not have fit in. I obviously am becoming a cow snob, because nothing at the sale looked good enough to bring home to my "girls". So, after several hours of being the floor show we left the sale empty handed. Luckily the three cows we sent to sale sold well this time...thank goodness for some good news.

Facts about cow sales:

1) don't dress nice

2) I don't feed Jake around the cows (omg)

3) I'm glad I made some one's day (even if they talk about me for a long time)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Save This Farm

Head'em up/Move'em out

the Sequel

Rated G

Today we chose the next three steers to take to market. The first round up event was a total disaster. The sequel to that event contained no girls running through the pasture, no adult language, no wet T-shirts, and no thrilling action. The first round-up could have been rate PG-13 and today was absolutely a G.

All I had to do was bring out the green bucket of "sweet feed", call for the cows to come and get it. Everyone of them lined up and walked single-file into the corral. It was harder to remove the ones not being sold from the corral than getting the guys who we are saying goodbye to in the corral.

Things I have learned:

1) you can do it the hard way, or the easy way

2) Jake stayed inside with the air conditioning (it is 100 degrees here today) choosing the easy way

3) saying goodbye to cows I have trained is not easy

Monday, July 11, 2011

Save This Farm

The grass is always greener...

To keep the cows happy we moved the fence to include the other side. We introduced them to the new pasture over the weekend. At first they needed a leader (me and my lead cow) to blaze the path. Two days I dutifully lead my herd into the new field, but today when I went to play follow the leader they had already gone without me. I was impressed with their courage.

The object of the game is to rotate the pastures they are grazing on every ten days and let the other pastures regrow for at least 20 days. To do this we need to have at least three pastures fenced. (I see more fencing in my future) It seems the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

Cow facts:

1) they really are trainable

2) Jake is no help with this training

3) they know about the grass thing

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Save This Farm

Feeling mighty old

Today our younger son is celebrating his thirty-first birthday. He went on vacation today with his family, so we held the "birthday lunch" yesterday. He ordered meatballs like Grandmother used to make, green beans like Granny made, and sour cream pound cake with strawberries like I used to make when the boys were younger. To get in the mood to prepare this feast I tuned into 60's hits on the computer; you know the ones before the British Invasion.

The music, the smells, the old hand written recipes and the memories of his childhood all took me back in time. I was peeling tomatoes, putting homemade pickles in the bowl and slicing strawberries while singing to Beach music. But, alas the spell was broken when the air conditioner came on and I remembered it is being powered by the solar panels on the roof.

Time travel facts:

1) it is possible (but only in small increments)

2) Jake doesn't care about time travel as long as the AC is working

3) the trip is worth taking

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Save This Farm


The clean up continues. You just don't realize how many small clean up jobs there are until you begin. This area was just a place for an extra water trough, but it took all day to clean the area. (note Jake is resting before the job begins; note also he is gone before the job is finished)

Bob and I have spent a lot of hours cleaning, mowing, and organizing the barn area. We are beginning to feel we have accomplished some of the major tasks and are starting on the less obvious ones. The problem we are running into is nothing stays clean. Cows are not house broken. (the book does not mention how to do that)

Cleaning facts:

1) if it needs cleaning; it won't stay clean

2) there is picture evidence of Jake's lack of cleaning skills

3) a woman's (farmer's) work is never done

Friday, July 8, 2011

Save This Farm

Cattle Farmers in training.

You can not get better help than grandchildren, especially while they are still young. They think you know everything. (please don't tell them the truth) They are also willing to do tasks adults think are dull. Today the introductions were made. I waited for the children to meet the cows until I felt the cows were calm enough not to cause any trouble. It actually went well, no one seemed frightened of the other one; in fact Charlie felt very much in charge.

The only negative comment involved the smell of cow pooh. (some things are what they are) The children thought the cows were great; the cows thought the children were great bringers of the green bucket.

Facts of help:

1) good help is hard to find (unless they are grandchildren)

2) Jake thinks the grandchildren are great at filling the dog food bowl

3) the cows think the grandchildren bring "sweet feed" just fine

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Save This Farm

"putting the cow before the book"

When you don't know what you are doing, do research. So, I ordered books and magazines on beef cattle. To my surprise I was doing some things wrong. (imagine that) I was actually getting my bull where I could pet him; the book says never make a pet of your bull. (something about respect) Even more surprising I am doing some things right. (way to go) The books says you should have a lead cow and train them so the others will follow. (I have a lead cow!!)

I wish I had done a lot more research before I started purchasing cows; but I didn't. I just hope none of the cows have been emotionally damaged beyond repair due to my ignorance. (they seem to be doing fine, mostly)

Research facts:

1) there is a book for that

2) Jake was purchased before I read "Marley and Me" (he might not be here now if I had)

3) reading never goes out of style

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Save This Farm

Home Sweet Home

Today was one of those days when I just wanted to hide inside my house. The reality of getting a farm started was a little (read a lot) overwhelming today. First was the hour long meeting with our insurance agent trying to determine what to insure, how much to insure it for, and how much insurance can we afford. (my head hurts) Several hundred dollars later as I was leaving the office someone who knew my father wanted to question me on how many cows did we have, was our grazing up to par, and were my fences in good repair. (really?? my head hurts)

When I finally got home, I just sat down and had a good cry (nothing really good about it). One thing I learned at an early age, when I am upset start cleaning. So, my kitchen is spotless, my bathroom is clean, and the floors are shining. Accomplishing something (anything) always makes me feel better. I am glad to be home, and I am glad it is clean.

Facts about me:

1) when upset home is the best place for me

2) Jake was no help cleaning the house

3) keeping busy is a good thing

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Save This Farm

This is the way we wash our clothes...

and wash our clothes....and

Well you get the idea. Growing up I thought my mother was always washing clothes. I assumed this was because she had five children. The real truth is it was because she had five children and a farmer. After a long weekend of hard work...and several changes of clothes per day, I was the one left behind to catch up the laundry. (you know the one without the "real" job)

I used to count on one hand the number of loads of laundry I did weekly; now I am up to counting on both hands and sometimes toes are needed. Tomorrow I am headed to the membership club to purchase detergent and fabric softener in the weight-training size. Wish me luck.

Laundry facts:

1) it never ends

2) Jake only needs a few towels per week

3) I used to need only a few towels per week

Monday, July 4, 2011

Save This Farm

Happy Fourth of July

Don't you just love a holiday. Especially one where eating hamburgers and hot dogs is expected. (and watermelon) We celebrated today with fence mending, cow feeding, water trough checking, etc..... But you know it wasn't bad. We still managed to overeat, take a nap, and make bad jokes about who had which blood type in case someone needed a transfusion from all the barb wire cuts. (we know we are not right, but just in case mine is B neg)

We haven't made a penny on the farm so far, but we really haven't lost anything either. We feel as long as we still have our bad sense of humor we will be okay. (who will need stitches first was the gambling game of the day; luckily no one won) We accomplished a lot today, and well tomorrow everyone but me will go back to their "real" jobs, you know the ones with pay.

Holidays truths:

1) days when you work harder

2) days when Jake gets the extras from the meal

3) days when you are too tired to watch the fireworks

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Save This Farm


Yep, I need a band aid for my head too. Sharp objects and I have always had issues. Forty years ago I was opening a case of baby formula. Bob handed me his hooked utility knife to cut the box; while waiting in the emergency room to be treated for a self-inflected stab wound I kept asking, "What were you thinking, giving me a sharp object to open a box with?"....well twenty years ago my mother gave me my first set of tools for quilting. While removing the rotary cutter from its package I cut off the very tip of my finger; while waiting for the tourniquet to stop the bleeding Bob asked, "What was your mother thinking, giving you a sharp object to play with?"

Well the curse while attempting to mend a barbed wire fence the first thing I did was lean over and stab myself in the forehead. When the bleeding stopped I asked myself, "What am I thinking?"

Facts of my life:

1) sharp objects should be avoided

2) Jake is better with sharp objects than me

3) Band aids can be purchased in bulk

Friday, July 1, 2011

Save This Farm

It's a Good Day

Yeah, nothing broke, nothing went wrong, nothing exciting happened!!! I love slow nothing beat you down days. There were no decisions to make, no papers to sign, no nothing. All the cows were present and accounted for. We received a little rain. The stars aligned and all was right with the world.

If everyday were like this we might get bored, but bored isn't that bad. I will take bored over exciting any day. (a very sure sign of old age)

Good things about boring:

1) it is predictable

2) Jake likes the peace and quiet

3) I like the peace and quiet