I was at school with Joan at Helderberg High School. She died of cancer today, after a few years fighting the disease. I haven't kept up with most of the people from my previous lives, and it's sad to know that she's gone.
She was our surprise calf, and if she has her way, will have her own little surprise in about 9 months.
For the past 3 days, I've had to chase her out of the veggie garden where she's been enjoying the company of the bulls. She just waltzes straight through the electric fences, the little miss. Then, after a few hours, she bawls because she's hungry but can't find her way back to mum. When I try steer her to the open gate, she heads straight to the fence, and pops through it, across the channel, and then pops through the next fence to meet her anxious mama.
So I thought I'd be clever, and herded her to the lower barn. Struggled to get Seasaidh to follow her - mum didn't want to leave the pasture. I couldn't use a grain bucket to entice her, as all the cows would've mobbed me, so cut her from the group around the feeder and tried to angle her towards the open gate. Eventually got her out, closed the gate and then had to run around the back garden to close the gate into the chicken yard. They passed the chicken house and yard, through the gate and found the feeder and I closed and latched the lower barn gate.
While lying with Herbie I could hear the dogs going crazy, and then the moo-ing started. Fetched the big torch and went calf hunting. She'd escaped the lower barn enclosure. I checked the whole fence but couldn't see where she'd climbed out. Thinking if it now, she may have pushed the bottom of the gate open as it was only latched at the top. I'll check that tomorrow in the daylight. I did find the gate across the side of the pasture pushed down, so presumably that's how she got to the back pasture. I opened the gate and let Seasaidh out of the lower barn enclosure, followed her to the pasture gate and let her back in with the other girls. Checked the bulls, Saffron wasn't in with them, but then spied her out back with the others. Mum was still bellowing, and I double checked that it was Saffron and not JuneBug, she was lying down, and then returned to the house. Just in time as the torch was fading. Need to mark the calendar about 18 days from now, and ensure she's far away from the boys. I really don't want another pregnant 5-month old.
I really get grumpy doing the taxes. I do them every year, and gathering the information is so tedious. Every year I vow to keep the accounts up-to-date monthly, but by April they seem to run away from me. I do the egg sales daily, and milk herdshare money monthly, and the hay purchases, live animal sales and deaths regularly, but the other stuff seems to lag. I have drawn up spreadsheets where I input all the daily stuff, and it pulls up into a summary sheet. Have them for each year, which helps tremendously, IF I do the upkeep. Things like property taxes, utilities, feed bills, medications, store bills - some get done but mainly not. Doesn't help that I'm on a bit of a detox so not getting to eat anything yummy. Told Herbie last night my timing was totally off as 2 horrible things at the same time makes me doubly grumpy, but I was feeling so blaaagh that I had to do something.
Jackie came to get eggs from me this morning, so stayed for a mug of coffee and a chat. She's going to Costco tomorrow and wanted to know if I'd go. Nope, Cindy is not to galavant anywhere until those papers are filed. Sad face. But the visit was nice. Happy face.
Made chili under Herbies directions 2 days ago. He said it had good flavour, but wasn't making him sweat. He chose 3 jalapeño peppers to go in, and he added the Mexican chili powder, so after he'd fallen asleep I added another pepper and more seasoning. Yesterday, he ate it again, nope, still not hot enough. Next time I'll try blow his socks off, now that this South African has been schooled on how to make Herbies' American Chili. He said his chili is famous in his family.
It's back to freezing cold outside but the sun is shining. Eleanor bellowed at me this morning because there was ice on their water and she wanted to drink. I'm just a slave to all the beasties here on the farm. Everything iced over yesterday, there was a bit more snow last night so the ground is very treacherous. Who'd've thunk that I'd be pleased to have ridges from the tractor tyre tracks all over the back yard. I walk on them as they stick up out of the ice.
Had 6 broken eggs yesterday. Knew the chickens had moved where they were laying, and checked the sheeps' hay as they sneak under the plastic to lay. Didn't see any eggs, so started lifting hay for the sheep when I found 5 that had slipped down the side next to the plastic. All frozen and cracked. Chucked them onto the path so the chickens could eat them, then found another frozen one in the chicken house. So, as soon as I hear the chicken "I've laid an egg" call, I go egg hunting.
Well, my tea is nearly finished, so let me get back to tax paperwork.
There was a bitterly cold wind today, although it was bright and sunny. Funny to see all the cows lined up, one behind the other, just soaking up the sun :).
Milked Daisy May and Eleanor, got about 4 1/2 gallons, enough for Manda, me, Maddie and a batch of yoghurt. Down to only 4 herdshare owners again, wonder if I should advertise our programme. But it's only the brave souls who venture out into the world of raw milk !! And I need to stay off any official radar. Don't want to be harassed.
Hopefully taking Gabriel to auction this week. I'd hoped to take him last week, but we went to get another 3/4 ton of salt so there wasn't time to try and coax him into the trailer, plus the trailer has to be jacked up out of the ice, and Herbie worked Monday morning too.
A quiet week on the farm, got some cleaning done, including the bathrooms and the mud room. Went galavanting with Jackie on Wednesday, which was fun. We struggled to get up her driveway at the lake, had to take about 4 runs at it, but thankfully Herbie had re-salted ours before we got back.
Also started our taxes. Probably my most unenjoyable task. Ergo, the cleaned out mud room and toilets today :).
Maddie is still around. Herbies work mates are amazed and they all remember her name and ask about her. She's wearing her new bright green bandanna ;). I took video of her licking the window yesterday. She usually just licks me. She prefers warm milk now, actually turns away if the milk is cold. Spoilt girl. She skarffs down the fridge-cold grapes, but giving her still warm milk straight from the cow has awakened a new need in her. I've always given her fridge cold milk, from when she was a day old and I melted the bottle in the pot trying to defrost some colostrum for her. But, I suppose, with the below freezing temperatures, a quick blast in the microwave is acceptable.
The sheep have been mighty frisky the past few days. Jumping high and then doing that spectacular mid-air twist and landing back on all 4s. Running around the pasture on those pronking legs, boing, boing, sort of like Springboks, but not as high. The girls have been head-butting, running around each other - haven't seen Hershey join in any of the fun. They are looking rather bedraggled, I plan on shearing them in May this year, but that will depend on the weather and the lambing schedules.
Have started selling a few eggs again. Finding around 5 every day, but need to go look fairly often as they freeze. Found another frozen one in the chicken house this morning.
I'm all showered and smelling nice, sitting in bed letting my hair dry. Am trying to decide on how I should cut my hair. Herbie suggested shoulder length, but I wish I had confidence in any of the hair cutters here ! I so like a good cut but haven't had anyone in Michigan give me that.
Oh well, good night all :)))