Once again my very careful planning blew out with the wind when Dolly died. I bull breed, so it's not a precise thing like artificial insemination is, but I keep tabs on their heats, so know when they're bred, but not the actual date. I put Eleanor in with Oliver first, for 3 months to cover 3 heats, then waited another 3 months, before putting Daisy May in with him, and Dolly was last. This leaves at least a 3 month difference so that I have the needed 2 months to have the new mum-to-be dried up so that she can conserve her calcium stores for herself and the calf, and an extra month to get past the colostrum stage and any mastitis that a new mum often has. But it's July, and Eleanor hasn't had her calf, and Daisy May needs to be dried up as her calf could come within the next 60 days. Unfortunately, with Dolly having died early this year, I was short a cow again. Tried to get first Seasaidh into the milking stall after selling Saffron, but that didn't go well. Had a bit more success with Immanuelle, could get her into the stall, could wash, strip and dip her teats, and even managed to get the milking machine attached to her twice. But she has an impressive set of horns, and her Scottish Highland half is incredibly skittish. Although I don't think she'll gouge me on purpose, in her haste to get away from the milk machine, she could gore me. I'm not willing to take that chance. Tried putting a rope across behind her rump, but she shoosted out so fast I didn't even have time to tie it to the support. So I haven't milked since the first week of July. At least Daisy May looks pregnant, but Herbie doesn't believe she, or Eleanor are. I go by their lack of being in heat as proof of pregnancy, but the dates always seem to be a surprise. I just try and not have any births before April. Losing 2 calves previously in the snow, was horrid, and something I'm trying to avoid in future.
Got our 2nd cutting of hay in, in 2 parts, thanks to equipment malfunction. Unfortunately there aren't any photos, but I thought I was soooo clever, picking up 2 bales at a time out of the field, one on the bale spear on the 3-point hitch at the back, the 2nd on the bale spear on the bucket of the front loader. Oh yes, that's the best news - the big tractor is going. At least most of the time.
I broke down down and called the local agent in to come and diagnose the problem. Didn't realize he'd get it started ! But it was an incredibly expensive visit, plus the subsequent trip I took to the dealership for some parts. But it has a replacement seat (off-market) , a new shut-off cable, 2 new batteries, air filters that I switched out, and the hydraulic filter still waiting to be installed, and Herbie is working on replacing the rusted out right floor board I bought. But it still wouldn't start every time, so Herbie sourced a new alternator, and it starts, but still only sometimes. And I'm not heavy enough to turn the PTO shaft by standing on it like Herbie does, so sometimes I just have to wait until he gets home from work before I can use it. Then yesterday, the left front tyre blew while Herbie was scooping sheep shit. So this morning I trundled off to WalMart with the wheel that Herbie put into the back of the truck for me. Was advised it'd be about an hour and a half, only to receive a phone call saying that they couldn't do it as the rim needed an inner tube, which they didn't do. So I went back to collect it and took it over to Blundy Hoppes, who do all the local in-field tractor tyre replacements. Yep, they could do it, 20 minutes. I had Anni with me, so took her onto the grass to pee, and then texted Herbie advising where I was. He called me right back, I need them to put a 2nd hand tyre on the rim. What ? Didn't know you could do that. Went back inside to ask, and Dave had already put a used one on for me ! How cool is that ? Another $53.35 later, and the tractor should be ready to rock and roll. Called Mike on my way home to pick up 2 bales of his 1st cutting hay for the Scottish Highlands' and the bulls, and he was there loading wheat for someone, so I just dropped the wheel off at home and went over. Got home with the bales to find JuneBug eating the poultry corn on the path through the back garden. Bloody heifer. Couldn't find a down fence, and her mum, Daisy May and sister, Eleanor, were still in the channel, so opened a gate further down to shoo her back where she belonged. Anni was "helping" by lying exactly where I wanted JuneBug to walk. Shouting at Anni to move spooked JuneBug, and she broke back through the fence, in with her mum and sister. So just had to repair the gate. Yesterday, Stans' twin sister was wandering around outside the fence, with a length of fence wire tangled in her wool. Oy, life on the farm.
Today I'm so excited My ginger beer grains arrived from Ireland. They smelt just like I remember them from my childhood. I washed them and popped them into a jar with sugar water, and hopefully in 5 to 7 days I'll have good, old-fashioned ginger beer !
Our internet wasn't working, so the guy came out and now we have a temporary line running through the woods from the road up to our house. That's like 1,000 feet of cord ! The crew will come put in a new permanent line in a few weeks. It will involve boring under the driveway concrete at the top of the driveway, but will still run through the tunnel like the current one.
And then today, after Herbie put the wheel back on to the tractor so that I could take the bales off the truck and take 2 out to the cows, one to the Scottish Highlands, and one of our 2nd cuttings to the Jersey girls, he was back scooping sheep shit, and blew a hydraulic line to the loader, and with hydraulic fluid spraying everywhere, he turned too quickly and took out one of the fence posts in the sheep yard with the disc attached to the 3-point hitch ! I have the post hole digger on the little tractor because I need to dig some holes as Gabriel has pulled a fence post clean out of the ground into the channel, plus I want to make holes for the snowball bush, the lavender and the day lillies, and maybe for some of the trees I put into pots earlier this year that I bought as bare-root stock, so will inspect the damage tomorrow, and see what is needed to fix it.
And once again, I weedy whacked one of my new blueberry bushes ! I really need a different system. The stakes I put up next to each asparagus plant worked to save them, so I need to install one for each blueberry bush too. I'm busy installing black weed preventive fabric under the electric fencing around my veggie garden, and draping deer preventative netting over the electric wires to keep the poultry out of my garden. Still need to put in additional supports for my grape vines, but saw some grapes when I was working with the weedy whacker there :).
Didn't find even 1 egg in the chicken house today. I have egg eaters, hopefully just one that cracks them, but once they're broken, they all eat them. I don't know which hen, or rooster, is doing it, but will probably have to cull a whole whack of them :(. It's a bad habit that you can't stop once they start doing it. But I still find eggs around the farm.
Enjoying the break from milking, maybe Herbie and I can get away for a day, we need another Port Austin day :). But there is so much to do here on the farm, and everything seems to be falling apart, one after another.