It’s hot and muggy here in SW Michigan, and I was dripping sweat. Weird, as I hardly ever sweat, but the humidity here is unbelievable. Even the dogs didn’t stick around to be with me, they disappeared off to the creek. You know the saying .. mad dogs and Englishmen !! Well, I wasn’t going to allow this to defeat me. I gave up on Monday trying to get the 2-bottomed plow attached and asked Herbies’ help when he got home from work. And I was so close to getting it done by myself, also had 2 points attached, and he just said reverse a little, and bingo, the last arm could be attached ! I find it so frustrating that I’m not strong enough to attach these things by myself.
Wednesday : I’m not milking, again. Bobbin only gave me just over a gallon on Monday, same on Tuesday, and yesterday, Wednesday I didn’t milk her at all but called the vet. She is skinny skinny, is not eating, not even corn which she loves, and has major diarrhea. Her temperature is normal, her ears are perky, she’s not dehydrated. The vet, who saw her last time which was April, stuck her arm up her bum, (couldn’t tell if she was pregnant - said if she was it was very early), to see if there was a blockage. Didn’t think so and her rumen sounded good, so did her heartbeat. I fetched the gallon jug of kaolin (livestock pepto) Dr Courtney shoved a metal tube about 1½ ft long and 1½ inch diameter down her throat and I fed the feed tube into it and squeezed a feeding bottle worth of the pink stuff down her throat. She was not a happy cow. The reason for the metal is so that she doesn’t crunch the bulb at the end of the tube feed. She performed until the tube popped out so we had to fight with her again to re-insert it to feed her another bottle to total about ½ a gallon. Nothing like a Jersey cow for drama !! I also scooped a container of poop for analysis - results no parasites, same as in April.
This morning, she’s still got the runs, and is a little wobbly on her feet. I called the vet again. Kaolin didn’t seem to work maybe we should take blood and send it for some tests. OK, it was raining a little and Dr Courtney had to wait for it to stop to go do another farm visit, so she came straight over. I went and fetched Ruthie with the buggy, a bucket of corn on the back, and clipped her to the attached rope I usually use to drag the rubbish bin down the drive. She followed along very well, and I closed the gate behind her, not letting Oliver or Amba out. Thor jumped the fence 2 days ago to be with Bobbin, (or rather, to eat Bobbins’ food) so I left him with her. Wanted Ruthie pregnancy checked so that I could advise the herdshare owners when we’d be in milk again. Confirmed, end October / early November calf for Ruthie. Was told it was AI’d sexed semen so we should get another heifer calf. Also had the vet draw blood from Ruthie for testing - after the issue a year ago, and now a different sickness, I want to make sure she isn’t carrying anything. Will take over a week to get any results, by which time Bobbin could be dead, but then at least I know what I’m dealing with: maybe. The vet is stumped. She asked if Bobbins’ eyes were sunken, nope. So she’s drinking. Was pleased to see her eat some sunflower seeds and the a bit of beet pulp in her stall while the vet was there. I filled a 17-gallon tub with water and 2 scoops of molasses, and saw her drink some of that too.
Because I’m expecting Amba to be on heat again next Friday, I moved Oliver out of the pasture with her, into the one with Bobbin and Thor. Then took Ruthie to the same one with Amba, so have them separated into 2 groups. Amber away from the boys and her mum, Ruthie to keep her company. Last heat the boys jumped fences to be with her, broke into the lower barn enclosure, electric fence be dammed and then into the actual lower barn - Oliver opened the roll up door with his head !! He wasn’t happy that Thor was there too and kept head butting him out the way, hard. Thought he bent the roll up door frame he hit it so hard. Doesn’t stop his interest in Amba though.
Now it’s just a waiting game. The vet and I talked about possibilities of what she had - worse case scenario, Johne's, although she has no appetite and isn’t running a fever, hardware disease ? But her heart sounds good, she’s not coughing so not TB, not anything with bacteria in her poop ! I’m not milking Bobbin because I don’t want her body to take the calcium from her bones to make milk, but I also don’t want her to get mastitis. I’ll see if there’s a little to milk tomorrow. Amba seems to have settled after 4 days of being weaned. Bobbin is still pacing up and down calling for her calf. Doesn’t help her medical situation. I hate it when one of my beasties gets sick and we can’t figure out what is wrong. And I only separated her from Amba after she was sick because I didn’t want her to deplete herself making milk for Amba, so it’s not a pining thing.
Also yesterday, Hershey was dead in their enclosure. The day before he ate sunflower seeds from my hand, and the next thing he was a white lump in the middle of the enclosure and I had to drag him out back. Maybe it was the heat as he had no frothing, or any other signs. Plus there was a dead rooster earlier this week too. His hen was a guinea fowl and she was hovering next to him, poor girl.
On a good note, we have teeny, tiny grapes this year on most of the vines. Also 2 of the 9 blueberry bushes are covered in berries. Just as well as there isn’t any fruit on any of the fruit trees in the new orchard. There were a few sour cherries, but I didn’t see any today, so the birds must have gotten them. No apples, plums, peaches, apricots, pears, sweet cherries, nectarines or paw paws. Nothing, but maybe we’ll get some figs later. No hedge apples or hazelnuts yet either. And although I picked a few black raspberries last week, the dryness we’ve experienced hasn’t been good to them either. I’ve seen some apples on the old trees, but not an abundance. It was a hard year for fruit here. The elderberries are covered in flowers, so we should get a good harvest there. Just finished weeding all the blueberries and the asparagus tonight. Ruddy mosquitoes bit my bum through my trousers ! I sprayed myself with poison, but obviously didn’t reach my bum. Note to self - spray ALL over.
The pastures are dry too although the hayfield is looking nice and green. Wish the zero turn was working then I could mow all the pastures on high, and chop the seed heads off the grass so that fresh stuff grows. Doesn’t help that the sheep feeder mower isn’t happy at present either. I can’t see what’s wrong with it, but it’s making a funny noise. And the thought of weedy whacking 10 acres is daunting at best, even with a wheeled weedy whacker. I did all the thistles I could see last week, but not all the amaranth, horse nettle, burdock or just the grasses. I was pleased to see and hear lots of bees buzzing over the clover. Which reminds me, I still need to add more boxes with frames to the bee hives. Need to scrape and either re-wax the frames, or buy new foundation to replace in the frames. But tomorrow I need to do a trip to Grand Rapids for allergy meds, more homeopathic allergy drops, the truck needs an oil change, Noddy has a check engine light on, it just never ends. Going to make Herbies’ sandwiches for the morrow, then off to bed as I didn’t sleep well last night - maybe 4 hours.