Salle came with her friend Beth to pick up Jack today. She was very pleased with the little book I made to go with him, with pictures of him from birth, his mum and dad, detailing his shots and de-worming, as well as the raw diet they have been on. Each puppy comes with a book like this for their new families. She bought some hamburger and milk for Jack, so that he continues with what he has had, while she transitions him to her schedule. Good luck, and hopefully he'll be a great dog with you.
Made lunch with Salle and Beth, a tomato, mushroom and onion sauce on rice pasta as Salle is wheat intolerant, but tipped a can of tomato bisque soup into it, which has wheat, so had to start a new pan for her. I learnt something. Also had Aubergine salad, home-made pickled beetroot and my home-made feta. Beth liked the beets, although she hadn't eaten it in years as she didn't like the beets her grandmother made !
It's very mushy outside, Herbie did all the chores again this morning and went to fetch the cow feed from Westphalia as I had Salle and Beth here, thank you Herbie. He also cleaned out the chicken house again, and put it out in the garden. He didn't feel like eating today, so didn't join us for lunch.
Jackie is coming over late tomorrow to pick up a dozen eggs, the first I've had for sale this year !
I still have to go and mop up the basement, clean out the garage and finish the puppy books. Think I finished doing the farm books for 2012, so can now submit the Dept of Ag survey and ready to finish our taxes as soon as the last W-2 is received, which could be this week. The kitchen looks good, except the floor which really needs a scrubbing.
Talking to a guy about one of the girl puppies, so hopefully another little one will find a happy new home shortly. Placed an ad on MLive for the puppies tonight.
Still haven't had the Net10 account fixed, a guy called me today to ask if my issue had been resolved, No, then he was going to transfer me to another department to sort it out. Again ?? Pre-recorded message saying if I press 1 they will revert to me and I wouldn't lose my place in the queue, as it was a minimum of 30 minutes wait. A woman called back, I explained the whole issue again giving her the ticket number from yesterday, to be informed that she'd have to create a new ticket number to move forward. All this to try and have Herbies' number corrected on our account ! At least I was able to down-load additional airtime for him today, which didn't work yesterday as his number is wrong.
Just spent a total of 4 hours on the telephone to 3 different cell service providers to sort out our phones, and it looks as if I have the data working, but will only find out if our account has been fixed this time tomorrow.
This morning was a laugh - the yard was an ice-rink, and I watched chickens, guineas, ducks and geese slip and fall on their asses, flapping their wings like crazy to stay balanced, legs shooting apart, falling over, looking bewildered. It was the funniest thing I've seen in a while ! Walked carefully with the cows, they didn't fall to milking, although Dolly fell on her front knees going back up the hill after milking. Herbie did the milking by himself this evening as I was on the phone, and it's all mushy out there now.
The house basement is flooded, the tunnel and parts of the lower barn as well. The ice was melting in the 54 degrees F we experienced today, but the ground is still frozen, so the water has nowhere to go.
Herbie invited Betsi for lunch today, I usually cook far too much, Murphys' law, not today, so I just added some more and it was great, hamburger, fried potatoes, mixed vegetables and home made feta cheese and Herbie and Betsi had fresh milk while I was drinking my cold half cup of decaf.
Went to pick up 40 bales of hay from Russ, which he and Herbie loaded, and Herbie unloaded by himself (I was on the phone, remember).
Tonight Rosco was growling at the puppies who were eating his food ! He is about 200 times their size !
Salle is coming tomorrow to pick up Jack, so need to finish the puppy books tonight, and also try and do some more of the farm accounts, have done most of it, just last years' purchases from Tractor Supply to process, methinks, to file the rest of the paperwork on the lounge floor, and Bobs' your uncle.
Needed my shower tonight. I could smell the farm on me. Somehow I put my head against a wet cow, and had who knows what in my hair, and my arms were all yucky from washing some filthy udders, the puppies had wet and dirty feet and they all jumped on me plus I pick them up often. There was muck at the bottom of my jeans, my shoes are actually black, not poop brown. Herbie and I went to Walmart like that today, so if we ever appear on one of those 'Only in Walmart' clips, we smelt worse than we looked !
Shouldn't complain really, as Herbie has a job, but they kept him out until 7:30 am this morning. I woke at 4:15 am and he wasn't in bed and I couldn't hear the TV. Woke at 7:30 am and he still wasn't home. This after he started his 2nd shift at 3 pm. This gives a girl a start, especially as the weather was so bad overnight. I called him and he answered quickly, sounding very annoyed, telling me that he was trying to drive up our driveway ! Took him a few goes, and when I shoveled it later this morning, I could see where he had slid back, those parts took extra scraping to lift the impacted ice.
Milked the girls one by one this morning, they were good, Buttercup waiting in the section below the milking parlour until I was finished with Dolly. And no poops inside at all, very impressive, methinks.
5 chicken eggs today, the 2 brown ones in the lower barn, and then 2 cream ones and one blue/green one up in the nesting boxes. Wow, I can start baking something.
Why is having a cellphone such a complicated issue ? Moved to a pre-paid service as it was just too expensive to stay on with AT&T, paid for an unlimited month for both Herbie and I, but the data does not work, even after phoning the company 6 times. My month ends today, the local stores don't sell the 2 family unlimited plan we bought last month, so I bought 2 x nationwide plans with 750 minutes talk, text and web / e-mail, but cannot extend my month, as it doesn't work. Phone them up, no, I have to buy the national unlimited, even after I explained that the data doesn't work, so why must I buy it, and none of the local stores sells it ? Oh, they will help me fix the data, but I have to speak to them on another phone. Really, my cell is the only phone I have, and Herbie is at work. So from tonight, probably midnight, I have no cellphone, charming, until I can phone them again tomorrow, the 8th time I'll be doing this, and then will have to trade in the 2 cards I bought today for 1 unlimited one, and buy another one for Herbie. Why they think WalMart will take a scratched off card back is beyond me.
Tonight tackled another section of our taxes, but still awaiting one W-2 and the farm expenses to complete them.
The puppies are quite mobile, following me and their mum out to the pasture to get the cows, chasing chickens, going into the shed to eat the cats' food, playing in the snow. Really need to sell them, need the money, need to save the money they are eating and cut down on the puppy poop in the garage.
Goodnight all, my nights are rather disjointed sleep-wise, and tomorrow is the start of our week-end, so beddy-byes for me.
Urgh.. I'm cold and wet, like George, but it's also snowing a bitch ! All the shoveling I did yesterday is for naught. Watered the cows, broke ice on the one trough that was a foot thick, and popped the water defroster into that trough, and filled them both. When I went to fetch Dolly for milking, couldn't see the lighted end of the extension cord. Sure enough, it was unplugged in the chicken house, one of the ruddy chickens thinks the electric line is a great roosting spot. Tied a knot in it to keep it in place, and ran the cord down the wall to try and discourage that. Threw the frizzbee for Anni while filling the water, and the puppies were running after her, also biting the frizzbee when she brought it back. They are cute to watch.
Watered the sheep as well, although just switching the tap on with the heated hose is a lot easier than schlepping water in 18 gallon buckets on the buggy ! It's remembering to switch the tap off that is the bugger.
This morning did not go so great. Last night the water / milk mix in the bottom vacuum hose froze overnight, (Buttercup kicked the bucket over) so I couldn't raise a vacuum. Not a big problem, I just disconnected it, carried the pipes and the hose into the house basement, put them in the sink, ran hot water through the hose and hung it up to drip dry, reconnected the milking bucket directly to the pump and milked. This morning I took the pipe and hose to reconnect them as I was to milk both Dolly and Buttercup, therefore needed the piping so that they could be in both the stalls at the same time. I thought I had secured the piping and moved the chair to attach to hose, when the piping fell, breaking the nozzle off. OK, so would just have to milk them one at a time in the same stall. Fired up the salamander to defrost the lines, brought Buttercup in to milk, went OK, didn't strip her as I'm in the process of drying her up, shooed her out, called Dolly, in she came, washed her and attached the milker. So far so good. Then she backed up and tipped the milk bucket over, the hose directly to the vacuum is shorter, a smaller diameter and is stiffer than the usual hose and therefore not much give. I was on her other side, and struggled to get around her and over the salamander to reach the pump, and by the time I got there it was spewing milk over my head ! Damn. I switched it off, it didn't short out, took the cows back, the milk into the house for the herd-share owner, but couldn't clean the equipment as I didn't dare switch the pump back on. Had tea while waiting for Herbie to wake, he only arrived home at 4am this morning from work. When he came downstairs, I waited for him to get his coffee, and then told him what had happened, asking him to show me how to strip the vacuum pump down to clean it out. He sent me to buy some Form-a-gasket, and when I got back he was already down in the milking parlour having disassembled the pump. It being Sunday, the local hardware shop was closed, so I had to go to Menards in Ionia. Herbie handed me all the parts to clean and dry so that it works. Had to use the compressor to blow air through some of the pieces, re-assembled it, and it works ! So together we fixed it, and without any fighting. Cleaned the milking equipment, washed the floors that were covered in milk, and now just ready to go and milk again, but only Dolly tonight.
Need to put in a different system that they can't tip the bucket over, so that liquid doesn't get into the vacuum line. Unfortunately it is just a 3/4 horsepower pump, so we can't milk 2 cows at the same time. If I knew that when I bought it, I would have gone for a bigger pump. Also need to get a milk tank, as can't milk 2 cows into the same bucket as it is too much milk, and we currently have 5 pregnant cows, so a lot more milking is in my future !
It seems that some of the newbie chickens are starting to lay ! Found 2 eggs in the chicken house today, together with a dead chicken that wasn't there this morning when I fed them. 2 chickens lay their eggs on the chair in the lower barn as usual, so 4 eggs in one day - things are looking up. They must have heard us talking yesterday about butchering them !
Was sunny this morning when I went to fetch the cows for milking, so I took some photos. This is the house from the pasture, Sargeant is the blob behind the gate.
Gabriel standing in the sun, with Star way behind in another pasture.
Little Red and Daisy May.
Dolly and Pigtails.
Star enjoying the sunshine. It's 20 degrees F outside, which for my South African friends and relatives, is below freezing ! Outside here is colder than inside your freezer !
After milking this morning, Mischka sat on the Salamandar heater for warmth, and that's Marmalade on the shelf behind her. It wasn't on, the whoosh noise it makes scares all the animals. We turn it on before milking to thaw the milk lines and so that they are sufficiently pliable to couple with the milking machine easily, and then turn it off before allowing the cows in.
Went ride-about today in the truck, with the trailer, with 6 puppies, their mum and Sargeant, to fetch Dolly, our Jersey cow from Randy where she was hopefully bred by our bull, Brownie, on Monday. She should calve on or around October 30 this year.
Buttercup is hugely preggers, and not wanting to come for milking anymore, so by getting Dolly back (she's been away since December 30, 2012) I can continue to supply milk to our herd-share owners. Will start drying Buttercup up, so that she can use her nutrients for the coming calf and not into milk production. Hopefully she births in March - not sure if it will be a Scottish Highland / Jersey cross calf, or pure Jersey as we had Midnight and Jnr Burger both in the field with her. This next year I hope to put up another 3-sided shelter or two, then we can separate the boys from the girls so that we control the breeding.
The puppies were better in the car, although Jack is still the howler ! He seems exactly as his daddy, who also howled a lot. I put him on my lap, with his head tucked under my chin, and he still whimpers. On the way back he curled up with another boy puppy and went to sleep, 3 others were sleeping in the box I put in the back, and one was tucked on top of the console. One little girl gets car sick like Anni did, I traveled with empty tummies so there was no upchucking, but she was drooling big-time and was really unhappy.
Our bull, Brownie, is a good looking boy. I always give him something to eat, today it was some corn, and he comes when I call. Dolly not so much, I had to climb over the fence and go fetch her, but got her into the trailer quite easily, Randy slammed the ramp shut, then went past the garage for fuel, TSC just to say hi with the puppies, and home. The other cows seemed pleased to have her back, all sniffing and rubbing. Let's see how milking goes tonight. Randy said she was very good with milking at his place, just hope she doesn't forget how we do it here. Won't milk Buttercup tonight, will partially milk her tomorrow morning, and then again for 2 or 3 mornings, only partially until she dries up. Don't want her to get mastitis.
Dolly pooped up the trailer, and I couldn't get the ramp door closed again after scraping hard and soft poop. It's extremely heavy, so will go out now again and try again. Had to come and feed the puppies and now they are all sleeping.
Did some paperwork yesterday, inputting receipts for 2012 into the computer, and doing the filing once I'd finished with them. Need to work an ongoing system that works and is relatively easy to keep up.
Spent some good quality time with Herbie yesterday and today, I like being married to him, he's a good guy. Spoilt me by doing all the chores these past 3 days, I've only helped here and there, and done the cooking, inside cleanups and the laundry.
Need to talk to Salle to arrange to hand Jack over. Then just 5 puppies still to be sold, wish me luck, as we need the money for feed for all the other animals.
Found the puppy deworming medication, it had fallen on the floor of the front passenger seat of the truck, Herbie found it yesterday.
It's cold, dismal and we are tired of this weather ! Herbie gets the blues, everything is unhappy in the cold, I'm having difficulty with these lined jean
This morning it was -2 degrees F. Remembered I had an insulated bib overall which I pulled on over my thermals, jeans, shirt, the puffed waistcoat, then the windproof jacket, gloves, boots. Herbie had the salamander going in the lower barn, as the teat dip and udder wash had frozen in their gallon jugs. After milking, brought them into the house basement so that they wouldn't be frozen tonight. The heat of the salamander helps soften the milking lines, last night they were so stiff they weren't locking tight to allow a vacuum, and I struggled to milk Buttercup.
When Herbie opened the first can of cat food (they don't like the garlic I put in the home-made food) he discovered it had frozen. I de-canned three and popped them into the microwave - is there anything that smells worse than warmed animal food ? I'm surprised they eat it.
As first the puppies, and then Anni, stole Sargeants' heated sleeping pad last night (he doesn't have the double layer fur the Border Collies do) I left the doggy door unlatched so that he could sneak in when I'd gone to bed. This morning, the 2 male cats, Major and Bandit, were in the house as well as Sargeant. Major was sitting in the sun in the family room, and was easy to catch and release, but Bandit goes hiding. I did a room to room search for him, closing doors after finding them empty. When I was filling the bucket with hot water for the milking, I heard him, under the staircase in the basement. I called and called, but he wouldn't come out, so I fetched Sargeant and Anni, and when he heard them in the basement he emerged, thinking that it was clear. I caught him, took him through the tunnel and dropped him off in the lower barn. He wasn't happy with me.
Warmed up to 10 degrees, something wrong with a place that you keep stuff in the fridge to keep it from freezing !
Brought a puppy into the house to sit on my lap and de-thaw. Herbie said they were going to get ill, as just as they warmed up, I'd take it back and get another one. Germs make you sick, not the weather or hot and cold, Silly. Major is very chesty again, coughing and sneezing and generally wheezing and spluttering. Pretty gross, but he has always been that way, we thought he was allergic to Sargeant, and now he beds down with all the puppies !
Did a fair amount of paper sorting yesterday, and throwing out, so have numerous piles on the lounge floor, as it was too cold in the study, which is a North facing room. Am trying to drum up enthusiasm to continue with it, and can hear Herbie outside on the buggy, think he is doing more water for the cows.
Took a Brandy Tart out of the freezer and warmed it up for sweets after breakfast. Yummy, nothing as warming as Brandy Tart. Then shared a slab of Coffee chocolate with Herbie. It's better when we share one, otherwise end up eating a whole one by myself, as does Herbie. They are delicious.
Should go and scrape up puppy poo from the garage floor, but don't want to. Herbie moved the ottoman from the dining room to the family room, so just feel like sitting there, watching movies with my feet up, but didn't get anything ticked off my list yesterday, so should make an effort today, shouldn't I ? So lazy I didn't even make the bed today, so should go get that done too.
Chatting to a guy in NY who is interested in a puppy. Not sure how he intends getting one, I checked the map, and it's nearly a 6 hour drive if you cut through Canada
Asked Herbie this morning : Remind me why we live here ? and he couldn't come up with an answer. It is so cold, he wears 2 sets of thermal underwear under another 3 layers to go to work. Sort of feels like the Michelin man. I wear thermals, puffed waistcoat, windproof top coat, and it feels as if my brain is being frozen in my head. The sun is shining so it is sort of cheerful, but looking out the window it is just black and white.
Tried the slow cooker for the first time last night. Cooked two Scottish Highland beef roasts with vegetables, potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic and celery in red wine, one in the slow cooker, the 2nd in the pressure cooker. 1 hour in the pressure cooker, allowed to cool over night, and 11 hours in the slow cooker. The meat in the slow cooker was cooked, but the vegetables were still hard, so we ate from the pressure cooker for breakfast this morning. It was rather yummy. Have the rest of the beef for sandwiches, Herbies request.
Picked up the prunings yesterday, and washed some windows - the water froze on the windows before I could squeegee it off ! But they do look a little better.
Steve came around and bought some meat, hope he likes it.
Hopefully will be fetching Dolly from Randys' later this week, need to start drying Buttercup up, as her 2nd calf should be born early Spring.
Now need to go up to the study and do paperwork for the farm - I've been putting this off forever as I hate doing it, but the Dept of Ag wants some numbers by Feb 4, and I also need them for our taxes, so upstairs it is today, yuk !