The slowing season

Our days have slowed considerably with the cooler weather.

I just moved Maisy and Maggie to their winter quarters over at the big red barn. I rolled up the electric wire used for fencing and pulled the step in posts and stored all the the garage. No milking now as Maisy is gestating for a spring calf. At 8, she’s an older cow and is a bit on the thin side. So we dried her off before winter and have allowed her free choice food, as much as she wants. She is grazing the last of the pasture grasses and we give her good grass hay. Maggie is taking advantage of the abundance and is becoming very round! But Maisy, not so much. I know it’s her make up as a dairy cow to be thin but I worry about her welfare. She was bred back to another black Angus for a meat calf in May of 2017. But next pregnancy we might think about another Jersey. Not a replacement. Just another.

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The kids and I cleaned out the chicken coop and all the litter was moved to the garden. There the snow and cold will break down what the chickens left behind. By spring the ground will be ready for a new crop of corn.

Most of the older chickens remain in different stages of featherless-ness.  The Black Stars are two years old and will not lay as vigorously when their molt is completed. These black hens lay fast and furious through out the spring into fall. But they drop off after 18 months, laying sometimes only an egg every other day. This is not enough for our family and the folks who purchase eggs from our farm. But the every other day laying schedule is perfect for those with smaller egg needs. So I have placed an add on Craigslist for the Black Star hens. I’m happy to give these sweet girls to whomever is interested. They have served us well. I’ve had several takers already.

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Willow and Vincent continue to live together like an old married couple. No more noted “piggily- wiggily”. Willow should cycle in the next 12 days or so if she’s not pregnant. So far she has been very obvious when she’s in heat: pacing, barking, huffing. We shall see what we shall see.

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Rhett has grown into a large, handsome cat and has found his place ridding the farm of “unwanteds”. Yeay! We really needed a cat. We have voles and field mice everywhere they are not welcomed. I’m not sure why we waited so long to get him.

The mountains surrounding us are beginning to show snow in earnest now. The valley floor will succumb soon enough. It can’t happen too soon for our boys. They love the change in weather, especially the snow.

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I am happy with this unusual long, warm fall. It’s given me a chance to button up the farm for winter in a more pleasurably pace. Though I’m sure when the snow comes and keeps us out of the woods and inside for extended weeks, the warmth will seem like a far away place.

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What’s for supper: Ranch chicken pizza and Swiss chard salad with baby beets and carrots.

Weather: A slight chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. South southwest wind around 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Tonight a 50 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 28. South southwest wind around 6 mph becoming calm after midnight. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

 

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