Thursday, September 22, 2011

Awaiting the arrival of fall

September 22, 2011

After a long hot summer, everyone is awaiting the arrival of fall.  A few weeks ago we had some cooler temperatures move in that felt absolutely wonderful.  It didn't last very long and we got back into some warm and humid weather again.  Hubby and I decided we would build us a raised bed this year for the fall, we then can turn that into a hoop house to extend our growing season.  My father-in-law told us he had a friend that wanted to get rid of some railroad ties, we just had to go and get them.  Well needless to say, we jumped on that idea, hooked the trailer up and went get those babies...... My brain was envisioning all the beautiful beds i could build with these FREE beauties, as he told us we can get all we wanted. 
Well......we didn't know how heavy these things were, poor hubby and father-in-law had a time getting them loaded and unloaded, not to mention getting them in place.  I don't think these will rot anytime soon.  We put these around an existing bed that measures 20x10, and had to haul in a truck load of top soil and composted manure.

I'm so excited!!!!! I have never planted much through the fall and winter except for mustard greens and turnips.  So my head is spinning now............Not sure when and what to start with.  I know for sure i want lettuce and spinach, and hubby wants some year round tomatoes.  Down here in the south you see tomatoes plants at the feed stores, that they call fall tomatoes,  the tag reads heat resistant.  That sorta confused me a little.  I guess because to plant for fall around here, usually August and September are our hottest months.  Well, we picked up a few of them, stuck them in the ground, and they are not growing very much.  Last week while at the feed store i spotted some swiss chard and pak choi, always thought those were more suited to grow up north.  The tag read, "especially selected for southern climates", so I couldn't resist, and snagged a couple of those to give it a try. 

swiss chard "bright lites"

pak choi
 I didn't plant these in the raised bed, and i don't know why........guess im thinking they can handle the cold.......I only got a few plants and will experiment with those.  Hubby keeps asking me what im going to plant in that raised bed, that i begged for.    I tell him don't worry, i will have it full soon...................Shhhhhhhhhh ( i'm stumped as to what i want to plant there)   I have been reading articles about extending the growing season  and breaking free from the normal single growing season, which is how we always planted.  We had such a hot summer and the bugs were bad on some of our vegetables.  Cucumbers was the main one we had problems with, we got a few but not as many as i would have liked.  So i thought out the box and started some seeds in pots back in july when it was so  hot and dry.  I pampered these little guys to keep them alive,  they are now in the ground and growing better than they did with my spring crop. I have read by planting a second crop later you sometimes miss the bug cycle that normally plagues that particular plant.  For instance, we had problems with squash bugs, right now i dont see any around the cucumbers, and i also have some zuchinni plants growing with no bugs yet.   The cucumbers did get planted in the raised bed as a back drop, trailing up a small section of fencing.      Hey!!!!  it's a start........i told you honey......i will have it full soon, i didn't make you break you back dragging those heavy things in place for nothing......Luv U!!!!!!

cucumbers in October?

I do have my shallots in the ground and they are growing well.  Some of the items on my list to plant are;  carrots, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, and turnips.

We planted pumkins back in july when the squash bugs were so bad and they did not survive.  According to our extension office our planting season for pumkins  is between march 15 and september 15.    Should i dare think out the box, and try for a christmas pumkin??

Friday is the first day of Autumn, hope you all have a little touch of fall where you live.
Happy farming.....................

I'm linking up to:

                                            Live simple....................................Sheryl

Monday, September 19, 2011

Surviving the scours

September 19, 2011

It's been a long four weeks with these sickly calves, but im happy to say they are all feeling better and out and about with the rest of the animals.   It has been a learning experience and alot of trial and error to get them well and strong.  They are now getting a warm welcome from the rest of the heard with lots of TLC.
It did them some good to get out that stall and into some sunshine and green grass.  We wondered if they would try to nurse on our new mom "Oreo".  Well they checked her out, but she nudged them away, which is probably  a good thing, as four of them would pull her down.  So she set them straight from the get go...

Scours can kill a calf fast if you don't keep them hydrated with electrolytes.  We are so proud that they survived it and are thriving out in the field. 
Happy Farming.........................

                                                                       Live simple...............Sheryl

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Much needed rain.............

Sept. 5, 2011

We finally got some much needed rain this weekend.  Tropical storm "Lee" dumped 10+ inches of rain in 3 days.  I know some folks are dealing with flooding, you are in our thoughts and prayers, but we are thankful for the rain we received.  Even the animals enjoyed it, they stayed out in the fields soaking up all that moisture along with some cooler temperatures. Notice the trees in the background of these pictures.   Some of them were turning brown from lack of rain, definitely not from an early arrival of fall.  Although, this morning our temps were down in the high 50's, and wasn't suppose to get out the mid 80's today.  It felt absolutely wonderful...............Maybe those cooler fall temperatures will be here to stay before too long.

That's "Oreo" and her baby "Maggie" she is doing fine and growing so fast.  All the other Cows watch over her,  even T-Boy the bull makes sure she keeps up with the heard.

That's "Peanut" and "Merry Bell" our two Angus cross cows.  Both are Dec. 09 calves we raised.  We are anxiously waiting to see if T-Boy's work was successful.  They are loving all this rain.


That's our little St. Croix sheep, "Ramsey".  He is showing signs of maturing, his mane on his chest is starting to grow out.  Look what our grass has done to him!!!!!! he's SO FAT.....and he doesn't get any special feed.  We may have to put him on a diet so he can do his job and breed our Katahdin ewe.  Been spotting some activity............can't wait to have some lambs running around the farm.

Thanks for dropping by.................
                                                                         Live simple............................Sheryl

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm in Love!!!!

Sept. 4, 2011

I have always dreamed of having a milk cow, i don't know...... call me crazy, but to me a farm is not complete without a milk cow on the place, to supply the family with fresh wholesome milk.  After talking about the price for a gallon of milk and not to mention the quality of milk you get, we have been thinking long and hard about this.  Buying a cow ready to give milk can be pricey, but hubby has been on this mission scouring the papers and Internet to find us a milk cow.  He approached me last week with this ad for some jersey/holstein cross dairy calves.  I got all excited and couldn't wait for him to pull up the ad to show me pictures.  I was already having visions of this gorgeous milk cow, with a full bag of milk that i always dreamed of. 
As we were pulling up the ad, he went on to discuss the fact that we haven't put any beef up in the freezer yet, and in order to have other animals we want for the farm we could grow out some others and sell for a profit. Then this picture loaded up with these cute little dairy calves, Oh my!!!!!!!  how adorable they looked.  But!!!!!!!!!!!  the ad read ...bull calves!!!!!!!!  But honey!!!  i can't milk these.     
Needless to say,  They arrived here a week ago Friday.
We came home with four jersey/holstein cross bull calves.
The kids thought it was so cool to feed them a bottle.  After i told them it had to be done twice a day, everyday, their enthusiasm changed some.  So did mine, after we got them home and one was near death due to the scours (calf diarrhea).   Being the google farmers that we are, we searched the Internet for advise and solutions that would not cost us vet bills to solve.  Knowing that diarrhea in babies can have a negative effect quickly, i knew we had to get some electrolytes in them fast.  I found a home remedy to use short term, when you have no electrolytes handy.  Diarrhea can cause a metabolic effect on a baby calf in a short period of time, especially during those really hot days we have been having.  I was lucky to have these items in the pantry, and made up a batch to give to this poor little guy.

1- 2oz pkg pectin
2tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 101/2 oz beef consume
water to make 2 qrts.

Electrolytes need to satisfy four requirements;  To supply enough sodium to correct dehydration.  To provide agents that help absorb sodium and water, like glucose, glycine,or acetate.  An an alkalizing agent to correct acidosis like bicarbonate.  This home remedy supplies those four requirements.
 It was a struggle to get him to suckle, and he didn't have enough energy to stand.  We worked with him every hour to get some electrolytes in him, but didn't think he would make it through the nite.  Much to our surprise, he was eager and up the next morning and ate well from the bottle. I truly think if we didn't get those electrolytes in him that quick he would not have made it. They all have had a touch of the scours, but are all eating well, and getting supplements of electrolytes and we gave them some antibiotics as well. 
This is the little survivor ............ we can't seem to name this one. Love his shield like white spot on his forehead. I think he deserves a courageous name.  Any suggestions??????????

All the other farm animals came to check out the new additions and say hello......

T-Boy the bull greeting his new male friends

I think T-Boy is excited to have some male companions on the farm.  Three of the calves are brown and white spotted. And one is solid brown.  This one is "Bucky" he runs around the stall in circles and hops and bucks.

"Speck has the most brown specks on his leg.  He was also pretty weak and not feeling as good as he should.

 This is my new "LOVE".  He is the sweetest one out the bunch.  We named him Buster because with his first feeding, he would pop that bottle to try to make that milk come faster. The kids thought that was funny, and thought he would bust the nipple, he was pulling and popping it so hard.   He is the tallest one, and i defiently thought he would be a hand full.  But turns out he's the gently giant.  He follows me around the pen, rubs up gently on my side and loves to suck on fingers, he loves it when i give him rubs and scratch his head. 
Watch out hubby!!!!!  i have a new male in my life.....

I will keep you posted on their progress. Thanks for stopping by........

This post has been linked to:     barn hop

                           Live simple................................Sheryl