Vacation from the farm

Anyone who has animals knows how hard it can be to leave for any extended period of time. For those with dairy animals in particular it can be downright impossible. My family lives in California (northern and southern) and Jer’s family lives in Wv, Ky. and Ohio (mostly). Living half way in between (or close enough to) makes it extremely difficult to see them and boy do we miss them greatly.

We have the most awesome neighbors and friends ever and we are so blessed to have friends and neighbors who know how individual and needy animals can be. Last Christmas we drove to California and spent 10 wonderful days with family. Meanwhile our neighbors cared for the farm in our absence and this was NO easy task when the high temperature most days were around 22 degrees!!! It made for mighty cold mornings and evenings.

Wintertime is actually not the season I cringe leaving for though, despite the cold. Summer time is especially brutal as there is milking to be done. Let me just tell you, friends and neighbors of ours gladly took on the responsibility of morning and evening chores AND even made a special point mid-day to check on everyone the days we had very hot temperatures. AND AND, a second set of neighbors offered to pitch in too! I find this incredibly awesome because despite doing the chores day in and day out, writing out all of the chores makes me realize how much there truly is. We know each individual animal, their needs, their special quirks and it’s often important to make this known to caretakers. They did it all, happily.

The garden has doubled in size. The children are now on egg and garden collection duty. The goats all look wonderful and I am pleased to announce that Josephine, who had not so much as had a handful of days in the milk stand before kidding, was standing “like an angel” to be milked for a “stranger”. What a sweetie!

The meat birds have doubled in size while we were gone it seems. We butchered the first batch the Saturday before we left. This next batch should be ready in about 6 weeks and that will probably be the end of meat chickens for the year.

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I posted before I left on our piggy, Ann, and piggy pregnancy. You can read more about that here: https://marmaladehollow.com/2013/07/03/piggy-pregnancy/ . Just before we left I noticed that she was building an udder, much like a dog getting ready to whelp would. Upon returning home it’s quite clear she will farrow fairly soon. Our chore is to get her pen set up and get the boar separated, get her farrowing hut bedded down well and sit back and wait. If you’re looking for more information on swine farrowing check out the following links:

This is by no means a complete list of what I’ve read, just a few I found helpful. 100_9555

Jer and I spent a couple hours in the garden this morning weeding. I looks like we got about an inch of rain while we were gone and yesterday evening the sky opened up. I took shelter in the greenhouse for about 20 minutes until it passed. This morning was humid and I felt like I was back in Ky! I’m glad the weeding job is done, I really thought it would take us a couple of days! we’ll be planting more potatoes soon and before I left I planted more black oil sunflowers which have all popped out of the ground. We made it home in time to see the first of our sunflowers in full bloom. I love sunflowers =).

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