A bit of landscaping progress

The other day I tackled this little corner of the world.
The camellia in the corner was planted earlier this summer.
Previously, there was a tired, misshapen azalea, and many, many irises scattered about....
I don't even like irises.
I got lowe's gift cards for  my birthday, so I
was able to do some work on both sides of the porch.
It's tough to find a shade loving shrub that is a bit unique, I got Pieris.
I had to work around the peonies in the right front corner,
 and I left a space in the middle for a future birdbath.
 I had a large, gorgeous, cobalt blue one, that had been at 4 different houses with us, 
but it was broken by a large limb during the winter.
The large rocks were brought up from the hollow last year, as a means to keep Happy out of the landscaping.  He's learned his lesson now, I could move them, but they kind of grew on me.
In the fall I hope to paint the cement block beige.  
This is the side of the house that was most recently added on to, about 20 years ago.
It's wonderful to finally be getting pieces of the landscaping done more to my taste!

Catching up

Last week Emmi, said goodbye to 2 little boy goats, 
and fattened up her piggy bank in the process.
Jake was home last weekend, Kristen came on Friday, and all 10 of us went to Ruby Tuesday's to celebrate the 5 summer birthdays.  I do not have a single picture=(.

I still chuckle looking at Lilly and her tan calf, 
those 3 little ones are fun to watch romping about in the pasture!
Helen Keller finally calved Friday, but unfortunately, it was stillborn.
I could write a whole post on that learning experience, but most readers probably 
would not want to read the details.
Since she calved, the milk is overflowing!!  16 gallons in the "pet" fridge above.  Eight gallons in the milk fridge, and I got 5.5 at milking this evening.  So currently there are 29.5 gallons in the milk room, at least one more in the house, and Emmi is getting about a gallon of goat milk a day.
Want some milk?!?!?!  
The pigs will be feasting on milk the next few days until I figure out the new normal, and who gets how much milk at feeding time.  There will be a lot more pudding, yogurt, mozzarella, etc made this week.

We have tiny eggplants, 
and tiny cantaloupe, 
enough black eyed peas for a small army (oh, wait, we are a small army), 
and maaayyyybbbbeeee enough corn for one meal.
For various reasons, this has been a very difficult month, but looking back at these pictures, I am thankful, and know that we are very blessed!

Chep cheep cheep

We found a hen hiding 23 eggs last week (in a place that kids had been told to check the week before.)
Emmi was assigned the job of marking the eggs, so we would know if any more were added to the pile.
If so, we would take those, but leave the existing eggs to hatch.
About 12 hatched today, and there are about 10 more, hopefully they will hatch soon.
Last week I cleaned off the giant marker board that is in the milk room.  I began, again, trying to keep up with how much of each type of feed we use in a month.  Also, with 21 cows now, I needed a chart to show how many cows are in each pasture, so we don't loose anyone.  (If you've ever searched for a cow in the woods of the back forty, you understand that daily counts are important.)
I drew a line and told the kids they could draw under that line.  The cat on the left, with his surf board, is Mr. Fuzzy Pants.  The goat with the fan is Felicity.
I forgot who they told me the others were, but they are animals on our farm.
These are the type pictures I get on schoolwork everyday, with captions, usually relating to the Teaching Textbooks math lessons.  They make me smile everyday.
In other randomness, we have a lovely trumpet vine growing between one of the pastures and the orchard.
I read that they can be invasive, but there's really nothing here to invade, 
so we will leave it alone and enjoy it.

Possibly the cutest one yet!

Well, she wasn't cute when she was all wet and slimy.  
This little girl was born Friday about 2:45.  
It was a bit crowded under the shade tree, we had to run the other cows off a few times,

We were not expecting her to be brown!
The night before, we were wondering how we would tell Lilly's calf, and Lora's calf apart, until they were old enough for ear tags.  We were assuming they would both be black.
Isn't she adorable! 
 Her name is Tulip, doesn't that just make you smile!  =)

Another one

This is Willie.  He was born Sunday night. 
 I had "that" feeling, and went out to check on Lora about 8 pm.
Sure enough, she was calving.  I stuck around until about 10, just watching to make sure everything was fine, and that Willie drank some colostrum.  

Lora is on the left, that is Willie's half sister on the right, Nellie Olson.  Notice a theme with those names?  Except we had already decided on the name and spelling of Lora, before we decided on her theme.
Nellie was also born on a Sunday, last May.
If you think baby cows are cute, you should hear them moooo!

More birthdays

We have been extremely busy!
Fortunately the kids are able to come up with there own fun when parents are so busy......goat monopoly!
They came up with some funny cards, like Cedric lost his boots, pay $5.
Billy Gus spilled a pot of beans, pay for clean up.  
Everyday at the bottom of school papers, I get  cartoons about what's going on in the world of goats.
I talked Avery out of the traditional birthday cake, in exchange for Heath Bar cheese cake.
The basic recipe is a true original---from a Greek family we lived next to, over 20 years ago
(cheesecake originates in Greece).

The great thing is that I made it with our own eggs,  cream cheese, ricotta, and sour cream all made right here on the farm.
We put Hershey's simply 5 (their new chocolate syrup with only 5 ingredients) on it, and 11 candles.
It was my birthday too, but we won't talk about that.
Here's Avery being crafty with a grab bag of goodies that Kristen gave her.  She is growing her bangs out, they're driving me crazy.
I bought DH a 6' swing for Father's Day, which meant he had to build a frame for it.
DH bought me a swing many years ago, just before Jake was born.  I remember hanging out on that swing many evenings, as Jake had his colic fits, and Kristen played in the yard.  That original swing held up well through 5 houses, and over 13 years.  We'd been without a swing for over 10 years now and had rocking chairs instead.
Now we have both =).  In case you're wondering, the pieces across the sides of the frame are not only for support, but  hold a big glass of tea!

Oh baby

Baby Floyd was born last Friday.  He picked the heat of the day to make his appearance, and in a shady area with no grass, which became a muddy  mess.
After an hour, he still had not completely stood up, even though he tried many times.  I called our vet, to ask how long we should let him try, before we intervened.  The vet said that with the current temperatures, we needed to help him, and also help him eat if he didn't do so soon.

And so we did.  
Here's Avery helping, we were trying to have clean milk, even out in the pasture.
I bet more experienced farmer's don't often have calves in July and August, but here we are, with three more due in the coming weeks....so we do the best we can.  We had been checking on Josie (and the others) almost every hour.

We took Josie many buckets of water after she calved, so she would not have heatstroke.  The cows usually won't leave the calf for many hours, which can be a problem if they are far away from the water trough.

Josie made it in for her first milking that evening, with Floyd mooooo-ing just outside the door.
Floyd got a bottle and everyone was happy.  

Birthday, and all in a day's work

Wes turned 12  two weeks ago.
It has become the tradition to have watermelon on his birthday.
DH re-did 4 gates.  This one is across the back of the milk barn.  The jerseys walk through this area, to enter the milking parlor.  There's a small pasture behind it that animals need to be put in occasionally.  With no gate here, animals make a huge mess on the concreted, and knock over tools etc., that are stored there.
Another gate at the back side of the milk barn, and one across the road to the hay barn.
It seems that every time we did in a place where you wouldn't expect a water pipe-----there's on there.
I believe we have hit every main pipe on the property by now, and should know where they are all at now.
And the gate that Emmi twisty-tied together a few weeks ago, when the pigs got to rough, has now be re-done.
This one used to be a double gate, which was a huge pain.  Since no one's arms are 8 feet long, it was hard to close, one side would always swing open, before we could get the other side swung shut.
We've been enjoying lots of squash and zucchini.
Vegi Tian is a favorite.