Three way Skyping!

So thankful for modern technology: Skyped (3-way skyping, so cool) with daughter, Jessica Powell and son, Nathan at 8a this morning, so she could tell me about her first day teaching her kindergarten students (she teaches at GEMS Dubai American Academy, so is 9 hours ahead of us) and so we could both send Nathan best wishes on his first day at Northwest Missouri State University (first class at 11am is accounting).

Beats Pony Express and sailing ships!

Interesting class she has: 22 students representing Sweden, UAE, US, Canada, France, Jordan, Germany, and somewhere else i can’t remember. All speak English and some speak 3 or more languages! Kids these days…… Totally different than Tegucigalpa where the first several weeks were spent teaching English.

Cheers

tauna

Downtown Dubai, UAE
Downtown Dubai, UAE
Dancing fountains in Dubai
Dancing water and lights at the Dubai Fountain

CIDRs In, CIDRs Out, then AI

Big ranch outfits often do timed AI, but we’ve never done this, so quite the experiment for us.  There is a lot of time and cattle handling involved which translates, of course, to more labor costs.  Time will tell if all this is really worth it.  We have hired a professional AI technicial to insert the CIDRS and do the AI (artificial insemination).

18 August – Mustered the cows and replacements heifers for CIDR placement to begin at 7am along with a Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) vaccination.  Doug, the technician had a flat tire so was running about 30 minutes late.  Not a problem.  The cows sorted nicely and went through the chute with no problems.  We managed a pace of 67 cows per hour for a total of 3 1/2 hours from start of CIDR insertion to being finished.  Sorting of course, was started an hour earlier.  Weather was perfectly cloudy, cool, with rain starting after we finished!.

Allen was catching, Pat gave the shot, Doug AI'd with RIck preparing the straw and loading the AI gun. This was crucial in expediting the whole process.
Allen was catching, Pat gave the shot, Doug AI’d with RIck preparing the straw and loading the AI gun. This was crucial in expediting the whole process.  Dallas brought the cows quietly into the race.  I was sorting the cows from the calves (well, except for taking this photo!)

25 August – Mustered the cows and replacements heifers in again at 4:30 removal of the CIDRS in the cows which also received the lutalyse shot\.  Sorted off the replacement heifers and held in corral overnight.  A little warm starting here in the afternoon, but not too bad.  about 82F, but began to cool off quickly.  We were finished by 7:30p.

26 August – Removal of CIDRS in heifers at 7am. Also received a shot of lutalyse. Had a couple of calves to doctor, then let the whole mob down into the timber.

27 August – 6pm – went to muster the cows into the small lot by corral.  RIck had already unrolled 4 bales of good hay, but the cows had found their way out of the timber.  Took until 7:30 to get them in!  Note to self:  Leave the cows in the small lot with high quality hay rather than turning them out and having difficulty getting them back in.  My thoughts are that they are really tired of getting poked and prodded, so were quite reluctant to move back towards the corral and with all the hormones raging at this point, they are pretty distracted.

Doug Tenhouse, our AI technician is inserting the AI syring through the cervix and plunging the semen into the uterus.
Doug Tenhouse, our AI technician is inserting the AI syringe through the cervix and plunging the semen into the uterus.  This cow was being less than cooperative – normally, they stand up – there is no pain.

We finished about 12;30 pm and had AI’d 210 animals in five hours.  If I get 55% of the cows bred to Red Eddard, that’d be industry standard.  As expensive as this whole process is, I hope for better – only time will tell. The cows have all been inseminated with Red Eddard, a red Aberdeen Angus that was collected at Cogent and has been sold by Dunlouise Angus to another farmer.

AI 006
Four straws of Red Eddard were left over since there were a few cows that, for various reason, didn’t warrant the investment of being inseminated with expensive semen. These were put in Pat’s semen tank where we found we also had leftover Black Angus and Charolais semen from when we used to AI some 20 years ago. Maybe we’ll get it all used next year.

28 August – morning start at 7am with the cows; the heifers were held until last so that the timing is right for best chance of successful AI and conception for each group.  Cows should be AI’d 60-66 hours after CIDR removal and heifers about 54-60 hours.  Both receiving a second Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) shot.  A bit late getting started.  Cows were, not surprisingly, reluctant to go into the corral, but at last they made it.  We started about 7:30 am again.  Everything went very well today, however, and we finished about 12:30pm.

Potential recip (recipient) cows. If all goes as hoped, 10 of these will become proud surrogate mommas of native Aberdeen Angus calves.
Potential recip (recipient) cows. If all goes as hoped, 10 of these will become proud surrogate mommas of native Aberdeen Angus calves.

I made my final selection of cows to use for embryo transplant work

and only ended up with 17 for 10 embryos.  Hopefully, enough cows will be in standing heat this coming week and none fall out for other reasons, so that each of 10 embryos will have a new home inside a momma’s womb.  AND remain viable.

ET cows were hauled home and now I spend time each day, all day checking for standing heat and writing down the time and the cow’s ear tag number.  All cows will be hauled to Trans-Ova in Chillicothe, MO on the 4th of September for ET.  HOPE, HOPE, HOPE i get some live calves out of those embryos.  It’s SO expensive.

Dallas and I dewormed the sheep in the late afternoon – had just done it 20 days ago, but sheep were dying!  I found out that the previous owner of these sheep had already put his own flock on an 18 day deworming schedule.  Add this to the growing list of reasons why i’m selling off the sheep – more work, more expense, more loss.

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

Red Eddard - a native born Scottish Aberdeen Angus bred by Dunlouise Angus, Kingston Farms, Forfar, Angus County, Scotland
Red Eddard – a native born Scottish Aberdeen Angus bred by Dunlouise Angus, Kingston Farms, Forfar, Angus County, Scotland

Second Hand Saves

A child after my own heart!  Youngest son, college-bound Nathan, scored well at the second hand shops in Chillicothe today.  He has decided to spiffy up his wardrobe from jeans and t-shirts to a bit better dressed these past months.  Although his shoe purchases were high, there’s not much to be done with that.  He still did well buying new.  Honestly, he was in a shoe poor situation – everything he had is worn out and will be thrown away.

One dark blue classic styled 100% worsted wool, fully lined suit coat - $5.00.  The other is half lined and not as fancy at $3.00.
One dark blue classic styled 100% worsted wool, fully lined suit coat – $5.00. The other is half lined and not as fancy at $3.00.  Both made in the USA!
Three dress shirts: Calvin-Klein, Van Heusen, and Hathaway.  Cost of all three totalled $6.00.  Like new, maybe never worn.
Three dress shirts: Calvin-Klein, Van Heusen, and Hathaway. Cost of all three totalled $6.00. Like new, maybe never worn.
New backpack - $3.00
New backpack – $3.00

She’s Off! Again

These past two months have been such a blessing with our whole family together at home.  Daughter Jessica, returned in June from her two years in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, having taught kindergarten at The American School.  She made so many friends, both at the school and the US Embassy.  She had purchased a car and explored the countryside as much as possible on long weekends.  On longer breaks, she took in Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Ecuador.  She was able to come home for visits occasionally.  She will miss her classroom assistant, Ms Cuty, very much – she just loved that wonderful lady.  As she gave me a hug (the boys and i visited Thanksgiving 2013), she says to me, ‘in the classroom, Miss Jessica is my boss, outside, she is my daughter.’  I will never be able to adequately thank this wonderful lady!.

Read about her experiences in her blog at The Honduras Experience.

Now, she has just landed in Dubai, UAE via Delta Airlines for her next two year stint at teaching.  This time, she will be teaching kindergarten at Dubai American Academy, a world class private school.

Taking her to Kansas City International Airport yesterday was a difficult task for me.  Emotionally, i’m just a basket case.  Of course, i’m thrilled she has the courage, tenacity, and hard work ethic to graduate number one in her Central Methodist University class of 2013 with honors at age 21, then to apply for and obtain a foreign teaching job, then do it again, travel all over while she’s in those areas, but at the same time, I want her safe at home.  But she’s probably not in any more in danger on her travels than she is on our north Missouri farm.

Successful college career. Number one in her class, with honors and a 4.0 GPA Summa Cum Laude
Successful college career. Number one in her class, with honors and a 4.0 GPA Summa Cum Laude

It was certainly nice not to have to leave home at 2am to make the flight like it was for Tegucigalpa!  But it is now 23 hours from our house to her apartment in Dubai.

So, maybe i burst into tears occasionally because of the change?  my children are grown and leaving (left) the nest?  making lives of their own?  Geesh, those should make me happy!  What’s wrong here?  I am happy – just not ready.

Since it is Friday, we probably won’t hear from here until Sunday or Monday, when she is settled into her apartment and utilities are turned on.  What a difference in weather and culture!   It’s currently 93 feels like 107F in Dubai – not bad, we’ve been having that in  north Missouri, EXCEPT, it’s 1 am in Dubai.

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

Moussaka for Lunch

Today started out with me castrating about 25 ram lambs.  Thankfully, Dallas and Rick caught and held them for me – MUCH easier to have extra hands.  To castrate lambs, one catches them up and holds their hind legs up to their front legs thereby the testicles are easy to grab hold of.  The handler is holding the ram on his lap.  I assured Rick I’d never missed before.  I think i scared him a bit!   😉  (I did NOT use my teeth!)   We also dewormed all the lambs as well as the ewes.  That will help clean them up and get them gaining well before selling the lot on September 7 at Kirksville Livestock Auction at the special sheep sale that day.  After selling off 54 lambs, 80 ewes, and 2 mature rams on Monday, we counted out about 51 lambs and and 52 ewes to sell the 7th, then I’ll be out of the sheep business.

This afternoon, I’m doing the washing and will clean up and around the barns in preparation for semen checking the bulls tomorrow and hauling out to the cows.

Moussaka” is an Arabic word and a popular dish in many Middle Eastern countries, the immortal eggplant-and-lamb casserole is generally credited to the Greeks, who claim it as a national treasure.  This recipe provides 8-10 servings.

1 large eggplant (or about 2 lbs)

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 to 2 lbs ground lamb

1 medium onion, chopped

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

3/4 cup red wine or beef broth

1 tablespoon snipped parsley

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmet

White Sauce (see recipe)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2/3 cup dry bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

Tomato Sauce (see recipe)

Cut unpared eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.  COok slices in small amount boiling, salted water (1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup water) until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.  Drain.  Heat butter in 12-inch deep skillet until melted.  Cook and stir lamb and onion until lamb is light brown: drain.  Stir in tomato sauce, wine, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Cook uncovered over medium heat until half the the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Prepare White Sauce.

Stir 2/3 cup of the cheese, 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs and the egg into meat mixture; remove from heat.  Sprinkle remaining bread crumbs evenly in greased oblong baking dish 13 1/2 x 9 x 2 inches.  Arrange half the eggplant slices in baking dish; cover with meat mixture.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the remaining cheese over meat mixture; top with remaining eggplant slices.  Pour White Sauce over mixture; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cook uncovered in 375ºF oven 45 minutes.  Prepare Tomato Sauce.  Let moussaka stand 20 minutes before serving.  Cut into squares; serve with Tomato Sauce.

White Sauce

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups milk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

Heat butter over low heat until melted.  Blend in flour, salt, and nutmeg.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.  Stir in milk.  Heat to boiling, sitrring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Gradually stir at least 1/4 of the hot mixture into eggs.  Blend into hot mixture in pan.

Tomato Sauce

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finly chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 bay leaf, crushed

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

Cook and stir onion and garlic in oil in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until onoion is tender.  Add remaining ingredients except tomato paste.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered until thickened, about 30 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste.  (Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water if necessary for desired consistency.

PERSONAL NOTES:

I use organic grassfed milk, eggs, and butter.  Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and locally and organically grown tomatoes for sauces.  You can buy organic tomatoes and paste in the stores.  Thankfully, between what we raise ourselves and what i can purchase, it is all local and/or organic.  Flavours are much better.