Preparing for a Cold Snap!

Cold temperatures have descended on north Missouri today and forecasted to hang around for at least the next 10 days! With the ground already frozen, these continued below freezing temps made

it tough to set up the sheep electric netting fence.  Thankfully, I put up netting around several large bales of hay and running water for the sheep to stay put until the weather breaks, though I may have to chop ice if we don’t get any snow.  Sheep really don’t need water if there is snow available.

No longer am I trying to graze the road banks with the sheep.  Moving them down the bank is like pushing water now and with the ground frozen, it’s far too difficult to install the Kencove sheep netting fence.  At this point, grazing the banks in the spring after green grass starts coming on will be the next time they are pushed out.  Sheep grazing the banks eliminates the need for me to mow the banks with the brush hog, but it is extra work.

Cattle are a different story in the water department.  If there is plenty of heavy, wet snow, they won’t drink much, but if that’s what we have, it destroys the stockpiled winter forage for them to graze much faster than just being frozen or a light snow.  However, with a light snow, they will need fresh flowing water available.  Therefore, in anticipation of freezing weather, I filled the water tank and opened the leak valve so that the water will fill the tank and then continue running over the top of the overflow pipe.  Flowing water will not freeze easily – especially if the cattle are drinking from it.  The drawback to overflow is that the water is draining the pond from which it originates, though in Missouri, this is usually refilled easily when spring rains come.

Winter grazing with the lack of grass regrowth allows us to strip graze whatever size breaks we want to give the cattle or sheep.  If I know I’ll be back up to the farm the next day, I’ll give the cows a very small break of forage so that they won’t walk all over it and ruin it before grazing.  However, if it will be several days or if it’s going to be extra cold, I’ll set up a bit larger break.  The breaks are fenced with one strand of Powerflex Fence electrified polybraid fence and step-in posts for easy set up and tear down.  I use two lines and leap frog them across the paddocks  – allowing enough quality forage to maintain a healthy condition on the animals.  Strip grazing versus free access will vastly increase utilisation resulting in, on average, about 60% more grazing days!  Additionally, manure is more evenly distributed across the paddock.  (my paddocks average about 20 acres each).  My cows and calves require about 6500 lbs of dry matter per day, so accurately estimating the amount of forage per acre is crucial, then I open up enough acres for the cows to graze however many number of days I want.

Happy Grazing!

tauna

Sheep bale grazing near a small patch of timber.
Sheep bale grazing near a small patch of timber.
9  grazing under the snow - Copy
Going for the green!
Cattle grazing through snow  - strip grazing stockpiles forage
Cattle grazing through snow – strip grazing stockpiles forage

Tips for Tomorrow and Beyond

Shared from Kit Pharo’s PCC Update 12/31/14

12 Tips for a Positive New Year –

By Jon Gordon

  1. Stay Positive. You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can trust that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.
  2. Take a morning walk of gratitude. I call it a “Thank You Walk.” It will create a fertile mind ready for success.
  3. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
  4. Zoom Focus. Each day when you wake up in the morning ask, “What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire?” Then tune out all the distractions and focus on these actions.
  5. Instead of being disappointed about where you are, think optimistically about where you are going.
  6. Get more sleep. You can’t replace sleep with a double latte.
  7. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.
  8. Remember there’s no substitute for hard work.
  9. Read more books than you did in 2014.
  10. Focus on “Get to” vs. “Have to.” Each day focus on what you get to do, not what you have to do. Life is a gift not an obligation.
  11. Smile and laugh more. They are natural anti-depressants.
  12. Enjoy the ride. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it.

Monday Big Adventures

Once the sheep were taken to their roadbank grazing spot, it was time to check the cows.  Last night, there was a heifer starting to calve, but it was getting dark, so I left.  Unfortunately, today was an unhappy discovery for her.  The black Corriente heifer was still alive and sitting up, but no calf.  She actually let me approach her in the pasture to check her from behind, but I didn’t even need to go inside – there was about an inch of calf tail sticking out.  Of all the ways a cow can deliver a calf – tail first (breech) is NOT one of them.

Dallas and I easily walked her the 1/4 mile to the corral, after which Dallas roped her and I tied her.  Thankfully, she is a very docile young cow although she was not feeling well at all.  Off came the gloves and coat and with sleeves shoved up, I gently inserted my hand into her birth canal.  She was very tight, no doubt her body was already shutting down and there was very little dilation at this point.  So I just kept working in until I could start identifying body parts.  Sure enough, just past the tail and butt, there were both hocks.  Though she was pushing with all her might, I had to push back harder and get that dead calf back into the womb where there would be enough room to pull the hooves up and out.  This was especially challenging, because not only was she pushing, but she is a small frame, first calf heifer.  Thankfully, the calf was very small.  However, it still took over 20 minutes before I had the hooves out far enough to get the OB chains properly wrapped about the fetlocks.

My hand and forearm was pretty tired by this time, so Dallas took over on pulling the calf out.  With a bit of instruction, he did a good job.  The calf was dry, so this is a hard pull and we only had the OB chain and handles – no mechanical calf puller.  We’d pull hard when the cow pushed, rested when she rested, and made decent progress until the shoulders and head.  We had to get more leverage!

Dallas came up with the idea of using the Gator.  Perfect!  After switching to the ball hitch, I backed up close enough to loop the OB chain over the ball.  Alas, when I moved forward, I was pulling the cow and still the calf would not dislodge from her.  I noticed that when I moved the carcass, it gave a bit, so, since Dallas was getting a bit squeamish by this point, I had him ease forward in the Gator, while I jumped up and down on the suspended dead calf.  Just what was needed – the calf popped right out- swollen head and all.

While Dallas dragged the dead calf off, I massaged the abdomen of the heifer – there is a lot of yucky stuff in her.  We rolled her over so that she would have an easier time of standing on the slight slope and left her to rest while we headed back to the other side of the farm to put the sheep in the pasture for the evening.  By the time we got back to the heifer, she was gone.  Hooray!  She had walked a half a quarter to the ditch for a drink.  Unfortunately, I did not have any antibiotics to give her and she is still hurting.  Time will tell whether or not she will live.

From the time we roped her to the time the calf was out was at least an hour.  She is one tough and well-behaved heifer – I cannot image the pain she endured so stoically, but at least now she has a chance of surviving.

Now, with hands and arms covered with blood, feces, and dead calf slime, I’m starting to stink.  Looking forward to washing coat, clothes, gloves and scrubbing in the shower.  However, the dead calf smell won’t come off until it wears off.

Shabbat Shalom!

Ashes has Shabbat nailed!  Boom!  Shabbat Shalom!

Genesis 2:

And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.   And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.


Exodus 20:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.   Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work;  10 but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Jehovah blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.


AND WHAT DID JESUS DO?

Luke 4:

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and a fame went out concerning him through all the region round about.  15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.  16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read.  17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.  20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him.  21 And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears.  22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth: and they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?  23 And he said unto them, Doubtless ye will say unto me this parable, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in thine own country.  24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is acceptable in his own country.  25 But of a truth I say unto you, There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; 26 and unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.  27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.  28 And they were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things;  29 and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.  30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way.  31 And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the sabbath day:  32 and they were astonished at his teaching; for his word was with authority.  33 And in the synagogue there was a man, that had a spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 Ah! what have we to do with thee, Jesus thou Nazarene? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.  35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no hurt.  36 And amazement came upon all, and they spake together, one with another, saying, What is this word? for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.  37 And there went forth a rumor concerning him into every place of the region round about.  38 And he rose up from the synagogue, and entered into the house of Simon. And Simon’s wife’s mother was holden with a great fever; and they besought him for her.  39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she rose up and ministered unto them.  40 And when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.  41 And demons also came out from many, crying out, and saying, Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them, he suffered them not to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.  42 And when it was day, he came out and went into a desert place: and the multitudes sought after him, and came unto him, and would have stayed him, that he should not go from them.  43 But he said unto them, I must preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God to the other cities also: for therefore was I sent.  44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

Pomegranate (Rimon) Season

Find pomegranates in the fresh fruit section of your local grocery store now!  But hurry–the season is nearly over!  Pomegranates I purchase at Twin Oaks Produce, located just west of Brookfield, Missouri, for only $1.89 each, are sweet and juicy!

Granted – they are not local to north Missouri, but they are very tasty and certainly good for you.  Check out this handy fruit chart to compare nutritional values of popular raw fruits:

Dr. Decuypere’s Nutrient Charts
~~ Fruit Chart ~~

Even a cursory search on the internet will produce oodles of sites touting the health benefits of eating pomegranates.  Here’s one I found:  Powerful Health Benefits of the Pomegranate.  There are instructions for removing the arils on this page, but all i do is cut the fruit in half, parallel to the crown, then cut in half again. Bend skin backwards to make aril (seed) removal easier.  It just takes time – no hurry – it’s definitely worth the effort.blog photos 001

It seems most of the commercially available pomegranates are grown in California.  Pomegranate trees can be grown in less favorable climes, but with limited success or smaller fruits.  Pomegranates are picked ripe, so no need to wait for it to ripen.  As far as I can determine, pomegranates are still non-GMO, but correct me quickly if I’m wrong!

One of my favorite smoothies is a combination of about 1 cup pomegranate arils, 2 cups baby spinach, and up to 1 cup coconut water (enough to get the smoothie to blend easily).  Delicious and healthy.  smoothie 001 smoothie 002smoothie 003

 

Our trip to Israel in the fall of 2011 (for Sukkot) would not have been complete without a wine tasting and visitor tour to Rimon Winery.

Rimon (pomegranate) orchard is located on the mountain next to Moshav Kerem Ben Zimra, amidst grape vineyards and other fruit plantations. The winery has visitor center  that attract thousands of tourists annually from Israel and abroad.
Rimon (pomegranate) orchard is located on the mountain next to Moshav Kerem Ben Zimra, amidst grape vineyards and other fruit plantations.
The winery has visitor center that attract thousands of tourists annually from Israel and abroad.
Rimon Winery - Creator of award winning wines and many other products - located in Upper Galilee, Dalton, Israel
Rimon Winery – Creator of award winning wines and many other products – located in Upper Galilee, Dalton, Israel

Sheep Shearing

May 8, 2014

I helped my mother with her sheep not too long ago. I worked alongside Christian, Mom’s hired hand. Jim Schaefer, the sheep shearer, and mom herself. Before we could start shearing of we needed to get them in the prepared place. Mom had long since mustered the sheep into the corral when Dad, Nathan, and I arrived, so we helped herd them across the road into the hay barn that was open to the south, for which were thankful later during shearing because it let in a nice cool breeze the whole two days we sheared.Shearing Merinos - 5-7-2014 (10)

Before we got the sheep lined up, Jim had to set up his equipment and Mom had set up a sort of makeshift corral in order to separate the white sheep from the black because we put the respective colored fleeces in their own bags for sale. I would arrive later with the back up generator and a barrel to throw the poopy wool into and by the time I had arrived, Jim had sheared half bags worth of sheep’s wool. Christian’s job had been to stuff the fleeces into the bag, but I took over his job and he bounced back and forth to help Mom and me. (Mom was sorting and keeping the sheep lined up in the race for shearing.) what my job entailed was waiting for Jim to shear off the belly wool and I’d throw it onto a special pile for the belly wool (the black belly wool wasn’t sorted as such; it sells along with the good colored wool). The second step involved taking the wool with poopy clumps tangled up in it and throwing it into the rubbish barrel I had brought up for that very purpose, although, when Christian wasn’t sorting sheep, he’d throw them in for me because he had gloves on. Shearing Merinos - 5-7-2014 (3) - Copy

When Jim was almost done shearing a sheep, I’d start rolling the fleece up under itself so when I held it up so it  wouldn’t fall apart on me. When Jim finally sheared the sheep clean, I’d gather it up and go toss it in a bag.

Let me tell you about how this bag business is set up. The bag itself is nearly eight feet tall and narrow with a width of a foot. Jim brought along a structure to hold the bag that consisted of a ladder connected to a hopper that the bag goes on which, in turn, is connected to a panel that is wired onto a hastily-built corral panel of dubious integrity. You climb up the ladder and shove the fleece into it and then you jump into the bag and start stomping on it so we could get as many fleeces as we could in the bag because Jim had only brought six bags with him. Although I would suggest only jumping in there when it is four fleeces full, because it’s hard enough as it is getting out of there as it is nearly impossible without once fleece in there. I also suggest using a stick of something to press the first three down because when I land down into the bag to shove it, the ladder slid away and I became trapped with the upper half of my body in the bag with the hoop pinning me against the panel. Thankfully, they were able to hear my cries for help over the radio and got me out of there. Jim got a good laugh out that!

There were times when jumping down into the bag that I’d forget to raise my arms high enough and I knocked them against the hoop going down and let me tell you, getting out of a narrow, eight-foot bag, while only using your arms that were hurting like heck wasn’t half as funny as it sounds. Needless to say, I didn’t forget but one or thrice.Shearing Merinos - 5-7-2014 (9) - Copy

Pizza for lunch was a welcoming break to say the least. Cutting the sheep’s tails short proved interesting because Jim kept forgetting to hold onto every other sheep that needed its tail snipped; it was funny the first few times, but the novelty wore off rather quickly. After all of the shearing and snipping had been done, we moved the sheep and their lambs back across the road, leaving only the wethers slated for butcher and the rams behind to take up to the old homestead. We then began the arduous task of rolling the five and a half bags (one filled up halfway) to Jim’s pickup. It took two of us to stack all of the bags up on there and after that we loaded up Jim’s equipment and wished him on his merry way.

Shearing Merinos - 5-7-2014 (7) - Copy

Two days of handling sheep fleece had made my hands all soft and ‘lotionally’ that weeks afterwards they were still like a babe’s bum and relieved that we were done with the sheep.

Stories by Dallas – May 2014

Moving across the Road!

Yesterday started early since my ewe lambs needed loading from our corral to the paddocks they will stay in for grazing.  I’d never loaded sheep out here before, so hadn’t a clue how it would go.  Incredibly, it went very smoothly!  They hopped right into the trailer and off we went.  They were hungry to be sure since they went straight to grazing once out of the trailer.

Then Dallas and I loaded a bit of hay in my little trailer pulled by the Gator, loaded necessary supplies, and fueled up.  Arriving at Tannachton Farm 35 minutes later, we unloaded the hay and checked on the ewe that had been entangled in the fence.  She is still alive and we cared for her best we could, but time will tell if she’ll ever get up again.  At least it was warm yesterday, but snow today!.

We set up a bit over a quarter of a mile of single strand polywire on the Bowyer Place and hung a Parmak energizer to fire it up, all the while calling the cows, so they would be up waiting and ready to move.  We then set up the crossing for the move across Cord Drive.  Amazingly, the cows and calves poured across the road to fresh grass.  I was short some Stafix step-in posts for the polywire, so once the cows were moved across and in the lot, we drove back to where some stored posts.  As we were collecting those, I noticed a black cow north of the timber, so once done, we circled ’round to check.  What a wonderful surprise!  Not just one cow having calved, but THREE right there together.  They had wisely selected a south-facing, gentle slope with good drainage.  Of course, we left them alone – I’ll move them later when their calves are older and well-bonded to their mommas.

My photo is misleading – we do not have grass that green right now and the cows were actually moving the other direction!  However, I didn’t have any time to take photos so this one is stolen from last spring.

Got done and headed back home arriving about 1pm.  Just in time to finish the meal for our departure at 4pm to Mexico, Missouri and Refuge Ministries.  Despite having some cooking disasters, I managed to show up with enough edible tucker to serve about 70 people!  Chicken-Rice-Vegetable casserole with cherry cobbler and pumpkin bread.  And, of course, sliced cucumbers with home-made ranch dressing.

Faith, Family, Farm

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