|Posted on December 31, 2013 at 7:10 AM|
This will be the winter to remember. 5 days over Christmas spent feeding cows, adding fuel to the way-too-small generator, going to town for gas for the way-to-inefiicient generator, and waiting for power to be restored. Michigan made the National news I don't know how many times, with interviews right in Lansing, East Lansing and Charlotte.
The worst ice storm we have had in ages.
The only consolation was that we could watch TV, had lights, refrigerator and heat (although I can't remember when we missed the shower so much- our little portable generator can't handle the electric hot water heater). Have a gas stove, but the safety features on the oven don't allow us to start that with a match; but we could light the burners manually, so at least we could boil water. That came in handy when we had guests arrive for dinner Christmas Eve. (no complaints with UPS from us!)
We had already lost power for 4 days in November, so while I luxuriated in the Hilton Garden Hotel in Louisville during the NAILE Highland Show, Larry stayed home to run the damn generator. We finally decided to install a 20kw standby generator, but unfortunately, we were just a little late in getting it in. It sat on its lovely gravel bed, hooked to the LP tank, full capable of running, but not of connecting, to our may-pole. That had to wait until all the emergency calls for our electrician were handled and he could get back to our job. Missed being hooked up by about 6 hours. That has since been remedied and we have just ensured the neighborhood that we won't suffer through another severe power outage for decades.
|Posted on January 30, 2013 at 6:35 PM|
Wow; still can't believe it is real. Had a superb week, and a great time traveling to and from with minimal problems. Accompanying me was Ginny Miller, showman extraordinaire; and Skyler Anderson, good friend and fellow Highland breeder. Between the 3 of us, we just about cleaned house, (ah, if only money were involved) and as those of you who know me know, I don't clean house (any house, literal or figurative) very often. Ginny got Champion Senior Showman on her first visit to the National Western, Skyler ended up with Grand Champion Bull and Reserve Grand Champion Female, and of course, we took Grand Champion Female, 3 Division Championships, 2 Reserve Division Championships, and one blue ribbon in a big class. It just didn't end. As Evelyn suspected, we had a hard time fitting the heads in the truck for the trip home.
|Posted on January 5, 2013 at 6:05 PM|
Well, got home today with Larry greeting me on theporch; “the leather chair prolapsed but I stuffed everything back in.” The green leather armchair, some 18 years old, with lots of previous dog abuse in termsof climbing and sleeping, had given up the ghost yesterday with a small rip inthe arm. Today, they discovered it. In addition, the very small remains of cash lay in the middle of the kitchen floor. I confirmed it was just a one, I could still read the “on” on the Washingtonrunning underneath the portrait, but it could just as easily have been a $10 ora $20, or on occasion, a $100. (Larry loves pocketing cash out of the dryer,sometimes his scouting is quite lucrative.) Reminded me that “Bad Dogs” arestill bad, and I haven’t updated the farm blog in almost a year.
We have had a busy fall: a couple of out of state deliveries in October, just before heading to Hawaii for a couple of weeks. Mid October found us hauling a load of cattle to Alabama just east of the Talladega Mountains in what I would have to call the foothills. Neither one of us ever realized that Alabama had mountains, but this is where either the Appalachians begin or end. Gorgeous country, with only one drawback that we could see. (Explanation coming.)
We drove to just south of the Tennessee border and found a hotel. Fed and watered the cattle on the trailer and at the time were very grateful for the lovely light rainfall that night. We had chosen mid October for delivery so that we could avoid the heat; but the temperature went up close to 80 degrees until the sun went down. The trailer was full, with 4 big 2 year olds in the back compartment, and 2 more bred 2year olds and a 2 year old bull in the front compartment. They had room to stand up, lay down and turnaround, but that was about it. So,anyway, the rain cooled things off quite nicely. We took off about 6:30 the next morning figuring about a 3-4 hour trip. Again, the morning was cool and comfortablefor the cattle. After crossing the Talladega Mountains, we wound our way into Ashland. The cattle were headed out to an 80 acre pasture with a small holding pen built on the far side to acclimate them for a few days. To get to their pasture we needed to cross the neighbors land, literally right through another pasture ofcattle. There was one tricky spot with a narrow culvert and an immediate slight turn once it was crossed. Sure enough, the trailer tires slid off theculvert, but Larry floored it and the Chevy just pulled it right up over theculvert. Next was a very, very steep hill;careful on-foot investigation showed it to be solid gravel and rock and again,despite the heavy load, the Chevy walked right up it. We figured we were now home free. Wrong. A half inch of rain on Alabamared clay (drawback revealed) is not a good thing, Going around one last corner through a cut inthe hill and the entire pickup started to slide. Fortunately, once the bottom of the trailer hit the dirt,(as the right side of the trailer is hanging over the edge of thehill) we stopped sliding, but there was no pulling the trailer back on the dirttrack until it was empty.
The cattle were not haltered, nor to be perfectly honest, would they have been in the mood to walk placidly another ¼ mile for us even if they had been, but we were inside their pasture. SO, unloaded theywere. Although the pictures don’t make it look as tilted as the trailer really was, every one of those cows actually slid and fell getting out. There was plenty of bedding, so nobody got hurt, but they literally all went down on their side once they tried to move.
Despite that, they all shook themselves off and went on a walkabout to investigate their new surroundings. New surroundings, as it turns out, that are absolutely gorgeous.
Thank you Eleanor, for the photos.
|Posted on March 27, 2012 at 1:35 PM|
We had our first calf last night: In Vogue had a red bull sired by Rebel. Up and nursing and healthy, the way things are supposed to be. He was about 5 days ahead of schedule, but another heifer now living down near Kalamazoo calved a full 14 days before her due date. Again, up and nursing and healthy; and born on an 80 degree day in March in Michigan. That is the truly remarkable thing.
The dogs are no longer in trouble: it seems that our new electronic radio fence is working very well. Jem, of course, is too smart for her own good; she knows not to get near those flags without any formal training. Hoyt is another story (can't you just tell by looking at him?) He is so anxious to be near Larry that he forgets himself. Even on the lowest setting, the collar packs a fair sting; he is learning, but he is just not the quick study that Jem is. I don't think she has ever even felt a tickle from the collar.
I've been diligently working on the website; trying to get new photos entered of the yearlings and 2 year olds. In addtion to the heifers for sale, I've decided to add a page or two just for the cattle I am keeping as replacements. Some of them may come up for sale sometime in the future, when I have to make room for younger animals. but for right now, I thought it was a nice way to introduce the newest "permanent" additions.
|Posted on February 27, 2012 at 11:55 AM|
The weather has been so mild this winter, it seems like we went from fall to spring. Of course, March could change all that but we shall see soon enough. It has proven to be a little bit of a problem with the children. They have been out squirrel hunting, and have ended up across the road, in the neighbor's barn on more than one occasion. They wear their remote training devices virtually all the time, but sometimes they are just so quick: sitting out on the hill, helping Larry in the shop, whatever. You neglect them for 2 minutes and they are gone, only to be caught trotting back out of the neighbors driveway.
Now, we don't have a deficiency of acreage: the house sits 300 feet back from the road with a nice little overgrown woods separating us from the road. These dogs have no business being bored. So the decision was made to invest in an invisible dog fence (self installed). The idea is that the collar with that system is activated by the buried wire, not our hand held unit that can only be used if we witness the act. The pieces parts arrived Friday; hopefully we will have it installed by next weekend, although I am not sure our spring-like weather is going to hold. I hope they are in for a rude awakening.
We'll see what happens.
|Posted on January 28, 2012 at 2:15 PM|
Well, we had a successful trip to the National Western this year. We ended up with the top 2 high selling females in the Sale on Saturday, thanks to Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark, California. Not only did John Chester bid and win 2 of our sale entries, he also was high bidder on the Grand Champion Bull Twinflower Wesley, from Vermont. For once, knock on wood and anything else that will prevent a turn of fate, we got out and back without any serious complication with the vehicle. Had a flat tire on the trailer Sunday afternoon somewhere in mid Iowa; so a brief stop Monday morning in York at a Nebraska Tire Dealer had a couple of new tires on the trailer and the spare reinstated in its place of honor. Although I miss the size of the Ford dually we used to have, I appreciate the lack of trouble our Chevy 1 ton has provided. No clutch to need replacement in North Platte, and no wheels to be rebuilt in Cozad so far. Some trouble with its fussy fuel filter, but if that keeps the engine from being damaged by bad fuel, I'll take it. Now its back to Michigan, with a renewed winter starting up again.