We spent the last month getting ready for the Ohio Beef Expo and then crashing after the Expo.
With all the final preparations for the Expo and then all the extra laundry and sleep we had to make up after we got home, it didn't seem that there was time to fit in anything else.
But...life still goes on back at the farm.
All the chaos hit just as we were beginning to calve.
We tried so hard to get all the chores done each night and an early dinner (before 9:00 p.m.) so we could all get to bed at a decent hour. We know when we are extremely tired and busy is when our immune systems just give in and someone gets sick. The last thing we wanted to do was to head into Expo sick and tired.
But...some of our mamma cows had other ideas. When it is baby time...it is baby time.
About two weeks before Expo, Isaac started his 3:00 a.m. barn checks.
Have we ever told you how much we like our boys growing up? This is one of those times.
Thursday, March 9th, I got home from work and the boys headed out to the barn to do chores. Daniel and I had a class that night and we were trying to get a few things done before we had to leave. Daniel had been out in the barn earlier and then came in to take a shower.
Walker ran back inside and said that Jubilee was having her calf.
Nice joke! Walker will do just about anything to dilly dally around.
A few minutes later he came running back in and said "are you coming?" Daniel said "go do chores. I was just out there and she is not in labor."
Walker insisted that she was.
Daniel went out to the barn to shut him up.
Yep! It was baby time.
Really? 30 minutes before we had to leave?
We couldn't leave the boys home alone to deal with this...so it was time to bring out the chains and get this calf on the ground.
Jubilee had a little bull calf we named Jerky.
We made it to our class with 2 minutes to spare...but I am pretty sure our clothes weren't manure free.
Rachel was the next cow to go. We continued the 3:00 a.m. checks and whenever Daniel was working in the area he would swing by the house during the day to check on her. We have always had to pull Rachel's calves and know that she can't have one on her own. We were really nervous that we wouldn't be around and we would lose the calf. It was Expo week and she had to have the calf before we moved into the Expo.
We talked with our vet. We knew Rachel was really really close. The vet encouraged us to see what happened Friday night, and if she didn't go into labor, then we should induce her on Saturday morning.
We were sure she would calve on Friday night.
Saturday morning we still didn't have a calf.
We induced and she was due to have the calf anywhere between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. It was still really bad timing for us. We had special meetings at church and didn't want to miss any of the services. There was no good time to induce her. Our only hope was that if she was really ready, then she would have the calf in less than the 36 hours.
Saturday night we all took shifts and someone was out in the barn every two hours. Even though I only went out to the barn one time, I set my alarm for each shift just to make sure that no one slept through their alarm.
Did I mention that this was also daylight savings weekend?
Everyone kept asking us if we were tired from losing an hour of sleep. We weren't fazed by losing an hour of sleep...it was the getting up every two hours that did us in.
Before we left for Sunday School, we did one final check. Rachel wasn't showing any signs.
To be on the safe side, Daniel and Isaac made a quick trip home between Sunday School and church to check on Rachel.
I got a text "she is having the calf."
They hooked the chains on and pulled. From past experience, they were expecting a really hard pull. They were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as hard a pull as they expected.
She had a beautiful and petite little heifer calf.
We named her Jewel.
She is our jewel of the barn.
Last week the boys traveled to North Carolina with their grandparents for Spring break. They had a much needed week of rest and relaxation.
It was a nice break for me and Daniel also.
We finally had a week with no commitments (other than our normal jobs).
No kids, no fighting, half the mouths to feed and half the laundry.
We were in heaven!
The house was really quite and we finally got some quality couch time.
But...since we didn't have Isaac for barn checks...it also meant that one of us was up in the middle of the night.
And as fate would have it...I couldn't ever go back to sleep.
By Wednesday, I crashed...and I crashed hard. I can't remember the last time I was asleep at 8:00 p.m.
This time it was Missy who was ready to calve.
She looked ready to pop all week.
Once again, Friday night came and went and we still didn't have a calf.
Saturday morning we induced.
We have been waiting on this calf for two years.
Missy is 12 years old and we know there aren't many more calves for her.
Right at 8:00 p.m. last night, the 36 hour mark, Missy gave birth to a beautiful little heifer calf.
We named her Finest Fina.
She was cold and having a little trouble standing, so Daniel milked Missy and fed some of the colostrum to Fina to help her get her strength.
What a way to end the weekend.
Calving is done for about a month and a half.
The grass is starting to green up.
The cows have been put out to pasture.
They are free!
And feeling frisky!
Saxon is checking out Daisy.
A few weeks ago we bought 20 new chicks.
They are quickly outgrowing the water trough in the garage.
I guess we had better get to those chicken coop repairs.
Are growing and thriving.
Winter finally gone.
A time to start anew.
It has been a long month. But we are finally rested and refreshed.
The work of a farmer never stops, but the joy of farming never ends.
Just when you feel like you can't go on...
When you can't get up one more night...
The joy of a new calf resets and refreshes your drive.
Farming never gets old.
A continual cycle of old and new.
New surprises every day.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.