Tuesday, May 2, 2017

When the Cows Came Home, Part Two

For Part One go here.


We ate lunch and got our bearings. Timothy and I decided to head back over to check on the boys. They were bedded down and quiet so we decided to sit down in the grass and talk about our options. The home owner gets home at that point and comes to chat. He just gets done telling us that they can stay at his place as long as we need. The steers must have heard that and decided enough was enough. and jumped through 1, 2 and 3 more fences then headed down a dead end road.

Fence count, 7

We jump in the truck to follow them. At this point we are no longer trying to herd them or talk them into going anywhere. We simply follow them so we don't loose them.

They get to the dead end and turn into a large yard that is fenced on three sides. No pasture, no corrals and no way to contain them. I go and beg for mercy from these homeowners who are happy to help us. They give us the name of the cattle rancher their property borders. We exchange numbers and they promise to call if the steers start to leave again.

Finally! We have hope! If we can just get them to the neighbors property and talk him into saving us. We drive over to the ranchers house and introduce ourselves. Tell him our sob story and beg for help. He can't help himself from laughing at us and gives us the ok to get them onto his land by any means necessary. Did I mention that he is probably in his upper 60's or early 70's?


We pick up the 3 kids back at my parents and head to the steers. They again are laying down and resting. They have had quite a day. We get permission to drive out to where they are. Slowly, slowly we inch the truck towards them. Turns out they don't mind the truck. We get within 20 feet and they haven't even gotten up yet. How are we suppose to run them through another fence if they aren't scared stiff? Timothy says he'll get out and I should drive. After a brief discussion we decide I should get out.

I get out and they immediately stand up and get agitated. All we have to do is get them to dive through a fence. Either one to the South or one to the East and they will be safe and sound at Bob's. They start running South, see the fence and turn West. For the first time that day they saw a fence and did not go through it. Timothy floors the truck and chases them down. At the same time I notice a field gate that we could open. This was no easy gate. Made up of wire and poles and notorious for being hard to open. I sprint for the gate and was later told that I had never run so fast. Which isn't hard to do since I make a point to never run, but back to the story.

I get to the gate a couple seconds before Timothy got the steers stopped. The gate won't open. THE GATE WON'T OPEN!!!!! And in a moment of desperation I get some sort of super power and end up getting it open. I open it up as wide as it will go and back way up. Timothy gets
them turned and trotting back towards the gate. Again, about 10 feet from the opening, they hesitate. By this time we have gone fairly primal and start growling and yelling and running their way. Needless to say, they went through this time.

HALLELUJEAH!

We got them in a real pasture and they were safe. It took both of us to get the gate closed and is still a mystery as to exactly how I got it open. But let me tell you between natural childbirth and gate opening I am pretty sure I can do anything now.

Atleast I did. My high faded once I watched 70 year old Bob, all by himself, in his truck, get these two trouble makers to go exactly where he wanted. But that is neither here nor there.

They stayed the night in one of Bob's corrals and we picked them up the next morning.

This time, before unloading them, we built a fortress.

They are adjusting well to their new life and we are all enjoying them.

Plus, now we know.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

When the Cows Came Home

And then ran away.

And then came home again.


After a brainstorming session of trying to figure just how in the world we were going to feed our three rascals healthy nutritious meat this fall and winter we finally came to the conclusion... Again.... that we needed to buy some beef steers. And this time actually do it.

I already knew the ones I wanted. I had been eyeballing them on Craigslist for a couple weeks. We went and checked them out and fell in beef love with 2 Galloway steers. Since we are going to be grass finishing them we wanted to get a breed of cattle that finishes on grass well. One week after seeing them we scheduled their delivery. We are leasing some land from my parents. My horses are already there so it was a pretty easy fit.


I had been reading so much on "mob grazing", pasture management, grass finishing, mineral and salt supplements for years. I was finally going to get to use it! Friday night rolled around and I couldn't sleep. Saturday morning came and I couldn't eat. I was so excited and nervous at the same time. We were finally getting beef cows. Another dream come true.

Jeff text me to say they are on their way! He gets there. Looks at our set up and says it looks great. We unload the trailer. Two fuzzy 600 lb. black steers quietly unload, smell their hay, smell the grass and take off. Number 15 goes straight through the electric fence. Number 13 shortly follows. They head West. Climb some downed tree branches and jump the perimeter fence. Turn North at a dead run and quickly are out of view on their way into town. My parents place is right on the edge of town and for some reason the steers are keen to see the town.

Everyone starts running. The men jump in cars and trucks and take off. I start opening up gates and preparing for them to come home and around the corner at any minute. But minutes turn into 15 minutes and I still haven't heard or seen a thing. Finally, then men start showing up. They have a plan, but first we need to move the horses and take down and use their corral panels to fashion a holding pen for the steers. Whom had let them selves a.k.a busted through another fence, into a pasture with an irritated horse.


Fence count, as in fences they have gone though, at this point is 3.

It takes a good 15 minutes to get the panels in place. All the while the steers are nervously watching us and look like they could bolt if one of us so much as sneezes. The panels are ready. The trailer is in place. We start to calmly move them. One step, two steps, three steps. And they start looking around. They seem to notice large man no.1, large man no. 2 and not so large me. Decide I am their best bet and run directly at me in a, "fit of bovine rage"  and dive back through the fence and head farther into town.

Fence count 4.

Timothy and I take off running so we will at least know where they went. We end up getting them turned back around and started in the right direction. They have now decided that they prefer to go South and really put on the gas and pass the road to my parents with out so much as looking down it. My dad goes speeding past me in his very run down, 400k mile car and manages to stop them and turn them. They have a quarter mile to go to get back to the right pasture.


We all get set up again as quickly as we can. They are walking North nicely, my dad walking behind them. Closer and closer to the gate to their new home. 30 feet to go. Now 20. And with 10 feet left they stop and decide that they really preferred going South. And off they go again. Never even hesitating as they ran right by my Dad.

They cross a main road, a bridge and get themselves into another pasture. Atleast this time they used the open gate. No one is home at this house, but the neighbor assures me that they won't mind. I leave my number with the neighbor, leave a note with the homeowner and head back to my parents to sort things out there. We had fences everywhere, panels in someone else's pasture and to fix the neighbors fence that they went through.

Jeff heads home.

Timothy and I just keep looking at each other and laughing.


To be continued....




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A New Room

When we moved into this house 2 1/2 years ago the layout was a bit wonky. You walked directly onto a very large entry way, that served no purpose. There wasn't even a coat closet. Just a room taking up valuable space while doing nothing itself. If you looked left there was a junky little half wall. Beyond that a living room with no overhead light and what appeared to be a red rock climbing wall/wood stove area. Complete with pink grout/cement/weird stuff. See climbing wall/fireplace area here. You will also see that living room also had green carpet that was only a skip and a jump away from indoor/outdoor green carpet. Along with a ceiling that look like they wanted to be popcorn ceiling, but just couldn't quite commit to it. This was the view from the front door.



Now, when you walk in, you walk into our living room and if you look left.... There is an honest to goodness real wall, with a doorway that leads to a normal hallway. And now, where the living room used to be is a sweet little room for a sweet little girl. Everything in this room is brand new. Except for the windows, those were already here, thank goodness. I already have to find newish windows for every other room in the house, so it is nice have these two that can stay.



To say we are excited about this is a huge understatement. This is the only room in the house that is officially done. All the other rooms that we have touched still have bits and pieces to do still. Mainly because all those rooms are plagued with weird sideways windows that you have to bend over to look out of. But don't get me started on that....

Of course this project did not go smoothly since we are dealing with a 1905 house that has had five, yes FIVE, different additions. The portion we are working with here is the most poorly built out of all of them. The floor, the ceiling and even the windows aren't even close to level. One window is set just a tad further into the wall than the other. My husband loved putting the knew sill in those windows, that are right next to each other and needed to have one continuous sill and I am pretty sure he thanked me for picking out this house to buy at that very moment... ahem. I am not even sure if custom is the right word for the work he had to do. Custom just doesn't seem extreme enough. But I digress.

Are you ready to see the first ever completed room at HavenRock Farm?????



Well good!

I will show you the final reveal next time!

I know, I know, but what is a girl suppose to do? Put all her content in one blog post? What would I write about next week if I did that?

See you soon!



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A New Sheep


At 5 am Saturday morning we loaded the whole family into the car. We had food packed, lots of water and the newly constructed sheep crate. You did notice that I said car, right? Not truck. Not trailer. But yes, a car. We have a small SUV and decided to transport our new guy home in it.

Thankfully, we didn't have far to drive. Just seven hours... Each way.

But when you know, you know. This was our ram and he was worth the trip.


I first heard about him last winter in this post.

And then again this year in this post. And when his owner says this about him, you act.

"… and secretly, I’m trying to figure out a way to keep Dill, her ram lamb from last year. He has grown into a magnificent beast that I would be proud to use as the sire in my flock. But Hamish is still the King around these parts and has a few good years left of breeding in him. And alas, two rams for a flock of five ewes is simply one too many."
 - Shaye Elliott The Elliott Homestead



I took a deep breathe and emailed Shaye to see if she would consider selling Dill. She said YES! And then I told Timothy.

I had been looking for a Katahdin ram for a couple years. We were not finding exactly what we wanted at the right time. I was able to find ram lambs before we got our ewes, but once we got them I couldn't find a single one.


Shaye and I scheduled a time for us to come get him and then proceeded to cancel due to a crazy winter storm that was storming the entire way between her and us. The mountain passes we had to go over ended up being closed due to avalanches that night, so we were very thankful that we didn't go that day.

So we rescheduled. And cancelled again. Now all that lovely snow we had gotten the week before was melting and flooding that same mountain pass. It closed down again because there was feet, yes FEET, of water on the road.

We rescheduled again and this time we made it.


Now for those of you who know me, you know I am a huge Shaye Elliott fan. Like, probably the biggest. Just a little perspective, I am a bit of a minimalist and only keep 3 cookbooks in my house, two of those are ones she has written. I have been reading her blog since her oldest was a baby and have gotten to know her a bit better since joining her Essential Oil Team.

And last Saturday she made me lunch. I was pretty much over the moon. Timothy assured me that I didn't make too big of a fool out of myself while we were there. But let me tell you, I had to work very hard to act normal.... wink.



Shaye was one of the people who talked me into (through her blog) getting a dairy cow while you have young children and family life going on. That even though it may be hard at times, that cow is worth it. And you all know how much I love our Penny Girl.


So cheers to Shaye, Dill (now known as Rogue) and Penny!

And of course Timothy, who decided to go along with his crazy wife.




Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Have You Noticed?

You probably haven't realized, until now, that I have not been writing for a couple months. My writing usually slows down from either

a) Having too much to write about that I can't decide. 
b) I have nothing to write about.

This time though, it is option c. Which is...

c) I have nothing not controversial to write about.

It is no secret that social media and the online world has been in an uproar these last few months. 

My problem is that half of me wants to jump on board and start spewing my opinions and my other half say to keep my mouth shut.

Anyone else familiar with these feelings?

I also have now come down with Spring Fever. 

Spring Fever + Argumentative Laura + Trying to Stay Sane Laura = A Pretty Fabulous Combination.

Not.

So, let's just look at all these happy pictures and count slowly to 10. Shall we?












Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dang Rocks







Remember when I said to just roll up your sleeves and get to work? There was something in there about hitting some rocks along the way, but not all of them?

I wrote that in the morning and by that afternoon I had hit more rocks than I care to count. And by rocks I do mean children being disrespectful, throwing fits and causing all sorts of trouble. Especially the oldest one. My word, where did that girl get her attitude from? She looks just like her dad so I am pretty sure it all comes from him. We got all the kids in bed a little early just to save ourselves. They all went to bed well and we patted ourselves on the back. Clearly the kids were all just tired and tomorrow would be a fresh start. We were so naive. So innocent in our thinking, because they had all decided that the next shift of "Break Mom" would be the littlest ones responsibility. At 5:30 am he started in on us. Screaming, crying and cussing us out in the way only 17 month olds know how to do. Was he hungry? Nope. Did he want to snuggle? Was he too hot? Too cold? Nope. Nada. Zilch. He just wanted to be miserable and make the rest of us miserable too. Did I mention that this child also looks just like his father? He finally settled down in his bed just as the middle child ran as fast as she could past his bedroom because she was 'about to pee my pants'. I heard the trickle. There was no urgency for that. She was just doing her part to bring mama down.

Kids. Not only can they smell weakness, but the can also smell when you are feeling a little bit accomplished. And they take their job of bringing you back to reality very seriously.

How can parenting be the hardest thing in the world to do and a half second later be the absolute best thing in the world. I would not trade this for anything in the world most days, but sometimes I would totally trade it just for an uninterrupted date with a cup of hot coffee. How is that even possible? To be so unexplainably good and bad at the exact same time. So, here I sit in my bathrobe next to a cup of very cold coffee wondering how in the world any mother has survived to be a grandmother. But in a few minutes it will be time to go do the morning animal chores. I am sure the fresh air will clear my head and I will come back in a new mama. And they will most likely been hard at work doing exactly what they aren't suppose to. But I have my cow, so at least there is that.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fencing





                           





I didn't actually think we would get a fence at this house. After a few fencing bids for a very basic perimeter fence coming in around $3000 I really tried to let go of my farm dreams for this property. Because $3000 could go a long way towards the projects going on in the inside of our house. Which is what we are suppose to really be working on anyways.

Fast forward a year as we were driving through one of our favorite ranching communities. We had a lightbulb moment. You know the kind. We started talking and daydreaming and finally realized we should just do it ourselves. I really think one of the main reasons we hadn't considered it before was all the stories people will tell you about how hard it is. I am starting to think that all those stories are not always a firsthand experience and maybe people are just repeating what they have been told. Because it really was not that bad. It was actually very fun and rewarding. And addicting. We started on just one little section and then just couldn't help ourselves and kept going. Now our entire perimeter is fenced, plus our pasture. When we moved in just two sides had fencing. It is a huge relief to finally have something between us and the road. Plus, you can't have a cow without a fence. And if you don't have a cow you may as well just stay in bed and cry.

Seriously though! Hard work and being out in the fresh air with my favorite person will make any day a good day. Moral of the story; roll up your sleeves and do whatever it is you dream of doing. Even if everyone tells you it will be hard and you will hit rock after rock. You might hit some rocks, but you won't hit all of them.