We put two young pigs down in the run-in shed in the calf pasture, wired them in behind stock panels and gave them a stab-in pig nipples hooked up to the overflow of the second spring tank. We throw them shell corn in the old calf bedding daily, and they are turning that manure pack into powder — beats heck out of getting in there with pitchforks and lifting it out layer by layer —
Archive for June, 2015
Enough is when on a day of bread-baking, cheese-making, butter-churning, and laundry, you get a cow in standing heat, a swarm of bees and a thunderstorm — right at milking time.
All evening I have felt the tension going out of me like the air out of a punctured tire; we have decided to take Sweetheart, a misnomer if ever there was one, to market in the morning. Hallelujah and glory be. That black-and-white besom has nearly kicked the snot out of me a hundred times, and better to get a check for her than to make copays because she puts me in the hospital. Anything on four legs that eats grass is bringing good money right now, and maybe someone with a surge milker can use a fifty-pounds-a-day second calf heifer who is just too unpredictable for someone sitting next to her back right leg on an upturned bucket.
Enough is enough.
I feel terrific.
An acre of garden supplies all the vegs for the house, a good many for the monastery, and tons (quite literally) of corn, turnips, and mangels for the pigs. A good deal of work goes into that acre. Today the girls (ten and thirteen) finished weeding the potatoes that make up about a third of that acre, while Mom weeded half the mangels and tilled between the rows. The weather was good for it — partly cloudy and a little breeze — and the soil was just right, damp but not wet, letting go of the roots easily. If it doesn’t rain in the next day or so, the weeds loosened by the small tiller should dry out so the plants don’t reroot.
At six fifteen this morning we hauled the hen coupe up to the top of the pasture and unhitched, only to find that the doors had wracked open on the way up and let all the hens out half-way up the hill. It is in the nature of hens that they could never, not in a million years, find their own way over the last sixty feet or so of the journey to their house; no, they would, inevitably, go back to the spot where their coupe has been for the past week or so, mill around, scratch, and wait for the coyotes to come eat them. Back down to the foot of the hill we had to go, and by then there was no way they were going to go back in the house and let us move them. Tomorrow is soon enough to move the hens, but we can’t help wishing the Lord had made them with more brains . . .
Two feeder pigs are staying in the run-in shed, rooting in last winter’s bedding and eating shell corn, until the bedding is ground to fluff and ready to be spread on next-year’s corn patch.
Sweetheart, whose name has nothing to do with her personality, is tetchy even with her little boy Reese, and he finds it easier to get his meals from almost any other cow in the bunch than from his mama. That right back leg is just too quick to lift whenever Sweetheart feels a touch on her bag, and our guess is that he hasn’t always dodged fast enough. Neither have I; milking Sweetheart is like going out with someone regrettable who keeps trying to get his arm around your waist, only with Sh she’s trying to get a foot in the bucket.