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T O P I C    R E V I E W
maryjane Posted - Jan 01 2019 : 06:45:04 AM
Happy New Year! May we be blessed with abundant milk and cheese, plenty of yogurt and clotted cream, healthy calves, easy pregnancies/deliveries, and happy, healthy cows in general.

This morning I was thinking about the distinctly different personalities of all my cows and Maggie in particular. As a first time milker, she required hobbles. But at this point, I never have to use them. Parlor training for every cow is different but with Maggie, she responds very well to a stern voice, "Maggie, NO." And then when she does something right, a very sweet complimentary voice. I started out by getting her used to being handled a bunch outside the parlor. I brush her, clean her with a hose (warm water), wrap her tail, strip her and run a gel test, use towels to dry her udder, then I dip her. I take my time, making her stand there without any pellets at all. When I started this protocol, she'd object with a foot every now and then, but she hasn't done that in three weeks. I'm finally totally confident in her ability to stand there for as long as I need her to stand there. What I love about her part in all this is the distraction she came up with to will her legs never to lift.

She licks her empty bowl!

If I'm in the parlor testing her milk or grabbing some iodine or more towels, she just stands there waiting for me, head up. She's learned that her urge to object once I'm touching her goes away when she's licking, so as soon as I get started again, she puts her head down and licks her empty bowl. It's very endearing and the same thing is now playing out in the parlor while I milk her. Once she's done with her pellets, her attention turns to what I'm doing and since I'm usually not done by then (as part of her earlier training, I made sure I was done milking her by the time she was done with her pellets), she puts her head back down and licks once I start to put some ointment on her udder, etc. Anyway, like we always say, It's the little things. I'm looking forward to finding out who Maybelle and Lizzy are in the parlor come April.

Again, I wish you all prosperity in 2019 in the bovine realm of things.

11   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
NellieBelle Posted - Jan 07 2019 : 08:33:11 AM
I found this quite interesting. I question if perhaps something like this is happening with Nellie. I told Joe that she looks more pregnant than either of the other two cows, but then she has always been a large cow. Her behavior has been so strange this time around, so it will be interesting to learn what's going on with her. Anyway, that I would share this article. (If I can get it posted.)
NellieBelle Posted - Jan 07 2019 : 07:12:51 AM
Good morning MaryJane! Yes more orchids. They are like smiling faces, just waiting to greet you. I have some cattleyas, Phalaenopsis orchids, the new little miniature that is darling, and I enjoy them so much I want to try some others. I told Joe if there is going to be dirt on the basement floor it just as well be from my plants, potting soil. Another mild day here. I will do the usual Monday jobs and then get back down to the basement. Hit it while the weather is nice. I thought Nellie came into heat Sat. night, but now we believe we were mistaken and it was just "cow play" you know, sort of like horseplay amongst themselves. The weather is so nice and they've been running and playing and just full of malarkey. So I will give her another week or so and have the vet come and draw blood on all of them for pregnancy. If Nellie's AI did take, that will be a Sept. calf which would still be alright.
maryjane Posted - Jan 07 2019 : 06:38:52 AM
Can't go wrong with more orchids, Janet. The reward is spectacular. They're like little fairies that come to visit.

I've been thinking about Nellie. I sure do hope it sorts itself out soon.
NellieBelle Posted - Jan 06 2019 : 5:50:21 PM
You've had a good full day and plenty done. We're cleaning in our northwest room in the basement. Trying to get things moved out we don't use and making room for more orchids under grow lights. I'm not done down there but made good headway. Hopefully add another area for more grow lights. I installed the new wireless printer for both computers, that's always such fun, not. Brought more Modesto feed home and put away for the cows. We've been eating ham/beans over cornbread this weekend. One of my favorite meals. Comfort food. Stella is really doing good. Feels good to make and save your own money. Well, Ranger beckons, must be time to go out. Enjoy the evening.
maryjane Posted - Jan 06 2019 : 1:08:02 PM
I didn't know that about poinsettias. Cool.

Buttercup and O'Mally's trekking tracks.

We're rearranging furniture and switching a couple of offices today. Always a good excuse to do some thorough cleaning. Not too much heavy lifting.

We shared a dinner of black-eyed peas and greens last night. Tradition has it that the peas are for good luck in the new year and greens for money. The Raes new Instant Pot (really just a much improved pressure cooker w/stainless steel chamber that you can sauté things in first), was a hit. Excellent and easy meal.

Stella loved her first babysitting job. She described in detail the personality of the two kids she watched. Later, she was counting the money she's earned (and saved) to date, $81 from washing cars this summer, selling buttons online, and now babysitting. Growing up too fast I'd say.

I have the rest of the day set aside for bookkeeping/bill paying, etc. And tea. And then more tea.

NellieBelle Posted - Jan 05 2019 : 5:33:59 PM
Yes, I'm sure training is pretty good nowadays. And it's good to know what to do in emergency situations. Stella will be good. Busy outdoors and in it looks like. And I just read about poinsettias, that you should keep them in the house as the blossoms that are actually leaves, remove toxins and good to keep in the house just for that reason. Anyway they are fascinating plants and pretty. Yes, I mostly keep the sphagnum moss moist on the miniature orchid. I don't know if I can keep it alive, but I'm going to try. Orchids are another fascinating plant and there are sooooo many kinds.
maryjane Posted - Jan 05 2019 : 2:23:46 PM
Now that's an endeavor--growing a mini orchid. Do you mist it to keep it going?

Stella was telling me all about her training for riding/assisting in an ambulance if necessary. I think the workshop was top-notch, but it seems only yesterday that she needed to be babysat.

Stella and Mia were back at it today. Shoveling to China.

Meanwhile, Adria and Alina were assisting Dad in our weekly "stirring of the mothers."

I created several poinsettia bouquets from my several-years-old plants and wouldn't you know it, they've lasted in their vases for SIX weeks now (I took this photo this morning). The plants themselves are too big to use for Christmas decorating, so now I know I can clip the blooms off to enjoy ... for a very long time! Smaller bouquets are nicer on kitchen tables anyway. Poinsettia: the plant that just keeps on giving.

The weather was quite perfect today (slightly sunny but not too strong) so I shot what I hope can be a front cover for next year. How about the "new fallen snow" I dusted it with? Not.

NellieBelle Posted - Jan 05 2019 : 04:49:48 AM
Good morning MaryJane. Yes things feel "all is well." What joy to see Stella and Mia shoveling snow, knowing they have the mindset of helping you and the cows, and that's what's precious. Plus being outdoors, working, it's all good. So thrilled for Stella and her babysitting job. Yes, young folks are advanced in computer/phone skills. I babysat for a family of 4 children, the youngest a newborn for a couple, three years. It could get hectic at times but if an illness or anything concerned me, my folks were a phone call away and that was a comfort. I didn't make $6.00 an hour, of course, but it was 50 years ago. Doesn't seem that long ago. Anyway, so very happy for Stella. Another warm January day ahead, with 56 degrees predicted. Good day to go after hay. Enjoy the weekend. My latest project is trying to get a miniature orchid to grow on a slab of bark. So far, so good.
maryjane Posted - Jan 04 2019 : 8:21:13 PM
How wonderful to see your bees out and about. Your new hive stands look great. And three sleeping beauties. All is well.

It's a tad warmer here, above freezing during the day, cold again at night. From my office window today, I watched Stella and Mia shovel a path in the snow from my cows' waterer to their lower gate. They worked for a full two hours. When one of them started to lag, I could see the other one get things going again. I thanked them profusely, even though it's a path to nowhere because the cows don't go into any of those pastures in the winter. They're still on holiday break; back to school on Monday.

On Thursday, Stella took a day-long class at our local hospital in order to become a certified babysitter. She learned CPR, etc. She, of course, loved it. This morning she was showing me how she'd gone through her planner for the next few months, noting all the times she wouldn't be available and highlighting when she would be. She posted her business on Instagram (kids know how to do those kinds of computer things) and within an hour she had a job offer for tomorrow, a 4- and 6-year old (two sisters). She's over the moon excited. She said to Meg (in her trademark dramatic kind of way), "I've waited for this all my life." She charges $6/hour.

I measured milk this morning. Maggie gave me exactly one gallon and Miss Daisy gave exactly two. I'll milk Maggie for one more month, then I have to dry her off.
NellieBelle Posted - Jan 04 2019 : 11:20:11 AM
Hello all! This must be the January thaw. We are 4 days into the new year and at 51 degrees, and everything is soaking up the sunshine, including myself, literally. I could be working inside but it's too nice a day to be inside when we've been graced with such warmth from the sun. All the honey bees are harvesting from their feeding boards and cleaning out the hive. I have been standing outside with closed eyes listening to the buzzing activity. Grand music. The cows are in the pasture enjoying the warmth also. What a welcome change.
NellieBelle Posted - Jan 01 2019 : 09:23:35 AM
Yes, a New Year, with New beginnings, new ideas (dangerous at times) and as some have said new opportunities. Starting the year with 8 degrees. Thankfully the sun is shining but it's still plenty cold. Short lived though, as the extended forecast shows it's to warm up. I'll take it. That is so sweet with Maggie. Our cows do the most endearing things. Smiles all around. Plans today are some painting and getting bee hives prepared for spring. Enjoy your New Years Day and week. Feels like Sunday.