When I began writing this blog, I promised myself that I would never be one of those people that are always late with posts. Yeah, how long did that last? These past 2 weeks have been the busiest I have ever been, and thus anything not essential had to be set aside. So, without further ado, I give you 2 weeks worth of 12 hour work days, presented mostly in photos, because let's face it...I have to get back to work!
We had a little scare this week with the threat of frost. Luckily, our low was 39 degrees, and all of the tender vegetables made it through just fine (without any additional protection)! After April 28th, we have less than a 10% chance of frost, so it is now safe to say, there will not be another frost until the end of October...October 25th to be exact.
The cold, and very wet Spring wreaked constant havoc on the garden. Fortunately, lettuce and carrots love that sort of weather, and are thriving nicely. With colder temperatures the darker coloring (reds, and purples) on vegetables become more pronounced and vivid...creating beautiful lettuces! The beets and swiss chard will need to be replanted though, as most of the seed rotted due to the increased moisture of the soil.
Our goal is to have every seed, and every plant in the ground by Friday. We are well on our way with over 2,000 plants hand set into the garden so far. We have about 1,000 more to go, and somewhere around 10,000 individual seeds to sow. It takes a lot of produce to feed our members and to have some left over for market!
On top of all of this planting, we also had to work cattle this week. We work them in the Spring and Fall, giving them the vaccinations they need to keep them healthy. A few calves had already managed to contract pink eye before we could get them their shots. A quick dose of antibiotics will have it cleared right up, and they will be happy, happy, happy in no time at all.
The day starts out with putting all of the cattle into pens, and then sorting the calves out from their mothers. Since the calves are so small, they would get injured in the commotion, so they are kept aside until we are finished with their mamas.
Once we begin with the little ones, they must be individually worked, since they can find their ways out of the pen quite easily. My job was to get into the alley, get a single calf and lead it down and into the chute. There it will get all the medical attention it needs to hopefully keep it healthy until the fall.
The calves are much more rambunctious, and unlike their mothers, they tend to kick... a lot. I luckily managed to only have one kick make contact. I just wish that one kick wasn't into my shin!
After I get them down the alley, and finally into the chute, I pass them off, and begin again with a new calf. They receive a variety of shots to protect against various viruses, just as we humans do (pneumonia, etc). The males are also castrated, and that is what Thomas is doing in this photo. We don't cut the calves but rather use the painless band method of castration. It's clean, easy, and safe...and it keeps the little guys happy.
Working cattle always makes the day seem long, yet the satisfaction of a hard days work doesn't go unnoticed. There is something innately pleasing about physical labor.
The day finally came for my little herd of bottle babies to be turned out to pasture. It's hard to believe this little girl was nearly frozen to death when we found her. It's even harder to believe she spent the night in our bathroom warming up in January.
I have been giving Ellie Mae a good chin scratching since she was a day old, so I make sure to visit her every evening so she doesn't think I've forgotten about her, if such an emotion is even possible for a cow. I don't care, nor do I pretend to, because my evening visits are as much for me as they are for her!
Here is Thomas trying to steal all of my lovins' from little ole' Ellie Mae.
I didn't realize how busy this post was going to be when I started writing it! I know I have kind of jumped around all over the place, but that is also how my last two weeks have been. It is way past time for me to be back in the fields, so I will go ahead and wrap this entry up. Lots of favorable weather this week, so look forward to a nice update in the next post!