Friday, July 22, 2016

Sights not normally seen in an IA corn field!

Lions....


...and monkeys.....


....and zebras, OH MY!


Giraffes....



....and cheetahs....


....and skunks in the drive.


Rhinos on the hill....


....and elephants in the corn....


.....those are the sights seen all around our little community, thanks to some talented people from the Oakdale church, getting ready for bible school.

I hope everyone on the roads around here are sober as they come upon these creatures lurking around the neighborhood.






Saturday, July 16, 2016

Pasture calving is such a challenge.


This year we had three pregnant cows that went to the pasture with the bulls, if we had our way, all the calves would have been born but that's life on the farm.

We have neighbors who pasture calve all their babies and get along okay but it's ingrained in Bruce to have all of ours at the barn where we can keep a close eye on them.

So we have to keep any eye out on the cows in the pasture to catch the calf as a newborn to give them the needed shots and fly and ear tags. Give them a few days under their belt and it's nearly impossible to catch the little buggers.

Last Sunday morning I spotted #3 headed down the pasture by herself and thought, "Ah, HA!" I hopped on the 4-wheeler to follow her and along the way came upon a brand new baby that was born to #23. #3 was just meandering to the other end of the pasture.

I had the cell phone so snapped a couple of pictures, she wasn't very old, I petted her, she got up and then laid right back down again.


Since it was Sunday, we had to wait until Monday to get all the meds from the vet clinic and I had my third chemo that day and we didn't get home till late in the afternoon with all the supplies we needed. Then we had to find the calf, Bruce drove the pasture for 20 minutes and gave up, he said we'd never find her in the tall grass. So he left to go do something else and I drove back and forth, only finding her by accident when the mother decided it was time for a feeding. She ended up being about 20 feet from the gate where we drove in!

We thought she was still young enough to catch but we were wrong, we had to trail her and her mother down the ditch to corner her, the poor little girl took a wrong step and found herself at the bottom of the creek looking very confused. Bruce said he wasn't going in, I was pumped up on steroids and feeling no pain, besides I had mud shoes on that could be washed out in the hydrant. I slid down the bank into the water and then had to try to figure out how to get her out. I was able to push her partway up the bank and Bruce grabbed her head and pulled. I caught both hind legs, we didn't want to let her get away after all this.

She was rather subdued and laid still while Bruce tagged, vaccinated and squirted pheumonia meds up both nostrils before letting her go. She and I were both pooped and slowly got to our feet, she tottered off to her mother, I let Bruce go get the 4-wheeler to pick me up. I guess the steroids were wearing off pretty quickly.


The rest of the week was spent recovering in the gazebo with Zoe, my constant companion.


She is the only critter who gets to hang out in there and she runs a tight ship. One morning the door wasn't latched, Mollie nosed it open and started to come inside. Zoe puffed her tail, jumped down from our 'nest' where she was sleeping, stalked across the floor with her hair standing up along her back and forced Mollie back out the door.

"You get out and STAY out!!"


Zoe is very in tuned to my feelings, when I am sick she gets very upset, prowls around and cries with a very worried look on her face.

She isn't worried in this picture.


One night Zoe, who sleeps in the tower by the window in our room, accidentally was left outside, unknown to me until the next morning when Bruce opened the door and let her inside. I took my pills, got my coffee, phone and tablet and headed out the back door to the gazebo. I looked up at our bedroom window and saw Zoe settled in the tower but when she saw me, her eyes grew very large and she had the look on her face that said, "Are you going to the gazebo without me??"


By the time I opened the back door again and stepped inside, I heard Bruce said, "Where you going, Zoemaster?" and knew she was on her way through the house.

She got a much needed nap in the chair, just where she is the most comfortable.

I'm pulling out of my chemo doldrums today, Saturday, when Bruce called that we had a new baby in the pasture, #3 had a bouncing baby girl down in the pasture. I made a quick trip to the vet clinic before they closed at noon, we wanted to doctor her before she got wise to us.

Luckily both these cows are young and not aggressive toward us while we are manhandling their babies. Bruce grabbed her tail and tucked her head between his legs. I was handing him tags and taggers, then the syringes. Suddenly the calf started struggling and Bruce thought he was going to lose her so I grabbed her back end and got two handfuls of sticky, yellow, nasty, baby poop.

YUCK!

That stuff is so sticky you could spackle your ceiling, if you like that color.

It is so sticky you could cement tile to a floor.

It is so sticky you could seal a bathtub.

It is so sticky......well, you get the idea....

Before I could get on the 4-wheeler, I had to get down in the creek and try to scrub it off my hands and it was darned near impossible.

At the house I set to work with a scrub brush and Dawn foamer soap, I scrubbed and scrubbed but you can be sure I kept my fingers out my mouth the rest of the day!




Sunday, July 10, 2016

You got your troubles, I got mine....

Bruce was merrily baling Jon Fuhrman's hay late one afternoon when suddenly he noticed something different, looking in the mirror, he saw this.

OH NO!!!


This is not a job for the weak, it took a hydraulic jack, a hi-lift jack, several wooden blocks, a big socket set, the Dewalt, and a big pipe for a 'cheater'.


Jon and son, Carson, came to help, Bruce and Jon had to run back to the house so Carson took the opportunity for a rest on top of one of the big round bales.


The hydraulic jack did the hard work.....


....and the hi-lift jack was the back up, it took two guys, Carson was working the handle on the hydraulic jack.


Now it was time to see if they could get the nuts off, with Carson holding the socket on, Jon uses the 'cheater'.


Bruce took over for Carson and one by one, the nuts couldn't stand up to the power of the 'cheater'.


With each nut loosened, Bruce then used the DeWalt to take them off.


It took all four of us to lift this heavy tire into the back of Jon's pickup for the trip to the farm.


Bruce tried to pop the tire back onto the rim to no avail....


.....so they transferred the tire to Bruce's pickup for a trip to the tire store to next day.


The tire was shot, much to Bruce's dismay, they don't give these tires away. Luckily the COOP had a replacement tire, Brian mounted it on the rim and Bruce and Jon put it back on the baler.


So my farmer was happy to be back out in the field to finish the job. Now if he can just find out what damaged the tire in the first place so it doesn't happen again!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Happy 4th of July!!

It has become tradition, family and friends, and they change from year to year, spent the 4th of July with us at Leo's Pond. They come from near and far, bearing meat to grill and wonderful side dishes, we barely had room on 2 big tables in the cabin to hold the bounty.

This year the big surprise was my brother, Denny, from California, now living back here is the little town of Dunlap. Tom and Sue, sitting behind, went to get him Monday morning and Rosanne took him back. A good time was had by all and Denny loved all the food, I'm not sure if Rosanne had to stop and feed him on the way back.


Big Foof, Dean P., Mark W., Cool Grandma Joannie, Janet at the head of the table, Laura and Brian P.


Brock and Brock William getting the fishing pole ready even though the pond was a bed of green!


Joe, Emily, Jack and sons, James and Andrew.


Leah with Lily and baby Brogan.


Bruce, the chief cook, frying up some burgers for Jon and Carson.


Two teachers, one now an administrator, Val and Angie, probably discussing the upcoming school year.


Very cool Grandma, Joannie, tearing a worm in half to bait Lily's hook, now that is ONE COOL GRANDMA!


Lily and Brock William did not let the green slime deter them....


...Brock William reeled in a nice bass that needs a few more years to grow up before he will be a meal.


And Bruce is showing off the latest in manly fishing poles!


The weather couldn't have been more perfect, in the 80's with mostly clouds. We were entertained by these birds, there were 4 or 5 who would sit on the fence posts by the dock and then fly over the water, picking choice morsels out of the green sludge. We finally decided he was a crested groesbeck but now I'm not so sure after googling the bird. So if you know, enlighten me.



We hope your 4th of July was filled with family, friends and fireworks.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Grudge Match

Bruce and his cousin, Billy, have always had a healthy competition with each other, whether it was golfing, playing pool or fishing.

Wait a minute, in fishing there was no match, Bruce blew Bill out of the water. In fact he made Bill put a worm on so he could at least catch a bluegill.

Bill and family were back last weekend from their home in CO, so we went over Sunday afternoon to see them and Bruce and Bill could play pool.

Bill had Bruce down 3 - 1! He thought he had him, or as Bill would say, "I Own you!"

Then Bruce came roaring back, winning 3 games straight!

Sorry, Bill, you were SO close!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The bulls favorite holiday

The bulls get to go to the pasture to do what bulls do best around the 4th of July, this year is was Sunday, the 3rd, since we had big doings at the pond the next day.

The two bulls, along with 3 heifers and 3 pregnant cows have been lounging in the cattle yards, as the 4th grew nearer, Bruce saw Louie, the senior herd sire, gazing off in the direction of the pasture, head up, sniffing the air. He knew the time was drawing near. Last year Louie pushed his way under a gate to get out early, this year Bruce had him secure behind electric fences.

Usually when the cattle see an open gate, they rush through it but the bulls seemed more interested in the left over hay.


So Bruce had time to take down the electric fence and open these gates.


Then time to roundup the cattle....


.....and suddenly they noticed the open gates.


Louie and Baby Bull were the last ones out...


...but Baby Bull was leading the pack as they headed down the lane to the pasture.


"YEE HAW!!!"


There were no cows in sight so the bulls had to do a little squaring off to prove who was the toughest bull on the French Farm.


But not for long, they found the cows and set to work....


....smelling behinds.....Bulls, they are so crude!


We didn't stick around but we assume there were some fireworks later!!


Happy 4th of July!!



Saturday, July 2, 2016

A wrest of nens, part 2...

There is a little, dilapidated wren house that brother in law, Paul, helped me hang shortly after Bruce and I were married. He lifted me up in the bucket of the loader so I could hang it on a branch from a wire that has now grown into the limb. Two days ago I heard a lot of chattering coming from the house so I stood outside and watched. A little wren head appeared out of the entrance hole and chittered away.



I first thought it must be the little mother, calling to her mate. "Chester! You have hungry kids in here, bring them some food!" (You need to imagine this in the shrill tone of a fishwife to really get the full effect.) "And don't be stopping off at the pool hall!"

Today I noticed a lot of activity so set up the camera and tripod with my honking big lens and practiced a lot of patience. There are babies in that house and the adults are kept busy flying back and forth with insects for their voracious brood. 


"I'm STARVING!!"


"Open your mouth, across the tongue, look out stomach, here it comes."


After about an hour, I finally saw the grand finale, the male, I'm sure it was the male, the female would never do this, scrabbled for a good toe hold on the entrance hole.....


.....and then he was handed a gob of baby poop that he flew away with!!!


Don't you women agree with me, it had to be the male?