Sunday, April 18, 2010

My day off

On Sundays I try to take it easy.  I am milking in the mornings, since we need the extra milk to feed the new calf.  She is on a nipple bucket now, drinking two gallons of milk each day.  Also, both Blackie and Lucky have a lot of milk, and their poor overfilled udders need the relief of being milked twice a day.

So I knew I would have a couple of hours of work this morning, and the greenhouse would have to be checked.  I hand water in trays - no automatic watering system in there.  I figured by 9:30 I would be settled down with my bacon and eggs, a big cup of cafe au lait and one of the three books I set out this morning before I left for the barn.

The cows don't usually pee or poop while I'm milking.  This morning, there were two poops and a pee.  Lots of cleaning to do, and it slowed down the whole process.  We are having an open house next Sunday, so I started working on some walls and the concrete pad in the holding pen since I had gotten into the groove.

At 9 am, I took the milk cows back to their paddock.  I am pretty sure that Quattro is going to calve very soon, but she was fine.  I went back to the barn and finished up and was in the house by 10:00.  I had to do a load of clothes, thanks to the morning gifts from the girls.  While it was running, I went out to the greenhouse and took care of the plants; by then the clothes were ready to hang on the line. 

There was a calf in the pasture with the dry cows!  What, did Quattro have her calf?  But she was in with the milkers, and this calf was with the heifers and the dry cows.  Did her calf get under the fence?  It was already on its feet, so it is a strong one.  I then noticed Smarty Pants hovering around, and butting away any visitors except Sam, the dad.  She had her calf!

I hopped over the fence and checked it out.  Another heifer!  And a beautiful one at that!!  She definitely looks like a Guernsey. 

I called Kathy and she came over to help me get mother and daughter into the nursing pen.  Mom will stay with her for the next three days.  Our first calf is still in there, but we partitioned off the pen so that she would be by herself, since Smarty Pants is being extremely protective of the calf, more so than some mothers.  We will be checking to make sure the new calf nurses.  Sometimes heifers are a little confused about what to do with that first calf, even though they appear to be a good mom.  I will go out after milking this afternoon, and between the milkers and me, we will make sure she latches on to her mom.

It is now 3:55.  I gobbled a couple of pieces of bacon while I was waiting for Kathy.  The books are still sitting there.  The clothes are on the line and have to be brought in and folded.  I will have to go out to make sure the calf is nursing around 5:00, and getting her to latch on to her mom may take awhile.

Perhaps it will be a slow evening.  Perhaps I will have time to pick up one of the books.  Or perhaps not.

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