There are so many amazing things to share that have happened since I last wrote here, it’s hard to know where to start! Kidding/calving season is almost over and with the exception of one loss, everyone has arrived safe and sound! We’ve had the opportunity to give away five baby goats to three different families as part of our Milk Enough Project this year! Here’s a picture of our little buckling, Jasper, enjoying his new home:
Jasper went home to a sweet family in Southern Illinois. To learn more about the exciting things they have going on at their farm, check out their website: harvestofdailylife.com
In addition to our goat kids, we got a beautiful little heifer calf from Gwenny:
We named her Ihle (pronounced Eye-Lee,) a name I first heard from someone at work. I loved the name and on a whim I wrote it down. Turns out, the meaning of the name “Ihle” is just perfect for our new calf: “a spring” or “a well” and the kids loved it, too. She’s half Jersey and I’m so excited that we’re going to be able to keep her, thanks to the amazing couple who blessed us with a milk machine this summer (more on this, coming up!)
Ihle’s not the only new bovine addition to the farm this year! We’ve added THREE new cows, thanks to the generosity of a friend who priced them low enough so that we could afford it, and family members who offered to pay half of their price in exchange for beef. Not to mention friends who were willing to let us borrow trailers and made the long, long drive to transport them! So far, we’ve gotten two of them to our property and are making arrangements for the third. He’s the first (and favorite!) of the newest members of our family:
This is Julie (a name we’ll probably change at some point, since naming animals is part of the fun of having them!) She is SO incredibly sweet and is a pure bred Irish Dexter, a heritage breed of cows who can be used for both milk and meat. Right now, we’re bottle feeding her to get her nice and tame but as soon as the time is right, we’ll give her over to Gwenny to nurse. If the kids will let me, that is! :)
Along with Julie/Whatever Her Name Will Be came the scariest animal we’ve ever had on our farm…
THAT, my friends, is a BULL. A bull with HORNS. I think I’m officially a “real” farmer now!
I was SO worried about getting this guy home. Earlier that week, he and the other cow we were supposed to be getting both escaped from their pen and he’d never been in a trailer before. From what I understand, cows can be notoriously difficult to load into trailers, especially if they have no experience with them and all that separated us from the bull was a metal fence that could have easily been knocked down. God worked a miracle for us, though, and when it was time to load him, he literally just hopped right into the trailer like he’d been doing it his whole life! Then, when we got him home, we couldn’t back the trailer all the way into the field we needed him in, so Jon had the idea of putting a rope up to look like an electric fence in the hopes that we could get him to avoid the rope and turn toward his field and walk in. So here I am, standing behind a ROPE, praying that he’ll make the turn we need him to make to go where we need him to go! AND HE DID!!! We were SO thankful!
We’ve decided to name him Ferdinand, after a book I loved as a kid, “Ferdinand and the Bullies.” I used to sit and look at the pictures in that book for hours, thinking of the day I’d have my own farm. Hopefully he’ll be just as calm and sweet as the “real” Ferdinand!
We might never have considered getting more cows, or even keeping Ihle, if it hadn’t been for another blessing we received this year:
This is a milk machine and it’s going to change a LOT around here! Jon and I have wanted an automatic milker for a long time but we’ve never gotten one and wen’re sure we’d be able to get one, because they’re VERY expensive. But when her calf was born, we weren’t able to milk Gwenny due to severe edema and were very worried about mastitis. A friend got us in touch with a wonderful family who practically gave this machine to us! Thanks to this machine, there is now virtually no limit (except land size, of course) to how many milk animals we can keep, and since we’re selling both cow and goat milk herdshares, this is HUGE for us! And the biggest blessing of all is that we’ve gotten the chance to meet two people who have quickly become good friends. I’m so looking forward to getting to know them better and we’re all so, so thankful.
Well, that’s about it for now! Just for fun, I’ll close with a few more pictures of this year’s babies: