Friday, March 25, 2016

A New Calf!

Welcome back!

We are so excited to show you our new calf!

This is Stumpy!

He was born Friday, March 22 2016

How old is he today?
Did he come sooner than we expected?
How many days early did he come?

This is how a calf drinks milk from his mother.
Echo is a wonderful mother!
Quin came to see Stumpy on the day he was born.
Quin is 3 years old.

My friend's cow had a calf the next day.
She watched it be born.
This is what a calf looks like right after she's born.

When they are born their hooves are covered with a soft covering called eponychium.

It covers with the hoofs to protect the mother while the calf is being born.
It dries quickly so their hooves get hard and they can stand on them.

This is what the calf looks like all dried off, but only a few hours old.
One of the first things we do after a calf is dried off is to measure them and weigh them. Nurses do the measured you when you were born, too!

We measure a calf's cannon bone.
That's the bone that goes from their ankle to their knee.
When Stumpy was born his was 6.5" long.
On Thursday (in the picture) his cannon bone was 7.5" long.
He grew 1" in a week!

We also weighed him the day he was born. He was 60.3 pounds. Most first graders weighs about 50 pounds. Stumpy weighed more than most of you the day he was born!

We also measure the height of his pin bone. He was 27.5" tall at his pin bone. Most 6 year olds are 42" tall, so you are taller than Stumpy.

A cow's pin bone is the top part of the hip on her back leg.

Echo measures 48" at her pin bone.
Would your head be taller than Echo's pin bone measurement?

I'll have more measurements and counting for you next week!

*     *     *     *     *     *

Here are the egg counts for this week:

  • On Friday I collected 5 brown eggs, 2 green eggs, and 1 duck egg.
  • On Saturday I collected 6 brown eggs, 2 green eggs, and 0 duck eggs.
  • On Sunday I collected 14 brown eggs, 8 green eggs, and 1 duck egg.
  • On Monday I collected 7 brown eggs, 7 green eggs, and 1 duck egg.
  • On Tuesday I collected 17 brown eggs, 11 green eggs, 0 duck eggs, and 1 little egg.
  • On Wednesday I collected 8 brown eggs, 3 green eggs, 0 duck eggs, and 1 little egg.
  • On Thursday I collected 10 brown eggs, 5 green eggs, 0 duck eggs, and 2 little eggs.
We have two small, gray chickens. They lay small eggs. They started laying this week! 
Do you remember this friendly chicken who comes to say hi to me each morning?
She lays little eggs!

Next week I'll post more pictures about how we measure cows and goats. I'll also post more pictures of Stumpy and Echo. We're getting milk from Echo so in the next few weeks I'll show you how we milk her.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mountain Sunday * 20 March 2016

Yesterday was the first day of spring!

South of the barn.
20 March 2016

East over the barn.
20 March 2016

North of the barn.
20 March 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016

How Many Eggs?

Welcome back!

Last year the first graders enjoyed making a graph of how many eggs I collected. I thought you might like to do that, too.

Every week I'll let you know how many eggs I've collected. After 6 weeks we'll both make graphs to see which color eggs I collected the most of.

Here's a video of what happened on Sunday.

That is a lot of eggs! Silly chickens!

We find eggs in lots of different places.
We found these eggs under the wagon!
We find eggs in the feeders in the stalls, too!
  • Sunday I collected 14 brown eggs, 4 green eggs, and 14 duck eggs
  • Monday I collected 3 brown eggs, 1 green egg, and 0 duck eggs
  • Tuesday I collected 5 brown eggs, 3 green eggs, and 0 duck eggs
    (I think the duck is hiding her eggs again!
  • Wednesday I collected 7 brown eggs, 3 green eggs, and 1 duck egg
  • Thursday I collected 11 brown eggs, 2 green eggs, and 0 duck eggs

That's a lot of eggs!

*     *     *    *    *    *
Yes, we have a chicken coop.
It's not a fancy coop, but it keeps the chickens safe from raccoons and mink.
Some animals like to attack chickens while they are sleeping so
we have a coop that is strong enough to keep predators out.

Our chicken coop is a big wire cage with a locking door.
It's covered with two tarps to keep the wind out.
There are wood boards along the bottom to keep the
cold wind from sweeping underneath in the winter.

I don't know!
We try to make sure all our chickens are in the coop at night
but some of them are sneaky and sleep in the rafters of the barn.
I'll take a video of the chickens coming out of their coop and you
can count the ones that sleep inside.

Our chickens eat something called, "lay mash."
Lay mash is a specially prepared food for chickens that has
the right amount of protein for the chickens to be able to stay healthy
and lay eggs.
It looks like corn meal.

*     *     *    *    *    *

This is a funny video because Scout likes to herd.
That's his job!
What is herding? Herding is what a dog or pair of dogs do with livestock. They can gather up a bunch of sheep or cows and move them where the shepherd wants them.

Scout thinks I want Xander to follow me into the barn. He guides Xander carefully from the gate to the barn. Did you notice that Scout made sure that Xander didn't trip on the wood on the right side of the video? That's a good dog!

*     *     *    *    *    *

Look! All the hoops are up for the greenhouse!
There is still a lot of work to do, but this is a great start!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mountain Sunday * 13 March 2016

South of the barn.
13 March 2016

East over the barn.
13 March 2016

North of the barn.
13 March 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

Post Holes for the Greenhouse

Welcome back!

One of the things we're building is a greenhouse. A greenhouse is a house where green things grow. We want to grow plants in our greenhouse. A greenhouse will let plants grow earlier in the spring before the snow melts, and later into the fall and winter after the leaves have fallen off the trees.

Someone in your class noticed there was a corkscrew on the back of the tractor. The real name for that piece of equipment is a post hole digger. It's very heavy! We need it on the back of the tractor when we are moving hay to balance the tractor.

We also use it to dig holes in the ground.

Do you see how much it bounces around?
That's because there are so many rocks in the ground!

Someone has to dig the rest of the rocks out of the hole before we put the mold in.
Matt is strong, so he helps.

The hole has to be deep enough for the mold.

Next we need to fill the mold with cement.

The post goes in next.
There is a hole in the top of the post because the hoop for the greenhouse will fit inside it.
The hoop will help hold up the greenhouse roof.

It's very important that the post is straight, and in the right place.
We use different tools to measure. We used a tape measure to measure where to put the hole, the mold, and the post.

We use this tool, called a level, to make sure that the post is straight.
Do you see the bubbles in the top two tubes on the level?
The bubbles inside the tubes need to be between the two black lines.
It's a little tricky to get the post straight up and down.

It's exciting to see the greenhouse get started!

*     *     *     *     *

Yes, we have a cat.
This is the barn cat, Midnight.

This morning she decided to climb on my back while I was hooking up the hose to the faucet.
She works hard keeping the mice out of the barn.
We also have two indoor cats.
This is Stinky.
She's lazy.
She likes to take naps.
*     *     *     *     *

We've had some problems with the chickens and turkeys roosting in the barn.

The problem is they don't know how to use a bathroom. They leave their droppings all over the food barrels, and the hay in the stalls! Ewwww, YUCK!

Bryon and Matt installed bird spikes so the chickens and turkeys
will find someplace else to sleep at night!

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mountain Sunday * 6 March 2016

South of the barn.
6 March 2016
East over the barn.
6 March 2016 

North of the barn.
6 March 2016 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Hay Delivery

Welcome back!

I hope you have enjoyed the nice weather we have been having. We've been getting some things done around the farm because it's so nice outside.

I thought today would be a good day to answer some of the questions you've sent me.

No, we don't have a daddy cow. A daddy cow is called a bull.
Bulls are not very nice, they are hard to handle and we don't
like to keep animals on the farm that might hurt children who visit.

We have a steer, named Remi. He's not a daddy cow because he can't have babies.

He gets very excited every time he hears the tractor!
We have a mommy cow named Echo.
She's not a mommy, yet!
Her calf is due on March 25th.
How many more days before she has a calf?
No, we don't have pigs.
We aren't allowed to have pigs in our town,
that's the law.

This is a good question!
We have flat head shovels, spades (shovels with a round end), pick axes,
manure forks, rakes, pitch forks, garden forks
We also have a tractor!

Bryon, Matt, and Tim shovel the manure and mess from the stall to the tractor.

Our tractor helps move the manure and yuck from the stalls to the mulch pile.

That is a lot of manure!
We use it on our garden and we share it with anyone who wants it for their garden.

Our tractor can unload hay from the truck.

This is a good question!
How much hay do you have?

This is what the barn looks like when it's ready for more hay.

How many bales of hay can you count?
How long do you think this hay will last?