Friday, March 27, 2020

Shelter and Food on the Farm

Last week someone asked if 'farm stays warm for the animals?'

The animals have shelter in the barn. They are out of the wind, rain, and snow. I wouldn't be warm in the barn, but the animals are!

They have winter coats, and their bodies are different than ours are. They have a different stomach than we do. Their stomach produces heat when they are digesting (breaking down) their food. It's so interesting how we are different from animals!

As long as our animals have a place to get out of the wind, rain, and snow, and they have plenty to eat and drink, they stay warm. 

Our barn is just right for our animals.
It provides shelter to keep them warm and dry.

Do you see the little dog house inside the goat's stall?
The baby goats sleep inside so they stay very warm.
I lock the goats inside the stall at night when we have goat kids that are less than 1 month old. Kids are funny and run around. But I don't want them to run around outside at night when it's cold. They aren't old enough for that quite yet on my farm. I think my goats are spoiled, but that's ok. They grow into big beautiful goats and I like that!

Tia and Mia, the baby goats, are the first ones to get fed in the morning. They are so hungry!

The baby goats love to run and play outside, just like children do! They have recess all day, unless they want a nap inside the little dog house.

Baby goats are called kids.
They are so funny and jump on all sorts of things.

They follow me around where ever I go.
They love to jump into the chicken coop as soon as the chickens come out in the morning.
Sometimes kids do silly things.
Tia got stuck on the wagon one day.
Good thing I was right there to get her unstuck!
Do you ever do silly things like that?

We have sweaters on our baby goats for about 2 weeks. When they are about 2 weeks old they are a little smarter and make sure they stay close to their mom, and know how to find their way back to the little dog house for a nap.

My grandsons are home from school. They spent a day with me this week while their mom and dad went to work. They love the baby goats!

No, baby goats don't bite noses. They are babies, and like all babies, they put everything in their mouth to help them figure out more about it.

This is what the chickens sleep in at night.
It's out of the wind, rain, and snow.
They stay very warm inside all night long!
Sometimes a few of the older hens stay inside for a few hours instead of going outside. The sun has been out the last few days, so once I open the door, they all come running out.

*     *     *     *     *
Everyone is storing a little bit of extra food just in case we are asked to stay home. We have a little bit of extra food at home, too!

We were running low on food for the animals because it's the end of winter. Most farmers have enough to last their animals through the winter and into early spring when the pastures start to grow. They usually have enough to last through June when the hay is cut the first time.

Farmers and ranchers are always thinking about what needs to be done now, and next week, and 6 months from now, and next year. We always have to plan ahead.

One of the wonderful things about our neighbors is that they know we have chickens, goats, and cows. We have turkeys and ducks and a sheep, too!

They know that when food isn't good enough for people, it is often still good for animals. Instead of throwing the food into the dump, they bring it to us.

That is a lot of old food storage that our animals will eat! They think it's treats. Shhhhh..... don't tell them it isn't.

Do you know what the goats favorite treats are? Old noodles! They love the way they crunch in their mouth when they are eating them!

The chickens love old wheat!

We also stocked up on hay cubes and hay pellets for the animals since we are starting to run a little low on hay.

Look at those big bags! We had to unload them with the tractor!

*     *     *     *     *

Are you getting ready to plant a garden? Watching something grow can be a lot of fun! Here's a post a did about 8 years ago on growing plants in soda bottles. You might think that's a fun and interesting thing to do right now. 

Are you working on writing while you're at home, too? You might like to write an essay and enter it into Provo's America's Freedom Festival. They have prizes!

If you're interested, you can find more information at this link.
Also note that the deadlines for both the essay and art contests have been extended until may 18, 2020. You still have plenty of time to work on them!

*     *     *     *     *

Thanks so much for the comments and question last week!

I love your questions. It helps me to know what things you want to learn about on the farm!

Make it the best week you can!

Friday, March 20, 2020

New Goat Kids

We're a little behind on posting. It's been a weird week with Covid-19, then an earthquake in our state. 

One of the nice things about having a little farm is that the work doesn't end, and it doesn't change much. I have the same chores almost every day. 

Right now that brings a lot of peace and purpose into my life. I am out doing the regular things at least 3 hours a day.

There are so many families that have been thrown into working and schooling from home. It can seem overwhelming! I'm so sorry! My heart goes out to all of you!

Morning snow on the farm.
20 March 2020

A few weeks ago these awesome boys came to help clean the stall so that River could have her kids.

It was more work than they expected.
It was cold.

Shoveling is hard work.
They were so cheerful while they were helping. I really appreciated that! This was so hard for them! This was not fun! The older boy was really so sweet and cheerful. He knew that what he was doing was just what I needed.

You are probably doing school work at home. I bet that is hard, too.

Did you know that if you try to do it cheerfully, it will probably be easier to do?

The photo isn't very good.
It's Mia!
She was up and running around when I got out to the barn
to check on River Saturday evening.

This is Tia.
She had a rough time and didn't get up right away.

I always rub the kids as dry as I can with old towels. I put sweaters on them, too. That wasn't good enough to warm up Tia.

She was so cold that I had to warm her up with a blow dryer for 2 hours.

Animals that have hooves are born with a coating on their hooves
to protect their mama when they are being born.
It's called an eponychium
That's a really long word that means "soft covering on the outside of a newborn's hooves."

Tia started to warm up. Her sister Mia came over to see how she was doing.

Tia tried to stand up, but she really had a hard time.

She didn't really walk much until the next morning.

She's fine now!

Both the kids are drinking bottles well!
I like to bottle feed when I can because that makes the babies so friendly. They follow me around everywhere!

I hope you have a good week. Really, I do! I hope that you can find things that you like to do with your family.

I think you can be cheerful even when you are doing things that you don't enjoy. Try it! It really does make things easier and faster to do!

If you have questions about the farm, please put them in the comments. I'll answer them! 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Shearing Side Kick

The weather continues to get warmer! I think Spring is on the way. It's time for Side Kick to get a haircut. He'll be more comfortable in the summer if he doesn't have his winter coat on.

Side Kick has a very thick winter coat!
Almost all animals have winter coats. Cows, goats, dogs, and cats shed their winter coats without any help. If you brush them, that helps their coats shed, but they can shed it without your help.

Sheep can't shed their coats. They have a fleece. Llamas and Aplacas have a fleece, too.

Sheep need their winter coat to keep them warm in the winter. People like to use their winter coat to make clothing and rugs! I love wearing wool socks in the winter. I like wool blankets and sweaters to keep me warm.

Our shearer has a cement floor to work on.
It's easy for him and for the sheep.
He attaches his equipment to the milk stand.
Side Kick was the second sheep he sheared that night.
He sheared the neighbors sheep, too.

A good shearer doesn't hurt an animal. Most shearers to a great job, just like the person that cuts your hair. You can see in the video that Side Kick doesn't mind getting his fleece trimmed off.

Side Kick is all ready for summer.
It might get cold one or two more times this spring. Side Kick will be fine. He has a stomach that acts like a heater to keep him warm. As long as he has plenty of food and water he will stay warm. He also has a small house to sleep in. He and Teancum the goat sleep together and keep each other warm.

*     *     *     *    *

Sadie is growing!
I thought you might like to see Sadie standing close to Echo so you can see how fast she is growing. She's a little over 3 months old. She's going to be bigger than her mom when she's an adult. Yay! We're so glad that Sadie is growing, and that she is strong and healthy.

She loves to follow me around the farm. She's almost like a puppy. It's pretty fun for me to have a calf that loves to follow me and see what I'm up to.

*     *     *     *    *

Mishka is a silly puppy!
Do you see her favorite toy?
It's around her neck.
We've never had a dog that carries her toy around like Mishka does. She is a bundle of fun! She loves to play and run and go for walks. She is starting to herd the cows like the older dogs. Last night she herded Sadie right into her stall for me. What a smart puppy! We're so glad she belongs to us!

She can be sneaky, too.
She can climb in the window to get into the garage to eat the cat food.
People are smarter than dogs so we figured out a way to keep her out of the cat food.

We are getting a mud room on our farm!
When we come in from the barn we can leave our muddy boots and coats in the mud room so the house stays cleaner. That is going to be so nice!

One thing that we decided to do was have a stair that is hinged. Can you see the hinge on the 3rd step from the bottom?

I put the cat food under the stairs.
Our sneaky puppy can't get in and eat it, but the cats can!
Cat food isn't good for dogs. Cats usually need to have their food out all day so they can snack whenever they are hungry. Look at the first picture and you'll see the space between the wall and the stairs on the left side.

You can see the spot on the second picture where they can come in and out of the spot beneath the stairs. The cats seem to like it. I do, too!

Dogs usually need to be fed once or twice a day. They are more like people. They need meals, not snacks all day. Some dogs will eat and eat and eat if there is food. They don't know when to stop eating so they can get over weight or sick. That isn't healthy for them. They aren't smart enough to stay away from the cat food, either. We might have a sneaky puppy, but we found a sneaky place to hide the cat food from her. I think we found the perfect spot!

Enjoy the beautiful spring weather and have a great week!

Friday, February 28, 2020


Afternoons have been warm and it's been so nice! It's a little muddy in the barnyard, but that is nice because the snow and ice have been melting.

Echo and Sadie love lounging around in the sunshine.

I thought you would like to see the milker in action so I took some videos this morning of what I do in the barn every morning.

Echo usually bangs on the door until I let her into the barn in the morning. She's ready for her breakfast, and she's ready to get milked.

I clean her off really well.
No one likes dirt in their milk!

I don't milk Echo by hand because it would take a long time, and it's easier to keep the milk clean if I use a milker.

The milker is attached to a vacuum pump. You probably have a vacuum at home that you use to clean dirt off the floor. This one is a little different because most vacuums can't get wet on the inside.

I really like our clear tank! I can see how much milk is inside.

When I'm all done milking, I let Echo out of the barn.

I also let Sadie out of her stall so she can spend the day with her mom. Echo loves to clean Sadie as soon as she gets outside. Sadie likes it, too.

I don't mind winter, even when it's cold and snowy. I don't mind the warm weather in the springtime either. I get to listen to the birds chirping while I'm working. I love that!

The chickens lay more eggs now that we have more daylight, too. The dogs are shedding their winter coats. And the goats are getting ready to have their babies!

It's so warm that we'll be shearing SideKick the sheep tonight. He'll be happy to have someone take off his winter coat before it gets hot outside!

Lots of changes happen in the spring! I'm pretty sure I can handle them all. How about you? Do you think you can do new things, too?

Friday, February 21, 2020

A Growling Cow, and Trimming Horns

Matt took JJ's stitches out on Saturday. She still has to wear a cone because she won't leave the scar alone yet. I think another week and it will be healed enough that she will leave it alone.

Echo hates the cone on JJ!

I'm sure you have heard a cow mooing. Have you heard a cow growl when they aren't happy?

When I first heard that sound I didn't know what it was. It sounded so odd, and I had never heard it before. Maybe Echo was sick again? Maybe she was hurt?

I ran out of the barn to check on her, and realized that she wasn't sick or hurt! She was just warning everyone that something was wrong with JJ. What a funny sound!

Last week we had a scare in the neighborhood. There was a cougar roaming around on our street, and the street to the west. One neighbor saw it on our street. And another one heard it! Yikes!

We made sure Echo and the other animals were locked in the barn to be safe.

No one has seen or heard the cougar in a few days. I'm still locking all the animals up at night just to be sure. A cougar can easily kill a goat or a calf. I'm sure the cougar is just hungry because it's winter, but I don't want to be the one that feeds it.

*     *      *      *      *
Saturday we trimmed horns on SideKick, the sheep, and Teancum, the buck goat.

Echo banged off her horn a few months ago and I was so happy that I found it in the barnyard so I could let you see what it looks like.

Saanen goats have tenacious horns! Even when we remove them when they are 5 days old, they often still grow back as scurs (not full horns)

Teancum's horns were growing into the back of his head so it was time to trim them,

We use a wire saw to trim horns. It's pretty fast, and it isn't noisy like an electric saw. The animals don't like it when we grab their horns and trim them, but it doesn't hurt them. It's just annoying for a few minutes.

Horns grow just like your fingernails. Most people trim their nails when they get too long. We trim the horns on goats, sheep, and cows when they get too long, or when they start growing in a way that will cause problems.

This is Teancum's horn.

Teancum has shorter horns that aren't growing into the back of his head.

We don't trim sheep horns very often, but SideKick's horn was starting to curl around and grow into his face. His horn wasn't attached very well so once we started using the saw to trim it, it popped off.

You can see the place where we started sawing his horn.
No, SideKick wasn't hurt when his horn popped off.
No, he wasn't bleeding, either!
Echo's horn shell popped off last fall. I found it and I've been saving it because I thought it was interesting to look at.

It didn't bother her when it popped off. No bleeding, and no problems at all.

This is the side that the horn shell popped off.
The horn on the other side never attached to her skull so
it never grew. It moves a little bit because the skin around
the horn is what holds the horn in place.

When she was younger, neither of her horns were attached to her skull. When she was about 2 1/2 this one attached itself to her skull. I think the part that popped off was the part that wasn't attached when she was younger.

I don't think her horn will grow a shell again.
I think this was just one of those odd things that happen once in a while.
It's interesting to see the smooth area that used to fit on top of the attached part of the horn.

I hope you have a wonderful week learning more new things!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Lots of Snow and JJ Gets Stitches

What an eventful week!

We had a snow day. I hope you had fun staying home that day. I went to work at Nuttalls, which was open despite the snow. I don't mind driving in the snow because I grew up driving in the snow. It was fun to drive when there were hardly any other cars on the road.

I also love the snow because I can't hear the highway that is so close to our house. The snow quiets all the noise from cars and trucks and busses. Even the ambulance and fire truck seem quieter when there is snow on the ground.

I also like staying at home, snuggle up in a blanket by the fire and read a good book. But that isn't what happened on Monday.

Not only did we get a lot of snow, we had a lot of wind. 

Look at the snow drifts that the wind created around the barn.

Monday I was cleaning stalls and dragging manure through snow drifts.
It was hard work dragging the wheelbarrow through the snow. 

I also had to bring hay in from the barn through the drifts.
I had a great workout that day!

Some people like to go to the gym to workout. I like to go out to the barn.

The wind had been blowing so hard that night that we
also had snow inside the barn!

Sadie and Echo don't mind the snow.
Look how big Sadie is getting!
She is too big for her coat!

She doesn't mind.
She's a happy calf.

Are you wondering how her horns are healing?
They are doing just fine!
The scabs are about ready to pop off any day.
She'll be better than new because she'll
never grow horns.
*     *     *     *     *

JJ got hurt this week.
We're not sure what happened.
We think she may have tried to squeeze through a gate and cut her leg.

Heather cleaned it all up and put some
ointment on it to help it heal.
The yellow is the ointment, not infection.

The vet wasn't open until the next day so Matt
took her to the vet for stitches.

She's getting antibiotics to fight off infection. It was a big wound, and she lives on a farm. There are lots of germs here. She is also getting some medication to help with the pain. I imagine a wound that big is very painful.

She's resting a lot.
We keep a cone on her because wounds also get itchy when they start to heal.
She'll chew out the stitches if we take the cone off.
No barn work for JJ for about 2 weeks. She is supposed to stay inside and heal.

No herding the cows or the goats. No chasing the chickens back into the pen.

Someone asked how many chickens we have on the farm. I took a video of the chickens coming out of the coop this morning. They haven't been too happy about all the snow lately. Much of the snow was melted in the chicken pen today so they happily came out looking for food!

How many chickens? Did you see the rooster? He was the 7th one out the door this morning.

I counted 20 chickens and 1 rooster.

Did you make it a great week last week? Guess what! Every day is a 'do over'! We get to try again every day.