Thursday, January 28, 2016

274 Days...... What is, How long does it take for a heifer/cow to give birth?

Way back in April we introduced Bubba to our eight Heifer calves, and I bet you all have been wondering just how long it takes from the big date until a cow has her calf, right?  Well, the wait is over!  How long is the gestation of a heifer/cow?  274 days, give or take.

I may be showing my age, but do you ever remember uttering the phrase, "Don't have a cow!"  We used it in place of "Calm your silly self down!"  If you disregarded this advice, then you had better grab a book or ten and get comfortable because you are in for a 274 day wait.

So what happens on the farm when we start a herd of cattle?  It's pretty much like a human pregnancy in that there is a lot of waiting and uncertainty unless you go fancy and high tech.  It does start with a visit to or in this case by the doctor to confirm that each heifer (These ladies have never had a calf, so they get to be called heifers until their first calving.) is pregnant with a viable calf.  On July 6, we had a vet team from Purdue come out to the farm for a "preg check."  Kind of like our first visit to the doctor to get the official ultra sound and particulars. 

This team was an all-girl team, which I thought was very impressive!

I'm not so sure Miss 04003 thought this was as interesting as the rest of us on her other end found it!

PSA:  Whenever you see a cow's ears go back like this, I pray there is a wall between you and it, or you had better find one fast and scramble over to the other side ASAP!

LOVE this sign!  I'm quite certain that honked off heifers and protective mommas can do it in 8!

Sorry about the glare, but the vets and techs used an ultrasound machine to see the size and position of each calf in the womb. Look in the upper half of the screen to see it.

Now we cut to January 23....Cow #14 had to wait a a week past her due date predicted by the vet, to have our first calf!   (Can this momma get a few sympathy votes for going a week past her due date?????)

Here's Smokey:

While we didn't pass out cigars, this little dude's picture hit the social media waves and family text messages!  Smokey is the first calf born on this farm in over ten years.  Woo!

Now the watch is on for the rest of our new mommas to finish their journey.  Baby Calf #2 joined us this morning.

We separate each calf and momma pair off from the rest of the heard for at least a day so they can have some bonding time and figure out the whole nursing thing without any distractions from the "Aunties in waiting."

Smokey is out and about now getting oodles of attention from his momma and the rest of those Aunties

Stay tuned for more pics from the nursery as our new calves make their arrivals.  Any questions about these babies?  Leave them in the comment section!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Garlic Chicken Thighs with Zoodles

Zoodles???  Have you heard of them?  No, they are not found in a Dr. Seuss book, at least I don't think they are, but they are growing in popularity on Pinterest and Foodie blogs, and they seem to be the next greatest thing since butter.

Why do I love these noodlely vegetables?  They can totally replace pasta in the dishes I've been missing! After many many MANY years of trying to figure what foods "work" for me, the one consistent fact I see is that carbohydrates are NOT on that "good food" list.  For me, these wheat and grain carbs mess with my joints and muscles, causing pain and inflammation. My tummy especially loves these grain carbs, and believe me, it shows!   Can I give up all grains?  Probably not, and I don't think I want to totally, but when I can find a delicious substitute for them like spiral veggies, I have no problem adding this sub to my menu!

Ok,  This recipe was found in the many pages of my brain, but you have cooked enough to know what you like on pasta zoodles right?  Pesto, marinara sauce, Alfredo sauce, butter, meat, cheese.... the sky is the limit, but I happened to have some chicken thighs in the freezer, so off I went with them and some veggies!

The only trick to making this simple meal is figuring out how you are going to turn squash into noodles.

 I checked around some of my friends' yummy blogs like Heather's Basilmomma and Lindsay's Pinch of Yum, and decided to try Veggetti Pro.  It is a bit easier for me to use that the hour glass-looking types.

After you get the hang of it, and if I figured it out with one try you can too, chop up your chicken and veggies, warm up your oil and garlic in a large skillet, and you are ready to put this meal together and serve in about 15 minutes!

Once I had the chicken and veggies cooked the way we like, I scooted them over, and added the zoodles.

Add the spiral zucchini and yellow squash, turn them over to coat in oil and warm up, and then you are ready to call in the troops.  Supper is ready!


Printable Recipe

Garlic Chicken Thighs with Zoodles

  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut in chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced and separated
  • other vegetable to taste: broccoli, carrots, mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • 1 medium sized zucchini
  • 1 medium sized yellow squash
Cooking Directions
  1. Pour olive oil into a skillet, covering most of the bottom.
  2. Add minced garlic (to taste) into the oil, and let it cook on medium heat until it starts to sizzle.
  3. Add chicken and vegetables and let cook, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, grate the zucchini and squash on your Veggetti Pro or a stand up grater, grating the squash length-wise to get the noodle effect.
  5. Once the chicken and veggies are cooked through, scoot them to one side of the pan, and add the zoodles to the empty half.
  6. Let the zoodles warm up in the pan, turning them 4-5 times.
  7. Fill warm plates with zoodles, and add the chicken and vegetables on top of them.
  8. Enjoy!
  9. Serves 4

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What If.........Another Way to Look at Powerball's 1.5 Billion

As I listen to all the hoopla and build up for tonight's 1.5 billion Powerball draw tonight, I just can't help but shake my head and sigh.  So many people are clutching their tickets and praying their numbers are drawn......So much hard earned money spent on a chance, a 1-in-92.2millon odds that you hold all the numbers.... What if we put our faith and hopes into an other kind of currency?  What if..........

Now don't get me wrong, I do understand that money is necessary to our lives.  I don't know too many farmers who don't have a complete and detailed knowledge of that fact, but what if...... How much POWER would we have if........

What if you were given 1.5 billion hugs to give out between the day you are born and the day you leave this earth?

What if you were given 1.5 chances to do good deeds for others?

What if you were given 1.5 million smiles to share with others?

What if you were given 1.5 billion opportunities to make a positive difference in people's lives?  

What if you were given 1.5 billion minutes to share with others?

What if.......

Guess what?  You DO have every "What if..." possibility listed above, and you didn't have to spend one dime or dollar to receive them!  All of these opportunities are yours, tax free!  All you might have to spend is a bit of time thinking about how you will use your chances, but most of the time the opportunity presents itself.  We just need to be open to them.  

Want to know something else?  You will never run out of smiles, good deeds, minutes, or moments to make a difference, at least not in the sense of your bank account being empty.  These gifts seem to perpetuate themselves.  One smile given is usually one smile returned!  One good deed or positive difference if very often reciprocated to another person.  YOU. WILL. NEVER. RUN. OUT!!!!!

These are the kinds of investments we can all make, every day, to whomever we choose as often as we like.  Spending a couple dollars on a lottery ticket probably won't hurt anyone, but I encourage us all to invest in each other and see that investment as a currency from which we all will benefit!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Questions for the Farm: How do livestock farmers spend the first day of the new year?

Happy New Year!  I thought I would share with you our first priority of the new how DO livestock farmers spend their first waking moments of the new year?  Why, we feed our critters of course!

It really doesn't matter what day it is, the weather outside, or how we are feeling inside; the animals have to be fed.  Tall Guy wasn't feeling the greatest these last couple of days so he stayed home last night while the girls and I drove over to a friend's house for some wild and crazy Phase 10 playing.  It was so crazy that we didn't pull into the garage until 1:30 this morning!  TG got up before I did, but once I was up, around 7:30, off we went outside to feed our moos and cats.

These three 4-H calves are larger and get a ration of feed different from the other two, smaller 4-H calves. In the three larger calves' mix is corn, minerals, and beet root.

Beet root?  Yep!  It adds roughage to their diet and boosts their energy.  It also adds some fat to the brisket and helps the calves widen out in their fronts.  If you have ever had beef brisket, you will appreciate the addition of some beet root. We wait until the calves reach around 700 pounds before introducing this product to their diets.

The two smaller calves get just corn and minerals until they weigh a bit more.  All of the 4-H calves also get a "wedge" of alfalfa too for more roughage.

Remember our expectant mommas?

They need some feed as well, but in addition to the feed, TG makes sure they have hay to munch on between meals.  That means warming up the tractor and hauling up some round bails of hay to put in the feeders for them.

This process involves opening gates and making sure the mommas don't mix with our young feeder calves on the other side of the bunk.  I will be telling you more about these expectant mothers later this month as they get closer to their due dates!

Last but not least, and actually first so they will not be under foot and in the way, the kitties and cats need to be fed.

I can happily say that we do not have a rat problem in the buildings thanks to these furry friends, but they do require some supplemental feed every day.  This picture doesn't include of all the felines around our barns and tool shed, but you can see they all look pretty darned healthy.

Not to be left out is Miss Sadie.

She has her food in the garage since she has some arthritis issues, but she does go outside and romp around, especially when we are outside to play and give her some loving.

The last thing that needs fed before we eat is our boiler.

It heats the house and our water, so it is VERY important to make sure it's tummy is full!

Once back in the house, we can think about coffee and what WE would like to eat for the first meal of the year.  May all the livestock farmers out there find their herds healthy and safe today and every day in the new year.  For those reading who do not have livestock, we hope you are enjoying your corned beef and bacon today brought to you by your local farmers!  Happy 2016!