Brandings, Babies and Dirt

Life has been a flurry of activity on the farm right now. Among all of the usual farm activities, we have also been rethinking and reworking our house in order to make access easier for Cade. So with that being said, here is a recap of our life recently.

All those baby calves that have held Cade’s love and affection now need the attention of a branding. We live in a brand inspected area of the state and so every spring after the majority of the calves have been born, we set a date and brand them. It is a big undertaking and we still do it the old-fashioned way of rope and drag them. We also still trade help with the neighbors so that means most of our weekends consist of brandings this time of year.

Cade likes to go to brandings but he is becoming more limited on what he can do there. We still manage a way to keep him involved. He got to drive the ranger as a shuttle for people this year because the “road” to the calving pasture and branding area was really rough due to all the weather that we have been having.

We are training all the kids to be able to do this one day with their families.
All the kids with Cade and my sister.

We are one step closer to getting the cows and calves to pasture for summer grazing.

It takes a lot of help to make these successful!

While baby calves had Cade’s attention, we also had other new babies appear on our farm. We got several new batches of baby chicks. I say several because of our attempt at a new chick area left us open to something we were not exposed to last year. Weather and predators! Our first batch arrived when we had another cold spell. The new pen was not a insulated as the brooder box we used last year so that took out the first of our new chicks. Then we replaced those and had a new breed that I was pretty excited to introduce to our flock, but those chicks became prey. We are not quite sure what got them but I am thinking our cats may have had a feast. All of the bigger chickens and eggs were left alone, just the chicks were missing. So we are now on attempt number 3 of chicks.

I decided that these chicks needed to go back into the old brooder box. So they were set up and life has been pretty good for them. Then we found out that they had bantam chickens at the feed store. So we came out of there with 2 bantam chicks that were much smaller than the other chicks. The bantams got a box home inside the brooder box and life was good. They were separate yet still combined. I was pretty sure though that I now needed to avoid the feed store because every time I had recently been in there, I came out with chicks!

During all the chick settling, our mama cat also had 7 kittens! Cade was so excited to find them. So they were set up next to the brooder box in a kennel with a heat lamp since we were still getting some cold weather. So all babies appear to be settled in and we were ready to focus on starting seeds. But the weather once again caught us off guard! The wind had blown open our back door (the only one without a screen door) while we were at work and school. I cam home to find the door open and shut it and went about trying to do the chores I needed to do before going to pick up the boys for Cole’s trap practice. As I then came out the other back door, I saw our mama cat with a kitten at the back door that I just shut!

So I pick up the baby and realize that there is at least one kitten in the house (at least it is only on the back porch!) and take that kitten with mama following behind back out to the barn. I count and there are 4 kittens on the back porch (and I do not have time to try to find them now) and only 3 left in the kennel in the barn! Ugh!

While I was out there, I glanced in at the brooder box to check on all the chicks and discovered another problem that I had no time to deal with, the bigger chicks had dumped the water bowl upside down on the bantam chick (one bantam had already died). So I nervously lift the bowl to discover the bantam chick was fine but her box home was too big to be in the brooder box with the other rapidly growing chicks. A problem that I will have to deal with later as I needed to hop in the car to pick up the boys.

So we get through practice and come home. I make Cole find the kittens that were on the back porch and take them out to the barn. I also find a little bigger box and tell Cole to put some bedding in it and bring the bantam chick inside along with a heat lamp. The bigger chicks were happy to have some more room and the bantam chick would be safe. We get everything all set up and Cade looks down at the single bantam chicks and states sadly that she is lonely now that she is in the house and needs a friend. My head hangs down and I reluctantly state that she will get a new friend tomorrow. So the next day I make the walk of shame into the feed store and bring home 2 new bantam chick friends to join the other.

So now my focus shifts to the dirt. I had managed to get tomato and pepper plants started. But now I am needing to get the other seeds started. I get several trays of seeds started with Cade helping out, but now a new project is becoming very necessary to get finished soon. I have run out of room for all the seed trays in the greenhouse. I have all the supplies for the shelves, I just need specific directions for how to build them but Brent is also now working late as the farmers are playing catch up thanks to the weather. I am hoping to have all seed trays fully removed from inside the house by this weekend. Say a little prayer for me please! We also need to get some compost to add to the raised bed for the year before beginning planting and get the trellis made and attached to the raised bed for all our climbing plants. Again, I have the supplies, just not the mechanical skills to build without the specific directions that are currently sitting nicely in the back of Brent’s mind! I also need to get the area tilled up to get the ground ready for the plants that are too big for the raised beds! Such a busy time of the year but I am loving it!

So today, I decided to refocus my energy for a bit and update all of you about our life right now. We also have a future project of building a ramp for Cade to have access to using his scooter all summer. The plans for building that are also in Brent’s head, but we do have friends and a specific weekend for getting that done. We can’t thank all of you enough for your continued support! And if anyone wants to show up to help a gal that has no technical know-how but can run the saws and such, I will listen and get things built to take a little off Brent’s plate right now!

Blessings. Lynnette

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