March 2009

    On Friday DH drove about 110 miles South West to purchase a few cattle from an older couple.  He learned that the man wanted to keep them, but his health was just not allowing him to.  So DH came back on Friday afternoon with a bull, a heifer, a momma and her two week old baby!   The first two are about 18 months old and are part brother and sister.   They share a Daddy by different females.   

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     I’m tempted to name them “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon” after the prayer of Saint Francis.   On second thought I ought to keep those names for others.   Since they are a cross of Lowline and Limousin breeds  (Limousins are a French Angus breed of cattle which are becoming popular in the US) , the young man (one the left) will most likely be our first to be processed at the abattoir since we would prefer to breed our ladies to purebred males.   He may only be around about a month.  Maybe I’ll just call him Dusty or Salty because of the splash of white on his face.  We will just have to see . . .   The heifer on the right is a daughter of the large female we also got.   She’s a looker and will stay with us for a while. 

     Big Momma (whose real name is Southern Bell) is about twice the size of our biggest Dexter Angie.   She has with her a two week old baby that we have determined to be a little girl.  Of course Momma is very protective of her, but will allow her to lay in the field by the other females while she grazes a few yards away.   We can’t get very close to her ourselves, but hopefully soon.          

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      We need your help naming her.  Momma is a Lowline/Angus cross and Daddy was a Limousin.   We probably won’t breed her, but she’ll be with us for at least 18 months until she’s fully grown.   She seems to be all legs and ears!    Send us suggestions and if we use your suggestion we’ll give you a remembrance of Smiling J Farm!


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I had never seen a Tulip Tree until we moved to North Carolina. Notice that there are no leaves yet. They show up after the flower blooms.


DH was so sweet yesterday. He agreed to take a little time off from the work on the farm to attend a picnic sponsored by the English Springer Spaniel Rescue – Carolinas group.  We drove with Thomas to the state park which is only about an hour from here.    It had been a long time since we had attended one of their functions.   I’m really glad we went!

Thomas was somewhat stressed about being around sooo many new dogs.  We were there with him, so he eventually became more comfortable over time.  Doesn’t he look good?  He got a hair cut just for the occasion!  

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     The oldest doggie was a 13 year old man who enjoyed snuggling in his bed as much as anything.  He was a very calm old guy but he didn’t socialize much.  It reminded me of our old doggie Caesar when he was that age.  He was 13 when he passed away. 

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These were the youngest dogs (I think) they are a brother and sister; aren’t they darling?  I think they are about 14 months old.  They are really small for springers.   But I just wanted to put them in my pocket and bring them home!  But we met lots of other doggies and their people.  I don’t remember all their names, but the one that stands out is “‘Mater”.  I thought it was a cute name for a springer. 

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  Besides doggies and their people, there was good food like hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, slaw, and desserts!  Good stuff.  and we had to get a picture of the cook!  Rich and his wife Helen live pretty close to us in Whispering Pines.  DH and I went to their house to do a “home visit” and Thomas went with us.    They now have two liver and white dogs.   It was good to see them again.   We got a great picture of the whole clan.  It wasn’t easy to get all those doggies-in-motion to stop long enough for a picture! 

    A good time was had by all!

    Are you experiencing the same weather coaster that 2009 has brought us?  Two weeks ago one early morning the temperature was 14 when I went out to feed the ladies.  DH was out of town.  It was COLD.  Later that same week the temperature went up to almost 70.  Last week we had sun and almost 80.  Now we are lucky if it was 50 today!   As Gover from Sesame Street says “I am so confuuussed!”

    j02834752  This weekend we had both cool temps and rain. The centipede grass and trees really love it!  It’s fun to watch the deciduous trees awaken in the spring.

    I have also discovered that we have a small tulip tree (or really a shrub). It’s the first thing to bloom here since we don’t have a forsythia. The lilac is starting to get leaves as are the choke cherry trees.

   We didn’t get any outside work done this weekend, except feeding the ladies.  We did replace a light in the master bedroom closet.  We also did a bit of computer work in the den.   Taxes, don’t you love them?j0395692

   The seeds I started on the 4th of March are looking pretty good.  It took a while for the carrots to break the surface.  The squash is looking the best.  Peppers don’t like to start inside I take it.  So I’ll probably have to find plants somewhere.  j0433069 If I had a covered porch that faced South I’d have them outside during the day.  One day I plan on putting a green house or at least a green shed out back!  Just something to start seeds with more sunlight. 

   I hope your week is getting closer to spring as it is here in the Carolinas.  Enjoy the “Weather Coaster”!!! Wheee……

Wow, we had great weather this weekend!  Don’t hate us because it was beautiful; we were grateful and took full advantage of the sun and warmth.    Or at least DH did!  He got out early on Saturday and worked on the fence again with the goal of completing the circuit. 


It was warm so we had to make sure he was hydrated.  And fed!  That was my job.  Well that and a bit of spring cleaning!  I don’t need to take photos and tell you how much fun it is.  (So I didn’t!)   But DH was so good and fast that he was finished before lunch.  And so the East side met the West side!


The second picture is taken just next to the first.  It shows a small “jog” in the pasture.  You can see where the old hole we filled in was.  Now all he has to do is put electric on the inside and we can let the ladies roam in there.  Its’ much larger than the front pasture and there are a few trees which will provide shade.  The front pasture can use a good raking and so that will be our opportunity.

The other wonderful thing we were able to do is put our sign up in the front of the property.  With our neighbors, Bob and Mona, there to assist we got it set in and leveled without any trouble.  And we got to chat about a few things too. 


We put it right where the old one was.   Pretty cool huh?  We think it looks neat.  Now if the boys would grow up faster we’d have a product to sell…


I have seen these contraption on television and at the state fair, even in photographs.  But until now I have never built one.  DH would like to be able to inseminate and give vaccinations to our little darlings himself.  We have learned that Vet visits can be costly.  I don’t know about that, but I’d rather have someone who knows what they are doing (especially if I were onthe receiving end!).    It will be a good piece of equipment when the Vet shows up to check the ladies out.  

Okay so last month we purchased and put one in the back pasture.  Interesting project for a sunny warm winter day.  DH wanted the sweep tub down by the back pen so we moved it down on the trailer. 


Initially we were concerned about the weight of each piece.  We hooked the tractor up and gave it several gentle tugs to move it.  Once we got it off the trailer and looked at the directions, it wasn’t as intimidating.  Thank goodness it was a great day for working outside.   

The head gate was already down in that part of the pasture already so we didn’t have to move it.  But it was of course the beginning  (or the purpose) for the sweep tub. 


Quite a contraption, eh?  The cattle enter from the let and exit on the right.  And in between?  Well we wont’ go into those details right now!  Moving a long. . . We cut each piece off the “bundle” and laid them down so we could see what went where.  sort of like a puzzle.  Oddly enough there were no small parts for those of us who have put furniture together as a couple.  Hmmm, how do the parts go? 


We finally determined that there were male parts and female parts and they get togther to make something. . . sort of like. . . okay this is a family show I’ll talk about sweep tubs. . .


It’s starting to look like something!  Not bad for rookie farmer and a city girl!  But will it work? 




Lets see?  Where is part # 704-A?  Oh, there it is. . . Here’s DH attaching the tub to the back pen.



Ta-DA! ! ! ! Okay so the girls exit the feed pen and enter the sweep tub. 


(I know there are no cattle in there, but stick with me. . . ) they go into the around part just in front of the camera and enter the chute.  Hopefully this is one at a time, by then.  Then they proceed to the head-gate to get whatever procedure DH has for them. . . . Then they exit into the back pasture!  Hey look Ma, no pocket parts!