Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Taste and See

Today Mrs. Tiggywinkle (Tiggy, for short) embarked on her second day of life.  Mama Ebony started her day out with a good breakfast . . .

. . . while Tiggy decided to see the wide world.  I'll let Tiggy tell her own story . . .

I like to see things.  I like to taste them, too.

Here's Mama's hay.

Mmm, maybe some day.
Thanks for dumping your breakfast on my head, Mama.
Hmph!  I'll just go somewhere else.

Here's Mama's tail.

Mmm, maybe not!

There's some grass.

Maybe when I'm a little bigger.

How about the water tank?

Nope, too high, and it's cold.  Brrr.

Mama's eating alfalfa.

Probably not.

How about the molasses-water bucket?

Bummer!  It's empty, but it sure smells good.
Old straw?

Nope, don't think so.

Mama's pee!  Milk from Mama tastes good, maybe this does, too.




There's got to be something yummy around here somewhere.

I'll just go look for it.

I know it's here somewhere!

Ahh, there it is!  Thank you, Mama!

Mrs. Tiggywinkle Has a Visitor

If you know your Beatrix Potter, you'll recognize the name Mrs. Tiggywinkle.  Mrs. Tiggywinkle was the washerwoman hedgehog in the 1905 book The Tale of Mrs. Tiggywinkle.  In the book a little girl named Lucie loses her handkerchiefs, goes looking for them, and ends up at the house of kindly Mrs. Tiggywinkle, who has washed and ironed the handkerchiefs.  (You can see where our Mrs. Tiggywinkle got her name, since her sire is Woodmagic Hedgehog III.  I can't take credit for the name, though.  That goes to her breeder, Kim Newswanger of Hope Refuge Farm.)

Yesterday as Kara and I were going outside to weigh and measure Tiggy, as we call her, Kara pointed and exclaimed, "Look!"  I dutifully looked--and then said, "Darn!"  That steer Boudin had gotten out of his pasture, following the bad example of naughty little Sir Loin.  What really scared me was wondering if our young bull Royal had gotten out, too, and where he was.

While I ran into the house to grab a bucket of alfalfa cubes, Kara headed down the hill toward the drive on the right where she could see the naughty bovine was heading.  A minute later I headed down in the Doodad with my bucket of feed.  The naughty steer and Kara were out of sight down the drive.

I walked down the drive until I could see Kara standing near the gate, not far from Boudin--Wait a minute!  Boudin was standing in his own pasture with Royal right beside him, looking curiously over the fence at . . .

. . . a cow!  Not one of ours because she was too big, and both of ours were safely behind no-climb horse fence.  But a cow, nevertheless!  I could only guess that she had come to visit baby Mrs. Tiggywinkle!  (Actually, I think she heard all our cattle carrying on over the new baby and came looking for company.)  She followed me through the gate into the pasture where I dumped the cubes on the ground and shut her safely in.

After we had done what we needed to do with Tiggy, I got thinking that I didn't want a strange cow where she might touch noses with my animals through the fence.  So I went back down with a bucket of sweet feed, and she followed me willingly into the Back Pasture where there was plenty of water and grass.

I called the sheriff, animal control, the local radio station that announces lost and found animals, and even some local vets that treat cattle.  We also contacted the only two neighbors we knew of who had cows, but nobody was missing one.  The guy who answered the phone at one vet's office asked, "So are you telling me you found a cow?"  "Well," I replied, "actually she found us!"  He took my information and then said, "That is the funniest thing I've heard in a long time!  Thank you for making my day!"  (All I have to say is, I love to make people happy!)  :)

Since it looked like she might be here a while, I decided the cow needed a name besides "the strange cow."  What could be more perfect than Lucie, Mrs. Tiggywinkle's visitor in the story?  After all, she had come to call on the day Tiggy was born.

This morning our peace and quiet was shattered.  Lucie was in season, and she was bellowing it to the whole world.  Royal may be just 9 months old, but he rose to the occasion, bugling back at her in a very loud duet.  It was pretty funny because unlike the old song, in this case mama sang bass and (would-be) daddy sang tenor!

It looks like Lucie won't be staying for long because her owner turned up today, clued in by one of the neighbors we talked to.  So tomorrow they'll come over with round pen panels and a trailer, and we'll have Operation Bye-Bye Lucie!  Too bad, it was kind of fun while it lasted!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mrs. Tiggywinkle Is Here!

So much for doing a post on Ebony's calf watch--I guess she heard I was going to plaster photos of her private parts all over the internet, so she pre-empted me!  After I got up this morning, I went to check if Ebony was still lacking some progress toward calving and if I could safely spend the morning with the grandkids--and found a calf!

Wasn't it thoughtful of Ebony to let me know she appreciated the shade shack by giving birth in there?  Not knowing there was a calf, I brought the dogs, but they got taken back in the house pretty quickly!

Meet NewHope Mrs. Tiggywinkle out of New Hope Ebony Belle, by Woodmagic Hedgehog III.

She walks like a Walking Horse!  Can that girl move!

She's quite adventuresome, and Ebony has a time keeping up with her.

Ebony guzzled down her bucket of warm molasses water.  She says, "Thank you, nice KFC people, for telling Susan about that!"

When I picked Tiggy up to carry her on the scale, she let me know what she thought of THAT!  Well, at least I know she's eating and the plumbing is working!  Calf poop is good, even down my leg, when I know everything's fine.

No lady likes to have her weight broadcast in public, but this little gal is a lot heftier than she looks, all 40 pounds of her.  No wonder I was huffing and puffing carrying her up the steep hill this morning!

There they go, sweet new baby and attentive mama.  We're so thrilled to have Mrs. Tiggywinkle here on Zephyr Hill Farm!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spa Day for Cows

After a winter of rain, mud and eating hay, the girls were all looking like they could use a makeover, especially Siobhan (right) because her harness keeps her from rubbing her winter coat off.  So today was spontaneously designated Spa Day for Cows.

A metal curry comb does a great job of loosening the dirt and dead hair.  A good bristle brush then lifts out the dirt and brushes it off.

While Siobhan's harness hung to air after its cleaning, she luxuriated in some neck-bending scratches and licks.  While I brushed her she arched into the curry comb like a cat being stroked, obviously loving every minute.
There's still some winter coat left, but there's also a bit more sheen to her coat.

Decked out in her custom fly mask, she's a new woman sexy and mysterious.

Next the mobile spa went over to Macree and Ebony in the Home Pasture.  They were both lying down in the shade shack chewing their cud, so I stood over Macree and brushed what I could reach of her while she stayed right where she was.

By the time it was Ebony's turn, my back was ready for a break so I sat down next to her.  She didn't mind me . . .

. . . and when I started to stroke her neck, she stretched out like a cat and leaned into the curry comb.  I ended up laying over her back to reach her other side, and we stayed like that for several minutes.

Jet wandered over to join us.  Ebony doesn't chase him off like Siobhan does, so he felt safe enough to lie down nearby and hang out with the girls while they got gorgeous.

Ebony went off decked out in her fly mask looking shiny . . . and almost ready to be a mommy!  Stay tuned for Ebony's Calf Watch coming up!