Archive for the ‘Calves’ Category

A busy start to the year

January 18, 2020

Hello All!   I hope the new year is treating you well.  🙂

2020 is the year my father turns 90, and so it was decided that a celebration was in order!  Dad’s birthday is the 4th January which very conveniently fell on a Saturday this year.  I flew over to Perth the Thursday before and got picked up by my sister Alison and taken to her home in Lower Chittering.  On Friday we cooked up some sweet things for the catering, and welcomed Ali’s daughter Amy home from Broome for the party.  Ali had already prepared all the savouries before hand and her daughter in law, Sasha, was preparing a fantastic cake in the shape of a toolbox – very appropriate for my Dad.
Saturday we headed to the folks church and set up for the celebration.  My other sister Linda was over from Canada and all her family had collected with Mum and Dad for Christmas.  They came to the church hall too, replete with fruit and vegetable platters and dip, and we set up the building with some lovely table decorations that Ali had prepared earlier.  The celebration went well, lots of lovely people, plenty of food, good speeches, and the weather not as hot as it might have been.  The younger generation of the family were all wonderful, helping out with preparations, serving and cleaning up too.
I went and stayed with my folks after the party, somehow managing to squeeze in with Linda’s family who then left one at a time over the next couple of days, returning to jobs and life in San Francisco and Sydney.  I headed home on the Tuesday while Linda and John were able to stay until the end of the week before returning to Canada.  It was wonderful to catch up with my folks, my sisters and their husbands as well as the nephews and nieces from both families, even if it was only for a very brief time.  🙂
It was also nice to be in Perth for a Sunday so that I could go to church with Mum and Dad and meet their new pastor and see the growing congregation.  After the service they had a shared luncheon, and they also made it a bit special for Dad’s birthday.
Meanwhile, back at home, Twinkles produced a healthy heifer early in the morning of the Sunday I was away.
She was not due to calve for another week, when I would have been home, but it turned out she couldn’t wait that long.  I had been watching her udder enlarge the week before and I confess that I had been a bit worried that she wouldn’t last the distance.  In the end Sam managed to handle the first few days of milking without me and the little girl had no trouble feeding so it was all good.  It is the first time Twinkles has given us a live heifer, we had begun to think she could only throw bull calves.  This calf is a beautiful glossy black girl who looks so very much like her mamma.  Her name is still undecided.  The family didn’t seem to like Glossy Flossy which was my first thought, so I have started calling her Blossom, but after her antics the last couple of days I am wondering if Little Miss Feisty mightn’t be more appropriate.  She has been kicking up her heels, slipping under the fence and chasing Willow the corgi!
Normally when the cow is newly calved I milk her twice a day in order to keep her milk supply up, however with Kim and myself booked to go overseas in March I am following a different plan this year.  I have been only milking each morning and hope that Twink’s milk supply will slow down a little and that by March the calf will be taking it all so that the family don’t have to milk while we are away.
Just to reinforce the bad timing of my trip to Perth, the day I left we had a paddock of hay slashed in Mole Creek and turned into small square bales.  We have always had round bales before, but I thought it might be worth trying the squares as they are easier to transport, and I wanted to try a new contractor who only does small squares anyway.  We ended up with 170 bales which all needed moving fairly quickly so we could cover them from any possible rain.  I managed to transport 2 loads of 20 bales in our Caravelle van before I had to leave for the airport.  Sam and Kim did another 2 loads and Sam and Lydia did a further 5 loads over the next couple of days to bring it all safely home.  We have it stacked on pallets and under tarps at the end of the pony paddock, as it will probably be the ponies who use it all.
Late last year we had the misfortune of having a quoll get in and kill a couple of chooks.  The biggest problem that this caused is that one of the birds killed was our rooster, and we only had the one.  My first thought was that perhaps this was the time that we should start to run our chook numbers down, but Kim was keen to have the option of breeding again if we wanted to.  So then the wait for a hen to turn broody began, and after a couple of weeks my old favourite “Pea” began to sit solidly.  This also happened on the day I left for Perth – it seemed a long and busy day!  I put about 11 older assorted eggs under her, and on checking the other night it seems that all but 2 were fertile.  I expect it will be another week or more before they are due to hatch so we we have our fingers crossed for healthy chicks and that there might be a nice quiet rooster among them.  We have now set up 2 elecromesh fences to completely surround the chook and garden areas and are hoping that no quoll can find it’s way inside through that.  So far, so good, and I know there is a quoll around but hopefully it will stay out!
My tomatoes are growing well and some have set fruit now.
As always time will tell whether we get the tomatoes to ripen before the cold comes back.  🙂  Vegetable growing time always seems to be way too short for me in Mole Creek, although there are plenty of climates who have more extreme weather than here.
For the last few years I have bought hay from a lovely farmer up north and he sent me another 18 rolls this year.  They arrived just the other day loaded high on a truck, and they have been tipped off and are waiting for me to straighten them up a bit and cover them all.  This hay will be more nutritious than the pony hay, and so is allocated to the cow and calf.
Kim has had the parts arrive for his hoist so now we just have to work out how to put it up!  I am very much looking forward to having the job done, if not to actually doing the job.  Those large beams weigh ~325kg each so it will be no mean feat to get them to stand up in place while we mount them into the concrete floor!  Kim hopes to get onto the job soon but between his chronic fatigue syndrome being made worse with the heat of summer, bouts of kidney stones and various colds and stomach wogs, he hasn’t had much health to do it yet.
We purchased a cheap little caravan recently from a farm nearby.  It is set up as a mobile chook house at present, but we are considering setting it up for possibly puppies in the future.  We have been waiting anxiously for Willow to come on heat so we can send her off to be mated, but she is not obliging so far.  It seems we have no choice but to keep waiting.  🙂  Hopefully we will have puppies one day!
The wattle trees have been going to town with their seed and seed pods this year.  A while back I had a visiting friend ask me what the trees were that were turning brown, and at the time I wasn’t sure what she meant.  Of course I should have realised that it was the Silver wattles that put on such a dazzling yellow display in Spring…
that then turn to and develop brown seed pods.
Once the seeds ripen, the pods open and drop and scatter all over the ground, and the ground is smothered in them in places this year.
The seeds are little black things which I guess birds and possums eat, but they can’t possibly keep up with the feast available at the moment.  We have even noticed that clusters of seed seem to accumulate around the tops of little ant nests on the driveway, so I wonder if they can store them up as feed too?  I fear that we are going to have a wealth of new baby wattle trees coming up in Spring next year.  I wish there was an international market for wattle seed, as Tassie could do some exporting and really help the national GDP this year.
I have been settling in to my new routine with volunteering at the Mole Creek Online Access Centre.  It is actually pretty quiet on the computer side of things and I don’t have a lot to do with helping people there, although it is nice when the occasional person needs a hand.  When it is quiet I can do things on my own laptop which I take in with me, which is nice, or I can try to improve my understanding of the computer programs we have at the Centre.  Another part of my responsibilities is to give advice to tourists who come and check out our brochures, and at this time of year that side of the work can be busy.  I enjoy chatting to visitors and helping them to enjoy their time visiting Tasmania and especially our lovely local area.
Anyway, I guess I have waffled on enough for this episode!  Best wishes.

A New Arrival and Other News

October 31, 2018
I think the last 3 emails I sent concerned dogs (and I don’t promise not to mention dogs again) but the motivating factor behind this particular email was the new arrival this morning.  When I went down to feed the pony and cow I found that Twinkles had produced yet another healthy little bull calf.  He looks very much like her!  Now it is back to milking lots for me!

Willow is growing up fast and has become pretty popular around here, both with the family and the other dog.
At the tender age of 3 months she has already been to her first dog show.  It ended up being a huge event for her first experience, being the Hobart Royal Show followed by a Welsh Corgi Show.  She found it a bit overwhelming a couple of times but managed pretty well overall and by the end of the day she was pretty settled about it all.  She was hilarious in the ring the first time when she refused to go faster than a walk.  The crowd loved her though and we thought we could have started a Willow Fan Club with everyone who walked by and made a fuss of her.  She got second ribbon in the baby puppy section of the corgi show – out of 2 pups.  🙂
We have about a dozen projects underway at the moment, which means we are taking a long time to get through any of them!  There have been a couple of frustrating mechanical issues on one car and the tractor that Kim has managed to fix only to have them immediately break again, mostly due to faulty parts.  However we did recently finish properly sealing, insulating and lining the back room of our old bus.  Josiah has now moved his bed in there and is finding it quite comfortable I believe.  That frees up the main section of the bus to have more of the same work done in there, as well as installing a couple of windows.

And Lydia is now a licensed driver, taking herself the 50 minutes to and from work without supervision.  Yay!
Our Mole Creek church is having a bunch of renovations done on the hall by a mission group (MMM).  It is causing some disruptions to the craft group and after church meetings, but should be good in the long run.  The local church continues to run, despite having a dwindling congregation.  However we find it nice to also have the broader fellowship of the larger church in Launceston as well.  There are a few folk we know with serious health issues at the moment which is very concerning, and we are praying for them and their families, but we are also expecting a couple of good friends to visit over the next couple of months which should be fun.
We recently purchased a small building, extremely cheaply, and intended to get it transported intact to our property.  We spent some time getting the removal organised and preparing a place for the building to go.  The day came for the truck to collect it but when they tried to lift it, the building started to fall apart.  It turned out that they had forgotten to cut through the support posts that were concreted into the ground.  So, instead of a nice little building for Kim and I to turn into our very own bedroom/bathroom/sitting room – we now have a bunch of building materials instead.  We spent a week madly dismantling it all and ferrying it home.  It was a bit disappointing, but no doubt we can build something else with it all.  Some of it was made of Bondor panels, which are interesting things.  Kim also just purchased another 6kW of solar panels with mounting frames at a super bargain price so we need more roof space to mount them on.  🙂  This is the same capacity as the solar panels that we currently have, so we will ultimately be able to double the size of our power system and Kim is quite pleased about that, especially since it is taking us forever to get onto finishing our micro hydro system.
And that is most of the news I can think of for now and I best get myself off to bed.  Best wishes to you all.

The holiday is over

April 12, 2017

Well, the holiday is over and it is back to milking every day for me.  Twinks had started calving when I checked her at 9pm last night, so I put her in her favourite paddock on her own and left her to it, and this morning we found a nice healthy looking little bull calf.  Mum is being very attentive and giving him lots of washing.


His Dad was a Murray Grey, but he has his Mum’s face markings.


Bit of a boofy looking boy.  🙂