MIA Due to All Kinds of Things

Reader Contribution by April Freeman
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I’ve been sorely neglecting this blog.

Part of this is that most of my writing the past few weeks has been paid work. Blogging is fun, but sometimes, especially when Christmas is on the horizon, I need to work on writing that helps pay the bills. Not as much fun, but it does help the bank account balance. Just last week, I wrapped up a couple of several-week-long projects, so perhaps, as paid writing slows down for the holiday season (and it usually does), I will be able to focus on writing other things.

Another reason my blogging has suffered has been the farm work that has been accomplished in the last couple of weeks. Starting in October, we tackled some massive farm improvement projects. We installed electricity in our barn, put a pump in our well, and dug almost a half-mile of trenches to feed automatic, insulated waterers for our livestock. This project will allow us to fully utilize our pastures, since the fields at the far back of the property do not have water access. We could add a pond, but then at lowest spot in our back field, a sinkhole opened up.

Thankfully, the project is mostly complete. We still have quite a bit of fencing to do, since adding sheep means changing our fencing. I do realize that most people fence the property correctly before buying the sheep, but we are not most people.

It is nice to have the automatic waterers completed. I don’t wake up at night wondering if I remembered to turn off the hose going to our troughs. (Yes, I’ve left them on more times that I care to count.) Also, we had an unusual cold snap a couple weeks back, and amazingly, none of the waterers froze up.

We have completed our calving season too. Many calves have been born, and they are all healthy and whole. Our fall calf crop looks amazing. The Man of the House’s special care in selecting herd sires looks like it is starting to pay off.

Most of the cows, except for three late calvers, will be artificially inseminated in a couple of weeks. Today, we ran all of our soon-to-be-bred cows through the chute and began the first step toward AI. Basically, the procedure we did today kind of hits the reset button on all of our cows’ cycles. We prefer that the cows mostly ovulate around the same time period so we can breed them within the same three-day period. Our calves will then show up all close to the same time period.

Of course, that is the ideal world. Actually, some of the cows won’t breed on the first try and so we will have to monitor for their heat cycles, returning three weeks after the initial breeding.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Hopefully, as the holidays draw near, I can post a bit more frequently about the goings on here on the farm.

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