Saturday, March 09, 2013

Chore time...

It's time to do the chores this afternoon.  We need to check on the heifers every so often.  They are due to have their baby calves just any day.  In fact, we had one calf born last night -- the first of the season.  He's a cutie pie with spotted eyes.  His mother likes him.  They're staying in the corral under the lean-to for now. 

 Each afternoon I throw out the scraps from the bucket I keep under the sink, and the chickens have a feast.  Sometimes the barnyard cats join them.  Bottoms up, girls!

 There were just ten eggs in the nests today.  Most days I get a dozen or 14 eggs.  Since there are some old hens in the mix, they don't lay each day like the younger ones do. 

The menfolk cleaned out the barn today withe the tractor and left it to air out all afternoon.  The heifers are brought into the barn each evening, and we check them through the night to see if there are any problems with the heifers calving or to find baby calves.  The barn gets pretty dirty after a couple nights so cleaning the barn becomes a regular chore during heifer calving.  After the old straw and manure is hauled out, we roll out a straw bale, get our pitchforks, and start tossing straw around to bed the barn floor.

Doesn't this look like a comfy bed of straw for tired cows to sleep on?  From another favorite book of mine, here's a little wisdom on chores from Little Heathens.  Have you read it?  If you love books about growing up on the farm, you'll like this one.

Though certain work was usually thought of as a man's work, on our farm, everyone, male, female, and kids lent a hand to get the job done.  Women, if circumstances required, could be counted on to help load hay into the haymow, shock oats or wheat, and done a corn-husker and work gloves to handpick a field of corn that had become too rain-soaked to accommodate the heavy McCormick Deering mechanical picker.  The same was true of "women's work."  There were times when men helped women can meat, assisted in an extra-heavy wash, lent a hand at making apple or plum butter, and took a turn at the churn.  When work needed to be done, it didn't matter whether the  worker wore pants or a skirt.  

"...and make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands..."  ~I Thessalonians 4:11


  1. Jody, you are just the best at blog post composition, in my admittedly unhumble opinion. I admire your ability to corral :-) just the right amount of concrete detail around your theme, and I love your point of view.
    I suppose I'm partial to your usual subject matter, too! Calves, for example: When Pippin was working on a dairy farm, and we visited the new calves - oh! the dear things with their big soft eyes...

    1. Gretchen Joanna,
      I like to "jaw" about the things that mean something to me, but I am not a writer. I'm glad you like my point of view and my subject matter. It's good to know that your Pippin had experience on a dairy farm. I think farms/ranches are just the best thing for growing up kids. New baby calves really are adorable. It's the eyes, you're right! Thanks so much for the love.

  2. I loved reading this, especially seeing those beautiful hens! 10+ eggs a day, fantastic! xx

  3. Oh, that first photo, lacking the snow is making me's what I dream about for spring days. We still have FEET of snow, which I know will be some moisture, but I'm longing to see the calves too and have dry ground. These are such fun days, eh?

    1. Cheyenne,

      I know what you mean about wishing to see the ground again after a long, snowy winter. The problem for us is that we had virtually no snow this winter other than a skiff or two here and there. It's making us quite nervous about how our spring is going to be. It's very, very dry and there is now no run-off for reservoirs. We're praying and hoping and waiting for rain or even a big, wet snowstorm. But oh, I do remember those snowy, deep winters you are experiencing. I even looked forward to dandelions!

      At least these dry days are nice for calving. Makes it easier to walk to the barn in the middle of the night when I don't have to trudge through snowdrifts.

  4. What a pretty calf! I love popping by to see all the new life appearing at your place. My Mother-in-Love used to bale and toss hay even, in order to get the job done. These days her fingers are crooked and arthritic, but she doesn't complain and talks fondly of those busy days of haying and milking.

    Blessings, my friend!

  5. I bought some eggs from a friend who raises chickens in her backyard and thought of you as I admired their colors. I would be in egg heaven with a dozen fresh eggs every day. I am always struck by what a hard worker you are. I do chores but not like the ones you are doing, that is for sure.

  6. You have been so busy Jody, the bum lambs sounded more time consuming than a baby;) I'm glad they have moved on to another family. However I see the heifers now take your time. We all lead such busy lives now a days, but it always amazes me how hard ranchers work.I loved the quote you gave about the ranchers wives and husbands. I think here in England a few couples could take note and share responsibilities.
    Your chicks lay the most beautiful eggs! I buy my eggs from a farm; they are large and healthy and often double yolks(a bonus for my yolk loving family)but they are not as colourful as yours.
    The picture of the bluebird was beautiful, such a vibrant blue and wonderful to have it visit your parts.
    The shrike you mentioned in a previous post reminded me of the shrikes in Africa; they were so bossy and quite vindictive with the gentler birds who visited my garden. However I did enjoy their cocky behaviour:)
    Coffee times in your home sound very relaxing, I can just smell the aroma when I look at your pics.
    Thank you for sharing the interesting and inspirational life you lead xxx

  7. I love seeing and reading about your life on the ranch/farm/prairie!!

  8. Oh, I so love that quote from Thessalonians! It's just what I needed to read right now. As always, I love getting a glimpse of life on the farm. Can't wait to see more of them calves!


  9. After seeing this post there is just no denying that spring is here. I don't live on a working farm nor is it the depression but I think the willingness of family pitching in wherever needed solves a lot of the me-attitudes!

    Blessings, Debbie

  10. Somehow I stumbled across your lovely blog and have happily spent a while here reading posts .I have so enjoyed your posts that now I want to "follow" along :)

  11. We call ourselves "The Choate Family Team", because everybody has to pitch in around our house. Especially when we are overseas! Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures and reflections :-)

  12. I have that book! The chores around our house are pretty much his/hers with no going between. Except now, for some odd reason, my husband buys groceries without asking me about it and we have two of a lot of things. Weird! I'd let him get them all if he'd only tell me when he's going. It's not a job I love. Your new lambs and calves are adorable!


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