Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some PIG!

Hello, did you bring treats?

Oh you did bring treats!
This is Moose. We gave him to my son in law as a Christmas present last year. Now he is huge and the sire of a good looking litter of piglets with his "wife" - Lucy.

True to his Red Wattle lineage, he is laid back, calm and friendly and never aggressive. He has almost reached his adult size now. He has great shoulder & back width. Hams are well rounded. His legs are sturdy and well placed.

I'm really pleased with him... but then I again I picked him out to keep and I named him.. So call me prejudiced.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Almost automatic milking machine

When Hazel the Jersey milk cow moved to Kentucky with the kids she was bred and due to calf in the spring. She calved  and Anders started hand milking her, but he soon realized his hands weren't going to hold up to the job and Hazel's patience for the slow process was wearing thin. So with no electricity in their barn and not really wanting to spend what it would take to get an electrical surge milker setup, they started looking for alternatives.

Anders spent some time online researching non-electric milkers and settled on the Henry milker. This little gizmo developed by Mr. Henry in Alaska arrived less than a week after the order was placed. Great service!! Gotta love cottage industry's attention to what is important.

Amazing! It was put together out of plastic tubing, the vacuum pump from a brake bleeding kit, and a 60cc syringe with the plunger discarded and a standard mason jar. One plastic hose line carries the milk into the jar and another creates a vacuum to pull it in and the syringe serves as the teat cup. It was originally developed for goat milking.

Anders made a couple of modifications to make it work better for Hazel. He added a couple of shut off valves in the lines and another teat cup to the set up so he can milk 2 teats at a time. He also changed from quart to 1/2 gallon mason jars so he didn't have to  change bottles so often. He carries the whole set up to the barn in 2 milk crates.

Now twice a day, he brings Hazel into the barn and gets her settled with her feed in the stanchion. Then he washes down her udder. Next the valves are closed and the line pressurized by squeezing the vacuum pump. When the pressure is right, the teat cup is placed over the teat and the valve opened. The milk starts to flow almost immediately.  I couldn't believe how simple it was.  Anders sits on an upturned milk crate for a stool and watches the pressure gauge, occasionally giving it a few squeezes to keep the pressure up. As the milk bottles fill he shuts the valve and moves to another bottle. When a quarter is empty he shuts the valve moves the teat cup and opens the valve again. He sings quietly to Hazel as he works. It is all very calm, quiet and laid back. Not at all like milking was when we had Hazel and used a surge milker. No vacuum pump noise, no hurrying to be sure we got the teat cups off at the right time. No frenetic pulsing.

Now he is done milking in about 10 minutes with minimal effort, minimal noise and no electricity.

Hazel seems to like this arrangement too.

Nah nah you can't see me!

Short stuff the bull calf is temporarily living in the back yard at Anders and Emily's. Every time I tried to get a clear shot of him he would hide in the weeds.

Karate Duck

When I went outside first thing in the morning at my son and daughter in law's farm,
 this is the first thing I saw.
Duck on fence in perfect "Karate Kid" form.
Laughing I ducked back into the house for my camera.  
No hawk better come by and try to mess with this clawed member of the wood duck family.
He's ready to take on all comers with a karate kick!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Front porch playpen

Joel's new favorite game is to throw the dog's ball over the rail of the porch so that poor Frankie has to wriggle his self under the rail and scramble down the steps after it.
Joel tried this trick with some of his toys and was a little disappointed that Frankie didn't retrieve them.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

To market to market

Tuesday is Farmers Market day in Lexington, so we loaded up the carseats and the little ones and headed to town to see what goodies we could find. Our trip netted a yummy watermelon, corn, tomatoes and some killer hot sauce. Joel was all about the samples. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Emma Loo hoo

Our grandaughter Emma came for a visit at Lydia's last week. She is really getting big! And she finally has enough hair for a little Pebbles Flintstone ponytail.

10 am

Brian peeks his head in the bedroom to ask if I was really serious when I said I wanted to get  up and go to farmers market this morning. I mumbled something and struggled up from sleep. I'd only been asleep about 4 hours after a 12 hour shift at the hospital.

After bumbling into some clothes we headed downtown to the Crawfordsville Farmers Market. It felt funny to be on the buyer's side of the tables. We walked all through the market scoping out what was available, then turned around and made our buying sweep: Honey, raspberry jam, onions, peas, zucchini, tomatoes, french tarragon, chocolate mint, cucumber, cabbage,,,

Folks kept trying to educate us about their products. Hey that used to be my job!

The only person that didn't try to educate us was the lady with the unimaginably gorgeous heads of cauliflower. You have to understand that cauliflower defies  my every effort. Only once in my 49 yrs have I successfully grown heads of lovely creamy white cauliflower. We were in awe of this amazing brassica. Brian and I both tried to weasel the secret of perfect cauliflower out of the lovely Hispanic lady. She only smiled and said you have to have a plan. 

Right I always have  a plan it just very seldom works!

We finally gave up trying to get the secret and just paid for one of her perfect cauliflowers.  It was worth every penny- both pretty and pretty tasty too!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Miss Taylor

This is Taylor, the oldest of our grand kids. She wants to be a veterinarian.
Today she was experimenting with what Red Wattles will eat or won't eat from your hand.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Graduation Day

This is Kacie Jo Jordan.
The youngest of our four children and the newest high school graduate.
She will be pursuing a photography degree at University of Louisville in the fall.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Change of plans

Looks like Oregon is out and Kentucky is in.
Brian and I had a long heart to heart talk and agreed we just couldn't be that far away from the grand babies. After all, we have 4 grand kids and one on the way!! Who's gonna bake them cookies and sing them silly songs and play make believe and dress up - oh and teach them bad habits (that's Brian not me) - if we move to Oregon?
So now we are looking for the perfect place in the Bluegrass State. What would be the perfect place:
about 1/2 and 1/2 woods and cleared
an older home - circa 1850-1930 or stone, brick or cabin with a basement or root cellar would be nice
water source - a good spring or well
everything else is negotiable.

Of course we are just in the "shopping" stages right now. Brian has 3 more years of school before we can go anywhere.