For two days now, we’ve been getting a very nice rain. So far we’ve gotten a little more than half an inch and it’s still raining. Hooray! Our fields and pastures, not to mention the orchards and gardens were very dry. We were afraid we wouldn’t get a good hay crop because of it.

Two days ago our cow, Surprise, delivered a nice but very weak bull calf. When we went down to put out round bales, he’d just been born and was lying out flat — not a good thing. So Will took the four wheeler and brought him up to the house as it was supposed to rain, and chill on top of weakness would have killed the calf. Will managed to get some colostrum from Surprise after I had warmed up some whole milk and fed that to the calf, which took a lot of coaxing. I used a goat nipple as that works best for weak calves as it’s softer and smaller — easier for them to grasp and suck. He was not in good shape though, and we both expected him to be dead, come morning. He wasn’t and continued to drink a 12 oz bottle of colostrum every two hours. But he still couldn’t get up. Last night he got up by himself and stood a couple of minutes then went down. This morning he drank two full bottles but is still weak. Will helped him stand and he managed a few minutes before going down again. We’re still hanging in there with him, praying he’ll get stronger. Meanwhile, he’s still in the living room where we can keep a close watch on him. (No, he isn’t housebroke!) Oh well, I needed to scrub that braided rug anyway…

Surprise’s new calf was so weak we brought him into the house to baby him.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, David and I visited the cemetery and straightened the flowers on his dad’s grave (a Marine Corps and Army veteran) and Mom and Dad’s. When we got home, we started in on that big mountain of ash firewood next to the storage barn. Luckily, we have a tractor-mounted log splitter, which is very handy! I run the splitter and Will carries the logs. We split and split for three days. But now we’re done with that pile and are ready to move on to another. That ash was green this winter so we won’t burn it for two years until it gets good and dry. Green wood doesn’t heat as well as dry and can cause creosote in the stovepipe. We do try to keep two years’ worth of wood under cover every year — just in case.

We were so glad to finally get this big pile of ash all split up. Lots of heat in there!

While I was off mailing seeds to folks today Will put up five trellises for peas and beans in the house garden. I was holding off planting as it was so darned dry. Now I’m gambling that it won’t freeze after they’re planted. It won’t hurt the peas but the beans will have to be covered if a frost threatens and they’re up. I’ve got a lot to plant this year! — Jackie


  1. I have not been able to have a garden for years because of the fairs. This year we have had at least 6 fairs cancelled. Garden in and doing well. Need to put more in. Working on it. But because I have not been in the garden, I did not notice the asparagus. Most of it is to big to pick and can but will get a little bit. I am excited.

  2. Good luck with the little guy. Our son helped the neighbor pull one last night that is struggling too. He did stand on his own this morning so our fingers are crossed, like yours. Good luck!

    They (neighbors) gave him (son) another bottle calf this year. She is penned on grass for now, and stalled if weather gets bad. He exercises her. I shot hilarious video tonight of a lanky young man rounding the yard trying to keep up with a 90 pound heifer. This goes on for 5 minutes twice each day. Husband says..”.and city people watch tv for entertainment….”

  3. Eek! We’ve had crazy weather, too. Ninety already here! And I’m sure we’ll get another frost or two down the road. Wow.

  4. Jackie, if I canned squash, would they be mushy after opening. I would probably make casserole out of them. Just wondering, since I have never canned squash and my mother-in-law is no longer living so I can’t ask her. Thank you for being so thoughtful and ready to help us poor misguided people. Have a book on how much pressure to can the squash.

    • Squash is soft when you open your jars. I use it in casseroles a lot but also mix with bread crumbs and an egg and fry it, dusted with flour. Or just drain it and bake with butter and brown sugar. Pretty good! I’m always very happy to help out my BHM family!!

  5. My daughter and I split and stacked wood for three days this week too. We figured we’d get it done before it got too hot out this summer. I hope your calf makes it.

    • We like to do our wood early, before other spring/summer chores start to pop up. The calf seems much better and is walking today.

  6. Jackie, having dealt with the calf/foal/kid/piglets in the house thing you may want to diaper the boy. Old towels, sheets with a liner of old tees and stuff contains a big portion of the mess. I have done this a few times and find it better than “oops, he did it again.”

    • Yeah, I’ve done the diaper thing but I find it easier to clean up the floor and rug than scrub the calf. Hooray, he’s outside now most of the day and tonight he moves to the goat barn!

  7. Hoping your little calf continues to eat and grow stronger.
    2weeks ago we had a record low of 27 and yesterday a record high of 91. Crazy western NY. I haven’t planted a thing yet…

    • It’s been crazy here too and I’m just starting to plant. Oh well, we deal with what we get…..

  8. Our temperature in the lower part of lower MI has been in the 90’s for several days. Our garden has 22 new asparagus plants with 19 of them up, 75 new strawberry plants, 3 new rhubarb plants and tomato plants grown from your seed in the ground but not very big yet, a row of your provider beans planted but not up yet, with more to plant. My son grew a bunch of things from seed that aren’t panted yet but are doing well. I don’t know about you all but the price of sirloin burger has gone from 5.99 per pound to 7.49 per lb and who knows where it will stop. I am not sure where this is all going, will there be enough food this fall and forward for everyone. This will be the biggest garden we have had in some years. I have to hire help to take care of my yard because of an injury that has kept me from working in it the last couple of years but I have been working some this year. It rained yesterday late pm and today it really rained this pm. Temp down to 74. We may become mostly vegetarians if the cost of meat continues to go up which I suspect it will.

    • Yes, I was in the store the other day and chuck roast was $8.99 a pound, bone in! And regular hamburger (not extra lean) was $7.99 a pound. Whew! You DON’T want to know what steaks were costing!!! I came home and kissed our steers on the noses. I’m glad you’ve planted a big garden. I feel we’ll all be needing it, come fall.

  9. When your little guy gets strong enough to go out with his mom, will she take him back and nurse him? I sure am praying for him! I’m glad you all are healthy and well. We usually have a better fall garden as our summers are either brutally dry or non stop rain, most of the time all in one week so its hard not to over water. As we are beginning hurricane season, here comes the rain! Thank you for all of your knowledge that you share with us.

    • We think she will. She has always taken several calves, letting whoever is there suck, whenever they want. Sometimes there were 4 calves sucking her at one time. He is doing much better and even walking without help a little bit.

  10. Congrats on the new bull. Prayers headed your way he gains strength and grows up to be a nice bull. It looks as if you have enough firewood seasoning for the up coming years. The rain and the heat are just coming far enough apart both the peas and the beans will be ready soon. In the mean time l have Swiss Chard to pick and freeze and so the season begins.

    • That firewood is just a start; we burn about 10 cords a year, including our kitchen range and Will figures that pile is about 3 cords. And it is green wood so we won’t burn it this winter, but next. We do have cords and cords of cry wood to cut and split, courtesy of the beavers down in our creek. Will has already got that all pulled up and piled, ready to go.

  11. Funny, this year I’m protecting my newly planted seedlings from heat, not cold! We went from winter to summer, and all week is high 70s to high 80s. Extra watering and a sheet suspended over the seedlings so they aren’t getting direct sun. 2 weeks ago we had 2 days of hard freeze, not just frost. Nipped some asparagus.

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