Working Bull

I got a call today from the farmer who has Queenie over at her house, (well –  in her field, Queenie in anyone’s house would be like the proverbial bull in a china shop. )  Anyway when they looked out their window yesterday morning they saw a good deal of ‘Activity’  between Queenie and the bull.  So hopefully she has been bred. Just to be sure I will leave her for another four weeks. If  there is no more  ‘Activity’ then we can bring her home for a blood test.

A cow will come into heat every 17 to 24 days. We took her to the farm on Halloween.  25 days ago. It is possible we were only hours late.   Standing heat only lasts anything from 12 to 24 hours, then they ovulate.  However let’s see what happens next.

Did you notice that Poppy is a redder colour than Sheila.  It is quite evident in this shot. Once again we had a flat heavy overcast day. No sun, but very little wind either. A day without wind was  nice.


I am dialing down the aperture in the camera every day.  And taking shots of moving targets like these ones is hard in low light. Sometimes I cheat and add a little fill in flash, but it does not feel right.


Our colour is leaching. Slowly being sucked out of the landscape.

Most everyone sleeps for the morning then they toddle out into the fields and nibble about.


Tilly is  still the loudest sheep in the Midwest.


There she goes.. waa waa-ing! Making a racket. And there goes my focus, I need to train these animals to stand still on dark days.  She has a lovely fleece. Tomorrow I will shift them again. The sheep are doing a good job of cleaning up the fields.

More Thanksgiving visitors arrived last night.  It is getting busy.  I don’t cook for Thanksgiving though.  Not on the day. This is The Matriarchs holiday.  It is an American feast.  I just turn up on the day and eat! It is always good.

I hope you have a  lovely day.

Your friend on the farmy





39 Comments on “Working Bull

  1. Poppy is a gorgeous rich Rubens red. It must be something to do with all the pumpkins she eats; loads of beta carotene in her diet. I had a lovely if brief visit with Nanette on our way north today, and got a nice hug she passed on from you – thank you! It was warm but gentle and did no harm to any stitches!

    • That is great. I have your beautiful scarf and hat here .. she would have told you.. it is divine, what a colour! it reminds me of a poppy.. how clever of you, I tried to felt once but it was a disaster, Maybe I need to try again.. c

      • I thought even the colour alone would help you keep warm, let alone the beautiful merino wool. I’m glad you like them, I hope they’ll come in useful stopping the icy wind creeping at the gaps around your collar. Felting’s not too hard, it just takes about three times longer than you think!

  2. How great that the Matriarch still enjoys preparing Thanksgiving dinner. One less problem for you to contemplate, and you can spend your energies caring for the farmy. Have you noticed that your posts have changed? When I started following you a few years ago you used to write lots of recipes. I haven’t seen one for a long time…
    Have a lovely holiday, and even though Thanksgiving is not you holiday it is a wonderful idea to remember all the things for which you are thankful.

    • I have been thinking of this too.. we have evolved.. also i kind of ran out of the old family recipes!! and time I think I have way less time these days.. interesting thought though ronnie.. c

  3. Poppy must be related to me. Before the grey invaded my tresses, I was Auburn with shading from almost gold to rust to darker reds.I wonder if I had a daily diet of pumpkins, as Kate suggests, would it work for me?

    Celi, enjoy being a visitor at your own table tomorrow and may the year ahead bring plenty to be thankful for!

  4. Showing up to eat is a treat for a cook. Enjoy. We went food shopping yesterday. I bought as much organic as possible and stayed on the perimeters. It was fun with my good friend Susan using a “you go get that” and “I’ll get this” shopping style. I am making pies this year, but using almond flour in the crust, etc., and no corn syrup in the pecan pie! I hope it isn’t a disaster. Several beautiful squash for roasting. Today, I bake pies, chop, dice, and make the cornbread for the dressing. It is good to stay busy. Keeps my mind from straying to sad thoughts and it is especially good to have Susan here. We have laughed a lot. We were on the deck chatting and found that we were locked out of the house and had to wait until Bill got home. We had a good giggle over that as we moved from place to place in the yard trying to catch the sun. It was getting chilly! We did get some yard clean up done tho. All good. Have a wonderful, family filled day, C. All the critters look great.

    • Fancy you two locking yourselves out! Your house must be very secure! Good to keep busy, maybe when you come for your next farm stay you could bake John a pecan pie, he would like that!..c

  5. Too much beta-carotene tends to make my skin yellow 🙂 At last we have had a break from the grey drizzly days and have hot, sunny with slight breeze today. We are having weird spring weather this year. So wish our country had adopted the Thanksgiving holiday instead of Halloween. Laura

  6. The landscape takes second place in your photos…I am always focused on the animals and their activity and they brighten any shot no matter how gray or gloomy their surroundings. Poppy is a truly amazing red. Enjoy your feast-we will be eating as carnivores, vegetarians, dairy free, gluten free…quite the mix in our home.

  7. Fingers crossed for Queenie. I think Poppy has found some henna plants in one of the fields and has been rolling in them. Shell be painting her nose next 😉

    • she really is a lovely red in this flat light, one thing about no sun is what colour there is looks nice and dense.. c

  8. Increase our iso setting; try 400 or evn 800. The images might be a bit more grainy but the faster shots will be clearer.

    • Yes, i was running at 400 yesterday, but I might push it to 800 today see what we get.. I don’t mind grainy..but camera shake is a worry.. need a tripod for these dull days .. i have always wanted a monopod..

  9. But we have color in Poppy. Color. Not grey. Color. No leaching of color in Poppy.

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving with family. And so wonderful that you can be a guest and not the cook. Savor. Enjoy.

  10. I thought I would contribute to the discussion the other day about funeral rites but I found I couldn’t organize what I wanted to say. Now I realise that I haven’t extended my condolences to the members here who have recently departed loved ones. I have been thinking of you. I know it’s especially difficult to be grieving at holiday time. All blessings be.

  11. Queenie could be ‘with child’ how wonderful…..Poppy and Sheila do make a lovely pair….Whenever it is Have a Great Thanks Giving !

  12. It’s a lovely thing to sit back and enjoy another’s cooking. I will relish in that feeling when we visit good friends tomorrow and share a meal with them! I will bring a simple casserole – everyone helps out in a small way. I always think of my Grandma Knuth (kuh NOOTH) on Thanksgiving – it was her holiday to give of herself for family. She prepared a scrumptious meal every year, and served her family. She never sat down to eat with us but for what she was popping back up to serve seconds or refill a bowl with more steaming goodness from the kitchen. The last time I saw her, was Thanksgiving evening, 1996. She had been very ill for weeks, and that night I reminisced with her about the scrumptious meals she served over the years and how no one could cook as lovingly as she did. She slipped away from us just a couple of hours after my visit with her. I always thought it was fitting for her to exit this world on the day she revered time with family so much.

    I love even the bland photograph backgrounds… it speaks of the earth resting a bit and hunkering down to brave the elements of winter. The animals sport their tough, woolly and hairy coats… the fowl with tufts of feather and fluff – all prepared for the cold weather.

  13. I quite like the washed out colours of cold winter and even hot summer – it makes us appreciate the vibrant colours of spring and autumn. Three cheers for a bit of bovine “activity” 😉

  14. I don’t cook Thanksgiving dinner, either. My 27 year old son and his girlfriend have taken over that task. They love working together to produce a feast. This year they’re doing it twice, once on Thursday for friends and an entirely different turkey and new side dishes on Friday for relatives. All I have to do is clean the house. Yuck. Think I’ll have another cup of coffee and read some more blogs first.

    • Yes, cleaning is not my specialty either, i would rather be in the barn.. WONDERFUL that the younger generation is designing and cooking food for thanksgiving.. such a hopeful thing.. c

  15. Poppy is living up to her name! She and Sheila are both lovely gingers. I love that Tilly hasn’t outgrown her freckly speckles. Your beautiful animals are now the color stars of your landscape. I’m so glad you don’t have to cook for tomorrow. I am trying my hand at homemade pumpkin pie this year. Wish me luck!

  16. You were spot on with Poppy’s name!! Look at that beautiful red coat! 🐷 happy thanksgiving Miss C.

  17. Because we have had earlier & more heat and very little rain, our spring-summer colours are faded out as well, even the sky is a little hazy. I was only thinking the other day that faded dry lawns were all I knew as a kid growing up in the country… rarely did you seen lush green lawns.
    I love Poppy’s colour, very fashionable while my own is closer to Sheila’s albeit with the addition of blonde highlights.
    I think it’s lovely The Matriarch hosts her day, and the guests turn up with good appetites and thankfulness… being on the receiving end of generosity is good for the soul.

  18. You are so lucky to have the Matriarch to cook your Thanksgiving feast. I say this as my eyes are stinging from chopping mounds of oinion for the stuffing. I’m trying to actually be a little organized & get as much done ahead of time as I can. Also, I notice that when do a lot of the cooking, by the time everyone sits down to eat I am too tired to eat or even taste the food. Much better when all you have to do is show up, have a good time & enjoy the feast. It never fails to boggle the mind, all those hours spent shopping & preparing the food and in 20 minutes it is all over & done.
    It is a good thing I am not a farmer because I had totally forgotten about dear Queenie being away for breeding. Hopefully the activity the bull’s owner saw is a positive sign. Such a small opportunity for her to be impregnated – timing is everything for cows wanting babies. Poppy is a gorgeous color. Poor Shelia pales in comparison. The two are almost the same size now. Hard to believe Poppy was a wee little sick piggy not that long ago. It is nice to see Tilly is still bleeting & blatting her thoughts to you at loud volume. Now I am off to start making the pies and after that make the stuffing, make the cranberry sauce, make the……..
    Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving & if you are able to be with family – count that as something to be very grateful for. Don’t forget to think if you know anyone that is without family or has no place to go for dinner on Thanksgiving. Extend and Invitation for dinner & welcome them into your home to share your family & enjoy all that delicious food you will be having.
    prepared. To my ladies from NZ who mentioned that they wished NZ celebrated their own thanksgiving, that is an excellent idea. Start a petition or get find out how to get your gov’t to pass a bill to make a New Zealand thanksgiving a nat’l holiday. It is much better holiday than Halloween (which originated in the UK, not the USA). You are right, there is always something to be thankful for.

  19. We are not “hosting” this year and it’s so nice. No frantic kitchen frenzy, all those dishes, feelings of inadequate feast as compared to those family reunion dinners in the past (and I am so not a cook and better in the yard), and all that exhaustion. Whew. I am so thankful not to be facing that. It may be quiet and less traditional, but it’s the people there that counts! Happy gobble day to you and yours!

  20. Dull background or not thoroughly enjoyed the photos! Cannot believe Poppy’s size compared to Sheila’s [OK, she is standing forward!] . . . she really has grown and looks very ‘pretty’ with her hair tint! Tima must be OK also as she would not have an appetite otherwise! Good that all of them can still forage outdoors. Great you do not have to cook the whole Thanksgiving meal in addition to the daily animal roster . . . . The Matriarch must have quite a number around the table this year – do, do, do have a wonderful time 🙂 !

  21. How old is Poppy now? She’s becoming a right large gal herself. Will she attempt at breeding in the Spring? Possible little Poppies everywhere! She is such a pretty pig, she should make lovely babies.

    • In January she will be a year old and ready to breed. And with any luck she will produce some nice Poppy babies for us.

  22. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Poppy is very pretty with her red coat and Sheila looks fashionable too in her more golden brown. Tima and Tane are a handsome pair, I really like the kunekune and if i could have pigs those are what I’d like to have. There were some snow flakes drifting down when I was out with the dogs. I’m thankful for finding your blog. Stay warm and have a wonderful holiday.

  23. I do chuckle at some of the euphemistic language used for mating animals – like ‘activity’!! Down in Taranaki when I was a kid the farmers talked of the bulls ‘serving’ the cows. As a child I wondered whatever it meant. With your talent for naming things maybe you can come up with a fun vocabulary for frolics, fancy-footing and —well no more ‘f’ alliteration, let’s just say impregnation.

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