It rained almost all day yesterday. Lovely gentle warm rain. I came in from the evening chores soaked to the first layer and happy as a lark.
The trees are blooming. Here are two of my favourites: Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ This is the most wonderful little tree. She just bloomed yesterday, will not bloom for long, and her bright yellow petals are a joy to behold on the gray rainy day. I have planted this tree right beside the front path so I can see it from the verandah and through the kitchen doors. It is young yet, and has great promise.
This pink magnolia I planted when my friend Donna died. It grows in the center of a garden I named for my other old friend, in New Zealand. We were three very good friends for many, many years and Donna’s tree in Neville’s garden with Celi tending them both feels deeply Right to me.
Donna’s tree has also just begun to unfurl its dramatic flowers. Unlike Butterflies the pink magnolia will bloom for weeks. Last summer it was opening flowers like beckoning hands almost the whole summer.
Boo decided to spend the afternoon in his pod on the verandah. These cut down plastic drums are the best dog beds ever. A cushion in the bottom and they curl into them like snails. One day Ton got up out of his and there, right under him deep in the pod was a small cat. The squashed cat yawned and stretched. I do not know whether Ton was using it as a hot water bottle or simply did not notice he was sleeping on top of a cat. Though, Egoli our biggest barn cat sleeps in the chickens laying boxes in the barn, ON the eggs. As though he is hatching them. These two do not have the Princess and the Pea Syndrome that I have.
Ton spent the whole afternoon in the barn, waiting for the shower to pass. It didn’t. It was a steady rain. He did not mind.
Good morning. I have been watching these cows and their calves and have come to the conclusion that the calves do most of their drinking early in the morning, early in the evening and through the night- when it is cooler. When it is a hot afternoon (and it is not even that hot yet) everyone lies down and rests for hours. Cows (being prey animals) tend to be more watchful at night – in the daytime they sleep. And Naomi does not do well in the heat, her mother has her out in the field and the poor wee girl is panting hard. She is very hot. Mouth open, saliva dripping. I have carried her in to the barn more than once to cool her off.
So, as it is time to start the next stage of share milking, from now on I will shut Naomi into the cool barn with water and hay for the afternoon. This will be Naomi’s training time with me. Then I will milk her mother in the evenings when it is cooling off. Then let Baby out with her mother again. Slowly we will lengthen their time apart, this is easier to do in the daytime too, and we will train her mother to milk like a Lady again. I think she is testing me, but I have an endless amount of patience, this is one of my skills, (it is good to know what you are good at) so I think that after a few weeks we will come to an agreement. As long as I keep thinking like a cow.
Also (and most importantly) in the evenings John is home and he can help me with the management of the reluctant milker. Last night, with Johns help, I was able to milk Lady Astor very well. She does not like the time change but I do not like the kicking. I need help. So, every time she kicked he raised her tail straight up. Very soon she was standing quietly for good lengths of time. Then feeling confident I brought Elsie in and using the same process I milked her by hand – I found a tiny nick on one of her teats, on the side that was engorged and I wonder whether this was one of her problems – so I milked that side to relieve the pressure then opened the gate and let her go back to her baby.
I am going to do this every night until she goes to her new home. Hopefully her udder won’t be so lopsided then.
When John left the barn he said “Well, I am back out to my garden, at least my vegetables don’t try kick me!”
Ah well. It is all training. Sometimes husbands need a little training too! It still makes me laugh that I am the big vegetable eater and I handle the large animals and he is the big meat eater and grows the vegetables. Ah well. Life is good! I am going to make cheese today!
I hope you have a lovely day.
Your friend on the farm,