Have you noticed …

… That most of the time my images have nothing to do with what I write. barn

Do you think this is because often we are watching what we are watching but thinking of other things at the same time? Multi tasking in the thinking department.. as well as just plain multi tasking.


We got piles of farm work done yesterday. In fact there is a perfect balance with Pat and Hugo and I. We are rocking on so well. turkeys


Turkeys grow faster than peacocks. tomatillo
The main push at the moment is to get the weeds pulled out of the hay fields. I think we might cut hay early next week.  We will be cutting a lot of hay as the new hay field is ready for its first cut now. But all that rain simply drowned plants in the fields and as we know nature hates a vacuum and there are a lot of big nasty weeds to get out of there. So Hugo and I are working flat out to get the fields cleaned.

Poppy is settling right down again but (to her disgust) she has to stay in the lock up for a few more days, once she is used to the space there will be less disruption.

All the calves are alive and well (though there is still some coughing from the weakest amongst them)  but growing – growing fast now.

This weekend we test Lady A and Auntie for pregnancy, they were quiet yesterday but there was  a lot of jumping on each other the day before so I am not so confident of the outcome now. I am so tempted to get a bull. It seems to me that it would be a lot easier.

The gardens are still slow, the weather has been cool, lovely really, but not conducive to fast growth and the summer slips by so fast.

Boo is good, in spirit as well as physically, he and Ton are seriously in love with Hugo. He has memorised all my commands and works with them endlessly.  Though for Hugo the ride-on mower is the star of the show! John is happy.

I hope you have a lovely day,


33 Comments on “Have you noticed …

  1. You make me laugh. I have always noticed that about your posts! But I have always found the “disconnect” instructive. Like stepping stones. You just let your mind travel from one to the other, from text to picture, and the way you synthesize the two creates your own sense of what your farmy is like. We fill in the spaces you create for us with loving glue. I love it like that.

  2. I love different pictures to narrative – we get two stories that way! Hoping you have a looonnng Indian summer. Laura

  3. The combination of your words and images is spontaneous and gives a wonderful flavour of Farmy life. It’s great that you have a harmonious team powering through the work, but it’s even better to hear that you have not just help, but good help.

  4. The serendipitous conjunction of your words and pictures is what gives this blog its special quality which makes us all come back for more every day.

    I don’t think a bull would be at all easy, so I hope the ladies are both pregnant!

    ViV xox

    • I second that. I believe when you have a certain level of bovine population it will become easier to breed successfully. Cows are heard animals and need a certain number of them around to feel comfortable. I am guessing that when subsistence farmers had only one cow, they had neighbours who only had one cow, and all the cows socialized. And as you get more experienced you will learn what to look for and how long the AI person takes and you will get more success.
      I believe the term ‘dumb farmer’ comes from most of them being incapable of opening their mouths in the face of what city people say about their farms! Dumb as in mute rather than dumb as in stupid.

  5. I saw one of the pictures (the one with the pink little balls on the stalks) is of smart weed. I don’t know if you use pesticides, herbicides or chemicals on your crops. If you don’t, you might consider harvesting rather than ‘weeding’ the plants in your fields for medicinal and edible uses. When I started researching all the weeds and wild plants in my garden, I found to my great surprise that most of them had medicinal uses. Since then, When I go out into my garden to work, I more than occasionally come back in the house with a basket full of weeds rather than vegetables. These I dehydrate, or tincture in alcohol or vinegar, or make infused oils from which I then make ointments, salves and balms. One thing about Permaculture Design is that every element in an environment is considered for and as a yield. Take a look at what you have growing between your crop rows and in your garden. I found that plantain which grows everywhere here is one of the richest most effective herbs for making healing salves. Dandelion is every part either edible or medicinal. Mullein is highly medicinal. Purslane is a super food and a medicinal. I could go on and on. Even wide leaf dock is beneficial – edible, the leaves full of potassium and other nutrients from deep within the subsoil makes a wonderful fermented liquid fertilizer, and has medicinal uses. Just saying. Diann Dirks, Certified Permacultlure Designer – thegardenladyofga.wordpress.com

    • Oh, you’ve got an amazing knowledge of those things. Love that very much. I know all that plants what you are talking about. That plantain isn’t it good against cold and cough? And I am a big fan of Permaculture Design too (read books of Sepp Holzer). It’s so great.
      Once when younger I had a great interest in what we call “healing plants”, read lots of books, had a few old ones of Mother and Grandmother. But living in the city for nearly all of my life, absorbed by professional office stuff and along with the change of lifestyle let me forget that things because they were of no use here. Didn’t we learn more to rely on chemistry stuff available in modern pharmacies, drugstores and supermarkets? And on doctors? What a pity.

    • And here I was coming to comment on that smartweed picture, because just today I was wishing there was a use for it. Lord knows nothing here will eat it, or plantain either – though the I understand the plantain that grows in Britain is eaten by grazers. Mine is broadleaf plaintain, standard issue in New England. If my goats would eat it – or the smartwedd – I could save a LOT of money on hay!
      So…what IS smartweed used for? I’ve got two varieties and would love to do something with it! Thanks 🙂

  6. Mental multi-tasking gets me into trouble very often…..I’ll be working along just find – then SQUIRREL and off I will go thinking on something else and not paying attention to what I am doing. And in computer programming, that is not a good thing. And in training new users of a system, a really bad thing.

    My 2 cents on a bull – for 10+ years Dad always had a bull with his cows. When the calves started coming each spring/summer -> Mr Bull had to be locked up in another field for a few months until the calves were big enough. (Red Brangus cows and either a Red Brangus or Brahma bull – both breeds are rather hard headed/mean) Then the bull would be with the cows a few months but we always had to have some separated because the bull was just always mean to one or more. THEN – once our cows were settled – the bull would break our fences trying to get across the way to the other pasture and get with those cows or fight the bull over there. There was a number of times I was called to come help round up Dad’s bovine because the bull let everyone out trying to cross the road.

    And then – on top of all that – the cost of feeding and keeping the bull. AI costs an 1/8th of maintaining a bull for a few hours of his services. Especially if you add in all the fence mending and headaches when they went on the rampage.

    Sadly, Dad is out of the cattle business. He had cows for about 20 years and his last cow gave birth to twins that were both deformed. I think loosing both of the calves after a week or so was his breaking point. They both went within hours of each other. (FYI: Mom was the happiest of all of us when the bulls went away for good as she was home all day and during the great escapes had to be the first responder)

    • Yeah, we used to live in the country, and we’d come out to our car and discover a bull standing beside it, shaking his head at us. We were late to work a lot when the neighbor’s fences were down. Mature bulls are dangerous and unpredictable.

  7. Too bad you can’t have a bull come visit for a few days instead of actually feeding one and worrying about his ability to be a nice boy most of the year.
    Remind me the breeds of turkeys? Two are Black Spanish, but what is the little beige one?

  8. Yes, you’re right: Often your images have nothing to do with what you write. It’s ok to me. It’s good for learning more of the Farmy’s life, of your life: Watching and reading (= listening). I love that you share your thoughts with us. But it’s why I sometimes had difficulties who you were talking about or who’s who on the images. But time comes when I will learn to differentiate better…
    I like the shot with the firewood. Good colors… – The pea chicks seem to ask you: What do you want from us? What’s coming next? Go away and leave us alone.
    Hay and weed: It seems to me like sisyphos’ work to get the weed out of the fields. Is the weed bad for the animals? Is it maybe poisened sometimes ? Is that why you call it “nasty”? I mean, when the cows, pigs et al are outside grazing, don’t they eat the weeds too? Or is there another reason for getting it out.
    Have a nice day!

  9. Good morning Celi
    I think Geraldine is the cutest, sweetest bird- her little top notch & face omg! Your farm is like something on the Hallmark channel. I envy people who can write like you and for that reason I look forward to reading every morning. Happy Thursday! Robin

  10. Having a bull sounds lovely in theory, but having read Pat R’s comment above it sounds like what you’d get would be a huge and bad tempered version of Poppy. Maybe running with the bulls is best left to the Spanish… 🙂

  11. P.S. I agree with the voices above-I don’t think owning a bull is a good idea-borrow one. He will drive you crazier than the cows jumping on each other.

  12. I have always felt like we were having a conversation whilst wandering about the farmy. Which is what I would hope would happen if I actually physically showed up at the farm for a visit.
    The cough will probably be a long term complaint for the calves. Their lungs were damaged and things like hay dust, grain dust and just plain old dust will probably bother them for the rest of their life. Since they are not to be long term members of the farm I would just monitor them to make sure they don’t come down with an infection. If you were thinking about keeping one for a cow I would consider the strong possibility of future vet bills as they are way more susceptible to lung infections. Especially when their body is stressed by pregnancy and calving, been there, experienced that.
    As for the bull, if you decide to go that route, look into renting one for a month or two. As mentioned above bulls are unpredictable, combative and destructive. If you have any cows within a couple of miles of you, he will try to get to them. Think of it as Poppy, a few 1000 lbs heavier, in not wishing to be confined to his little area. With the size of the farm and the ways in which you tend your animals, you will almost have to have daily contact with him. You can not be distracted or complacent around a bull, even a mild tempered one. Their mood can change in a flash and they will make their displeasure known. Many also do not react well to strangers in their territory.

    • Thought I would add to this post. When I was a teenager and we were showing dairy cattle, there were still classes for dairy bulls(which were gradually phased out due to safety concerns). Since every farm has bull calves every year, I talked my dad into letting me raise a bull calf to show but agreed wouldn’t keep one past a year old, or if he was a year old, past the end of the show season for us. First bull calf I kept was from my first 4-H project cow. His mother was an even tempered cow that I use to ride like a horse, his grandmother was a little more timid but not a mean cow at all. By the time he was month old I knew I had a problem animal, he was definitely mean. I don’t remember his registered name but we called him Monster. He was raised with the heifer calves, treated the same, handled every day, but he was out to hurt things. Considering his age I had not planned to put a ring in his nose for showing, that was quickly rectified. Starting at a month or so old he would try to pin you or stomp you. By the end of the show season he was around 5 months old he came home from the last show and the vet came within a week to castrate him so he could become freezer beef. It toned him down a bit but he still tried to pin you with his head or catch you with his horns (I don’t remember why he was not dehorned) or lean his body into you to squish you up against something. He was under a year old when he went to the butcher because we were afraid what would happen if he got loose. By that time he had killed a couple of cats by crushing them. He would have had no problem doing that to a person even after being castrated. At the other end of the spectrum was the bull calf that grew into the sweetest tempered bull I have ever met. He was suppose to be a freezer beef after showing season but I couldn’t do it. I finally sold him to a cattle dealer who sold him and bought him back a few times. The dealer finally realized he had a good thing in that bull when people started requesting him because of his even temperament. He became a rent-a-bull. The dealer kept him for years and just like in Linda’s case, when the trailer showed up he loaded himself and went off to next farm. I never heard of him causing trouble for anybody and he grew to be big guy. If I could have kept him I would have. I raised others with varying degrees of aggressiveness some were sold for breeding others became our freezer beef for that year. The last one I raised and showed started off fairly mild mannered but as he matured he became aggressive. Only my dad and I could handle him as he tried to pin everyone else. He did try with us but he was more timid/sneaky about it as he wouldn’t do it if we were looking at him. He was a lovely to look at bull, great confirmation. I had multiple offers to purchase him as he was winning shows and had a good pedigree. They were not put off by his growing aggressiveness. But for all that aggressiveness he had no interest in breeding, none at all. So that pretty much made him worthless and into the freezer he went. A few years later my dad got talked into keeping a bull out of probably what was the best cow ever to come from our herd. By this time I was an adult and gone from the farm. This bull could be handled by them but if anyone (including the milk hauler who showed up every couple days) would come to the farm that the bull didn’t know, the bellowing and pawing would start. It would continue until he could no longer see, smell or hear you. I’m pretty sure he would have aggressive challenged any human he did not deal with on a daily basis. Thank goodness he was usually securely contained. So while bulls can run the gamut in personality, it can change quickly based on age and circumstances.

      • Super stories and thoughts about bulls. Thank you. It’s a very different and unknown world to me. But very interesting.

  13. Bulls are expensive and can be destructive…so what we did was ‘share a bull’. We purchased a young one with one of our neighbors. Then we sat up a cycles whereby he got the bull for 6 months and we got the bull for 6 months. The bull was happy…he would hop right in the trailer and right delightedly to the next farm every six months. That way the bull never got bored. Maybe something like that would work for you?


  14. And to hear from another corner…. After reading Pat R’s take on bull ownership, my guess is it has cured you of any possible desire. However something that no one else has mentioned is inbreeding. The bull one would purchase would really only be good to use with the first generation (wouldn’t it?), because all future ones would be his offspring…. but you would still be left with an anxious bull to contend with. Seems to me when others have mentioned the possibility of renting one for a month or so each year might be a more reliable way to go and then have the bruiser gone again. AI does seem a whole lot easier, but then I guess you are always left wondering, as you are now.
    I love the conversation in your blog as it is, disjointed from the photos of life around you. As others have mentioned, it is like sitting right there with you and looking at what you are looking at as we chat back and forth.
    I had no idea that farmers weeded out hay fields! Although, thinking about it, I suppose if you don’t weed them out of the worst weeds, then the weeds may take over and choke out the good stuff. But, goodness, weeding out hay fields does give me an entirely new respect for farmers…….. oef!
    It’s such good news about Hugo and Pat and you being able to work so well together! It would be fun to be teaching a new language to a young person, while working along side of them. And the news of good health among all your animals, especially Boo, is just so wonderful.
    So many of your posts recently have left me in deep thought… I love them but don’t always have anything much to say that everyone else hasn’t already voiced. But I am grateful that you share your thoughts so beautifully and allow us, specially me, to overhear. — hope your day is a good one too ~ Mame 🙂

  15. Multi-tasking: of course! The photos you take largely explain themselves but we cannot ‘see’ into your mindset unless you give us some clues . . . ) ! Hmmm, can see Boo and Ton happy in a ‘boys’ world’: methinks they call it ‘serendipity’ . . .

  16. we used to have herford bulls when i was growing up. most of them were no problem, but as they got older occasionly we had problem bull, so off to market he went, fast.
    we had the only bull on the holler, so it was common site to see neighboring farmers leading their cow to our field for an afternoon of cattle romance,

    is there a chance there is a neighborhood romeo bull u can arrange bovine flings with?

  17. A bull? Are you sure you really want to deal with a bull? Unless you’re really going in for being a cattle (beef or dairy doesn’t matter) operation, a good, long, long, hard think before getting a bull. As other have stated, bulls are not the most cooperative, and when they decide to be agressive and destructive they’re not easy to keep confined. The last thing you need is literally a rampaging bull (there’s very good reason that’s described that way – they rampage). My dad worked on his brother-in-law’s farm in his youth and said he hoped he never had to deal with a bull again and there were two of them on the farm. Keeping them separated and contained was a major part of the daily routine and there were several incidents during the time my dad worked there that he never wanted to talk about, but which obviously left a deep impression on him. Rent one by all means for as short a space of time as necessary, but if it was me, I’d just be happy with AI and be done with it.
    Good to hear everyone is doing well on the Farmy.

  18. Wow, I’d heard negative things about bulls, but never first-hand experience. The Farmy Forum is a wealth of information.

  19. I absolutely love reading your blog. The pictures are always exquisite android our stories strike a cord with me and meagre little plot. I like your piggies and cows best. My dad once rescued a pair of Holstein Steers and they were one of my favourite animals we kept 🙂 – one of them was ‘badly’ castrated and more bull the. Steer. – I hope I can have some piggies and a cow some day and write as thoughtfully and insightfully as you 🙂

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