Yesterday morning the big beast, the Hereford steer, walked away and stood all alone in the West Barn separating himself from Carlos and his cows. I smiled. Thank you very much I said and I shut the barn gate on him, gave him extra feed and decided to proceed with the big shift.
I had been waiting for just such a move to begin the big jig. The plan was all in my head, the dairy cows were ready – all I needed was a little push. The Steer provided that little push just nicely by separating himself from the cows.
The rejig of the jig saw puzzle of cows could commence.
Part One was to separate the girls from the boys. (the boys need the fattening with high protein alfalfa hay, the girls get the lower protein good quality grass hay). The rest of the winter and into early spring will be girls and boys dormitories – except for Carlos who stays with the pregnant girls for a bit longer because I am not sure if Aunty Anna is pregnant yet.
With the big boy waiting at the West Barn I came back to the home farm to bring out the two little heifers. So I opened the gate to Sheila’s paddock and sent Boo in to bring out Tia and Txiki. Tia comes to her name so I called her out and Boo bounced along behind Txiki sending her out as well.
Once they saw that the big car had hay in it they sauntered over there, into the yards and I shut the gate. They will spend the winter in and out of the big barn so I can continue working with then and gentling them. They will sleep where the dairy cows have been sleeping.
The dairy cows were in the waiting room waiting to be milked. So far so good. The second part of our three part day was to bring the big Hereford Bobby back to the home farm in the trailer (he would join the two other steers and Sheila in the rat house paddock) and while the trailer was here at the home farm, I would milk the dairy cows, run them down the corridor and straight onto the trailer then transport them to the West barn as far away from the thought of being milked as possible so they can dry up.
Are you still with me?
So John got out the big truck, we drove over to the West Barn, backed up to the trailer and as I was directing him to reverse up to the old black trailer I saw that one of the back tires was dead flat.
It was getting dark and time to start milking so we had to abort the mission. That was annoying. We milked the cows and as the heifers were already in their space we left them altogether and will start the big shift again today.
After the milking John got out the tractor, started it up and smoke was pouring everywhere. He popped the lid and discovered that the turbo part had spat the dummy and released oil everywhere. This is a very expensive problem evidently.
By this time John was in full retreat and went to take a bath and discovered that the hot water cylinder was not working. I came in later to find the igniter on the oven had given up the ghost and the ambient heat in the coop was no longer working.
By this time John was at the end of his very short rope of patience and I was cooking on the woodstove.
But that was yesterday. Already the hot water has been fixed. Then next on the list is changing the tire on the trailer this morning. It is very, very windy now (of course yesterday was a calm day) and rain is due to fall about 9am, so hopefully we can get that done in time, then I will proceed with the jig saw puzzle of cows and John can get onto fixing his tractor which will not be as easy as it sounds and very expensive, evidently. But John is always negative about everything so you never quite know. This is not an exaggeration. He believes if you set your expectations of success very low you won’t be disappointed. I am exactly the opposite. Profoundly the opposite.
Thankfully John is still not working and has a well stocked workshop over at the big farm for fixing machinery and the tractor has already been loaded onto a borrowed trailer and hauled over there for a hospital stay. So things will proceed at their own pace.
Isn’t life an interesting collection of big breaths!
Have a lovely day.