The summer we never really had has arrived with a vengeance in autumn. For the last few days our weather has been up in the nineties and dry, for some reason it feels hotter to everyone here than ever before.
Though, I am not feeling it as hot as the people around here – you know how I feel about moaning about the heat when the winters are so dreadful but the animals and birds are not burdened with such memory or fore-knowledge and they are laid about panting. The cows all huddle under the trees all day long and the pigs go deep into their wallows.
Wai Wai has taken to sleeping in a garden bed he dug for himself. Every morning he gets up and waits at his gate, (not quietly) then after breakfast and his cream he disappears, literally, into the overgrown garden under a big tree. His skin is dappled black and gray from his injuries and the zinc cream so he is quite camouflaged. The first day he did this I had to get TonTon out to find him.
His new den is close to the back door verandah so he is able to join in conversations from down there. Rising to greet any newcomers or have a drink of water then disappearing back into the undergrowth.
I put a very thick, very heavy rubber mat under his bed in the barn in preparation for the winter and he is furious. He would not go near his bed last night, sniffing and complaining and backing away in disgust, refusing to return from the corridor. I will give it a few days but I may have to pull it out and give it to Molly.
He is a most ungrateful pig.
Molly’s belly is dropping. She is getting close. Although it is way too hot for farrowing it would be better for the piglets so I hope she does have her babies soon. Her farrowing pen is ready and she is moved in, all that is left is to shut her in when she is close.
Lady Astor and I spent all of a terrible hot Friday walking. She got the bloat again and this time it was bad and would not give up. We walked and walked. She went down every time I ran to do other chores and I forced her up when I returned. I laid planks of wood and cinder blocks in her room and she stood on them obediently. But nothing gave.
This went on from 6am when she refused to come in to be milked until 5pm that night. Four times I drove the milking machine to where she was stood and milked her there – every time only getting a miniscule amount. So not only did she have the beginnings of an infection but the pain from the bloat inhibited her ability to drop any milk at all.
She just refused to come into the milking room. She is a big cow, you cannot reason with a cow.
Anyway I had been talking to the Vet during the afternoon and though it was his day off he and his Vet in training were all set to come out when suddenly she began to deflate. That little bit of comfort allowed her to eat a little grass hay and the chewing and a little more time allowed her to go down enough where I could see her hip bone again.
I called the Vet office and told them not to worry the emergency was over.
Later she came into the milking room and I was able to milk her properly.
For the meantime she is in the barn with access to the smallest of fields and eating nothing but grass hay. Yesterday i milked her three times and she was clean much to my confusion, though she is milking very little and her udder is very loose. Maybe she is drying up which would be a blessing.
Yesterday we collected her a new calf. He will stay in the barn next to her. He is too old to drink from her, but already she is leaning over the fence to lick him. I am hoping that this might help with her letting down milk, having a new baby to mind.
He is a little crossed dairy/ beef steer – I have had my eye on his for a while and got him at a good price. Seven weeks old and already quite a sturdy little thing.
It is 5.56am and I an hear him moaning to all and sundry in the barn.
Alex stood with her feet in a big bucket of cold water all yesterday – I put out the water for Inky but no such luck for him. Her vulva is now very loose looking though her udder remains dormant. I think her milk is going to come in at the last minute which is not unusual for a beef cow. We will see what happens next.
I hope you have a lovely day.