Spring or at least the Vernal Equinox has arrived, though at the equinox there was no green, we do hope that will soon, if slowly change. I tried to do a day by day account of most of our activities, but only got 3 days done.
Thursday: Did the usual, many, little, morning things, then went to the little valley and hillside and began collecting and piling more wood; making ready to bring the horses and sled back in. We cut a lot more, pine and ash mostly, using our chainsaw. That took most of the afternoon. Back to the house for a break, we then had to deal with two minor crises. The cows broke a fence and then went straight to the next fence surrounding the bee yard knocking one hive askew and tipping over a second. Aerron collected the cows and set the askew anew but stayed away from the toppled hive as he is alergic to bee stings and the bees understandibly were madder than anything. I put on all the bee gear which was just the hat and veil and took along the smoker. Too much winter clothing, too much winter cold, not the proper smoker fuel so I couldn’t get the smoker to work properly. Normally when I work with the bees I use the smoker carefully but liberally and I use no protective gear. This is no problem as long as I work alone, I am never stung that way. But today everything was wrong and it just was not working and I was running out of daylight so I covered the two open ends of the toppled hive (it was lying on it’s side) with thick blankets and propped some wood against it too keep out drafts and wind until I could think of a proper fix.
Aerron and I drove down to our neighbours to have a look at ayoung bull that he has offered to sell us as a breeding bull, we desperately need one. He is a Holstein probably a year old and quite active so he would suit our purposes well. We would keep him long enough to get all the cows bred and then a little longer to get a bit more beef on him. We possibly could keep him long enoughg to do a second breeding but eventually he would be for our freezer as he is not a grass fed cattle beast and has not been raised organically. We will probably get him even though we are not keen on a holstein. We will move him off farm if he gets to be aggressive, most of the bulls of dairy breeds have a reputation for aggressiveness when they get older.
Friday: Nothing too special or out of the ordinary today. Cows keep breaking into the beeyard, not enough power in the electric fence, we’ll have to look it over carefully for grounding. Had to fiddle a bit with the chainsaw as it wouldn’t idle. It seems that the biggest problem was likely a dirty airfilter. We cut to stove length all of the approximately 4 foot logs in the woodshed and split more firewood. Aerron talked with Joe and we’ll likely get the bull delivered tomorrow.
Saturday; My day to day account ends here as I forgot to write down at the end of the day what had happened. I do remember though that neighbour Joe delivered the bull to us early this morning and there was no trouble; he walked off the trailer and up to the waiting cows no problem and aside from a brief period of minor shoving about from a couple of the cows, there were no problem. Aerron then spent a goodly amount of time fixing up the fences around the pasture to the west side of the barn as this is now the area where the cattle will be every day until the grass growth is sufficient that they can be started on their regular daily pasture rotation.
The next few days were spent on more fence repairs, gathering sap again, gathering more firewood together and hauling it back to the woodshed. We also had to do a lot of chopping wood to stove size. It has been almost a week since we have been boiling down sap on the woodstove.
Here are a few photos taken this week, the holstein bull getting further aquainted with the cows and the horses on the sled at the valley bottom. The sled is actually our snow dump with some plywood thrown on the bars to have a bottom to hold wood, it is not perfect but it works, it fits the purpose and does the job.
One final note; Aerron came up from the barn at about 8 p.m. to tell us that our heifer cow, a Shorthorn named Holy, yes, that is her name, has just had a bull calf born and they are both doing perfectly fine. Too late for me to get photos, for this week, I’ll get some tomorrow for next weeks post.