It was time for our quarterly trip to the grocery store, so we hooked up the horsetrailer (we buy a LOT of food every 3 months) and went to bed early. Out of bed and on the road before dawn to make the 4 ½ hour trek to town. Sadly, my Ipod went down, so there was no book-tape to listen to therefore music had to suffice.
We got everything done in record time and made it back home before midnite.
Next morning, I went out to check on the milk cows and the leppie calves. All looked to be well, we bottle fed the leppies and checked on chickens. Bruno showed up, but Cletus was A.W.O.L. Assuming he would show up in due time we began unpacking the large coolers that we’d packed all the frozen and cold foods in. This of course, is AFTER I helped Randyman carry them into the house. They were unbelievably heavy. We made several trips in and out of the front door. It wasn’t long before we found out where Cletus was. The lambs had all escaped from the pasture and were running amok on the ranch, which is host to an abundance of coyotes, bobcats and cougars, not to mention over eager cowdogs. Cletus was babysitting. He finally led them all to the front door.
Cider laid on the doormat while our Cletus’ little charges came in to check the purchases and see if there was anything of interest. They never knocked, didn’t call out ‘yoohoo!”, didn’t ask permission. They just barged in. You’d think they were born in a barn.
After $800 worth of groceries (3 months worth) were put away, I decided to go ahead and try my hand at making cheddar cheese with some of the milk that Dolly and Emma had so generously gifted us with. There are several steps to this, as it’s a bit more complicated than mozzarella and ricotta. I will fill you in at a later date. Cheddar is an aged cheese, so mine is currently in the ‘cheese cave’ where it will remain for 2 months. Then I will know if it is any good or not! That’s a long time to wait just to test it. But I will make more in the meantime and take good notes.
We are excitedly getting ready for our next ‘little people’ visit. My son and his family will be here in the morning. They have to drive all nite long, as it’s about 13 hours from their house to ours and they have decided the trip goes easier with a 3 year old if they drive at night while she is sleeping. Funny thing, Randyman does the same thing with me when we go that direction.
Only today, he has to suffer the “are they here, yet?” as opposed to the “are we there, yet?”s. I will be praying for their safety all night, as it is worrisome. My other son has fallen asleep while driving and its just one of those things a mom worries about. I can’t wait to see them!
The boss’ family was out of town at the yearling ranch in Idaho, so I asked if she could maybe pick up some annuals on the way home so I could fill a couple of small pots. She came home with a small truckload of flowers. I’ve been cramming them in every feasible container. We have a great ranch family. I’m crazy about them.
It’s a beautiful warm day outside. I fed leppies then checked the milk cows and their foster calves. All the calves seemed sated, but EmmaLou was still tight-bagged on one side. It appears that the foster calves all like Dolly better, so instead of each cow nursing 2 calves, Dolly is feeding 3 and Emma has just 1. She stood perfectly while I milked her out. What a great cow she is! She isn’t even 2 years old until August this year, but already she has given us a nice freezer calf and is milking like a dream. I do love Jerseys, even if they are a little high maintenance. Dolly, her mother, is perfectly happy fostering calves and feeding her own, Mo. I will only milk her when we are very needy, which will probably not even happen. I am so glad though, that she had a calf this year. She is also a wonderful cow to milk, although a friend reminded me that this was not always the case. A year ago last spring, she had a tendency to mash me into the wall, kick and hold up her milk. It took a long while for her to straighten out and afterwards she was a pleasure to milk. Its therapy, really, and boy, do I need therapy! Recently, I have had to milk out in the hot sun, flies, dust and poop. Luckily I have a milking machine so the milk stays clean, but its not much fun with the biting flies, and having to crawl through the fence a million times to grab the things I need. Randyman is working on building me a new stanchion for my unfinished milkroom and I am so looking forward to that!
I processed Emma’s gallon from this morning and made some ice cream custard to put in the fridge so we can make homemade ice cream tomorrow. I went out in the heat of the day to check on everyone. There was a ‘meatie’ chicken who had escaped and was walking around Cletus and Bruno, who ignored him completely. I was pretty tickled, because as late as last spring, they were pinning and plucking chickens. They finally got the message and have since been very protective of them. All this week, they have been guarding them from owls by night and hawks by day. This as well as keeping an eye on the goats, lambs and calves…and me. They are convinced Ike the cowdog is a danger to me and I cannot leave the house without them threatening him. I had to water the boss’ flowers so I jumped on the 4 wheeler, and next thing I knew, my two polar bears were tussling with 3 border collies, while 3 lambs stood by in confusion. They realized the lambs had followed, broke off the argument and headed back to the pasture. I locked the pups up to prevent another altercation. They knew I wasn’t happy about it.
As I was watering, I looked up and where the driveway Y’s…I saw Bruno sitting in the middle of the road, a couple hundred yards away, watching me. I turned my head and looked down the other way, and there was Cletus, on the other road doing the same. They had me covered. I went around the back of the house, and the border collies followed. Before you could say lickety split, my two big white dogs came flying around both corners of the house. They were not about to let me out of their sight. There were no arguments, so I went on about my watering, and the boys followed me home and took a well-earned nap.
They will likely be hard at work again tonite and tomorrow, they will have one more precious charge to watch over for a few days. It’s gonna be great!