2009-03-09

River & Company

River

I think River is wondering why her gut has become the size of a small water tank and it's becoming a little harder to get up the hills. She's rising three this year hard to believe she was that small little calf I kept alive for ten days when she had a terrible case of scours then salmonella on top. The cause we weren't quite ever sure of. A lot of sleepless nights and perseverance had River recovering and she's done well ever since. I haven't had trouble with scours since I put all of my calves straight into the paddock with covers on and out of a shed environment.
Micah the Guts
Micah has done his job. All three cows are in calf - now he's been eyeing up the Terrorist from across the electric fence and finding he's going to get nowhere. Fortunately he's a very small bull. I doubt he'll grow much more but he could prove me wrong and end up as a monster like his father big Micah the Hereford was. This little bull has remained quiet but...we'll see as time goes on if he stays quiet. If he doesn't the butcher will be out with his gun and Micah will end up in our freezer. I raised him by hand but I'm also a realist when it comes to what needs to be done. We used him for siring the first calves from our heifers since he was small and it would reduce the risk of the calves ending up being too big to be calved.
Stream
Sometimes I think how lucky my girls and I really are to have our farm. So many others would like one but they either can't afford it or they have no way of being able to make that move. What gets me is that for some reason a snob value is applied to small farms like mine. In New Zealand they're called Lifestyle Blocks. I suppose mine is up to a point. Bridget who has Cabbage Tree Farm would be in the same position. I'm not farming my land to make a living from it (because it can't) but it does feed my family and does give us enjoyment. I have many friends who are in Dairying,cropping and beef stock and they all enjoy their lifestyle immensely or they wouldn't be farming. Sadly the generalised label of Lifestyler seems to be applied in reference to a small minority that tend to have no idea about rural living or how to go about asking their farmer neighbours why perhaps those cows are in that particular paddock. There was a case here in New Zealand where a Diary Farmer had his cows moved by his lifestyler neighbour because they were 'spoiling the ambience'. In another case here in Northland a farmer had applied chicken poo to his land and his lifestyler neighbours had complained bitterly about the smell. The farmer ended up being fined. Chicken poo stinks I'll agree there but the poor farmer was only trying to take care of his pasture - that's where I say hey I'm no lifestyler sunshine. My Grandfather was a Dairy Farmer and all of us kids were raised to shut gates, get used to the stench of winter silage and not go bothering the cows that were close to calving. My neighbour Terry is a great guy and his farm manager Peter has given me great advice on many occasions when I've needed it. Maybe I'm a cynic but these tourist places they have with the sheep and stuff just aren't a true reflection of New Zealand rural life. No the real thing is better - or at least I think so anyway.



Ocean

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful livestock you have!!!

    It does make me glad I am not pregnant. LOL

    Hugs to you and yours (Pets too.)~~~~~Leslie

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  2. I agree. Your cows are beautiful. All fat and happy with that lush green grass!

    Jennifer

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  3. Liked your comment on the lifestyle farmers. Does that mean the lifestyle farmers are suing the farmer, and that they win the case? Did I misunderstand?

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  4. I forgot to ask: Are you going to keep the calves?

    Jennifer

    ps. You are very lucky to have the spread you have and get to live the good life. :-)

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  5. Hi Guys!

    Leslie - I'm glad I'm not pregnant either!LOL My youngest daughter was two long weeks over due and I felt like poor River does now. I'll hug the girls for you but not Micah he's a little grouch just like Oscar.Hugs to you too from me and the animals,

    Jennifer - Hi Jennifer I'm a little concerned they might be too fat can't win there. Either no grass or too much grass. I'm happy with the latter for sure. On the calves - the answer to that is no. My land can only hold so many Stocking units and last year I reduced the animals by three. We're going to keep one calf for the freezer the other two will end up being sold which will pay for the council rates on the land.

    Sonia - Hi Sonia What happened is that the Lifetylers complained to the Northland Regional Council who then investigated their allegations. the Council took the Farmer to court supposedly because he wasn't complying with some rule they had (even though the farmer had been using the chicken poo for years). A judge ended up slapping a huge fine on the farmer as I recall it was around $10,000 NZ which is a lot to pay over some stinky chicken poo. Now and then we have the stench of silage drifting over but I've told my girls that it's part of living out in the rural area. I'd rather have that than having someones loud stereo keeping me awake all night like it used to when I lived in Auckland then Helensville. I don't miss the house and section at all.

    Take care Liz

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  6. well girl I tell ya, when my kids are all out of high school we're planning on buying a "lifestyle block" too - I relish the thought of not having "close" neighbours. btw what is scours?

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  7. And you'll get it Amy. I had to get divorced before i got mine.LOL! Hard work though believe me....

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  8. Thanks for explaining that to me, Liz. I can understand that you enjoy the quiet where you live.

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  9. Liz,
    So is River a Guernsey, and is Stream a Dexter?

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  10. Hi Sonia and Patricia

    Sonia you're welcome. I love it here it is quiet most of the time except when we have the cows mooing for their babies when it's weaning time. A few sleepless nights then are in order. LOL

    Particia - Hi Patricia. River is a Jersey. Guernsey's and Jerseys though are similar with the breeds being developed on the two different Channel Islands. Stream is what we call a Kiwi cow. She's a New Zealand developed Dairy breed consisting of Fresian sires with Jersey dams which gives her her colouring. She's a first generation cross. Ocean is the same breed.

    Great to hear from both of you

    Take care
    Liz

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  11. Hey Liz-
    I can't imagine having a farm like you do and raising livestock. I'm not a big meat eater, but I just couldn't imagine raising a calf, naming it, and having to slaughter it later...I just couldn't do it. I'm downing it at all, I just know that I couldn't do it...it would be so sad. Do you have to send the cows away for that or do you have to take part in it?
    You're amazing in all that you do Liz!

    XOXO,
    Leslie

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  12. Hi Leslie,

    The animals are usually put down on the property then taken away to be processed - the last one we did here was a nutty bull aptly named Nutcase. He tasted wonderful. I don't name my calves that are going into the freezer. We're keeping the cows we have now except perhaps for Micah but I'm not attached to him even though I raised him. I think when you so go onto the land your attitude changes with the seasons. Hard to explain but it does. Don't worry I have a cousin who is a vegetarian and she was horrified when I told her that yes we did eat the calves. Ocean,River,Stream and the Terrorist will never leave the farm. They are just pets but being heifers they can also give us a calf or several. If they don't it really doesn't matter. Good mowers anyway.LOL!

    Love and hugs to you
    Liz

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