Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vermont Barn Tour ~ Part 2

There are weather alerts for 3 New England states right now, Vermont included.  Big winds, bad lightning, possible tornados and 1 inch hail. The wind is picking up a little and my dog is sitting in the bathroom in anticipation of the world ending....

I did my road work early and hurried home.

A few more photos of this mornings buildings and critters before the storm gets here, OK ?.

Another slate roof on this barn that someone turned into a cute cottage.

                                                            A very sweet little place.

Built in the last 30 years, but already falling apart.  Too many frost heaves on this mountain tears the foundations up real bad.

For dinner a few moments ago, I had a Jalapino cheese sandwich, with lettuce, Miracle Whip, and fresh picked rasberries, on toasted wheat bread.  It was just heavenly!!  Try it.

I drove by this normal looking barn... and then had to back all the way up becuase I thought
I  "saw somethin" unusual.

I did.  Click on the photo to make it bigger and look at the whimsical art work of the clever farmer.
Not all red barns are alike......

Some beautiful milk weed.   Important stuff for butterflys, bees and those really pretty yellow birds...what are their names ?

                                                                  Porch Cat....

Haunted House with a very cool design. The 2nd floor windows open like an accordian to a little walk-out on the covered porch.  Never saw this before.

Thats it for now. Hope you have all enjoyed your personal Vermont Unusual Barns & Buildings Tour.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vermont Barn Tour ~ Americana at its best.

In my travels today I saw many really great barns.     I will share a few here.  I know some barn design is unique to specific locations and states.  One of my favorite books is the Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings by Thomas Durant Visser.  Great photos and explanations of barn design and where it originated from and when.  Peg and beam construction is what most of the barns here have.

Some of the saddest sights I see are old barns falling down. My heart hurts when I see them.

This one was built in 1810.     200 years ago.

This barn looks like its got eyes, nose and a mouth.

Over looking the mountains. This farm is empty.  The neighbor is haying it for his own cows.

Fortunately there is a barn preservation group that will match funds to restore barns that are in " the public's view."  This lucky barn and wooded silo are in the begining stages of having the foundation repaired. The roof on this barn is made of slate. The entire roof is slate. Not a piece out of place in almost 200 years of brutal weather.

1777 ice house ( red ) and barn ( brown ).

A barn made into a house.  Has the most unusual silo in the back.

Almost 200 years old and still doing really well.

Weathervanes are as unique and interesting as the old barns.

A restored wooden silo with a new roof.  And a new bale feeding ring.  Good farmer.

Same barn from the front.  I love those wooden silos with the vines growing up the sides. Home to dozens of birds nests.

The whole barn in one photo.

Curious cows watching me on the rural back roads

I found this art in a huge field.   I do not know what it is. Do you ?

Several barn designs from 2 different centuries.

Another empty farm.  The owners have died.  A common occurance.  No relatives want to continue farming, so it stands empty.

This is the last barn for tonight.  Hope you have enjoyed your personal Vermont barn tour.

Monday, July 19, 2010

TailGait Gwen

Gwen is a 3 year old cow. She is 1/2 Simmental and 1/2 Hereford.    With no better name for this good cross, I just call her a "Smurf."    I love Gwen's double "goggle" eyes. That red pigment protects her from sunburn, pink eye and fly attacks.   Galvin is her second really nice calf.   His dad is a Hereford, so he is 2/3 Hereford and 1/3 Simmental.  Good thing I paid attention in Algebra class, cause I have to know fractions inorder to raise cattle!  

I often forget that Gwen is in the herd, because she is "no maintenance."   She is quiet and peaceful and never gets upset even if a pack of coyotes goes racing thru the fields at 2 pm.  She has her calves in the barn if the weather is incliment and won't allow those calves out of the barn for 4 or 5 days. A very maternal cow, she has lots and lots of milk and sometimes takes a nap when Galvin nurses for extended periods of time.

Wish I had 50 more just like her. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hot Plans

Not as humid as yesterday, but still a bit unpleasant, its time for drastic measures.

As soon as chores are done, and nothing else goes wrong, then 3 of us farmers are heading for the water.

Lake, Pond or Stream, we are ready.  Lifejackets, hats, sunscreen, bug juice, Tevas, ropes, paddles, fluids, whistles, cameras, bathing suits and towels.  Check.

My kayak hasn't seen the water in 2 years.   Its now or never.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Keifer Day

Another scorching hot and humid day.
And because of it my keifer turned completely to cheese in a few hours, so I gave it to the hens who absolutly loved it.    A whole quart of cheese and whey dissapeared in a few short minutes.

Lucky Girls!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Farm Accident in Vermont

Another hard working Vermont farmer was killed in his field by a bull yesterday.

Associated Press - July 15, 2010 11:45 AM ET
BARNARD, Vt. (AP) - Vermont State Police say a 55-year-old dairy farmer was killed by a bull while bringing in the cows for milking.
The body of Dwight Clark of Barnard was found late Wednesday by local rescuers after Clark's sister reported she couldn't find him on the farm.   A search party located him in a back 500 acre field just after midnight. Clark had succumbed tio his injuries by the time rescuers had located him.
Clark was recalled yesterday as a quiet, dependable farmer who rarely ventured off his Royalton Turnpike Road property.  "The farm was his life," his sister said.
Police say the bull was a full-grown Holstein that did not have horns.
The bull had been left in the pasture with the cows for breeding.


And today, these "Farm Accidents Can Happen to Anyone " videos were released

FARMERS--Please watch them both.
Please pass them on to other Farmers.
70% of all fatal accidents on the farm are casued by livestock.

Being a farmer is dangerous.
Putting food on the table for the nation can cost a farmer his life.

Please say a prayer for the Clark family.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tails from the Field

Finally got some fast rain yesterday afternoon and boy did it come down hard!
For 45 minutes the sky gushed and the fields soaked it right up.
Still need about 2 more days of solid rain to undo the damage from the lack of rain.

The cows are fat, slicked off and milking heavy. The calves are thick and growing every minute.

Red Sox Faith & Fielder are still here waiting for their Texas cowboy to get his USDA loan to buy the farm he wants. Then he is coming to pick them up and make them the first cows on his new farm. 
He is buying the cow, I am giving him the steer calf and I do believe Faith has now been bred back to the bull as I saw their romantic interlude last month. So it will be a nice 3 way package for the young cowboy and his family to start their new herd here in Vermont.  The story & photo of his family and their visit is about 15 posts down.

Speaking of bull........
I have one cow who STILL has not had her calf.   This cow is almost 10 years old and has always had her calf before June 10th.    I hope this isn't the start of an infertility issue.
This cow has an interesting history and a very interesting story.
Tell me when you think she is due.  Here are the telling photos. Please chime in.

And the Bull.....seems to be visiting each of the cows privately for meals....just like the "Bachelor" does, except this guy doesn't give them roses.....

This Polled Hereford bull has alot of Felton's breeding in him.  Similar to the previous bull we had ( kept him for 3 breeding seasons because he was so terrific ) He throws large, fast growing, heavy weanling calves.   Its been a fabulous cross on the Angus, Shorthorn & Simmental cows.     Repeat buyers reserve calves right before or right after they are born because of the carcass and meat quality of this magical breed mix.
This bull is an easy keeping bull too.  He does not jump fences.   The neighbors bull jumps fences, blocks the road and sometimes chases the mailman.         I don't tolerate that kind of behavior with a bull.

This is my favorite steer, Gibbs.  He follows me all around the fields. He is the largest, goofiest and most curious calf in the field.    His attachment to me is perplexing.

I have to sneak out of the field or he will follow me the half mile to the gate and make calf noises, which gets the entire herd in an uproar and they stampede over hill and dale to see what the heck Gibbs is screaming about.  Needless to say, when Gibbs is being my shadow while I check the herd I seem to stay many times longer than I need to because I have to hide behind cows to make my way out of the fields.

Thats the news from here, how are things in Your fields ?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Farming Facts ~ Video

Interesting 4 minute video about farmers & farming.

Other than it is sponsored by a chemical corp and when I read about higher yields I think of Monsanto, I think this video is a bit of an eye opener for the "average" consumer.

Take a look.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fishing is Dangerous!!

When I need a break from the craziness that life presents, I often go fishing.
When I tell my friends of the weird things that happen to me AS I am fishing, no one believes me.

Here is a very accurate video of the "dangers" of fishing.   Enjoy.

And be careful out there.

Friday, July 9, 2010

History in the Field

As I drive the mountain back roads all over the state, I see all kinds of really neat things.

Sometimes I drive by stuff and realize a few seconds later that I should turn around and go back to take a second look.

Here is what I saw at sunset:

I turned around and went back to take this photo.       To the untrained eye, these just look like white cows.... but to us that know cattle, we know these are a very rare breed of cattle.

I was a little confused with some of the color patterns at first, but I am convinced the majority of this herd  are British White Cattle, the Ancient Polled Park Cattle of the British Isles.

They have an unusual history. At one point they were almost extinct with only 33 of them in North Amercia and not many in England.
I just never know what treasures I will find in the Vermont fields and meadows.

*For more info and a full history of these very rare and unusual cattle, please take a look at:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How HOT is it ?

It is so hot that all my veggies are burnt.  Hay has turned to dust, the birds are standing in the brook all day and the cows won't come out of the shade.     The hens have decreased their egg productions and sit in the coop on a divider board so they can look out the window instead of coming outside in the 102 degree heat.   Who said hens were dumb ?     I have been bringing them frozen blueberries and putting ice cubes in their water fount. They LOOOOVE the frozen berries.   Cold oatmeal made them happy too.

I have gone through all 22 of my T shirts the last 3 days.    I am about to do laundry, knowing it will only take 3 minutes for all my clothes to dry on the clothesline in this heat.

Make sure you all stay hydrated and make sure your animals have plenty of shade, plenty of good clean water and plenty of everything else they need as well.     Heat kills.  Stay safe, think smart.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Quiet in the Fields

At 5 pm last night the fields were quiet, the huge round bales standing sentry as hundreds of farmers stoppped for their evening meal.

The barnyards that had been full of so much activity with haywagons and trucks being unloaded with hay, all coming and going, finally fell silent.

The colorful tractors were stopped and weary farmers made their way to their trucks to take a drive home to a special holiday meal with friends & relatives.

Like everyone else that has had a busy, hot weekend I took my faithful companion for a well deserved meal and a swim.

It certainly makes her smile!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mother Nature's Wonderful Holiday Gift

Every Farmer in New England has been hustling and bustling to get all their fields cut and rush to get all the hay into their empty barns.  Mother Nature has been in a wonderful mood the past 5 days and the roads have been full of tractors, hay wagons, wrapping machines and hay crews going back and forth from fields to barns. The roads are colorful with green, orange, red, white and yellow tractors. The farm crews are wearing colorful shirts and every shape and color pickup truck and haying equipment are parked in the fields by the roads.

There is NOTHING better than a Happy Farmer.    Many relatives are visiting farms this long holiday weekend and giving a hand to the exhausted field crews.   I do not know how much longer the good weather will last, as the dark clouds are starting to roll in right now as I take a break from doing my farm chores.

There are many festivities this weekend and most farm families will be taking a break at 5 pm to go to the many chicken BBQ's across the state.  I can smell the local church BBQ from where I am now, so I went over there to see how it was doing and when it would be ready.

The auction had started.   I saw so many really great antiques, farm equipment and horse harnesses. 
I made sure I did not raise my hand or even itch my nose!

Thats the news from here so far. Its HOT, sunny, with a slight breeze and the clouds are rolling in.

Have a great weekend and make sure you thank your local farmer!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Perfect July 1st!

The past 2 days have been cool and breezy. Perfect cow grazing and fishing weather!

A real reason to celebrate!!!