Rain rain go away

As you can see our Holstein calf is putting on weight and doing much better. He still coughs from time to time. I have a feeling he will always do that. He talks to us now- especially when it’s feeding time. We give them a little bit of calf starter every evening and they look forward to it.

This rain is drowning us! Of course we had no idea that flooding would be an issue with our barn so we weren’t prepared. We poured some concrete last Friday and put in a drain. So now the middle stays dry but that stalls along the sides still flood. Last night the honey and CB poured more concrete. We have rain non stop in the forecast this whole week so we will see how that goes. The only saving grace is that it’s not freezing cold right now. I can always tell when it’s warmed up outside because I’ll find a spider or two trying to sneak in the house via the mud room door.

Now we have to plan for our garden. It’s going to be fun hard work. I hope I don’t kill everything!

Cattle · Farmers wife life · puppies

Snow much fun!

We had our second snow storm of the year. It’s so beautiful but darn cold. Brownie (chocolate lab) and Atticus (Australian Shepherd) absolutely love the snow. But our little rescue dog Peanut (not pictured) has no fur nor meat on his bones to keep him warm. He went for a run out in the pasture but ended up with frozen paws and we had to take him in and warm him up. I’m seriously considering getting him booties and see if he’ll wear them. Poor little guy is from SoCal- he’s not meant for the snow!

Our barn kitty- Mamasita – has put on a beautiful fur coat. She hangs out in front of the barn watching the other animals in the snow. She has been coming in at night though to sleep in the mud room. It’s been too cold to make her sleep outside. She’s seems to appreciate it and is ready to head out in the morning when I go down to the barn.

While I’m like looking forward to warmer weather- I am dreading the mud and our barn flooding again. The good news is that we made friends with a local farmer down the road. He has a nice big tractor he’s going to bring out to help build the ground level back up in the barn so it will stop flooding. People are so friendly and helpful here. Makes me happy we moved to Tennessee. I see a lot of baking in my future to pay back the kindness.

I’ll sign off here as I continue to unpack and organize. Since I can’t work and am stuck in the house I have to keep busy! I can’t wait until it warms up enough to start painting the kitchen cabinets!

Farmers wife life · puppies

Let me in!

Don’t let this picture fool you, he LOVES being outside. Our Australian Shepherd – Atticus- is almost 6 months old and a lover of cold weather. I wish I could say that I love the weather. Not! I hate being cold, it makes me a miserable whiner. And I hate turning on the heat because it runs up the utilities and it dries the air out even more. I have painful cracks on my hands- which is bad because I’m a massage therapist. My daughter CB is hoping for snow but I am hoping against it. I feel like it is coming though. We have been spared so far. It’s probably our turn here in Tennessee.

But this sweet puppy loves the cold weather and for his sake I’ll stand a little snow. He will have a ball. This summer I’m afraid he’ll be the miserable one when the heat and humidity hit. Then he will for sure be asking to come inside!

Let’s just hope if we do get snow it’s short lived. Please?


Doing better (knock on wood)

This guy has been on death’s doorstep one too many times. We are well aware if he was on a big farm with lots of cattle he probably wouldn’t have made it (unless of course he wasn’t bottle fed). He’s doing much better now- we are hesitant to believe he is completely out of the woods like I said in my last post. Although he is older than our jersey calf, the jersey calf is now bigger than him. But he (our Holstein) is trying to catch up now- eating non stop.

Yesterday we witnessed what felt like a Christmas miracle- he was running and playing like a healthy calf. We have never seen him do that. I wish I had a good video to share.

We had a good rain storm last week. Unfortunately that rain flooded out the barn. Luckily it was somewhat warm so at least the calves and goats were just wet and not cold too. The barn has a dirt floor so the challenge is to put in a good drainage system. Not sure what the previous owners did?

It’s funny this time last year I was living in the suburbs with not even a patch of grass to worry about. Now I’m knee deep in mud. I do miss the sunshine and having a running trail right outside my door- but I am so happy to be here in the country. Now we just need to keep our calf healthy…


Roller coaster ride

Last time I posted something here was before Thanksgiving. It was just two weeks ago but it feels like a month or more. Our Holstein calf is still hanging on. I can’t tell you how many times I thought the end was coming for him. We’ve given him baking soda, probiotics, B vitamin shots, electrolytes… you name it. Every day he continued to regurgitate this nasty acid from his stomach. Since we changed his feed to just Timothy and alfalfa pellets it (the regurge) comes up bright green.

One morning he’ll be sickly and is slow to get up, but by midday is grazing in the pasture like he’s never felt better. Other times he’ll be fine in the day but by the evening he’ll spike a fever. Last night his fever spiked again and he was clearly suffering from something. Hubby gave him LA200 and this morning our calf was alert and perky. And no fever. And- for the first time in weeks there was no regurge in his stall. We know better to think he is finally better, but this is a good sign. Like the title to this blog post- this is a roller coaster ride. One minute he is up, the next he is down.


Acid reflux – hard lesson learned

In my last post I talked about our Holstein calf who has been sick on and off. We’ve fought upper respiratory infections and what we suspected to be wooden tongue. By the time we got the vet out- the wooden tongue seemed to have gone away (could be totally wrong about that diagnosis but he had all the signs)- but he was still sick. He was throwing up all his cud and it smelled bad. The vet listened to him with his stethoscope and said he couldn’t hear any rumen working in there. He diagnosed him with rumen acidosis. Basically his rumen’s PH was too low. It’s like acid reflux for us but for cattle it can be fatal.

We suspect we have fed him feed that’s too high in carbohydrates. (The vet tried to be nice about it but we know it’s our fault). All the sugar throws off the PH. Now we are feeding him a baking soda solution three times a day, an anti acid paste, a B-vitamin shot and an anti-inflammatory shot once a day. And- we are feeding him only timothy and alfalfa pellets (mostly timothy).

So far, so good. His eyes are brighter and he’s holding his head a little higher. He’s grazing out in the pasture more actively too. Before he would just lie or stand there doing very little. Last Friday he had a very high fever and now we have it back to normal. We’re crossing our fingers and saying prayers he is on the road to health. Others might have given up on him but we feel we have to give him a fighting chance. He’s not a pet but we can’t let him suffer. In the back of our minds we know this might not be the last of it- his getting sick. But we’re hopeful all the same.


Touch and go

Raising bottle fed calves is not a picnic. They make for cute photos and it’s cool to see them grow and act like babies do. But, when they get sick it’s heart wrenching. Our Holstein calf has been sickly since day one. I think the people that sold him to us knew he wasn’t totally healthy. The vet thinks he never got colostrum- I think he’s right. He’s had upper respiratory infections and now we think he has something akin to wooden tongue. He is so sad to look at. I can’t even take pictures because it is heartbreaking (featured image is from when he was feeling better).

The first time he got sick the vet warned us that bottle fed calves often don’t make it and to not get disheartened. I cried when my hubby relayed the message. Now I am accepting of the fact that he might not make it, or that we might even have to put him down. I just can’t stand to see him suffer. Just like any baby- human or furry- they can’t tell us what’s wrong.

I’m really hoping he is on the mend. We’ve been monitoring his temperature (never thought I would be taking rectal temps on a cow), and he has gone from a very high temp to only slightly elevated temp. We’re praying that is a good sign. He still looks awful. The vet is coming today. I’ll keep you posted…