Baby watch over!


Maxell is his name.  He was born on Thursday morning at about 6:45.  The first twenty four hours were as they ought to be.  Beautiful.

Then Fern went down with milk fever.  From Friday morning until Saturday night we fought with medicine and love to get her back on her feet.  At 10 o’clock Saturday she stood.  That is the briefest summary possible of an exhausting and difficult situation.  I am too tired to detail it!  If interested I’ve been working the Keeping a Family Cow community and the details are posted there.

But this morning I had rich yellow cream in my coffee and I got to pat that handsome little devil on his soft white head and say good morning!

PS:  His front hooves are black and his back ones are white!  How cute is that?


My Brindled Baby

Izola, named for a character in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  She is five months months.  Her mother is Bonniebelle, Irish Jersey of New Hampshire, the sire is Pvt Pyle, mini-Jersey from Nevada.

Izola, named for a character in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. She is five months months old. Her mother is Bonniebelle, Irish Jersey of New Hampshire, the sire is Pvt Pyle, mini-Jersey from Nevada.  Difficult to see her stripes in this photo as she had just nursed and somehow manages to drench her face every time.

Selfish Mean Cow

Why don’t I have my camera handy when I need it most?

Last night my husband and I went out for a much-needed date.  We left at 5:30 – too early for the chickens to come in from free-ranging – and got back at 9:30 – late enough that the chickens had put themselves into bed – all over the barn.  A couple on top of the hay feeder, a couple up in the rafters, a few more along the top of Dizzy’s gate, one on the feedroom gate.  And one turkey, Trixie,  up on Bonniebelle’s gate. While I was in the barn a couple of chickens decided to find new roosting spots.  A small black feather-footed hen that I call Mary and William calls Penguin rearranged herself on a low wall that divides Dizzy’s pen from Bonnie’s pen.  For some reason this irked Bonnie.  She gave poor Mary-Penguin a quick nose push into Dizzy’s pen.

Then Bonnie looked at me with mischief in her eyes and said ‘watch this!’

Her gate is pretty tall so she had to stretch her neck tall. She stretched, and stretched some more, and grabbed the turkey’s breast with her mouth and shook!  The turkey pushed up onto tippy-toes and extracted her breast from Bonnie’s mouthing – leaving two wet white feather stuck on Bonnie.  In perfect kiss shaped arches!  Where was that camera!?

Bonnie – having no idea how ridiculous she looked – looked at me again – and I swear to god she laughed.  Like any good parent does when one of their dear angels goes bad –  I refused to laugh.  I looked sternly at her and said ‘you are mean!’  –  ‘and selfish – Trixie can sit on your gate!’

Bonnie promptly answered by reaching up and grabbing poor Trixie again and giving her a good shake.  This time Trixie fell backward off the gate.  Poor thing stood there clucking and cooing and wondering where she was going to sleep.

I gently shoo-d her into her coop – back to her own cozy bed.

When I came back from the coop, Bonniebelle stood looking at me with all-innocent who? me? eyes and one white feather on her bottom lip.

I gave her head a good scratching and laughed.  Date or no date – the evening was Hers and she knew it!




Why “Auker” (Aww-ker)?

Auker and Bonniebelle in the snow

I come from one of those
Maine towns
you might read about
might not want to live in
unless you were a local
then you might not want to leave.

And if you do leave?

spend a lifetime
wondering how to go

A town filled with “characters”.
A few hippies from outta state,
but most
fathers, grandfathers,
mothers, grandmothers,
all grew up
within ten or twenty
thirty miles of each other.

Both groups
the hippies
the locals
unbeknownst to them
shared a common philosophy

be yourself

They made
no apologies
no pretense
no bones
about who
or what they were.

Auker was my Dad’s friend,
a drinking/fishing buddy.

Auker’s family had the farm
out on the left
before the head of the pond
back on the dirt road
before the brook.

My Dad and Auker could have
kept a blog of their adventures.
Should have.

I don’t remember Auker.
Couldn’t tell you if he was short,

I know Auker from Dad’s stories.

My husband,
a Massachusetts boy;
my father called him, “boy”
(“Boy, come hold these legs while I skin him out.”);
for the first ten years of our marriage.

My husband,
a Massachusetts boy
who loves stories
and history and
names and adventure.

My husband named the new bull.
Not another Huckleberry.
A real name.


A simple word
that makes me smile and
shake my head
at the same time.

That Maine hellion
down here
on my little farm.
Oh, man….

Auker and Bonniebelle

Photo taken in November, right after I bought Auker and Bonniebelle.

Photo taken in November, right after I bought Auker and Bonniebelle.

Auker and Bonniebelle

Meet my new cows. Irish Mini-Jerseys. Aka Belmont TMs. Bonniebelle reminds me very much of my first cow Shasta. Affectionate, open personality. She was field bred so her due date is unknown. Her belly is getting wider and wider every day. And yes – I am avoiding the question – where is Annabelle now? The word ‘sigh’ doesn’t translate accurately the sadness and frustration that went into that decision. The baseline for operating my farm is productivity. I couldn’t breed her back. She was eating about twelve dollars of food per day -if not more. Her milk production was rapidly declining.

A dear friend, a wise friend, listened to my angst for several minutes in January and said “Kelly, it comes down to sense and cents and keeping Annabelle doesn’t make sense or cents! I’ll drive with you out to the butcher if you need me. Now get off the phone and call Adams Farm right now.”