Another Big Day

Another Big Day has come and gone.  On Saturday the 18th we tried breeding Annabelle again.  If it takes the calf would come at the end of November.  If it doesn’t take we will wait a few months before we try again.  I don’t want a winter baby.

This time her hear cycle was much stronger, for the first time ever the AI tech felt that the cervix wasn’t gravely and troublesome to get through.  Keep your fingers crossed!

If the AI process works the first time it is a cheap way to get a new bovine – if it takes repeated tries it starts to get expensive.  $10 for the semen. $20 for the service.

Of courses it is still much cheaper and safer than keeping a bull on the property.

I am feeling particularly optimistic.  The 18 th of June is when my first cow, Shasta, came to me.  She had the  first Penny Tree Farm calf, Annabelle, on June 18th.  Shasta had her third Penny Tree Farm calf, Clover, on August 18th.  And one of my children was born on the 18th of February.  The 18th seems to be a good omen – yes?

The Big Day

Annabelle on Jan.28,2012

GOOD FACTS:

Made Johnny Cakes from Dorcas Dishes Cookbook.

Fabulous little cookbook, includes an introduction I hope to post sometime, and some great joke recipes at the end of the book.  Intro and jokes both written by Kate Douglas Wiggins.  She is well-known for writing “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms.”

Johnny Cakes included lard, cornmeal, molasses, eggs, and milk.   Am not sure who Johnny is.

Quick search says that maybe Jonakin, Journey Cake, or Jannock are the original names so perhaps there is no actual Johnny.

Today was the “Big Day”.

Yesterday morning Annabelle was extremely affectionate to both me and Huckleberry – not her normal mood.

Last night she was flighty and a tad cranky.  And most importantly she tried to mount Huckleberry.

This morning both cows had lots of muddy hoofprints on their hindquarters and shoulders.  Annabelle’s rumen was all but empty and her milk production was very low.

Bovine mating rituals lack grace and beauty. Sexy it is not!

Heat cycles are 21 days –  today was day 20, so I was watching carefully trying to decide if it was too soon to make the call to the AI tech or not.  (AI – artificial insemination)

At noon a certain calmness settled on the pasture so I made the call.

“Standing” heat is the point in the heat cycle in which the cow actually stands still so as to allow ‘the job’ to be done.

The tech was here in 15 minutes and upon examination decided that the ‘tone’ of the uterus suggested good timing for breeding.  There was no follicle on the ovaries either so she had ovulated, another good indicator.

However….

Annabelle has a fold-y, gravel-y cervix which makes the whole AI process arduous.

Keep your fingers crossed that she ‘settles’.

I’d love to dry her up for August and September, maybe even July.  An October calving would be excellent.  Not milking, or having milk, when veggies and fruits are being harvested, preserved, and eaten seems like an excellent plan to me.

SAD FACTS:

My husband butchered Lancelot today.  More often than not, I do the bird butchering but this guy I just couldn’t do today.

Lancelot, The Rooster

Lancelot was our bantam rooster.  A gorgeous black roster with lovely red and green highlights. And he had those marvelous feathered legs and feet.  The cutest feet ever.

But…his cock-a-doodle-dooing was getting to be a problem.

The lighter the days, the earlier he begins that cock-a-doodle-dooing.

And who wants to hear that?

Good fences and quiet animals make good neighbors.

And frankly the hens won’t miss him either!