Back Issue Vol: 46-2
After a total of about 3 days of practice with her harness, after which period she was performing nicely, I introduced the dogcart. I had fashioned a homemade lightweight rig from an old bike trailer. I took the bike trailer apart until all I had left were the wheels and the square, lightweight steel frame. I cut a piece of stout wire fencing/paneling and fitted it to the frame. Then I repurposed a pair of aluminum crutches for the shafts (notice that the emphasis is on lightweight).
With what was best for Sarah now done, we had the foal to worry about. Isaac was nowhere near ready to wean and badly underweight already. He flat refused to take Foal Lac, a milk replacer for foals. He did eat some hay and grain which likely was what was keeping him alive. He was a sorry looking little horse now and we wondered, should we put him down too? Is he old enough to make it? A day or two went by and I laid awake thinking about him at night. About the sad little foal that walked around and around the barn all day long looking for his mother. Then I hit on an idea and went to talk to our neighbor Ammon Weeks the next day.
Gyp was not a dog to invite overly familiar ear-scratches, and with strangers, the careful back of a hand offered for sniffing seemed to define the limits of his comfort zone. His name spoke about gypsy wandering while nosing down a hot scent, and of ‘gyppo’ loggers, the independent catch-as-catch-can lumberjacks of the Western states, who sometimes followed their hounds on midnight rambles.
On all but one day I got more milk from 3 quarters with Ivan’s help than Ruby allowed me from 4 before his help. At this point in her lactation she has a ‘hold back’ capacity of about 6.5 lbs. on 3 quarters. So, it seems that if I milk her out solo and leave all the let down for Ivan, he is going to get about a gallon of very creamy milk held back special for him. Ruby changed my mind – no need to leave milk for the calf in the early weeks of separation. Mama has it handled – she makes sure that he is going to get his share!
I take my hat off to catch a bit of the welcome breeze which has just come up and wipe my dripping forehead with the sleeve of my already sweat-soaked shirt. I lean down, stretch out as far as possible, grope around until I find the end of the trip rope, give a firm tug, and hear the satisfying sound of the hay loader hitch fall to the ground signaling a successful disengagement. I holler out, “To the barn!” Way down below and out of sight, beneath a mountain of hay, I hear Nathan say, “Let’s go, kids,” and the wagon begins to lurch across the hayfield in the direction of the barn.
The Parlin Cultivator represents our best medium priced walking cultivators, and when we say medium price, we do not mean to convey the idea that there is any element of cheapness in their construction. It is one of our oldest makes, and owing to the fact that it can be equipped with any style of gang, it is a very popular implement wherever used.
I’ve always had sheep on Loughin More. And in summer a pony. Always been on the mountain and never ever passed any remarks on ‘The Bauch.’ It’s a word I’ve said all my life; a word from the north of Scotland (I’m told) to describe a circular wall of stones. I don’t know what The Bauch is but I think I know what it’s not.
Once our cellar was done, meaning the shell, floor, doors, etc., then it needed shelves. The shelves needed to be rot or rust resistant (due to the natural cellar humidity) and strong. That set of shelves on the right, when completely full, would be holding over 2,000 lbs in jars and food, not counting the lumber itself. There is also a very finite amount of working space in that cellar for the construction of those shelves.
The chain link which broke was a number 41 roller chain, rather small. Checking the drawer I came up empty. Both Eric and Scout, on separate trips to the local hardware store, purchased repair links for me. Within the target size there are many variables. The repair links at today’s inflated prices cost around $3 each. When I got the right size and fixed the chain my daughter said “I can take the others back and get you a refund.” “Nope,” I said, “We’re farming, so I’ll put them in the drawer, somebody someday will be glad we have the right size here.
And there we were, in open rolling country a few miles shy of Montgomery, Indiana, approaching Dinky’s Auction Center, the host for this year’s Horse Progress Days. This is the 28th year for the event, missing only 2020, that is rotated through the Amish communities in five states – Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania – usually taking place on two days, before the 4th of July. It is an event to showcase the modern utility of animal power in farming, featuring the latest equipment and the best in animal training and performance.
To me, the raw versus pasteurized milk debate is easily settled in my mind. If I am going to drink milk from a cow with a number, lined up in her place in an industrial dairy, you’d better believe I want that milk pasteurized. For most of my life I drank milk from a cow with a name. When you only have a handful of cows, if that many, you do notice when something isn’t right. No one in their right mind knowingly drinks milk from a sick cow. I have never gotten sick drinking raw milk or personally known anyone else who did. I have every confidence in the farmer selling the same milk he or she brings to their own table.
I held the stick across her horns and wrapped the duct tape around them and the stick, crisscrossing back and forth, securing the stick to the horns. The hard part was doing it with a goat that was just a little wigged out under me. Rip, twist, press down. Rip, twist, press down. I wrapped until I could not move my creation off Dove’s head and the stick was too wide to go through the wire fence.
The point is that the Knepp Estate is pioneering, they are trying it, and something is obviously working, although perhaps not everything as you might wish. But that is also the point, because we don’t know how to rewild, we don’t really know what a wild Britain was like, or could be like, even in small pockets. We don’t even know what conditions various species prefer because the baseline data was already skewed by people’s activity when the textbooks were written. So it is one big experiment, but fortunately it has generated enough interest and excitement that the changes are being studied in detail.
One place to start is to look at how you relate to your community. If you stay on your homestead and don’t connect with your larger community or neighborhood, you deprive yourself of opportunities for many kinds of mutual support. On the other hand, if you freely help and/or fairly barter with your neighbors and local businesses, your chances of long term success will be greater, and you’ll have a community that actively cares about your well-being.