Day 11- Bucket of Nails

As I have said before we like to keep things around the farm. This being said it shouldn’t surprise you that we have a bucket of nails always handy. New nails, rusty nails, bent nails, used nails, lots and lots of nails. You are probably thinking okay what makes nails so special today? We already use nails to hang things up in our house and hold stuff together. I agree, that nails don’t seem that unique, but when I saw these projects with nails I knew that I had to share them! When I first saw the flower made out of nails I was immediately awe struck. What a cool piece to have in your house or flower garden. Then I discovered the adorable vase/holder for live flowers. Maybe those rusty nails will come in handy after all!

Check out others blogging with me and come back tomorrow for Day 12 of 30 Days of Farm Related DIY.

Flower holder/vase made out of nails.

Flower holder/vase made out of nails.

Flower made from nails

Flower made from nails

Did I Get My Nails Done for This?

While my University of Illinois counterparts are migrating towards beaches, tans, water, and warmer places this farm girl is going home for a week and a half of hardwork and fun in 80 degree Illinois. And while I wouldn’t mind being at the beach, my heart is glad I’m right here at home. So what have I been up to you ask?
Yesterday I arrived home about 8 am after unloading my stuff I called dad to let him know I was home, he instantly told me to head to the farm to help wean some early fall calves. So I went to the farm we call the ranch and helped sort out 15 calves to wean. By weaning I mean that the calves had reached an age, usually 5-6months, we they need to be separated off of their mother to begin their “adult” life. The mother needs the time to “dry up” or quit milk production in order to maintain herself back to an appropriate body composition so she can be rebred and have another baby in 9 months. When a cow has a calf it will sacrifice its own health and nutrients to provide for a calf so she needs type to rebuild her nutrient stores.
Once we sorted off the calves we brought them home to process. Process means we run each one through a working chute were we poured them to prevent lice, gave them booster shots to prevent sickness and check tattoo numbers. When then look in our record books to make sure they were recorded and move them to the scale where a weight and hip height is recorded. They were then separated into pens depending on sex and will stay with that group until further notice.
After we finished with the calves I had to run home and do some homework and attend an online class. After lunch I helped dad fix a piece on his field cultivator and took a look inside the fancy new versatile tractor he had brought home. In the afternoon my mom and I had a much need girl pampering session. (yes, I know what your thinking, you just said u were working hard but you went and got pampered, just wait!)

Upon returning home from this dad told me I needed to go get Sarah’s old show heifer and take down to end pen in show barn as she was getting close to calving. Lucky for mom and I she was in the farthest corner of the corn stalk field. A two mile plus walk later her pregnant self was in the barn where I proceeded to put a halter on her and lead her down to the other barn.
Just when we thought our walking was done we had to go to another field to check on a cow dad thought was calving. Little did we realize how many different areas this group of 43 cows and 6 babies could cover. We finally found all the cows and babies however a cow different from what we were looking for was acting funny and most definitely in labor. I called sad and he came home and him and I set back out into the field. Mind you at this point it was starting to storm. Dad decided there was an issue and so I proceeded to walk this past show heifer up to the barn so we could get a better idea. Once dad was able to get a “hand on things” he realized the calf was upside down. After several minutes of working he got the calf flipped, my uncle brought the pulling equipment and the three of us assisted in a beautiful heifer calf.
Today is the second day of spring break and it has started off with morning chores, feeding of the cows, double checking the new born baby, doctoring to sick babies, and now on to the wonderful task of building fence. Who knows what else might happen…So back to an earlier statement… Yes, yes I did get my nails done for this!

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The Beauty of Life

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go the Beef Facility at the University of Illinois campus to work on some promotional media for the college. While I was there I had the opportunity to take some snap shots of the spring cow/calf pairs who were just recently brought to pasture. There is nothing more beautiful to me than watching healthy cows and baby calves roaming in lush green grass. (No matter what color they are) If I was able I probably could have stayed out there all day long roaming around. It makes me miss home. 

From the time I could walk and before, I was all about cows. Visitors would be impressed as they toured the farm and 5-year old Emily could tell them the name of every cow in the pasture and sometimes part of the pedigree. Whenever dad couldn’t find me he would have to start searching in the pasture to see which baby calf I was trying to tame, or which cow pie I was putting my pink rubber boot footprint in. I guess what I am trying to say is that sitting out in the pasture and just watching cows graze and babies calves frolic about is one of life’s little beauties that is worth taking the time out of your day to pause and enjoy. So many times so many things are overlooked in our busy days and we blow on to the next thing. It’s when I have the opportunity to stand, sit or lay out in the pasture surrounded by healthy cows and baby calves that I remember the beauty of life and beauty of the earth in the small things. To help show what I am talking about here are some snapshots I took yesterday… Enjoy 🙂

Curious Babies

Fencepost View

Funny Faces

Hide and Seek