Brown Swiss

This breed of  cattle simply melts my heart.   The calves are heartbreakingly cute.

Rusty, this year’s swiss calf is so sweet.  He will follow you without a halter.  He runs to the pasture fence to get pet when he sees you  coming. 

And his ears.  Those huge ears.  They bounce when he runs. I love them so!

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Rusty 2 days old.

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Running to the fence to get pet.

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Squirt is now 17 months old.  Not quite as sweet anymore, but still very mellow for a steer.

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Hanging out with baby Squirt, April 2011.

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Baby Squirt hating his bath.

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I would have 100 Swiss calves if we had the space!

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quirt all grown up.  Approximately 1500 lbs.

Peaches!

Drove by pick your own peach farm and decided to stop.  Most of the local peach crop was destroyed by a late frost.  So I didn’t expect much.

The trees were loaded.

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The peaches were so ripe that when the breeze blew you could hear peaches hitting the ground.

I picked 1/2 bushel in about 15 minutes.  

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I love the trusting attitude.  Pick your own, leave money in the door.

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Then, what do you do with piles of peaches?   I let the kids eat as many as they wanted.

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But still had a lot.  So I made several batches of canned peach pie filling.

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The kids loved apple pie filing last year.  It made for very quick pot luck dishes.  I usually just heated it with a crumble topping.  Instant apple crisp.  The kids liked it best on pancakes!

I also wanted to try a recipe I found on pintrest.com  Peach pepper BBQ sauce. 

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I used a hotter pepper then the recipe called for.  It turned out very interesting, but not a BBQ sauce.   Tastes more like a sweet Asian chili sauce.  Good on chicken.

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Savor the summer fruits, they leave too quickly!

We are in full swing for fair

Summer is sadly dwindling down.

Honestly it will feel over on Monday.

Daily football practices start.  Matching band the following week.

Judging for still projects is next Sunday.  This means, although they haven’t procrastinated much this summer,  they are all scrambling to finish project books.

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Amanda is busy baking her last loaves of bread for “Yeast Breads”.

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Kneading dough

Mike has three projects (his choice) so he overwhelmed.  He is done with “Fun with Flight”.  Almost done with Grill Master”.  But he still has activities for “Tractor 3”

Daily haltering of calves and steer is very time consuming.  At least an hour in the barn every evening.

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Walking feeder calves

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Every now and then you just get a great picture. Amanda with Frosty.

Livestock interview judging is in 2 weeks.  Kids need to get busy studying.

While I love fair, this nonstop chaos is exhausting!

4H still projects keeping the kids busy over summer.

The kids have a love hate relationship with “still projects”  I ask then to do at least one non-animal project a year.   Just keeps them busy during the summer.

Amanda is doing just a yeast bread book.  Last year she did “Pathways to Culinary Success” and a cookie project.  The pathways book was very time consuming, geared at kids who want a career in food.  It was a good project but made her hesitant to attempt 2 projects this year!

Daniel is “Gun Safety”.  He is enjoying it but would tell you he dislikes all the paperwork.

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Daniel target shooting in the yard

Last year he did a fishing project.  Again, liked the fishing, hated the paperwork.

Mike has 3 still projects this year.

“Fun with Flight” is a beginners guide to flight and model airplanes. 

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Running with a glider to test wing shape.

He is also doing “Grill Master”  he enjoys grilling and it is giving him confidence that he can cook.

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Mike grilling chicken and corn for tonight dinner

His final project is year three of a series of tractor projects. 

This years focus is safe operation of farm equipment.

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Mike and his beloved tractors

Busy kids are happy kids!

Garden Re-do

The landscape fabric was a huge flop.

It shredded.  It tore if you even looked at it.  I am not sure why, it was an expensive fabric labeled for use in vegetable and flower beds. 

We had a storm blow through tonight.  This  was the result.

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Sad looking garden

So, new attempt.  Laid newspaper covered with straw. 

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Hopefully this works better.

I am just hoping the straw doesn’t all blow away!

Any great tips to share?

The wild one

The kids show dairy calves because of their calm personalities. 

But this year Mike was given the chance to show a neighbors beef calf.

This is a  whole new ball game.

We get dairy calves at 24hrs old.  We bottle feed.  No mother cows to deal with. 

Now he has to get the trust of a  month old beef steer calf still nursing on mom in 10 acre pasture.

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Mike headed into the pasture with a bucket of sweet feed

He still hadn’t managed to touch Chevy.  (the name Chevy reflects what he is saving his fair money for!)

The closest he has gotten  is about 10yrds before Chevy gets nervous and runs off.

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Chevy snuggling next to mom

Mommy cow, thankfully, is mellow and wonderfully indifferent.  She calmly stands still and waits for Mike to dump out a bit of sweet feed for her.

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Chevy getting nervous. He is ready to run. mike just stands still, hoping that this time will be different.

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And he is off again!

No magical ending this time either.  But tomorrow is another day. 

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Chevy stops and watches from a safe distance.

And we have lots more buckets of sweet feed to hopefully entice him close enough.

He has a very sweet face, I hope we earn his trust soon.

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Chevy with his black tipped ears. Flies were bad yesterday as it was dry and HOT.

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Still in a good mood, after all he its spending the day on his favorite spot on earth, the farm

September fair is only 3 months away!

Any tips? 

Fishing

Few things are more relaxing in the summer evenings then taking kids fishing.  We have a state wildlife area near the house.

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Mike casting a line

The area is marshy, full of bugs, fish and turtles. 

I will take a walk while the boys fish, there are some hidden treasures


 

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Wild grapes that I have been keeping an eye on waiting for fall to ripen them

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Beautiful wildflowers

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Beautiful marsh land views

They grow so fast

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Was this really just 12 months ago? Daniel and Squirt May 2011

I am in awe if how much weight a calf can gain in 12 months.  Squirt was a sweet little calf a year ago.  Now he is a huge mellow pushover.

Just a little bigger then before.

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Daniel and Squirt May 2012.

Mickey, was a stubborn little calf last spring.  He would plant his feet and refuse to move.

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Amanda and mickey May 2011

And a year later he its still bull headed, but a but sweeter. At least he will walk now.

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Amanda refusing to look at at the camera, with mickey May 2012