Sunday, 3 May 2015

New life

Apologies for the time lapse between blogs. A lot has happened here on the farm and further afield.  The major event, and most exciting news is the arrival of new Grand daughter Clover Rain who was born at home in Victoria on April 20th. She is adorable of course and her big sister Isla loves her to bits.
So I've spent two wonderful weeks over there in Victoria helping to look after the new Mum and big sister Isla. Truly special times.

The week before Clover's birth we had a birth of our own here at the farm as Daisy delivered a healthy bull calf on April 13th which we named Dusty.

Her milk supply is plentiful so on the following day we purchased a small bobby calf from a nearby dairy hoping she would foster it, but once again, she is not going to have anything to do with it. After our trying and persevering for nearly two weeks, she would not accept little Jordie, so we have him feeding out of the calf feeder.

We tried to teach Jordie, the foster calf, to sneak his drinks from the back while her own calf Dusty took his drinks from the side.
Some cows are natural fosters and will accept a second calf after just a few days of introducing and teaching. However, it appears Daisy is not one of those cows, unfortunately.
Our lovely old Bella is a wonderful foster mum and we look forward to her calf being born in September.
While I was away, I received a message from Brian.
"Murray rang, he has another calf there if we want it."
Well, we're already bottle feeding one calf, and Daisy has ample milk, so we might just as well bottle feed two calves. (As well as her own calf Dusty who runs with her and suckles at any time).
So little black Angas calf "Blackie" has joined us as well.
After a couple of day's quarantine and close scrutiny of the bowel movements, all three calves are now running with Daisy and the other cows, coming in at milking times for their feeds.
The bottle fed calves are fed twice daily and drink 2 litres of milk with 1/4 cup of garlic water and 1 teaspoon of dolomite powder mixed in to help keep their gut healthy.
All calves that we bring in seem to get the scours to varying degrees. Probably because they don't get to stay with their mums for long enough and don't ingest the correct amount of colostrum that is necessary to build the gut health for developing strong immune systems.
Garlic & Dolomite (Calcium, magnesium) is our maintenance procedure for growing calves.
The lactating cows also get a handful of Dolomite, (1 desertspoon Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/2 cup molasses) in every feed whilst in the dairy.
With three calves to feed, we're still getting lots of milk for the kitchen, so the fridge is groaning with fresh made butter, cheese, yoghurt, puddings, ice cream and cream.
It was wonderful to leave home for a break and to spend time with my family, but it's just so good to be home again.
Autumn is my favorite time.  I left here when the paddocks were dry, to return two short weeks later to green fields everywhere, red leaves on the Glory Vines surrounding our house, yellow leaves falling from the fruit trees, the Acacias flowering their beautiful Wattle.

 It's been a week fraught with anguish as we received the awful news of the devastating earthquakes in Nepal. For days I could not make contact with any of my friends and families living there, but gradually, one by one, each of my friends made contact through social media. Finally, I was able to phone and find that all of them have survived. I sobbed with joy and relief after thinking the worst for many days.
Here is a brief blog about my connection with Nepal written by Tess Fisher.
The Nepali people are the most resilient of anyone I know and after spending a week sleeping outside, they are now moving back into their homes as the after shocks subside. Anita Shahi told me they had experienced 114 earthquakes in the six days.
Of course, the news was not so good for thousands of people and the country needs a lot of aid to repair the damage and get back on their feet. 
My heart goes out to all of those who have suffered unimaginable loss of their loved ones and their homes. Australians are known to be so very generous and I do hope that we can all pull together to donate what we can to the aid relief.
Namaste to all of my friends near and far. 

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