Friday, February 20, 2015


This cold weather has been really hard on all of our farm animals.  The cows and chickens and ducks love to be outside and usually, thats the best place for them to be.  They need fresh air and plenty of exercise.  But when the weather is really cold, it isn't safe for the animals to be out for very long.  Lately the temperature has been near 0 degrees and that means the chickens and ducks can't go out at all.  We have 3 heat lamps in their chicken house.  We also put extra straw in to help keep them warm.  We put their food and water in there too. They really don't like being cooped up! Here is a little video of the chickens and ducks on a cold winter day!

Saturday, February 14, 2015



Here are some pictures of our farm






                                                                                  LAZY BARN KITTIES LAYING IN THE HAY

                                        CORN FIELDS





I love helping kids explore our farm!  I thought the best next step would be to create a blog about our farm that was kid friendly! Our farm is a real, working small family dairy farm.  There are good times and bad times on a farm. Our animals all have their own personalities - even the chickens! We grow to love them all.  But, because we have so many animals, we sometimes have sad times too. Right now we have 16 cows, 4 heifers, 7 steers and 6 calves. A heifer is a female cow that has not had a calf yet.  A steer is a male that has been neutered (parents, you can explain that one!). We also have 3 pigs, a lot of chickens and ducks, five dogs, Petey the bunny, 2 birds and a whole bunch of cats! 2 cats live at our house and the rest are barn cats.  Our barn cats are VERY big and healthy.  Some farmers only give their barn cats milk so they are hungry and catch mice and rats.  We give our cats milk, but we also feed them every day.  I don't think they really care too much about catching mice! Here are some pictures of our current farm animals:



Saturday, November 24, 2012


Its Thanksgiving season and I've been thinking about all of the things I'm grateful for, as we all do this time of year.  It was so nice to have my Dad and Ed's Dad with us for Thanksgiving dinner.  We were so lucky to have them with us. But I truly would give just about anything to have just one more Thanksgiving like we did when I was little.  I loved going to my Grammy's house, even though I had to sit at the kids table in the little sewing room.  I couldn't wait until I was old enough to sit at the grown up table.  Actually, I used to plan how I was going to get an invite to the table before my older cousins did. Since I was the baby, everyone was older than me.  I was low man on the totem pole for a grown up seat.  I would sit and plot and plan my attack when I was alone.  I was usually alone a significant period of time when my older cousins would "play house" and pretend I was the baby.  They made me a bed in the box of blankets in my Grammy's living room closet.  They would tell me it was bedtime and leave.  Of course, they never came back. They are obviously all adults now, and whenever this topic comes up, they sheepishly deny that it ever happened. However, if you look at the gleam in their eyes, you know they remember very clearly!  I miss my Grammy.  I miss my aunts and uncles.  I miss my mother.  I was so fortunate to be adopted by such a wonderful, loving family.  It even sounds funny saying that, because I never felt adopted.  I just felt loved.  My cousin Karen and I would laugh when our moms would do something that just made us shake our heads....and I would tease her and tell her that she was going to get it and I wasn't!  

The Christmas season was particularly wonderful in my family.  There were three pews of us in church Christmas Eve and then we'd head to our family party for the stuffed cabbages and gift exchange.  We still do this, but there are much fewer of us now.  Then, we would spend the week between Christmas and New Years visiting each other's houses, looking at each other's presents, and laughing at Uncle Geno's annual Charlie Brown tree!  

But, I realized that I found myself getting lost in what was.  Nothing can be as special as the memories that we grow up with and the people who loved us.  But, I don't want to ignore what's good about today.  Today, my son Andrew has a girlfriend, Kelly, that we already love as one of our family.  Today, our friends, the O'Rourkes have their first beautiful granddaughter, Ryleigh.  Today, I still have most of my cousins, however, I no longer play house with them!  Today, I have my husband and my boys and we have the blessing of tomorrow, when two of my dear cousins are spending what is probably their last holiday together after 44 years of being together.

And, today, I have the blessing of my animals.

I have a duck who goes to work with me:

A bunny who likes to swim:

A cat who likes to help me write my blog:

A beagle who loves to snuggle in pillows. I'm particularly thankful when they aren't my pillows!: 

A big dog who just loves life....and really loves to sleep:

A Gus, who just loves everyone:

A husband who loves our animals as much as I do!!:

And Amos...who has enhanced our lives in so many ways.  He has innocently fought to survive and inspired so many of us to smile at the joy he brings. Amos has brought new friends into our lives, reintroduced old friends, and strengthened our current friendships.  Best of all, he brought us to pray together.  Amos is definitely a dwarf, and we have no way of knowing what internal abnormalities he has been born with.  Every day with him is a blessing. I look forward to starting every day being greeted with his big, innocent eyes and his exuberant bouncing around when I bring him his milk. Mostly, I look forward to sharing his life with all of you!

And finally, I'm thankful for the smiles on the faces of the people who have come to our farm to experience farm life, and to be loved by Amos:

And Delaney says it all.......

Sunday, November 4, 2012



Amos made it to the day he was supposed to be born!  We weighed him, and he weighed 70 lbs!  What a huge difference from the day he was born, when he weighed under 20 lbs! I honestly never thought we'd make it this far!  He has gained a lot of weight, and has thickened up a great deal, but he isn't getting much taller.  When I compare him to our other calves, his front legs are very short, especially from his knee to his ankle.  Those joints are exceptionally large, too.  He is still giving us a hard time about eating his feed.  He doesn't like to drink water either.  He only likes his milk.  Period.  

We did get him a new pen that we'll use in the garage this winter.  It's just a really big dog pen. In the winter, when it gets cold, we're going to mount heat lamps on a board and hang it over a corner of the pen so it stays warm for him.  Thanks to my friend Terry Taylor for that idea! The weather wasn't too bad this past week (before and after Hurricane Sandy, that is!) so we put it up outside so Amos can get used to it.  He really likes it outside, and now he can eat the grass and not get sick, so that's progress!  He also really loves to play with Buckwheat!

He likes to play with Ed too!  

We had to take down Amos' pen in the breezeway.  He's just too strong.  He either pushes it across the room, or knocks it over completely.  Our cat Whisper was neutered this week, so he's been staying in the breezeway with Amos.  Whisper likes to go outside, but I kept him in for a few days so he didn't get an infection.  He and Amos got to know each other pretty well.  He's not afraid of Amos at all!  Amos was leery of Whisper in the beginning, but now, they are good friends!

We kept the sheets on the straw for awhile, but Amos kept kicking them off and rooting through the straw, so we did away with them.  We had to take just about anything that wasn't nailed down out of the room, and Amos checks out everything!  I can tell when he's hungry, because he stands by the kitchen door and looks in the window!

If I don't get to the door right away, he stand there and moos at me! I do take Amos for walks with his goat halter, but he's growing so much that I'm going to actually have to switch to a small calf halter!  Last time we tried one of those, it went right over his whole head!  Amos loves to go for walks through the fields behind our house.  Next time, I'll show you how he runs in circles on the lead!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Amos is just over 5 weeks old now.  He's very hungry and drinking milk like crazy!  It doesn't matter who is feeding him either.  He has lots of visitors who enjoy playing with him and feeding him:

Amos really does seem healthy for the most part.  He still doesn't poop without stimulation, and even though he is gaining weight, he isn't growing as tall as he should.  But, otherwise he's full of energy!  He's so hungry that after he's finished his bottle he goes into a panic!  He knocks his pen over and sucks on anything he can get his mouth on...usually my hand!

He's so hungry that we decide to switch to powdered milk because it has electrolytes in it.  He does well on it for a couple of days, but as soon as we increase the amount, he gets diarrhea.  By the end of the day, it is bloody.  So, we switch back to regular milk. All calves are hungry little buggers, but Amos is still more hungry than he should be.  We slowly increase his milk to a full bottle for his first feeding and 3/4 of a bottle for the other two feedings. But as soon as we increase it, he gets diarrhea again.  I'm beginning to feel like we're never going to find a good way to feed him!  Its so hard to find what's right for his system.  On one hand, he shouldn't even be born yet.  His system isn't developed enough for food or milk.  On the other hand, he's been drinking milk for nearly 6 weeks, and the milk isn't enough to hold him any more.  Its such a roller coaster ride with him!  A game of trial and error.  But, even with the diarrhea, Amos is still full of life!  This video was taken the day we were trying the powdered milk:

Ed says we have to start him on feed.  I'm so afraid to try feed because of the aspiration problem.  He says that we have to get him started drinking out of a bucket too.  He'll eat better if he is no longer on the bottle, so I go to Tractor Supply and buy some buckets.  We tried to give Amos some feed, and put his milk in a bucket.  Lets just say, it didn't go over so well! He absolutely hated it! After we tried to feed him the starter feed, he was so angry that he ignored me the rest of the night:


Later that evening, I tried to give him his milk in a bucket.  He didn't like that very much either.    I think my entire breezeway floor was covered with milk! I hoped we had the right solution to Amos' eating problems, but when while he was drinking out of the bucket, he did that aspirating thing again.  He abruptly stops eating. His breathing becomes really shallow, kind of panting and tries to cough.  His heart is racing, his tongue hangs out and he's in a daze.  He stumbles a little, and just stands there for a few minutes.  It was really bad this time. Then, he comes out of it and seems fine. Its so disturbing to watch and so upsetting because I can't seem to help him while its happening.  I pat his sides, rub his throat and usually cry!  The next morning I call the vet (again!).  He asks me to describe Amos' episodes (again!).  He says that even though it looks like he's aspirating, he's not.  If he was breathing milk into his lungs, his breathing wouldn't return to normal afterwards.  That's the good news. The bad news is that Amos is most likely choking.  He said that from a neurological perspective, the nerves, muscles, etc of his esophagus are probably still not well-developed so when he drinks milk too fast, it gets stuck in his throat. I also spoke with Dr. Jud Heinrich, who is the head of the Dairy Nutrition program at Penn State University.  He said that even though he told us not to wean Amos too soon, he agrees with Ed and the vet that we need to start him on feed.  He agreed with giving Amos his milk out of a bucket, too.  I guess that will help him to develop those esophagus muscles better, too.  He also said that the fact that Amos weighed 53 lbs was amazing! Healthy calves are doing great if they double their weight by 6 weeks, and Amos has passed that right up!  Dr Heinrich also said not to use the powdered milk because Amos won't develop his cud.  He'll need whole cow's milk to do this.  He said that Amos really is a miracle!  He told me to make sure I take lots of pictures and document this experience well, because its a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I assured him we already knew that!!!!  

Amos really doesn't like drinking out of a bucket, but after several days, he gets better at it.  He still tries to suck my fingers, and still gets really mad when the milk runs out!  

Amos is getting more inquisitive, too.  He is interested in anything he can get his mouth on!  He tries to chew on everything!  He seems to be a very happy bull!  He runs and bounces around.  He gets into trouble, too!

Well, Ed tried giving Amos some of the feed he makes here at the farm, because its flakier.  It seems like an easier texture for Amos to eat.  He still doesn't like it, but eats it better than the starter feed. And, we continue to give Amos his milk in a bucket.  We now have to figure out something different for a pen, since he clearly only stays in this one when he wants to!  I think he was staying in it just to humor me all along!  Next time, I'll show you his new pen...and some of Amos' friends.  In the mean time: