a morning stroll

I woke up this morning, looked out the window and was  greeted by the sun peeking out from behind some clouds highlighting the beautiful array of colors around the farm. I quickly put on my boots to go  let the chickens out for the day. I grabbed my camera on the way out the door…


Every season shares some sort of beauty but autumn colors are by far the most inspiring to me.

I think the animals even appreciate it as well…

 

And life is good…

 

 

 

 

 




a cow is a cow only if it’s a cow

For the past few weeks, David has been quizzing me on animal classifications.  For example, a female goat is called a doe. Easy enough, right? All I have to do is sing that age-old tune…doe a deer, a female deer….except replace deer with goat. Doe a goat, a female goat…hmm, just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

So, almost every night David asks, “What is a male goat with its testicles?”

“Horny?” I reply laughing to myself.

David usually shakes his head trying to conceal his own laughter.

Eventually we have gone through all that applies to our little farm at this point and I feel proud to be a farm girl.

Here is the break down thus far: (only for your own personal enjoyment. No quizzes, I promise!)

A male goat is a buck. Same as a deer. Yes, this was confusing to me at first and I found myself thinking, ‘Wait, so are deer and goats of the same species? I’m so confused!’

In the same family we have a yearling which is a goat or a sheep between the age of 1-2.

A kid, well that is a baby goat. A lamb, of course we ALL know what that is. A baby sheep! (they are so cute, right?)

A wether is a male sheep or goat that’s been castrated (neutered).

And an ewe is a female sheep…

Are you still with me?

Let’s move on…to cows. Or those things we all have called cows for years and years. By the way, we are getting one and a calf too!

Overall, two or more is a cattle but this does not apply to one. ‘Cows,’ which are only female (will get to that later) are what we predominately see in pastures because most males are castrated at birth and then slaughtered for meat before the age of three.

A heifter is a young female animal under the age of three that is either close to calving or has had no calf at all. Sometimes a young female that has only had one calf is called a first-calf heifer.

A Springer is a heifer close to calving.

Young cattle of both sexes are called calves until they are weaned from their mothers and then they are often referred to as weaners (insert laughter here) or feeders until they are one years old. After that, they too are called yearlings or stirks if between one and two years old.

A steer is a male that has been castrated and a bull is an intact male (meaning they still have their balls or as I like to refer to them, the horny ones)

A calf is a baby.

And finally, the confusing one. So, contrary to what we’ve all be raised to believe, a cow is only a female animal that is over two years of age and has had a calf.  This term is also used on other larger animals such as whales and hippos.

I turn to David, “Wait, so I’ve been wrong all this time? A cow is not a cow just because it looks like a cow?”

“It is if it’s a cow!” Says David

And now I’m confused all over again.

The Screams In The Night

In the middle of the night, I woke to David standing at the sliding glass door in our bedroom looking intently out into the darkness. Assuming he had probably heard something and was coming right back to bed, I didn’t think much of it and rolled over and fell back asleep. What felt like hours later (but probably only minutes), I was woken up to David panicked and telling me to get up. “Babe! Babe! Get up! The sheep are screaming!” I lied there momentarily, foggy headed wondering how Sheep scream. And that’s when I heard it as well. The desperate and terrified cries from out in the pasture.

I leaped from bed afraid of what those cries meant. Disoriented, I followed David downstairs and clumsily put on my muck boots making sure to tuck my sweatpants into the tops of them. David grabbed his rifle and we hurriedly walked out to the barn where the geep (goat and sheep) congregate at night, my heart beating faster and faster. I suddenly felt as though I might cry. What if the coyote made its way back onto the property bring friends and they were working their way through the sheep? What if we were about to walk into something that resembled one of those horror movies I use to watch as a kid. Am I ready to see the ugly side of country life? Will this be enough to send me running back to the comforts of waiting for the bus on 3rd AVE in downtown Seattle?

David entered the barn first and I almost couldn’t take it anymore. Imagines of curly bloody wool and injured suffering sheep ran my mind and as much as I wanted to be a supporting girlfriend, a part of me wanted to run back, crawl beneath the covers, and not come back out until it was all cleaned up and all evidence of a massacre had been cleaned up.

David stopped in his tracks, handed me his rifle and told me to hold it as he sighed annoyed. “I had a feeling this was the case” was all he said as he walked around the corner. As I inched closer inside the barn I could not believe my eyes.

No blood, no maimed animal parts to be seen. Only this brown-eyed beauty standing before us..headfirst into the alfalfa pellet bin.


Dorothy, or Little Devil as I like to call her, had jumped the fence that separates the animals from the outside world and didn’t know how to get back in after her midnight snack. The cries in the night didn’t actually come from the sheep after all. They were from Daisy, Dorothy’s daughter, Harold, and Maude. The three other goats. Where they cries of jealousy that she got to eat a little something other than grass in the pasture or cries of fear that they would be separated for eternity? We may never know. I do know this, next time I am woken up in the middle of the night Dorothy and I are going to have a little chat. Goat is a delicacy in other countries after all.