Surprise, Surprise

We just had two anticipated but unexpected occurrences here, just as Beth completed her birthday week (a Hogeland tradition that Beth has enthusiastically adopted) and July entered the scene.


Cow and calf
Red and her new calf

The first (though we discovered it second) was that Red, my favorite heifer, gave birth to a very pretty little heifer calf. Some of you have had the chance to give Red a scratch or two, but for everyone else, she is the only cow in the herd that will let anyone close enough to lay a hand on her. All the other cows watch in bemused (perhaps jealous?) amazement as I often stop to give Red a good scratch on the back and behind the ears on my daily cattle checks. I think Red has gained a certain status because of her interactions with me as she has already become a fairly high ranking cow in the herd in her first year as an adult.


But I digress. You may recall a post about 9 months ago where we were wringing our hands over the fact that the bull jumped the fence and got in with the heifers about two months before he was supposed to. Well, this late June calf is the result of Red and the bull's forbidden love moment. Thus, while we knew it might happen, for this calf to suddenly appear looking so spry and healthy (albeit thin) in the middle of the summer is a bit of a boon. I'll keep you all apprised of any other teen mothers suddenly showing up with their own love children, but most important is that my favorite heifer has become my favorite cow with a very fine calf (heifers become "cows" when they give birth).


The other big surprise that really wasn't, was the arrival of our turkey chicks. Almost 3 weeks ago, I was mowing hay and accidentally hit a hen turkey. She died instantly, but I found she was sitting on eggs, and they were undamaged. When I discovered what had happened, I called Beth. She arrived a short time later with our friends, Matt, Jenny, Paprika and Sorelle, collected the eggs and in a jiffy had them in a second hand incubator. We didn't know how long the eggs had been laid, but we did know that it takes about 28 days for them to hatch. It was a guessing game as to if and when chicks might show up. [And as an aside, along with the incubator came five young chickens, who have also been absorbed into the farm].



Wednesday morning, when I turned the eggs, I heard a chirp - from the inside of one of the eggs! Our vigil was nearly over, with only the question of how many chicks would actually hatch. About six hours later, we had five tiny turkeys (which look amazingly similar to tiny dinosaurs) - cute little balls of fuzz.

We still have a long way to go before we are out of the woods because young turkeys are quite fragile. They have to be kept ridiculously warm (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first week or so because they apparently can't produce their own heat until they are older. But as you can see from the video, they seem strong and content (and sleepy!).


We had never really planned to be homesteaders, but it seems that is the role that is being thrust upon us. Nothing to do but keep a stiff upper lip and carry on.

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