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Diary of Melody Fruth, Week 3 - July 11-17, 2011

Published Jul. 19, 2011 | Discuss this article on Facebook

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today was really a hot one!  According to the news it was 97 ° with  81% humidity giving us a heat index of 113°.  Dangerously hot.  But for some reasons the calves still expect to be fed!  In our newest group, they are all doing well and still on bottles.  From the July 1st group we still have two calves that have not switched over from bottles to buckets.  One is a very large white calf that has had some respiratory problems so that is probably his hold up.  The other little black calf is just enjoying the babying, I think.

After the morning feeding I had to take our house dog Muskie to the groomer.  He is a Bichon Frise whose registered name is Xavier D’Artagnan Musketeer, but he is just Muskie to us.  He actually was my mother’s dog and I was keeping him while she was in a nursing home, but she has passed on now so I guess Muskie belongs to me.  Jeremy has a basset hound named Buddy that stays outside and in the shop.  While Muskie was at the groomer, I went to Lowes to pick up some supplies for the farm and to Kohls to pick up some stuff for me.  Then I had a leisurely lunch of a fresh fruit plate at Bob Evans until the groomer called.

While I was having an afternoon off (more or less), Oscar was planting beans trying to get the last of them done.  Chris did the feeding of the big calves here at home and at Jeremy’s and washed the combine.  I hate washing cars so mine usually makes due with a trip through the car wash.  The combine is a different story.  An extension ladder has to be used to get to all of it even with an extended brush.

For the evening feeding we had helpers.  Vickilynn brought Abbey and Miller over and they “helped” drive the gator from calf group to group and held bottles for the calves to eat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

After morning feeding today, Oscar loaded the drill with soybeans so Chris could plant the rest of them at Jeremy’s farm.  Hopefully this will be the end of the planting.  We had storms move through the area last night, but we got no measurable rainfall in the gauge this morning.  Rats!

We are buying some high moisture corn to be used in the feed for the bigger calves.  Oscar also ordered three tons of pellets from Brubakers to be delivered next week.  These pellets are a supplement that add protein and other necessary vitamins and minerals to the calf feed.

This afternoon we drove to Wilmington to visit PBS Animal Health Store.  There we purchased several medications to fight respiratory diseases, syringes, needles etc. On the way we saw the storm damage that we had heard about on the news.  Many trees or branches were down and entire fields of corn were flattened.  Our corn was flattened a couple years ago with Hurricane Ike, but that was in September and the ears were already finished.  This corn had not yet tasseled, so I don’t know whether they will get anything from it or not.

We returned home just in time to attend the Open House at Koenig Equipment in Oxford, Ohio.  There we had a nice picnic dinner and bought a seat cover for the Gator.  The foam cushion has come off and slides around.  I hope I can glue it back on and cover it with this seat cover to make it last a little longer. 

After evening feeding we visited our next-door neighbor who has a new baby just born last Friday.  I had forgotten how very small and helpless newborns are.  What an awesome responsibility they have!

Wednesday July 13, 2011

This morning we had a new worker for the morning feeding, Cody.  He also helped mow grass and weed-eat around the barnyard.  Since Oscar had some extra help I took off to do some errands in Middletown.  I had to return some books to the library, drop a donation off at Goodwill, and pick up a couple of box fans for the calf tarp barn.  On the hot days we had this week, we needed some extra ventilation in there, so for the next heat wave we will be more prepared.

My sister brought her grandson, age 6 over tonight since she was babysitting.  She also brought supper from Jocko’s in Hamilton, bless her heart.  Everything is so new to his eyes that he just bubbles over with questions.  “Will they pee on me? Why are they sucking on each other’s ears?  What do they eat? Why do they poo in their pens? What are their names?  Why won’t they come to me? (While he was running back and forth between pens and talking with his “I’m-in-the-outfield voice”.)  It is a joy to see the world through the eyes of a six-year-old.

Today was a beautiful day with sunny skies and low humidity.  It was really nice to sit on the patio tonight and take a few minutes just to enjoy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today Jeremy sprayed 40 acres of soybeans this morning before heading out for his class at Miami.  Tomorrow is the last day of this class and I think he will be relieved it is over even though he has an exam and a presentation to give.

Since Oscar had both Chris and Cody here to help with the feeding this morning, I took advantage and painted the storage shed in our backyard.  I got three sides done and will try to finish up the front tomorrow.

The guys also vaccinated 34 calves with BovaShield Gold for respiratory diseases in cattle and Pulmaguard for microplasm pneumonia.  Just like babies and children the calves need their vaccinations when they are little to make sure they stay healthy.

Oscar and Chris bush hogged around fields, waterways, and buildings at two of the farms.  Then they set up gates in preparation for tomorrow’s work.  They will herd the calves at Jeremy’s out of the pasture and into the barn so they can dehorn and worm them with a shot of Ivomec.  For the evening feeding we had some friends stop by, so the chores tonight went faster with more hands helping.  The mules, Gus and Jake, did not come up to the barn tonight so I will have to call them up again in the morning or go looking for them if they don’t show up. They have plenty of good pasture, so I don’t think they would try to go to greener grass on the other side of the fence, but you never know.  We checked the fence and repaired as necessary before letting them into the field so I feel confident they are where they should be.  I just like to see them every day to make sure.

Friday, July 15, 2011

It was just Oscar and I this morning to do the feeding so it took a little longer.  

Jeremy has gone to Philadelphia to spend the weekend with friends and Cody did not show up.  I don’t know what happened.  Maybe he decided farm work was not for him. The mules, Gus and Jake, were up to the water barrel this morning, so I didn’t have to go looking for them. Yesterday Oscar had set up gates and a chute at Jeremy’s.  He also put some feed out in the barn and over night the cattle made their way up from the pasture and into the barn so all we had to do was close the gates.  This was so much easier than trying to herd them in this heat.  I walked the pasture just in case, but did not see any others.  I did see that the creek is totally dry, so it is a good thing that we have been watering there every day. 

Chris, Allen and Oscar dehorned and wormed the cattle at Jeremy’s.  It took them just over an hour to do the 33 calves.  Oscar and Eddie Truster went to Indiana to pick up calves from the dairies.  They only had four or five calls when they left, but the calls kept coming in, and they ended up with 12 calves again this week. 

The Hot Air Balloon Festival began tonight in Middletown.  The balloons came over the farm as we were finishing evening feeding.  The calves and mules went crazy.  The sounds from the propane burners scare them because they cannot see well enough to locate the cause of the sound and to evaluate the threat.  Luckily none of our calves at any of the farms broke through fences and got out.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

After feeding this morning we went to “Breakfast in the Burg.”  Once a month the United Methodist Church in Jacksonburg prepares breakfast and we usually go enjoy some biscuits and gravy or bacon and eggs or whatever is on the menu.

After breakfast we weaned 12 calves that were 5 or 6 weeks old from the round pens.  We loaded them into the livestock trailer and took them to JB Mann’s farm just down the road from us.  We have rented that farm and buildings for more than 20 years and have raised lots of calves in that barn.  The 12 calves had been receiving buckets of milk only once a day for the last week or so.  Now they will be completely off milk but will have all the dry feed they want to eat and plenty of water.  There is no water source at this farm so we will be hauling water to them just as we do at Jeremy’s farm.

The twelve new calves were placed in the cleaned and bedded round huts.  Since we did not have the pens ready yesterday, the calves stayed on the livestock trailer overnight and we fed them bottles on the trailer this morning.  Now they are in the homes where they will stay for the next 6 weeks or so until they too are weaned.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Today is a special day.  Every year on the third Sunday of July we go north to Carey, Ohio (about a three-hour drive) for the Melchoir Fruth reunion (Oscar’s great-grandfather).  So this morning Chris came to work for a couple hours to help us with the feeding (he usually does not work on Sunday.)  After the three of us got everything fed (about 9:30) we took off for the reunion.

Almost all of the Fruth’s that attend the picnic are farmers so we spent the afternoon eating and catching up with what is going on with everyone and everyone’s crops.  All the way up I-75 the crops look just about like ours—dry.  Some of them looked even more behind than ours this year. Oscar spent some time with his cousin Fred who was the best man in our wedding 40 years ago.  He and his two sons have a large farm and dairy near Alvada, Ohio.  They milk 250 cows three times a day and raise all their own calves (that would be 250 every year.)  So they stay very busy.  He has had some health problems in recent years, and it was good to see him looking robust and healthy.

After the drive back, we finished up our long day with evening feeding.  Jeremy got back from Philadelphia about 10:00 and came to pick up Rolo his miniature pinscher/ Chihuahua mix puppy that I had been keeping for him.  His classes are finished for the summer so we will be back to our full strength work force tomorrow.

The weather forecast is predicting a hot week with temperatures in the mid-nineties.  We are very glad that our straw is all baled and in the barn so we don’t have to do that hot job this next week.  We sure could use rain.

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