Climatology 2013: The tropical interlude is a memory now, but the water and green pastures that it left behind are present as a fond memory. The weather pattern has changed to a frontal pattern, and the first front to blow through set off some fantastic storms when it collided with the warm moist air left over from the late monsoon. Another inch of rain fell at Mesa Top Sunday night.
Now the pastures are bursting green again. A second surge of growth by the warm season grasses and now, as cool as it is, the cool season grasses are growing also.
Now the influence of the dry air has brought on the real autumn. Nights in the mid and low 30s and days in the 70s. We missed a frost last night and now expect a bit of a warming trend, which will help our winter squash to cure in the field.
This week’s Cow stories: Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: Plenty of grass for the Mesa Top herds.
The story on Tippy, our star momma cow who I wrote about as “gone missing” last week? File the following in the “you can’t make this stuff up…” department. On my way home from the airport Wednesday evening, returning from Washington DC and work on Food Safety for local and regional food systems, Colleen called me to tell me that a neighbor had just brought her a calf that couldn’t be more than a day or two old. Turns out these well intentioned folks were driving home some time Wednesday morning and saw a tiny calf asleep in the middle of County Road 51 (the wrong side of our fence on the State lease land where momma Tippy has been pastured). So they took him home and called animal control (hint: For future reference, if you ever see any livestock in distress or danger and you cannot identify the owner or responsible party, a more useful call would be to the livestock board. They are better equipped to deal with livestock). That night they brought the calf to a different rancher neighbor and he sent them to us. By the time Colleen got him, he has been at least 10 hours away from his mother. She treated him immediately for upper respiratory distress and fed him a bottle of fresh raw milk (from Dottie) from our fridge.
The next morning I went up to the spot where the calf was found and there was Tippy, standing at the fence, calling her boy, as if she knew all along where he was supposed to be. Her udder was distended and looked seriously inflamed. She was about a 5 mile walk from home, so we fetched a trailer and brought it up and gave her a ride. We milked her out by machine and 3 of her 4 quarters responded well, but one remained hard and has only slowly softened up as the week has progressed.
We had a huge rain storm that Wednesday night. As a result of being scooped up and eventually brought to us, the little calf spent the night in the dog room with a bunch of sleepy canines, warm and dry. Who can say what would have happened to him if these neighbors had not brought him to us? He seems to be not quite right, and we can’t tell if that is a result of his ordeal or if that’s what led to his ordeal. Another rancher neighbor who stopped by while we were loading Tippy said he suspected foul play: someone put the calf in the road on purpose. One thing is for sure – we will never know.
The down side of separating him from his mother is that he has bonded now with humans and is not figuring out how to nurse from momma. He is becoming a bottle baby, which is a lot more work than letting Momma do what she knows how to do best. But Tippy is diligently caring for this little guy. Given what we saw last summer with Thrasher and his momma Maya, who cared for him for over a month while we bottle fed him and he got over his neurological issues, and blindness, and eventually he stood up and nursed, we remain hopeful.
Meanwhile, all things considered, momma and baby are fine. We humans are a mess, but what else is new.
This week’s protein update: We got our first veal cuts: rib eye cutlets. We will get another batch of cuts later this week and PROMISE at long last to deliver veal shares next week. Meanwhile regular beef packs are back in stock, along with plenty of extra lean ground beef.
The fencing needs for turkey rotation have fallen behind due to the cow emergency. There is a nice batch of grasshoppers out there also, so we are motivated to get the turkeys out onto the pasture
This week’s cheese making update: Good thing we had all of that extra milk. I have been drinking milk as old as 21 days. It is still GREAT! This is because we chill it quickly and then once we place it in refrigeration, we do not touch it again until it is time to drink it. Still not ready to make cheese yet, juggling too many other pieces right now. But plenty of great fresh raw milk for herd shares.
This week’s Veggie/Share Update:
This week’s sweet treat from the orchard is Western Slope Colorado Organic Pears from Rogers Mesa packing house.
The vegetable portion of the share includes fingerling potatoes from Rancho La Jolla, red Roaster and Gathers Gold peppers from Red Mountain Farm. We also include a large leek from Talon de Gato.
Also the near-end-of season cucumbers and sweet fall lettuce mix from Mesa Top Farm.
And as we head into the fall, organic quinoa from White Mountain Farm in Colorado.
Daikon radish, to slice and eat fresh or to cook with potatoes and other roots, from, Gemini Farm.
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