Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"You know, Eyes not satisfied with Seeing. Ears Not Satisfied with Hearing."

No matter what I accomplish, what I have, what I give or do. . .

Nothing would ever top being able to go back for just a little while with him. . .

"You know, Eyes not satisfied with Seeing. Ears Not Satisfied with Hearing."
In his little store. . .full of everything anyone could have been looking for over the period of 50 years,
We sat on his hard, uneven old wooden stool. . .at 85 years old he said he would work still because the Bible said nothing of retirement. . .
When I was only in my mid twenties, and not even close to his youngest child. . .his store closed, and he was gone.
Daddy thought nothing of taping his shoes together, wearing his shirt thread bare and his pants patched without more than a pot bellied stove in the harshest winters and never air conditioning in the summer.
He drove a 1990 Camry that had 260,000 miles on it, and he said it was good enough for anyone.
He thought nothing of routing our water from the mountains through plastic pipe that had pooled in a whiskey barrel behind the trailer for water when I was a child.
He heated water to bathe in on a pot with his 40 year old gas stove because as long as I lived, there had never been a water heater in the place.
Thank God he did thought nothing of doing these things.
These events and so many more allowed me to know from a young age what we find on the outside, the surface has no connection to real value.
And when his body was failing in the end, but he wanted to go out for a drive and to get something to eat, carrying him from my van to his wheelchair into a restaurant was the greatest privilege of my life.
He wanted me to have everything I needed. He would not begrudge me wants within reason.
He allowed us to have things that would sparkle if it suited us. . .
and he would say,

"You know, Eyes not satisfied with Seeing. Ears Not Satisfied with Hearing."



and I am not satisfied. I cannot see him.
I am not satisfied. I cannot hear him.

Monday, February 15, 2016

A HomesteadHER

While mulling over a T-shirt idea, I finally arrived at the right term and design

Get yours now at:

https://teespring.com/homesteadher

And a facebook page, too


John Creamer for WV House of Delegates

My husband, John D. Creamer, is running for the seat in the House of Delegates 19th District in West Virginia.

Please visit his page by clicking HERE


Sunday, February 7, 2016

For 7 years I've milked goats and cows. . .

For 7 years I've milked goats and cows.
I know many out there have done so for more years than I've lived.
I love dairy animals for no particular reason and without rhyme.
This is nearly a fourth of my life.
John asks me if we will find a day in the future where dairy isn't a part of it, and I say honestly, such a day seems impossible to me now.
Primarily by hand.
In sub-zero temps.
When it is over 100 degrees.
Twice a day.
I cannot communicate to you unless you've been there and loved it in the same way what it all means.
Without reason. Without rhyme.
I carry the milk down a fairly precarious hillside in the mud, snow and other various slops. Therein, I have found such worth, validation and value. . .I could not give it up now.
I'll be doing the same thing if this state tried to make it illegal to use your own raw milk. Mark my word.
For nearly 1/4 of my life, as I've mentioned, I've tried to be a voice for the farmer who is hoping to see real, local milk - unpasteurized - come out of prohibition.
This year may be the one where something is passed. Who knows.
I hope we end up with a workable bill for farmers and consumers.
As the Weston A. Price Chapter contact for all these years, the number of inquiries I receive are truly innumerable. I've spent years embarrassed to tell people I have to refer them to farmers out of this state for milk.
MILK!
I hope the bureaucratic red tape involved this year does not prevent a bill from being worth anything more than the paper it is written on.
I do not care for my own sake. I am not home enough to operate much of a herd share program with raw milk, and I've never cared what laws said in this way, yet it means a great deal to the economic viability of some small farmers across this state, and it means a lot in the way of "Freedom."
It is Right. That is all.
Before people cared, before it was cool or easy. . .
I expected the legislature in my state to abide by the Motto:
"Mountaineers are Always Free," or I expected they should change it. . .
Watered down bills full of red tape do not make us free.
Maybe I'm fighting for something too many people do not understand, and as long as the people do not understand. . .
Free. . we will never be.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Proper Weight for a Dairy Goat

The Proper Weight for a Dairy Goat

I figured I should follow up the dairy cow body score post with one for dairy goats, since I know we have as many followers who have both or goats as we do for cows.

I once heard a breeder say: "A goat's back end should look like a coat rack," and my response to that is. . ."Sure, if you don't feed her, she will look like that."

Now, that isn't to say you will not see hip bones. You will on a doe in milk. You will find bucks get quite thin in rut when their minds are mostly on breeding does and not on eating. But kids, dry does and bucks not in breeding season should have a clear layer of fat over the short ribs, hip bones and rump.

Many times, newer goat folks confuse a large rumen / barrel / midsection (like you see here especially on my ran doe, Candy) for a goat of good weight. This is not related to being a suitable weight. You can have a very underweight animal with a lovely developed rumen.

Unless you have your hands on a goat, unless they are clipped, it is something hard for people somewhat new to goats to know their animals are at a proper weight.

It is important to run your hands down the back. Notice if the spine seems to have no cushion, the short ribs seem too abrasive or the hip bones. Even a heavy producing doe should have a bit of flesh (not just skin) over her back end. Coat condition and texture will help you decide if a goat is healthy and just a hard working milker who is getting enough food or if you need to step up the quality of grain, worm and/or increase hay.

Dairy goats need grain in milk. Period. The End.

Chose a 16-18% ration. Most will be 3% fat. If you have a hard keeper doe who milk a tremendous amount, then you may use rice bran to up the fat content. Always feed free choice hay. If you can, use alfalfa on the milking does, bucks in rut and growing kids, but if you need to, you can use other hay types. I use grass. I feed milking does and kids alfalfa.

Growing kids need grain from the time they are able to eat more than milk until at least a year old. Bucks get grain year round here, but especially in the early fall through late winter.

Dry does and yearlings usually are ok with little to no grain IF they have browse, parasites well controlled and free choice excellent hay.

The animals pictured below show you healthy animals at either really good, moderate weights or slightly over-conditioned (depending on the person you ask)

The first doe is Eve. She was a bit over conditioned (a bit heavy) here and in milk. The next doe is Bianca, followed by Candy, and these does are health milking does at nice weights. I would not want to see them thinner. Next is Moses, a buck not in rut. Again, nice weight. Not too heavy or too thin. A buck will rarely keep this weight in rut, however. Then there is a yearling dry doe, Cali, and she is a nice weight. No visible ribs, spine, hips. Lastly, there is a very nicely grown buck kid at about 8 weeks old. This how your kids should look.

Whenever you doubt, run your hands over the top line of your animals. You will know if it feels pleasant. If they are too thin, first make sure you have giving all the hay they want, up the grain (I give milking does about 4lbs per milking at peak / dry does about 1 cup 2 x times a day / bucks about 2lbs x a day / kids get about 1lb 2 x day) and check the inner eyelid color. If the animal has pale inner eye membrane, parasites are part of the weight problem, and you need to worm with something that works and keep watch until color of the membrane improves.

Eve, a tad over-conditioned 

Bianca on the thinner side of Healthy

Cali, dry yearling, at ideal weight

Candy at an ideal milking doe weight

Nicely grown buck kids


Buck at ideal weight or slightly above while not in rut 


An excellent video:



 

For structure reference 


Monday, February 1, 2016

Every dairy cow is different. . .

Dairy cows after often the subject of misguided concerns of "poor care" in relation to their weight

Every dairy cow is different.

Remember, they are athletes. Just as you see extreme runners with little to no body fat, you will see, at the height of performance, some dairy cows keep little fat on the topline. This isn't true of the low producers (which I do prefer), but cows giving many, many gallons of milk a day will usually appear quite thin to the general public.

Comparing the body of a beef bred cow to a dairy type cow isn't comparing apples to oranges, really.

Now, it is true that dairy cows can be too thin because someone isn't giving proper care, but it is also true that high production cows can milk so much, they cannot consume enough safely to keep a condition we would like to see during their peak.

I'll go over my person cows over the years under each photo as you scroll through, explaining age, their situation and what they were fed.

I always recommend searching the National dairy shows around the globe to get an idea of what extremely productive cows often worth tens of thousands (or more) dollars look at at peak production and when being shown to better understand dairy cow weight, for instance: https://www.facebook.com/cowsmo/photos/pb.21100185898.-2207520000.1454346181./10153222572345899/?type=3&theater

Always look at coat condition, overall bright eyed appearance and whether the abdomen appears healthy even if the topline is thin. . .when deciding on health of the animal.

Some additional insight on body scoring dairy cows:

https://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/FSA-4008.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHge4HUr7nQ

http://people.vetmed.wsu.edu/jmgay/courses/documents/363eng1.pdf

http://www.slideshare.net/jonescoleen/learn-to-score-body-condition-for-dairy-cows

I will note here that Dairy goats are different. They are generally able to keep a high body score even in milk, unless they are extreme producers.

Our first dairy heifer. This is Stella (she isn't wearing that halter, John just had it around her nose, not hooked to hold her still) at 9 months old. Obviously, she wasn't bred at this age. This is a dry heifer at a body score of about 4

This is Ellie. Ellie is an 8 year old Mid- Mini Jersey. She is about 10 montns into lactation. She is a body score of 4.5 here. She is a low production cow who receives and needs no grain while in milk.

Elsie was an 8 year old Mid-Miniature Jersey cow giving us 6 gallons of milk each day, plus whatever her calf drank. This is Elsie at 2 months into lactation, and she was about a 2.50 on the body score scale at this time. She received pasture, free choice grass hay and alfalfa mixed with 15lbs of dairy grain a day at this time

Elsie again, but here she is 6 months into lactation.
She is a 3.0 in this image, and she was giving about 1/2 as much milk, so her ration was lowered to about 10 lbs of grain daily.

This was Anya. She was about 5 months info lactation here just raising her bull calf. We did not milk this Dexter cow, but she was grass fed only. She is about a 3.25 in this image.

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LUCAS FARM

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27




"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington