The summer of 2015 was long & hot & dry. It was a demanding season to be a farmer in the Pacific Northwest. We were challenged at every turn by the relentless weather and the cavalcade of effects it had on the farm and it’s farmers. We also welcomed a major change into our lives in the form of my husbands retirement from a lifelong career. But in the end we simply rejoiced everyday in the beauty of this place.
Life at its finest- Change… Adapt… Rejoice
On this day in 1981 Bob & I were married. 34 years. The beginning of dreams becoming reality. It continues today. 34 years of dreaming & doing. Best Friends. Sharing. Love & laughter, tears & heartache. Working side by side, blisters & backaches. Slowly growing a home, a family, a farm.
Now the kids are grown & gone, pursuing their own lives & dreams. Bob has recently retired from a long career as a firefighter/paramedic and now is a full timer on the farm. Our lives continue to change & evolve. The dreams are the reality. The constant is us.
Here is a snapshot of the last days of Spring 2015 here at FullCircle Farm.
On the night of May 28th, @ 10 pm to be precise, we were once again witness to the miracle of birth. Our first Dexter calf of 2015 was born that night. Our matriarch momma cow Belle Fourche Merrideth, @ the age of 11, was preparing to give birth to her 9th calf. Experienced. She began her labor, walking, circling, up and then down and then up again. Laboring, contractions, pushing. Contractions getting closer. Lying down, a giant push & the water broke. Up again, walking, circling, up and then down and then up again. Hoof toes appear, then 2 pale colored hooves, soles down… so good to see the correct position. Labor, contractions, pushing. A nose appeared, a pale colored nose & a tongue… so good to see. Quickly there was a head, then shoulders, then a warm wet calf dropped to the straw covered floor. Merrideth spins around, nose to her new baby, licking with earnest. She begins her gentle low chorus of momma moos, encouraging. The calf shakes his head & snorts, eyes open, legs moving. The little dun colored bull calf makes many attempts to rise. 10 minutes later, 4 wobbly legs under him, he stood for the first time. Standing, walking, circling, up and then down and then up again. 5 minutes later he found his momma’s udder, then the teat and then milk. Lovely, warm, powerfully nutritious, life giving, first milk. Mom licks and licks and licks until his beautiful silvery coat is clean & dry. Nap time.
Happy Birthday FullCircle Walter. Welcome to our world.
This is FullCircle Norman. Norman is a 5 month old Dexter bull calf on his way to becoming a steer. He is Dun in color and at 5 months stands 34” tall at the shoulder and tapes @ 300#’s. Norman has been a joy to raise. He is very handsome, smart, friendly, calm and gentle mixed up with a bit of the clown. The other day my husband Bob went out to their turnout at noon to feed the cattle family their hay lunch. Norman was lying down under the hay feeder chewing his cud. The hay was put into the hay rack above him and the other cattle began eating. Norman figured this was a really good gig he had going. He could lay down and the other cows would knock down the best hay for him to eat. Lunch was on the lounge that day! Since Norman is such a fan of National Public Radio, he listens every morning in the barn during morning chores, he has heard numerous stories about the importance of energy conservation. Norman is ALL about energy conservation and helps out whenever he can!
We raise Registered Dexter Cattle on our 18 acre farmstead in NW Oregon, USA. Our small family herd of Dexters spend their days outside on either pasture or in a large turnout area. They are brought into the barn each evening. Every morning begins with the cows. While I am doing barn chores and they begin breakfast, we all listen to NPR together. I have very educated cows that are up to date on the pressing issues of the day! Our farm routine also ends each day with the cows. Us humans always end up sitting on the edge of the cow mangers visiting and catching up on each others day. The cows contentedly munch on their dinner and are happy being the recipients of an ear rub here, a chin scratch there. It is a lovely way to slow down and end the day. The Dexters have been a wonderful addition to our farm. They give us Beef, Dairy products, beautiful Calves, mowing and weed removal services and fertilization, but also hours of fun and a daily laugh at some antic or another!
To enjoy other blog posts about our Dexters follow these links.
July is a voraciously busy month on the farm. It is a month where you are straddling multiple seasons- in the throes of Summer, prepping for Fall and planning for Winter. The days are getting shorter, the angle of the sun is changing, the harvest is reaching its peak and the farmer always seems to be in perpetual motion. One foot in front of the other, one chore after another, moving forward, feeling behind.
Our July has been exceptionally busy here at FullCircle Farm- gardening, weeding, watering, harvesting, cultivating, seeding, transplanting, thinning, trellising, mowing, composting, feeding, haying, watering, rotating, hoop coop moving, slaughtering, processing, breeding, brooding, hive inspecting, supering, canning, freezing, drying, pickling, jam making, equipment repairing, equipment building, tree cutting, limb chipping, wood stacking, sales & marketing, helping, laughing, loving, eating and sleeping well.
Even as overflowing as this July has been it has purpose and reason. It feels right, It feels good. It is where I belong.
Meet FullCircle Lucy the newest member of the FullCircle Farm Dexter herd. Lucy was born in the wee hours of the morning on June 10th. She is a dainty little package with long legs. Lucy weighs 48 pounds and is 24″ tall. She is RED, polled (no horns) and every inch is utter adorableness. Mom Eloise, Baby Lucy, Grandma Merrideth, Sister Maggie & Uncle Norman greatly enjoyed her first day out in the pasture.
FullCircle Lucy 2 days old
little calf… big tree
can’t catch me…
FullCircle Lucy- 2 day old, polled, red, Dexter heifer
Norman was born on May 18th. His breed is a Dexter. His color is Dun. We thought he was Polled (polled meaning that he didn’t have horns and would never grow horns). Well… on day 5 we noticed small little bumps on his head. Putting him in a headlock, we parted his curly locks and there they were, horn buds. Dang… so we took special measures to remove said horn buds. On day 8 of Norman’s young life we once again put him in a head lock, clipped off the curly locks around the buds, placed a pea size bead of a de-horning paste on each bud to kill the horn tissue and then gave him a very manly head wrap of silver duct tape to keep him from rubbing the paste off, and to keep momma from licking it off. He will get to wear his stylish accoutrement for several weeks. After the initial indignation he now seems rather full of himself and is enjoying showing off his special cap. And so Space Boy was born…