Thursday, July 2, 2009

Introducing Marlow!

A few picture updates before we get to our new friend....

Here is our greenhouse. The roll up sides are in action, and they are pretty cool. Shade cloth has been ordered and is on its way - a necessity in this Colorado sun!

What you see in here is a work in progress... lots of things plants, as well as lots of weeds. We are working on it!!

Just a shot of some of our orchard trees. I hung CDs from the trees to try and scare the birds away. I can't wait until they start to bear fruit this fall! I am looking up all sorts of fruit recipes - cobblers, pies, muffins, tarts - YUM!

Here are our most recent baby chicks - Cornish Rocks for meat chickens, my black and white Silver Lakenvelders, and my one little mystery chick that we hatched right here. I have 3 more eggs that are due to hatch in 10 days!

And here is our new friend, Marlow the cow! He is a cast off from a dairy farm. Boy cows are no good for the dairy, so he was taken from his mother, along with 5 of his friends. He's very emaciated (I suspect at a couple of weeks, he may have been weaned too early) We are bringing him home to raise him on the pasture, and eventually eat him.

We are bottle feeding him, and he LOVES us. Atlas doesn't like him, he's scared of the sheep and they are scared of him, and Hobbes thinks he's just another big dog to play with. He's very friendly, and we want him to stay that way - when he's full grown we do NOT want him to get mad at us!

We're trying to turn this bull calf into a steer calf, and apparently he's been banded twice and gotten the band off. We think the equipment we have to band the lambs will work on him (seriously, sheep have large testicles - his are smaller than our lambs) But we sort of want to shut down his hormone production in an effort to keep him from getting aggressive. If a sheep wants to get mad and butt me, they can knock me on my duff. If a full grown, or even half grown bull wants to do the same - he can kill me. So we want him to stay a gentle giant.

People keep telling me that you can't name something you are going to eat, so why did we name Marlow? Well, first, try and stop me from naming an animal! Second, I can name something and still eat it. We ate Linus or Charlie Brown, and Lenny or Squiggy (we don't know which ones we got and which ones we sold). I still ate them! But to me, naming them means I care about them. That's why *I* raise animals. This guy could have been tied to a pen and turned into veal. Or he can come to our house, have a pasture full of grass, friends to play with, and an idiot like me who will scratch him behind the ears. Part of why I think our animals do so well is because they are loved and cared for. Marlow is my friend. He's not a commodity. He's not inventory on a shelf. He's the little baby calf I always wanted. And I can love him, name him, pet him, hug him, and still eat him one day. I'm OK with that.