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Archives for October 2011

Down On the Farm: Dorothy and Sophia


 This is Dorothy. I bought her about 13 months ago at an auction. Her back story: she was the ‘family cow’ (basically a term for a non-commercial dairy cow who is used for milk production on a home –scale), her owner died and his kids didn’t want her. She looked so sad and confused at the auction. She was in a stall all by herself in a back corner. I was drawn to her immediately. I spent most of the day in the stall talking to her and petting her neck. The ‘real’ farmers probably thought I was nuts. We bought her bred, she delivered freshened had  Sophia about two weeks later.
Sophia Day 2 – See how Dorothy is always trying to lick the camera?
I love my cow. When we bought her her name was Friendly, and she really is. She loves people. When someone new walks in the pasture she’s the first to run (talk about scary, 900+ pounds at a full run AT you) up and slobber  sniff.  Up until yesterday I have never lived with my cow. She has been at my boyfriends mothers since we got her over a year ago.
Dorothy and Sophia, left, Mable and S’mores, right. Couldn’t this be a card for a Mother’s Day Buffet?

Dorothy is my miracle girl. (Warning! Sad story with a happy ending)
The Cow Who Lived – New Years Day
Last year, on December 17, 2010 Dorothy almost died. She got out of her stall and got her head stuck under a board trying to get to another animals food. My boyfriends mother (BFM) found her laying on her side with her head stuck. She removed to board and tried to get her to stand up. They tried to temp her with food and tried rocking her back and forth but she couldn’t stand.
Mike (my boyfriend) called me at work and told me what happened. At that point I didn’t realize how serious it really was. I left work and drove over to meet the vet. He tried to rock her and then used a cattle-prod to test her reflexes. I felt horrible, like I was being shocked. She didn’t stand but she did move her legs. He eventually told us that she must have hit her back on the wall and injured her spine. He didn’t know if the damage was permanent and he couldn’t  tell us if she would ever be ok. He gave us steroids and told us to come by the office for hiplifts to try and get her standing.
One of the worst parts of this ordeal was the weather. It’s December. In Central New York. Cold, Cold, Cold. Of course she somehow crawled out of the barn and was laying in mud (her body heat melted the frozen ground). I has begun compulsively reading anything I could about cow health and found out the bottom of a cows thermal neutral zone is 20 deg F. (That means an acclimated cow isn’t affected by the cold until it’s 20deg). My definition of cold changed. I checked the weather constantly. We made her an igloo. We piled hay bales around her for windbreaks and used a tarp to keep the snow off her. She hated it. The buckets and buckets of warm oat and sweet-feed mash I made helped a little. 
The second vet that came out told us that as long as she was trying (eating) we could keep her alive but the longer she was down the less chance there was she would recover. Cows are large animals and their muscles can atrophy very quickly. Generally with farmers, if they don’t get up that day they turn into hamburger. Before you hate on them, realize that it’s HARD to be a dairy farmer, they aren’t making money because they can’t charge what their product is worth. The ones I know try their best for their animals, but if it comes to feeding their kids or meds for an animal that might not recover the kids win. Off the soapbox now…
This all happened right around Christmas, I spent a lot of time crying and screaming. We had some moments hitting rock bottom. It was so cold the tractor wouldn’t start and we couldn’t get her to stand. She didn’t seem to be making progress and it seemed like everyone else was giving up on her.  I was literally crying all the time, in the car on my way to work, from work to BFMs house, on the way back to my house. Good thing I didn’t get pulled over right?
Mike and the Girls, she’s skinny and filthy but standing
Then the miracles started. We had a warm snap for a week or so before New Years. And she started moving. No one saw her so we don’t know if she was walking of crawling. I remember walking back to the barn to get aspirin (ever try to shoot a pill the size of your thumb down an angry cows throat?) and I walked back and she was 10 feet away from where she had been.
Fast forward 15 Days. New Years Eve. Walked out of the llama barn after delivering 3 goats (I am multi-talented) and saw a cow-butt sticking up in the air. I swear my world stopped. As soon as she saw us she lay back down. The next day we got the call that she was up AND WALKING. By the time we got there she was laying down (in the barn at least) but we got our miracle.  She had lost a lot of weight and was very filthy. She had mastitis in one quarter (more farm lingo, bacterial infection) that we treated with antibiotics. My boyfriend and I had actually decided to ‘pull the plug’ if she wasn’t up by Monday, THE NEXT DAY. I honestly don’t know how if we would have gone through with it.One of those things I don’t like to think about.
Grazing, she gained back all the weight she lost and more
Fast forward again. October 6, 2011. My girl is home with her baby happily grazing and laying in the sun. It’s been such a long bumpy road. I feel like we’ve finally come full circle with her. She has an admirer, Fred is completely enamored. They keen touching noses and he stares at her like a little boy with his first crush.
Love is in the air
linked up to Farm Girl Friday

Halloween Tour: Living Room

Check out Part Two: BuffetThe dinning room is a mess and the kitchen is still ripped apart so all you get is the living room! For now that is.

Stop one: The bookcase. Previously seen here.
Ignore the bowl, this is the only picture I got that didn’t have an awful shadow. It was moved to the buffet. I made the garland with my slice cutter. I used the Back to School card to cut out four different leaves in different sizes and added some fancy-ness dimension with watercolor pencils.


Stop 2. The TV stand.
Another leaf garland. Some pumpkins I bought last year on clearance and some flowers that didn’t make it onto the wreath.

Stop two: The Windows. These are the windows to nowhere. See the cat condo?
 I love my trick or treat banner. It was supposed to be in the dining room but it’s too long. I like it here though, the three sections fit nicely. I cut the triangles from black quilters cotton and cut the letters with my slice (candy from the Spook Alley card and letters from Noel) from 2 fat quarters.
Close ups. I love the little candy pieces.
Stop 4. The coffee table.

Rocking the yo-yo runner. I used this, the extra-large yo-yo maker from clover. This was a stash buster (or a way to stay off Horders). The felt was left over from a wreath, the buttons from my boys grandma and the orange (it has pumpkins!) from something last year. The cloth was a remnant from Joanns, organza with velvet spiderwebs and iridescent orange dots.

The tiles in the window were inspired by this from pinterest.

Once again. Used the slice, either the spook alley or spellbound card.

Uncooperative DIY Decor


Ever have a project that wouldn’t cooperate? This is the back story, I’ve put most of my decorating efforts into the dinning room and the living room is still a bit blah. I’ve got some of the more major things done, the hideous coffee table now has a cover, the windows have a valance and I painted the lamp base and covered the shade.
This is sort of a tricky space to photograph, there is no direct natural light at all. The original color was actually brown (the flash bleached it out) and made the room look like a cave. My grandmother and I painted it literally the day after we closed on the house. My grandmother lives to paint. I kid you not, she and my grandfather showed up with ladders, plastic, paint trays and brushes ready to go. 
 This is more or less what it looked like for the last 2 months.The ribbon rosettes matched the last wreath. See the horrible coffee table the tv sits on? It was my boyfriends for a million years before we met. It’s been the home of our TV since we bought it. The top is a wicker mat over a metal base and over the years its gotten broken and….. gross. For $9 dollars I bought 2 yards of clearance heavy-weight home decor fabric and made a cover.
It has slits on all four corners. We keep the Wii and DVD player on the shelf under the TV so we needed to be able to get to them. When we watch a movie we just flip up the front. We tend to watch more from netflix via the wii so it’s not much of an issue because the wii bar in on top of the TV. 
Now onto the uncooperative part…

We got two of these lamps from my boyfriends grandmother when she passed away in January. The shades I got a a garage sale for $1 each. I hate the finish on these lamps. Step one was to paint them. I used Rustoleum Hammered Copper. I use that for everything from the $3 shelf from hobby lobby to the frames for the cow pics.

Once again this is pretty bad for color. The walls are actually a light creamy yellow color. I covered the shade with some leftover dark brown burlap. It’s pretty puffy. And if you sit on the couch you can see up the shade. I’m waiting for it to grow on me. Or to find a another cheap shade. It’s probably going to stay at least  until the party. What do you think? Should I burn the shade? Keep it forever? Add something more?
I do like the way it looks all lit up…