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Category: Farm Life

Life on a small family-owned Alabama cattle farm. We homeschool, farm, and enjoy living this life together.

Planted by the front door – Kate our Rescue

What do you have planted in the flower pot by your door? In ours most of the time we have a cute wild boxer-mix. Have I ever told y’all about Kate? She’s our rescue dog that sits … in strange places. Her choice of seats tends to be the highest she can find at the time. Or the oddest. See?

This just makes her all the more lovable. If you are able try rescuing dogs and cats, like Forrest Gump said, “You never know what you’re going to get”.

Cornbread Mama – I’m an Alabama farm mom who loves sharing this farm life and recipes. Thanks for stopping by, please come back any time!

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Calf No. 3 – Finally a Brangus Calf

Better pictures will come, but for now this is what I have.

Don’t ask me what it is about cattle farmers and black calves, but it’s definitely something. Some say they bring better money when sold, although I’ve not seen much evidence of this. Some say they look better, and I can see that –  they don’t show the mud and dirt like the lighter colored cows. But I think they just like them better. I know my farmer does. It may have to do with growing up on an angus/brangus farm. I find all things from childhood make me happy and I guess it’s the same with him – fond memories of his grandfathers and working on the farm.

Whatever the reason, the smile on his face this morning was definitely a genuine smile. We have our very first black brangus calf. Possibly a bull calf, still have to wait to get close enough to see. Mama #103 “Daisy” is a protective mama. A good mama. We’re glad to have her on the farm, although she didn’t give the normal indications that she was about to give birth. Cornbread Boy had no idea she was ready, normally there will be changes about the rear region, and they spend a lot of time off by themselves, as well as other things. He’s called most of them, but this one took us all by surprise.

They were feeding their bottle calves and he looked across the pasture toward the “bottoms” we call it and saw what he described as a mama cow and a small black glob on the ground. The glob was moving and he knew. He “hollered” at me and we jumped on the four wheeler – side note here, never grab crocs to go and see if there’s a new calf … NOT SMART … lesson learned. We took off and stopped a way off to walk the rest of the way so as not to scare her or make her angry. There he/she was, pretty as could be, still wet and not yet standing. Our beautiful black calf we’ve all been praying for. We pray for all our cows and calves … call it silly, but we believe God gave us these animals to take care of and that’s what we do.

If you or your kids are interested in how you know when it’s time, this is a handy website that’s pretty spot on. *Warning* there is graphic info here and not all kids are quite ready for that. But to most farm kids, this is nothing. The images are cartoons, so I find that helps a lot with the graphic-ness (if that’s a word). I find that although all this stuff can be labeled quite “gross” it helps them learn so very much about life in general and the processes associated therewith. There’s just so much you don’t have to explain about things when they’ve already seen it in the field.

Cornbread Kids’ Farm Question for you:
What’s the difference in a cow and a heifer?
Comment with the answer (without looking it up – no cheaters).

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Calf No. 2 of the Season Born

199-and-calf-2
Mama cow #199 “Scaredy Cat” and baby #2 born 11/10/15.
The first two calves of this season, quite uniquely numbered #1 & #2. However #1 has been named Tiger. We still await the name of #2.
The first two calves of this season, quite uniquely numbered #1 & #2. However #1 has been named Tiger. We still await the name of #2.

We awoke Tuesday morning, November 10, to greet a new baby to the farm. I knew something must be up when I saw Cornbread Daddy jogging to the fence at 6am. Finally #199 “Scaredy Cat” had her calf and although we were hoping for a black calf, we’re very happy to have a healthy baby girl (we think – the jury is still out on the sex). Back in the summer this cow arrived with a calf that had already been born (Lily – Cornbread Boy’s calf), so we were not sure if she was bred or if our bull would do the deed (the calf was just old enough that we knew she was probably ready again). I guess we know now … thanks but no thanks Randy the bull.

Which brings me to some interesting cow facts:

  • A Brangus cow’s gestation period is about 290 days, while an Angus cow’s gestation period is about 285 days. A human’s gestation period is about 9 months, or 280 days. Our cows are Brangus if you missed that post.
  • Calves weigh approximately 60 pounds when born and are up hopping and running within a day. My favorite time of the day is right before it starts to get dark, and the calves get spunky and race around the pasture like it’s Talladega.
  • Twins are not usually a good thing when it comes to calves. Our very first birth on this farm was a twin calf birth. While it turned out very well for us, it doesn’t usually. It may have something to do with the water around here though. Since my grandmother (who lives and was raised here) and I both had twins. Usually the cow mom rejects one baby and doesn’t feed it or care for it. Thankfully Cornbread Daddy knew some tricks to help and she did all she could to take care of both of them. Eventually we pulled one off and bottle fed it to give her a break. They both raised well and were healthy beautiful calves named “Briana & Lucy”.
  • Mama cow #199 “Scaredy Cat” and baby #2 born 11/10/15.
  • The first two calves of this season, quite uniquely numbered #1 & #2. However #1 has been named Tiger. We still await the name of #2.
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Good Mooooooorning Friends

I hope that you approve of the new blog theme here at Cornbread Mama, I worked hard to find one that I liked and that looked nice and clean and bright. I also hope that your Saturday finds you smiling & happy, and if not, maybe that picture put a little smile on your face.

Cow Tip No. 4 {Cow Tips 1-3 found in previous posts}
Cows only have front teeth on the bottom of their mouths, hence the toothies in the photo. However instead of top front teeth they have a hard “dental pad” that they use together with their bottom front teeth to munch on grass. They do however have teeth in the upper back of their jaws.

 

Gus says Hi as well
Gus says “Hi!”

Today I shall introduce you to the new DE-luxe birthing suite on the farm. Complete with panels, a couple of walls to block the winter winds, IMG_3733and some sweet feed you’re sure to find the new birthing suite here to your heifer’s liking. After a long winter calving season {not our choice} we have built this area for the ladies to have their babies in so that they can have some of the wind blocked & keep the frost off of the new born babies. This should keep them from getting too terribly cold. I am sure mamas and babies will be very thankful for this addition to the farm. I know the farm hands, myself included, will be.

Now if they will only be so kind as to space the babies out as well as they did last season so that there’s not a line of expectant mama cows waiting for a bed. Thankfully our cows can also frolic in the green grass all winter long thanks to Cornbread Daddy and his rye grass seed. I do believe our cows are getting a bit spoiled. Happy cows not only live in California now, but here in Alabama as well.

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Got Milk?

Cornbread Girl with three bottles
Cornbread Girl with three bottles

Morning, noon, and night … That’s when they feed their cow babies. And while that’s not nearly enough for them to understand what it was like for me when they were little, it does give this mama of twins a little bit of satisfaction … Imagine a tiny Grinch smile from me here.

Three babies, three bottles, three times daily – and when your Cornbread Brother is sick and you have to do it all on your own it’s even more of an experience. They made a deal when they brought the calves home, he will make two bottles and she will make one, but she’ll clean them all afterward. Today she had to do it all! I did help her feed them the bottles, I’m not completely heartless.

I’m just so proud of this girl and her willingness to work and help feed her animals. Both of them have excelled at being farm kids and want to be something to do with animals when they grow up. She wants to be a Veterinarian and he some sort of farm-related study. He can’t handle the gross stuff like she can. So whatever the future holds I rest easy knowing my kids will have some real life experience on a farm and should be able to raise animals to feed their families in some way. God bless all the farm families out there this morning doing what they love, Happy Farming!

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12 New Hooves on the Farm

What did your kids ask for for their birthday? Probably something normal, like Legos or such. Ours? They asked for money so that they could buy bottle calves to raise and sell to get more beef cows. And our generous friends and family made that happen. Yesterday we traveled to the dairy farm at Mississippi State and brought home three new babies, two Jersey bulls and one Holstein bull (black & white like Chick-fil-a cows). You see on a dairy farm they have little need for bull calves so they must find somewhere for them to live. That’s where we came in.

Meet Copper, Buck, and Gus (Holstein). Yes, we named them, and yes, that’s generally a bad idea when you plan to sell an animal, but we did it anyway. I was allowed to name Gus because he was the third wheel. Our original plan was to get them two each, but they only had three available. There still may be a fourth coming, but as for now we’re unsure.

The first day with the calves. Nap time.
The first day with the calves. Nap time.

“They were sleepy after their morning bottle,” they said. This is where I found them. Mr. “I can’t stand people taking my picture” was all too eager to have his photo taken with Gus asleep in his lap.

They have been reminded that this is a project and that we will have to let them go one day. However, I know there will be many tears shed on that day by yours truly as well. They are the sweetest, cutest babies and they love being rubbed, which is something that our other calves are not so keen on. Our calves are left with their mama and she usually makes them skittish of humans. But not these.

Buck, a Jersey calf
Buck, a Jersey calf

It’s hard as a farm mama to find a balance in teaching your kids to love animals, and to take good care of them, while trying not to get too attached.

I guess it’s really like other life lessons … do you not love someone or something because you know one day you may be hurt? No. What life would be worth living without loving something or someone else?

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Good Morning Glory

It’s morning on the farm. Coffee has been poured, breakfast made for Cornbread Daddy and as is the custom Cornbread Boy headed out to check his cows. We have one who is just about to pop and we eagerly await, what may be our first Brangus calf to be born. This past season we had only Brangus/Charolais mix calves, which are a white/gray or red/tan color.

Cow Tip #1 Haha, Cow Tip, I crack myself up 
Brangus are black, Charolais are white. 

Charolais Calf and Mom, born Oct. 1, 2015
Charolais Calf and Mom, born Oct. 1, 2015

Cornbread Daddy was raised on an Angus/Brangus farm, he loves his black cows and was very happy that this season we had an Angus bull to breed our Brangus cows (our one Charolais cow was already bred when she arrived, so she had a pure Charolais calf since the bull from the pasture our cows came from was a Charolais as well – see pic to right).

Cow Tip #2 
Brangus cows are a mixture of Angus (black) and Brahman (white) that have been bred since 1932 and are now completely black with come dark red brindle only visible in the sun. They were bred to combine the good traits from both breeds and are now great maternal cows that have an easier birthing process and resistant to some problems of other breeds.

Angus Cow
Angus Cow
Brahman Bull
Brahman Bull

When Cornbread Boy came bursting into the house and asked me to come check on our expectant mother I agreed and we set off to stare at a cow’s rear-end. This is something that you become accustomed to on a cattle farm, I have learned. Our son has learned all the signs and has “called” the last few cows when they were about to give birth. We’ve given him the title of Ultimate Cow Midwife, he freaked out a little when I called him a midwife, but then I explained. He knows what signs to look for and when Cornbread Daddy wants to know some info on some random cow, he asks the boy. It’s been such a good experience for us all, I just can’t help but smile at God’s providence and his timing.

"Tallulah" Our Brangus Cow - #158
“Tallulah” Our Brangus Cow #158 & her sisters

It just so happened to be that we began our homeschool adventure the same year we started our cattle farm? No, I don’t think so. If you take the time to look, you can see God’s hand in every minute of your life. If he was still in public school I know that our farm would suffer. He pays such good attention to the animals and takes very good care of them that I can’t help but smile as I watch him, without fail, wake up early to go and check water buckets and to just taken a general inventory of all his bovine friends. As well as taking breaks throughout the day to check and re-check and then check again. Oh how much my children have learned about life this past year, and it has very little to do with my instruction. It’s a family learning adventure and we are so much closer because of it.

Cow Tip #3
Get to know some local farmers, spend some time with your kids hanging around a farm and learn all you can. Volunteer to help at a farm, you will learn so much, not only about the animals but about your family as well.

 

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Help me!

If I’ve pinned one pin regarding how to keep my house clean, I’ve pinned a million. See. I try and I try to find a schedule/list that works for me. But I’ve discovered I’m just not a schedule/list person. Things happen and things change and it just doesn’t work for me.

Here’s a post that I made, Your Family Cleaning Plan Checklist.

Cleaning Checklist
Cleaning Plan – Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, and Annually

 

Now that my house is {almost entirely} clean because of the recent birthday party, I really really really – like stomping my foot REALLY – want to find something that works for me! I don’t want to live in a museum, but I would like to be able to invite people in without them gasping.

As you can see, having a list is not a problem. It’s just that I never stick to them for very long. That’s what I mainly need help with. List or no? What works for  you?

My kids already do chores which helps a lot. I’ve tried the “Never leave a room empty handed” thought process, but my thought process is usually bogged down and that little hour glass just spins and spins up there in my head without very good results.

So yesterday I started making another list. Yes, I’m a list maker. But this time, I made a list of the things that make me feel my home is not clean enough. Things that I feel people walk in and notice first thing.

  1. Living Room – This is the first room that you enter in my home, and it’s usually cluttered with kid-stuff, parent-stuff, shoes, cups, etc.
  2. Laundry in the living room – One of the first things you see as you enter our home is a very comfy looking big chair and ottoman, although you cannot see it completely for all of the piles of clean clothes to fold.
  3. Dirty/cluttered countertops – The kitchen is the main problem. We have very limited counter space to begin with, throw in a couple of piles of dirty dishes and/or papers piled high, and I begin to hyperventilate.

Driving home I have all these great ideas of what I’ll do when I get home, number one being CLEAN. Then as soon as I walk through the front door I feel overwhelmed and want to nap. So I will be working to keep on top of these three areas so that I will not feel like it’s impossible as soon as I walk in the door. That makes sense to me. And I am very hopeful that this will help in my process of cleaning.

I also plan to incorporate a final walk-through before bed, straightening, throwing away toys left out … yes, I am at that point, and they know it – there’s a Nerf Rebelle crossbow in the trash as we speak. At eleven years old they should be able to help and not hinder. If it’s left out overnight, it will be trashed/donated in the morning. Here’s hoping it will help.

I hope you find real solutions that help you as well. Please feel free to comment with your tips and tricks for what works in your family!

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Missing Files: Boy/Girl Good Morning/Good Night Checklists

So I recently updated my blog and it seems I have lost many things, so here are some posts I have requests for.
**However after further searching, I found only the links to the posts had changed. Here is the original link for the black/white version, and here’s the link for the color version.

Feel free to download & print this checlist

Printable: Boy Checklist


Checklist for Girl

Printable: Girl Checklist


Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist - Boys
Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist – Boys
Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist - Girls
Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist – Girls
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My Twins’ Birthday

Elpreg twins bigeven years ago today we sat – well he sat, I was laying down – in the hospital eagerly awaiting our first {and only} children. Twins. My pregnancy was, what I think, pretty easy. I don’t have anything to compare it to, I only had the one pregnancy. Other than the fact that I was quite as big as a cow, which is to be expected with twins I guess {note photographic evidence at left}. Toward the end of my pregnancy I was fairly uncomfortable, mostly in my ankles, because they were swelling. Overall the pregnancy days were happy days. I rested a lot, I watched this wrestling match in my ever expanding belly from the outside, I ate some, I wished I could eat more, but there was no room to put it. I liked being pregnant.

So the big day comes, at dawn we walk into the local women’s hospital to be induced at 38 weeks. “Remember, don’t leave me alone!” I remind my husband of our previous conversation. He remembers. Inside the nurses do their ‘thang, and we begin the process of becoming parents. {Notice I said nurses, because they did all the work! The doctor only came in after they had been with me all day. I thank God for nurses!} The day rocks on, not much happening, until late that afternoon/evening. Then I think the pitocin kicked in.

With twins they make you deliver in the operating room so that if there are any issues they can handle it quickly. I looked around and there were quite literally 50 people in the room {I may exaggerate but not by much}. Two teams, one for each baby, just in case. After a little bit we have our beautiful tiny baby girl, 5 pounds even. I can still see the image of her frozen in my mind as they handed her to the doctors with her tiny little fists balled up at the end of her straight arms reaching for the ceiling. She was healthy, although she didn’t cry as much as they wanted. She was perfect.

“Just a few seconds and he’ll be here,” I remember the doctor saying.

Well, that doctor lied. It was 5 and a half hours – HOURS – did you catch that? F.I.V.E H.O.U.R.S. later sweet baby Jake was born via c-section. All 7 pounds & 1 ounce of him. Oh, we worked in those 5.5 hours, and by we I mean me. We pushed, I’d rest, they’d give me more and more pitocin, I’d nurse my first baby, we’d try some more… nothing. Finally about 10pm the doctor said, “We’ll try again in a little bit, the baby is fine”. I said something along the lines of, “I KNOW HE’S FINE, GET HIM OUT!”.

But somewhere in the middle there, was where the world shifted. That tiny little girl changed my heart and soul and mind completely. “Don’t leave me alone!” I remember telling my husband as we came in that morning. By the time she was born and we were waiting on our little boy, in those minutes or hours they needed to take her to the nursery, and that’s it. My world changed. “YOU GO WITH HER!” was my new thought. And my big old tough husband and I agreed at that second, without any more words – they are our priority. Our lives were not about us any more. We weren’t having babies because we wanted babies. We were being given babies to take care of and that was the purpose in our life now and forever.

Eleven years later
Eleven years later
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