First Calving

Estrella has been showing signs of nearing her freshening for the past while. Tuesday evening at chore time I checked her and told Lamar that I thought we might have a calf during the night. Sure enough, yesterday morning she dropped a big bull calf.

She’s a Holstein, and it looks like she’s going to give milk. The calf nursed well right away. We milked out her colostrum and got several gallons. This morning’s milking was about two and a half gallons, but it’s still colostrum. She’ll come into her milk soon.

We have a schedule where Lamar’s do the morning milking and keep it, and we do the evening and keep it. Having that much milk is going to be hard to keep up with, I expect. I’m feeding two kids right now, so we’ll be able to use some for them. Barbara is due to kid soon, and we’ll be able to feed her kids cow’s milk, as well.

Steph made butter today, and it turned out well. I made flavored yogurt last week that I thought was a success; Steph prefers plain or vanilla yogurt, so I want to try that with the next batch. We’re looking forward to trying ice-cream soon. But once Barb kids, we’re going to have to find other ways to use up milk.

Our neighbor gathers milk from various suppliers and sells it in Cusco–at least that’s what he normally does. With the quarantine ongoing, he is not gathering from his suppliers at all. He say they are all making cheese. He has a special permit from the police to go to Cusco to sell his own milk. I don’t know how successfully that’s going for him.

Things are very quiet around here. Lamar slipped into town yesterday to check on things and found them pretty much dead. The police are stopping all vehicles and sending them home. The streets were empty.

We heard from a few sources today that there is also a curfew. If you are caught out between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., they are threatening jail time. Peru is taking its quarantine very seriously.

Usually, we hear lots of traffic from the highway out the lane and from flights headed into Cusco. The road is mostly silent, and the sky is empty now. The silence is refreshing, actually, but it will be nice to have the activity back again.

Thanks to those of you who sent emails or messages sharing what’s going on in your lives. We may be separated by miles or by quarantines, but we can still talk.

Today is a sunny day. The boys and I worked at moving some dirt over to the garden plot for next year. We are using the old barn compost pile to build up a no-till garden like I’m used to. I want to spend the next number of weeks working at that occasionally. I’d like to have a pretty deep bed to work from.

After moving a number of wheelbarrow loads, we moved to the barn and started cleaning out the area where I’m bedding the goats down for the night. There was stuff from the goats to clean up, but there was other stuff to clear out, too. We were mostly finished by lunch.

I hear some thunder, so we may get rain again this afternoon. We’re nearing the end of the rainy season. Soon we won’t remember what thunder sounds like. I’m looking forward to going into our winter better armed for it. The nights are getting cooler, for sure.

After naps, we are moving to school. We’re going to experiment with afternoon school for awhile to see how we like it. With the way the schedule works out, I think it’ll be a success. Many of you parents are homeschooling now, too. How’s that going?