Updated: Jul 30
Hi all! My name is Madison Busse, and I am a senior in college at the University of Findlay. I am from Ohio, so here at the farm I'm quite a ways away from home, but Kathy sure makes it worth it!
May 11, 2020: Today was day one for me, I had worked with sheep, cows, goats, and pigs at the University, but had never milked any kind of animal before. This morning, I got to watch as the cows were milked. Dottie, our newer milking cow, apparently likes to try to get you with her bodily functions! After she was done, I got to help, and even finish milking the goats and sheep! By the time afternoon milking came around. I was able to milk all the goats and sheep by myself, while Kathy did Dottie since she's still a little sensitive. I really had a memorable first day, and think I'm going to really enjoy my time here!
May 12. 2020: Day two! I milked goats and sheep again this morning, and then got to show some very nice families around! I didn't think I would enjoy spending time with families as much as I did, but it was very fun getting to show them around and answer as many questions as i could. After a much needed nap that Kathy had to wake me up from (OOPS!), I started our afternoon milking, and this time I got to milk Dottie all by myself. Aside from the occasional kick, she did very well, and didn't even try to dump any bodily fluids on me! Now I'd say that's progress.
May 13, 2020: This morning, after milking was done, I decided it was time to shear the sheep! I'd never sheared a sheep before, so it took me most of the day to just do one side of the poor girl. Decided to give her a break and come back to her tomorrow though! Unfortunately she kicked the electric shears into my hand and sliced my palm open, but that's the risk working with the animals, and I learned an important lesson, always wear gloves!
May 14. 2020: Today I finished shearing the sheep I started yesterday! No cuts, and it went much faster today. Now she's naked, but with this 80 degree weather we're supposed to be getting, she should feel much better. Another intern and I, Allie, worked together today to give Prohibit (a dewormer) to our goats as well. They didn't like it very much, but they'll be feeling much better soon. I also got to help Kathy harvest the herbs and hang them up to dry, as well as making chive and salt chevre, YUM! That one is definitely my favourite! I did have a bit of a moment when I took the girls back to pasture after PM milking, as Valentine decided she wanted to stop in the middle of the road away from her pasture, and stand firm. Kathy came up to help, and gave me plenty of support as I managed to herd Valentine back with her pals, VICTORY!
May 15, 2020: I started another sheep shearing this morning! Freckles, our black sheep, was the one I chose since not only did she have a lot of wool, she's black, so she'd get much hotter much faster. She's a little sensitive when it comes to being handled, so I got half way done and will be finishing tomorrow! As for the rest of the day, I'm redoing the flower beds around the blacksmith shop today, as they're a little messy!
May 17, 2020: After milking today,Kathy put me in touch with Kim, the woman who teaches our horseback riding classes. It's been a very long time since I rode a horse, almost five years to be exact. My horse passed away, so it was very hard for me to get back on, but Kim supported and helped me every step of the way, and I was able to comfortably ride Marble!
May 20, 2020: Today, Allie and I did faecal samples of our sheep. It was the first time I've ever done them, so it was a very new learning experience! We had a lot of fun, as well as learned that we also needed to give our sheep Prohibit to get them feeling better as well! Both of our pregnant Jersey cows are bagging up, which means we will have babies soon! I couldn't be more excited for them. Allie and I also started making a sheep and goat Manchego combination today!
May 21, 2020: Dottie and I are making good progress in our friendship, she even let me give her pets today! She's a big fan of chin scratches and forehead scratches too!
May 25, 2020: Today was an interesting day, as we decided it was time to start halter training the lambs. My genius idea was to start with the ram...that didn't go as well as I imagined it would. He was not a fan, but little by little he will get better!
May 26, 2020: today I made lots of different chevres! Chive & salt (my favorite), Honey & cinnamon, Pineapple & sage, and even natural! Kathy even let me try my hand at making my own flavor, Lemon, rosemary, & mint! Its pretty awesome, and defiantly one to try, and I'm not just saying that because I made it!
June 1, 2020: After coming back to the farm from a weekend at home, I discovered that not only had the cows waited for me to get back to calve, but we also had a surprise goat kid born on Sunday! Me and the girls have given him the name Albert, and for such a tiny little baby he sure has some spunk!
June 3, 2020: Trixie had her calf last night! She's the cutest baby, and I've named her Bonnie! Albert also helped us milk this morning, as he was screaming his little head off when we went to milk his mom!
June 4, 2020: Bonnie had some halter lessons today. She defiantly did a lot better than the lambs and kids, and is just a wonderful little calf! She loves to run on what is supposed to be a walk, and even likes to talk to the other animals. She had a small conversation with our ram, Rambo, and then a very lengthy one with our black rooster. She's catching on to drinking from the bottle very quick, and is the most popular girl around!
June 7, 2020: Our second calf was born! It's a boy, we have our partners in crime, Bonnie and Clyde.
June 8 to June 11, 2020: This week we unloaded and stacked about 1000 bales of hay!!! The heat was brutal and it was exhausting, but we worked together to get it done. Kathy even bought us pizza for doing such a good job! We also processed our first set of meat birds this week, which was super messy but also very cool to be able to do. With those two things going on, we didn't have much else out of the ordinary.
June 16 to June 21, 2020: This week was one that involved a LOT of cleaning! I cleaned fridges, the milk room, water buckets, stalls, I even cobwebbed. It's a good thing I enjoy cleaning, cause man that was hard!!!
June 22 to June 25, 2020: Camp started this week, not too crazy though, as we only had one or two kids a day. I enjoyed spending time with the kids, as some of them ask questions you never even think a child would know to ask. I also had to "kill" the utter on one of my favorite milking sheep, which was hard for me but in the end I know it's better for her.
July 7 to July 9, 2020: Since returning from vacation, I've been helping with horse camp! Since it runs from 8:30AM to 3:00PM, I don't get to do much else but boy are these kids fun! They ride their horses at the start of each day, and then Allie and I always have fun activities for them! They even get to have a horse show for us tomorrow!
July 13. 2020 to July 19, 2020: This week, aside from milking and normal chores,I helped with farm camp. Although we only had two kids, it was busy! We showed the kids how to milk, how to trim hooves, grind corn, feed the calves, make corn muffins, and we even built a cart for one of the goats to pull. We also taught the calves how to drink their milk from buckets instead of bottles!
July 20, 2020 to July 23, 2020: This week we moved the goats and sheep to AM only milking. We started getting little to no milk out of the goats at night, up to 1 gallon total out of all 12. They're getting ready to dry up soon, so their production is quite a bit less! We also processed our second bath of meat chickens on Thursday morning, and then me and all the camp kids were tasked with rounding up all the duck eggs so we wouldn't have any more ducklings! Although we found some good ones, and some rotten ones, we also found a large clutch with almost ready to hatch babies! Per Kathy's instruction, we put them back under Mom to finish growing!