Shit: A Primer

becky

They don’t read this blog, you know.  LOL

Call me dumb. . .

Okay, Becky.  You’re dumb.

becky 2

Slander is spoken.  I am not talking out loud.  I am writing. The word Becky is looking for is libel.  And it doesn’t apply in this case, anyway. What I have written about Becky is my personal opinion, quite clearly.  Obviously, I haven’t done IQ tests on Becky, so I have no way to know whether or not she is mentally challenged.  My expression (blithering idiot) was hyperbole (look that up, please, Becky and Nicole) and therefore obviously opinion, which is protected speech.

But Becky did “research.”  What she means is that she Googled a bit. And she found out that human waste is sometimes treated and then sold as fertilizer.  Milwaukee, Wisconsin has been doing this for decades. The product is called “Milorganite.”  I’ve actually used it before.

It is treated. That’s the operative word here. Treated.  It is contained and treated.  Treated how?  Actually, that’s sort of interesting. It’s treated with microbes. They are introduced into the sewage and they quite literally eat it, and then they (the microbes) are killed. Milorganite is essentially dead bugs.

milorganite

Other plants treat human waste and produce what is called “biosolids.”

Remember that word?  Treated.

biosolids

Of course, our sewage gets treated and then “put into the ground somewhere.”  What else would we do with it?  Fire it into outer space?

But the issue here is human waste vs. animal waste.  Why do farmers spread animal waste on their fields, but the Nauglers can’t fling their poo all around like chimpanzees?

Becky obviously doesn’t know.  Nicole doesn’t know.  And Erin doesn’t know.  They aren’t the only ones.  They are just the folks I chose to quote.

with Frances

Here I go, off the subject again.  But not really.

This is Frances the cow. Standing in front of her is Claire, the first calf she had after she came to live with us from the dairy.  We were going to do everything “natural.”  I told Frances that it was going to be wonderful. She was going to get to keep her calf with her and she was going to love it so much.

And there they are, all happy. Day 2.

And it was great, for about two weeks.

And then it started being less great. Actually, looking back, it wasn’t great after about the first two hours, but I was too starry-eyed and wanting to do everything “natural,” to understand what Frances was trying to tell me. She can’t talk.

Frances was getting sick. Before we realized it, she had gotten quite ill.  She got a condition called “ketosis.”  If you know anything about the Atkins diet, you’ll recognize the word.  It simply means “fat burning.” The Atkins diet, intended of course for human beings, promotes ketosis because the condition burns up a lot of fat, thus causing weight loss.

People generally can handle mild ketosis without many problems.  Cows cannot.

Cows get really, really sick and the condition can be fatal.

Frances started looking and acting depressed.  She would walk in the barn and stand facing the wall like she expected the wall to move for her. She had “fuzzy brain.”  She also quit eating.

When a lactating dairy cow quits eating, you are in very deep trouble.

The condition in dairy cows occurs primarily when the cow’s calorie expenditure exceeds her calorie intake. No modern lactating dairy cow can eat enough calories to stay alive on just hay and grass.  Grain is required. But you can’t feed them too high a ratio of grain to grass or you’ll get their digestion all screwed up.  So it’s a balancing act and many of them walk that tightrope without a safety net.

Stress can be and often is the straw that broke the cow’s back.

So, when this novice cow-owner finally figured out that something was really wrong, we immediately jerked the calf off her and put the calf in a pen.  Frances, I swear, gave an audible sigh of relief.

I then began giving her molasses mixed in water (we call it “coffee”) to up her calorie intake and poured molasses all over her grain and hand fed her for several days.  She had obviously lost weight.  I felt terrible about it and frankly stupid.  It took her far longer to recover than it did for her to get sick.

And she never had that calf with her again.  Nor any other calf. Ever.

My cow loves being pregnant, but she doesn’t love mothering. She is really into her calves right after birth. She does the mama-moo thing (wonderful if you’ve never heard a cow do that) for about thirty minutes to an hour. And then she’s ready to go back out to the pasture for a snack and leave the calf with the nursery staff.  I am the nursery staff.

From that point forward, she pretty much ignores her calves and within a few days, couldn’t pick her own calf out of a crowd.

So much for “natural.”

So we put the calf in a pen. And that led me to feel sorry for the poor little calf in this stall all alone. So we got some more calves.

calves

[BTW, before Nicole can start, these are well-fed Jersey bull calves. They are skinny.  That’s how they come.  They grow like weeds and they stay skinny because they are making bone, not fat.]

We raise Jersey bull calves for our local dairy.  They buy them back from us when they get to the age where we can’t stand them anymore.  The dairy then chooses the bulls they want to keep in their herd and sells off the rest.

So it was all great.  Frances was happy and has never had a serious problem with ketosis again, and she is delighted that the nursery staff takes the babies. She gets them back when they are adolescents and they form her “herd” and she bosses them around.  It works.

But we began to have a problem.  A big one.

The first batch of calves did fine.  We have an old wooden barn with stalls.  We put the calves in those stalls and allowed them access to the breezeway as a run during the day.  They were bedded down on nice shavings and straw. It looked perfect.

calf in stall

We probably raised a dozen or more that way and everything was fine.

But then, they started scouring.

“Scours” is a farmer word for diarrhea.  Watery, awful, smelling diarrhea. There are several types, and the calf’s age and the appearance of the scours can vary depending on the causative organism.  Our calves are 3-4 days old when we get them, have had their mother’s colostrum, and they were getting sick about a week after they arrived on our farm.

We treated the scours and it got to the point that every single calf we got developed it.  Treatment consists of antibiotics to hopefully kill the causative organism and mostly of hydration, electrolyte solution around the clock.  If you can keep the calf hydrated, he will likely do pretty well.

And then we got Twister.

Twister

Named for the tornado shape on his head, he was a super big guy.

On his ninth morning of life, Dave went into his stall to give him his bottle and Twister was staggering.  He kept falling down and refused the bottle. He was scouring.

By 7 p.m. that day, he was dead.

I cried and sobbed and I just can’t tell you how upset I was.  He was our first death (of a calf).  I knew why he died.  I had no idea until then how fast and brutal it could be, but I knew why.

I just didn’t know how to stop it.

I began reading everything I could find about scours. We implemented one practice after another to cure the problem. Nothing worked.  Our calves universally got sick and what was worse, they seemed to be getting sicker. We had two or three near-misses with death, and then finally had another calf die.

At this point, I was trudging out to the barn every two hours around the clock to force-feed calves electrolyte solution and we were ready to just quit.

The problem, we knew, was manure. (You knew I’d get back to the subject at some point, didn’t you?)  There is no way in the world to sterilize dirt.  Our barn is old. We have had lots of animals in it, not just calves, but Frances and the donkeys and the bigger calves.  They poo a lot.

We tried deeper straw.  Didn’t help.

We tried cleaning the stalls out completely between calves and spraying each stall with an entire gallon of Clorox.  Didn’t help.

We tried separating the calves completely in different stalls.  Didn’t help.

We had to get those calves off that concentrated manury ground.  We thought about creating concrete pens that could be hosed off (complicated and expensive).  You name the idea and we considered it. But the big, underlying principle was that our calves were getting sick and dying because they had immature immune systems and they were being overwhelmed by organisms in the ground.

Out on a field, for instance, with beef cattle, the calves stay with their mothers and move around the field, never staying long in any place that is concentrated with manure.  (Although beef calves can get bad cases of scours and some of them die. Scours is the number one cause of calf death. )

Anyway, nothing worked. Nothing even helped.

And then we looked at how dairies do it.  You know, those evil, Big Agra, unnatural places that are cruel to animals.  How do they keep calves alive?

hutches

Like this.

This was not practical for us for a variety of reasons, but we started thinking about it. Those hutches are moved between calves to new ground, and the ground is dug out and the floors of those areas filled with new sand. The hutch itself is thoroughly cleaned.  Those calves don’t die.

calf pen bare

So Dave built this.  We now have two of them, the second one located to the left of the first.

The “floor” is made of milk crates turned upside down on a gravel floor. Dave dug out several inches of the stall flooring and filled it with gravel. This is a stall that we have never used for animals, but mostly for hay storage, so there is little to no build-up of manure.

calf in pen

Here’s a little guy in the pen.  We put a good thick layer of straw as bedding. The calf is not on the ground.  His feet never touch the ground.  Between calves, we take the whole thing apart, take the milk crates outside, hose them down, spray them well with Clorox (a whole gallon per pen is the rule) and leave them in the sunshine for a couple of days.  The wooden parts of the pen are saturated with Clorox, and of course, the feed and water trays are cleaned.

Our calves live here for three weeks. On Day 21, they graduate to the mob that live in the breezeway and stalls. By then, they have developed an immunity to the various organisms that cause scours (pretty much).

We have not had a death since we started using these pens.  We have not had a single case of scours. We’ve had a couple who thought about it, but one day of electrolyte solution and we’re good.  And we’ve raised maybe 20 or so calves this way.

The microbes in manure can be deadly.  Cow manure was deadly to our calves.  Poor little Twister.

So why are we more cautious about human manure than we are about cow manure?  Because we are humans.

Dave and I have to be really cautious about cow manure around baby calves.  People have to be cautious about human manure around people, especially the elderly and babies who have underdeveloped or failing immune systems.

There are organisms in human manure that are specific to human manure and harmful to humans and not to dogs or cows.  Ditto with cow manure and cows.

There are a few organisms that are present in all manure and pose a problem for people, mostly commonly listeria, e. coli and salmonella.  And in fact, those three manure-spread organisms show up in food-poisoning recalls over and over again.

And the biggest offender seems to be produce, but not just produce.  Specifically green leafy veggies that are eaten raw, like baby spinach and that bagged, ready-to-eat salad.  ( I won’t buy that stuff for that reason.)

Another interesting thing is that buying organic doesn’t help.

5 percent
click image for link

I was stunned to discover that of the recalls for those three organisms (listeria, e. coli and salmonella), way more than 5 percent have been organic produce or organic products.  The figure is about 25%.  I can’t link to anything because to figure this out, you have to find the stats and then laboriously go through and count them and look up each company to see if the product is labeled “organic.”  It’s tedious and this article is too long now.  But I won’t buy organic if I can help it.

Why is that?

It’s because organic farmers are far more likely to use manure on their fields since they cannot use chemical fertilizers.  Ordinarily that isn’t a problem. We use animal manure here on our garden.

But we don’t put raw animal manure right on the garden on our growing plants.  Do you know what happens if you do that?  The plant will probably die.  Manure has to “rot.”  It has to sit for a while.  Nobody would do that more than about once.

When farmers take raw manure out and spread it on their fields, they are not spreading it in their corn, or soybeans. They  are spreading it out on the grass. We do it.  There is already cow manure out there because that’s where Frances and the older calves live. We just add a bit more and spread it out.  We are not eating any of that grass. They are. And they carefully eat around the shitty areas until enough time and rain has occurred that they deem it okay.

So how does lettuce get contaminated with e. coli if the well-rotted manure is put on the lettuce field and plowed in?  The usual way it happens is that there is a pile of manure someplace near the field and the fresh manure is rained on and the run-off goes down into the field and gets on the lettuce.  It’s not the rotted stuff that is plowed in that hurts us. It’s the raw manure, with living e. coli in it that is culprit.

Notice the common denominator here?  With our calves, the issue was figuring out a way to keep calves away from a build-up of fresh manure.  With organic farming (or any other farming for that matter), the issue is keeping the crops away from any contamination with fresh manure.

So we’re back to shit.

Why are outhouses okay?  They’re okay, if dug properly, because the waste is kept from leaching into streams or ponds (the water supply), and because people can’t be exposed to it because it’s way down under the ground, and because the ground itself at that depth provides a good filter.  In practice, sometimes it isn’t really all that good, which is one reason people who are not on a municipal septic system (like us) generally have  septic tanks.

Septic tanks provide a safe, contained place for the waste to rot and then for the overflow (effluent) to be sent out into a drain field (all underground).  People are in no danger of being exposed to a properly functioning septic system.  Once in place, it’s a no-brainer and human error ceases to be an issue.

Humanure is fraught with chances for human error to screw up the whole thing.  At every step, it can be done wrong.  From spilling the bucket, to not constructing the compost bin in the right place or the right way, to not managing the compost bin so that it heats up correctly, to run-off, there are issues where those who are the neighbors of people who are using humanure systems have to trust that those crunchy,  back-to-the-land, self-described “beginner” homesteaders really read the book and are doing it right.

Why should the Nauglers’ neighbors have to worry about that?

 

 

38 thoughts on “Shit: A Primer”

  1. I cried when the calf died.

    Not as much as I did.

    I bawled when the other one died, too. By then, we’d had so many sick that I wasn’t naming them anymore and certainly not taking their pictures.

    I think about people who lived in cities like London or New York back in the bad old days, or those who live in slums in places like Mumbai today, and have to watch their babies die, helplessly. They feel like I felt only magnified a million times. I have lost a child and still cannot imagine how awful it would be.

  2. And all of this painstaking explanation of how stuff really works in the real world goes aground on the immovable reef of “I don’ wanna, I don’ gotta, I’m not gonna” that surrounds Naugler Island.

    But thanks for explaining how it all works. It’s fascinating. Not many people run cattle around here because we have very big bears; it’s all goats and ducks and so forth. Cattle are a closed book to me.

  3. A long time ago before I met and married the errant spouse (coming up on year 31), I dated a guy who worked for the Sanitation division of the LA Dept of Water and Power. He took me down to San Pedro where there was a huge wastewater plant. Outside the plant where there were occasional releases of cleaned water, there were tomato plants. HUGE producing tomato plants. For some reason of all seeds that we ingest, tomato seeds are not processed by the human digestive system nor the waste water treatment.
    I am astounded that the blessed little shit pile doesn’t have tomato plants growing there. Guess the Nogs don’t eat maters….

  4. I recommend that anyone who wants to learn more about the need for and challenges to good sanitation read “The Big Necessity” by Rose George. Her writing is entertaining and the ideas are important. Plus it includes trivia like how much your average poo weighs and how many cell phones go down the toilet each year.

  5. That was the worst learning experience I’ve ever had

    OMG, that is awful. I watched two die and just fell apart.

    For those who don’t know, so-called “intelligent design” was a complete fuck-up when it came to cows. Calves do not get immunity from their mothers via the umbilical cord the way baby human beings do (or puppies or kitties). They get nothing from their mothers and are born with no immunity at all. They get immunity from their mother’s colostrum.

    This sounds great, but it’s problematic. In order to absorb the immune stuff in the colostrum, the lining of their stomach has be very porous. It’s pretty much wide open at birth. The porousness subsides slowly over about three days. The rule here is that come hell or high water, we are going to get 1/2 gallon of colostrum down the throat of Frances’ calf within a half hour of birth if it’s at all possible. That’s not a wish. That’s an emergency and it’s imperative. Then the calf gets colostrum for the next three days.

    The colostrum slowly becomes more and more like regular milk (thus losing its immune qualities) as the calf’s stomach becomes less and less able to absorb the proteins.

    At the end of three days, you’re done. The calf now has his “starter” immunity. It’s only as good as his mother’s was, of course. We give Frances a shot leading up to her calving time that boosts her immunity to some stuff and that helps. Also the older the cow is, the more “strength” the colostrum has. Some dairies actually freeze excess colostrum from their older cows and toss the colostrum from the young ones.

    We freeze Frances’ since she gives in excess of what one calf needs. It’s good for about a year in the freezer and the dairy almost always ends up needing it. 🙂

    At any rate, it’s more than likely that the calves Crystal dealt with never got any colostrum at all. This is common with bull calves sold at auction. They die like flies because they are immune to nothing. The farmers who do this ought to be hung. They cannot use the colostrum commercially and it’s just laziness on their part. They don’t want to have to bottle feed those calves so they don’t bother, and it’s a death sentence.

    By the time a calf is about three weeks old, his own immunity system has kicked in started producing antibodies. He’s still fragile, but his chances of survival are far better than the little three-day-old guys.

  6. My mom bought 23 5day old calves all with scours. I was 14 or 15 and worked all day and night with those babies and in the end only 6 survived. That was the worst learning experience I’ve ever had never buy calves covered in manure even if they are only a dollar each.

  7. “My cow loves being pregnant, but she doesn’t love mothering. She is really into her calves right after birth. She does the mama-moo thing (wonderful if you’ve never heard a cow do that) for about thirty minutes to an hour. And then she’s ready to go back out to the pasture for a snack and leave the calf with the nursery staff.”

    Are you sure you’re not talking about Nicole? Because it sure sounds like her.

    Just sayin’

  8. We only had one calf scour in our homesteading time, and he made it. Maybe because the shed that came with the farm had cement flooring, more likely just luck. Your experience sounds heartbreaking.

    For the starry-eyed BLH commenters who think that farmers can just pile shit on the fields any old way and time, so why not the Nauglers, a little research might be in order. Manure management is a big, big deal. In our county, the creeks and ditches near farms are checked for fecal coliform, and if your operation is allowing runoff, you are in expensive trouble. Manure sprayers (yes, that’s a thing) can only be used in the dryer months, when the soil isn’t already saturated, and how much you can spray at one time and how close you can be to a water source is regulated. This is to protect both the fish in the waterways and everyone downstream.

    I’m an experienced composter. I layer my piles, turn them regularly, and pay attention to what goes in them. They get steaming hot. Nevertheless, I always end up with unsprouted weed seeds and unwanted critters–slugs, mostly–because no home system I know of can reliably maintain enough heat throughout the pile to kill all pathogens and colonizers.

  9. I always end up with unsprouted weed seeds and unwanted critters–slugs, mostly–because no home system I know of can reliably maintain enough heat throughout the pile to kill all pathogens and colonizers.

    Thank you so much for this whole comment. Excellent. I know that our local dairy has strict, really strict, guidelines they have to follow regarding manure. They bitch about it a lot. 🙂 But they do it. They all know why the rules are there, but it’s a pain. And yes, it’s about the environment and the rights of their neighbors and the rest of us. (We live two miles away, and just 1/2 mile from one of their large corn/soy fields.

    Cement flooring makes all the difference in the world. That’s what the dairy has for its calf pens and they rarely have a calf die. I wanted to pour a concrete floor, but there is no drain in the barn (the dairy has one and can just hose the whole thing down) and we couldn’t figure out a cheap/convenient/plausible way to do that. Our profit margin isn’t large in the first place, and adding a bunch of extra expense makes it not worth doing.

    I did talk with one dairy farmer who looked at some pictures of the barn and told me that trying keep newborns in those stalls was an exercise in futility. That’s when I really despaired and knew we had to find a solution that didn’t involve the ground.

  10. Nicole is so focused on being right that she has chased away her “fans”. I use to read the BLH blog out of interest. I used to comment. But now, I would never waste my time trying to have a conversation on BLH facebook or blog. Why would anyone want to participate on a facebook page or blog where you are required to support the author’s views? I like to be active on pages where adults can have real conversations. But on BLH, even if you are polite, she still blocks and deletes anything that she doesn’t like. Or she allows people to hammer you down to silence.
    The 40,000 people who once “liked” her page “unfollowed” her posts a long, long time ago. Who “unlikes” a page? No, you just click that little ‘unfollow” box in the corner. Sadly, even her popular posts aren’t being seen and liked by more than 1,000 people anymore.

  11. Epidemiologists, if they’re aware of the naugdisaster, must be alternately shaking their heads and beating their heads against the wall. My word, we learned about cholera being waterborne in the mid-nineteenth century (thank you immensely John Snow) and not to put septic next to water sources. We learned that nasty and dirty environments led to septicemia and generally death (thank you Ignaz Simmelweiss). We learned that microscopic organisms caused disease (very generally and thank you Louis Pasteur). We learned how to keep infection from happening during and from surgery (thank you Joseph Lister). All of this a century or more ago.

    By the way, cholera doesn’t care what century or country you live in. If you set the conditions for it, it will happen. Case in point was the civilian prison camps operated by the Japanese during WWII. They were overcrowded, had very limited facilities and sanitation, and the inmates had a very limited diet in variety and quantity and had great difficulty keeping clean. Cholera happened in many of those camps. In one case, a stream that inmates were supposed to draw drinking and bathing water from was immediately downstream from a latrine. In short, inmates would be weakened by the poor diet, endure starvation much of the time, drink unboiled water, and the resulting diarrhea would be fatal. The Nauglers sewage neglect and general lifestyle could very easily lead to similar conditions.

  12. What is this crap about quizzing,homeschool and curriculum??? What is she blabbering about.

  13. cholera doesn’t care what century or country you live in.

    Haiti, 2010. The epidemic is still raging and more than 9200 people have died. And that’s with good antibiotics. It began because of the earthquake which destroyed much of the infrastructure.

    And in a disaster situation, it could happen here.

    This is one of the reasons why I think people should actually obtain a copy of the Humanure Handbook and understand it. For us on this farm, I would opt instead for using water from a nearby pond and flushing waste into our septic tank just like we do now. That would be safer. But everyone doesn’t have a septic system. Knowing how to properly compost human waste would be a pretty good thing to know in the absence of a municipal septic system.

    However, that would be just as a stopgap measure. And not with a cavalier attitude.

  14. There are Epidemiologists watching in horror, especially with regard to the sewage and the anti-vax issues.

    Cholera could be fairly easily treated with rehydration salts or an IV. This would depend on one seeking medical care, obviously. There are around 15-30 cases per year in the US, most of them imported. So it would indeed be possible to be exposed, though unlikely. However, there are much more common pathogens that could be spread via the fecal-oral route, such as hepatitis. It would potentially be possible to identify the feces donor through DNA if such transmission occurred, but it probably wouldn’t hold up in court due to the potential for sample contamination. Nonetheless there is or was a company that sells a DNA kit that allows you to ID the dog that shat in your lawn via DNA.

    But I digress. As a side note, there were many issues with Haiti after the earthquake, not the least of which was the lack of a distribution system. Many kind souls sent money that was appropriately spent on IV bags. Unfortunately when those bags got to Haiti they got stuck in port with no system to get them out to the patients. Public health can be hard.

  15. I moved from Chicago to Milwaukee one MONTH before the big HUGE Cryptosporidium outbreak in 1993, I have never EVER been sicker in my life!

  16. MyNameGoesHere–

    You are absolutely correct and, well, my mind is doing a violent BLECH at the thought of all the other pathogens that would have a field day in the human body. My mind is also doing a pretty violent cringe at the thought of IVs being administered to any Naugler kid. I hate needles under the best of circumstances (so I didn’t handle the homespun stitches with fish line story well, either). And you are absolutely correct on the humanitarian logistics difficulties (tragedies) associated with the 2010 earthquake.

  17. “She gets them back when they are adolescents and they form her “herd” and she bosses them around. It works.”

    I got a good laugh out of that.

    What are Jersey cows bred for if they make bone instead of muscle? It sounds like making milk is extremely hard.

    “At any rate, it’s more than likely that the calves Crystal dealt with never got any colostrum at all. This is common with bull calves sold at auction. ”

    Wouldn’t it be more financially sound to spend the time on that colostrum instead of letting calves died? Dead calf is worthless calf.

    “My word, we learned…”

    The Naug-way is let the kids learn on their own. WE learned because others already did the studies. Those kids have to learn for themselves, dammit!

  18. @Blessed Little Blogger: Milk-borne immunity also works in humans. There were issues, not germane to this post, which made the usual cluster immunizations and the regular schedule unfeasible while my children were infants, so the doctor had me make sure my own shots were up to date and nurse-nurse-nurse. (They are no longer babies and now get their shots on time, every time! Dear Lord, can you imagine enduring the flu in the Blessed Little Hobo Jungle?)

  19. Milk-borne immunity also works in humans

    I understand but it’s a different process entirely. Ruminants are a class all of their own. Their digestive system is nothing like ours.

  20. It sounds like making milk is extremely hard.

    Currently we have 7 bull calves in the pasture along with two donkeys. When Frances calves in a few days and starts making milk, she will eat as much as all those other animals put together. A Jersey cow can hold 9 five gallon bucketfuls of hay/grass/grain at once in her rumen (the largest chamber of her digestive system). She fills her rumen about twice day, maybe three times. A bale of hay weighs about 35 pounds. (sometimes more, sometimes less). She will eat a bale a day, along with about 10 pounds of dairy ration (grain). That’s a whole lot of food.

    Food is her main interest in life.

    Wouldn’t it be more financially sound to spend the time on that colostrum instead of letting calves died?

    They don’t want to spend the money for the labor to feed the calves. Somebody has to fill the bottles with colostrum and put them in bottle holders. And newborns often don’t know how to find the nipple, (and baby bull calves are the dumbest animals on earth) so somebody has to coax them. These very evil farmers just send the calves to the auction as quickly as possible. It ought to be against the law because, as Crystal found it, it’s a death sentence. It would be kinder to simply kill them at birth, but he figures he’ll get a few dollars for them.

  21. “For the starry-eyed BLH commenters who think that farmers can just pile shit on the fields any old way and time, so why not the Nauglers, a little research might be in order.”

    Sadly, we’ve all witnessed that a little research is all for naught when the BLH lemmings are at the wheel.

    weee…. splat!

  22. I knew none of this about raising calves and even less about ground contamination. Thanks for the education.

  23. “They don’t want to spend the money for the labor to feed the calves.”

    In an already-inhuane industry (I KNOW not all farmers are assholes), this makes it worse. As you said, why not put them down at birth? I don’t think animals that die on their own can be fed to other animals. Right? But if a calf was put down at birth, couldn’t it at least be used as feed or something? Not let it go entirely to waste?

  24. In an already-inhuane industry (I KNOW not all farmers are assholes), this makes it worse.

    This is not the norm. Our dairy-farm mentor has happy, well-cared-for cows. A dairy cow who is unhappy doesn’t produce the maximum she could in milk and that costs the farmer money. So dairy cows, in general, are well treated. And that dairy farm sells their little bull calves (some to us but they have more than we can raise). They often have a waiting list for them, and sometimes we’re on it.

    What is true of dairy cows is true of beef cattle, of pigs, or chickens or any other farm animal. Poorly treated animals do not produce well, any more than poorly tended gardens produce lots of veggies. The industry is not “inhumane,” generally speaking. Sure, you can find some heavily edited PETA videos if you want to and point fingers.

    Here’s a great example of what I am talking about.

    http://dairycarrie.com/2013/12/09/cowabuse/

  25. Newborn calves would not be fit for humans to eat. The meat is not really good when they are that young. That young it is called bob veal. The meat is almost jello like what little bit there is, as calves are pretty much skin over bones when born.

    Farmers breed in hopes to get a heifer so they can raise them to have stock to milk later on. Some do raise the bulls and get them steered and raise them for meat. Most farmers that do that will do it when they are using a smaller breed for first time heifers so to make sure they have a easy time having the calf. A cross breed with beef stock in it makes for better eating.

    I worked at a cattle auction for several years and every week we would have many calves come through the auction. Most of them were bulls. There were buyers there that would buy them and raise them up. Sure they got them cheap but buying a calf is like buying a pig in a poke.

    Most of the dairy farms around here feed the first few days of milking to the calves as they can not ship it any how. For the most part farmers take great care of their stock as that is their bread and butter. There are a few like with anything in life that treat them terrible but they are far and few around here. If a farmer can ship a healthy bull calf to auction they will get a few more bucks for it vs a sickly looking one. And the buyers buying them have been doing it for a while and know their stuff. Chances are the reason why Crystals mom got them so cheap was they came in piss poor shape and no buyers would buy them knowing it was going to be a bad outcome.

    And Kaylee just so you know most farmers treat their animals very well. How can you speak ill of a farmer when you belly is getting full as a result of a farmer? Farmers put in long long hours with back breaking work. Farmers are on duty 24/7 just to keep a farm running successfully. Sure there are a very few that are bad but those at least around here do not stay in business long. I know what farming is like grew up on one, hubby works on a huge dairy farm now. Myself I am grateful every time he brings milk home for me to make yogurt and very grateful when he comes home with meat for the freezer. We eat fresh meat that we know how it was raised vs the stuff in the store. Best meat there is will be home raised.

    As for killing the calves at birth hell PETA would really be up in arms about that. They already piss, moan and whine about milking cows. With out milk there would be no cheese, ice cream or yogurt well any that would be worth eating any how. Just think about eating a pizza with out cheese on it.

  26. We steer a bull calf once every couple of years and raise him for beef. Jersey beef is delicious. The fat is yellowish, not white like store-bought beef, but tastes great. Because dairy steers are bony (like dairy cows) there is a higher bone to muscle ratio (so you don’t get as much meat from them), but we don’t care. Once a steer is old enough to go out on pasture, he costs us next to nothing to feed from there on out. And he becomes Frances’ second-in-command.

  27. The best meat is home raised.

    People think they know what good meat taste like but if they have never had home raised they have no clue.

    We love it when they butcher at the farm and the dogs do too cause they get the heart, tongue, liver and other organs.

  28. Old time farm girl,
    PeTA thinks everyone should be vegan, so no ice cream, cheese, etc, unless it comes from something like soy.

  29. The ones my mom got first came from darigold to a farmer. Then the farmer decided he “bought too many” and brought them to auction. They were so bad they weren’t allowed in. That’s when my mom stepped in and said she would take them all. He was just unloading all the near death ones. My great grandpa even told her they were all dead calves, however no one told me that. Insted when yet another would die I was yelled at for killing another one. Then removing the poor babies by myself. The whole thing was just awefull all I had was a three sided barn/hay shed and a coral along the outside so they would wander out in the snow and inside. No heat lamps nothing for warmth. When I finally left at 16 I swore I would never have any animals ever. I could write a book about how not to farm maybe two.

  30. Oh, Crystal. I am so sorry. Your mom was. . . well. . . not wise. Of course, none of that was your fault.

    During the winter we put extra straw in the pens and if it gets really, really cold we add a heat lamp. We’ve also got an old quilt that we can drape over the pens to create something resembling little dog houses to help keep them warm. I don’t like to use heat lamps because that’s how you burn down barns in one quick easy step, but occasionally we do it. Typically, I just sort of bury them in straw.

  31. Lol that was nice but she was bat spit crazy like actually lived in a mental health facility a couple times. And a hoarder we couldn’t have a couple of rabbits we had 250. She’s still a hoarder but after she got brain damaged her mental health became a whole lot better. I know it sounds mean but she was a cruel person before the brain damage.

  32. https://www.facebook.com/MyBlessedLittleHomestead/photos/a.470055063006376.113424.470011369677412/1270857522926122/?type=3&theater

    Okay some of the yellow squash is over ripe thus the orange tint to it. The zucchini is what we call clubs as they are big and it takes them a while to get that big.

    Nicole claims they planted the seeds 4-5 weeks ago. I found a chart on squash and none of them are listed as ready in 28-35 days, not even close. If these did really come from their garden she is way off on when they planted them or they have become expert gardeners this year. Maybe it is the human manure? (I am being wise)

    Varieties of summer squash:
    • Crookneck: Aztec (55 days); Bandit; Crescent (53 days); Early Summer Yellow (53 days); Golden Dawn; Horn of Plenty; Medallion; Milano (42 days); Sundance (52 days); Supersett (50 days).

    • Straightneck: Butterstick (50 days); Early Prolific (50 days); Enterprise; Gold Slice; Goldbar (50 days); Multipik; Precious; Seneca Prolific (51 days); Sunbar (43-54 days).

    • Scallop or pattypan: Benning’s Green Tint (54-63 days); Butter Scallop (50 days); Golden Bush (68 days); Patty Pan (50 days); Peter Pan (60 days); Scallopini (60 days); Sunburst (50 days); Yellow Custard (50 days).

    • Zucchini: Ambassador (55 days); Aristocrat (48 days); Arlesa (45 days); Black Beauty (58 days); Black Jack (55 days); Chefini (51 days); Clarimore Lebanese (44 days); Cocozelle (striped-45 days); Condor (48 days); Costata Romanesco (80 days); Dark Green (44-60 days); Elite; Embassy (49 days); Gold Rush (50 days); Golden Dawn (45 days); Goldfinger (41 days); Greyzini (55 days); Jackpot; Lebanese Light Green (40 to 50 days); Magda (45 days); Midnight; Milano (42 days); Onyx; Raven (42 days); Ronde de Nice (45 days); Round Green (52 days); Seasons; Seneca (47 days); Spacemiser; Spineless Beauty; Tatume (52 days) ; Tipo (55 days); Viceroy.

    Link where info above was taken from
    http://www.harvesttotable.com/2009/03/how_to_grow_summer_squash/

  33. I’m going by the video of the garden. The plant I saw in that video was already showing blooms. Once a squash plant does that, the fruit is not far behind. I suspect she’s off on the time they planted.

  34. You have my deepest sympathies. It’s hard to live with family that is bananas.

  35. I’m new here, so I ain’t in the fight. But I am just curious, are you suggesting or implying I guess, that your calves died from the scours because of the Nauglers improperly implemented humanure installation?

  36. , are you suggesting or implying I guess, that your calves died from the scours because of the Nauglers improperly implemented humanure installation?

    No, I am not. My calves aren’t anywhere near the Blessed Little Property. My point in telling the calf story was that manure (in that case, cow manure, which is dangerous for calves) can make you sick. “You” can be calves (cow manure) or people (human manure). My calves scoured because they were exposed to organisms in the manure that they had little immunity against (there are several different organisms that cause scouring, but all of them are spread via manure). The same principle applies to human manure. There are young children living on the Blessed Little Dungheap, and there is a baby living next door, as well as an elderly man. Both groups (young children and the elderly) have less immunity than middle-aged folks.

    I feel sort of odd having to talk about this in such depth, and I am actually a bit discouraged and appalled that so many people seem to have absolutely no idea that human shit can carry disease that affects human beings. Has nobody at all ever read any history? Do people not know that crappy (!) sanitation was the cause of so much death back in the days before they figured out that disease isn’t caused by wind or air (“ether”)?

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