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What’s New with Jane

November 28, 2011

She’s growing like a weed, that’s what.

She is a lover.

You know how you don’t notice your kids growing?  Well, it’s the same with calves.  Jane is big girl.  Already much taller at eighteen months than her momma was as a full-grown cow.  She probably won’t get much taller, but will start to fill out more.  At three months into her first pregnancy she still has that heifer look.  No sagging yet.  Enjoy it while you can Baby, it’s all downhill from here…literally!


Jane is getting a new halter for Christmas, courtesy of Hangdog.  I got the shock of my life when we were measuring the too small halters we had hanging around.  I decided to try Della’s ratty turn-out halter on Jane, and it was too small!  I got it on her, but there was no adjustment left.  Della had plenty of room in that halter.  Good thing he bought extra leather!


Another big difference is that Jane is doing well with the mangels.  I had given up on them with Della, since they made her a little too loose in the stool department.  Not fun, when you’re intimately involved with daily poop pickup in the winter.


I only planted mangels this year because I was tired of looking at that 5-year-old seed in my seed box and couldn’t bear to waste it.  The seed germinated well and we have a fine crop, although not near enough to take Jane through the dark days if she was lactating.  Soooo, next year, I will plant more, and this winter I will be concentrating on steckel selection for saving seeds of the Golden Eckendorf  I planted this year.


Ah, next year.  The gardeners lament.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen Peavey permalink
    November 28, 2011 11:22 am

    I have been looking for mangel seed and can’t find any. I live in north east Georgia want to grow some for my goats. Where did you get them from? Thanks Ellen

    • November 28, 2011 8:06 pm

      Ellen, Shumway, Jung, Johnny’s Fedco and probably Baker Creek too. Look in the farm seed section, most of the time they are listed with cover crop seeds. 🙂

  2. November 28, 2011 3:01 pm

    LOL @ the “next year” bit. Too true! Next year I won’t bother with such and such, next year I’ll know what to expect… I’m still banking on that mythical “next year” finally showing up one of these years. 😉

    Jane is a beauty! I can’t wait to see her little bambino! Remind me again when she is due to calf?

    • November 28, 2011 8:08 pm

      Michelle, Next Year is definitely a myth…gardeners are eternal optimists!

      Jane is due about the first June 🙂

  3. November 28, 2011 4:04 pm

    I am deeply in love with Jane. What a gorgeous girl she is growing up to be!

  4. Marcia permalink
    November 28, 2011 4:15 pm

    We grow lots of mangles for the cows and chickens…would like to start saving seeds….so what’s steckel selection?? Jane is looking good! 🙂

    • November 28, 2011 8:20 pm

      Marcia, the roots must overwinter in order to make seed the next year. To maintain your variety for more than one generation select about 25 roots that have the characteristics that you want. If you want big ones, save out the big ones and protect them from freezing, if you want mediums save those. Beet seed if properly grown and kept from rain and irrigation during the ripening process should keep 10 years or more if stored correctly. Beets are wind pollinated (that’s why all the fuss about GMO sugar beets) so make sure you don’t have any beets or chard bolting during bloom time. You need about 1/4 mile isolation from other beets going to seed.

      Jane is looking good, I can’t believe my good fortune. I’ve only seen a few of her Mom’s devilish traits so far 😉

  5. November 28, 2011 6:06 pm

    when do you select your steckel? do you let them over-winter first, or do it now and store or replant?

    • November 28, 2011 8:34 pm

      Ben, I look for them as I dig, and store the good ones where they won’t freeze, and then replant in spring. The parsnips don’t freeze so I just make a mental picture of where the good ones are in the row, and dig and replant after inspection in the spring. I don’t like seed to seed (not inspecting and leaving in situ) because that is why you getting bolting biennials. Roguing out bad plants in the seed crop is not very common place anymore, but for the home seed saver can be a lifesaver. I bought some fancy carrot seed on the recommendation of a chef last year and most of them bolted. I know it wasn’t the weather, or my conditions since they were with 3 other carrot varieties in the same row, the others didn’t bolt.

      • December 1, 2011 7:09 pm

        where and how do you store your steckels? do you store your beets out of ground too?

        • December 1, 2011 8:19 pm

          Ben, buried in the garden in soil, but it doesn’t freeze very deep here. A box of sand in a cool basement, root cellar, or garage in colder areas would work the best.

        • December 10, 2011 10:39 am

          sorry to keep pestering you but I’m a detail guy; so you dig your steckels, then bury them in a pit of some sort in the garden? or do you replant them right away and cover them in the row?

        • December 10, 2011 10:39 pm

          Not a problem. Parsnips can stay in the row until I am ready to replant (before they commence growing again) but I do dig them and replant so I can check for size, etc. Beets, mangels and rutabagas are a different story as they will freeze. Probably the easiest since you’re colder at your site, would be to identify your specimens, and store them in coolers with sand or damp sawdust in a garage where they wont’ freeze but won’t be so warm that they start sprouting before you can plant them out in early spring. A pit or clamp in the garden will work too, if you don’t have voles…

  6. November 28, 2011 8:04 pm

    Life on the farm – beautiful calf and a bountiful garden:)

  7. November 28, 2011 10:32 pm

    John Seymour wrote in The Self Sufficient Life and How To Live It (at least I think it was that one of his; but I’m sure it was he who wrote it) that mangels make for great milk. I also read (probably his book again) that they keep well in storage but turn to mush when the frost gets them. They are probably a great feed source in terms of how much feed you can get out of a square foot.

  8. Lucy permalink
    November 29, 2011 5:22 am

    I can’t get enough of Jane. Had to have a long laugh about the halters, though, as we had a group of youngsters outgrow theirs over summer and went through a period of “try-ons” followed by (sigh) another purchase.

    • November 29, 2011 7:38 am

      Lucy, we are halter and calf collar poor, but none fit the girl just right 🙂 DH likes making them anyway and he can customize for me and we can tool it if we want. Kinda fancy for family cow, but she is pretty important to us! I doubt she would like the human idea of a halter being a present though…;)

  9. November 29, 2011 6:20 pm

    It amazes me how time fly’s…I remember reading about her birth,now to think she will be giving birth herself..
    My Sugar (Jersey x Highland) is nearly 12 months and is about 2″ from catching up to her mothers (Jersey) height.
    How much do you think Jane weighs? its hard to guess her size from the pictures..

    • November 29, 2011 9:38 pm

      Farmer, it sure goes fast…I thought her freshening day would never get here, and now I realize it will be here before I know it. I measured her about 3 months ago, and came up with about 850# so maybe now she’s around 900+, she’s pretty leggy and tall but when she fills out she’ll probably weigh in at about 1100. Pure guessing on my part, though.

      She’s been under lock and key at night, due to hunting season, so she’s getting lots of handling which will make milk training much easier. 🙂

  10. Monica Tudor permalink
    December 1, 2011 8:32 am

    Why do you think her output on the mangels is different from her mom’s? Genes, like being lactose intolerant?

    • December 1, 2011 1:42 pm

      Monica, you know it puzzles me because her mom had a perfect upbringing (she nursed for 9 months) and Jane was raised on a bottle with milk replacer. Whatever the reason I am glad, because the mangels are really easy to grow and as long as she likes them and I can see they aren’t affecting her digestion I am happy to grow them.

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