Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Carolyn

In praise of Devon…

…it isn’t often a Devon develops a hoof problem.  But if it happens a half-mile from the working chute, it sure is nice to take the portable chute to the middle of nowhere and know she’ll load without a fuss.  Not even some portable panels were necessary. Vet Tom Massey arrived just after the picture […]

One percenters…

…these pigs are in the one percent of pigs raised outside in pastures. They were out exploring and foraging today. Carolyn

We had an exciting day yesterday

Son Church was home from his first year at Cornell veterinary school and we had one of our favorite vets out for a day of vaccinations, ultrasounds, weights and castrations. We’ve been waiting with baited breath to hear the results of our January AI’s and ET’s…and we are thrilled with the news: 3 Potheridge Presidents, […]

Making history…

…is something of a habit at Thistle Hill.  We’re always trying new ideas…ways to improve the quality of our operation and the cows we produce. In that pursuit we were particularly excited when Church was able to negotiate the purchase of a canister of scores of straws of semen from longtime Devon breeders Don and […]

The family that works cattle together…

…well gets dirty together if nothing else.  Pregnancy checking is a kind of tense moment in the year.  Not only do you hope for a high rate of pregnancy…but for matings you’ve invested in embryo transplants and artificial insemination. This year we’re checking a total of 32 cows…a mix of regular Devon plus our pure […]

Just in time…

…for Thanksgiving.  The advance guard of a flock of wild turkeys crossing Thistle Hill farm. We’ve seen the return of a number of birds to the farm since we eliminated all “cides” about 20 years ago.  In fact there’s been an up-swing of all wildlife including our very own resident bear. Almost all our pastures […]

Fighting the Coronavirus…

…not. Perhaps the safest spot in the world…a Thistle Hill pasture miles from anywhere. Unfortunately, this is a picture out of the file. Daughter Carolyn is back in Dallas seeing patients at Baylor Medical Center. And they’ve got me locked up in an Assisted Living Home in nearby Falls Church. That leaves grandson Church to […]

Breeding…part three…

…and now it gets really interesting…starting in the pre-dawn darkness… and a pasture alive with blinking red lights. It’s the heat detectors…right on schedule at 48 hours. When a cow goes into heat, another mounts it, crushing the chemical patch on its rump. One of Carolyn’s jobs is thawing the semen straws. That’s what that […]

Breeding step two…

…is very much a family affair. The herd has to be brought in from the pasture and sorted to isolate the target cows. We started in the dark, in a light rain. Grandson Church is really in charge now. He administers a shot of lutalyze which will bring the cow into heat in 48-72 hours. […]

Meeting of the braintrust…