Baby It’s Cold Outside!
January 28, 2014, 8:57 pm
Filed under: January 2014 | Tags: , ,
Frosty Muzzle

Frosty Muzzle

January 28, 2014

   The coldest day and night of the season is upon us. The thermometer says zero as I write. The overnight low is expected to be minus 15 degrees F. The snow crunches under my feet and my fingers stiffen in my gloves… Baby it’s cold outside!

   I really like winter. The whole ice and snow thing thrills me. The starlit sky tonight looked awesome as I went about evening chores. The horses ran around and played a little on the snow covered feedlot, but did not hesitate when it was time to come in.

   I fluffed up all the beds and gave a little extra feed tonight, as I did my evening chores. It was peaceful and the wind was not blowing. The animals ate and drank and quickly found a warm spot to settle into. I likewise headed for the warm house, thankful that I have one 😮

January 27, 2014, 9:24 pm
Filed under: January 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,
Knight and Duke sipping water

Knight and Duke sipping water

January 27, 2014

   This cold snap makes it a tough job keeping all the animal’s water thawed. I have a tank heater that works overtime to keep things de-iced. I dip water from the tank to water the rest of the animals. I have to swing gates so the cattle can drink from here free choice too, but it all works out.

   I also keep a spare tank heater, just in case. It has proven a good thing to do. The one that I am using always breaks during a cold snap or when I’m working my off-farm job. There is peace of mind having a few spare parts!

   I have a plan and design for a solar powered chicken water heater. I just need some time to build it and a few solar pieces to make it all work. The hens will be grateful. I carry warm water to them twice a day, but nothing says refreshment like free choice!

   We are bracing for another dip below zero. The snow is quite deep and drifts abound. The wind howls and rattles many things. The piggies are all buried in straw, snug and warm. The cows are in their shelter and only peak out to see what I’m up to, but keep chewing their cuds as they lay on a straw bed.

   The sheep couldn’t care less about the cold. They simply chew and watch whatever is going on, as they lay warm in their wool coats. The cats sleep snuggled up in a ball, on the hay. I’m thinking full bellies and warm beds are good for everybody…of course a good refreshment now and then doesn’t hurt either.  😮

Home Sweet Home
January 26, 2014, 10:02 am
Filed under: January 2014 | Tags: , , ,
Gateway to Paradise

Gateway to Paradise

January 26, 2014

   Yesterday was another cold and windy day. I plowed the drive after doing morning chores. It wasn’t too bad, just a few drifts, but it was very cold. I finished that job and came in to warm up. I lingered a bit. I even got my hair cut. I found a warm spot on the couch, where I read and watched some TV.

   Just after dark, my son came in and said he was going to plow the drive. I told him not to worry, that I had already done it once. He told me that it snowed a lot. I just grinned, because from my warm vantage point on the couch, I had watched it snow, but mostly just blow… or so I thought!

   I convinced my son to eat supper with us, before going out and I would go with him. We ate, then dressed to go outside. I could not believe what awaited us.. It had snowed indeed. I did chores, then started plowing along with Jake on his 4-wheeler. It took us an hour or so to clear everything out. My hands were frozen!

   Jake was still going strong. My hands, feet and body were cold. I couldn’t help but wonder when it had all changed? It used to be the boys who whined about the cold and wanted to go inside, but this time it was me. My fingers were numb and stinging … I couldn’t believe it!

   I walked through the back door. The smell of our recently eaten supper and fresh baked bread, filled my nostrils. Soon after that, my fingers were wrapped around a warm cup of tea…and all was well. I paused to realize just how sweet our home was, as I again started to feel my fingers, as my heart warmed my body from the inside out. 😮

Cold Enough For You?
January 25, 2014, 11:50 am
Filed under: January 2014 | Tags: , ,
The ViewnFrom Here

The View From Here

January 25, 2014

   Why is it, that when the temperature drops,…everyone asks “Cold enough for you?” It is kind of funny I guess, but lately it has been no laughing matter! The thermometer struggles to get out of the teens and I struggle to get out of the house!  😮

   Yesterday, I had big plans…then I stepped outside. I did get the chores all done. I added bedding to all the pens as the single digit day chilled me to the bone. My cousin helped take hay bales out to the cattle. It was just enough work to realize that better days were coming for some of the work we had planned!

   My cousin and I headed off to Burton, for coffee and conversation around a woodstove at my buddy’s house. We ran a few errands, killed a few hours and shot the bull …. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am one heck of a bull shooter!  😮

   Today the wind howls outside, while the snow blows into drifts. The animals are snug and fed and I am having trouble finding any reason to be outside in the cold. I will accomplish a couple of things that have been nagging me, but I plan to take all day to do them … with lots of tea breaks in between!

   Oh Yea, … and if anybody asks me, if its cold enough for me… I will say, “Heck yea!”



That’s A Lot of Bull
January 23, 2014, 10:03 pm
Filed under: January 2014 | Tags: , ,
Solomon  Murry Gray bull

Solomon Murry Gray bull

January 23, 2014 

   I have been busy, lazy and most recently … frozen. Okay, that’s a lot of bull! Sorry for not blogging lately! Off farm job, extreme weather and planning too much for the days allowed, made it difficult to be inspired 😮

   My friend Joe and I bought this bull together. We both have females and needed Solomon’s services. He will spend time at both farms. He is a registered Murry Gray bull. He will bring great “grassfed” genetics to our herds, along with the “tenderness gene” found in the Murry Gray breed.

   There is peace of mind knowing that when it comes to breeding, Solomon has them “covered”  😮  He will take care of that job, freeing me up from watching for signs of heat in the heifers. I got enough to do. I am sure he will enjoy that job more than I do anyway!

   Sows have had litters of pigs. The piglet survival rate among the new mothers is not what I had hoped. The weather played a small part, but farrowing in nests requires great mothers and just like humans… not every mom is a great one. Sadly, a couple of girls will be culled. It’s all part of farming, but not my favorite part.

   Our bull came to us with lots of manure and mud caked on him. He seems to be enjoying the three sided shed, filled with dry bedding more than the other cattle. I guess they just think it’s supposed to be that way. He on the other hand, can be found basking in the sun, chewing his cud, very content in the warm dry shed.

   The farm is very quiet and pretty lonely without my pal King. I find myself looking for him at times, but missing him a great deal. I have no desire for another canine companion, at least for now. I want to just imagine him and my Border Collie Lucy, romping and playing, watching me as I go about my work. I sure do miss my friends.

   Maple syrup season is just a few weeks away. We are getting ready, slowly and steadily. We have the sap bags ready to go. In the coming weeks the cleaning and preparation begins. I am still chasing sugarwood. The wood is for next year, but I try to stay at it 😮

   The horses and I will be hauling compost in the next few days. The pile is large, the fields are frozen with only light snow cover. I have grassland buffers to catch any runoff, if it rains before the manure can soak into the soil. The stacked pit is full and the animals keep making it daily. I like the job and using the horses only makes it more fun…we’ll see how fun it is at 2 degrees F!  Some might say, “Fun! …..that’s a lot of bull !”



Snow Day
January 5, 2014, 1:41 pm
Filed under: January 2014 | Tags: ,
Happy New Year

Happy New Year

January 5, 2014

   The year has started off with a snowy blast. It has been winterlike since mid-October. I don’t mind, I like the snow. It does help that most of the work was done before it started coming, I will say that.

   A big , cold, winter storm is forecast to hit us over the next few days. I am working steady to prepare for it. The large sow nests, need to be cleaned partially out and refilled with clean dry straw. That job will fill most of my day. All the barns will get cleaned and bedded…nothing says comfort like a nice warm bed!

   The sheep have been grazing the paddock where our sugarhouse is located. They have been enjoying stockpiled grass since Christmas day. They refuse to eat a bite of hay, choosing instead, to munch the soft autumn grasses hidden just under the snow.

   The cows are eating lots of hay. The hay helps them stay warm as they digest it. I give them plenty and mix in bales from different fields, even offering a bale of oats now and then. They seem to enjoy the diversity and it makes me feel good to see them enjoy their food.

   The horses have been enjoying a few days off. The weather and demands from an off farm job, get in the way of my horse farming. I don’t like that, but that is just how it is …. for now 😮