Winter White
January 15, 2018, 6:54 pm
Filed under: January 2018 | Tags: , , , , , ,


January 15, 2018

Today, the calves were having a ball, running all over the feedlot. The snow covered lot actually looks great. I scraped everything clean thanks to last week’s warm-up. The slush and manure was like cleaning up applesauce, but I did manage to get it all cleaned up. That was one job I was very happy to complete.

The manure collected will compost along with the daily horse droppings and bedding. It takes a while because the cold weather slows down the rotting process. I’m fine with it because the reward of the compost is worth the wait. I also like the look of the feedlot clean and currently covered in a blanket of white!

The cows are not paying much attention to this cold winter weather. They are fed, bedded and content to just chew their cud and wait for spring. Perhaps there is wisdom in what the cows do. The young ones run and play. The rest of the herd simply takes it all in stride. There is much to be said for a full belly and a warm bed. Watching the snow pile up is just a bonus I guess.


Warm Quilts and Cold Nights
February 12, 2015, 12:13 am
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
Our Barn Quilt

Our Barn Quilt

February 11, 2015

I have been lucky enough to have slept under homemade quilts my entire life. My grandmas, my mom and now my wife has made them for me. The sleep, found under a pile of quilts on a cold night, is like no other. They are warm for sure, but I think it’s the love quilted into them that makes you feel safe and loved. When I am wrapped up in them, I feel like I am being hugged. That is a very content way to sleep.

My farm animals lay down in beds of old hay or straw. They sometimes lay on a deep bed of sawdust or woodchips, but I do my best to keep them warm and dry. I can’t say that I love them, but I do take very good care of them. I understand just how important a good night of sleep is for man and beast. It keeps us happy, well rested and ready for whatever the world throws at us.

The temperature will dip very low this weekend. The wind will whip and the cold will bite at us all. My animals will lay contented, chewing their cud. A dry bed and full bellies will allow them to shrug off the cold. I will sleep much like them. My belly will be full, my body will be warm, because someone loves me  enough to take very good care of me. I don’t know any way to say thank you for such wonderful things, so I say I love you….and I mean it!


When the Chips are Down
Woodchips for bedding

Woodchips for bedding

November 26, 2014

I am trying a new experiment. I am very short on straw for the animal pens. I am saving what I have for baby piglets this winter. I tried to find sawdust, but that too eluded me. Then, I came across an opportunity to use woodchips. I have not tried them before, but them seem to be working out pretty well. I will be more informed tomorrow when I clean the pens.

The chips will provide carbon, like the straw, to absorb the free nitrogen in the animal manures. I just don’t know how absorbent they will be. Perhaps I will need to use a larger quantity. I know that they will compost slower than the straw and have a little lower pH, but they are free. I will use them carefully making sure the animals especially the horses don’t eat them. I use them in the tie stalls for the drafts, so I don’t see a problem.

I think I will use some lime stone in my compost pile to help offset any negative impact, but first I need to see how they work. The cow’s sleeping area is piled thick with the chips. I let the sows out every day to root through the bedding. This rooting is incorporating the manure while fluffing the cow’s bed. I am thinking that as the rotting/composting process starts, the cow’s bed will be a warm place to lay on a cold night.

Experimenting with methods and trialing new things is what makes small farming fun for me. So in this case, when the chips are down it is a good thing! Probably not quite as good as when the chips are chocolate, baking in the oven, melting into a cookie…but almost 😮