It’s That Kind of a Day!
January 4, 2017, 8:10 pm
Filed under: January 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

January 4, 2017

After some warm wet days, the temperature has fallen into the basement again. The mud however, has not frozen yet. Stepping into the quagmire made for interesting  pant legs. They froze like a couple of cow bells. I couldn’t get my zippers to move, but it was good to take them off. I’ll beat the mud off once it dries out. Some WD-40 won’t hurt either!

The wind blew sideways. The air was cold. I wore an extra shirt, but the animals didn’t seem to mind at all. The sheep were most especially oblivious. They laid on the grass, chewing their cud the whole time that I did my chores. The rest of my barnyard critters just watched me going from place to place not caring for one minute that it was bitter cold outside.

We have had a nice winter here in Northeast Ohio so far this winter. Although we have had some snow to plow, much of our winter snow has fallen in the form of rain. You don’t have to shovel rain, but you do have to navigate all that mud!

Dashing Through The Mud
March 28, 2015, 10:25 pm
Filed under: March 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
Mad Dash for Sap

Mad Dash for Sap

March 28, 2015

Last evening we made a mad dash to gather all the sap before the cold weather set upon us. We got started about 3:30 pm. The wind was cold and snowflakes were starting to fly. The sap bags hanging on the trees w ere starting to skim over with a thin layer of ice on the sap. Many of the bags were full to the brim. I simply had to get them all gathered before they turned into frozen bags of ice.

I used a couple of young men whom came well recommended, but whom I had not met. They caught on quickly and did a great job. We slogged through the freezing mud from tree to tree. We had to clean the ice off the strainer pan every few buckets. The boys took it all in stride. They got soaked from the waist down as we worked. The temperature dropped, as we worked, into the teens. It was crisp to say the least!

At 8:15 we were finished. They boys helped me unhook from the sled and put the horses away. I was very grateful. My fingers were cold, but worse than that, the tug chains and almost every buckle and snap on the lower parts of the harnesses was frozen. The tug chains were even frozen to the doubletrees. I would have had a heck of a time by myself, perhaps even winding up in a tangled wreck.

When we finished we had gathered 1260 gallons of maple sap. We spent much of today boiling, making maple syrup. The sap continues to not be real sweet, so our yield is down and the ratio of sap to syrup is about double what we usually see….this batch came off at about 80:1  I am burning lots of wood, doing plenty of work and even though the results are not the best… I am smiling from ear to ear… I love this job…mud and all 😮

Patiently Waiting
Cinch waits while I fill the water trough

Cinch waits while I fill the water trough

February 23, 2015

The temperature plummets as I write. It is -5 F outside, crisp and cool. Chores are done and all the animals are tucked into bed. The barnyard is quiet as the animals begin to slumber, the horses chewing is the only sound. We are all waiting on spring!

The next several days shows us staying below freezing. I too must wait on spring and the busy maple syrup season. There is plenty to do just keeping all my animal charges fed and bedded…not to mention keeping water thawed out 😮

I need to be more like the dogs. They are patient. They find all sorts of ways to rest. They stretch when they rise before thundering off to play in the snow. On cold days they snuggle down and sleep in the soft straw. They don’t spend one minute worrying about anything…especially doing more work!

Hello Little Girl
January 31, 2015, 10:06 pm
Filed under: January 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
My granddaughter named her "cow"

My granddaughter named her “cow”

January 31, 2015

This little girl was born one night when the temperature was below zero. The wind chill the next day was minus 30 F. This little girl and her siblings stayed warm in a large nest of straw next to mom and a couple of aunts! She is three weeks old today and the ruler of the nest. She will be a replacement gilt in our sow herd. She has great confirmation. She is out of one of our best mothers and she is as cute as they come!

My dog Cinch thinks she is sweeter than honey. He stares at her by the hour. She plays in the straw with her brothers and sisters. She is the leader. She is adventurous, but when it’s time to eat…she is first to the “table”

January wraps up tonight. One of the longest months of winter comes to a close. I had a long month at my off farm job and am glad to see it gone. The cold weather has added extra chores, but everyone is well fed and well bedded…including the farmer 😮

A snowstorm is forecast for the next day and a half. I guess we are as ready as we can get. They are talking numbers up to twelve inches of wind driven snow. We shall see. Our winter this far has been cold, but the snow has not been bad at all. If we get some to make us remember what northeast Ohio winters are like, I guess I will simply take it in stride. First I will dig us out, then harness the horses for a sled ride!

Cinch introduces himself

Cinch introduces himself

Baby It’s Cold Outside
November 18, 2014, 9:25 pm
Filed under: November 2014 | Tags: , , , ,
What a birthday!

What a birthday!

November 18, 2014

After a very cold night, it stayed a very cold day! This little heifer calf was born three days ago. I am sure she is wondering what the heck happened. Three days ago she was in a temperature of 101 degrees. This morning it was 8 above zero F. She spent the night with the cow herd under the protection of our barns overhang. She woke this morning ready to play with the other calves, like most children, paying no attention to the cold.

I worked all day making sure things were ready for the winter that has descended upon us with a vengeance. I added bedding to the little pig’s pen. I cleaned the horse barn twice. The first cleaning was like shoveling marbles. The roadapples were frozen ankle twisters, much better in the compost pile than underfoot. The gilt’s pen was okay. The big girls know to make a nest and snuggle into it with their roommates. The little pigs are learning fast and were even covering up after chores tonight.

Lake effect snow is forecast for tonight, but it looks like most of the white stuff will stay north. The cold however, is here to stay, at least for a while. The cow’s stable is fluffy and dry. They just lie and chew their cud, content to be waiting the storm out. I guess I will just be patient too. My work will wait for better days. After all, I can work in 8 degrees in January, but in November…. I’m a wimp!

The three amigos

The three amigos

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 😮