RicelandMeadows


Cattle Hay Feeder
October 11, 2017, 7:31 pm
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

fedlot1

October 11, 2017

The rain fell the whole time we worked, but the feedlot addition for the new hay feeder is complete. All that remains to do is add some height to the east fence, taking the top rail up even with the gates. The material is ready. I will be repurposing some old pipe. I just need a day to finish that part of the project.

fedlot2

The new gates on the end of the feeder will allow for easy access with the skid loader. I will fill it full of round bales. Once the cattle have eaten all that they want of the bales, I can push the debris out the other end to be used as bedding before composting it.

fedlot3

Here you can see where the fence needs to be extended just a bit taller. This photo also shows the wide aisle where the cattle will feed and move about. I will have plenty of room for manure removal too. The bolts sticking out in the foreground, have been cut off and smoothed over. This will make a safe comfortable place for the bovines to eat.

fedlot4

The place where my dog is watching a couple of fattening pigs, is where the cows will sleep on cold winter nights. They will have access to this feeder, a large cement lot and the dry bedding area under the barn’s overhang. This place is where they will spend the bad days of winter. On better days, when the sunshine and daylight make for a nice day, the cows will be allowed out to a large field. The 4 acre field will be put into crops next spring, but will be an exercise lot for all the farms animals this coming winter.

I also built into this area the “headlocks” pictured above. They will allow for a humane way to catch a cow or steer when needed for ear tagging, vet checks or sorting for freezer camp. A large water trough will sit on the outside of the headlocks and catch rainwater off the roof. I will of course supplement as needed, but on rainy days I can save some. Even the dew will be collected as it runs off the barn roof.

Lastly, I can put the cows in this section of the feedlot when I am working the horses in winter. The cows have the protection of the feeder as they eat. I can leave the barn door and gates open as I wish to get the horses in and out. I won’t have to fuss with the cattle when coming and going to the woods or fields. It will prove to be a very efficient way to save time and stress levels for every single one of us!



Standing By
August 11, 2017, 7:34 pm
Filed under: August 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

kentile2017

August 11, 2017

Yesterday, my friend Ken, installed this short section of tile. I have been wanting to do this job for two years. It was on the schedule for this summer because the feedlot expansion project now makes drainage the utmost important. He did the work, I stood by and watched for awhile. This water will filter through a gravel layer, into a tile that connects with a field tile that ends up at our wetlands. The water is filtered by grasslands and slow moving water, before it can enter Mill Creek as it leaves our farm. The job turned out real good, just as I had hoped.

It seems this has been my summer…standing by watching others do my work. I look forward to being able to reciprocate soon. Just a few more weeks of healing and therapy should do the trick. My knee continues to improve, thanks to ice, a few great therapists and rest. I will say it is a process! It tests a man’s reslove and his wife’s patience!

Pastures are holding out very well. We rotated the stock to different pastures last night. My grandson and I opened and shut gates as others moved the cattle and sheep. Today’s heavy rain, gave everything a drink again. The horses watched us over the fence. They are ready to work too, but like me, for now, are standing by.



Tabletop Farming
July 15, 2017, 9:41 pm
Filed under: July 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

tabletopfarm

July 15, 2017

My farming these days amounts to playing on a table with my grandson. He is a meticulous farmer! The tractors get parked by the barn. The gate must be closed unless you are driving the tractor through it. Hay bales get stacked in the same direction and the animals can be in the same pasture, but the cows are with the cows and the sheep with the sheep. I watch and play with a big smile….this kid takes this stuff serious and he won’t be three until next week!

My days just got a little better. I am allowed to walk around the circle drive around the barn once a day. It is part of my therapy. It also does wonders for my mental health as I peek through the windows at the pigs and monitor the landscape as I walk. Progress is slow but steady as my knee heals.

Today, the cement crew that I hired, completed the feedlot extension. The job went fast. I saved my daily walk until the cement was 99% done, so I could see the completed job. I was very happy with the job they did. The next phase will be gates and fences, but like my knee, progress is slow but steady.

feedlotextcement

This is going to make winter chores a breeze. Hay feeding will now move to a weekly job from a daily job. Cattle comfort will be improved and manure management just got better too. Plus I get to keep all that liquid gold all winter to make crop food for next year’s crops.

So, in between ice packs, great exercises for bending, stretching and sweating, I will take that daily walk and do my farming on the tabletop…for now :o)



Making it Easier

feedlotfeeder

June 30, 2017

I am engaged in a project that will make my life easier for the rest of my days. We are adding onto the feedlot and building this hay feeder. This will allow me to keep all of our animals by the barn for the whole winter. I will only have one water trough to keep thawed and clean. I will only haveĀ one area of manure to stack and manage and the addition of this “built in” hay feeder, will allow me to only have to handle big round bales weekly,feedlotfeeder instead of almost daily.

I can fill it with the skid steer using four bales at a time. The cows will get some protection from the weather as well as the hay, as they eat. The whole thing can be cleaned out when needed by simply pushing out the opposite end of the feeder. I will add a few gates that will give me flexibility when sorting or confining animals. It will make things easy when using the horses in winter, by being able to isolate the cattle when I want.

Sheep can be offered the protection of the barn, while keeping them out of the way of the cattle by simply making a portion where only the sheep will have access. I can bed the area with chips, sawdust or straw all kept nearby. Chore time in winter will be reduced by hours, giving me more time for important things like talking to friends, breathing on horses or sipping coffee.

The real goal, however, is to make doing chores easy for me well up into my advancing age. I am currently recovering from knee replacement surgery. Yep, it was a surprise for me too! I will be down for three months. Projects such as this have been put on hold. They are only moving forward thanks to the help of family and friends. I ice my knee, stretch my muscles and watch from the window…these are some of the hardest things I have ever done!