March 4, 2015
I have a couple young bulls that are looking for direction. It will all work out soon…because I will be steering them.
Messy work today. The ice and snow melt has made things here quite slippery. I walk on snow where I can. When I can’t I usually look as if I am trying to fly. My arms flail in circles while my feet run in place, usually in several directions :o I will say , that so far I have regained my feet and not fallen.
Why is it, now that I’m older, every time I slip and fall on my butt I have to bounce the back of my head off the ice too? You’d think the shattering of your elbows would be enough to hold a guy up, but nope! As soon as you see the tops of your feet up over your head, go ahead and say “ouch”, because its coming!
The snow has melted some but plenty remains. The temperature will dip to the single digits again tonight and not get much above that tomorrow. So, another day in the deep freeze will prolong winter once again. It is looking better in the next week or so… I think all of us are ready.
March 3, 2015
Well…just when you think it can’t get much worse, weather wise… now it is raining!
I thought some warm rain might settle the 27 inches of snow we have, but where will it run off to? So far not much settling is happening. Instead, we have gotten three hours of freezing rain. There is a coating of ice on everything, making simple chores difficult. I can hardly wait for tomorrow when all the doors are frozen shut :o
It looks like we may try tapping our maple trees next week. The weather is turning more like late February…even though we will be approaching mid-March! The hope is that the deep snow in the woods will be a little less and that the temperatures will make the sap run. There is no running today anywhere…mostly just slipping and falling.
The animals are fed and warm. The pens have been cleaned and all is well. I will spend much of the rest of this day indoors out of the wet. I continue to work on my writing project, with no guilt at all as I sip tea and wait for inspiration to hit me. So, that is how it will work… I’ll get inspired or I will take a nap :o
March 1, 2015
We are once again being hit with a winter storm. It is warmer than it has been. Today it might even warm up to freezing! Anyway, no maple syrup weather in sight. Sure, there is one or two days next week that may even hit 40 degrees F, but the night temperatures will bottom out in the single digits. The snow is still deep and the trees are frozen solid…it will be a while :o
So, March comes in like a lion, that can only be a good thing. The temperatures should warm as we head towards the lamb like month end. This is where patience pays off. I am not the best at waiting, but this time it only makes sense not to worry and fret! So I am working on my writings, waiting and watching for the warm weather … Just like everybody else!
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: Blessings, breaking bread, friends, maple syrup, plans
February 28, 2015
Last night I broke bread with some great men. They are not famous, but neither am I. They are just regular guys who love their families. They work regular jobs, drive plain old cars and work and worry about life’s events. They lead by example, seek God’s blessings in all they do and lean on one another. It was an honor to get to know them.
Life can be rough. It is a wonderful thing to have friends. Each of us has something to offer another. It may be a skill or perhaps just a hand up. Sometimes, it is just nice to have someone to talk with and share problems, plans and ideas. I am thankful for my friends. My hope is that I am a good friend to others!
As February comes to a close and the temperature once again dips low, I will reflect on the value of friends, dream about warmer days…and make plans for maple syrup making!
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: 3 sided shed, affordable shed, animal welfare, cattle sheds, cheap barns, pasture shelter, pine lumber, shed, windbreak
February 26, 2015
Our winter just wants to hang on with temperatures dipping below zero degrees F for days. Keeping the animals warm and dry can be a challenge. I use this open shed for my cattle. They choose when they want to go inside. The door faces south with a half wall on the east. The north and west sides are closed.
The cattle often spend the cold, crisp nights outside laying on the ground chewing their cud. The cold wet snow sometimes drives them inside, but even then, they stay outside a big part of the day and night. A good indicator that they are warm, is when snow lies on their backs. It sounds crazy, but their hair will insulate them enough that the snow doesn’t bother them.
It is a very different story when their hair gets wet. They lose their insulation power. They cannot get warm without getting dry first. They will hump up and shiver trying almost anything to stay warm. A simple 3 sided shed with a good roof is very serviceable for this purpose. Usually a windbreak is plenty for cattle. A row of bales, a board fence, a stand of pines or even the side of a building will work, but when they get wet they will really enjoy the protection of a roof, especially in winter.
My goal is to have a 3 sided shed in every paddock. The sheds also provide shade from the hot sun in summer. They make a great spot for protection from a spring hail storm or hard rain, not to mention the wet sleet days of late autumn. I also use them to store equipment in vacant paddocks over winter or perhaps the stick the grain drill as I rush from the fields to beat a rain storm.
These affordable sheds have many uses. I build mine from pine lumber sawed from trees on the farm. I use treated wood against the ground and for the poles that are the sheds foundation. I use “seconds” sheet steel for my roof material. The steel is half price, without holes and always white… on one side :o
As winter slogs on, refusing to ease its grip, I stay warm shoveling manure from animal pens or wrapped in a homemade quilt. The animals stay warm in the barn or in sheds like the one pictured. I know all is well when the animals are standing outside soaking up the sun or even laying in the snow. If they are inside looking out or bedded down there, it usually means bad weather looms….or its already here…. and to think the uninformed call them…dumb animals!
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: corny jokes, cows small farming, Hay, winter feeding
February 24, 2015
Every day I bring the cows up to the feedlot to look them over and make sure that all is well. I have created extra work for myself. The cows now stand at the gate, demanding that I come get them. I give them a small splash of grain and a bale of the same hay that they have out back at the cow stable. They eat the grain, then devour the hay.
They make a big deal of pushing and shoving acting like it is the best hay they ever ate. I think it is just because I bring it to them. It’s like a cup of tea. One made and drank tastes good, but one made for you and brought to you while you sit on your butt in your favorite chair….Now, that tastes awesome! I sometimes think I could stand and bawl for that too, for you see…. It is a moo..ving experience!
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: barnyard, Border Collie, cold, maple syrup season, temperature plummets, water trough, winter
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 :o
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!