At Days End

With the hills obscuring many sunsets here on the farm, I find that by looking north while everyone else is looking east, the most serene moments can be found.

Sunset over snow covered barn and trees.This evening was simply stunning with the snow covering the barn, trees and pastures. The clouds were giving away a couple of spots of blue sky between the rosy hues with slate punctuations from the setting sun. All was quiet as the farm was winding down after a busy, snowy day.

It’s times like these when the beauty of our world comes into focus and I feel that it is portraits such as this that gives us the opportunity to be thankful for what we have and remind us all that we have to strive to make the world better for us having the chance to be a part of it all. Not the least of these gifts that I am grateful for are friends that have been made and will make in the future, my readers are a huge part, I am fortunate and honored to share bits of the farm life with you.

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Black And White Spotted

We have Black Angus cows. They are hard to find on a dark night but easy to spot in a snowstorm, usually.

The question comes up relatively often about our cows being left out in the cold or in stormy conditions. My reply is that they are wearing the best fur coat in nature and that they are comfortable no matter if it is 1 degree or 100, they are outdoor creatures.

Black Angus with snowballs hanging on them.The snow had been coming down in platter-sized flakes just before this group came into the barn to eat.

From the looks of them, they had bedded down while the worst/best of the weather hit and they came into the manger all spotted with snowballs hanging on their backs, necks, tails and underbellies.

The barn soon filled with steam as their body heat rose while eating.

 

From Above

Once the snow/slush/mud gets to be too deep for the Gator to travel from the house to the barn across the river or from the barn to the outdoor feeders, the tractor is used. We secure a plywood topped pallet to the forks of the front loader creating a solid base. Bales are stacked on the pallet and someone (me) gets the opportunity to ride on the bales out to the feeders. Continue reading

Warning Comes To Fruition

Snow flakes falling as the barn and trees are coated.As promised, the snow did come in good wave with more than 5 inches falling in the first onslaught.

The blanket of white muffled many of the sounds that are common, but the chores need to go on as planned and the cows are already in the barn waiting.

Two buckets topped with snow.The musical buckets from the other day are also quiet today. The thick layer of snow topped them and the drifts nearly buried them as the snow fell.

The cats still venture out, but the fun and games of the sunny day are more subdued and occur mostly as hide and seek around the hay stack in the barn.

Racing The Snowflakes

It  was a very busy day as the forecasters were calling for snow to begin around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Weather warnings had been blurping on the news and cellphones for the last two days.

As soon as the morning chores were complete we all moved out to the bull barn where firewood bundling went into full swing. A completed pallet with 65 bundles was moved by the front loader tractor into the bed of the pickup so it could be moved into the garage where the wood can be stacked into the bed while inside away from any weather in preparation of delivery. (At this point you may ask if I ever get to park my car in the garage, sadly the answer depends on what project we are working on and the car doesn’t rank very high in the demands for the premium space). Continue reading

Beast Of Burden

Our John Deere Gator is our most used piece of equipment on the farm.

At the bare minimum it is used twice a day for feeding the main herd across the river and it is used much more than that on most days. We can be seen driving up the county road to check the far field, or up the hill during the summer months to go logging. We take it around by the river and through the old railroad grade when looking for missing/hiding critters.

The Gator hauls chain saws, wood chunks, hay, firewood, dogs, rocks and people. Sometimes it is loaded down with wire, t-posts, cedar posts, drivers and shovels for fence fixing, other times with 5 gallon buckets of diesel for the bulldozer. Many, many times it carries tools with various bits and pieces to fix other equipment that has broken.

Mud covered Gator parked in garage.This beast of burden is not very pretty to look at with mud and muck covering most of the outside and underbelly surfaces. But with the temperature dipping into the teens at night, it is welcomed into the warm garage so the goop doesn’t freeze and lock up the tires.

This beast is simply too valuable to miss a day of work on the farm.