While I Toil

Jackson the dog has the right idea, while I was busy running the splitter, he found a cozy spot to curl up and take a nap.

A black and white dog curled up in a stack of hay bales.His eyes were open and he was watching me as I did my stealthy-ist version of sneaking up on him to take the picture.

He did not move from his comfy nest. It was a good idea since outside the barn the rain and wind were creating a very blustery day.


The Magic Number

The mild week of weather has me watching the outside temperature closely. Every time we get above 50 degrees, I move the little tomato seedlings (now an inch tall) from inside the garage to outside in the fresh air. Right now, the move is as simple as setting one tray from inside the window sill to setting it on the picnic bench on the porch to drink in the sun while being protected from swirling breezes or showers. Continue reading

Powerful Storm Cell

Two days of the thermometer hovering around 100 degrees, made for some very tough work conditions out in the hay field.

Everyone had a bottle of water handy at all times. Many breaks were needed throughout the heat. The tractors needed times to cool down because the heat coming off the drive shaft made it impossible to hold one’s feet on the clutch and brakes. Even the dogs struggled to stay in the field and made many trips down to the river to catch a cooling swim, they kept the moisture on their coats instead of shaking off and would seek shade anytime a piece of equipment was turned off. Continue reading

Dance And Sniff

The barn is neutral territory for the dogs and cats on the farm. It has become the understanding that no dog shall chase a cat while on the premises and no cat shall tear any dog a new one when miffed.

The barn is cat home base. They live here and are fed here (these are the cats that also go along the brushy fencelines for vermin), but there is an air on dominance in the barn and the dogs respect the feline area, usually.

Today the  truce is holding while the dance and sniff preliminaries are started. Jackson the dog is particularly checking out the new smells of nursing and kittens on both cats, and the cats are allowing indiscriminate nosing while  purring and rubbing on the dog.

No combat activities today, all is calm in the barn.

Watched From Above

I have a tendency to lean. Sometimes while doing the morning chores out in the show barn, the stack of hay becomes a tempting respite from the care and feeding of the cows.

This is also the barn where I feed the cats breakfast and dinner so I am never alone. The felines are always quick to remind me if their bowl is empty.

Cats sitting atop hay bales mess with my hat.This day, the cats had already been fed. The cows are busy munching hay and I had a few minutes to lean and enjoy the soft sounds of the barn.

Leaning into the hay, I took a moment to contemplate the day. The cats noticed my stillness and came to investigate.

That is Momma cat sniffing the pom-pom on my wool hat. Tobias is busy sniffing Momma, and Boaz is posing for the picture.

Piddy Pat

A new set of hooves were found in the barn this morning. Our show cow, Sitka had a cute little girl.

To say the least, we were a little surprised. Sitka had delivered Mapleine on March 10, 2016. She must have been bred back only a month later in order to have her next one in January. Just like humans, cows usually don’t become fertile after delivery quite so soon especially when they are nursing heavily.

A newborn Black Angus calf standing in the barn.Welcome to the farm Peach, who weighed in at 62 lbs on January 3, 2017.

She looks a little scruffy in her first picture, but once her mom got her all cleaned up her hair is long, jet black and fluffy.

By her size, we think she may be a week or two premature, but she is very happy and healthy. Cutting circles around her mom and sneaking out the door to cavort in the snow before coming back into the shelter of the barn.




The Barn Had Been Clean

A couple of weeks ago we spent quite a bit of time getting the show barn cleaned out. Working with a loader tractor, Mike had scooped out all the muck and put down a layer of fresh sawdust on the floor. The barn smelled fresh and woodsy. The herd sire, show cows and replacement heifers all seemed so happy in their areas.

That was just before winter showed up with rounds of freezing and thawing, rain and sleet, silver thaw and wind.

img_5676It found out quickly that the clean-out job had a flaw. Mike had to put some river rock in along the outside of the barn when we did the cleaning because the path that the animals entered and exited the barn had broken down and it was difficult for the cows to walk in deep mire.

When the barn cleaning was done, the repair of the path looked good, but looks were deceiving. The slope of the path didn’t quite lean correctly. During dry weather the slope would have been just fine, but with the muck changing viscosity many times each day, the whole top of the barn-yard became an oozing pool.  Instead of channeling the wet dirt and muck away from the barn, it flowed right in when the animals stepped inside.

The clean barn now has a layer 6 inches deep of muck, and now the ground outside is either too wet to get the tractor in to scoop or too frozen to break apart any of the mess.