Every year we have to reclaim the fences that inevitably get washed out along the river. The swift current drags debris onto the fence before it breaks from the weight. Once broken, the water carries it downstream and buries posts wire and all beneath soil, rocks and vegetation. Continue reading
Barns are messy places, especially where the cows stand. They drag the mess in on their big feet and add much more volume after that. What is left after they leave the barn is called muck, I believe it stands for mud + yuck. Anyway, the cows deposit a lot of muck while they stand around eating their meals and it has to be cleaned out every so often. With our winter coming in February and March this year, we fell behind with the barn cleaning duties and the muck levels were getting higher and higher. Continue reading
Springtime is busy for coyotes. The hunt for food brings them closer to the cows than usual especially when there is calving going on and they have been known to come close to the barns and house in search of dinner in the form of cats. Even though these predators are much smaller that cows, they run in packs and look for those weak newborns or cows struggling to deliver. Overpowering by sheer numbers is their game.
These coyotes were spotted as I looked out my dinning room window. They were just beyond the fence and about 50 yards away. They seem to follow a trail each morning coming from the North where some new pups have been heard yipping in the hills. In the evening, the commute takes them back to the North. We call the trail Coyote Highway since it is used so much by the same group.
The weather has not been cooperating to be able to get the seedlings planted on the hill so we have been keeping busy with other projects around the farm. Snow and frozen ground have that job on hold while orders for firewood have skyrocketed.
Remember the commercial where the excited early shopper pressed her face and hands against the front door while chanting “open, open, open”? I’m not sure what the ad was about or what it was trying to entice me to buy, but I remember the shopper clearly.
Rounded spots where the critters had bedded down before the snowfall remained clear while the rest of the field was coated white.
Our little field by the bridge showed exactly where the main herd of cows had spent the snowy night although the critters had gotten up and moved on several hours before sunrise. The little crop circles tell the story of the cold night and sleeping cows.
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.
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.
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