Feeding the main herd across the river is a twice a day chore. While I am on the Gator that is loaded with hay bales, the dogs and I are scanning the area for anything unusual.
It is automatic to check the fence lines that run along the base of the hillside keeping the cows out of the nursery/hayfield. The dogs scout about, scenting for coyotes that may have been in the pasture overnight, or elk that may be ready to tear out one of the fences as they plow through towards the river. A good count on the cows is always a necessity, one missing critter usually means there is trouble in the form of an injury or possibly the birth of a new calf. Most of the time we don’t even think about it, but observation is an important tool to keep everything running smoothly. Continue reading
This is the week that I am at the second session of REALOregon, so some of the posts may look a little different while I head to Roseburg for the classes. The story today has to do with me being gone and Mike needing to do the chores by himself.
There won’t be time while I am away for either Mike or Marilyn to work on firewood, so I covered the equipment and powered down any electrical cords (always a precaution when we are not using equipment for a day or a whole season). We find that if we are diligent with preparing for a non-productive time, the equipment continues to work effectively when we do need it. It’s possible that it is all a matter of what our minds are expecting but as long as it works, we will continue to do it.
Mike backed the Gator into the barn after the evening chores and loaded bales for the morning feeding. Butler the dog watched closely to make sure Mike was driving safely.
Once the three bales were loaded, Jackson assumed his rightful position on top of the bales and sat there watching me while I closed the gates to the barn and the electric fence around the field.
With the bales loaded for the morning feeding, Mike will hopefully be able to sneak out to the outdoor feeders before the cows surround them making it a real chore to get the hay into them before they try to pull bites out of the bales. It takes twice as long to feed when they are in the way with a lot more mess. Which is why we normally use two people to feed during the morning and evening chores.
Too bad I will be away to miss the feeding times for a couple of days. But I’m sure I will be too busy with the session to worry about it too much while I’m getting ideas for new stories to share with you!
The website mrssusanschmidlin.wordpress.com site is nearly out of data space and can no longer support photos since they use a lot of data. We do have the new site, SchmidlinAngusFarms.com up and running! There you will find all the stories with photos. Please follow the new site to stay current on everything going on at the farm. Please consider using the affiliate links from the new site to do your cyber shopping, the small commissions that I make from your purchases are no charge to you and I can continue to share the farm stories with the support. Thank you
Cow #41, Ruby, was noticed hanging by the gate to the nursery field all by herself when we crossed the bridge for the evening chores. She was in labor and wanted to get away from the main herd before she calved. Continue reading
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
Doing the morning chores is a fairly regular set of circumstances. First the cows hear the Gator starting up over by the house, they see us driving over the bridge, opening gates, loading hay from the barn, then driving out to the outside feeders.
The main herd typically follows the rocked path that leads to the feeders. They scramble to get there ahead of the Gator so they can annoy us by standing right in our way or trying to pull bites of hay out of the bales as we try to get the feed from the Gator into the big, round feeders. Continue reading
Jackson our ‘wild child’ dog is able to wait patiently when he knows that it will be soon time for us to start up the Gator for chores, especially when it’s feeding time.
If he only knew that mere feet below his snout, a black kitten was also waiting for the signal for dinner time to begin on the farm.
The kitten was waiting as patiently as the dog, and knows what is coming since the order of mealtime is run in a pattern.
The motor of the Gator starting sends cattle, dogs and cats into frenzied anticipation with copious amounts of saliva as they anticipate their upcoming meal. (Come to think of it, my tummy starts rumbling about that time of day knowing that our dinner time follows the critters meals.)
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
This is the time of year when we go through a lot of the hay that we had made during the summer. We are feeding twice a day so the cows have a constant supply since there is not much to graze upon when nothing is growing.
What’s left of haystack in bull barn.
Hay ready to be loaded onto in main herd barn.
We estimate we are about halfway through the hay we put into the barns. January 1st is considered our halfway point of needing to feed large amounts. Continue reading
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, large animals are not as dumb as they may seem. Although normally they abide by the rules of the farm and get along with their fellow critters(including humans), they can also be quite conniving when they decide to mutiny or if they just get into a ‘mood’. Continue reading
The dogs are sure that the Gator is home base. They know that if they are on the Gator they will not be left behind when we want to do some chores, go up the hill, or just travel the fence lines.
Since the hay was already loaded in the back, Butler (with his chin on the passenger seat) and Jackson (flattened on top of the bales) wait patiently for someone to come and do the evening chores.
This is a common sight at feeding time and the dogs are on their best behavior. They know that their feeding time comes right after the cows feeding and they are not going to mess up that plan.