I have had several people contact me who were worried about the cows and wanted to make sure that I posted when they were all safe and sound. The herd was stuck on the wrong side of the river for several days after making a poor choice in crossing just before the good dumping of rain and the river to rising to above flood stage. The herd have been pasturing in the two small fields on this side of the river where we have been feeding them, we didn’t want to push one of the lead cows into crossing if the herd did not feel comfortable doing it on their own because of the three youngest of the herd only being a few months old with the baby only a month old.
Once stuck on the wrong side, the river kept rising with the heavy rains that have been coming down since Thursday. Finally Saturday afternoon, the sky didn’t clear but at least it wasn’t pouring. Saturday night we only had a few showers. But on Sunday morning the river was still not low enough for the cattle to cross. The small fields are getting muddy from the big foot prints plopping in the muddy spots and there is a lot of manure that has to be dodged in order to lay out piles of hay on the ground. The cows were starting to get cranky as well as us as tenders for the herd.
Finally the herd decided at the Sunday evening feeding that they were going to forge the river to be able to eat at the outdoor feeders where they prefer to dine. The young calves had to really struggle with swimming across but the whole herd made it without issue. The herd is back to residing on the correct side now.
Thanks to my gracious readers for your caring and support.
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My readers are the best! A while ago, I had mentioned that November 1 was the beginning of the dormant season and that I was planning on doing some seedling planting. I was gently reminded that although I talked about the plan, no story of actual planting was getting posted. I appreciate the nudge, so here is the story that I almost forgot. Continue reading
This stretch of warm weather has been good for the grass hayfields nearing harvest and for vegetation growing around the hayfields that the cattle have been grazing on. The water level in the river has also dropped which is an indicator that we need to get the fences shored up so the cows don’t go wandering away from the farm.
We reinstall barriers each year since the winter water levels wipe out the fencing. The trails of wire extend down stream where the current sucked it downstream. Each spring we wade out there and reconnect the wire to strong anchor posts on opposite banks of the river and shore up the fence enough to discourage the cows. Continue reading
It’s hard to imagine the river getting low enough at our downstream edge to need fencing while much of the Willamette Valley is under flood warning with many evacuations. The wet storm systems that have been coming in off the ocean are swirling in from the south and seem to peter out before they get twisted back to the coast range in the north, leaving us with much less rainfall.
We had to pile drive a couple of metal T-posts into the rocky shallows of the river and extend the wire fence that had washed out during the winter high water. If we did not replace the fencing, the cows could walk along the shallows and out into neighboring property.
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
Stories of old that told of the hardships that our fore-bearers had to endure came to mind when I watch the main herd of cows this day. Like having to walk to school in the bitter cold with holes in their shoes, thin cotton clothing made from flour sacks, and also the trek was uphill both to and from.
When the current is swift enough to move a 1000 lb cow downstream, it probably feels like it is swimming upstream both ways when crossing to and fro.
Cows are good swimmers and it does not seem to bother them when the water is this high, although they usually do not cross when the river is up. Most likely they crossed the night before after they had filled up with their evening meal and with the heavy rain during the night, the river rose significantly.
We did not have to call or push the cattle to re-cross the Nehalem. They saw us on the Gator loaded with their breakfast and they dove right in.
The last few years have shown an increase in the demise of the alder trees along the river. The trees are quickly coming to their natural lifespan.
This tree is the second one to fall in the last week after a series of storms. Any limbs that have not shattered completely will be used in our outdoor wood furnace to heat the house. The larger wood will be cut and stacked by the woodshed and used through the winter.
With the loss of each alder it is important that we replace with new seedlings, but the alders are about 50 to 70 years old and seedlings will not give the cooling shade and protection to the river/riparian area for several years. It is hard to keep up with the losses, each year we are filling in as many spots as possible while trying to keep the invasive species like Scotch Broom and blackberry briars from taking over the river bank.