Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I was killing some time the other evening and came across these awesome pictures of the early Herefords before they were breed to be todays long -legged, huge animals that are so common today. Not much air under those legs!
My goal here at Middleground Farm ...
Monday, January 24, 2011
So it got down to eleven degrees below zero last night. All was calm, all was still (and bright as a matter of fact....moonlite!)
Anyway it was such a still and sunny day (although still cold; a balmy 18 degrees out at chore time!) I decided to take a few pictures....
First is the cows relaxing in the barnyard soaking up some rays. I have to admit it was rather nice to be out...the sun felt good and there wasnt a breeze.
At the bottom is a picture of the hay "barn" area ...we get our hay delivered from our neighbor who bales excellent hay in 800 lb. bales that are "slid" into the barn on 4 x 4 "runners laid across 2 x 6's on top of plastic and a gravel base. Since the variety of hay varies from bale to bale, I like to mix it up a bit and take hay from several bales at once to feed out. I will also mix in a little of the oat straw as well for roughage, especially if the hay is very "rich" such as second cutting alfalfa.
While the beasties are eating its up and over the gates to flig the poop (which is like flinging rocks in this weather) and bed down for the night. This is how the barn looks each day after being cleaned and bedded. Cozy.....
Last I will feed some more hay for the night and possibly the next morning, tarp the hay and we're done. If I have a few minutes I'll watch the cattle eat, look for babies rolling, and just give then a general look-over to be sure everone is happy and well. Which is the second picture from the top...
Hope your all staying warm!!
Sunday, January 23, 2011
OK, its really cold out. its already below zero and not 7pm yet. I think it will be 15 below by morning.
Not a whole lot changes on the farm during extreme cold or storms; just takes a bit longer to dress for chores, which need to be done whether I feel like it or not, no matter what the weather.
Extra socks, a fleece jacket, snow bibs, a heavy ski jacket, an old pair of LLBean felt lined snow boots;, a fleece collar for the face, an old ski cap, gloves. Forget wearing glasses...they steam up as soon as one walks out the door.
I try and fill the 150 gallon water tank on nice days, meaning anything above 10 I guess. I run the 200 feet of hose I keep coiled in the basement out over the driveway and lawn to the tank and turn on the water from inside the basement. The outdoor spigot is left open so it will work regardless of the temp. The tank will last about a week if Im lucky. The hose gets drained as its coiled up and dragged back into the basement till next time. A simple floating tank heater keeps the water from freezing.
Most days I just feed hay, clean out the barns, and put down fresh straw.... every day, actually. On real cold days I will walk down to the stream and break the ice so the other side can get their drinks. Feed more hay and I'm done. The animals are always kept dry and bedded, especially when its this cold! My neighbor once asked how I kept the cattle so clean.....(I just can't stand poopy livestock...)
So we wait for spring, and babies, and grass. I watch the unborn calves roll and push on their mothers sides as they stand to eat...it's real neat to see....once in a while they will roll and kick so hard the momma will stop and turn her head to look at her side as if to say "what was THAT?"
But for now its all white and cold and snow, a single path through the snow leads through a drift and down to the water hole....the animals stay a while and rub their coats on the trees down by the water. On sunny, still days, they will stand out in the field dozing in the sun, no matter what the temperature. Early morning will find them covered with frost from their body heat freezing to the ends of their coats.
Take shelter, keep warm and feed heavy .....spring is just around the corner