Monday, February 28, 2011

Ah.... just look at that grass....!

Well we are still under snow here, last week consisted of 2 good snowstorms, one good wind storm, and now rain and ice.....

Came across these pictures of the cattle in their summer slicks, all fat and sassy on green grass.....seems so long ago....

Looking forward to spring, looking past mud season and sure hoping those Bluebirds I saw in the tree next to the barn are better weather forcasters than those Robins were 4 weeks ago...!

Here is a picture of handsome Hawkeye (after the M*A*S*H series in case you were wondering...) strolling through one of our pastures....
The other pictures are of the herd lounging around relaxing, not a care in the world...just the way I love to see my animals.

Dont forget March (around these parts) is time to frost seed your pastures.....get some clover seed (fixes nitrogen in the soil) and go take a walk through your pastures when the snow is just about gone and melting fast. Usually I do it late March; the melting snow and heaving of the soil surface as it thaws and freezes allows the seeds to seep down into and make contact with the soil, so when the days warm up they are all set to germinate! Just keep your animals off until the plants get established.....the clover will be good for at least two years but I like to seed a little bit each year.

Great excuse to get out and wander around the pastures.....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shoulda known better......

Well it WAS a nice break.....for one day. By evening the wind had picked up, by nightfall it was blowing so hard I didnt even try to feed hay (I had fed heavy that morning when it was 55 degrees and still...) By midnight wind gusts of over 58 mph were recorded at the Rochester International Airport. The wind was blowing so hard our house was literally shuttering, as we sit quite high with two stories and a half mile of open field to our west, the house being the first thing the howling winds hit. Needless to say we all spent the night on various couches downstairs, and I spent the night watching the barn roof and listening for that eerie rumble from several years back that torn our entire barn roof off in one solid piece, tossing it 30 feet away in the barnyard as the cows stood inside.
By 5 am I could barely see the barn light it was snowing so hard (our barn is about 150' from our house) and still blowing hard.

The cattle stood in the shelter of the barn , covered with snow, waiting for the morning feeding. Luckily I had enough sense to fill the water tank completely the day before; it sat steaming in the frigid cold.

So, you know the old adage "make hay while the sun shines" and "don't put off till tomorrow what can be done today.." Boy, are those words to live by, especially here south of Rochester NY.

Today is sunny, still, but cold (10), but another storm is at our doorstep, and a winter storm watch has been issued for us tonight and tomorrow.

Time to clean up, bed down, feed heavy and bungie everything in sight....

...where the heck did those crazy robins go, anyway?

Picture at the feeder, morning, Feb.19, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Snow, ice, wind and manure.....

Not much new....we had a thaw here the past few days, temperatures getting in the mid 50's, which, after 10 degrees since forever, felt like summer!!
Of course all the snow and ice is melting FAST, which means alot of run off; water everywhere.....
The path the cattle made down through the pasture to the water is now a ridge of ice and turds that was compressed into ice by their daily walks to drink.
Quite honestly, it is a messy time of year, with piles of frozen manure everywhere, melting ice and manure, frozen hay and cattle who look as though their coats got trimmed with a weed-wacker...patches of bald skin, hair hanging in blobs...
They spend the nice days rubbing themselves on the trees and manure spreader parked in the yard....I guess anything to scratch off that ragged winter fur.

On another note I am excited to be looking for a new polled bull to add to our herd this year. Our bull Hawkeye will have babies on the ground starting in March, and after this breeding summer, will need to find a new home, as his daughters will be old enough to breed. Im enjoying the challenge of locating new bloodlines; and a challenge it will be, as there are few polled bulls of different bloodlines here in the eastern US. Right now I am considering some very nice polled animals from Washington state, which is REALLY far away......
If anyone reading this knows of a really nice polled bull out there either for sale or siring some calves this year, please let me know..

Enjoy this February thaw!

Picture of Miss Piggy and Mr. Bull on high ground from several years ago, late winter. I think it was the day after the barn roof was blown off....they look ever so slightly peeved...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day

Well here it is, another Groundhog Day here and (almost) gone.

We didnt get the worst of the huge storm that tore across the middle of the country; just some snow, a bit of sleet (I think) and now some wind to top things off....pretty typical February weather for central New York state.

So I hear Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, which I believe means he stayed out of his den for a bit....meaning spring is just around the corner, which is a good thing considering I happened to see about 6 Robins in a tree last week and my bull is about 20% rubbed off already....which IS early if you ask me.

But I am ready; getting tired of bedding the barn every night, stumbling over frozen turds hidden under the snow...dragging 200 feet of garden hose out of my basement to water the animals....and then dragging it BACK in when finished....

Here is a little poem I found online when doing some research (!) on Groundhog Day...thought it was kinda applicable to us farmer folks...

As the light grows longer
the cold grows stronger

If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight

If Candlemas be cloud and rain
Winter will be gone and not come again.

A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay

On Candlemas day if thorne hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop.

from an English poem;

Candlemas is another name for this holiday and stems from the Catholic church. There is ALOT of folklore and history and calender stuff that all gets tied in with Groundhog Day...really too much for me to write about here; originating in the 18th and 19th centuries as ancient European weather LORE; Pagan festivals and Celtic calenders, equinoxes and all sorts of began in this country as a Pennsylvania German custom...

So...lets all hope Phil is right, and spring IS just around the corner! Sure wouldnt guess by todays weather though!

May your barns be half full....