Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Southern Farming...

Okay, let me preface everything that I'm going to write by saying this, "I love Iowa and would never ever in a million years want to live anywhere else but in this state. I love the people, I love the land, and I even love the weather! But..."

I am tired of cold and snow and doing the chores in said weather! I guess it isn't so much that I'm tired of the weather (it is supposed to be in the - teens this week) and doing the chores outside as much as it is that there is so much I want to get done and I can't get things done. Add to that the fact that we don't have everything set up yet and we have been dealing with a couple sick Dexters.

You can see from the picture above that we have a little dun calf and our red heifer Jasmine hanging out in the storage part of our house right now ... just on the other side of the kid's closet. The little bull calf was having a tough time and we brought him in to help keep him warm and put some energy back in that little body. Jasmine came in for moral support and extra body heat.

One thing that I was able to get done today (even though it only reached a high of 3º) was to build a bale windbreak on the edge of the pasture. Last night I broke down and bought a three-point bale stabber for the tractor and was finally able to move the big round bales with ease. Now we have some permanent windbreaks that won't blow down when the wind changes directions. Also, I am able to wire the portable ones in place and we are set for cold winds out of any direction.

Hmm... must be nice farming down in Texas right about now. Of course I don't think I would like it so much when it is over 100º. In fact I know I would hate it! So, I'll just keep trucking along and get done what I can get done because I wouldn't trade this place or this life for anything.


Robert said...

I know how you feel. Here's my solution:
Weather Reverse Psychology

John said...

I feel your pain, Ethan. This winter is the first for me in Illinois in 30 years. IT IS COLD! I grew up in ILL but lived in Central Tx for 25 years so you are right, 100 degree days are also not nice.

I moved the chicken coup close to the back yard to make it easier to give them fresh water but still have to walk down to the run-in to feed the horses and calves daily. Fortunately they are still able to graze the field (no snow in Southern Ill yet), so just a little bit of supplemental feed.

The romance of farming is starting to diminish a bit from when this was all in front of me, but still like actually farming instead of wishing/wanting. Really looking forward to the start of gardening and getting the first batch of broilers started.

Hey, and the RIR layers finally started laying again. Got 2 eggs yesterday! They went off-line during the moult and it took 6 weeks to get started again. Things are looking up! Only 2 1/2 months till April!

Jean said...

Look at calendar. It is only January. It is still middle of winter yet. But I think you can start counting the weeks... it usually begin warming up seriously by end of next month. This also shall pass. Winter is my most favorite season. You got to admit that you got couple adventures outta this weather... having calves almost inside your home, getting that hay fork, and getting that windbreak DONE. I 'complain' when it is cold and there's no snow. I miss dump zone along Lake Michigan! I'm enjoying what snow I got!! Too bad it is simply TOO cold outside for my wee ones to go play. I want to teach my children to also love outdoor- year round. These animals depends on you and in some way is helpless. Translate that into doing the same for human souls. Keep on doing good work- through thick and thin.

John said...

I was just reading Becca's post about chores and I thought I'd mention how I am doing my water. I have no running water down at the pasture/feeding area and did not want to haul water buckets down there all the time. I ran 300 ft of 10ga wire down to run tank heaters. I am running 2 1500watt heaters on a 30 amp breaker. I bought 2 100 gal rubbermaid stock tanks. I fill them from a 60 gal water tank that I put on the carryall on the tractor. So I fill the tank at the house, drive down, raise the 3 point and gravity drain it into the tank. Makes watering a weekly chore rather than a daily one. They make a 50 gal size that works well for pigs.

By the way, you can make a nice carryall by putting a pallet on the bale forks. I use that as a poor man's fork lift. I have pallets everywhere from the construction. Firewood, scrap wood, tires, whatever now gets moved on pallets.

Not cost effective if you have to buy all the stuff, but if you have some of it laying around, may be a way to lessen the daily chore list.


Anonymous said...

Hello Ethan-great blog. I wonder if you know anything about the affects of liver flukes in cattle? They are bad news in goats. Grazing in wet pastures this past year in Iowa could have greatly increased the chance of ingestion. They are commonly missed as they appear to look like other parasites in certain stages. Just a thought.-Jan

Jena said...

I am very interested in how you made your bale wind break. Our cattle are gone to a friend's right now until we can rebuild the barn but our horses are here and although they seem to be holding up fine, I would feel better if they had a more substantial windbreak. Please share!

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