Thursday, January 29, 2009

We're BAAACK......

We made it back tonight and all I can say is - PRAISE BE!!!! 4 days and 3 nights cooped up in a hotel room with a anxious 4 year old and a baby that came down with strep throat the first day is SO NOT FUN!! I promise more in the morning, right now - I am going to bed...... yes, to sleep - maybe.... BTW - Contest is over!!! THANKS FOR ENTERING!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hello everyone!!

We are all well and fine, Milk Man is doing much better - I KNOW its because of all the prayers and thoughts! Thank you for all the love we are feeling. I am going to be gone from home for a few days - my part time job needs me to be somewhere else.... we have a 4 hour trip ahead us.. My mom, Lispy, Milk Dud and myself will be gone - I will try to blog from the hotel if they have service! LOVE to you all and see you all SOON - When I get back there will be LOTS bloggin and that I promise!!!! Here is a gratuitous photo - ENJOY!!!
So do you all think he is getting big or what???? He LOVES the powder off of donuts and of course the Milk Man LOVES to give them to him.

OH one more thing - CONTEST!!! Tell me what these are for and you will get a $50 gift card for K-Mart..... I will pick a winner out of those who get it right. LOVE YOU ALL -


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We have survived...

Hello everyone! Its a perfect 13 degrees ABOVE zero - I think I hear the Hallelujah chorus being sung! It is supose to be up to 30 degrees tommorow and then back into the deep freeze by Friday, but not as bad as it was. I have been helping the Milk Man with more chores as he is layed up. He had a round bale fall and smash him up against the hay mow wall. He has torn his anterior acruciate tendon...not sure I spelled ANY of that right.. He also has 3 bulging discs in his back and this has really put the hurt on those. His back is bad enough that I have to help dress him, needless to say I would rather undress him.... *naughty grin* Anyway - I wanted to show you all how somthing simple can be SO dangerous on the farm.

We have big round bales that weigh between 800# - 1000# each. We pile them 4 high in the 'hay barn' on top of the barn - normal people call this a hay mow!
This is what the hay barn looks like whith those huge bales stacked up on each other, clear to the top of the 20 foot mow roof.

Those bales are pushed off of the top onto other bales and then to the floor.
See that spot in between the bales on the top? That is where the bale that hit MM fell from.....

Then it bounced on the next level and then down to the next level - its supose to hit some smaller bales on the floor and then to a stop against bales pile near the wall...

That top picture is where he landed - against the wall with a #1000 lb bale on him. It took on a life of its own and for some reason it just flew down the bales. Now I am sure someone has a remark about how stupid this is or why didnt he get out of the way - blah blah blah, but let me say one thing - save it.... We are careful farmers and have had few accidents and that is just what this was, an accident. However, this is why we NEVER let the kids play on the bales in the hay barn - the can fall and they could fall between them getting stuck with no way of getting out. These are out of order because blogger is stupid about putting pictures in order of selection... I am to tired to 'redo' them so consider this a challenge and go through the pictures backwards, its a story of events in reverse order... Milk Man is going to be mad about the picture of him - I told him not to make faces because this was going on the blog - but he made a bad choice. *grin* Dont look at the dorky face he is makeing...looks like he has 'issues', or constipation...shh I didnt say that out loud did I - yup, I did - dang it..... SO - he is healing but will more than likely need to have surgery on his knee, lets pray he doesnt cuz I dont know if I can keep up this pace for much longer - feel sorry for me and send chocolate! PLEASE!!! I wanted to explain the 'fog' or 'snow' in the pictures - its ice crystals in the air from the cold. The moisture in the air freezes and it kind of 'snows inside', there is more moisture from the cattle downstairs that is why this happens, its kind of neat.. I will try to post a little later today, we had a brand new calf night before last and I got it all photographed for your education!! Talk to you soon!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Just a quick update.....

Its 34 below with a 42 below windchill - its supose to be the coldest at about 9 and we have been falling about 1.5 degrees per hour since last night. The wind is not blowing fiercly -but even a breeze feels painful. Wont be posting much this morning but will try to get something up later today - depending on the weather. The cattle seemed to be ok, but not sure about much else at this point. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers - this type of cold really is dangerous. Cars, trucks, tracters etc. freeze up and the wood stove is haveing a HARD HARD HARD time keeping up. One of the thermostats is on the chimny so we know how hot the chimny is - its at 74 so you can bet its colder than a well diggers butt in here. The kids are bundled up on the couch with blankets and hot chocolate - dont be alarmed, Milk Dud is right in the middle of it all squeeling like a little pig in a trough! He is SUCH a smiley, squeeky 'little jigger' as my grandpy used to say. I would get a picture of it, but the blasted batteries in the camera are DEAD - I used it at the farm last night and about wore it out! Milk Man says - you are gonna wear that out in another week. He wants to buy me a 'big' one but $$ does not grow on trees nor on cattle butts so, I wont be getting one! Talk to you all later - BTW, I am wearing 2 pair of wool socks...... *blank stare*

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Good Morning From The Frozen Tundra!!!

First I want to say thank you for all of your support. I feel bad that there are readers that I have disapointed because I value all of you and dont want anyones feelings to be hurt. That being said - here is my post for today.

It is -21 in town so its about -31 out here in the country. When I say its cold, I am not kidding. Dandelionmom - how dare you insinuate that this is bragging about how tough we are! LOL

*BIG GRIN* Even if it IS the truth!!! LOL To be honest, I would rather be freezing than sweating - I hate sweating, it makes me well, sweat more..... Did I mention I hate sweating? I can honestly say, there is NO sweating going on today. It is dangerously cold, so prayers for our animals and family members that must be out in it would be appreciated. The milking cows will NOT be let out of the barn today because of the cold. Extra corn stalks will be put into the loafing barns so that there is ample bedding to snuggle into for the cattle that live outside. We are not able to 'clean out' the loafing barns on really cold days because the shit is frozen like ice hunks, even with ample bedding. The manure spreader also has the HUGE challenge of trying to throw the frozen crap without breaking the 'beaters' on the back. The really bad part about not letting the cows out when it is this cold is this - the barn will be cleaned, but the cows will not be able to get out of the stall they are standing in for 24 more hours - UNLESS it warms up past -10 today which its NOT supose to. We hate to make them stand or lay in the confinement for that amount of time BUT if we let them out for even a short amount of time - seriously even 10 minutes - their exposed titty's will freeze. There is NO way for this to not happen. If this cold snap lasts longer than a couple of days, I have seen it last up to 11, we often clean the barn with the cows in it and when we are done cleaning it we untie them all, let them walk out of the barn to the bunk feeder and turn around and make them come right back in. This is done with in about 5 minutes so that they can at least stretch their legs and breath some fresh, non germ filled air. They can move around in thier stalls - stand up lay down shift thier weight but who wants to look at a wall all day long - I am sure not even a cow does. SO thats the life of a dairy cow in the great north! The beefers are a differant story - they stand out in the cold even when they have warm bedding. They have heavy coats of hair right now that resemble that of a muskox...seriously. They have ice sickles that form on thier nose whiskers! And the hair on their bags - udders - bags is farmer slang for their 'udder'..... have LONG hair that grows from the top and hangs to just above their tittys. They have a bit tougher skin on their 'bags' because they are not 'milked' and are not housed in a barn. If they were housed in a shed/barn, they would not grow as much hair because it would not be as needed as when they are out in the cold. They have loafing sheds where they can get out of the rain and wind - we bed those heavily for them and often, at night when its cold they stand bunched together - calves to the inside of the group useing body heat to keep warm. BUT, during the day when the sun is out even when its frigid - They stand outside in the sun. They have enough body heat that you can see steam come off of their backs! Anyway - I better get going. The Milk Man told me last night to take a picture of the barn cloths in the winter - this was just from the Milk Man, Palmer and Dale - Lispy and Big Son stayed in the farm house with Granny Farmer eating popcorn and drinking chocolate milk, rough life huh. Milk Man told me to stay home with the baby and 'get somthing done' he says with a grin. I love his grin and his eyes always have a sparkle in them, unless I have backed the truck into somthing - then not so much. So after all that rambleing here is the picture of the barn cloths from ONE DAY!

This is Palmer holding Milk Dud....

And this is Palmers coat full of feed 'gunk'.

This stuff coats the inside of the silo that is filled with high moisture corn. When its cold it has to be chisled off of the walls because the silo unloader cant get it off with the ice in it. The reason there is ice in it is because 'high moisture' has, well - high moisture content..make sense? I hope so, not sure if I can explain it any better than that! It can be hard to get the cloths clean at times and now I am down to one washing machine. The one that is less than a couple of years old died - we have fixed that bugger 3 times and it still wont work right. I will NEVER buy a Maytag EVER again. If they ever give me one to try, I will take it though! LOL We cant afford to buy a new one so the one washer I have left is taking the brunt of the work for me. It makes it a lot harder, especially in the winter with all the extra cloths.

I also have to post later today about a special lady that gave me an award and a gal that gave me an award that I need to get to know better! The kids are hungry so I had better get them fed. NO SCHOOL TODAY!!!! *bangs head on the desk*

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Farm pictures!!

Here is Hortense - she has mascara issues....

This is Tiger Tom - he has attitude issues - he thinks he's Elvis....

More pictures tommorow. Right now its -15 with a -27 windchill - not sure how things will fare tonight.... wish us luck and I promise more pictures tomorow.

Can you say - C O L D???

Well, it is -23 out here in the boonies. I checked the local weather - the official stations say that it is -8. BUT - out here in the boonies it is usually 10 degrees colder on an average. The buildings in town hold heat because they are closer together -but out here on the range, she's a bit nippy. When it is this cold there are SO many more challenges to care for our animals and for our homes, familys. I am going to go to the farm later today to help with feeding the cattle. I promise pictures from the frozen north! When the cold is like this, we need to feed extra and take extra steps to insure that the water 'stations' dont freeze. Waterer's, not sure if thats a word or not - it sounds like water - er... MUST be checked so that the cattle have water at all times. This water is warmer than the air outside, but the pipes to these WILL FREEZE SOLID if they are not maintained daily. We have 5 water stations to check and 2 water tanks to maintain for all the cattle. We have about 250 'head' of cattle. I know that sounds like a lot, but its not - we have beef and dairy so that includes ALL bovines on our property. We have about 48 head of dairy cows and 60-80 'young stock'. Young stock are the young cattle that are not yet bred nor milking. So this is baby's and teenagers, non-sexually active teenagers! Then we have 'replacement heifers'. These are heifers that are bred and ready to 'freshen' to replace any old cattle or cattle that have other 'issues'. We try to keep about 5-10 of those on hand, but there are a LOT of differant things that happen to heifers. We often have about 3-5 holstein/angus cross steers that we keep around to sell off and on. The reason that we have the cross's is this: heifers and some cows dont always 'stay' when they are bred. Stay means they dont get pregnant. Beef semen is much more 'potent', shall we say than holstien. There is a post all of its own about cattle semen. *grin* SO, we sometimes breed heifers and cows to an Angus bull and thus the cross's come into play. 250 head of cattle is not a large amount of cattle to have on hand. Most people are milking 150-250, we only milk 48 so we are still a small farmer.

We have beef cattle - Purebred Angus baby! With these we have about 30 cows. With our beef cattle things are a bit differant. We always try to have the same amount of breedable cows every year, like I said - about 30. When the cows have calves they are all kept and we do some of the same things. The heifers are raised to replace cows that need to be 'culled', taken out of the breeding herd, and the bulls are either raised as steers (castraited), sorry guys, for beef sales or rented out to other farmers for dairy heifers/cows or other beef herds for breeding. We have 1 bull for our cows and the others are penned up based on our needs. We then have the 'feeders' - these are cattle that we are raising for beef consumption. These pens are based on where the cattle are in the consumption process. Some are 500 lbs then 700lbs and so on till they are finished. All cattle 'finish' at differant weights so past 700lbs they are penned accordingly. There are some heifers in these pens also for differant reasons. Some of them are from ' ugly' cows - meaning 2 things physically ugly/bad confirmation or disposition. We DO NOT line breed in the sense that most people do. Line breeding is a whole differant post also! SO - we have lots of cattle to care for - and about 30 chickens - 2 horses - Sam dog and the hord of cats!

When its this cold all of those cattle require extra food. The machinery requires extra maintanance also - tractors need to be 'pluged in' along with the truck - skid steer and 2 sheds have wood stoves in them that need to be stoked and maintained so that the fire's dont get out of control and get to hot. Not to mention the houses need care and thats my job. This morning our front door was frozen shut - yes I said frozen shut. SO - I am off to do my 3rd load of laundry for the day and put in #4 - when the men come home from the farm I will have 2-3 more loads. I average 6 per day - long johns from 5 people - coats, gloves, hats and double socks, jeans, sweat shirts and t-shirts from 5 people must be washed daily or my house smells like the barn with out the straw - wait I have straw.

This rug is about 25 years old.... it has seen better days but still has a breath left in it - probably a single breath, but what the heck! I will be back later, Milk Mans orders, to show you pictures of the farm on a cold day.

I guess I owe an apology....

First, for those of you still reading my blog - I guess I owe an apology. The last 3 weeks I have been busy, which I am sure you all have. However, trying to jugle sick children, sick and aging inlaws, -20 below weather, cooking, cleaning, my part time job, and over 250 head of cattle and a husband who was nearly crushed by a #1000 pound round bale - I owe an apology.

Miss Lila - I thank you for the time and effort you have spent to come here and check out my blog. I TRUELY LOVE to read all the comments and appreciate your time to be here, but I cant satisfy everyone when REAL LIFE starts to go south. I take the time I have for my blog, but as I said life has been pretty tough the last couple of weeks. If you all feel this way, maybe I should not continue. As I said before I am sorry for not being here, but things have gotten a bit out of control in my life - limiting the time for my blog.... Let me know how you all feel about this please - if you still are reading.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sorry, no bacon post yet.

I know you are all anxious to read the rest of my bacon post, but I have somthing that has REALLY been on my mind lately. Especially with a new administration coming into office with in a short few days. Have any of you hear about NAIS? Before I explain what it is, I want to know if any of you know anything about it. It affects ALL of you wether you know it or not and is VERY VERY VERY vital for the farming industry. It means the ultimate death of the family farm as we know it. SO - tell me what you know would you please?