Wednesday, January 14, 2009

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.


Mrs Mom said...

Ugh- I remember those cold days alllll toooooo wellllll!!!

30* here when I got up this morning. Me thinks that is about as cold as I want to be Thank You Very Much!

Love ya Heidi- no freezing off anything out there girl!

The Tarpleys said...

You shouldn't have to apologize for not blogging - especially not to someone that doesn't have a blog of her own! Not only does life get in the way - sometimes things just aren't exciting enough to write about! Keep up the good work - the rest of us love your blog and we'll matter how far apart your posts are!

Dandelionmom said...

Did you ever feel like it is kind of a northeren pride thing with the cold?? That we complain as a way of bragging about how tough we are? Not sure I would ever admit it-but I do kind of enjoy mentioning how cold it is-and secretly think I am a bit tougher because of it--then I pull my blankie out of the dryer and curl up on the couch to get over it!

I left you a link in your comments one post down-a link you need!

The W.O.W. factor said...

Oh, I so empathize with you! (and I'm sorry we must have sent our Dec weather on to you!) Love that you gave the "lessons" in cows! I'm all too familiar with both dairy and beef over my years..and truthfully? I miss the beef being around. I'd rather take tend cattle than horses in the frigid, for some reason, their personalities come out and are SOOOO appreciative upon seeing you and providing for them!
Grab a hot chocolate and put those tooties by the fire!

Dawn said...

We call our 'watering things' waterers also! :)

DayPhoto said...

OH, YES I want to see. Just don't freeze your toes and fingers doing so.

That carpet looks just like mine and it is .... ahh humm 32 years old, I think. I also think it is going to last until I die.


COFFEE MAN said...

i would post somthing like this myself , however when i get ta talkin about hefiers and the like , i get the decend to hades look from my wife . and she starts talking about the casteration part , and well , i just aint gonna post about somthin like this LOL

Joanna said...

We wouldn't begin to know how to handle -23 degrees, gets really tough then. Y'all take care.

Suzanne said...

I don't mind the smell of straw. But we don't have straw around here. I love all your explanation on the cattle and stuff. Milking that many cows is still a chore. I can't imagine doing much more than that without hired help. Keeping everything fed and watered is a huge chore in the wintertime. You are my heroine.

- Suzanne

GreenRanchingMom said...

Y'all are doing awesome. Keep warm, and loved the descriptions for all the non-farmers, ranchers.

Nancy said...

I feel as if I am in a classroom, learning things I never really knew before. Your blog is so very interesting!!! More! More!!! LOL How many cats do you have? I have 33 I could send out to you! LOL On the serious side, never could I part with a one of mine now. I am hooked! ha-ha

((( HUGS )))