Category Archives: cows

Another day…

Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone! I hope that you began the morning with an excellent breakfast of Green Eggs and Ham! Not that Dr. Suess has anything to do with St. Pat’s Day but, the color is just too cool to pass up!

That is about the extent of how much I celebrate St. Patty’s Day. To me, it is just another day full of things to do and things to get done. I spent about an hour yesterday just assessing the damage and the standing water that is in the pastures and fields. We have a lot of work to get done! Barn roof that collapsed needs to be torn down and removed. The hoop barn needs to be pulled down and reset because of the leaning walls due to extremely high winds (they gusted at over 70 mph). We need to scrap out all the barns, get the compost pile moved to the garden, clean up all the residual build up from feeding round bales and the lawn is littered full of broken pieces of tree branches and stones from the snow plowing.

We have standing water in about 1/2 the pasture and by the way, we still have a ton of snow spots here and there. I can’t wait for the grass to start turning green. Spring is so close…I just can’t wait!

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Celebrating AgDay 2011

The folks here at Barrows Farm have very good reason to celebrate AgDay 2011. We are located in a state that uses 23% of the state’s land, approximately 7 million acres for farming production! Agriculture is important to New York State as its production returned almost $4.7 billion to the farm economy in 2009.

Milk is New York’s leading agricultural product and is produced all across the state. Milk sales account for one-half of total agricultural receipts. Production in 2009 was 12.4 billion pounds with a preliminary value of $1.7 billion. New York is the nation’s third leading producer and Wyoming County leads the state. New York ranks first in the nation in the production of creamed cottage cheese, low fat cottage cheese and sour cream.

New York livestock producers marketed 228 million pounds of meat animals (cattle, pigs, and sheep) during 2009. Ducks, broilers (chickens) and turkeys are also raised. New York ranks 20th in egg production.

Nationally New York ranked second in apple production, fourth for both tart cherries and pears and ninth for strawberries. We placed third for wine and juice grape production behind California and Washington. Sixty-six percent of the grape production was for juice and 34 percent went into wines in 2009. New Yorkers can also get locally grown peaches, sweet cherries, blueberries and raspberries in season.

The value of all vegetables produced in NY totaled $408.9 million in 2010. NY ranks fifth nationally in fresh market vegetable production. Cabbage, sweet corn and onions lead the way. NY ranks second in the production of pumpkins, third in cauliflower, fourth for snap beans, cucumbers, and squash, and ninth in tomatoes. We also produce many vegetables used for processing such as beets for canning, cabbage for sauerkraut and peas for freezing. Don’t forget about all the great road side stands and farm markets that will be opening soon.

New York produces a variety of field crops largely in support of its dairy industry. Corn, soybeans and wheat are most widely grown. New York ranks third in corn silage, seventh in oat production, 21st for grain corn, 25th for soybeans 27th for hay and 31st in wheat production.

Maple syrup production in New York for 2010 was 312,000 gallons (valued at $17.8 million) ranking us second behind Vermont. In 2009, New York floriculture products were valued at $171 million. Bedding and garden plants top the list of commodities. The wholesale value of New York’s floriculture output ranks seventh nationally at $171 million.

Many people may forget where their food, clothes and alternative fuels come from…but farmers keep doing the thankless job of putting food on your plate and clothes on your back. I know there are others within the change for production but without someone out there tending to the harvest and shipment of your meats, vegetables, cotton for clothing, grains for breads and such…we would be a completely different society. Everyone should be very thankful for each small thing a farmer does to make OUR lives better!

Maniac Monday

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Monday’s could be the easy day of the week…The day when you slowly transition back into the work week! It never works that way though, does it?
Uggg. Today has just been one of those days. We woke up this morning to more snow! I am starting to wonder just when it is going to stop…June maybe?!?! πŸ™‚
All kidding aside, it has been one hell of a morning. The phone has been ringing off the hook and with each phone call, it breeds two or three more! I am tired and ready for a break!
This morning has been crammed with phone calls, one after another all morning long. I sit here now, taking my lunch break, typing on the computer to relax my brain for just a few minutes. I work on several different levels when it comes to work. Right now the top one is project manager for Broome Biomass. I have devoted my life over the past few years to developing the marketing strategy and the business model for the company. In the course of doing so, I have become a marketing agent for other companies that are looking to sell biomass products. It keeps me very busy and at times can become extremely frustrating.
I think the thing that makes it very difficult is trying to play the balancing act and do so many things at once…It is very much like farming! Very rewarding but it doesn’t pay very well! πŸ™‚ I do love everything that I have done and look forward to everything that I will be able to do in the future to promote agriculture into the renewable energy world in a real world working environment.
I am off again to work on the farm. Time to mix up my own special blend of chicken feed and to muck the barns out. The fun never stops! Have a blessed day!

Snow, Ice and Cold

I will tell you right now…I may love winter but I hate dealing with frozen water! When buckets freeze it makes everything difficult. I have been having a difficult time lately with all of the water freezing for the animals…of course with zero degree temperatures, even the water heaters struggle to keep everything from freezing. It was horrible out there yesterday, when at 9 am, the temperature was actually a balmy negative four! I have no idea how the folks that live in Alaska do it. I mean, you walk out the door and your breath crystalizes right before your eyes. Your nose hairs freeze and what ever you do, don’t sneeze!

Other than struggling with frozen water…everything is going good. We do have one sickly calf, but he seems to be pepped back up again with just one dose of antibiotics. He was lathargic yesterday morning and most of the day yesterday, so I called the vet in to check him out. This cold is hard on everyone…animals included. I am very glad that we decided to put heat lamps in to keep the chickens and turkeys warm. It was about 50 degrees in with them yesterday. Not very warm but it sure was a whole lot warmer than what it could have been. The cows were doing alright until it snowed so hard last week and they went out into the pasture…can’t teach animals anything! πŸ™‚ The cold just seemed to digs it’s ugly heels in yesterday. Thankfully it is warmer out this morning…but now we are going to be getting rain and freezing rain sometime this morning.
Mr. Farmer made the 30 mile trek to work this morning take almost 20 minutes longer than normal. All of the local schools are closed. Which in my opinion was a smart move, I wouldn’t want my kids on a bus bumping down back country roads covered in ice.
I have a bunch of things to prepare today for several upcoming meetings. I am also having an official business phone installed this morning! No more dealing with other people listening to messages and then not forwarding them along. No more late hour phone calls ringing in my ear when I am trying to relax. It means official business hours for the phone! I love it! I really can’t wait!
I have been working on our website for the business too. Trying to keep everyone updated on the new EPA rulings and such. If you want to read more, you can find it under my blogger profile under the biomass heading.

Staying busy…

Well, this last weekend was packed full of one chore after another. There just never seems to be a day when I get to take time off to just relax.
Saturday we spent the majority of the day running here and there picking up animal feed. A trip to Berkshire to the feed store to get cow feed; Willet to get chicken feed; Killowog to pick up another bale for the cows. The swing into Killowog was pointless because no one was around to load the bale…so that meant going back on Sunday. We came home to store the feed, clean the stove pipe, load the furnace, plow the drives and finally inside to cook dinner. Sunday, I slept in. Rich took care of the morning chores for me (thank heavens) so I could grab a few minutes extra sleep. We had a load of firewood delivered before 9am…so I didn’t get too much extra sleep. After cooking breakfast, I did manage to sit down for about a half hour to work on a blanket that should have been done last week…running a bit behind on that one! Then it was off to Killowog to help do heifer chores and pick up a hay bale for our cows.
I sit here this morning, dreading going out that front door….Folks, the temperature here is ZERO. I am in no rush! The starter on the tractor is bad so it doesn’t start. At some point this week, I need to get that off to have it fixed. Just wish the weather would warm up a bit! We need to cut up these logs for firewood. Most of them will be longer pieces and then split for the furnace…but since we are due to have some extremely cold weather over the next week, we are also going to cut and split some for the fireplace as well. No way am I going to freeze.
I have been having an extremely difficult time with getting the “chills” lately. I go outside, get cold and then for some reason get chilled right to the bone. I have never had this kind of problem before. Maybe it is because I haven’t been feeling very well lately. I just don’t know. It reminds me of when you go swimming in the pool and your core temperature drops, giving you the shakes and jitters. The only way I can seem to get rid of them once they start is to climb into bed and sleep them off. Which is driving me crazy because it seems like the last three days, I have slept half of my days away.
I will be working on a couple of projects today…one for some information on why our government needs to reconsider subsidies for ethanol production and another for a local college course program on biomass. Seems to be an ever expanding list of things to do…but I wouldn’t change it. It makes me feel like I am contributing back to this world I live in. When I was growing up, I always said that I wanted to be a teacher…maybe I wasn’t too far off. These projects keep leading me into an education sector. Educating the public, educating the educators. Interesting for me to say the least.
I have decided that I don’t get paid enough for everything I do…I would ask for a percentage raise but it’s kind of hard to get a 25% raise when you don’t get paid anything to begin with! Just to explain to everyone why I don’t think I will ever get paid enough…here are my job titles: Research and business development; Personal Assistant; Chief Executive Office of a start up company; Sales and Marketing Manager for two seperate businesses (Biomass and Farm); Marketing and Sales Specialist (Biomass Industry); Farm Hand; Housekeeper; Bookkeeper; Cook and a few additional ones that I will be kind enough to not list πŸ™‚
My days are full. Up at 5:30 to bed around 11:00 and zero time for me in between. When I get sick, I still work. There is no time to get depressed over certain things in my life, no time to ponder what could or should have been. One foot in front of the other, every hour on the hour.
So, to boil it all down…I don’t get paid for even half of what I do, but sometimes the joy of doing all I do out weighs any amount of money in the world!
May you all find peace and joy in your days! God Bless!

Mother Nature

Mother Nature sure has changed her temperment since I was a kid. Today, people freak out over a foot of snow. Back in the late 70’s, early 80’s, I remembering getting this much snow a couple times a year. There was always snow on the ground.

Here in NY, where I live, we managed to get a total downfall of about 5 or 6 inches overnight. It is just amazing to listen to people complain about how much snow we did get…come on! There isn’t even enough snow accumulation to be able to ride a snowmobile!

Apparently, it is just okay to complain about something…PESSIMISTS!

I have a different view on snow, any amount of it. Take a step back, slow down for a minute and go look out the window. If you are in the country, look at how new and fresh everything looks. How the sun reflects off the individual snow flakes, making the world look like God dumped a whole bin of glitter on the ground. Pay attention to all the colors that reflect of the snow..blues, yellows, oranges and sometimes a hint of red. If you are in the city and look out the window, pay attention to how the snow softens the edges of the harse concrete buildings. Look at the way all the bare trees have taken a new shape and dimension.

I know, I know…what you are thinking is…now I have to clean my car, bundle up in a heavy coat and where boats. The roads are bad, it takes forever for your windows to defrost and your gloves don’t feel like they provide you with enough warmth and your toes are cold. Just remember, spring is on it’s way. You wouldn’t be as thankful for those flowers to start blooming, the trees to start budding and the grass to start growing if it wasn’t for all of these winter months. Small consolations for the immediate moment…but still. Consider how lucky you are! Your house is warm and so is your office. If you start your car a few minutes extra, so will your car. There are people out there who can’t afford to pay for heat. That don’t have jobs to help pay for it. Be thankful for everything you do have!

Be safe out there on the roads and remember to take just one moment, one brief minute to enjoy the splendor and miracles that are provided to us right before our very eyes.