Category Archives: weather

First Calf of 2012

IT’S OFFICIAL! Our first calf born from the Dexter’s has been born this morning!!

First glimpse of Meanie and her new baby
First nursing
All dressed up to stay dry from the rain
Up and running already!

We are so happy to see him healthy and happy. Now we just need to get him dried up, kept warm and continue him on the right path.

His mother’s name is Meanie….wonder what we can name him?????

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Damn Weather

At some point, maybe…well, hopefully sometime before July…the weather will straighten out and we can get our 30 acres of forage grasses planted. Every time it seems like the ground is just getting dry enough to plant, it rains again and then we have to wait another 3-4 days. UGGGG

It is maddening. Especially considering we have so many other things going on right now too. Meetings and more meetings about our regional energy sustainability are slowly driving me insane. I have sat through so many of these now that I have lost count. That doesn’t include the multiple coordination phone calls and emails in between. Maybe someday this will all get easier as more people within the area become informed and knowledgeable about bioenergy. For some reason though, it seems like you have to constantly repeat the same information 1,000 times before anyone seems to grasp the basic concept of energy and energy demands.

Thank goodness for the two “working” highlights in my life! Y’all have no idea how relaxing it is to work with stubborn cows with attitude! These Jersey cattle kids are all head strong that’s for sure. Belle, the worst of the bunch, has to be nosy and “chat it up” with each and every animal here on the farm, including those pesky chickens! She has befriended one of the Dexters so much now that they are inseparable. They are always together now.

The calves are both doing extremely well and growing fast. Tommy, our newest addition, certainly has a ton of spunk. It is comical to watch him run round and round the pasture, which takes him about 10 times around before he decides to slow down. Him and Chuck are both buddy pals. We attempted to separate them at night but all Tommy did was bawl and bawl some more so now they are housed together at night. It’s working well and makes me feel good knowing that they are enjoying each others company that much. Just points out to me that I think all calves need to be raised in pairs!

We are still awaiting the arrival of Dexter calves…they are bagging up beautifully and are show lots of signs of being uncomfortable. The calves are large enough now within the womb that you can see their Mother’s bellies roll around when they start moving. I love sitting out in the pasture watching those moments! Makes me miss being pregnant but not enough to have another child. It’s just one of those amazing moments I feel blessed enough to share!

Our heifers are getting close to breeding time and big decisions will need to be made soon on just what semen we will be using. I don’t think I have put this much thought into a decision in a very long time. I have talked with my cousin, who just happens to be a semen distributor, about what my best options would be. Needless to say, for someone who is as picky as I am about how I want my Jerseys to turn out…it just made matters worse! Some how I will choose and in the meantime, I am getting very proficient in reading sire reports! Haha

Speaking of sires and genelogy, I had a great time at the New York Spring Jersey Sale this weekend. Lots of beautiful Jerseys that I really wish I could have brought home with me…but, they were selling for more than I am comfortable paying right now! 😦 Isn’t that sad? I just wanted to bring home one or two but all of the ones I had picked out when for much higher than my budget will allow. Made some really good contacts for the summer months though. Meet folks from Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and even Maine. I loved it! People who actually understand the language I talk!

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Jersey girls after their trip through the sale ring!

So, back to this weather.. All of this rain has us behind on mowing the lawn but, the pasture is growing well. I am thinking I need to get some fencing around my yard and use it for calves!!! Could you imagine the UPS or FedEx guys pulling in and having to go through electric fence to deliver? The one who drives for FedEx wouldn’t be the issue…he grew up around here and is actually from the same small town I am. I still think it would be great though…maybe it would keep some of the goofy people away!!!

Nice thought but I doubt it would work. Speaking of goofy people…I need to get my butt in gear! Lots to do today and hopefully some great events that will mean more to me than anything in the world!!!! Only time will tell!

It’s Cold Out There

Even though the temperatures are above freezing already this morning, at a whole 32 degrees…It sure hasn’t been that way for the past two or three days.

On Friday, we got hit with extremely high winds with some gusts over 40 mph and snow. I don’t mind the snow. I actually think it’s good to get some snow. Especially when the ground is already so saturated from all of this strange weather we have had this year. Buffalo, which is about a three hour drive from here, is 40 inches below their average snow fall accumulations for this season. We have had more rain than I can ever recall and there have been days in January that have days in the 40-50 degree marks.

January 13th, 2012

But on Saturday, the thermometer decided to plunge. It was 9 degrees out there when Mr. Farmer went out to do morning chores.

He had a few problems getting out little milking pump started but, everything else went alright. No frozen water lines, no cold animals and no sludge for oil like I had yesterday morning when I went out.

Sunday morning brought a headache, sore muscle and stress. One of our calves got cold stress. Cold stress in a calf is very dangerous. It is actually a form of hypothermia. The poor girl was our there shaking like a leaf in the breeze. She wouldn’t eat or drink. Having to bottle/force feed a five month old animal isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I didn’t want her to get dehydrated and I also know that giving her warm liquids is a good way to warm her up from the inside out.

After discovering that my girl was so cold. I decided to take a peek at the thermometer again. It turned out to be a big mistake when I pulled it up on my truck when I was headed to go pick up our weekly feed.

Just a little chilly out there

After the half hour feed trip, I had to work on getting the water lines unthawed. During all that, I had to keep checking on the heifer calf, making trips to the house to warm up blankets for her. Then the milker pump needed fixing. Mr. Farmer put on a different motor, cleaned it all up and warmed the oil (which turned out to be the only issue).

Then we cut firewood due to the fact that we were burning through lots of extra. All of those winds seemed to find yet more cracks in the walls of the house. At one point, the whole house was at 51 degrees. Thankfully, we didn’t have any frozen lines. We built a fire in the fireplace for added warmth but only ended up with temps around 60.

The chickens stayed nice and toasty inside of the chicken barn with their heat lamps. Believe it or not…they actually ALL laid an egg yesterday too. That was a whole boat load of eggs and more than my poor little bag could handle. I had eggs in my coat pockets, the front pouch on my hoodie and a couple in my hat along with the one’s in the bag as I raced hatless to the house! 45 eggs in total.

Old barn

My fingers and toes still hurt from frost bite but things are looking better for the time being. I guess that eventually, we will all pull through this and be alright. At least, I sure hope so. And here I was hoping for a better, even start to 2012. So far, everything has been full of severe swings of ups and downs…one positive thing, it has to get better from here!

Hope you are all staying warm and dry. God bless.

Restless Minds

There are just too many things to worry about tonight. It’s now 1:37 am on Christmas Eve.

I have done ZERO shopping, just had one of the worst days of my life and lost one of my girls. Not even Xanax has a cure for what ails me tonight.

I keep thinking and seriously second guessing myself every step of the way. My Scarlett girl has made me triple guess myself. I am slowly dying on the inside, swirling around inside my over stuffed brain, trying to figure out what to do.

As a small farmer, I took a huge hit today. Not just in a vet bill or emotionally either. I have been hit in planning. These three young heifers were suppose to be the next additions to my milking herd. And now I am down one of them….one that was going to be an important part of that plan.

Farming is always a huge risk. I try to reduce as many risks as possible. I keep barns clean, feed good food, make sure there is always lots of fresh water….but most people don’t realize what kinds of investments we small farmers put into time and energy to ensure our stock stays healthy and happy.

Some people say that livestock are not pets, that we shouldn’t befriend them…well critics be damned! I know all of the cows, calves, bulls and steers names. I know their personalities. I know what foods they like and don’t. I can almost map their days out on timeline sheets better than I can my own. I know when they are tense, scared, nervous or not feeling well. I know my cows better than I know myself!

After yesterdays incident, I keep asking over and over, and over some more…how could I have gone so wrong? I need this answer. I need to know this for future reference…Her death will not be in vain!

Farming is about always learning. Learning the hows, the ways and the whens. Everyday presents itself with new challenges (which sometimes do not turn out for the better, no matter how hard we work and pray for a good outcome), new ideas and sometimes even new practices. To me, all of these questions and concerns have GOT to have the cows interest, welfare and happiness as the main priority.

The Holidays don’t change the day to day operations, the wandering minds or the worry. Yes, we may sit down to a large meal with more family than usual and escape some of our harsh realities, but for the most part…it is just another day around the farm.

I really need some sleep…still need to do my shopping for Mr. Farmer and I still have no idea what to get. Later is a trip to the local feed store, time to move a couple more bales and somewhere in there..fit in time to go to “town” to pick him up something.  Life never seems to slow down!

Strange Weather

Well, I never thought that I would still be dealing with mud issues just days before Christmas! It’s 8:30 in the morning, 42 degrees and it rained all day yesterday. EVERYTHING is a muddy mess. The one good thing….the barn isn’t too messy ’cause everybody is out in the pasture.

The poor grass is even confused as it is greening up again. I am surprised that the trees aren’t budding!

I worry that without a really cold spell, we aren’t going to be getting sap from the maples to make syrup this year. Wouldn’t that be just our luck now that we own our very first evaporator! We bought the one that Mr. Farmer’s parent’s had prior to their retirement and consequent move out of their home. Kind of hard to travel between NY and TX with maple syrup making equipment! 🙂

Yesterday, when I was outside taking care of some necessity chores around the farm….I couldn’t help but notice the music of the rain. Have you ever just sat and listened to the different tones of the rain?

It makes such a unique and difference sound on each thing it hits and of course it depends on how hard it rains. It was perfect yesterday for listening. No high winds whistling through the trees. Just the sound of the pattering of the rain.

I think the sweetest sound is when the light rain was hitting the steel roof on the barn. It sounded like distant cricket-like noises that all blended together. Then there were the baritones of the drops hitting the roof of the two cover-all style buildings. With them being two different sizes, the pitches and tones were different there too. And even different sounds when the rain it puddles, the ground, the gravel in the drive….

Natures Music! Soft, subtle and completely peaceful.

This is just another one of the many reasons why I couldn’t live in the city. Too much ambient noise to really hear little things like the differences in the sounds of rain hitting various objects. Here, in the country, there may be  an occassional car that drives by or the sound of an animal but I sat on the picnic table in the barn (yeah, I know…nice place for it huh?) listening to the different sounds that created from nature.

It was one of those hours when I sat back thinking about how blessed I am to be surrounded by such beautiful things.

A dying weed on a cold, rainy morning just after the sun came through the fog.

Snowy Days

I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVE the snow! I love the flakes when they start to fall. I love the snow covered ground. I love how it makes the world look.

Yeah, the frozen pipes are a pain….But to get over it, just step outside and look around! Everything is covered in a blanket of white, glittering like diamonds in the sun.

This IS my favorite time of the year and another one of the reasons why, if for some unforeseen reason, if I ever have to move….I want to go where they have seasons, mostly for the snow!

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Frosting Mornings

I try to find the good in everything. No point in focusing on the negative all the time…one of the reasons I rarely watch any other news than AgDay. With the leaves gone of the trees and the grass slowly turning brown too, I turn to other things in nature that I like. I like watching the sun come up on a frosty morning as the rays just start hitting the crystal and you can see every tiny detail along the edge of a blade of grass. It works the same for those mornings when we had a smidge of snow overnight.

The animals are usually very quiet at that time of day. You might hear the rooster crow or the flap of turkey wings here on our farm but usually the only other sounds you hear are the wild birds chirping their good morning to the sun. As crazy as it may seem, that is my favorite time of day. I take my coffee cup (insulated of course) out while I do my morning chores. I have been known to be found leaning on the side of the barn, hands curled around my cup and bundled in about four layers of clothes watching the sun crest over the horizon.

Everyone else changes their clocks, gets an extra hour of rest but not me. I still get up before the sun. I live somewhere where the old adages of “red sky in the morning, sailors take warning” doesn’t seem to apply. We have a red sky every morning. Of course, we also have the most spectacular sunsets too. At sunset, I am usually back in the barn again or close to it. There is nothing as peaceful as watching the sun sink below or peek over the horizon. It paints the clouds in the sky in spectacular colors.

The setting sun paints the clouds pink.

The orange of the morning sky makes everything look warmer with hints of orangy-gold.

The snow of the top of our mailbox as the sun comes up.

Farming life isn’t always about the hard work of feeding animals, cleaning barns or harvesting crops. There are those little moments that only country living can supply. To me, farming isn’t only about the animals, it’s about a way of life. Some people thrive in this environment. I am one of them. I could tell you about countless others that feel that way too. We don’t really care about fashion trends, unless maybe it’s for a new pair of boots. We don’t care what the latest celebrated gossip is. The things we care about the most are our animals and the weather. Needless to say, those are fairly time consuming and the rest…well, we take it one day at a time.