Tag Archives: nature

Cows, Cows and more cows

I had the privilege of covering the Annual Spring Dairy Carousel in Syracuse, NY yesterday. Although they weren’t jersey cows, it was still impressive to see the 213 gorgeous presentation of Holstein.

It must be extremely difficult to judge a competition like these. There are so many beautiful cows with such awesome udders!

Of course, you know me, I notice the little things…Like a cow who is alert and shows a little of her personality through while in the ring!

"I got this! Look I am showing off to the judge!!!"
"Just because I am a cow of a different color....."

It’s funny…I really don’t like Holsteins as an overall breed but I really enjoyed the show! There were really some fantastic animals and even a couple of really, really cute handlers who assisted with the prep work!

"Why do we always get this end?"

I will admit…I was kind of sly. Yeah, I was there to cover the holstiens…but opps, someone forgot to take all the jerseys out of the barn before I got there!

Some young girls lounging after a long afternoon the day before.

I think my favorite portion of the day was spent inside the barns. It was great talking with the folks showing, learning about how many people it takes to make an animal presentable and meeting people from Illinois, Wisconsin, Delaware and even Canada…just to name a few of the places some of the folks travelled from.

Showing cattle isn’t as easy as it looks…It takes a whole team. Sometimes members within the family, sometimes hired help. There are groomers, brushers, oilers, hoof shiners, and even a poop handler! For someone who has never experienced such a show, it is worth it to just learn about all of the work, attention to details from the body condition to feeds and so much more that goes on behind the scenes at an event like this. This is NOT the county or state fair…these folks are serious about proper presentation! They even wipe the pooper of these animals after they go to the bathroom!!!!!

Needless to say, I learned a ton and overall it was a great experience….now I really want to raise a show cow!!! Demented HUH????

Hope you all enjoyed a glimpse into the world of cattle showing for dairy cows! I will leave you with the top judges considerations of the day…and folks, it’s all about what’s between their legs!

Big, bad, beautiful udders!

Farm Visitors

We have never turned a visitor away from our farm, especially when they are young kids. For me, I thinks it is important to allow kids who usually do not have the opportunity to experience farm life to have the chance to “meet” the different animals and learn about what they eat, how they are cared for and even how they are very different but similar to other animals.

Last Friday was no different. Two children, one who is a repeat visitor and the other who has never been around farm animals other than a few chickens, came out to the farm for a couple of hours of learning and experience. These two young ladies really enjoyed spending time with the calves. A brief video slideshow is available by clicking the link below.

Ava and Beth Visit Barrows Farm

Springtime

Springtime around the farm is a little more advanced around the farm that around your homes, but really, it isn’t much different if you’re a gardener.

Springtime on the farm means its time to plow and plant. Again, very similar to your home garden. In the garden, you spread out fertilizers (sometimes composted manure) and you roto-till. Farmers just use bigger equipment (unless you are a farmer and then your garden usually gets the same treatment).

We spread manure on our fields to apply plant and soil specific nutrients. Depending on the ground and the crop we have planned, it could be a heavy application for a crop like corn or a light application for grasses.

Typically, after the manure is spread, the ground is tilled to incorporate the manure into the soil and reduce losses due to volitization (evaporation). Once that is accomplished, depending upon the plantings previous and the new seedings, it may need to be plowed again. I will use the example of going from corn ground to grass seedings. During these situations the ground is usually plowed twice, once with a set of drags and another time with a set of disks. After the second plowing, the ground is usually planted.

Air drill for grass seed planting and fertilizer application

This year, the side hill (shown in the photo above) have no manure applied. It had chemical fertilizers applied due to the soil sampling tests that came back that resulted in lower amounts of nitrogen needed on that ground. The air drill uses air pressure to blow the seeds to the ground.

After the fields are planted, it is time to come back with a roller or culi-packer to ensure soil to seed contact. This will assist with proper growth of the seeds as the ground will provide moisture, insulation and heat as the ground absorbs the heat from the sun.

9 pm and still working to get the job done

One of our fields is finally finished. Now all we need to do is to wait for a little rain, some sun…hopefully no more snow and soon we will have a beautiful field of green.

Next step is to get the new perimeter fence put in. The fence guy will be here over the next couple of days and I am super excited to get started on that part of our expansion. When he comes, he is bringing us the materials to put up a five acre temporary fence so that I can start the rotational grazing with four of our cows. The grass is already 4-5″ tall in that field, so it will provide some excellent grazing for the three Dexter cows (who are due to calf anytime) and our Jersey milk cow.

It is nearly time for our bull to go over to the other farm. It will seem odd without him around but I am thinking about bring him back this coming fall to breed the Dexter since I have yet to find a bull to put in with them. I really don’t want the cross breeds but all of the Dexter bulls I have found within a reasonable distance are, well, a little too pricey ($3000+) for my three girls. Artificial insemination doesn’t seem to be an option either…..which is making me think that this could be another form of diversity for our farm as time goes on.

Well, time for me to get to work…there is still a tree in the lawn that needs to get cleaned up and since the lawn is getting a little too high…it’s time for me to mow the lawn for the first time this year. Can you believe it? Usually we aren’t mowing the lawn until mid-April if not later here in NY.

OH…and I will do my best to get some photos of the apple blossoms that are starting to come out already (again, about two weeks early). I have to say, this is the first year I ever remember the crocus and the daffodils blooming within 24 hours of each other. This sure is some crazy weather. It is so dry already that it is scary. Hopefully, this coming rain and possible snow mixture will get some moisture back into the dry dusty ground.

Have a great day! See you soon!

I thank God

As the Garth Brooks song says, “I thank God for unanswered prayers.”

Things have been busy since my last post. We have been measuring up and marking out where our new perimeter fence is going, new alley ways will be put and looking at the run off from our upper field. We have been inspecting the land around our beautiful six acre pond, developing a plan of action and seriously considering what else needs to get done.

It’s been fun filled jaunts across muddy fields in the pickup, muddy feet from wet ground and scratches on my legs from blackberry bushes but it will all be worth it in the long run.

So, why am I thanking God for unanswered prayers?

Prayers I didn’t even know I was asking, have been answered. I sit here this morning with many of the house windows open (it’s 52 degrees outside), listening to the birds chirping, the roosters (ours and the neighbors) crowing, and a cup of hot coffee in my hand. It’s 6:30 am and life is good. Watching the sun come up over the hill filtering through the fog of hanging moisture in the air…I am never happier during the day than I am in this type of moment. I can just barely see the cows in the paddock outside the windows. This is what real peace feels like to me.

Even though things have been difficult over the past several weeks with working two additional jobs on top of our farm and business, it’s moments like these that seem to clear my mind completely. My unanswered prayer was that I wanted to be busy. Jobs from before sunrise until late at night to keep my hands busy, to prevent the pain I feel inside and to pay these bills that just seem to grow by the day. I prayed for God to make sure that I could cope with all of the work I need/have to do now. I prayed that He would help me get through life in general until things got better.

And then, this morning while relaxing with my coffee and looking out the window, listening to the birds chirp, I realized something. I realized that what I have asked for is not humanly possible. I can’t continue to live life this way. I have to realize that I need these quiet moments. I also realized that no matter what, I need to do what is right for me and my health. Something that is a difficult lesson for me since I have this habit of putting everyone else first. I need to find my own internal peace and then just take each day as it comes, putting one foot in front of the other.

I can work and do the best I can. On the farms, at my job or working on something to make an extra $10 bucks I will do what I can. I can’t force earning money and still find happiness. I know we all do things we don’t want to do. But, what if you could live the life you wanted and be happy doing it? Well, I have that chance but it doesn’t come without risks. I just have to weigh the pro’s and con’s…and right now, my biggest pro is that I have to learn to take better care of myself. I have to learn again how to enjoy every moment, good or bad.

As the fog lifts off the ground, it is lifting off my mind and heart too. I thank God today for not answering my prayers and showing me today that life is good. That no matter what job I work, how much money I make or don’t, and that no matter who is in my life or isn’t that in the end, I am all that matters. I need to take care to really enjoy all that has already been given to me, which has been more than my wildest dreams could ever think up.

I am wondering….

Has anyone out there in the world had a moment like this? Did life lead you down a road you never thought possible?