ONCE AGAIN

The farmy has a sunny day ahead. Plus a high that may just tip us above freezing. My arms ache from carrying buckets of water for the cows so I hope we can get the hoses out today.  Carrying water is hard work. 66-063

Over on the West side they have a plumbed water trough. The water comes across from the cottage there. It has a heater in the trough but it still freezes over, you have to smash the ice twice a day.  But smashing ice is so much easier than carrying buckets – and a lot more satisfying. The rising temps will help with this too.

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The cows and pigs and even the chickens will eat snow if their water gets frozen over. Wai finds actual chips of ice and crunches on those. I must remember that when it gets hot in the summer.  If we ever see summer again.

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It is hard to imagine summer when it is this cold and shiny snow white.

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Tima snores. Loudly. I can hear her snoring while milking the cow. Too fat.  But they need that fat for the winter. She always loses some again in the summer. And Tane being so thin needs a fat wife to keep him warm. I don’t know about this rooster warming his feet on the fat pig though – that seems a bit disrespectful but once he settles down I am sure his warmth is welcome. LuLu the cat usually creeps into the corner beside Tane.

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Mr Flowers and his tail.

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My first two round bales arrived last night so today we will roll the first one out.  The round bales are for the herd across the way.  I will see if we can get one in under the trees over there.  At least it has a chance of staying dryer under there. There is talk of trying a round bale of silage too.  John has found some. They call is balege here.  I might buy one and slowly feed it out. If we like it and its system, the cows and I, then maybe we will do some silage instead of all dry hay. Especially in that first cut when the weather is still inclement.

To keep properly, sileage has to be airtight so it is wrapped in plastic and handled carefully so there are no holes in the plastic letting in air which allows rot. My biggest problem is what to do with the leftover plastic. I will think on it.

We have lost a lot of hay (and money) to rain. Silage we cut and bale when the hay is at its optimum protein.  Ony needing a 24-hour window. If the hay is ready to be cut and the man and his machine is free and I get a clear two days, I can have it cut and baled fast.

Plus it stores in rows on the ground. No hauling as many heavy dry bales up into the barn.

My other problem is not having a tractor big enough to carry a big round bale of silage or a big round bale of hay. The round bales of hay is loaded at its source (where we buy it) onto our dump-truck and literally dumped then we place the feeder over it. Silage will need another system as it is not a free feed.  You cannot just let the cows have at it, it gets fed out in portions.

Lots to think about.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love celi

WEATHER: Temperatures slowly rising in a clear day.

Thursday 01/18 0% / 0 in
Sunny. High 33F. Winds SW at 15 to 25 mph.

Thursday Night 01/18 0% / 0 in
Mostly clear. Low 23F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph.

Sun
7:14 am 4:53 pm
Moon
New Moon, 2% visible 8:09 am 6:33 pm

c

55 Comments on “ONCE AGAIN

  1. I have a friend who enjoys reading your posts, and she’s a special fan of the cows. She likes the belted Galloways so much I gave her two of the cutest ever Christmas ornaments: belted Galloways. one carrying a pail of milk, and one with a wreath around its neck. Now when she hangs them on her tree, she’ll remember your blog, too.

  2. I’m beginning to disbelieve in warm weather ever returning, too! It will take months to get the chill out of my bones! But the animals just plug along, taking it as it comes, never appreciating all the hard work you put into making them comfortable! But we appreciate it!

  3. Hmmmm….so how do you feed out the silage then? Will it be away from the cows so that only you portion it out? We tried to do our own silage from grass clippings one year for the goats, but sadly they didn’t like it. 😦 The silage sounds like a great plan if you can get the kinks ironed out! xo

  4. You need a donkey for a couple of days. I can almost see a sledge with a team of snow pigs! There is a breed of pig with a curly wool coat – the Mangalica. Some of them are white like sheep!

      • I have no idea, but I suspect they leave them natural. I’m sure they get all muddy in Hungary too. There used to be a wooly English sheep, the Lincolnshire Curly Coat, but they were extinct by 1970, probably due to intensive farming and the popularity of the landrace pig.

  5. I love that you explain so much about the science of your work and also the common sense and practicality of things. Since we purchased the pecan orchard we realize our tractor is too small and our brush hog too. The bigger an operation grows, so must our implements and tools. I did not realize that the stock tank heaters did not keep the water from freezing up there. I keep one in the wildlife tub here, which does the trick. I suppose your temperatures are so cold up there that the heaters cannot keep up. I keep a hose out year around to keep our water sources filled, but I must drain them out each use. We have freezing temps here, but we also get mostly 30 and 40 degree temps in the winter. I can’t imagine hauling all of those buckets of water at my age.

  6. That definitely is a lot to think about especially what to do with plastic from silage…seems that the whole world is sinking in plastic..originally it was good material for so many things but now we are swamped with no way to get rid of it… However l am sure that your plastic will be put to good use somehow… I love the chook warming its feet..your animals do try to help each other. I wondered if you could use the wheelbarrow to cart the water instead of carrying it..go on at that rate and your arms will be as long as your legs. Of course not being a farmer person my ideas could be way out..but l was thinking of your poor cold hands. Stay warm ducky…lots of love from Snow covered Bulgaria

      • I have seen ‘wheelbarrow water bags’ -it’s a bag that fits exactly into a wheelbarrow and you can fill it with water and transport it easily. Plastic, of course. But I’ve not used them myself so can’t tell you if they’re actually convenient…

  7. UGH! Carrying buckets of water is TERRIBLE! We lost water in the Giant Tortoise greenhouse, and we had to carry water down to the big guys. It’s hard work, and wet work. I’m not so good at hauling water without spilling it all over myself, which adds to the predicament. We have had lots of frozen hoses, a reservoir with a pump that is supposed to keep the water moving so that it doesn’t let the hibernating turtles freeze, but it has run dry numerous times and had to be filled with buckets. Hang in there. Warmer weather is coming!

  8. The photos sure show how cold it really is. I didn’t think chickens had feeling in their feet, smart little thing for finding a warm spot, even if it is on a pig.

  9. WOW! Learned my new item today: Round bale silage….. early too. I can relax the rest of the day right?

    Very interesting technology. I’m wondering if you could wallpaper the old barn with the old plastic? I has to be thick, very thick. Also – I am wondering if the mfg of the product has a recycle operation? I know shipping it back to them might be a pain, but who knows.

    Summer is coming – I can tell the days are getting little longer. My winter blues have hit so I know we are getting closer to spring.

    Good luck with the Chicken traps….

    • I will inspect the plastic closely when it comes – it is a good idea but would look
      SO ugly. No more pictures of a lovely old barn- not to mention the flapping. The barn is honestly only a few years away from falling right down – the timbers are old and weathered to grooves and not tantalized of course. Banging into them would split the timbers too. I don’t know. I hate plastic anyway.

  10. As to the extra plastic from the bales, Perhaps it makes good cover for winter vegetables under either pvc hoops held in the ground over short rebar pieces, or over laid down round tomato cages on their side. It’s what I use and it makes a nice little green house for winter vegs like greens, cabbages, lettuces, spinach, kale, chard, carrots and beets. I use rolls of it but if it’s free, geesh. Just weigh it down with rocks or cinder blocks or whatever is heavy.

  11. I use my hoses all winter, even below zero. I just unhook them when I’m done, walk down the hose draining it as I go and then leave them out for the next day. No carrying water or hoses :-).

    • I do that too. We put four hoses together to get to the stock tank. The hoses are one of the problems/ the other problem is the outside faucets get frozen too – so until they thaw out there is no water going anywhere.

      • Our hydrants are the draining ones so they don’t freeze. The handle on one sometimes does and I take a hot pack out and wrap it around it for a few minutes. Maybe a summer replacement project for your John :-).

  12. Too bad your little farm doesn’t have its own silo… Up here silage is, or was – I’m truly not certain if anyone still uses it anymore – made from the minced cornstalks that are more often just left scattered on the fields in these days of “low till/no till” farming. The cornstalks were blown up through a pipe into the top of the silo and then mixed with molasses to be fed – as you said, a little at a time, as an extra meal supplement – and the animals just loved it! But silos were very dangerous places when they were in use, because of the fermentation. I recall hearing stories of asphyxiation if something went wrong with the equipment and the augers got jammed up, you couldn’t just waltz right in without having proper equipment… They were a mixed blessing, that’s for sure.

      • Oh wait, after looking at the photos again, I see you do have smaller metal grain bins(silos?) can you use those for the silage? … And I don’t think it froze because of the molasses and heat of fermentation(?)

  13. Just home after showing AUS visitors around our part of town. Seems like there are pros and cons to both round and square bales. Laura

  14. It amazes me how different it is, from one region to another, to be efficient at feeding animals. California is so different from your area. We only have green grass for a couple of months unless we irrigate (very costly) so real estate people are active in the late winter and early spring. They’ll sell 10 acres with a house on it, telling the “farm” newbies that’s enough pasture for the animals they want. By late May even one horse will have turned the “pasture” into bare dirt. Hay is easy to bale, it doesn’t rain very much during hay season, but with all the development that runs rampant, we’ve lost many of the smaller fields where people used to grow hay. You have to have adequate storage to buy hay in late summer, or you’ll be paying $15 to $20 a bale by the time winter is finished. Keeping horses on grass here is a chore. Early in the green season, the grass is mostly water and doesn’t have much nourishment. But as soon as there’s enough sun for it to start heading out, you have to pull the horses off or they’ll founder. So, while there may be lots of green grass out in the pasture, your horse is in a pen eating hay. Everyone can learn a lot by talking to the ranchers who raise animals on a bigger scale, but you are so right, the products they use like huge bales or silage require specialized equipment to handle. And that equipment is not cost effective for someone who has a small farm. Shoot, there’s probably not even room to park it all.

  15. Love the pigs keeping each other company. The snow looks windblown…Nature is having at you, isn’t it? I find that as I get older, I hate cold more and more. Not very convenient, that.

  16. Re the plastic: if it can be cut off in reasonably sized solid pieces, I totally agree with Pat R—but I think from your response you’re thinking of putting the plastic on the *outside* of the barn, and nailing it. I think the thing to do is layer it *inside* the walls to cover cracks & holes, and if it’s ugly, layer some of those nice old burlap or fabric feed bags, thrift store sheets & quilts, and old clothes right over them on the innermost side, and you’ll have more insulation and better looking vintage stuff all through. The plastic layer will merely be sandwiched in as a stronger windbreak and moisture barrier. Not fancy, to be sure, but functional, and not much more flammable than the weathered wood by itself. Meanwhile, using the plastic for plant protection as didirksd mentions, or even to line fences for short distances to protect parts of the Fellowship Forest or other plants from the main wind direction during the coldest part of the year mightn’t be a bad idea.

    Lastly, if the plastic’s heavy enough to sew, I’d consider making a couple of rough-cut rain ponchos/covers out of it, for humans *or* other animals, since in the worst of weather it’s waterproof and wind-breaker-ish.

    Just some thoughts….

    Keep cozy!
    Kathryn

    • Oh—and I meant to say, nailing the plastic is both too much work and probably not as easy to keep in place as a mid-weight staple gun would make the project, if you have one (and I do find them immensely useful for tons of fix-it stuff).

    • You are a darling and I love the suggestions but you have totally forgotten that the barn is full of animals- they will pull off and EAT all that stuff hung on the walls.

      • Yup, forgot it. But if they ate the nice fabric stuff it’d make the staples go through the channels more smoothly, right? Har har. 😉 Obviously, not a farmer here! I *was* talking about the long staples that go in like nails, but that just makes the one that still manages to get snarfed up all the more dangerous. Argh. Now you’ve got me busy thinking about how I can make 100% recycled-material, eat-proof SIPs for barns…! 😀
        xo
        K

  17. Again…Brrrr! My favorite quote this time of year and I try and believe it. “No winter lasts forever, no spring loses it’s turn” And as someone else mentioned somewhere…if not for these sometimes unbearable winters…we would not cherish and appreciate the more gentle months to come…Hang in there!

  18. It seems silly to complain of being cold when you have minus temps, but it’s quite ridiculously cold here this morning……eastern sub-tropical Aus…….the height of summer and it’s 15 C (59F). It will warm up to 30C+ so that’s a bonus I guess, but still, to have to go find a sweater and socks is not right.

  19. There have been some historical programmes made by the BBC recreating farms from various eras in the past (mediaeval, Edwardian etc) One was called The Wartime Farm and apart from being really interesting to see what the farmers had to cope with to keep the country fed, there were some really interesting recreations of doing things the way they did back them and one of them was to make sileage.

    • Yes! I have just been watching Wartime Farm, I love this series. The way they make sileage is they seal it with dirt. I don’t know if you have plenty of spare dirt around C? It would save using plastic!

    • Oh I love those series – they are so informative but fun at the same time. The 3 main “characters” are so knowledgeable, but still dig in and let us see the hard work. There was also one about “Victorian Pharmacy”. So good!
      Chris S in Canada

  20. Your snow photos are stunning! The blue shadows on the snow………

    Terry put in frost free hydrants for everyone around here…they sure work nice as they never freeze. Just a thought.

  21. If you can make baled silage and nut out the logistics of transporting, storing and feeding it out, and the animals will eat it, then it’s a great way to go because the fermentation makes it nutritionally much more valuable. We have a company here that will recycle the plastic used to bale silage/haylage so long as you wash it off and dry it, and cut it into manageable chunks, so I wonder if that isn’t available there too.

  22. I make all my first cutting into baleage. The cows love it, and I mean REALLY love it! Around here (upstate New York), the baleage wrap is recyclable. I gather it all winter and then bring it to a specified location in the spring. I feed it outside and put a ring around it or else they do waste it. One problem is that in subzero weather, it turns into an ice cube and the cows cannot eat it with the ring around it. In subzero weather, I let them work on a new baleage for a few hours until they break into the outer frozen crust, and then I put the ring around it. Works great. I also always offer them dry hay in the barn, which they always have access to. They drink half the amount of water when they are eating baleage as compared to all dry hay.

    • They are always under pressure – wanting to collapse back! So they cannot be left draped over a ranking to fill while you do something else- I tried them – for sure – and they are not cheap. But they don’t work for my routine – plus they must be stored out of the sun. Just not a good fit for me

  23. I absolutely love reading your blog! Your pictures make me smile. Sometimes, I just want to see your farm because you make it come to life for me. Thanks for sharing.

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