Monday, March 20, 2006

Can someone adjust the antennae? My picture window is a bit snowy...

I went to bed Friday night to a nice brown world, but woke up on Saturday to a white one. A white one that just kept getting whiter and whiter. Call me a racist if you want, but I'd rather not have quite so many white friends laying around this part of the world because that means deep snow, and deep snow means calfsicles.

What's a calfsicle you ask? Well, it's just like a popsicle only made out of baby calves. Yep, they freeze to death in this kinda stuff. So far I've lost 3 this weekend. Found one and tried to warm him up, but he died. Found another one and tried to warm him up in my folks back room, he died. And then yesterday I found another one, but he was already dead. But this last one looked to me like he'd had a little help. There was a lot of blood on his face, and I always suspect when I see that much blood that the crows pecked his eye out before he was dead. I can't prove it, but I've seen enough pecked eyes to know the difference. Frellin' crows...

Anyway, the sad part of it all is that it was a good storm. One of those Thomas Kincaid picture snows with the big flakes descending from the heavens without a breeze to be found. I love those kinda storms, they are really beautiful. Unfortunately, as you can tell, they make my occupation about 10 times harder than it otherwise would be.

My daily routine is probably somewhat different from most of yours. It consists of me getting up and eating breakfast, followed by a morning spent feeding my minions. The hay that we raise and put up on our own is in small bales. These are 16" x 18" and about 42" long and weigh around 90 pounds or so. The advantage to these bales is that they store the hay quite well, and can be lifted without the aid of mechanical devices. I use hay hooks and elbow grease. They have a disadvantage though, you have to load them and feed them by hand. That means that you have to handle each bale twice, every morning. Once when you load them, and once when you feed them, and if you have to feed a lot of them, you end up getting quite a workout. That's not a bad thing, really, because it helps me keep my girlish figure. But the older you get, the harder it becomes and so on.

The hay we buy is in what we call big bales or ton bales. They measure 4' x 4' x 8' and can weigh up to a ton, but usually come in around 1800 lbs. The advantage to these is that you have to load them with a tractor or some such mechanical device and so you only handle them by hand once. They even make automatic feeders for these that you pull behind a tractor, and there's not much physical effort at all. Unfortunately these machines can cost around $30,000 without the tractor, and a pitchfork costs less than $10. Guess which one I use? The main disadvantage of big bales is that they are hard to lift with a pair of hay hooks, and when your diesel gels up, or your tractor won't start, you're kinda screwed. They also give your shoulders a helluva workout on that pitchfork. But such is life...

We had to buy a couple hundred ton of hay this year, so recently we've been feeding mostly big bales. When the weather was nice, I'd get done feeding around 11:00 a.m. and then could spend my day doing other things like building a stove. On snowy days though, I basically spend the day feeding, strawing, and checking on the cattle so that the little calves will have a warmer, drier place to lay down. Good for them, tougher on me. It means a lot of extra work, and even then, you still get a few calfsicles.

But on the bright side, it's about 40 here today, with more rain and snow in the forecast. Oh joy...

10 Comments:

Anonymous bc said...

I thought you said you were going to make a temporary pole barn for the little guys to get somewhat out of the elements. Poor little guys.

But you wont hear any complaints about the girlish figure. LOLOLOL

3/20/2006 4:39 PM  
Blogger LL said...

No... that musta been someone else, at least if I did, I don't remember it.

I have thought about it the last few days though...

3/20/2006 5:25 PM  
Blogger trinamick said...

You mean you get to use hay hooks? Talk about being spoiled. :P

I'd much rather feed square bales than big bales. My horses waste too much of a big bale. Of course, I don't exactly go through as much hay as you do. Should I feel guilty that my mom has been taking care of my horses all week and I haven't ventured out to the barn once? :)

I didn't know crows would take out an eye of a calf if it was still alive. That's really disgusting.

3/21/2006 9:54 AM  
Blogger LL said...

You should feel guilty. Making your mother go through all that effort to take care of YOUR animal. Absolutely shameless...

erm... how exactly do you do that? :innocent:

"I didn't know crows would take out an eye of a calf if it was still alive. That's really disgusting."

There is no such thing as animal on animal pity, nor is any quarter given when one is hungry and the other is available.

Oh the stories I could tell...

3/21/2006 10:25 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Please don't.

3/21/2006 1:47 PM  
Blogger LL said...

Wha? I thought you wanted to hear my stories...

I'll save them for future posts...

3/21/2006 2:35 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

I don't want to hear animal on animal meaness. I can't watch those documentaries about wild animals either. *shudder* It's not a weak stomach thing, BTW. I just like the Disney version of nature, thank you very much. :P

3/22/2006 2:08 PM  
Blogger trinamick said...

Does that mean you want to hear about animal on animal niceness? Or goodness? :eh:

3/22/2006 3:53 PM  
Blogger LL said...

" I just like the Disney version of nature, thank you very much. :P"

Unfortunately, Disney tends to skew things just a bit...

You know what the biggest Bambi killer is? Winkin' kitties. They average one a week.

Way to go P...

" Does that mean you want to hear about animal on animal niceness?"

As long as she doesn't want to hear about human on animal lovin' I think we're safe.

3/22/2006 7:48 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Unfortunately, Disney tends to skew things just a bit...

Blasphemer!! Or whatever....

You know what the biggest Bambi killer is? Winkin' kitties. They average one a week.

In my defense, deer are stupid. They run into cars for crying out loud. INTO them!

Does that mean you want to hear about animal on animal niceness?"

As long as she doesn't want to hear about human on animal lovin' I think we're safe.


They all live in the forest and get along and sing happy songs and that is that! Except for the stupid deer that occasionally run into cars and get eaten by Winkin Kitties.

3/23/2006 9:32 PM  

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