We are having a whirlwind spring or end of winter and we don’t know from one day to the next what the temperature will be. Last night we were experiencing 35-60 mile per hour wind gusts. Thankfully there was no damage to anything that we have found. We deal with this while waiting on baby calves to be born!! Farming is a challenge, especially beginning this year.
We’re not especially covered up with farm work at the moment due to the very wet weather and cold winds. As most farms are this time of year, we normally would be working on fences, cutting next years firewood, trimming damaged trees and pruning fruit trees. All of that work is not being completed now because we can’t get anywhere on the farm for the mud. It’s so easy to get hung up even feeding the cattle. When I go to the henhouse in the afternoon I wear my knee top rubber boots and the mud is so slimy and thick that it tries to suck my boots off. The ducks have issues getting to and from their water sources and the chickens stay close to the henhouse because their feet get caked with mud! We’ve had record rainfall and this week is loaded with more rain, ice and snow. We’re very anxious about this due to 14 heifers (cow that hasn’t had a calf) due to deliver beginning today.
Today we are preparing for another snow event in our area of 4-8 inches of snow depending on what part of the county you live in. We like to prepare for the worst and hope for the least. Eddie hauling some hay just outside of different fields the cattle are in. We just hauled firewood to the front porch. The cattle were fed normally but tomorrow morning they’ll get hay and some grain but fed near the woods for protection from the snow. Today I made sure the ducks and chickens have extra feed, watering pan full and I put some treats in the hen house for them. The snow is not supposed to get heavy until tomorrow afternoon but you never know with Mother Nature.
We brought three tractor loads of firewood to the front porch and have covered it with tarps to keep as dry as possible.
We’ll be warm!! I also brought in some canned goods and potatoes from the cellar, a big pot of vegetable/meat soup sounds good! I filled two five-gallon buckets, and one three gallon bucket with water for flushing the camode if the power goes off. I filled 10 gallon jugs and some gallon pitchers for drinking and cooking water, We are ready for the second snow event of 2019.
I don’t like being unprepared for much of anything but the last two weeks or so of frigid air gave me a real kick in the pants! We have been used to teens and single digit weather but not with 20 – 45 mile an hour winds. We were able to keep the house good and warm but had to keep heaters in the cellar and laundry room around in the clock. We didn’t have any frozen water pipes or lose any of the valuable canned goods.
We did however have to keep chopping holes in the streams that water our cattle. We had to move two herds due to the mountain springs freezing solid and the feed we gave them was increased by an extra roll of hay each day, giving the two larger herds three round bales and the heifers two. The heifers and bulls were given corn gluten every other day.
January 3rd we went to Rural King to pick up salt and feed for the chickens and he bought me a new insulated barn coat and insulated bib coveralls!!! Along with the Extreme socks Heather bought me for Christmas, the flannel lined jeans Shawn got me and these from Eddie the winter weather coming would not be taking hold of me!!!!
I know how the Pillsbury Dough Boy feels now, waddling around!!!!
January 5th was the worst day and the pickup wouldn’t start, the big tractor fuel was frozen and wouldn’t start, and we used the small Kubota until the hydraulics froze up. At this point the cattle were fed the old fashioned way by using 15 square bales of hay loaded onto the old Dodge pickup for the larger herds and 10 square bales to the heifers. We keep bales of hay in the loft of the bull barn for the bulls and they were fed hay and grain. I had filled up the firewood on the porch and in the house and was constantly chucking it into the woodstoves. I made a huge pot of soup on the stove and our bodies stayed warm and full on the inside!!! The chickens and rabbits were checked hourly along with Mischief, our coon hound and all were given fresh warm water. Mischief stayed wadded up in her house with enormous batts of hay! We had been feeding her extra food to keep some fat on for just this kind of weather. We take good care of all of our animals. The temperature that day finally reached 12* but the wind was raging and expecting to last through noon Saturday. With the wind chill the last few days our temps were ranging from -12* to 0*. Mr. Caldwell was working on thawing the tractor all day in the frigid cold and wind!
Finally on Monday we were able to get out and do some extra winterizing to prepare for the next onset which might be within the next week!
So with the rabbits taken care of before the next batch of frigid weather, I went straight to the hen house. Extra bedding was put in their nests to help keep the eggs from freezing. There’s not much I can do with their water freezing except take them warm water more often. Hopefully in the spring the electricity will be added to their house but this new house is much warmer and cleaner than the old one.
I use a metal pan for their water so that when it freezes I can take it outside, pour a little hot water over the bottom and the ice pops right out. I do carry a jug of hot water with me when I go check the water for the rabbits, chickens and the dog. They love that warm water to warm their insides! I’m keeping the rabbits and the chickens feed bowls full. If they have plenty to eat their fat stores will help to keep them warm.
Now that the animals are better prepped for the frigid air to return it was time to fill up the porch with two types of firewood.
We have two piles of wood outside and one is seasoned, split and covered. The other is dried but not fully seasoned and not split. We have plenty more in the woods ready to take down and bring in to the house.
We’ve made it through the first of the really cold winter weather but we’re ready for the worst to come in the next three months. Between now and then I’ll sit with my new seed catalogs and prepare for what we all hope to be an early spring!! When we expect high winds and possible power outages I keep plenty of buckets of water in the laundry room for flushing the toilets and several gallon jugs of water for cooking and hand-washing. We keep supplies of candles, oil lamps and matches on hand and small wood on the side porch for the wood cook stove. Four small tanks of propane are always full to heat the laundry room (holds our main source of water pipes) and the cellar.
Stay warm and don’t forget to prepare for the next winter hit of weather!
We’re in our second winter snowstorm and I have got to get taller boots. Mine are 9.5 inches tall and when I went to feed Miracle this morning it was over my boots.
Hubby says it’s over the boots because of the way I walk in the fresh snow and scoot it in front of me. I still need taller boots if this is going to continue through spring! The next ones I get in the spring will be up to my knees, I think.
It started snowing here again last night before dark and hubby says we have 8 inches now but it was still pouring down snow when I started this post. It’s supposed to turn to sleet and freezing rain and then rain all day tomorrow. We woke up to 18* and it’s now 22* . The snow is like powder and we’re so glad the wind had not gotten up yet.
Hubby got the snowblower out while I fed the calf and had me a 48 inch path to the chickens and the smokehouse. I’ve swept the porch and steps off three times so far but Sassy has decided to stay in the house this morning. She went out for a quick potty break and fled back to the house!
Hubby is out feeding the stock now and the powder snow makes it hard to roll out the bales but everyone is waiting for some food to warm up their insides!
The snow has stopped now and we’re waiting for the sleet and rain. All of the cattle are doing well and my chickens are warm and been fed well and have plenty of warm water. The wild birds now have plenty of seed on the ground after I swept the snow away from the feeders.
I’ve prepared a roast in the crockpot with onions and celery and will make a gravy over it later and serve it over noodles for supper and some fresh bread. The laundry is almost done and the wood has been brought in for this evening warmth.
Once the sleet/rain/ice arrives we may lose power but we’ve learned after 44 years of marriage to be prepared for it. All of the buckets in the laundry room are full of water for the bathroom, 12 gallon jugs are full of water for cooking and whatever else it’s needed for and the candles and flashlights are where they’re easily accessible.
Hope you are all warm and safe! Spring is just around the corner!
It’s been a while since folks in our area have seen a storm like we had this week. I’ve got some time lapsed snow storm pictures to show everyone including Robin Reed our wonderful meteorologist.
All of the outside animals are doing fine but cold. Eddie is trying to feed the round bales but they won’t roll out because the snow is so dry so he’s feeding the cows 6-7 bales instead of the normal 2-3. The snow drifts are up over the cows bellies but the blessing is there are no babies due until March and April.
Prissy and George are doing well and taking care of Miracle. They tend to lay on the side of the haybale away from the wind. If not for the older orphans Miracle would have a time getting through the snow because it’s over her belly!
Here’s some more scenes of the last three days from the front porch and the kitchen window:
Can’t wait to get to the henhouse and check on the girls, Rooster and Fred! Roscoe may even come out of hibernation with this beautiful sun shining and the temperature has already risen to 30 degrees. I’ve been watching the orphan calves this morning and Miracle tends to stay between Prissy and George for their body heat.
Stay warm everyone and pray this will be the ONLY storm we have this winter even though it’s only January!!
Yes, it’s wintertime and it’s supposed to be cold but darn it we just got teased really bad with 50 and 60 degree weather and my body is just not liking this one bit! I can stand the cold if there’s sunshine to go along with it but that wind is wicked!! My son thinks I’m a wimp but one of these days he’ll understand where I’m coming from. Right, Shawn???
I know I have to stick it out for at least three or four more months so I guess I’ll be quilting, crocheting, reading, cooking, embroidering, and blogging a lot to keep me occupied for a while. I’ll be making hourly trips to the henhouse for eggs and taking them warm water. I’ll be checking in on Roscoe three or four times a day and making sure he’s okay with just his fur coat and watching to make sure hubby’s hounds will have plenty of protein for food and hay in their boxes for warmth. We have their houses facing the morning sun to keep them warm as well. Mother Nature will take care of everything else.
Now, to find my seed catalogs and make a list!!!
Well it’s been two months of retirement and I stay so busy. Hubby and I have decided to try to make a point of taking a day trip alone at least once a month and I wanted to share our “1st Retirement Adventure” with you. I packed a lunch and we loaded up the cameras and took off for natures beauty that surrounds us that I either had not seen or it had been a long time. Our first trip was to Giles County and a little place called “Dismal Falls”. I hope these photos express my awe at the beautiful little spot in the woods that is hidden just off Route 100 and on a forestry road.
The following are views of the water leading to the falls, below the falls, and the falls. The water is as clear as glass and icy cold. Normally, this time of year there’s not a lot of water in the falls but because of the rains we’ve had all spring and summer they were beautiful. We plan to go back when the weather is cold and the water may be frozen. The falls are not really tall but they’re beautiful and a great outing for one day!!
After the visit to the falls we went up the forestry road and found a cool rest stop to have lunch of grilled chicken, cheese & crackers, and fresh fruit. From there we took off through another road of Giles County called Sugar Run which ran through some awesome forest land and we found this fine creature crossing the road but don’t seem to be able to find out what type of moth he will turn into. I’ve inserted a close up of him and one of him beside my husbands size 10 boot to give you an idea of how big it was.
We also saw these structures as we were about to leave Sugar Run.
Several deer, squirrels, a few turkeys and wild birds were seen but I got of picture of this one grazing along the road.
And we passed an exotic farm and saw these along the road.
It was such a fun and peaceful day spent together and not working until we were bone tired. This is why we decided to take an adventure at least once a month. I can’t wait to see what we do in September!!
Our little neck of the woods has been filled with major low temps for the last six weeks with minor warm ups and like everyone else I am SOOOOOOO ready for spring. Yes, this is another post about the weather and knowing we can’t do anything about but gripe I think we are all doing that quite well!!
We were just hit with our first major snowfall which started around 2:30 on Wednesday evening causing me to leave work early so I wouldn’t be stuck out on the roads with my family worried to death. NO I’m not stupid enough to wait for the roads to get treacherous before heading home. I have a wonderful job and supervisors that allow me to head out early since I live about 25 minutes from home which is very much in the country. We had plenty of warning about the incoming storm and prepared well in advance. By the time I pulled into our driveway the roads were getting white and the mountain in front of our house and the one behind our house could not be seen.
Hubby had worked most of the day before feeding the animals heavy and cutting some extra firewood for the main stove and the one in the kitchen. It’s a good thing he covered it as soon as he unloaded it. We had prepared for the electricity to go out as well and had five gallon buckets full of water for the bathroom, pitchers full for drinking and cooking and gallon jugs full for the animals and washing dishes. Thankfully the power only went out twice and it was during the night and only long enough to have to reset the clocks. Here’s a pictorial of how the storm grew as the night went on:
Here’s what we woke up to yesterday morning:
We’ve muddled through with no major crisis and hubby has to start over this morning cleaning out the drifts to all the animals to feed. I’m keeping the fires going and cooking. Today is a good day for a pot of homemade venison/vegetable soup!!
We’ve been so busy the last few weeks and it seems like months since I last blogged and I’m trying to make up for lost time tonight. Bear with me and I promise you’ll understand before this weekend is over.
We have three apple orchards on our farm and all used to be full of old timey apples. Time, neglect and the weather have really been hard on the trees. Each fall we try to have a Sunday Cider Fest and decided if we didn’t do something about replenishing the trees that have died or been uprooted by the wind that we would have to start buying apples to continue the tradition.
We’ve replaced about 10 trees in the last two years and I’ve been trying my hand at grafting with not much success. I think the problem was trying to graft to trees that were not in the ground and established. Two years ago I started taking classes offered by the county extension office to learn how to graft. At each class I’ve obtained 10-15 apple root stocks for semi-dwarf trees.
Since I haven’t had much luck with the grafting, Hubby and I decided I need to make sure the root stock was going to live. When I got the root stock it was bare root and it was too much stress on the grafts competing with the trees trying to get established. We put all of the stock in large pots with fertilized soil and made sure they got plenty of water throughout the summer. We did this for two summers and during the winter took the trees (30 trees) into the mansion basement to keep the winter wind from beating them out of the pots.
Last month we started bringing them out for some daily sun and acclimating them to the cooler weather. Last weekend we planted the first 15 in the orchard at the west barn.
Hubby used the post hole digger on the tractor to drill the holes and then we had some heavy rains which was great for getting the water to settle the holes and get the water down where the roots would need them.
We set out thirteen more yesterday afternoon and now we wait. Our biggest challenge will be the deer!! The trees that we set out last weekend have already felt the damage of deer. Each one of the trees lower limbs had been eaten off. To keep them from completing the damage we will have to make woven wire cages to go about two feet around and out from each tree. We tried the plastic pipe around them last year and the mice did the damage then. Apparently they thought the pipe was a good place to set up housekeeping and chewed the bark off at the base of the tree and killed them. So MICE and DEER are on my hit list at the moment!!
March and April is always a wonderful time to live on a farm. This year has been very special on ours. Last week our baby calves started arriving. Of course, I’m always as anxious as those expectant mothers but this year we’ve had some trials and tribulations. We started out with one cow aborting two MONTHS early and then a first time mother having a stillborn. I was devastated but know it’s part of living on a farm and Mother Nature having her reasons. Then we have two little bulls born and they’re perfect in every way and very, very active. We go for about four days with nothing happening and then a mother for the fourth or fifth time delivers twin girls and both are dead. My husband believes the first one was in trouble and the time lapse of her being born delays and causes the death of the other twin. Mom wasn’t doing well the first two days but now seems to be eating and may be okay. On the same day another set of twins is born!! This is not a normal thing for our cattle. We’ve only had about five sets of twins in the forty years we’ve been farming. These two are alive and well for a time and Mom is letting both nurse. She cleans them up and won’t let my hubby get near them but that’s okay because we know she’ll be a good mom. Later that evening “after dark” she leads the little girl to the lower fields with the rest of the herd and returns to bring the baby brother to the fold of the herd. By the time she gets back to their birthing place in the woods, he’s GONE! The next morning when hubby finds her distressed with only one babe he begins a desperate search that turns up fruitless. We believe that a coyote or bear got while she was gone. Lots of farmers in our area have had this problem with coyotes for the past few years but this was only our second time that we know of. It’s very disheartening as farmers because that cash down the tubes. For me personally, I’m just sick about it and want to bring them all to the front yard to live until they’re five days old and can run like the wind!! The mother is terribly protective of her one little girl and she’s become very brazen and curious running off to meet other babes her size and of course mom is run to death trying to keep up with her special little girl. I find this so true of human parents. We want to keep our youngsters from all harms way that may come in any shape or form. One big difference is that we get to keep ours around a lot longer and don’t consider them “cash crop”. We’ve have nine in all as of last night and they are all well. Watching them run and play is better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!!
Until next time, have a very blessed day! Visit a farm! It’s good for your soul!