Let it snow, let it snow, LET IT SNOW!

There is nothing like a new snow fall, when doing chores, to  make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The first reason is this: if it is snowing, it means the temperature is moderate. I know less-than-moderate temperatures are coming, so I enjoy the snow when it comes.

The second reason this snow makes me warmer inside that a teenage-love affair, is that I think snow is amazing beautiful – especially before people mar it up with foot prints, cows muck it up with poo and the wind casts it’s spell and turns it into a brown, dirty mess.

This morning, while the temperature hovered around 20 degrees F, I couldn’t help but take pictures. My thumb was frozen. Of course, I did forget to take pictures of the excitable bull calf causing a brouhaha with the cows. Somehow the big bugger managed to escape his Polydome. He was out for a while too; he was almost licked to death by pseudo-momma cows. He was so full of cow saliva, even my gloves were wet by the time I finished, which is why my thumb almost froze off and fell into the snow, while taking pictures.

Too Sweet!
I caught this image while I was watching the gates for Russell. Zach, our herdsman, was petting his Jersey heifer Cassidy.
There's gold in that there milk house.
Who says we don’t have class. Even the milk house has a golden faucet. I give it about a week before it looks icky. I took this picture just before I came into the house for breakfast.
Tubby
This is Tiny, the small Angus beef calf I purchased from our son Joe. I should change her name to Tubby as she is getting kind of fat. Today she was fed a different ration in an attempt to keep her lean and svelte.

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This is my, OK, our favorite dog since our Chocolate Lab Bob passed away last year. Ole is a pit bull-cross and one of the smartest and sweetest dogs I have ever owned. I owe it to the person we adopted him from. She trained him well and he loves it here on the farm.

Sadly, I lost a video I had of Gaston, the goat. He was just giddy in the snow! He was literally bouncing off the walls in his open-front pen by Tiny Tubby. So you will have to accept this image of defiance. He actually did his stunts just after I snapped this image. We love Gaston!

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Stalkers!

20150331_074210 20150331_074156Dr. Phil always say, “Follow your gut feeling.”

Today I felt like I was being stalked and look what I found.

The brown one is Amberbosa. (Yes, Amberbosa) I don’t know who the other one is, but I know she’s going to have TWINS! That’s why she has a red ear tag.

It’s a Debbie-Downer kind of day

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This is me immediately after milking the cows this morning. It’s not always fun and games being a dairy farmer. Today I am frustrated. Continue reading to see what’s up in my world.

If you recall, last week (Well, I think it was last week.) Steve and I had placed a bet in the milking parlor regarding the quality of our milk.

He switched the teat dip we use on the cow before and after they are milked. Remember, the post dip smells like a Dreamsicle.

It still does and that color of orange that it is, well that’s enough to make a person smile every morning.

Well, it appears to me that I am winning the bet. I haven’t started counting my money jars and loose change at the bottom of my purse.

Even though I am ahead in the contest, I couldn’t be more frustrated.

I am the kind of girl that says, “Well, that’s not working. Let’s move on. Can we switch back to the iodine dips now?”

“No. I want information. We are waiting until the milk tester comes in 10 days to see what is going on,” Steve said. “If there are a bunch of new infections in cows, we will switch.”

That’s what I find so frustrating.

We’ve been through teat-dip experiments before and they all end up the same way.

To me, it’s blatantly obvious the foaming pre-dip and popsicle-like post dip are not working. The filter that keeps all the gobledy-gook out of the bulk tank was full of infection indicators. Those little indicators look like curdled milk.

Icky!

Through a piece of paper in front of me that contains a bunch of numbers and other information and it’s like my mind freezes up.

I don’t have time to analyze all that info.

We have tested the milking equipment and that has been adjusted accordingly. Apparently, the vacuum, which is needed to collect the milk from the cow and send it through the pipeline, was set a bit low for the speed at which our cows were letting their milk down.

Oh, they have little computers they can hook up to individual units that measure all the intricacies of a milking unit.

If you thought milking was just about putting a unit on the cow and chatting or discussing the low down on politicians, children and supper, think again.

That was the old days; back when Steve and I were young. Now we are old and there is no time for standing around in the milking parlor.

So, here it is mid-experiment, I have to deal with 10 more days of cows getting mastitis.

And that directly affects my personal goal of keeping the quality of our milk well ahead of where it is right now.

You see, it’s not all fun and laughter out here on the farm.

It’s hard working with your spouse, especially when two people have such different personalities.

Every day I find myself trying my hardest not to get into a full-blown “discussion” with my favorite man in the whole wide world.

So this morning, he went his way.

And I am going mine.

Steve, Russell, our herdsman Zachery, my father and several others are working on cleaning out the compost barn. This involves two full days of moving compost out of the barn and spreading it on the field.

Our compost is amazing. Not only does it have a ton of food for this next year’s crops, it doesn’t smell all that much either.

Oh, living on the farm place allows one to totally appreciate the smell of organic fertilizer.

Those that live around the field where that fertilizer is spread can hardly smell anything.

Believe me, that is a relief to Steve and I. We don’t need to upset our neighbors.

We do our best to keep them all happy.

(I know I promised a story on my construction project here at home – still working on it. Will share soon. Patience is a virtue and is one that i don’t possess!)

Time to exercise, but not this way

Saturday night I felt a bit guilty for eating three full-sized graham crackers covered with left-over cheesecake filling before I sauntered upstairs to watch Netflix on my iPad.

I kind of swore that I wouldn’t partake in snacking before go up to relax in bed.

I puffed my pillows and settled into bed with my earphones in my ears.

I just about hit the ceiling when I felt some very strong fingers grab ahold of my foot. I was so enthralled in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, I was a bit freaked out.

Those hands were my husbands and I instantly knew it was going to be bad. He never grabs my feet any other time.

“There are beef cows and black and white Holsteins running around in your yard,” Steve said.

That’s like hearing, “Code blue!” “S.O.S.” or “Mayday!” or “He’s in v-tach!”

There’s no time to ask questions, or get answers for that matter, because Steve gives these long drawn-out answers. And by-god, those cows are ripping up my new grass seeding!

I quickly removed my pajamas and put on my smelly, dirty chores clothes. Grabbed my wool vest and was out the door before Steve even had socks on.

Yep. The cows were obliterating my new grass in front of the house. Oddly enough, the small electric-fence I created to keep the dogs off my lawn had trapped a big beef cow. She was on the inside of the fence and couldn’t figure out how to get on the outside of the fence. Cows can be so dumb.

I jumped on my super-sonic bicycle and started herding cows back toward the “escape tunnel.”

They ruined the fence right by the north-end of the barn.

Steve and I herded the all but one of the wild beasts into the correct pasture. Then we had to figure out how one other rogue cow trapped herself into another pasture area and bring her back to the other group.

Well, herding her worked as well as trying to catch a greased pig in a County Fair contest.

She managed to jump through a fence, and run through knee-high mud and manure and hide herself in the group of cows that are not being milked.

Steve, being the insane cow herder that he is, thought we should try to get her out of that group. I, being the sane cow herder, thought we should wait until morning.

I lost and I was headed into the mud and manure.

I stood in front of a vast mud hole. I pondered how I was going to cross and the only thought that came to my mind was to follow the cows’ tracks.

Well, that worked as slick as trying to catch two greased pigs at the County Fair.

Before I knew it, my rubber boots were making this awful sucking sound as I tried to take steps. My feet were coming out of my boots and my boots were disappearing in the brown goo.

By the time I weaseled my way out of my gooey mess, I had removed my boots and stuck my feet into the cold goo. My hands were also full of it, as I had to balance when I tried to pull my boots out of the mud.

They still stink.

Eventually I removed myself from the abysmal mud and started to walk to the milk house for a proper dousing in the large stainless steel sinks.

My feet were cold, manure and mud had squished between my toes and my hands were just as icky.

After I returned to the house, I thought, “Well, I don’t have to feel bad for snacking before I had gone to bed. I had worked it all off. In one hour I road my bike at super speed, ran around the grain bins like I was on a merry-go-round and used every muscle in my body to unstick myself from the manure-mud mixture.

Yep. I think I burned off the cheesecake filling.

It’s good to live on a farm.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net

 

Hazmat suit needed?

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Working in the milking parlor everyday can be a bit of a hazard.

Standing at a lower level than the cows allows for all kinds of nasties to be splattered your way.

It’s not uncommon for my co-worker to holler, “Incoming!”

That’s like a code red for get out of the way, a cow is going to relieve herself in your area.

Most of the time the splattering isn’t all that grand. A healthy cow will leave a very well-laid-out pile.

Now, the sick cows leave a very chaotic pattern, probably because they have a very chaotic pattern going on in their tummies.

It’s not uncommon, as awful as it sounds, for manure to splatter onto a face, for example. It should also be noted that it doesn’t take long to learn to face away from the splatter, until you no longer here it splattering.

Wednesday morning the cows were a bit on edge. Hubby was at meetings, so we had a replacement milker for him by the name of Tarah.

She must smell better than Hubby, because the cows sure knew something was amiss in the milking parlor.

When something is amiss in the parlor, there is a heckuva lot more splattering.

It just so happened that Tarah was up in the holding area bringing cows into the milking parlor when the word “Incoming!” should have been shouted.

It landed in my eye.

Now, there was no burning sensation and it didn’t feel like anything from within the poo was scratching my eyeball, so I figured no harm  done.

I continued, and finished the milking chores without a hitch.

I didn’t sleep worth a hoot Tuesday night. The first thing I did after milking this particular Wednesday was shower up and climb back into bed for a quick nap. (Quick turned into an hour and it still wasn’t even 11 a.m.)

I woke up feeling even more tired, made a pot of coffee and ventured into the biffy.

I peered into the mirror and was horrified.

My contaminated eye was redder than red can be. It doesn’t hurt.

It’s just red.

I may have to consider using goggles as a piece of safety equipment. 

 

 

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