WW – Playing in the snow

Had to take a few photos the other day of my boys out playing in the snow. It was a treat for them, since it’s supposed to be back with wind chills in the -50 range tomorrow. Brrrrrr…need to stay warm!

Although they had homework to get done, this Mama had to give a reprieve. It's not every day that we have perfect conditions for playing in the snow!

Although they had homework to get done, this Mama had to give a reprieve. It’s not every day that we have perfect conditions for playing in the snow!

Our semis don’t just haul crops, they’re multi-functional!

That’s probably the biggest 9-year-old snow angel you’ll ever see!

Playing in the snow can be hard work, but no one complained about bed time!

 

Winter weather

We’re getting geared up for calving to start in just about two weeks, which means that we could have calves any day now.

And just to remind us who’s in charge, Mother Nature gave us a little wake-up call today. We’re hoping all the calves stay where it’s warm until this front moves through!

Winter weather is upon us!

Winter weather is upon us!

Visibility is dropping, but the temperatures are staying mild.

George was excited to see the snow at first, but has changed his mind now. He’d like to go swimming. You know, 3-year-olds…they keep you on your toes!

 

WW – Preparing for winter

It’s hard to believe, but as summer has flown by, it’s also time for us to prepare for winter on the farm. And that includes loading our haymow (the top floor of our barn) with straw (what’s left after we harvest our wheat).

Check it out:

The end of the load of straw that was stacked in our barn.

This attachment for our skidsteer can grab 20 small square bales at one time, making it possible to load and unload our bales without touching them by hand. it saves a LOT of time!

Heading to the barn.

So much easier than trying to lift or toss each one up!

We had a crew of 4 inside the barn stacking the bales…including my little sister, affectionately referred to as “Brat Child.” (And yes, she knows she has the nickname…it’s been with her since she was little…and it fits!) 😉

 

 

 

 

WW – Winter Weather

It had to happen eventually, we all knew it was too good to last. I mean, how can anything that perfect last for too long, right?

No, I’m not talking about the latest in celebrity couple mishaps, I’m talking about winter. After a few month hiatus, she reared her ugly head last night…and we have a day off from school to show for it.

It wasn’t the storm of the century, or anything close to it, but it’s bad enough in its own rights. But I did take a few shots, so sit back in your toasty warm room and enjoy winter at its finest:

A pic as I was coming out of the house last night to check cows.

 

My footprints were disappearing fast behind me!

 

It's letting up, so the cows are coming out to eat.

 

Perhaps I shall call this one, "Snow White?"

 

If you can see, the problem is that it was warm yesterday, so it's not just snow, there's ice underneath.

 

Little ones out to eat their breakfast, all nice and dry.

 

My last hurdle to get through when checking cows this morning...a nice snowbank.

Wordless Wednesday – Cows

The cows, enjoying their straw bed on the fresh snow while waiting to calve.

 

 

When is it my turn?

 

 

Cows are curious (and photogenic) by nature.

 

 

Oh, that angle makes me look fat.

 

 

You can't see me, I'm hiding behind this weed.

 

 

We’re not quite half-way through calving season, but the last few days have been very, very busy. But the weather has been wonderful, and everything is going pretty smoothly so far.

If you look back at the ear tags, you’ll notice that not one of the close-ups have the same color. Wonder why? Find out here!

Thankful Thursday – Calves

It’s been a beautiful “winter” so far…and I won’t complain one bit about the lack of snow, the brown grass or the unseasonably warm weather.

On the crop side of things, a couple of well-timed spring rains will do just as much (if not more) than any snow cover would do…and as far as the cattle side goes, things are perfect.

The weather is warm enough that if a calf is born outside, it’s not the worst thing in the world, and yet it’s cool enough that the ground is frozen and we aren’t dealing with the mess that mud causes. Things have gone very well, and we haven’t lost a calf yet to weather-related issues. (I’m knocking on wood as I say that.)

Speaking of which, I thought I would share some pictures of our herd. I hope you enjoy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy your Thursday!

Wordless Wednesday – Fun

Some more pictures from our fishing adventure…this week only Big Bro went with, but he had so much fun!

Big Bro loves fishing, but combine that with playing, and he was in heaven!

 

 

They made up games all afternoon.

 

 

I have to admit, sliding on the ice was one of my favorite things to do, too.

 

 

He was so shy about playing with other kids, but had a blast!

 

 

And a classic game of follow the leader...what a great day!

 

Farm Friday – Calving Underway

We now have a whopping two calves on the ground. I know, I know, not much to get excited about, but we’ve been so blessed this year that I can’t help but smile.

Our lack of drastically cold temps has really helped out with feed supplies and the like. Why is that? Well, when the cattle don’t need to use up as much energy as they normally do in winter to stay warm, they eat less. And with the open winter we’ve had (meaning very little snow on the ground), the longer the cattle have been able to graze on our leftover corn stalks. It’s been a win-win all the way around.

Yesterday I grabbed a few shots of our heifers (cows that are having their first calf this spring) out behind the house. I haven’t been going out on any night checks yet, because I’ve been under the weather and hubby has been able to go out on checks and still get some rest. (We usually check the cows every 2-3 hours, around the clock. More often when it gets cold, like tonight.)

Some of the heifers, just hanging out behind the wind break, waiting.

 

 

Such pretty red things, eh?

 

 

I’m hoping to take the boys ice fishing this weekend. We went last Sunday and had a great time, even though I’ve been a bit down and out. They loved every minute of it! As soon as I get the pics uploaded from my mom’s camera, I’ll be sure to share them with you!

And so it begins

Calving season 2012 is underway, as a healthy bull calf was delivered this morning by Heifer No. 109.

New calf, just a few hours old.

 

 

With the weather the way it’s been, we have some pretty great conditions for calving. But I won’t lie to you, it’s better for the temps to stay below freezing. I must have hit my head, right? Actually, mud can be a real risk during calving, so it’s better for our little ones if we have hard, frozen ground to work with, rather than soft and soupy mud.

Plus, we’re used to dealing with cold temps for calving…it’s one of the reasons my husband breeds the cows when he does, so that they calve when the time is right for our operation. The mild winter just has us off our game a bit, but nothing like the first calf to bring you back to your senses!

Now we sort off the heifers (cows that will have their first calf this year) and keep them closer to home. And then the checks start, where we go out and check the cows for signs of calving every few hours…more often when it’s cold. Our goal is to get the calves in the barn before they are born, or shortly after.

Want to come along on a calf check? Check out this post from last year…and stay tuned for more!

Wordless Wednesday – Christmas Break

Great Christmas celebrations!

 

EJ lost a fingernail during a Christmas-gift-opening incident. Let's just say that it involved a concrete floor, knee-high boots and a hand. Needless to say, the fingernail was ripped completely out and EJ's days of being a hand model are over. Just when you thought you had your child's future planned. 😉

 

Scooter turned 8 on New Year's Eve. A tough time to have a party, that's for sure.

 

Grandpa tried to convince Scooter that he should share his birthday gifts...at least the cash ones!