January Journal 2010

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Well, a new year. We can hope it's a better one. We had a very quiet New Year - stayed home and went to bed early, as usual.

Sad news in our little town, a younger farmer and his wife sold off all but 6 of their cows and all the young stock to pay off some of their debt. The 6 cows are to meet the part of the loan that says for it to continue, there must be cattle on the farm. He'll go to work for family as their insemenater, which means the Select Sires guy has lost 4 or 5 farms. The farm that was selling him feed has lost a customer along with the feed mill and the milking equipment dealer. We are all hoping he can come back into it, but that is a long shot.

I don't think I mentioned the four Border Collie puppies earlier. Mitzi finally had a litter in a reasonable size. Having fed as many as 10 in the past, she is fattening the four up to the point that they look like good sized sausages. Zeke, the puppy left from the June litter has found a good home with a farm boy who's selling parts at the John Deere dealer presently, but yearns for a dairy of his own. All of the adult dogs had a sad moment and then breathed a sigh of relief that that whacko adolescent was finally gone. The puppies slept through it.

We are having a snowy winter. Today and tomorrow we are warned of significant lake snows and it has been snowing to some degree for two days now. Stan's thinking about moving the outdoor girls down below the barn where the snow is a bit less deep and they can get behind the barn or shelter up next to the neighbors' evergreens if they need to. Lately, they have been finding some grass to eat and the hay has been lasting longer, but if this keeps up, it will be a trick to get to the grass.

Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

Happy New Year and Happy Hogmany to all.

Let's all hope 2010 and the coming years will be better than 2009 economically. So sad to hear of our young farmers being beat down by this horrible trend. The weather can't be helping these situations. Good wishes to all our neighbors to the north; I understand there are record lows and lots of snow right now. I hope you all stay warm and healthy (and that includes your livestock and furry friends). We are blessed to only have mid-20 degree weather today with temps rising to the 30's! No snow which suits us fine thank you. Our little pygmy goats are doing fine, with at least one pregnant right now but probably several weeks away from giving birth.

Our grand-daughter is having fun with her new puppy, Lexi, adopted from 'A New Leash on Life'. Lexi was part of a little of part Australian Shepherd and Walker's coonhound (and some who knows what thrown in I suspect). She's a really cute, sweet and pretty little thing...I decided to include a photo made Christmas Day. They took her to visit her brothers and sisters yesterday; all the females are in the process of being adopted, but several males are left. I hope they will find good homes soon.

Enough rambling. Plenty to do before going back to work tomorrow.

Thumbnail by OutsidePlaying
Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Been cold as all-get-out here the last week. Yuck. Cows haven't been out for 4 days, but I think it will be decent enough they can wander out to the bunk for a little bit this morning.

After milking I'm putting out my 6 big calves from the stalls in the calf barn to the group pen outside. I have HAD IT with those filthy, destructive creatures. Breaking a stall partition, breaking off a steel post holding said partition..........you get the idea. I got them tagged last night, so out they go. I'm thinking I will give each one of them a shot of Baytril and one of Draxxin, as there has been intermittent hacking. Easier to inject whilst tied in the stalls................ And the pailing of the feed is ridiculous..........takes a packed 5 gallon pailful of silage for each 2. Haul feed, pail feed, shovel cwap............and since my hose is refusing to cooperate for watering, I have to pail water too. I'm too old for this junk.

2 cows decided they needed a case of pleurisy. A mastitis epidemic for whatever reason..............3 each with a bad quarter and 1 that is going all the way and has 2. She at least has a *reason*............FWIW........doesn't milk out like she should, leaks like a sieve, then lays in it. Grrrrr...............

Ok, I'm being such a ray of sunshine here...............guess I'll go and see what disasters await me.

Waddy, KY

Anna, sounds like another day on the dairy.

Thankfully we're not in the snowbanks but it's been pretty darned cold for us. Today it got up to 22 and they're not calling for above freezing for the next 10 days. Yes, I know you all are laughing up North but it's not funny down here. Cows are sucking up hay and feed like vacuum cleaners trying to stay warm. We finally put a wool calf blanket on the newest calf. Momma was trying to pull it off and junior was trying to get it across to her that he liked it on.

We've been hauling round bales from a fellow about 15 miles down the road. It's the first time we've dealt with net wrapped bales. What a PIA. Yes, the waste is less but I'm getting garbage bag after garbage bag of that plastic "stuff" . I guess as long as the old baler runs I won't have to worry about dealing with that stuff though.

Guess with the temps as they are we'll be cutting a bunch more wood here real soon. That old house we're in takes a bit to keep it warm. Right now we're keeping the faucets on drip trying to keep them from freezing. So far so good. As it is the Mirafonts are freezing around the balls and we're having to go around an make sure the cows can get into them to drink.

Cheeseburger soup for supper tonight. Hot soup on these nights hits the spot.

Stay warm folks!


Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Oh, Janet, we're may chuckle on the first day or so, but when it runs this long, believe me we are sending you warm thoughts and worrying about you all. It's hard enough when you're used to it and prepared, but I can only imagine when it hits like this out of the blue how hard it must be. And not having the heavy road plowing equipment we have up here can only be a nightmare when you get a good snow. ("a good snow" interesting phrase. who ever came up with that?)

We have 5 heifers out behind the shed that need to be moved to behind the barn. They've decided that it's just too much work to go down to the evergreens through the belly deep and deeper snow anymore and have been sleeping by the bale ring. Stan is going to have to blow the snow out from behind the barn, it's chest deep on him and he's 6'4", to get them to come over. what fun. At least he has the cab tractor now - 4 wheel drive and a heater sure makes a difference in his attitude.

We had to go down to Columbus PA yesterday to get the Trailblazer. It was stalling out on me the last time I went to get groceries and the "Check engine soon" light had decided to stay on. There was a sensor that had gone bad and while we had it down there, Stan had them change the oil, put in a new battery and generally check it over. After we got home, I had Stan drive me to North East PA for a dentist appointment. when I drove the Trailblazer home, it behaved very well, but it stalled out twice for Stan. At least now he knows what it's doing. While we were off running about, we had a foot of snow. I think the dentist was surprised that we got there.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Well, the 6 filthy behemoths from the stalls in the calf barn are now in a group "pen". they can go in or stay out. Hopefully they don't stay out, but they have to go out to eat. And judging from the amount of silage that was gone when I went and looked just now, I think most of them have figured out how to put their heads through the headlock stalls. Now, if they will just "see" the waterer, or perhaps the next group drinking. I put a rock on top of the "frisbee" covering the hole so if they do some snooping they can see it is water.

Cold again today. Herd check this afternoon. SU says he thinks there is an open heifer up at the dry cow/springer/bred heifer farm. So, he seems to think that the 2 of us are going to get the whole shebang in the barn and have the vet preg check them to see just who it is. The empty beast will no doubt get a ride to the next dairy sale and I'm sure will get put with a bull. SU cusses the vet and his ultrasound up and down the road. I finally told him "Look, NOTHING is taken up there that has been early ultrasounded until they have been "arm checked" at 45 days or more. I'm sure when I told him that he was thinking ........lalalalalala..........as he holds his hands over his ears. Sheesh.........

Guess I'd better get my paperwork in order. Just need to update my lists I have on Excel. Sure works nice that way. I have the cows in "barn order" on my sheet, so theoretically I could hand the vet the papers and he could do it without my being there. Which he has done once. Said it worked great.

Humansville, MO(Zone 6a)

Kathleen an Anna I don't Know how you keep going in that cold. I was raised in Michigan and know just what your talking with the cold. When I was doing chores this morning I was think about you two. I was thinking I hadn't done this since I left Michigan. We didn't have any animals the last time it got this cold, thirteen years ago . It is just a nice10 above with 20 mile a hour wind lol just an average day for you
hope your doing ok because I know your below your normals

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

I do not know what ever possessed my ancestors to settle in this place that has these wretched cold winters. Oh, I know.............one of two things. Either it was summer or a wheel on the wagon broke. :>)

southeast, NE

LOL - Anna! I wonder the same thing about our ancestors!

Man this weather is really starting to suck. Only good thing about it is I can't get into to work. We got another 4-5 inches of snow last night on top of the approx 20 inches we already had. Wind chills are around -20 to -30. I knew it was bad when I looked down to the end of the driveway and saw a traffic jam! It turned out people were stuck going up the hill. SIL went into work early as he is on a snow removal team. He had to drive 4 miles out of the way to finally make it in. The main highway was down to less than one lane in places so I thought "it ain't worth it" and stayed home. I'm getting a little tired of work anyway. Always the same ole crap!

I call it “piling” weather. When I went to the barn, where it is fairly decent inside because it is insulated, I found the chickens, cats, goats, and sheep piled together keeping warm.

We’ve got a couple of ewes penned up waiting to lamb. I wouldn't be surprised if they lamb tonight.

Cold weather is sure causing havoc on equipment. Everything is running slow or not starting, etc.

I’m making bean soup and neck bones for supper.

Is it spring yet?

Waddy, KY

Mmmmmm Jewel, don't think so. Darned cold here for us too. Not as cold as you all are but for us whimps pretty frigid. Skid loader was sliding around tonight not able to get traction so they had to put the hay forks on the 6080 to move hay and push the loader up the hill. Now they have two calves with scours that they've brought to the barn. The wind chimes are rattling like crazy and I stepped outside with a couple of bottles for the calves without a coat and surely didn't want to stay long.

They're still out feeding right now because they got a late start tonight. Tobacco came in case today with the increase in temps and BIL showed up and wanted to book tobacco so of course that always seems to come first around here. Never mind that tobacco is a dead crop anymore unless you are in bed with the tobacco companies. Won't go there. Anyway, feeding in the dark is the pits. At least with the snow on the ground it's easier to see Black Angus in the dark!


Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

LOL, Anna. You're probably right about the ancestors. They probably just got tired of pushing on in some cases and stopped. My DH was born and raised in Ohio and his family got that far in their wagons. I don't see how ya'll do it either. It's been really cold here this week in Alabama. Snowed today and we probably will have ice tomorrow with lows down in the single digits. Brrrrr!

London, United Kingdom

Dear All, our government in the UK is close to announcing a state of National Emergency due to the three weeks of bitterly cold weather, snow and worse ice!
We are now expecting another two weeks at least of it. The temperature outside London was minus 17.7C and in the midlands minus 22.2C, plus a strong north wind.
As you know diesel starts to wax in diesel engines at minus 19C, so a lot of lorries have had problems. Normal 2 wheel drive cars are completely useless on the ice, as are 4x4s on road tires!
The Police 4x4s are on road tires, so have to stick on the gritted main roads. Most of the Councils have now admitted they have run out of gritsalt for the roads, although they never did any of the side roads in the first place. So if you have a car stuck in the ice on a side road, there is not a lot of chance of getting it out. They did not gritsalt the pavementssidewalks either, so they are like an ice rink.
So who do they turn to, the military and the farmers of course, who else! Trouble it was too late, for the farmers were clearing snow on the roads, but there is nothing to stop the ice that forms! No gritsalt to put down, and even tractors cannot pull cars out of side roads on pure ice, for their back wheels spin.
So now you have the amazing sight of military , H.M. Coastguard and mountain rescue 4x4s being used as ambulances in towns, as normal ambulances don't work on ice!
When some people got trapped on the moors, they had to use military tracked vehicles to get them out!
The farmers who are using quad bikes to feed their animals, are helping other farmers out who do not have quad bikes.
Their was an amazing interview with a Scottish farmer, and in the background was one of his Highland cattle completely covered in snow, you would not know it was a cow till it moved and the reporter was shocked. The farmer explained it does not bother them at all, they are used to living out in it!
My wife could not get to work as there were no trains at all, the Railway spokesperson announced on the News that this was due to the "wrong kind of snow!"
This has caused some laughter at least, she tried to explain that the fine snow cloggs up the electric motors, don't ask me.
Anyway I have been making loads of onion soup and homemade bread and checking on my elderly neighbors.
Regards and keep warm.
p.s they are telling us we might run out of gas now as well.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Ah, Neil.............welcome to my world. Just that we have it lots and can cope better than you guys over there. Hope things get better..........before July.

London, United Kingdom

Dear Anna_Z, I know all too well! For in the south of England, we do maybe get a couple of days snow, or sometimes a week and it does get quite cold. Fortunately it is normally not like this and people have not got the experience or equipment to cope with it, here! Although I come from the moors in Yorkshire, where it can be rough.
I served in the British Army and was sent to the Arctic warfare school in Norway, as you know it is a bit cold there, to say the least. However you had the equipment to cope with it.
What I am used to as a 4x4 is a dirty big (old type), Land Rover, that with the proper tires on will go almost anywhere! Plus these are the standard thing used by farmers and are much loved by everyone.
Whereas in the south in London, what they call 4x4s are really JapaneseGerman very expensive cars that look a bit bigger than a normal car and have low profile road tires on, meant for motorway use.
There is an expensive place in london called Chelsea, and you will see the top of the range ones of these things there. Some have cocktail bars etc fitted into them, so everyone calls them "Chelsea tractors!" For some strange reason because they have a 4x4 badge on them the owners think they can go through snow, ice and mud. They cannot even go acroos a damp field and most of them have never even seen a field.
I was stationed in north Germany and they have bad winters, and can cope with it fine, for they invested in the equipment they needed and the farmers know what they are doing!
Our people invest in anything, they just hope it will go away.
The farmers know what to do, so that is why the Government use them.
The farm I help out on has got five Land Rovers, but only two are paid for to go on the road, as 4x4s are charged a horrendous price in tax, and if you have diesel ones you cannot use red diesel on a road, illegal.
That is until they want you!

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Yeah, same cwap here re: red diesel. If'n they catch you in a spot check with colored farm diesel fuel in a road vehicle, it won't go well for you. We've never even attempted it.

London, United Kingdom

It has just been on the Radio farm hour we get here, something amusing. A farmer in Wales has taken the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force (R.A.F.), to the High Court and won!
Evidently the R.A.F. Red Arrows (their jet Display Team), practice their low level displays over this farmers land, which has stopped his chickens laying.
So to prove it the High Court banned them flying over his land, and his chickens started laying. Then they were made to fly over again, and the chickens stopped again
The judge has awarded him £42,000.00p which is $67,915.16, for the inconvenience of having no eggs!

This message was edited Jan 12, 2010 5:50 PM

Richmond, TX

That's cool! I don't think our courts would have been so sympathetic, nor had the patience to conduct such a test.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

The farmer would have just been in the wrong here in the good ole US of A.

Humansville, MO(Zone 6a)

Yes he would have been wrong' had his farm in the wrong spot. it wouldn't have mattered that he was there first

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Eminent domain, pennies on the dollar, problem solved - no farm, no problem.

Stan's been working on taxes and information for the Dairy Farm Business Report. Depressing as all get out. We hit a million pounds, but just barely. Price was way down, production down. Says he, 'Well, we probably won't have to worry about a big tax bill.'
He's a glass half full kind of a guy.

The sun has just set, the western horizon brushed with lavender shading to peach shading to lemon becoming impossibly blue. It will be a cold night - the hoarfrost clung to the tree branches all day, although it was warmer than it's been. The prediction is for a bit above freezing tomorrow, but I have my doubts. The road is bare and dry so, of course, the snow plow is running up and down the hill. Were it snowing, they would be safely settled into a garage somewhere.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

I got a new camera this week and took these two pix. We have a cow that has been milking blue blazes since she freshened in Sept. Her sept. test was 100 pounds (after being fresh only11 days), Oct. test was 122 pounds, Nov. 129 pounds, and Dec. 140 pounds. We're testing again on tuesday, so will be interesting to see if she's still over the century mark. She just turned 7 in December. Really nice udder, and doesn't leak a drop. Unfortunately, at herd check on Wed. she was diagnosed open, so we are going to try the ov-synch deal on her.

Thumbnail by Anna_Z
Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Here is one of a first calf heifer; been fresh a couple of months.

Thumbnail by Anna_Z
Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Nice! Your cows are good to you!

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Nice looking udders, Anna. It's the girls like that that you love to have around.

We opened the local paper to this short article this morning:

NY dairy farmer kills 51 cows, commits suicide

The Associated Press
Friday, January 22, 2010; 10:54 PM

COPAKE, N.Y. -- State police in New York say an upstate dairy farmer shot and killed 51 of his milk cows in his barn before turning the rifle on himself.

State police found the body of 59-year-old Dean Pierson in his Copake barn on Thursday. A visitor found a note Pierson had left on the barn door that said not to come in and to call police.

State police would only say that Pierson was having personal issues.

The Columbia County hamlet of Copake is about 115 miles north of New York City.

Local farmers buried the cows outside the barn Friday. They would not discuss Pierson or what had happened, but one of the men said these are hard times to be a farmer.

Not really the kind of thing you want to read about at the breakfast table. Copake is on the eastern border of NYS with Massachusetts. Oposite side of the state, but the problems are probably the same as the ones around here.


The Ozarks, MO(Zone 5b)

Anna..hope you don't mind if I butt into this thread and tell you how gorgeous those udders are! I just showed them to DH and the first thing he said was "wow" and the second was "what's the pedigree"! He used to love to match our cows to AI bulls.

Kathleen...What a heartbreaking situation.....

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

I wasn't aware that there was "butting in"...........public threads, feel free to comment. :>)

I will have to look on my DHIA sheet (which is in the barn at present) and see what the sires are. Most all of our first calf heifers have really nice udders. However, we do have the 3 or 4 obligatory "dogs".......don't we all. One ugly beast lost her median, and she still gave almost 130 pounds.

Thank you for the kind words.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Delirose.........the cow's sire is from Accelerated Genetics..... 14H2609 Phillip
The heifer's sire is from East Central/Select Sires 7H7231 Dave I don't have any of the papers that tell me the PGS...........I don't keep all those from DHIA or I would be drowning in papers. LOL I will find out when we test on Tuesday, tho. Has me wondering. :>)

Waddy, KY

I'd take a whole herd with udders like that please!

The aged cow has stood up really well with that production and the first calf heifer's udder has the height and width that would be in the running for best udder in any class. Looks like you've been making the best of some great genetics.

Kathleen, I saw that article on Saturday. I thought how absolutely heartbreaking that he felt so desolate that his choice looked better than living life. We never know the demons that others are fighting. My husband and I discussed it several times Saturday. It's so disturbing to know there are people who look like they are getting along when they are sometimes hurting so badly. My thoughts go to his family and the neighbors around them. I'm sure it's rocked the balance of the entire community.


Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

We tested milk this morning and will again tonight...........the cow that I posted the pic of the udder????.............what a slacker.......she gave "only" 77 pounds this morning, as opposed to 83 last month. LOL I"ll let you know the final total tonight.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Ok, the cow made 129 pounds for the day. Still not too shabby, I guess. :>) Now, if she would just show me a good heat.............LOL

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Sounds like shes to busy producing to go looking for a man. LOL!

Richmond, TX

She has a headache?

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Hmmm......production like that I don't think she has TIME!!!! :>)

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