Farming in December

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Another month gone, and this one has a good start too.

Come on, people, let's get this forum active and chatty again.............I miss it, it's just not the same over "there" as what it used to be here. I find it hard to believe that all the previous posters from here have done a mass exodus. I'm here.............keep me company, please!!!!!

Not much going on here; we've still got beasts to feed that belong to the neighbor. He brought 27 of them up to our other farm and those snots have been "on safari" twice. Cripes, can't they stay where they get feed, have water, and can go in the barn for shelter??? Wretched creatures. Most of them are in the pasture here at home with the ones we have had here all summer. We've already done a sort and put them back where they belong but they got out AGAIN. So, I guess they can stay here till their owner decides what we will do with them.

The SU and I are going away for a few days and I think we will need to sort out a couple that are starting to bag up pretty good. I for sure don't want any calves born here on our watch.

The frozen waterer situation has been taken care of when the electrician FINALLY came. Good thing, the SU was getting might tired of hauling hot water out to spray down the pipe.

Foggy here today, well, right now it is. Since we've made the sunroom, the sun has decided not to show its face much. I said I don't know if I'm really happy we shelled out all this $$ for a cloud room. :>)

Richmond, TX

I love your sun room! Is it difficult to heat in winter?

We have also had problems with "free range" cows. First a tree fell on the fence (do they ever fall anywhere else?) and created a convenient walk-over. The obedient types stayed home, but one young cow led a reconnaissance tour of the neighborhood. The next escape was just due to deteriorating hot wire which I am currently replacing bit by bit. On that occasion only one was out, but she circled the loop of roads that border the pasture three times before I channeled her through a gate. I think she needs to get on the truck the next time the haulers show up.

Our water problems are temporarily solved: concrete troughs and enclosed float valves. The first really freezing weather may change all that, however. I never seem to get everything insulated or drained, and there is always plumbing to do when it warms up. If we're lucky, we won't get any hard freezes this year...

As Anna said: "Where IS everybody? Come back!"

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

I'm here. too.
Everything here is on hold till spring. I've been planning where to plant & what to plant.
Going to try something new in 2015. Possibly a manager, if I can find one. Increasing some things & decreasing others.
Lots of seeds ordered & here already. I order online & they arrive in a couple days. Not like old days when you sent an order with a check. Sometimes took so long you forgot it & ordered double.

Why is it people call it the good old days, when all you did was work your butt off for little reward.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Porkpal, we have found that we have to keep the slider from the living room to the sunroom closed after the sun gets more towards sunset, as the room cools down rather quickly, even tho we have a register in it. We tried leaving the door cracked just enough for the kitties to go out there, but the ensuing dab of cooler air that came in was right in line with the furnace thermostat, so we just shut it. When the sun is out, I can open the slider again in the morning about 9, so that's not bad. It remains to be seen how it all plays out when it is -20 outside. LOL We're thinking that a sunny day coupled with snow on the ground will heat it up fast. And I guess if we can utilize it during the day, that's fine.

The SU is big into cutting wood since the combining is done. He helped the neighbor, running the grain cart, and one of the combines till our DS#1 came home from work at noon to run it. One rental field had tons of trees down along the fencerow due to a big straight-line wind the end of June, so he has been busy cutting the stuff up and adding to our stockpile. He's been getting 2 pickup loads a day. I guess it's the thing to do BEFORE it snows and we'd have to dig through that messy crap to even GET to the wood, to say nothing of going through the field to the other end where the fence is. He just left now to get a load of big chunks.........useless for me to go along as I can't heave them up into the truck anyway. Bad enough I have to go help him heave them OFF!

I heard rumblings about going to get some "small stuff" this afternoon............"small stuff" being relative to the person saying it. Seems like our definitions are not the same.

I guess we have a milking job Jan 1-6th. It's for a guy we have milked for, but he has made some BIG changes. He had a tie stall barn that held about 55 or so, and would switch anywhere from 25-35. It wasn't too bad when he still had a hired guy to help, but I did have to milk them alone a few times. No way the SU could help me, as he had way more than he wanted to do outside mixing feed and scraping, etc, etc, etc. LOL Right now he is milking 100 in a double 8 parlor. He's only been in that 2 months. We went over last Friday night to check it all out and see if we wanted to deal with it. Holy moses............I helped his current hired boy (a high school kid) milk that night and it went pretty good. I told John that I was going to have to come over probably at least 2 or 3 more times before they went as this was NOT something I was going to get all straight in my brain with a walk-through and writing stuff down. Man, all the switches and electric gates..........the milking will be the easy part. :>) By the end of that milking I did have it pretty well straight in my brain which button to push or pull for putting the headgates up or down. That is VERY important that you do the right one when the cows come in........I sure don't want to be chasing cows around that hadn't been milked because I didn't put the gate down. It will be really nice in the fact that I won't have to bend over. All the prep and putting on the units is done from behind, the parlor is not a herringbone where you can do all work from the side. With working from behind, I don't think they can really kick you either. Oh, they can stomp around, but nothing lethal.

Good thing we're getting a couple of jobs since we spent our last year's milking income on our upcoming trip and pretty well depleted it. Leaving Monday morning, and what's more fun, we paid the airfare for our 2 grands to come too. There are some resorts where kids 12 and under stay and eat free, so why not? Their dad and his GF are coming too, but the 4 of them are only staying 5 nights and me and the SU are staying 7. DS#1 will feed the beasts here while we are gone.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Anna, you will love milking in a parlor.
I milked for a neighbor as a relief a number of years ago. At one time did 180 in a double six. They were in two groups, so had to shut down to get the second group in. I can;t remember anymore how long it took to milk, but it wasn't bad.
Are there any huge dairy's around you ? One near here is up to 6000 cows. Quite a few big ones around the state. In our county only 1 dairy farmer as far as I know. About 75 cows.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

These are in 2 groups too, but the guy in the back scraping will shut the first group up when done and run the 2nd group in, so I guess we won't have to stop and switch. It only took about an hour and a half the other night when I was there.

(Joy) Hempstead, TX(Zone 8b)

I will join in, if y'all don't mind. We milk goats, not cows, and raise grass fed meat animals as well. Right now we have warm temps, so we are caught between the last of summer and first of winter veggies. We have had two frosts, just enough to be a pain, but most of our bad weather will be here in January.
We are patiently waiting for our first kids and lambs to hit the ground. Should be in the next week. I try to get my first lambing out of the way by January 1st, so we are about to be hopping around here.


Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Oh, please do join in. We love new faces here, along with the "old ones" that were here before.

I've said goats would be lots easier because you could pick them up and put them where you wanted them. LOL

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

We had rain today....much better than snow as far as I'm concerned. Makes it kind of muddy to get feed out of the silo bags, tho.

Richmond, TX

Rain is predicted here today. It is welcome as it will keep our pastures green until they really freeze. Much of yesterday was spent at the vet clinic with one of the racetrack pensioners with "ADR" (ain't doin' right). He seems much better this morning. The vet also prescribed an anti-arthritis drug for our aged lead steer. I hope it helps him; he is a gem!

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Gray overcast day.
Running out of things to do. Seeds are mostly ordered & here. Gardens are planned. Seeding won't start until Feb.
Another do nothing day!

(Joy) Hempstead, TX(Zone 8b)

Yesterday was definitely a manic Monday. We had three does kid, one unexpectedly, and three ewes lamb. Not enough to normally put a pinch on things but everything started going south.
Two of the does were stalled because they were expected. One did not come for morning grain so I hiked out to the loafing shed to find her in major distress with a bad presentation. She had one on the ground that was a popsicle although my young LGD was very worried about it. And I was light years from the house without a cell phone. Sigh. Fearing the one on the ground was beyond help, I turned my attention to the doe. We had one leg, no head or other leg. They were folded back over and under the body. I stripped off my jacket and worked for four or five minutes trying to find appropriate parts before I decided that I needed to get it out since it was most likely dead. So I pulled, and with much yelling for both of us, got the guy out. And he was alive, of course he was. She then expelled two beautiful doelings both dead. I then turned to the Popsicle, intending on adding her to the little pile, and her eyelids fluttered weakly. Wrapped her tightly in my jacket, took off my sweatshirt and wrapped the buckling in it and headed to the house, leaving all else there. Hit the house yelling for DH to thaw some of last year's colostrum and filling him in on the disaster. He grabbed some towels, threw them in the dryer for a quick warm, started the colostrum and disappeared out the door.
Got the little girl warm and stable, and was working on the weak buckling when my phone went off with a text. One of the girls in the barn had two healthy bucklings, sigh, and the other was presenting a head, no feet. He was leaving her (he is not the vet type) and heading out to check on the ewes who have been dropping lambs steadily for the last two weeks.
Got the buckling a drink, bundled them up in a crate with a lamp, changed my clothes, what was left of them, grabbed both my phone and some towels, and headed to the barn.
Sure nuff, had a big buckling stuck with legs way back and no room to get in past the cervix. So I pulled and pulled. Got him freed up and got drowned in a wash of pent up amniotic fluid, blood and other thing that he was blocking. Also out popped a doeling, not breathing. Lost her.
DH comes in and tells me we have two sets of twins and a wild ewe with a stuck lamb. Great.
Back in the house with bucklings, towels, and leave with another jacket, best Border Collie, fresh towels and my crook. Not changing into fresh clothes just yet, can stand cold legs.
Find the ewe with her entourage of LGDs and manage with two people and a dog, to catch her and throw her to the ground. Monster ram lamb, and the ewe now wants nothing to do with him. Another sigh. Jam, the BC, and I move her to a nearby (fortunately) set of pens and leave he with the lamb. Good dog. Head back to the house, change clothes, finish with the latest babies, tuck them in the crate, and head out to milk and feed. Time? 9:00 and I was exhausted.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Was the 9 am or pm? Around here when we still have cows, that would have all happened before 9 AM!

Richmond, TX

You have to be brave to raise sheep! Cows seem so much easier - usually.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Sounds like James Herriott!

(Joy) Hempstead, TX(Zone 8b)

9:00a.m. I would rather raise sheep any day over cattle. My cattle can push through fences, tear up gates and require a chain and tractor if the calf is stuck. I can pull a lamb quickly and normally by myself. Sheep are hardy and easy to keep, much like cattle. I find them quite economical and tasty. LOL

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

The guy the SU and I are milking/choring for in January wants us for a week in Feb. too. They're going to Jamaica the end of the month. That just puts us on track for OUR vacation the end of 2015. LOL Got a call from another guy that needs us for 4 days the end of May. And, we have just one night milking in Feb. for another guy we've milked for before. That one's a pretty easy job. Nice cows, and not a lot in the way of chores/calf feeding.

Supposed to be in the mid-40's here today; probably will make it as it's quite nice out albeit cloudy. I'm thinking the sun has left our solar system and gone elsewhere. Maybe to the Eagle Neubla since it sure isn't here lately. :>)

Off to grill my burgers for lunch. It's a pain going up to the shop to grill, but I keep the grill there for the winter. I just have to open the big overhead door, roll it out, and shut the door till I'm done.

Richmond, TX

The weather here has been disgusting recently: cold, rainy - generally dreary. I shut off the water and drained the pipes to the barn and pastures to keep them from freezing, but today it warmed up enough to turn it all back on again. Fortunately the troughs in the pastures are big enough to provide water without being refilled (so designed as we often lose power, and thus the well pump, in the summer during storms). I do wish it would warm up another 30 degrees. I can't seem to do anything with gloves on so chores take twice as long in the cold.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

With the new year comes new "digs". Here we are for you faithful followers.........

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