Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Farming Realities

Today is officially a snow day. We only got a light dusting, but it is enough to excite the children and increase the farm chores just a bit.

Food and water are the two major requirements to keep livestock warm, and we spent a good part of the morning handing hay bales out. Tomorrow is supposed to be frigid, and so we will be well prepared.

I unexpectedly received a call from my meat processor this morning that he was on his way over to get my steer. Like the gusty, cold winter air this phone call hit me smack in the face.

                                               ***The ducks on the frozen pond***

I knew this day would come soon. Yum-Yum, the steer, was our first calf to be born here. The last two and a half years we have fed him, cared for him and allowed him a chance to live on open pasture with lots of grass. We knew from the start what his fate would be, but it is still difficult.

This is the most difficult part of farming. When I first bought my dairy cow, I accepted the fact that there are only two fates for a bull calf.

1. Sell him as a baby and he will likely be living a less than humane life before being processed.
2. Keep him and allow him a nice, humane life before processing.

We opted for #2. As with all of the animals we raise, humane treatment is a top priority.

There is simply no other way.

                                          **Free ranging hens enjoy a treat of scratch grains to stay warm**

Today reality meets farm life. The full cycle of life continues to show itself, as it always does when you raise farm animals.

I am trying my best to not get emotional or attached. I am reminding myself why we chose this life. Our freezer will be full with clean, organic beef in a few weeks.

                                       **Zeb carries this block of ice around and pretends it is a big diamond!**

Some days are pure bliss and some days are just tough. Time to focus on the good. There is no sense is dwelling on the sad.

The cows were wasting too much hay because we have been placing the bales on the ground. Devin built a corner hay feeder over the weekend and it is working nicely.

We still have several weeks of winter and even longer before decent grass starts growing. This hay feeder should help us waste less hay, since we do have a limited amount to get us through until spring.

I hope everyone is staying warm and safe! Winter will surely be over soon and then we will have tornado weather:-) Of course that only lasts a little bit and then summer will here. I am ready for warm nights and cookouts with friends.

The meat chicks for pastured chicken will soon be ordered for an April delivery, and I really hope to get my raised garden beds back into shape!

Happy Hump Day Ya'll!

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