Got a late start this morning, but headed up to roll up a polybraid, then take it to the paddock where the cows were and set it up. I had put off rolling this polybraid up all summer and because of that, there was some damage to the wire (it wasn’t energised all this time) from deer, calves, sheep chewing on it and breaking the tiny wires braided inside the poly.
Thinking the cows would be starving (they act like that a lot), I provided them far too large a stockpiled paddock. They just ran around trampling their food and kicking up their heels! Despite standing knee deep in fresh grass, after about an hour, some of them had wandered back into the old paddock to nibble on short clovers.
This is the first strip of winter stockpile I’ve turned them onto this season. The paddock size is 17.9 acres, but they’ve been alloted about 7, which as i said was far too much. It’s grown pretty good although this is growth since May, not August- September, so the quality will not be as good and I’ll need to watch the condition of the cows as winter becomes more severe and they need more energy. I estimated there are about 7 inches of forage at about 350 lbs per inch giving 2450# per acre. Given the number of cows and calves in this mob, they eat about 6000# per day, so this 7 acre allotment should yield about 17,150 lbs or 3 days of grazing. It will be interesting to see how close i get to the estimation.
We have been truly blessed to have splendid weather so far into the autumn season. This has allowed a considerable amount of extra outdoor work to be accomplished – making up for the lack of such earlier in the year due to constant rain.
However, signs of winter are moving across the country, so it’s time to get serious about it. We’ve been feeding some hay since it was nice and dry, but that seems to be past for a while, so back to grazing. Too bad for deer hunters at all the rain this firearm season.
At all places, we’ll have set up two polywires across an ungrazed paddock ready for winter stockpile grazing. With the warm weather, we’ve been able to keep the stock on paddocks with only a little regrowth, but that will soon change once the nighttime temperatures drop below freezing. It’s important, too, to not graze too short this time of year unless you are purposefully doing so to ‘set back’ the existing grass and root system.
At my south Missouri farm, Dallas, Christian, and I worked nearly all daylight hours to set out hay bales for bale grazing, clearing brush, and building hi-tensile perimeter fence.
Friday morning, however, we finished up and took some leisure time. We don’t often do that. Ziplining in the southwest Missouri Ozarks. Branson Zipline is an awesome place to go with great guides. Fun time. And, yes, even I stepped off the platform into a 100 foot freefall!
With cold weather coming, it’s time to address the livestock water tanks. Allen sat down this morning to make a list of his tanks, which he’ll either shut off and drain or some he’ll turn on the leak valve and allow the water to run through the overflow pipe. The moving water won’t freeze up. He has 74 tanks to attend to while i only have 10!
What does a woman do when she is stuck inside due to extreme ragweed allergies!? It is frustrating because the weather is starting to cool off and there is always SO much to be done outside. Fences need repair, brush needs cutting, barns cleaned out, livestock needs shifting to new paddocks…… the list is endless. Up until this year, youngest son, Nathan, would do my basic chores (shifting livestock, checking water) from mid-August to mid-October, but he is off to uni this fall, so the task has fallen to Rick, our new hand whom we hope stays on to become manager – he is certainly capable. So, while I’m grateful,it’s frustrating as well.
So, after spending most of last week at my farm in south Missouri (Dallas and I were hoping our allergies would be somewhat alleviated, and surprisingly for me, i did find some relief, not so much for Dallas) and redesigning and setting up the working corral and trampling through a ‘jungle’ of a small timber patch to string out some polywire in preparation for fencing it off this winter and we started tearing out an old house, but wrong time of the year for that – i got stung on my upper lip just straight away. OUCH! brought tears to my eyes!
This week, we are back home, so my major goal is to ‘fall’ clean the house. Spiders have built webs in every nook and cranny inside and out, so lots of vacuuming and dusting. Of course, I vacuum all the furniture; under and around the arms and cushions, and turn them over to vacuum the dirt and dust from underneath. Cobwebs in the corners, from ceiling to walls, and walls to floors. Climbing a ladder to wash off the center and blades of our two ceiling fans and dusting the leaves of our one inside plant. Dusting the tops and back of wall photos and pictures, top of furniture, and all the wooden trim and doors. And definitely under the floor grates which cover the return air ducts.
One tip I learnt as a travel consultant when on Fams and checking hotel rooms, was to run your finger along the top of doors and/or shower rods. If there is dust, then the room is NOT clean.
Washing windows is sort of an outdoor job, so I can only do so much of that at a time before becoming overwhelmed with allergy attack. But i can plug away at it.
Additionally, Monday i listed a bunch of unneeded items to sell on Ebay, paid bills, and RIck and i pulled the CIDRs, administered Estrumate, applied heat detection patches, and mouthed a few of the 17 recip cows because the needed ear tags and i didn’t know how old they were. The ear tag number starts with the year they were born. For example, a four year old cow’s number would start with a ‘1.’ This took about an hour, so i was struggling a bit by the time i could get back into the a/c. Took a break, then went back out to let out the cows into the pasture south of our house for observing and ran water for them.
Of course, breakfast, lunch, and supper preparations are everyday.
Froze up a couple gallons of green beans, cooked down, slipped off the skins, and froze a gallon of tomatoes.
What do farmers and ranchers do when they aren’t directly handling their stock? To be sure maintenance of the infrastructure is at the top of the list! Today was another day of such for me. Dallas went with me, so with his help, we were able to accomplish more than twice what I can accomplish alone in the same amount of time. Today was drizzly and muddy, but the temperature was mid-50s so that’s a good day to work outside.
It takes at least an hour to gather the materials and tools, plus loading a small bit of hay from the hayloft I’m cleaning out on the Buckman farm to haul up to my cows, fuel up, and head north. The drive is about 35 minutes when the weather is good.
We had a stretch of hi-tensile electric wire to repair which had been hit by deer and the wire had pulled through a gripple rendering this part of interior paddock fence completely useless. So, the end post brace was reset and the wires reattached as well as patching the broken part. All wires restretched with a gripple tensioning tool, then with the gate shut, electricity flowed freely to make the fence ‘hot.’
One water tank had lost its plug, so a couple days ago, I had to get creative and twisted a plug of hay and forced it through the hole. Incredibly, this worked perfectly! Absolutely no water came through. However, I did replace the hay with the proper plug today.
It was still not quite dark, so we unloaded the polywire reel and some step in posts at the Bowyer barn (i’ll set them up next trip up), then went round the block (Cotton Road is FAR too muddy right now) to tie 2 inch by 3 inch welded wire 3 foot fence to four gates in the corral in preparation for mustering the sheep (hopefully tomorrow – weather permitting) and sorting off the ewe lambs I don’t want to get bred.
Even though it was all but dark, I wanted to get more steel posts pulled up and old barbed wire rolled up from around the old horse pond (small pond dug by horses way back in the old days). So we managed about 7 posts and one strip of wire before the wind shifted and the rain started in serious and it was just flat out dark, dark, dark. It’s a 35-40 minute drive home in the Gator, so we headed out.