Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What You're (Probably Not) Missing at Home, Volume 1

This week's What You're (Probably Not) Missing at Home is seasonal, as it's that time of year that we have to get the calves ready for sale and fill Grandma's basement with wood for the winter.

For those of you who don't know, we have a beef farm, about 2 hours away from our house at my grandmother's, and operate a cow-calf operation, which means the cows are bred over the summer, have their calves in March-April-ish and then we sell the calves at a calf sale in November. In order to sell them, they have to get 2 rounds of vaccine over the month or so before the sale. Dad & I headed up to the farm to do the first round last week.

The first step in doing this is always to get the cows into the barn, of which they're very suspicious! This is what they look like as they run away from where you're trying to herd them!


Then you wander out further in the field to try and bring them back...


Once you do get them closer to the barn, they're usually not too bad to get into the barn, although there was one fun steer that I had to chase around the corral a few times, he's an excited one!

Once we had them in the barn, we let all the cows out because we were only vaccinating the calves, this makes it less crowded in the barn and easier to sort calves, but a lot louder in the barnyard as the mama cows aren't impressed at being separated from their babies. This clip is actually a lot quieter than it was at times!

The heifers we kept over last year and bred this summer got magnets since we're keeping them. (Magnets go in their stomachs so that if they accidentally eat any nails or stray pieces of fencing or other metal it sticks to the magnet & doesn't pierce their stomach lining.)


Then we waited for the vet to show so that we could run the rest of the calves through. We had one cow with horns that needed to be dehorned, and a male calf who was still a bit bull-ish even after our attempt to steer him that needed to be fully castrated. I was in the barn with Grandma sending calves out the chute to the head gate. And let me tell you, some of these calves are going to be fun to get back in the barn after the experience they had this time!


Getting the calves through the vaccination process didn't actually take too long, but you never go to the farm just to do one thing! Always tons of odd jobs to be done!

Among the other things we did:

Fixed the windows in the old chicken coop:

IMG_1518 IMG_1520

Cleaned out the outdoor water trough at the creek:


Trimmed a tree away from the hydro line (shh, don't tell Mom!):


Bedded the barn down with straw (flake straw off the bale, toss it down the hole in the barn loft floor, spread around so it's nice & comfy for the cows):


And various other things, including stone picking, fence fixing, fence checking and more!

And of course we did wood. Grandma has a wood stove in her house that she uses extensively for heat in the winter, so every fall we fill her basement up with wood.

This starts by heading up to the woodlot on the tractors, one with a trailer to fill & one with the wood spliter on the back.


This also means you get to wear such sexy outfits as this:


Once at the wood pile by the woods, Dad gets out the chainsaw, cuts the logs up into ~2 ft chunks & I run the spliter (the blue thing) and then chuck the split pieces into the trailer.


When the trailer is full, we drive that tractor down to the house, back it up to an open basement window and start pitching until the trailer is empty and the basement is full.



And repeat!
And of course going anywhere with the tractors means stopping at every fence and gate, getting out, opening /lowering the gate/fence, getting back on, driving through/over, getting out, closing/putting back up said gate/fence. It is easier though when there are two of you!


Fun times! And of course, we'll get to repeat for the booster of the vaccine sometime this week :)

Up next in the What You're (Probably Not) Missing at Home: What we've done to your room since you're not in it!


Tony said...

You know, there are some days I wish I was a farmer. After reading your post, it sounds like way too much work! :)

Protagitron said...

I got tired just reading that. Although I was fascinated by the idea of the stomach magnet.

Shaun said...

Point number 1: You should have taken the atv it is much quicker
Point 2: you can take the spliter and trailer with the same tractor if you lift the spliter as high as it will go. This makes taking the atv possible.
Point 3: If you put the cows in fields you dont travel through then you only open gates at the beginning and close them at the end.
Point 4: These are some of the things I love about having a farm. It is hard work but you can see how much you have done at the end of the day.
Question: What happened to the wood trailer? I see your using the black trailer. Does this mean that the wood trailer needs a new bottom and you just haven't done that yet?

Shaun said...

One more thing. I see you havent taken my coveralls are they to big for you?

Cheryl said...

Yes, farming's a lot of work but it's worth it most of the time!

And Shaun, I'm wearing MY coveralls! And we couldn't go through only fields without cows b/c the fences in other fields needed fixing, and Dad was the one who choose to take 2 tractors. The wood trailer is trapped in the old barn in behind the 2 camper trailers right now.

Lisa said...

Cool post!! Here's a secret - I used to want to marry a farmer and move out to the country where live is slower, simpler and quieter. Ha! How naive!

Keep these posts coming!

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for part 2