Diary of Kathy Hiltbrand

Diary of Kathy Hiltbrand- Week 1

March 1, 2011        

Wow! The sun actually came up.  It’s still cold but not absolutely unbearable.  Checked on calving cows that are penned up; no action as of now, none are in labor.   We have 40 cows to calve and six on the ground so far.  I fed young bull and the 4-H projects.  I headed back into the house to put a load of laundry in and take my girls to school.  If there is any drawback to having a long lane; it’s having to drive the girls out to the bus.  Although the girls have walked home on warm days they’ve also walk home on those cold days a time or two.    8 a.m.- Get Justin up and have him ready for school.  We take him to school even though a bus can pick him up.  I’d rather take him in 10 minutes than wait for the bus for 20 minutes.  So we just take him and pick him up everyday. Dave just left to haul gravel from West Alexandria, Ohio to the Preble County Fairgrounds for this weekend’s upcoming tractor pull (the DeKalb Super Pull).   Mixed feed for cows, replacement heifers, and bulls.  Fed the horses and I took advantage of the sunshine.  Scraped the lots with a skid loader that the cows come on to eat.  Then I bedded down the maternity pen with cornstalks that we baled this past fall with our round baler. As luck would have it as I went though the gate with the skid loader, one cow decided she wanted to take a tour of the barnyard. Of course, she wouldn’t go back in so I just let her roam. Had free range for a couple of hours. Another perk of living a half mile off the road. Got girls off bus. Went into Seven Mile to get Justin and go to post office. We have no mailbox so we pick up mail every couple of days in town. Kids all had homework and lots of it. I went back to school for Justin’s mid-term conference which went well. Kids then went out and fed 4-H calves and cleaned their pens and put new bedding into them.  Dave just got home and helped them finish. Karen walked her calves. Katie went for a jog (She’s getting ready for spring track) and Justin has basketball practices.    I finished my feeding and took a round bale of hay out to horses. Came inside and started supper. Tried something new, Chicken Parmesan. It turn out ok; everyone ate it. Karen’s FFA teacher called to inform her that she had been selected to fulfill the role as Edgewood/Butler Tech FFA Secretary.  I finished the day by going out and checking on the cows.

March 2, 2011    

Up at 4:30 a.m. to check on Karen’s 2010 show heifer.  She’s due on the 3rd and is close to calving.  This will be her first calf, so we’ll watch her closely.  But at this time she’s fine and I go back to bed.  At 6 am, yelled at girls to get up and I went out to check on heifer and cows.  Nothing in labor, fed 4-H calves and back into house.  I have lots of laundry to do. Dave and girls went to a cattle show over the weekend and I’m playing catch up and I haven’t caught up.    Dave has an early morning.  He’s been getting a lot of calls for gravel with the winter being so harsh and all the rain we have had.  Plus more to come over the next couple of days.  He is starting to get busy.  He left and  I took the  girls to bus , but we missed it so I took them to school.  Got to love school traffic.  Justin was up by the time I got  back from school.  Fixed him some breakfast  and folded a load of laundry.  Took him to school.  Then back outside to finish my work.   Mixed feed for cows, replacement heifers and  bulls.  We have a  large feed wagon  that I’ll put  a round bale of hay, corn silage and minerals into to be mixed up and fed to the cattle.  This practice cuts waste to almost nothing as it mixes the grains together it makes it more palatable to the cattle and they eat all of their feed.  Cutting cost and waste.  Finished feeding and went to house. Went out around noontime to check on cows and Karen’s heifer was in labor.  Her water bag had broke and she was licking the straw were it had fallen.  I put her in a pen by herself.  Then left her for about 30 minutes to see how far she would get on her own.  When I got back the she was in hard labor and pushing.  I watched and decided she needed help. Called Dave to see if he was anywhere around home.  He said he could be home in 20 minutes.  Enough time for me to get ready.  I gathered up my equipment in case of a hard pull.  Went to the house and got a bucket of warm soapy water and bleach to put pulling chains and handles in it.  Tied the heifer low to the gate.  By then Dave had got there.  Penned her close to gate got chains on front feet of calf.  Dave put presser on chains making the heifer push.  Or want to push, she then laid down. Which is the best way for her and us to pull.  She gave a couple of good pushes and we pulled tight and the black bull calf came right out.  Untied the heifer, which is now a cow, she got up right away and started licking off her calf.   It was an easy pull, not always the case!   Went after girls, Justin and also to post office.  Kids did homework and took care of 4-H calves and I checked on cows.   Dave came home just long enough to take a bath and leave again for a crop insurance dinner meeting tonight in Oxford.  Katie needs a physical for track.   We called Grandma Beiser and picked her up on the way to Urgent Care in Hamilton.  Katie got her physical. Went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner.  What a good night…no dinner dishes and a clean kitchen!  Kids went to bed; I went back outside to check on cows and new baby.  

 March 3, 2011        

Dave took care of me this morning.  He checked cows at 6 am and took girls to school.  They missed the bus again.  Oh Daddy wasn’t happy!  I woke to sunshine.  Put a load of clothes in washing machine and folded a load from last night.  Got Justin up and took him to school.  Reloaded washing machine then went outside.    Karen’s cow is doing great with new baby.  Mixed feed and fed everything.  Noticed a replacement heifer wasn’t eating like normal.  I needed to watch her.  Took two round bales of straw out to the cow lot were they will lie on.   It’s calling for rain for the next two days.     Noontime… had lunch then back outside to check cows.  Cow # K105 was on feeding floor eating.  She’s getting close to calving so I closed all the gates and put her in the maternity pen.  She’s a hard one to read on how close she really is.  But with the rain coming tomorrow, I would rather be safe then sorry.  Cold weather, plus mud, and a few coyotes wondering around the first few hours of life could be hard on a baby calf in the great outdoors.  So I keep the cows on the feedlot floor so I can help them get a good start.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Got kids home from school.  Karen has two meetings at school, the last one starts at 7pm.  So she’s staying after school.  Katie and I did work early.  Justin has his first basketball tournament game tonight at 5:45 so we need to get done early.  Game is at Monroe High School, so we picked up Grandma Beiser on the way.  Game didn’t go our way.  But Justin made 6 pts.  His next game is Saturday at 12:20 pm.  Went to eat then picked Karen up at school and headed home. Got home and the kids got ready for bed.   I went outside to turn 4-H calves out and check on cows. Everything looks content.    

March 4, 2011  

 Friday, rain yuck! Checked cow and took girls to end of lane. Came home, fed 4-H calves and went in house.  Justin was downstairs on the couch watching television.  He got ready for school.  Dave was leaving to go haul gravel so he dropped Justin off at school.  I went outside.  Rain changes everything.  We feed our cows in fence line feed bulks so they’re not covered. When it rains we shovel the feed that is left over from the night before so that the water can run out.  We then mix the feed in the rain.  Only feeding just enough that the cow will eat so that it doesn’t go to waste. Our cows are spoiled, they don’t like soggy feed.  I will feed them 2 maybe 3 times today.    Fed everything, seemed like it took forever.  But finished and came inside to warm up and dry off.  Had to take suburban to dealer to have oil checked.  The oil engine light keeps coming on. So we’re trying to get it fixed.  While in Hamilton ran a few errands.  Stopped by Mom’s, she invited me to have lunch with her and my nephew Ty.  Had a good time with them.  Mom and Ty had finished their lunch by the time I got there.   While I was eating, Mom was teaching Ty to play war.  He’s one smart little guy.    Went home and checked on the cows.  Paid a few bills.  Can’t be late to get girls off bus today as it’s still raining hard.  It’s simply amazing how not 5 months ago the creek was about dried up and today it’s almost out of its banks. Large trees are floating down it with such ease.  Wow! We went outside and I fed cows, watered everything in pens, and checked in maternity pen.  Girls fed 4-H calves.  Karen’s FFA project is a heifer. She didn’t eat tonight so we got her out and checked her temperature. It was 105 degrees and normal is 101, so she was really sick.  I gave her some antibiotics and hope she would be fine by morning.     Busy Friday night. Justin went home with a friend and I’ll meet up with them later tonight in Oxford for the Miami boys basketball game.  But I first have to take Karen and a group of her friends to the movies in Middletown.  Another Mom will pick them up and then they’ll have a sleepover.  Dave and Katie are going to the Tractor Pull in Eaton, Ohio. Got home and went out to check on cows and Karen’s heifer.  The heifer is ok but we’ll check her in morning.    

March 5, 2011               

Saturday… still raining and rained all night.  Out to check cows early. Have to get feeding done.  Justin has a basketball game at noon. Mixed cow feed and shoveled wet feed over to drain water out. Fed the rest of the cattle and horses. Penned #5174, she’s close and I don’t want to have to worry about her while at game.  So I put her in pen by herself with fresh bedding.  Just in case she goes into labor.  But no signs as of now.  Karen’s heifer is still with us, so that’s a good thing. Called the vet about the heifer.  He told me a few other things to give her so I did. Went to get Karen at sleepover.  Dave, Karen and Katie went back to Eaton for the afternoon tractor pull.  Dave will be pulling his Oliver 88. They left, as did we.    Justin’s team lost. His 2010- 2011 season is over, but went out with a winning record so that wasn’t too bad. This was their first year together.  After the game we went to lunch and to Dick’s sporting goods store. He needs cleats for baseball.   Thank you Grandma Beiser.   Then back home to check on cows. 4:30 pm and it is still raining.  Everyone’s home by now. Kids went out to feed their calves.   Had to doctor heifer, she’s still running a temperature, but it’s lower tonight.  Kids came back inside to leave for evening tractor pull.  Everyone went but me. I hadn’t finished my work.   Went outside… wow! Temperature is getting colder. Fed cows, replacement heifers and bulls.   Fed and watered the cows that are penned.  Fed the horses, which are outside in the pasture.  To make a long story short… . they were cold, wet and chilled, so I brought them in and put in lower barn.  They quickly warmed up.  Now I can sleep tonight knowing they are warm and dry.  Went inside and took a hot shower. Laid on the couch till around midnight.   Went back out one last time tonight to check on cows before bed. Nothing was in labor, thank the Lord.  Because by now it was windy, colder and snowing.  So thankful it didn’t amount to much.

March 6, 2011    

Sunday… all is well. No rain and no snow. Cows are all good. We have seven calves out of 40 cows and we are just getting started.  Put a load of wash in and ran dishwasher.  Went out to feed.   Dave and Justin mixed cow feed then hauled some manure off feeding floor.  That was nice of them while I finished the rest of the feeding.   Still no new babies.    Dave finished hauling manure, then washed Karen’s show steer and blew him dry.  They are taking him to a judging clinic today. We’re also taking Katie’s steer along for the ride.  The girls had gone to church with their aunt and uncle.      After the girls returned home, Karen finished working on her steer.   They loaded them both up and we left.  Justin didn’t go — he stayed with Uncle Phil and Aunt Anne.  Good thing because it was cold.  The girls learned a lot but it was still cold.  Came home to a new baby.   A cow that’s known as Cinderella had calved.  She had been in the maternity pen, but not by herself.  The calf was fine up and nursing.  Dave and Karen came over and helped me pen her. I like to watch them until I know the calf is nursing and strong enough.  Finished feeding and went inside.   At 10 pm went back out to check on new baby and mom.  Calf had nursed and I gave Cinderella some hay and water.  That makes # 8 and counting.   Then checked the maternity pen.  Looks like a calm night ahead.            





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