Monday July 11, 2011
With the hot weather in the forecast, we hook up extra water tanks for the cattle. Since the cows are still in their breeding groups, we have 6 different pastures with cattle. All the groups have access to geo-thermal Mira founts. The geo-thermal tubes keep the water cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. But, when it gets real hot, some cows just stand over the water, and the calves or yearlings cannot get up to drink. So as much as we hate the hoses and floats that ALWAYS leak, we hook them up when it gets real hot. One leak is really rather good – it sprays a small mist in the air as the cows drink, cooling their heads, necks and shoulders. Momma 046 and her calf seem to enjoy the shower system more than anyone else.
Tuesday July 12, 2011
Hottest day of the year. I heard the heat index was 105. Ugh. Bill, Michael and Luke are pouring the concrete floor of a new manure composting barn. We are also extending the roof and concrete pad to provide shelter in winter. We will feed hay right by the barn, so we can push the manure inside to compost. We look at our manure as a resource. The only fertilizer we use on our pastures is rich composted manure.
Due to the great heat and no air movement inside the concrete walls, the guys take an afternoon break, and come back in the evening to build forms for the next day.
When it gets hot, I turn to the crock pot so I don’t have to use the stove. Our regular lunches are hamburgers of course. So roast beef sandwiches are a nice break, along with salad and plenty of watermelon.
Wednesday July 13, 2011
We all sigh with relief for some cooler weather in the 80s – even the cows are not as cranky. I noticed the beetles are attacking my basil big time in the garden. And the tomato leaves are turning brown from the ground up. Not sure if it is a fungus or virus and I hate to spray anything, but I don’t want to lose my tomato crop. I have picked a handful of tomatoes this week. I can’t survive a summer without warm tomatoes picked right from the garden.
Our calf’s foot is not healing, but we are so busy that I continue to nurse him. He has a temperature of 104, so I give him medicine for his temperature, more antibiotics and increase his Epsom salts soaking time to 15 minutes once a day.
Thursday July 14, 2011
Our pastures are all but dried up. The rains last week went north and south and missed us. I move a large group of cows into our last green pasture. I have been praying for rain, but I feel guilty praying for rain on our farm when I see the Texas photos of pastures and fields that look like the Mojave Desert. So I pray for the South first, and then for our fields.
Tonight, I leave home early to attend our monthly Stephen Ministry Continuing Education at the Presbyterian Church. It’s a ministry where volunteers visit people who are going through difficult times. We just listen, encourage and pray for them. The group is very special to me.
Friday July 15, 2011
The concrete pouring is finally done. The guys are all really tired. It’s not Bill’s favorite job by any means. But just like many other ugly tasks, it sure saves plenty of money when you can do it yourself.
With the concrete job behind them, Michael mows 30 acres of grass-alfalfa hay at our neighbors.
Saturday July 16, 2011
The heat and dry weather have really hurt the hay yield. We get only 6 ½ large round bales of hay. Over night it seems our pastures have turned into a moonscape. We are feeding hay now to several groups. The bulls will stay out one more week, and then we can combine our cows in the “sacrifice” pastures.
Does anyone else have problems with thermometers? One thermometer reads a temp of 104, and another shows 101.5 for calf 830. Since he is active, I choose to believe the 101.5. But we are STILL soaking his foot and figure our home remedies have run their course and will take him to Dr. Ken Krom. Since he is a good bull, he has to be good on all four feet for a long life.
One of our old pet cats has a nasty wound and I know Tiger will lick off whatever I put on him. Since it is Saturday afternoon, we are charged extra at the veterinary hospital way down in Cincinnati. He did not have a temperature but now he is on antibiotics and pain meds that cost me $60. That was another dumb decision. I should have just given him 1 cc of penicillin that I use on the cows. (It seems a lot easier to treat a cow or calf than a cat.) But even though Tiger is an outdoor cat, he is my old buddy and likes to cuddle on my lap – especially nice in March when I am watching a cow in labor.
Sunday July 17, 2011
Hmmmm. The water hydrant was on ALL night. I guess Gemini and Cricket, our 2 orphan calves have figured out how to turn on the hydrant. We figured they were too young. Of course we figured wrong.
The raccoons were on a rampage last night — scratching at the garage door, digging up plants and tearing open bags of mineral. We set out the box traps. We don’t have dogs, since we live so close to the road, and the raccoons are a constant battle. But this is the worst we have ever seen. There are plenty of water tanks sitting around, so it must be that their food source has dried up with the heat. So the raccoon war is on.