Monday July 18, 2011
HOT. HOT. HOT.
I make a gallon of ice tea, ½ gallon homemade sports drink (1 Kool-Aid packet, 1/4 tsp Morton Lite salt, 1/4 tsp salt, heaping 1/2 cup sugar, 2 quarts water) every day. Plus we drink gallons of water.
Michael took calf 830 to Dr. Krom, leaving at 7 AM to beat the heat. Dr. Krom said the foot is healing and to continue penicillin for 5 days. But at least we don’t have to soak his foot in Epsom salts any more. YEA!
The guys started building a small shelter for the yearling bulls. It is almost impossible to remember the weather last winter. The bulls’ daily gains were really depressed by the cold wet snow, so we figured a shelter would be more cost effective to help them put on weight, rather than buying more expensive corn. It is hard to even imagine snow in this heat.
We worked so hard, we treated ourselves to fried chicken at the Liberty Bell in Liberty, IN. It is so good…. and so fattening. On the way there, we saw lots of dried up crops. We sure need rain.
After looking at all the poor crops, our nephew Luke asked if farmers ever get suicidal. After the stressful spring where crops were drowned out, it really hurts to see them withering in this heat. Of course, there was no easy answer to Luke’s question. But our city visitors just see the peaceful countryside and placid cows when they visit. They seldom see the financial burden farmers carry and the emotional roller coaster of dealing with extreme weather, government and wild price fluctuations.
Tuesday July 19, 2011
It is so hot, we treat the cows for flies after only 2 weeks. We are trying to do everything possible to help the cows endure the stress of all this heat.
Wednesday July 20, 2011
We bought a new hose and another float to hook up one more water tank to help the cows that will calve this fall. The guys work on setting posts at the compost barn. Then in the afternoon, they mow hay. Luke is suffering from heat exhaustion, so we bring him in early to rest and cool down.
My foot has been really sore and swollen. Dr. Baker says it could be gout. “But that’s an old man’s disease,” I say. But it hurts like heck and I wore Bill’s shoe today to do chores and water the garden. I hate growing older. Doc says to cut back on red meat, wine and cheese. I already drink plenty of water. The blood test for uric acid comes back negative, but Doc says that is inconclusive. So time will tell, once again.
Thursday July 21, 2011
The orphans refuse to eat their grain mix, but chow down on hay. I think the corn is turning a little rancid from the hot humidity. So I run over the Brubakers to get some sweet horse feed to mix with the protein pellets. We were going to wean the calves off of expensive milk replacer, but with their appetites’ depressed, we buy one more bag of dried milk. The sweet horse feed with oats is better for the young calves, to prevent founder. Charlie at Brubaker’s says the calves will have to wear saddles if we feed them horse feed.
Friday July 22, 2011
Bill and Michael finish baling the alfalfa. It’s amazing how green the field is, compared to our pitiful dried up pastures. It’s time to pull the bulls out of the breeding groups, vaccinate calves and sort cows. But we are going to hold off until we get cooler weather so we don’t stress the cows.
Saturday July 23, 2011
We hooked up a lawn sprinkler for the fall pregnant cows. One of them aborted a calf last night, we guess from the heat stress. We have our fingers crossed that our spring-bred cows have managed to stay pregnant and not lose embryos with all the extended heat. I read that it takes 6-8 hours for a cow’s body to cool down. So the best time of day to work cows is not after sundown, but before the sun rises, after their bodies are cooler.
Sunday July 24, 2011
Up early to do chores and then drive to Bowling Green to meet long time friends who live in Minneapolis. Another friend drove from Columbus for the reunion. We have managed to stay connected for the last 25 plus years with a yearly rendezvous. When we were in our late 20s we were best friends and all pretty much on the same “page”. It is interesting to see how our faith, politics and outlooks have changed through the years. It is obvious to me that your work and environment do affect your belief systems. The bottom line – I am really content with who I am and where I am planted. Being self employed really gives you a different perspective from someone who has always been a union member.
We are finally blessed by a good rain today. Hope the humidity and heat will slack off for the Butler County Fair.