Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snow Day...

After the cold February we had, we were thinking that maybe winter was almost over.  March has different ideas, though.

The kids woke to a snow day...the first one of the school year.  We've had numerous two hour delays, which are nice because the school day counts, and doesn't have to be made up at the end of the year, but this is the first day off.  It means more help in the barn for us...but somehow I don't think that was first and foremost in their minds!  :)  Hopefully there won't be any unwelcome surprises, and they'll have some time to relax and enjoy the day.

The snow started in the wee hours of the morning, and these pictures were taken right before breakfast...


The empty corner hutch...waiting for spring until we can turn the water on again and put some calves in there.  Jenna uses the empty hutches to store hay for the little calves that she carries water to...


The abandoned sand box.  I think this picture was my favorite...


Those old barn boots with perennials planted in them are soaking up the moisture, just waiting for spring.  It's amazing to me that the plants come back year after year, even when they're not buried deep underground!


It's snowing like crazy outside the window, and we'll see what it amounts to. It's a heavy, wet snow, and no fun to push.  The milk truck comes today, so Jim will be busy opening the driveway before he comes.  'Til it's all said and done, we're supposed to get 4" - 6".  We'll see!  I know that's peanuts compared to what some of you have seen this winter, but it's our first substantial snowfall.  After the bitter cold we had in February, I think I'd rather have this!

I'm linking today to Good Fences.  Click here to see more posts!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Spring Is Coming...

I have to believe it's true, because it happens every year.  Over...and over again...no matter how cold and brutal the winter, spring eventually comes! That's one of the benefits of living in a climate where we have four equal seasons.

We're still in the freezer here, although I sense a tiny bit of warmth in the sun that's shining today.  Thus, a post about spring, and positive things, to keep that hopeful feeling alive...

The mercury was above freezing today...for the second time this week...and there's a hint of warmth in the air...

We opened the outside pen water line this morning...no holding the hose in the freezing cold air while the heifers push and shove each other impatiently...

The barn doors on the south are wide open today, and Little Ed preened himself in the warm sun on top of the compressor shanty again...


Snickers and Murphy sunned themselves in the yard.  Not a care in the world for these two...not even the energy to get up and say hello...just a few tail wags for me.  I loved hearing the birds in the tree over my head too...


The snow is almost gone...


And the milk truck is shiny again.  All the road salt has been washed off, and will hopefully stay off for a while.  I liked the reflection of the barn and the beautiful blue sky in the trailer...


The days are getting longer...yay!  It wasn't so long ago that by 5:00 in the evening, it was pretty well dark.  Now we're getting close to twelve hours of daylight again, and I love it!

Yes, it will be below freezing for a while yet...and I think I even heard the "S" word for tomorrow...

...but spring really is right around the corner!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow...

We got some snow overnight, but it was only a little nuisance this morning.

Look...the half door (under the light) was open when I went out this morning. That's a really good sign that it's toasty inside the barn...


I think the undisturbed snow is so pretty.  This was just as we finished milking this morning...



It wasn't deep at all...just about two inches of light, fluffy snow, but it was enough to give the kids a two hour delay this morning.  That was perfect timing, being that it's Fasnacht Day today!  I had time to run to the grocery store and pick some up before they left for school. We started out with equal numbers of powdered and sugared...you can easily see which are the favorites.  Trouble is, I'm the one home with the leftovers...


Dust Bunny and Little Ed found a perfect place to sun themselves on the south side of the milk house.  They certainly don't care that there's snow on the ground.  The sun is shining, and the snow has already melted off their perch on top of the compressor shanty...


And this last picture has absolutely nothing to do with the snow.  I went over to the other farm to check on a springer, and just happened to have my camera in the car.  This old sycamore tree was just so beautiful against the blue sky, I couldn't resist...


It's to get cold again in a few days, but for now we're enjoying the beautiful snow and the heat wave!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Record Breaking Cold...

Yup...I'm still a wimp when it comes to the cold!

All last week we could look ahead and see what was coming, but there's nothing like laying in bed, listening to the wind howling outside, and wondering if it's really as cold as they said it was going to be.  And yes...it was.

Saturday morning, while it was blustery but still a balmy thirty-something degrees out, Jim and Eric covered the windows on the west side of the barn with sheets of insulation...and it's really, really good they did...


The west side of the barn has absolutely no protection from the north and west winds.  Being mostly windows, the cold wind finds it's way inside and freezes things up really quickly.

We turned the water off the to barn overnight, and that saved a lot of work on Sunday morning.

It was 4 degrees when we got up on Sunday morning, with a wind chill of -23 or so.

We had a few fourth row water bowl valves to thaw, but a calf bottle of hot water did the trick.  The box pen water lines were a little tougher to open, even though they had been drained.  One of them never did open up, so we used a five gallon bucket for those calves.  On Sunday evening, we just used buckets and water tubs for all of them.

Sunday night was bitter cold again, and still windy, although not quite as fierce as it had been.  We shut off the water again overnight, as a precaution.

The thermometer read -1 this morning (Monday), with wind chills in the-20's again. Thankfully, the winds quickly diminished as the morning went on. By evening milking, it was a balmy 12 degrees!  The barn was cozy inside from being closed up and from the cow's body heat, and the box pen water bowls opened right up!

This cold snap isn't over yet, and we might get some snow tonight, but hopefully the worst is over.  I'm glad we don't live in New England, where they're dealing with all that heavy snow of top of the cold!

Are you ready for spring yet?!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Brrrrr....Just Brrrrrr.....

I'm a wimp, I'll admit it!

When the temperature drops AND the wind starts to blow, my anxiety level sky rockets.  Like last night.  It's the wind that gets me. I start to worry about all the different scenarios that a combination of wind and cold could create.  Sigh...

It's beautiful this morning.  COLD...but beautiful.  I think it was 8 degrees when I got up, and hasn't warmed up much, but the winds are diminishing a little bit. Jim has the heater fired up in the barn so that we can keep water bowls open for the box pen heifers.  After breakfast I'll fill the water tub for the outside pen animals.

I've used this picture before, but it feels so appropriate to go along with this post.  My sister Peg snapped it last winter while on a walk around the golf course across the road from our farm.  It captures just what it feels like out there this morning.  Cold, but beautiful...


Now it's time to enjoy a delicious smelling coffee cake that Jenna is taking out of the oven as I type.  The kids have off school today, and she surprised me by getting up at her regular time and baking while we were in the barn!

I hope you're keeping warm today!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Grits For Breakfast...

"Grits for breakfast!"

Oh, how many Saturday mornings did I hear my Mom call this up the steps to our bedroom in the old farmhouse at the Buck?  How quickly did I jump out of bed and stumble down the steps, my mouth already watering as soon as my feet hit the floor?

It's not the typical breakfast for a family in the "north"...isn't grits a southern food?

My parents spent the first two years of their married life in the south doing volunteer work.  The first year they lived and worked in a retirement home in Lexington, SC, and the second year they spent in Immokolee, FL.  Their two years in the south were where they learned to love grits...and they passed it on to all of us girls.  From little on up, it was a favorite breakfast food...served with lots of butter, of course!

My family will eat grits...but not nearly as enthusiastically as I do.  This recipe is a little different from the "regular" grits, and they enjoy it more.  Jim requested it this week, as an alternative to his usual breakfast fare...

Creamy Grits
4 cups whole milk
1 cup quick grits
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

On medium high heat, heat milk until bubbles appear, but not to boiling.
Stir in grits...



Reduce to low heat and cover.  Cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and add butter and cheese, stirring until melted...




Add salt and pepper to taste.


Enjoy anytime...but on a cold winter morning especially.

Who says you have to be a southerner to enjoy grits?

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Chilly Morning...

We've been having roller coaster weather here this week. Just a few days ago it was around forty degrees, and then yesterday the winds blew in, along with temps falling into the low twenties.  That wind sure makes it feel colder than it is!

This morning it was around 10 degrees, but with no wind.  It makes a huge difference, but it's still downright cold.

We're back to filling water tubs for the heifers.  That's one of the jobs that I can easily do, and Jolyn has found a comfortable place to hang out while I'm holding the hose...


It's also a nice way to help me keep warm!