Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cow Mattresses...

Yesterday we had some special accommodations put in for a few of the cows.

We have four rows of stalls in our cow stable, and each stall has a non-slip, rubber mat installed on top of the concrete.  The reasons for the mat are two-fold...non-slip...which helps to prevent tramped teats and other injuries...and cow comfort.

The rubber mats wear out eventually, and it was time to make some replacements. Jim opted to go with cow mattresses in the third row...he figured it was time to try something different.

I was busy in the morning while they were being installed, and I missed some good photo-ops.  I'll try to describe what happened in the absence of a lot of step by step pictures.

First...the old rubber mats were torn out.  The guys used a digging iron, and popped the mats loose from their concrete anchors.  They then scraped the concrete clean of any loose fodder or sawdust bedding that had gotten underneath the mats.

Next...the mattresses arrived, and the mostly Amish crew began the installation.   The first layer looked kind of like a big rubber raft, like you'd float on in a swimming pool.  I'm not sure how else to describe it.  The second layer looked like a really thick piece of carpet padding.  Both layers were wrapped and sealed inside of a non-slip, water proof, canvas type of material.  The way they are designed, they should stay in place better than the old mats, and loose bedding shouldn't get underneath.

Here's a picture of the guys putting on the finishing touches...


Here's an up close shot of the new mattresses.  They'll never be this clean again...


Cows are leery of new things...so we tried to make them look as "normal" as possible, by putting plenty of sawdust on top for extra bedding...


We knew it would be interesting, when the cows came back in the barn. Anything out of the ordinary is cause for alarm...or at least suspicion.  The pile of old mats and scraps from the installation were too much to resist...


Some of the cows walked right into the stalls with no hesitation, but #280 wasn't too sure.  She had to do a lot of sniffing before she would take that final step...


Things went better than I expected overall, and they were soon all in their stalls.  One cow, however, refused to behave, and opted for a stall in the fourth row.  This morning, she still refused to step on that yellow mat.  After they get dirty enough maybe she'll be willing to try!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Corn is Up...

It's up!

The corn is up!

This is what a little rain and a lot of humidity (can't you just feel yourself sweating in the shower?) will do to seed corn...


Sorry...this one's a little blurry.  I had a very "helpful" kitty looking for some affection, and she bumped the camera...


On Sunday evening, there was no sign of green in the rows.  Yesterday morning, after the light rain, it was steamy.  By breakfast time, the corn was popping through.  Just twenty four hours later, it's about 2" high.

If you want to follow the life of a corn stalk from a few years ago, you can click here.  You can follow the links back to all of the posts, measuring how fast a corn stalk grows!

Monday, May 18, 2015

This Past Week...

Life has been pretty busy here this past week!  A lot happened...

The corn was planted on Monday...




The rye was baled and wrapped...

Some hay was baled and wrapped in round bales...

Some hay was baled dry in small squares (much to the relief of those who get to feed it!  They don't like feeding balage)...

Jenna did the grunt work of the mulching.  She shoveled two scoops off the truck and I spread it around.  While we were mulching we noticed the Rhododendron on the north side of the house was in various stages of blooming...




...and look who we found sleeping in the Rhododendron bush...safe from the pesty dog who just couldn't seem to let her alone...


Then on Friday, the soybeans were planted...a bit earlier than usual.  Behind those bags of seeds, you can see the dry hay that was baled this week.  It's not much, but it's a start!  First cutting is really hard to get dry.  The stems are usually tough, and the temps aren't quite as hot as in the middle of the summer, so it dries slowly. That's why Jim often bales it wet in round bales and wraps it...




Here Jeremy is no-tilling beans into the rye field.  You can see how dry it is here, with all the dust flying.


On Saturday evening, we had some much needed rain...finally!  We had another shower early this morning, giving us a total of about .40"  We're about 5" behind normal here for the year, and we're glad for every little bit we get!  Some areas close to us had 2" - 3" on Saturday night, and while it was much needed, it came so fast that some of their field really washed.

Now for this week...hopefully today, the rye fields will be sprayed to burn off the rye that is beginning to get green again.

It's steamy and hot today...hopefully that little bit of moisture and the heat will pop the corn through.  Stay posted for the progress of seeing things grow!

We have a busy week ahead with the kids as well...Jenna has her last orchestra concert, and Eric has two senior awards ceremonies.  He will be receiving two athletic awards...one for being a scholar athlete, and one for lettering at least three times in two sports (cross country and track).  The other is an unknown award...could be a scholarship or an award from the school...we'll see!  How can it be that we have a senior almost ready to graduate?!




Monday, May 11, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Stroll #3...

Ok, they're beginning to become habit forming, these Sunday afternoon strolls.  I don't know how long they'll last, though...because it's getting pretty hot out there!

Yesterday afternoon, after a late lunch, Jim and I headed out for a walk around the golf course across the road.  There's a paved trail the whole way around it...2.3 miles from our front door, around the golf course and back.  I won't tell you how far we made it...but I will say that we turned back part way around and headed for the shade.

Ben, the Amish farmer to the left of the trail has "dragged" this alfalfa field, in preparation for first cutting hay.  He rode his horse through the field, pulling a heavy metal bar behind, to lay the alfalfa over a bit, so that his sickle bar mower will cut it more easily.  You can't see it from the picture, but you can trust me...we could tell it was done!


This old oak tree just off the path is huge!  We wonder how old it is?


Almost home...

This farmer must have baled some rye on Saturday...


See that row of marshmallows along the driveway?


Oh...it' our farm!

Yes...the rye was baled on Saturday afternoon, and the corn planter is parked in the field ready to go first thing Monday morning...


The planter got started this morning, and will hopefully be able to keep going without any headaches.

After he's finished, it can rain!  It's really dry right now, and we could use a good soaker!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Here We Go...

What do you do when the rye grass gets this high?

Do you play in it?

I remember when I was a little girl, I thought it was great fun to crawl through the high grass, making "rooms" and "hallways" in my pretend house.  Needless to say, when my Dad noticed what I was doing, he put a stop to it right away.  You can't mow grass that's been trampled down!  Oops!

Murphy and Snickers think it's fun to lick the water off the thick blades of grass...


Jim would rather mow it...


It'll soon be baled into round bales and fed to the cows.

Here we go...spring is officially in full swing!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Another Sunday Stroll...

They're becoming regular things, these Sunday afternoon strolls.  Usually I take a Sunday afternoon nap, but the weather was so beautiful that we just couldn't stay inside!

I took my camera along, just in case, and of course found some nice photo ops along the way...


Usually the Amish have either horses...or mules...but this neighbor has both. These guys were enjoying their day off...



This farmer has new animals almost every week, or so it seems!  He has a couple of cows that he milks by hand, 4 pigs, and now this spring he added some sheep...who recently added some babies...


We made it the whole way around the 3.2 mile "block" this time, stopping to visit some neighbors along the way.

We'll see where we venture next week!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Saying "Goodbye" To My Friends...

It's been good...

It's been fun...

It's been work...

And now it's time to say "goodbye" to some of my friends.  Not my blogger friends, but these friends...


Does it mean I'm getting older?  More tired?  Tired of all the weeding and mulching (that I'm not supposed to be doing?)

Yes.  All of the above.

It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it's time.

I posted on face book this week, that friends are welcome to come and dig whatever perennials they want from this bed, and give them a new home.  A lot of the perennials were given to me by ____.  Numerous friends.  It's fun to walk through and remember where things came from!  I'm transplanting some of my favorites into a smaller bed near the house.

After friends have picked through, we'll try to dig out the rest and sell them along the road.

If you live close, give me a call or a face book message, and come find some new perennials for your beds!