Monday, January 7, 2013

This Morning...

I've heard this question on numerous occasions..."What do you do all day?" goes...

Dark thirty am...the alarm rings.  We hit snooze.  Or rather, Jim does...I don't even hear it.


I am not a morning person, typically.  Not at all...just ask Jim!  But this morning, it's working for me.

Maybe, because I actually went to bed at a reasonable hour, I'm awake and able to head downstairs in good time.  Jim's already had his coffee, and is getting ready to head out to the barn.

Maybe because I feel guilty that there's no breakfast food in the house, I head downstairs and put some baked oatmeal in the oven.  The kids leave early for school, and need something wholesome to eat before they start their day!

I throw a load of towels in the washer so they will be ready to hang out when I'm done in the barn.  I used to try to have my wash hanging out before the Amish neighbors, (why??) but gave up on that a long time ago.  Although... I did notice that hers were not hanging out very early this morning!  :)

When I wander into the barn, Jim is already halfway finished milking down the first two rows...

As is our normal routine, he milks while I start feeding.  I put the feed cart underneath the hay hole, and throw balage down for the heifers first, then the cows.  They dig in...

They're much more cooperative when they've had some food.  Kind of like some people with their morning coffee!

The cats hang out next to the heifer pen every morning...

After the cows are fed balage, I feed corn, then help move the last few milkers.  As we are finishing up, and hang the milkers up on the end of the pipeline, the cats begin to head towards the milk house.  Fritz loudly lets me know that he wants some fresh, warm milk from the jar...

After milking, Jim feeds silage, and I take care of the calves.  We have two new ones on bottles.  We'll keep the heifer, and the bull will go to market later this morning.  Their bottles are warming...

The calves in the hutches get their buckets of milk.  Miss greedy over there on the left, inhales her milk and tries to eat the bucket.  She has feed, hay and water, but her favorite is milk.  She won't like it when she's weaned in a week or two...

It's a beautiful day, so the towels will dry quickly.  I love to watch wash flapping in the breeze...

After breakfast, I pick up our neighbor, Daniel, who helps us a couple of mornings a week.  Usually when he's here, I stay in the house and get other things done, but this morning, Jim wants to fork out some box pens, so I help Daniel with the morning work. We put the cows out in the barn yard, and I watch for heats and keep them from getting into trouble take recess duty while Daniel gives them fresh bedding in their stalls. Then we head over to the other farm to feed the heifers and dry cows.

Jim forks out two heifer pens, and beds them up with fresh straw when he's finished...

This is the second load that he forked out by hand this morning...

It's late morning by the time we're all finished, but there are still a few more things that happen before lunch.  The cattle truck comes for the little bull calf...

The milk truck comes...

We discover a crack in the tank washer hose, and temporarily repair it using black tape...whatever would we do without black tape and duct tape?!

A load of sawdust is delivered...

Now we'll be set for a while with fresh bedding for the cows, and a warm, soft place for the dogs to sleep!

So...this is what we did this morning!

Mornings are usually busy year's the afternoons this time of year that are a little less busy, and we sometimes have some free time to do things that we want.

One thing is for certain, however...not too many days are alike.  There's always something to do, and we will never be bored!


  1. Nice! Gotta love the smell of a clean barn and fresh sawdust to bed the cows in!! Sure does keep you busy, but at this point in my life I don't have to get up at dark thirty!
    I can't hang my clothes on the line, they would freeze before they ever thought of being dry it's only about 20 today! But all summer long they do!

  2. Wow, I'm worn out just reading this. Did the bull calf go straight to slaughter?

    1. I'm not sure, Mary Ann...he likely went into a veal barn. He was sold at the auction this afternoon. We don't find out specifically where they go.

  3. Love wash snapping in the wind!
    Love the farm life
    Ya know, I kinda miss dunging out by hand...

  4. It sounds like a good morning. I really wish I could plan my farm and schedule around the way it should be rather than my work schedule. Ahh...someday. And that bull is adorable!

  5. For me farm work is never done. We get one thing done and there something else that needs to be done seven days a week. There is always something breaking and needing fixing. Like you, in the winter we have more free time in the afternoon.


  6. Wow I am tired reading your day You truly work much harder than I:)
    I like tractor work:)
    Take care and try to relax someday you will be old and tired like me. You know I am kidding I am not old.
    Love the clothes on the line wow it is so green it is white here. Hope tomorrow finds you a little less busy. MMMM oatmeal.Hugs B

  7. Wow. I can't imagine doing all that work especially early in the morning! I too lack what it takes to be a morning person.

  8. There are always cows to be fed somewhere. I appreciate what you do so that I can drink my milk. Thanks. I mean that because I am not a morning person either.

  9. This makes me miss growing up on the farm and raising hundreds of head of Angus Beef Cattle!

  10. Thank you so much for the "trip back home." It's been decades since I lived with my family on a dairy farm, and even though the work could get stinky and difficult, I still loved hanging out with the cows and cats and dogs. I loved the music of the milking machines and the scent of fresh milk. Kinda chokes me up to think about my mom and dad both gone and how very hard they worked to provide for us. Yet they loved their animals and did all they could to keep them happy.

    I very much like your photo of your laundry swinging on the line. May I have permission to use it as reference for a painting? I send you a sketch for free.

  11. I really enjoy reading about your day. It is nice work even if it is hard work. I had a neighbor once that I was always trying to beat her on Monday morning when she hung out her wash. There were very few times I ever beat her hanging laundry.
    I love seeing your barns and everything.

  12. What a fun post!
    Thanks for allowing us this fascinating look into your daily life.

    Busy hands, are happy hands :)

    It's ironic that you are not a morning person, running a farm and all.
    I am an early bird, and usually I'm up at the "butt-crack of dawn", as my family refers to it.
    Makes it hard to do much though, like run a vacuum or anything, because everyone else in the house are "night owls" :)

    Thanks again, and sending you wishes for a great week!

  13. Farmers...they do more before 9 AM than most people do all day!!
    You guys sure are busy but I'll bet it's a good kind of busy! Thanks for taking us along for morning chores! :)

  14. Just found your blog today!

    I'm always amazed and impressed by how much farmers get done in the mornings, and can think back to many early mornings working on an organic farm in Upstate New York. My boyfriend and I are planning to start a homestead this year, and know we'll have our work cut out for us. :)

  15. Thanks, Alica, for the memories! I am 67 and haven't milked cows for 43 years, but it will always tug at my heart! Your diary and pictures are just great!

  16. amazing! That is one BUSY morning. I sometimes hang my wash out the night before when it's warm :) but in this dark, damp winter, I dont' try to get it on the line until 8 or so. The photo of your laundry and the cat yowling are great.

  17. Ours was a smaller operation but some of the same chores. Yours bring back many memories. I did love it.


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