January 2021 Newsletter

March 4, 2021

I almost hesitate to say it but we've had a beautiful winter this far! (If it hits 40 below and dumps a ton of snow on us this month it'll be my fault for saying that!) :) But seriously due to the warm winter weather and a strange turn of events in late fall we've had something happen here at the farm that has made our life significantly easier this winter.  (I just had to share this with you cause when does that ever happen right?!?!)

What was it you ask?

Drumroll please ... we haven't had to water our cow herd for most of the winter!

This is completely abnormal here! In order to keep our water bodies pristine we fence our animals out of them and instead pump clean, clear water to our animals year round. In normal winter conditions this is a challenging task as you can imagine. Keeping water lines, fingers, toes, and noses from freezing is our every day reality! lol

BUT this winter something incredible happened ... due to our very very very (did I mention very?) wet fall and the fact that we received a good deal of snow here before it got very cold the ground didn't have time to freeze the way it normally would in early winter. That means that for most of the winter there's been water moving beneath the snow pack. 

Aaaaaand???

That means that the trails where we drove the tractor over the snow became compacted and when the water moving between the ground and the snow pack hit these compacted areas it was forced upwards. The cows, being the resourceful, intelligent animals that they are, found these water sources in early winter and stopped coming to our water station to drink.  Intrigued we went to investigate and found this ...

More than a dozen water holes like this one, that the cows were visiting steadily to drink from. (I wish I'd gotten a picture of Rick crouched down beside the cows watching what was happening). They would slurp one down to the bottom then move on to the next one. Then slowly the holes would begin filling again. By visiting them regularly the cows kept the holes open and the water flowing right up until the middle of January when we got a short cold snap. Amazing!

Rick and I monitored the water situation daily and as soon as the holes began to freeze up we pulled the cord on the generator and started pumping from the pond again. It was very cool though - I've never seen anything like it!


In other news ...

Some serious aaaaaawwwwww factor here!

Rick and I have chosen very specifically and consciously NOT to calve in winter. The reasons are many and if you'd like to read them you can check them out on the blog post I wrote about it here.

So you might be wondering why on earth we have a brand new baby calf on the farm. (His name is Oxley, by the way, and isn't he just so darn cute!) 

Well, it's one of those things ... you know, those things that just don't happen the way you planned them...

I had a heifer separated from the main herd last spring to keep her from getting bred in the off season. She however had her own plans in mind which apparently included finding herself a man ... er, bull. And so she did, crossing a 1/2 mile of pasture and clearing two electric fences that stood in her way. Cue the music ... "Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight, gonna grab some afternoon delight" 

End result? ... Oxley ... awwwww! 

I'm glad to report that mother and baby are doing well ... and I will never underestimate her determination again! 

PS. if you are not familiar with the song 'Afternoon Delight' you must absolutely go to you tube right now and look it up, best laugh you'll have this week guaranteed! lol

Joy Stephens

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