Saturday, November 19, 2016

Winter Storm is Stress on Stock

This is early morning about 5:oo am. The storm was just getting going good.

Took livestock to the sales ring Wednesday just shortly before the big storm hit. The Holstein calf and three goats. We needed more shed room as this storm front was to be a doozy and it was. High winds, cold temperatures, and lots of snow. It made doing chores a real chore as I slugged through knee deep or higher snow drifts, BIG long ones. Animals don't eat or drink much during a storm so I had filled hay feeders extra full the two days before in order to put some extra weight on the animals. With fewer stock, it makes doing chores a bit easier as there is less food to haul.

The two younger calves lost a fair amount of weight during the storm. It takes lots of energy to stay warm. The first few storms are particularly hard on young stock as it stresses them physically and emotionally too. Imagine standing outside or in a three sided shed for the first time with the wind howling and snow pelting. It is particularly risky with calves as young as ours, or even younger to go from warm temperatures like we've had all fall to cold temperatures like 11 Fahrenheit with below zero wind chills.  It leaves them susceptible to pneumonia. Luckily they had huge Sam to calm their nerves and put off heat.

He must be about 1300 pounds now. He needs to go in the freezer as the weight is getting pretty hard on his damaged knees. It will be hard since he is the sweetest thing ever. Usually steers his age are so obnoxious I'm glad to see them go but this one is a real BIG teddy bear. He nuzzled our four year old grand daughter the other day with his huge head and she started to cry. It frightened her. Sam put his head down low and tried his best to check her out and figured out what happened. You could tell he was quite upset. My back was turned at the time of the nudge but I can imagine it was not super gentle even though he meant it as such I'm sure as he loves the kids and me. He has the most massive head I've ever seen on a steer. I've seen lots of steers. Everyone comments on how big it is and how big his eyes are. Surround those gentle beams with long curly reddish brown locks of hair and you have something you just want to cuddle. He loves it so go ahead. I was going to show a picture but he is really uncooperative this morning. Food is all he has on his mind.

I see the goats came through the storm easily. They have rubber matted stall floors which really helps keep the animals warm as tit keeps the cold from seeping up as they bed down at night. Goat are such pansies, shivering at the slightest cold. They barely ate anything during the storm as they huddled under the overhanging shelter just outside their stalls in the day and slept in the stalls at night. One of these first days I'll insulate the stalls to make them extra warm. Dairy goats you don't want stressed physically or mentally as it equates to less milk production. 

The chickens were hilarious. I slogged through the huge drifts to the coop and dug the door out to get it open. The hens rushed by me flying out as normal, only they landed in deep snow sinking down deep. Floundering, flopping and trying to get airborne once more, they screamed in protest. I just stood there and laughed, "Look before you leap girls!" Of course for many of  the young hens this was their first snow storm. The last one hardly counted as it was only a skiff. Now we have another one due Monday night and one later in the week too. They say El Nina has arrived and Siberia is having a harsh, early winter. The wind currents from Siberia brings cold air down our way and east. The northeast getting the brunt of it. Could be an interesting winter.

On a good note, I learned how to put chains on and off the tires of the pickup truck by myself. I also learned that the 4-wheel drive in our truck can freeze up during a storm. Not necessarily pleasant lessons as the wind is sandblasting me but I try to look on the bright side. I had neighbors that got me unstuck with their 4-wheel drive tractor and we survived just fine without Kirk home. Would have been easier with him but we did alright. Remaining here means it will be necessary for me to learn to be lots more self-sufficiency.

I'm getting there. Started making ghee again this week. Have not done that since we moved. I was looking for one more way to save money and since olive oil is rather expensive, I thought it was time to start making ghee again.  Really good for us too. The grandkids like it. A few don't like the smell of it cooking, one does, but they all like the taste of it in food so it is a winner. Now to coordinate all the homemade things going at the same time. I need to get wheat sprouting again too as the weather has turned frosty. The hens could use the nutritional boost and I could use a drop in our feed prices as it fills them up  on less feed than non sprouted grains.

Check it out. I have two blogs up today.

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