Sunday, January 17, 2010

January Thaw

Maybe those warm thoughts payed payed out, but it has been pretty nice for the last week and it looks pretty nice into the foreseeable future. By pretty nice, I mean highs in the mid to upper 30's (1.5 to 4.5 C). That has allowed me to go back outside and get some work done.

Friday saw the chainsaw come out. Jim (my super helper) and I started cleaning up a number of trees south of our barn. I want to remove some less desirable trees and help out the trees I want to keep (mostly walnuts and very productive mulberry trees) by pruning them and reducing the competition. On Saturday, I finished some wood fencing just west of the barn. Jim is coming back out on Monday and we are going to move the cattle portable shelters and finish working on the timber south of the barn. 

The cattle have been inside the barn since they decided to break out of their pen on the evening of January 8th. I got home from the Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference and  I found that the cattle waterer had frozen solid and my cattle were gone. To make matters worse, Janice and I had after dinner plans with our neighbors and it was the coldest evening we had this year. I tracked the cattle through the snow and found them eating on one of the large bales of hay not far from the barn. I got an area set-up inside the bard and then re-tracked down the cattle (they moved) and got them inside. Needless to say, we were late to our evening gathering (only an hour late). 

I want to get some temporary fencing set-up this week so the cows can go back outside, but I am planning on keeping them much closer to the building this time and using the frost-fee waterer that I installed back in September. The lambs are getting much larger and I want to be able to put the sheep outside on the days with decent weather. It has been a busy week and I hope to have many other things to report on here soon. 

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