Sunday, December 30, 2012

Well the Christmas season has come and gone.  A few days before Christmas Grandma and I got in on decorating Christmas cookies with the grand kids.  Actually it went fairly fast as once the frosting started flying some cookies got lots of frosting and other less frosting. The candy eyeballs were great fun as some cookies got four or five eyeballs.

The weather got colder.  We had mornings that were minus 10 degrees.  Then it snowed steady for two days, Christmas eve day and Christmas day.  We hardly got and inch of snow out of these two days.  Very dry fluffy snow.  Luckily not much wind..

We had Christmas dinner here.  As it turned out we had nineteen people here.  The corn box was in the corner of the living room.  It is a low fiberglass sheep water tank with 100 lbs. of corn in it.  There was three to four kids in it most of the day.  Tammy roasted a prime rib from one of our critters.  She did an excellent job cooking it and I got to be the carver.

Then in the afternoon we took all the kids and anyone else out to give cake to the sheep.  Somehow they all had more fun than you could imagine.  Here a couple of kids get up close and personal with a llama.  Llamas like cake too.

Here is Tammy feeding the sheep and making sure everyone stays in the pickup and no one falls out and gets run over. It was cold and these kids don't dress very warm, I guess it isn't cool.

Tammy has been watching a covey of grouse that pick around in the field across the creek from the house.  There are only about six or eight birds.  This morning we had an unexpected visitor.  A red fox.  He was stalking our grouse.  I grabbed the camera and got a couple of pictures.  The one picture has a fox and a grouse.  Then the dogs saw him and the chase began.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Getting ready for Christmas

The four inches of snow that we go a couple of weeks ago still hangs around.  We have had some nice weather with temperatures in the mid thirties.  We needed to haul the heifers that we keep to the feedlot near Vale, SD.  We don't have the facilities to take care of them once we start calving. in March.  We have had them weaned for two months and now they are ready to go on to better feed.

This is the way it looked the day we hauled them to Vale.  Pretty foggy the whole way.  If we get weather 90 days after a fog like the old saying we will get a storm about mid March.  Should be a safe prediction.

We hauled the heifers up there with the trailer.  It took three trips.  It is about 45 miles.  Note the silage pile in the background.  This feedlot is fairly small, I think around 7,000 head and they mostly background replacement heifer calves.

Then I got a call one night asking what I was doing the next night.  I said not much of anything.  They wanted to know if I wanted to start my acting career?  They wanted a Santa Claus for the local school program.  So I practiced my HO HO HO's for a day and headed to the school program.

Then we went to the preschool Christmas program at Union Center.  We had two grand kids in the program.

Then the kids came over to make candy and cookies for Christmas.  Then decorate cookies, which is the most fun.  Then they helped decorate Grandma's tree.  All the decorations somehow ended up in one spot right in front.  Then they had to pose with the tree.

My Sister from Arkansas is coming up and stopping to bring my Mom who lives in Watertown along out for Christmas dinner.  So they will be here a few days. Our boy Marshall is coming out for Christmas.  He lives at Edgemont, but we don't see him much.  Sounds like the weather will be nice, maybe a little snow.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Finally snowed

Well the attitude around here has changed.  It has snowed!  We no longer have to look at the brown dreary drab colors of the surrounding landscape.  We no longer have to see the dust rise from the hooves of the animals as they graze and make their way to water.  We returned home from the CHS annual meeting in Minneapolis late Thursday evening and drove through snow flurries most of the way home.  We were pleasantly surprised to see 4 inches of new fallen snow the next morning.

Our load of cattle cubes came in last week.  So we go out every morning to feed cake to the cows and the sheep.  We measure the correct amount by number of five gallon buckets.  Each bucket weights 30 pounds.

The cows get five buckets and the sheep get eleven buckets. Some cows are slower about coming for their cake and we have to wait for them to come.  A few get overly anxious and want their cake NOW!

Fortunately, most of the cows wait patiently for their cake.  The slower one are still coming.

Tammy is the photographer so I poured out cake on this occasion.  All the other times I drive and Tammy pours out cake. The pickup had no driver as we go quite slow to do this operation.

The cows crowd around the stream of cake that is on the ground.  They each get their pound and a half of cake.

Then it is off to feed the sheep their share of the cake.  The cow are in a maintance  phase of their production cycle.  They are dry, meaning they have no calves sucking and are in the second trimester of pregnancy, so they require less nutrients.  The sheep are just now being bred.  The rams were turned with the ewes just last week so we want them to cycle so they can become pregnant and have lots of twins.

Tammy is pouring buckets of cake for the sheep.

              The sheep crowd around to get their share.

While we have three to four inches of snow, it is fluffy and the livestock easily pushes the snow aside and can still graze the grass underneath the snow cover.  This is a hill top and doesn't have much grass cover to begin with.  It doesn't take much water for the livestock to drink as they eat snow with every mouth full of grass.

Here is a picture of the sheep finishing their cake and the cows in the distance, about a mile away.  As you can see there is brown in the picture.  That brown is grass peaking through the snow cover.