One of the most fought over farm chores around here is whose turn it is fill the water troughs.
It is the easiest job on the farm....but it takes FOREVER.
Especially when there are 4 troughs to fill.
And, it never fails that one particular child gets easily distracted, finds something else to do, forgets to go back and check on the trough...and floods the barn or barnyard.
Winter is finally over, and the threat of frost is past.
It is time to break out the summer watering system.
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Sometimes it takes us a while to catch on to some of those things that others have known for forever.
Last year, we finally discovered the automatic stock tank float valves. I had seen other types of float valves, but they were more expensive, required drilling a hole in the stock tank, and would break when the cows decided to play with them.
Then, I headed to the local farm store and discovered the Little Giant Trough-O-Matic Stock Tank Float Valve.
When the water level goes below the float, the valvue opens and allows the water to refill the trough.
This means that every time the cows drink from the tank, the tank is automatically refilled...which means that we don't have to stand there every night watching the water troughs fill.
All you need is a hose.
Invest in a good one...it will last you for years.
We put a 4 way splitter on our pump head.
This allows us to have float valves on several tanks as well as leaving us a hose that we can use to water the garden and clean the manure off of...anything and everything.
No need to hook and unhook hoses. With a flip of a switch, we can have water to one individual hose or all hoses at once.
The float valvue just slips onto the side of the water trough and is tightened down with screws.
You can see the red float. When the water level is high, the red float is pushed up and keeps the water off. When the water level drops, the red float drops down and allows water to flow through the hose into the trough.
Turn on the water and watch the trough fill.
Walk away...and it's ok.
The water will shut off when the tank is full.
It may take a couple of days for the cows to get used to the new water system.
First of all...there is a strange new thing in their water trough.
The first time they drink from the trough and the valve opens to refill...the cows will go a running.
Don't worry, they will come back.
Once one cow comes back for more water, the rest of the herd will follow.
Within a few days, the cows won't even bat an eye when the valve opens and the water refills.
Actually...they may start to like it. The sun warms the water in the trough all day, but the fresh, clean water coming from the hose is nice and cool because it is fresh from the deep well.
A few reasons why we love the float valves...
You will notice that we use really small water troughs.
These are actually old mineral tubs. We like the smaller size because they are easier to handle and move around if needed. When the algae starts to grow or the water needs changed out, it is much easier to dump the water out of a small trough than the 100 gallon troughs.
Algae doesn't grow as quickly because there is frequent supply of fresh water coming into the trough and the water doesn't get stagnant.
When the water temperature stays cooler (cool water from the deep well) it helps to bring the body temperature of the cows down, decreasing stress levels in the hot summer months.
Since the cows are out on summer pasture and the water doesn't need to be refilled each night, we can spend a few days away from the farm without having to have someone do chores for us each day.
It took we a while to convince Daniel that the automatic float valves would work for us and be worth the money.
Once he saw them in action, he was an immediate convert.
I think he might have almost cried when the temperatures started to drop last fall and we had to take the valves out of the tanks.
He was chomping at the bit this spring to get them back in.
We leased a new farm this summer and just moved cows over there this weekend. Before the cows were even off the trailer, the float valve was installed on the tank. We will check on the cows each night, but we don't have to worry about water, no matter how hot it gets.
I don't know why it took us so long to get on the bandwagon, but we are sure glad we finally did. There is no point in wasting time doing chores that can be done automatically.
Now if I could just figure out a way for my glass of ice cold lemonade to automatically refill...
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We love cattle panels.
The plain $20.00...available at any farm supply store...cattle panels.
Every farm needs them.
O.K....so I don't really love ear protection.
I love my hearing enough to like ear protection.
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Ear protection is a hot topic around our house.
The heat and humidity of summer is here, signalling the start of hay season.
We finished up our first cutting this past week. Hay season is a community event around here. There are 4 families that work together to get everyone's hay done before the rain comes. Some of us need equipment and some need man power, but we all work together to make a pretty mean hay team.
Each of us has different needs for our hay supplies and different storage options. Some need square bales, some need round bales, and we need both. Some make dry hay and some make wet hay. Some store all of their hay in the barn, some store all of it outside, and we store it both in the barn and outside. It can be a complicated game getting everyone and everything where it needs to be when it needs to be there.
Add in the constant threat of pop-up thunderstorms and cranky machinery (everyone had at least one piece of equipment break down) and you have some pretty stressed out and sleep deprived people.
Between the four farms, a lot of hay was made and a lot of cows and horses will be fed this winter.
We ran out of hay this year and we are not about to let that happen again. We ended up wintering more cows than we had anticipated and by the middle of winter we were in major conservation mode. This year we are keeping at least 25 more bales than last year, just to be safe.
We only have a small portion of our barn space that is available for hay storage. With so much hay, most of it has to be stored outside.
Our solution...bales sleeves.
When I was growing up, I had never heard of a thing call a boot dryer.
If our boots got wet, there was only one way to dry them.
Put them upside down on one of the heating registers.
Except...I grew up in the city...and the only time our boots got wet was when we were out playing in the snow.
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Fast forward 20 years, and someone always has wet boots.
All year long.
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Volumizing spray (because I was blessed with baby fine hair) and hairspray.
When it comes to cows...there are countless hair care products.
And you must have them all.
From conditioners to multiple types of adhesives...the combinations are endless.
If you look in our tack box, you will see rows and rows of spray bottles.
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It's that time of year again.
The spring calves are being weaned and it is time to start getting them ready for the next show season.
Show season is just over a month away, so we have our work cut out for us.
The first step in getting new calves ready for show season?
The 4th of July weekend is a celebration of America and what makes America great. One of the tried and true American traditions is backyard barbeques. This weekend there will be plenty of fires burning...from fireworks in the sky, to grills a grilling and marshmallows roasting in backyard fire pits.
We have come to love our Holland grill and would never replace it with anything else. We bought a Holland grill about 8 years ago after seeing several demonstrations at our local county fair. We were excited about the unique features of the Holland grill, but little did we know how perfect it would be for us.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.