We had a discussion in the car this weekend about how we are no longer grass or cattle farmers...but we now are mud farmers.
And the harvest is plenteous!
While California is devastated by dry conditions, we are knee deep in mud and muck.
We travelled the state this Thanksgiving weekend and saw tons of crops still not harvested because the farmers can't get their equipment out in the fields.
We even saw pictures of friends' combines buried in the fields.
It has been a rough fall and harvest season here in Ohio.
Even though we don't farm crops and don't have to worry about getting combines stuck, we did have to change plans for our final cutting of hay.
Now that our growing season is done, we are still farming and caring for our animals.
However...that too has been an unusual challenge.
We have had rain, rain and more rain...then some snow that melted...then some more rain.
You know it is bad when you walk on the gravel driveway and you feel the squish.
I am sure you can only imagine what the cattle paddock is like.
Several years ago...after we had a very wet winter...we redid the paddock out at the barn. We brought in crushed concrete and a sand/gravel fill to create a solid base. We have to scoop out a thin layer of manure about twice a year, but this base keeps the paddock pretty manageable for the cows.
Except when it is too wet to even get the tractor out in the paddock to scoop manure.
The paddock is a mess! It is manure soup. In places it is knee deep and will suck your boots right off.
Yes...I have had to wash some pretty disgusting socks!
You may remember that before we left for Louisville, we had to take two cows over to a friend's house to babysit.
We had a very fat cow (I have never seen such fat rolls on a cow before) and a first time heifer that were due to calve the week we were gone.
They did not have the calves while we were gone, so we brought them back home.
The barn was full of show cows and we did not have any room left at the inn for the pregnant cows...so they got pushed back out to the muddy paddock.
Sunday morning we were getting ready for church when the boys came in from chores and told us Cece had her calf...in the mud.
So...we threw on our coats and boots and headed out to take care of the new calf.
Cece had the calf fine (she was the super fat one) and had mostly licked the calf off... but he was buried in the mud. All you could see was about half of his white head.
So Daniel did what any mud farmer would do. He grabbed the slippery, slimy calf and carried him in to the barn.
Now they were both covered in muck!
As he rounded the corner of the barn...the manure soup sucked his boot right off!
But...at this point...why worry about a sock?
We tried cleaning the calf off with towels, but it just wasn't good enough.
It was so cold and the poor little guy was just shivering.
We knew we had to work fast.
So we did the only thing we knew to do...
Gave him a bath.
And then dried him off as quickly as we could.
By this point, the poor little guy was exhausted...but he looked a whole lot better!
We wanted to get him weighed before we gave him back to Mamma.
He had a rough morning and we wanted to get all the poking and prodding done so we could leave them alone.
He was a big boned, beefy little dude that weighed 57 pounds.
Walker and I headed off to church while Daniel and Isaac got the stall all cleaned and made sure the calf was nursing.
And they took a couple of showers.
A few hours later the calf was still shivering, so they threw him on the back of the 4-wheeler and ran him down to the neighbor's house to warm him in front of the Val-6 heater (the neighbor was borrowing it for a while).
He came home toasty and warm.
All the extra attention has made him one sweet little calf who loves attention.
We also spent Sunday afternoon moving some cows around and sending some sold calves on the way to their new homes.
Amber was due and we were NOT going to have another mud calf. Besides, Amber is a first-time heifer and with the size of Cece's bull calf, we were very concerned we were going to have to pull Amber's calf.
We were not going to pull it in the mud.
Amber was showing signs of labor all day Monday. Isaac stayed home from school to keep and eye on her. Daniel and I had been off work for a whole week attending Louisville, so we could not afford to take any more time off work.
It wasn't and ideal situation, but we were very worried about Amber and can't afford to lose her.
Amber was miserable. Isaac and the cat were showing her some love.
She was having a rough time...
So we brought out the chains.
Sylvie was even there giving her moral support.
It was a very hard pull, but we finally got the calf out.
It was another bull calf.
Amber was exhausted.
But, Cece came over and helped her get her calf cleaned off.
It took this little guy a little longer to be up and around...his tongue was blue by the time we got him out...but he is now doing great.
Two days...two bulls.
We named them Smith and Wesson.
These little guys are going to be in the barn for a while...at least until this mud freezes.
Never thought I would be so anxious for cold weather.
One more calf to go...in a couple of weeks.
I can deal with calving in the cold weather...just not the mud weather.
You might also like...
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.