Things are just starting to heat up here at the farm….and I don’t mean that in a “sitting by the pool catching some rays” kinda way. Winter has finally arrived and made itself at home. We seem to be busier than in years past working to get everything ready for the baby calves’ debut.
It doesn’t matter what occupation you have, nobody likes the wintertime. Your car is cold when you leave home for work and your car is cold when you leave work for home. There is nothing fun about scraping ice off your windshield or getting out of bed 30 minutes early to drive a little slower due to winter road conditions.
The ease of our morning routine in the winter relies heavily on whether or not we made preparations the night before. Waterers need to be shut off with hoses drained, tractors need to be plugged in and cows close to calving need to be close to home. Without preparing the night before, our next day is already shot fixing what should have been done.
Ice is inevitable. Armed with a hammer and in extreme cases, an axe, my job in the mornings is to make sure the waterers are not frozen. Water proof gloves and old apple juice bottles of hot water help to make the job go faster.
During these winter months we are sure to keep the cows as comfortable as possible. Laying bales of cornstalks in the lots helps to keep the cows insulated from the cold ground. When we get our calving barn set up, cows that are close to having their babies will get to go inside the barn at night. Winters in eastern Nebraska bring fierce winds and wet humid air. A wet, newborn calf and these harsh conditions don’t mix very well.
We weren’t expecting to have any babies until the middle of January. This little guy showed up early.