Making Hay
Week of December 8th, 2002 | The weather was weather is cold and windy.

Chopped hay for bedding

Chopped hay for bedding

Hi once again! Another busy week has past. The weather is cold and windy, but on Saturday, the sun kept me warm while I helped Dad!

Sunday, Mom, Dad, and I went to my cousin's art show in her gallery in Maquoketa, Iowa. She had many paintings that I liked and some of them were already sold. Her show opened last Friday. She is a very talented oil painter. I'm very proud of her work.

On Monday and Tuesday, Dad worked inside of the heated farrowing barns. He fixed and prepared electric hoovers (see Glossary of Farm Terms) and some of the sow huts. He finished fixing and organizing all of the huts on Tuesday.

Wednesday, Dad sold 5 hogs and 6 older sows. After Dad transported the hogs, he went to St. Ansgar to pick up premix. We can haul premix in the livestock trailer when it is empty. Our feed business has been growing. We just got two new customers and possibly a third one.

Also on Wednesday, the local veterinarian came. Dad and the vet ran all of our calves through a chute (a small pen so you can work on the animal) to give each calf their vaccinations. Processing calves is very similar to processing baby pigs.

Thursday, Dad fixed the cattle feeders and made improvements on them. One of the feeders did not have wooden rails on the sides so that was added. The cattle feeders have made it really easy to feed our cattle during the winter with large rectangle bales of hay. I like feeding the cows no matter what the weather is like!

Thursday night, mom and dad went to Jolene's student recital. The music they heard were compositions written by the students. Jolene wrote a six instrumental chamber concert piece. It was about a six-minute piece. They really liked it. Even my high school band teacher went to it. He was also Jolene's band teacher and her piano instructor. She was surprised to see him. She had a good night.

A girl from our school, a sophomore, died this past week. Her funeral was Friday. It's been a sad week. She was diagnosed this past January with leukemia. Many students, including myself, went to the funeral. She sat next to me in junior high band. She was really a nice girl and well liked. She fought with her battle, from treatments to a bone marrow transplant, until she couldn't any more. She will be sadly missed.

Friday, Dad fixed the cattle shed. There was a hole in one of the walls and Dad patched that hole up with wood and covered it with some sheet metal.

Friday night, Mom decorated the Christmas tree. I helped a little bit. It looks great. Mom always decorates the house up really nice. Noel is so happy and excited about Christmas that he is already playing with the tree! He is very mischievous! He's already knocked off some ornaments, pulled off the garland beads on the tree, and bit a hole in the wrapping paper of a gift!!!

Saturday, I helped Dad process pigs in the farrowing barns. Dad gives the pigs the materials (iron supplements) and I hand the pigs to him. I like handing the pigs because I have time to look at how cute they are! I think little pigs are cuter than the bigger ones! They are so clean and it is fun watching their heartbeat. The smaller an animal is, the faster the heartbeats.

Also on Saturday, Dad and I chopped a load of hay. Dad has been chopping hay from a field of new hay seeding almost everyday and is using it as bedding. The pigs really like chopped hay. Straw is better bedding than hay because it lasts longer, but since there is no snow on the ground, we can save our straw and use the hay instead. In the picture above, I am spreading the hay in the hoop building for the hogs.

Farm Fact: In last week's journal, Dad and I made an outdoor experimental nursery pen. We used eggshells and hay for a nest to create heat. Huts cover the nest. Right now, inside of the huts, the temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a decrease from the 120 degree temperature last week. A 3 foot deep pile of eggshells near our experiment still has an inside temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase the temperature, Dad and I may have to add another foot of eggshells. We might do this in the hoop buildings if the weather becomes really cold, too. The eggshells make an odor in the yard, but when we put hay on top of it, the odor decreases.

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