Making Hay
Week of February 29th, 2004 | The weather was a little bit warmer. Snow has melted.

Feeding the sows.

Feeding the sows.

Hello! Most of the snow has melted and it is really muddy now. On Saturday, it reached over 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

On Thursday, dad left to go to the Upper Midwest Organic Conference, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He stayed there through the weekend. Dad was asked to be one of the three keynote speakers. Thursday night, he gave his address. It lasted about 45 minutes.

Dad's speech was about problems created by the rapid consolidation of business in the organic food industry. He described how greed influences this activity. The solution, he suggested, was to first look at the examples of great leaders in history and then to imitate their courage when we are confronted with the conflicts we face today. He told the audience that they should take business activity away from operations that display irresponsible behavior. He closed his talk by urging people to make their decisions based on the motivation of love of mankind and not by selfish reasons. He showed about 50 slides. His talk was professionally videotaped and the business that did the taping sold a lot of copies of his talk.

While Dad was gone, I had to do chores. On Thursday and Friday morning, I had to wake up at 5:00 so I would be at school on time. The chores were the same every day.

In the morning, I had to feed the cowherd two bales of hay. This is in a pasture. They need hay because the grass is dead from the winter. Since we have hay feeders (see Glossary of Farm Terms at top of this page), I used the pickup truck. After cattle chores, I had to check the pigs and sows in the hoop buildings and hog floors. If they had a water fountain, feeder, or out of feed problem, then I would have to solve it right away. Livestock need food and water everyday. Then, I had to feed four groups of sows in the hog floors. This didn't take long. Next, I fed the sows that were farrowing in the barns. While they were eating, I checked their litters of pigs to make sure there were no health problems or new litters to care for. Also in the large barn, I had to feed two pens of pigs that Dad has on a feed trial. Both pens of pigs look very healthy to me. There's another pen in the barn of 6-week old pigs. This pen is like a nursery. They had to be fed, too. After I was finished in the barns, I had to do chicken chores. I gave the chickens fresh water and feed everyday. I picked the eggs up, too.

In the evening, I had to do the same barn chores. Then, I checked the hog floors and hoop buildings, but didn't need to feed the sows on the hog floors. They got fed only once a day. I checked the cattle, but didn't need to feed them. They, too, are fed once a day. I also took care of the chickens again for the night.

Chores are quite fun to do because I get a chance to spend some time with Sammy and I have fresh air. Chores become a little irritating when you find problems. Friday night, I had to fix a water fountain in one of the hoop buildings. It took me an extra 45 minutes to solve the problem. Saturday, I had to fix a water hose problem. This only took 20 extra minutes.

Farm Fact: When our family is on a vacation or gone for a special occasion, we hire a neighbor to do our chores for us. Chores are very important and must be done correctly, so Dad usually calls and find out what's going on while he's gone.

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