Making Hay
Week of September 24th, 2006 | The weather was sunny and seasonable.

Julia in the sudan grass.

Julia in the sudan grass.

Sunday afternoon I went outside to help Maria move a fence for the cows. Right now, the cows are grazing sorghum sudan grass, which is a type of grass that looks like corn. This spring my dad planted 16 acres of it. Twice in one day the cows get a new strip of the sorghum, but the strips are not very large. If we gave it to them all at once, they would not eat it all and it would be wasted.

So Maria and I got on the four wheeler and headed down the west lane. As we arrived, we saw that all the cows were standing right by the portable fence waiting for it to be taken down, because on the other side was the sweet sorghum. Some had their heads over the fence and were already eating! Where they already grazed, it was almost bare dirt! As we began to take the fence down the cows charged at the sorghum. And then, they practically disappeared. The sorghum was so tall, you could just see the tops of their backs! Maria and I joined them; it was so fun to be lost in a field of sorghum. Once in a while, a cow would appear and I would jump back in surprise.

Within 20 minutes, you could tell that it was already shorter. I asked Maria how long it would be until it was all grazed, expecting to hear a day, she said, "About 4 hours." Wow, do they eat a lot! Then I found my favorite cow, Molly. She is one of the very few cows that allow you to pet her. I kept her company for a bit before Maria and I headed back to the barn to check on Theresa. Theresa is a cow with a hurt foot; we separated her from the herd, because it is difficult for her to walk. But very soon she will be able to rejoin the herd.

Later that evening I was a substitute milkmaid with Maria because Harold was not feeling well. So I went through the rows, shooing them into the barn, milking them all and sending them out again. Every now and then I came across a kicker, and Maria would then have clean her udder or hang on the unit. After milking, when the cows were eating grain in the yard outside the barn, I went to set up the gates for the cows to go to a pasture. Soon we had the cows on their way again!

Justin suddenly pulled up on the golf cart. "Tasha's out, hop on!" were the only words he said.

Oh gosh. I hopped on the golf cart and we drove to the chickens. The horses stay with the chickens to guard then from coyotes. As we got closer, I saw that Tasha was in the neighboring pasture, and the fence was down. It's not like Tasha to break through a fence, but I guess the grass was much greener on the other side! I led her back to the pasture she is supposed to be in and together Justin and I fixed the fence. While Justin went back to get the supplies to do that, I had to be a fence post and hold the fence together. Then Justin and I did the chicken chores, and soon after headed back home for supper and home made ice cream.

Your Farm Friend,
Julia

Farm Fact: Corn is America's largest cash crop wit h an annual harvest of nearly 9 billion bushels, with it being the primary energy source for livestock.

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