Making Hay
Week of January 7th, 2007 | The weather was unseasonably warm.

Julia pouring salt and minerals for the cows.

Julia pouring salt and minerals for the cows.

Today I went out to help Maria with some morning chores. It was a sunny, clear day, which has been very unusual lately. It was the perfect day to be out working with animals! It was the sort of day that made you run and skiparound with happiness.

At the time the calves that were born last spring were spread out in the cow yard. They were brought in for water, as they are daily. Maria and I began to herd them towards the gate so they could return to their pasture. Sounds easy doesn't it? Well not really, it took a really long time because they kept running right past the open gate, confused as to where we wanted them to go. But once we got a couple of them going in the right direction, the rest followed.

Next Maria and I loaded a bucket of salt and mineral on the four wheeler and headed to the pasture where the heifers were. Bodo came with as usual. Sometimes he rides along on the four wheeler, but today he needed a good run. Maria and I went up to 25mph and were very surprised that he could keep up, but not for long! When we got to their pasture I dumped the bucket of salt and mineral into their mineral dish. It was heavy and Maria taught me to lift with your legs, not your back—it was really helpful! We mounted the four wheeler once again and drove back onto the lane that would lead us back to the barn. As planned the heifers followed us all the way back and into the cow yard for their time to have water.

Spring is when most of our cows give birth, but some are bred to give birth in the fall. When there is a pregnant cow that is near her due date it is very important to check on her often. Many cows give birth all on their own and are fine, but some cows need assistance. Maria and I went down to the building where the cows spend most of the cold winter months to watch for any signs of cows giving birth. We saw none, but had a blast mingling among the cows. I immediately spotted Molly and massaged all her itching spots! She settled back down into the straw and I sat down to join her.

After one more look around Maria and I headed to the barn to spray off our boots and then went inside for a turkey dinner leaving the beauty of the animals and earth behind but smiling because we knew we could always return.

Have a great New Year in your lives, and peace to all,

Your farm friend, Julia Krusenbaum

Farm Fact: Cows are ruminants or cud-chewing animals eating hay, corn, soybeans, grass, wheat, and ensilage. Each cow eats 20 to 25 pounds of grain, 40 to 60 pounds of ensilage, 30 pounds of hay and drinks about 15 to 25 gallons of water a day.

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