Making Hay
Week of February 6th, 2005 | The weather was stormy and icy.

Our new skidloader.

Our new skidloader.

We received a terrible ice storm on the first day of our new year. It rained, and the cold temperatures turned the rain into ice. The roads were so slippery, that school was cancelled for a couple days. We also received a lot of snow. Right now, we have about a foot of snow. With the winds, we have two to three foot drifts in our fields. With the snow in our yard, we pile it against the barn. Snow is an insulator. It helps keep the barn warm for the sows that are farrowing in it.

We purchased a used skid loader this past month. A skid loader is a farm vehicle that has a loader attached to it. Small skid loaders lift about 600 pounds, and others can lift thousands of pounds. Skid loaders are four wheel drive. They steer by skidding the tires around.

Our skid loader can lift about 900 pounds and has 25 horsepower. It is a 1997 year model, Case 1825 diesel with a 49-inch bucket. We enjoy using it. The skid loader runs very well and we plan on using it for many years. We are using the skid loader to clean the manure out from corners around the water fountains in the hoop buildings, inside the farrowing barns, and around the gates in the hog floors. In the past, we have been cleaning some manure out by hand. The skid loader will be a big help and will make the job easier. Lately, we have been using it a lot on snow removal. We plan on building a tine bucket for moving straw and hay bales around and moving hog feeders, when needed.

Mom and Dad went to Syracuse, New York over the past weekend. Dad was asked to be a keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. They had a great time meeting a lot of new friends and reacquainting with some old friends they knew. While they were gone, I did the chores and other work on the farm.

Farm Fact: We have two loaders on our farm now—the Case 1825 skid loader and the John Deere 7405 tractor with the John Deere 740 loader. The John Deere loader is used for the heavy-duty jobs and the Case skid loader is used for the light-duty jobs. With snow removal, Dad and I work together and get the job done much faster.

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