Farming Without

Farming without a 4-wheeler is hard work. With 350 acres to cover, vehicles are essential. When possible, I prefer walking, but it simply isn’t practical when you have to haul four 20+ lb. buckets of feed to the pig runs or check on the steers on the other side of the farm. Sure, we could do all of these tasks on foot, but we’d get a lot less done each day. The vehicles are a must.

The cows had icicles on their ears. It's the newest thing in cow bling.

The cows had icicles on their ears. It’s the newest thing in cow bling.

Except yesterday’s snow left them all incapacitated. We had dense, wet snow up to my knees in most places. The 4-wheel drive trucks couldn’t handle it and the skid steer wasn’t much better. There was no way the 4-wheelers would work. So we found ourselves doing chores on foot both yesterday and today. Easier said than done.

We got Ryan's truck stuck

We got Ryan’s truck stuck

 

I know I'm only 5'2", but snow up to my knee is still a lot of snow.

I know I’m only 5’2″, but snow up to my knee is still a lot of snow.

 

The first thing we do in the morning is to break the ice off the steers’ water and to start filling it. This normally takes 3-5 minutes. Now remove the 4-wheeler and add a trek uphill across a pasture through 18 inches of snow. Five minutes becomes twenty. Next we have to feed the pigs. By the time we fill the buckets, drive down there, feed them and clean their water, this task typically takes 10-15 minutes. Again, take away the 4-wheeler and add 18 inches of snow (downhill this time, but carrying those 20 lb. buckets). You get the idea. 

Chicken-dog got tired of fighting through snow drifts and settled down for a nap.

Chicken-dog got tired of fighting through snow drifts and settled down for a nap.

 

This chicken froze roughly 4 feet from the coop door. Like I've said all along, not the brightest.

This chicken froze roughly 4 feet from the coop door. Like I’ve said all along, not the brightest.

We had no choice but to fight through the snow with the skid steer to feed the steers. While one person can manage feeding the steers, it’s a lot easier with 2 people. The skid steer, however, only seats one. So Ryan drove and I rode on the hay bale. Getting to the steers wasn’t so bad. It’s all downhill so gravity helped pull us through the snow drifts. Coming back was more challenging. Yes, we followed the tracks we’d made going down, but the skid steer is quite heavy and packs down the snow so tightly that it’s basically a sheet of ice. Going uphill without any traction is always an adventure.

The snow was too deep for the pigs so they made tracks from their huts to the feeder and didn't stray from them.

The snow was too deep for the pigs so they made tracks from their huts to the feeder and didn’t stray from them.

There was a piglet traffic jam in one of the tracks.

There was a piglet traffic jam in one of the tracks.

Once everyone was fed we started shoveling. I miss NYC. Shoveling snow was always someone else’s responsibility. Ryan used the skid steer to clear the driveway and parking lot, but there were still plenty of areas that had to be shoveled and everything had to be salted. We also had to shovel out the pig feeder again. In fact, much of the past two days were spent shoveling. I need a massage. And I don’t even like massages!

Piglets huddling under their heatlamp

Piglets huddling under their heat lamp

King of the bale. For some reason the calves love to climb on the hay bales. I mean, who wouldn't want edible bedding? Willy Wonka should get on that idea.

King of the bale. For some reason the calves love to climb on the hay bales. I mean, who wouldn’t want edible bedding? Willy Wonka should get on that idea.

Is spring here yet? I can handle the cold. Really I can. Just no more snow!

 

7 thoughts on “Farming Without

  1. What a grizzly post! I’m sorry it is so rough for you, Becca, but forgive me, I am also glad not to be facing your difficulties. And as above, “Poor lil chicken.” 😯

    • Thanks for the sympathy! It is appreciated 🙂 Things are much better now that the snow is melting. We’ve at least been able to use the 4-wheelers. And, yes, poor lil chicken. Survival of the fittest (and smartest) I guess.

  2. I like the picture of piglets huddling under the heat lamp. Poor things. And the edible bedding picture is funny – ripe for a thought bubble! haha
    Sounds like you got quite a workout! Sorry…

    • They really are precious. I may have domesticated them all. They now love having their ear scratched. It’s cute now, but Ryan will hate me for it in about 6 months when he has five 300 lb. pigs all vying head scratches every time he goes to check on them.

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