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