Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays to everyone!
There's been a whole lot going on around Prairie Fire Farm.

A few weeks ago we finally got some bred beef cows, yay! They're not all the same color but they are pretty just the same. Our neighbor Ahren was buying half a herd from a guy, and brought these three home for us. We were told they are bred to a red angus bull, due for Spring calving. But the other day, I noticed one of the cows looks like she's 'bagging up', or her udder is getting bigger. A sign that birth is getting close. Hm. Maybe I was just imagining things. Then Ahren called me and said one of the heifers he bought from the same guy had just calved! And she had a beautiful little White Parks calf! They look like this:
So... I'm wondering if my cow is close to calving, she might have been bred by the same White Park bull...and that wouldn't make me sad!

A while back, Karen and I picked up a big old round outdoor hog feeder at an auction. These feeders are common in the more traditional hog production area, but scarce as hens' teeth here in dairy country. They are great in that they can be filled with feed and hold up to the weather and whatever pigs can do to them. I have been looking forward to being free from having to carry bags every day, and once the pigs get over 100 lbs., it can be a real fun experience being swarmed by them while re-filling our smaller feeders. Karen hates how my pants get coated with whatever thepigs had in their mouth and ontheir lips. They just gotta mess with ya.
These big feeders go for over a thousand dollars new! That's nuts! So we picked upthis old one, but likealla these big old feeders, the bottom had rusted out. I'm notmuch of ametal worker. Better make that not. A metal worker. But, I have a friend who is . She offered to make new panels and help me put them on. In fact,though she had just had shoulder surgery, she came over twice and brought help along, too! Can't beat that with a stick.
I learned how to use a grinder and a pop riveter, handy things. got thebottom pieces all on now, got it caulked up and just need to put a couple skid boards on the bottom to make it easier to move, and I'll be in business!
All those pumpkins are gone, been fed to the pigs. They were fun to feed, and they lasted agood while, but once the night time temps got below about 25, they started to freeze and then get mushy. The ratio of pumpkins to weather worked out pretty well.

Bred Ridgett and Icy two weeks ago, we'll find out if it worked this New Years' weekend.
Sold some of the finisher pigs from litter 3.
The weather is really weird. It's nearly New Years, and I haven't needed to plow the driveway once yet this year. There is NO snow on the ground. I remember years when we'd have a warm spell around Christmas, or of course the January thaw, but I don't remember many years, if any when we haven't had any apppreciable snowfall at all before January. It's great for working outside or driving, but not so great for plants who need the blanket of snow to protect them from the deep cold.

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