After two inches of rain fell onto saturated ground Wednesday night, these cattle felt stressed.
When they are bunched-up like this, they are registering discomfort. We have received so much rain over the past two weeks, that we have had to change strategies on managing cattle. We had been unrolling hay behind the cows, so as not to drive equipment onto ungrazed pasture. But animal impact on grazed, saturated pastures is rendering them too muddy to support a tractor loaded with hay. So, we are now unrolling hay in front of cows. We have to drive over new feed, which is not optimal, but hay is distributed on clean grass, and impact from the tractor is minimized due to untrampled sod.
In the picture below, cows are much more relaxed, once they have access to new grass and fresh hay. They and we feel a lot better.
Below, you can see our small feedlot, hosting our non-breeding herd. We had been unrolling hay in the adjoining field for them, but the field is grazed, and has become too saturated to support a tractor. We are now temporarily feeding in rings and racks, around which animals stand. Ten inches of gravel and geo-textile cloth underlie these bale feeders, keeping feed and stock from becoming mired in mud. Animals lose condition quickly when they have to struggle in mud for feed. We don't use this feedlot often, but when we need it, we are grateful for its utility. We will expand it to accommodate our growing herd.
Just to keep days even more interesting, the five-year-old compressor for one of our large freezers decided to die late last week. Industrial compressors are supposed to last 15 years, but ours opted-out just after the warranty expired. We therefore had a walk-in freezer full of meat, registering ever-rising temperatures. After staring at the situation in disbelief for a few hours, I finally conceded the freezer had to be emptied. I thus shuffled 70 boxes from the malfunctioning freezer to the one still working, and stacked them wherever possible, including in the aisle. Fortunately, we have a second freezer and there was room for stacking. The new compressor will be installed Monday morning, and then I have the pleasure of moving all those boxes back into place!
Susan and I regularly employ several of our prepared foods as part of our weekly food ritual. Short-rib burgers are a constant presence in the routine, served on an open faced, Blue-Oven english muffin, with homemade mayonnaise. Organic french-fries are roasted with some rendered beef-fat to accompany, becoming irresistible. Bolognese Sauce is also a weekly stalwart, that provides copious left-overs. We always look forward to both of those meals. To be recommended!
See you on Sunday, despite predicted blasts.
Drausin & Susan