Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rural Manpower

November 19, 2009

The mad rush towards completion of the Winter Preparation Project continues even though the continuous rain showers continue to vex us. Many tasks have been completed here on the farm, many have been started, many more our still waiting patiently on the priority list which is reorganized daily based on weather and available manpower. MAN-power is the key word here. And it matters not if it is simple MAN or the more moody and complex WO-man, the work needs to be done and we're all moving forward. Some of us are PULLING and PUSHING forward and even able to laugh while doing it.

A couple of years ago this wife thought it would be nice to buy a dozen or so calf hutches for our newly born bovines. We had kept them in the barn previously but seemed we always needed that space for cows close to calving time, so we bought the hutches and I got to line up my babies in those neat tidy linear formations I like so much. We have discovered that these hutches are very handy for other things as well. Sometimes Keith will put an entire large bale of organic hay in one which keeps it clean and dry and very handy for my use when feeding calves. Another hutch is used entirely to store extra buckets and feed pans.

Lately we used two of the hutches to house our 6 young Red Wattle feeder pigs. Attaching a livestock panel in a semicircle to the outside of the hutch gave them room to roam, while the well bedded hutch kept them dry and warm. As they were all located in the same area (calf and pig) it made my chores more efficient and allowed me to easily check for illnesses, eating problems etc. Which by the way no one has, must be all that organic milk they get in their grain slurry.

Another use we discovered last year was as winter housing for our massive goat herd of 4. Each hutch holds two goats very well when they need to get away from winter rains and snow. Because the goats are all adults and free roaming in their large pasture we do have to move the hutches into their area. "We" of course being husband Keith and son Jason. I'm not sure why Jason finds this task so amusing but he does. Maybe because of the power he has to run over his father, or to just stop pushing and see how long it takes his dad to figure out he's doing all the work. Either way this project always makes Jason laugh which I guess is why all us farmers continue to do what we do...for the pure hysteria of it.

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