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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Feeding Round Bales


 Round hay is kept in a small lot between the road and the work shop and stacked on plastic pallets to help water drain and retard rotting on the bottom of the bale. I only have a dozen or so plastic pallets so it's a constant rotation to keep hay stacked. I also have a hay loft about half full of "square" bales that's a lot better nutritionally and is used to supplement the round bales. A lot of people don't like feeding horses round bales but Daddy John (who puts up my hay) and I are diligent about putting up dry hay. Very rarely is there mold and I've never had a problem, thank God. Daddy John, to distinguish him from his young son, John (although I sometimes hear him being called Johnny) puts up round bales of around 1200 pounds. How long the bales last before the horses finish eating depends upon weather conditions and time of year. When it's nasty cold and wet, horses eat a lot more; ingesting food is the only way they have to keep warm...from the stomach out. My horses are American Curly horses (a post coming soon on this rare breed) and are easy keepers. I don't blanket them but they do have shelter...when they choose shelter. They seek shelter more in the summer from the hot sun than in the winter from the cold. Their extra layer of fat and heavy, curly coats keep them amazingly warm in cold winter. Anyway, this last round bale lasted 9 days; this current bale will last longer if the weather warms up. These five horses have two pastures to graze and as warmer weather brings more grass, they'll eat less round hay and more green, growing grass.
From the hay lot to this pasture is around half a mile, along a long fence and then down a steep hill. At least, the hill is steep to me; I hate driving the tractor into this pasture but, sometimes, it simply cannot be helped. I've had to do it twice this winter and always wait until it's a clear day; my tractor skills simply aren't good enough to handle this hill in sleet, snow or ice. When I'm putting out hay in this pasture, I tend to go at a shopping whatever the tractor will pull me at when in second gear. I've got more time to work than time to heal so going slow is a very good thing. Putting out hay this time was a trifle tricky; the metal round pen has to be lifted and moved from the old bale to the new bale. This time, I couldn't control the pen, it weighs a couple of hundred pounds (I'm guessing) and I lost control. It dropped to the ground and, thank God, only caught me inside and I was able to crawl over the top. The children were staying with me and all of a sudden those three tykes came running across the pasture and down the hill, shouting, "Sandy, we're coming to help; we're coming to help!" At first I thought they'd be more in danger than a help but...you know what? Between a 9, 10 and 11 year old we were able to pick up the pen and then I rolled it to the new bale. Thank God we did it and did it safely!,  although, I've been struggling with horrid back pain. Remember those exercises I told you about here? For the first couple of days, I forgot about them and, in the mornings, would fall out of bed and then walk hunched over for the first hour or two. Once I remember the exercises though, it was wonderful. Before getting out of bed I do the first set and have added this...when I pull my legs up and twist my legs to the right, I twist my upper body and arms to the left. When I reverse direction with my legs, I also reverse direction with my upper body and arms, then...BAM! No pain and I can get out of bed and walk normally. All together now...THANK YOU GOD!  
In the photo before this ground hog, a pile of rocks are visible middle distance; it's there this ground hog has built his home. Dave used to have a $5 bounty on ground hogs and I've continued the tradition. There are some folks who think ground hogs are cute; I maintain if you live where there are sidewalks, you're probably one of those folks. Ground hogs are not cute, they are vicious with long claws, long teeth and a nasty attitude. Last week, I stepped into a ground hog hole in my front yard and went down to my knee. Thank God I didn't break my leg, ankle or foot. Since then, I've been pouring the hot coals from the wood stove down that hole and am hoping the ground hog gets the hankering to move across the road. 

While I was out today, I took advantage of photographing neighbors; to the right is Daddy John feeding silage to his cattle.
This is Clinton, left, coming back from feeding silage. Silage is fermented corn that's been cut, stalk and ear, chopped and then put into a pit to ferment. I think it smells good but Dave always thought it smelled rotten and it does, but in a good kinda way. Funny, I could never convince him.
Clinton is lambing and it's always a joy to watch them. 
Mostly he raises Suffolks which are a good meat breed. 












 In the late afternoon, the dogs and I sit on the sun room porch and I rest in the sunshine, soaking up vitamin D and collecting my strength. I've been playing with a new camera, my old Canon finally gave out. (I can't imagine why, it's only eight years old and I've taken more than 10,000 photos with it!) This new Canon Power Shot SX500 IS digital camera has some excellent features: 24 MM wide, 30x Optical Zoom, Optical Image Stabilizer, 16 Megapixel, 720p HD video in stereo sound with dedicated movie button, 3.0 inch LCD screen. Heck, it's smarter than me so I suppose I should read the manual. Oh wait. There is NO manual; now it's a CD or DVD and I hate that; I'm one who enjoys reading manuals and marking things I'll need to know. With a dratted CD there's no option to make little notes to refer to; it's all memory now nor can I carry around a CD player so I can quick read something. DANG! I really hate that.  Okay, fine, Canon didn't pay me to sing their praises but I'm not above accepting money to do so...HEAR THAT CANON? Send a check and I'll cash it! Or, better yet, send a printed manual.
Anyway, in the photo above, in the far distance, you can't even see the white dots that are calves. Below the tree limb on the left, the calves are standing across the road, in the far pasture.
ZOOM! Now you can see the calves...amazing, yes?! For me, having a camera is like food for the soul; there's no option...yes, camera or no, camera. The answer is YES! I've been a photographer for decades, at one time was a wedding photographer, at another time had my own photography business and a camera is a necessity in life. Having a great camera is a luxury so, thank You, God, for the luxury of a great camera.

P. S. I'm still having trouble visiting blogs with the comment box where it's supposed to say your name...Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm...for some reason, that's just not happening. I am visiting though and enjoying what you're saying; keep up the good work!

Blessings ~ beautiful day after 2 inches of ice, sleet, snow ~ lambs ~ calves ~ good hay ~ no horrible back pain ~ new Canon camera ~ groundhogs...not so much ~

13 comments:

  1. sorry about back pain - hooray for the children able to help - awww about the beautiful new lambs and woo hoo for exercises helping back. Yes I like having a camera but I am no photographer - looks like spring is sprunging on you

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  2. Nothing worse than hurting your back. I had to laugh reading about how you feel about ground hogs. I was a person with the sidewalks until I moved out here.
    Then I changed. Pests are pests and not cute and cuddly and they will eat you out of house and home.
    Funny how that is, isn't it.
    Your photos look great and it does look like spring. :)

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  3. I'm so glad that you have your back pain figured out, Sandra. Yikes.
    Yay for a new camera! Your photos are always great.
    My daughter-in-law and I drove out into the country today and say LOTS of sheep!

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  4. I have learned so much from this post, Sandra, and I look forward to more on your American Curly horses--never heard of them before. That was so scary about your accident and I'm so glad it was nothing worse than what you had. Those children were great! I have tried your back exercises and they helped a lot.

    I guess we were lucky to have had only pleasant experiences with Armstrong--the groundhog with a white stripe on his forehead who made his home in our hillside pasture for 3 years. We'd sit and eat supper and watch him come out to munch his supper at the same time. But that's crazy that you could have broken your leg in a groundhog hole! No wonder they have a price on their heads on farms.

    Take care now!

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  5. P.S. Sandra, your comment on my blog came through fine today! Thank you.

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  6. It's looking like spring there! We've been counting down the hay bales lately. They are dwindling fast.

    I hope you are able to keep your back pain free. I used to roll out of bed with back pain every single day for several years. I found that taking magnesium (citrate or malate) really helped it. I never have a problem with back pain now.

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  7. P.S.
    Your comment came through on my blog today!

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  8. Great photos . . . congratulations on your new camera!

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  9. I love my new Sony camera I got for Christmas last year, My old camera probably had that many photos too, When we went to Texas Antiquing I had to buy a new memory card because I did not take the computer to upload them. We did have the laptop but I did want want to use that. It IS amazing how much they improve them. I notice this with my zoom also.

    At our newspaper office they offer free wood pallets, maybe that could be a source if you can use other than plastic pallets. I have thought of getting some, but having no truck to haul them is hard. There are so many uses for them today, I need some to put under our porch to put my yard tools on, I have outgrown the one that is there as we have no garage and it was already there.

    Hope you get to feeling better, I have arm strength problems also but my spinal stimulator helps my spine and feet. I just love your farm but, I know it is hard work for you!
    Smiles, Cyndi

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  10. I hear ya on the groundhogs, I have hundreds of ground squirrels, I have one dog that is very good at catching them, My neighbor with horses thinks everyone should put out poison for squirrels, I agree they are a nuisance, but since I have red tail hawks that hang out on my fence posts and sheep that visit that pasture I refuse to put out poisons.

    Hope you figure out a way to rearrange your round bale feedings to a safer alternative before next winter, those are really big bales and feeders to have to handle all by yourself, amazing the last year or two even the rectangular ones are gettind diffucult for me.

    Take care, and stay safe.

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  11. So glad you weren't hurt. I have scoliosis in my lower back so when I do too much lifting or bending or cleaning then my back goes out -- like yesterday. Ugh! Once I sit or lay down, I have a hard time getting back up again. Years, and years, and years ago I was given exercises to do but, of course, have never followed through with them. Probably would help if I did. When I was young and would travel with my family, we would see those hale bales and yell SHREDDED WHEAT! I still do that to this day and my kids don't find it quite as funny. :) Best wishes and blessings, Tammy

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  12. My horses don't really use the shade in the summer...even in the Arizona heat. It is my opinion they don't use it because that is where the flies hang out!

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  13. LindaSue, when I'm careful, the back pain isn't so bad but it's hard to remember to be careful when there's so much to do. You know what I mean!

    Farm Girl, pests are pests, no matter if roaches, ground hogs or rats.

    Karen, thank you; having a working camera is as good as food in the pantry.

    Dewena, almost breaking my leg cured me of "cute and fuzzy" -grin.

    Jody, watching the hay bales dwindle sure gets MY attention!

    Lynne, thank you so much.

    Cyndi, the wooden pallets aren't as strong as the plastic ones but they'll do in a pinch.

    Tombstone, I refuse to put out poison; it's too dangerous!

    Tammy, every time I see round hay bales, I think 'shredded wheat'...so funny!

    Sandy, the flies here are in the sun and not in the shade...strange!



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