One Freezty, Frosty Morning

Was out working before sunrise and didn’t really notice the frost until the first rays of light revealed it to me. Frosted grass, frosted weeds, frosted cows. It has been rainy and wet for the last week and it made for a beautiful morning.

FrostyCows2

Turning back to look at the truck…

FrostyWeeds

I turned the cows into a new grazing area as we do every morning. I think we still have 30 acres of standing forage to munch through. The shorthorns seem to like it. The Jerseys nibble a little but they know hay is coming.

FrostyCowsI brought them a few forks of hay off of a round bale. I prefer to feed hay this way. I can sort the good from the bad (bales are pretty bad this year) and they don’t turn the whole bale into a bed. Very little waste this way. I just carry each forkful to a clean spot in the pasture as I cross over the perimeter fence. Maybe you can’t tell but the cows have grazed the pasture in the foreground pretty hard. I’m leaving a lot of brown forage behind to protect and feed the soil as well as a couple of standing weed skeletons.

FrostyWire

What a beautiful morning. The sun will be up soon.

FrostyCows3

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12 thoughts on “One Freezty, Frosty Morning

  1. Freezty. Excellent word for this kind of morning.

    Beautiful pictures – I’ve had a morning or two like this and never seem to have my camera with me – then I get religious about taking the camera with me, and we have rain and mud for a week, so I give up, and….

    • Phone. Weird, I know. I carry communications, entertainment, the accumulated knowledge of the entire species, and a camera in one little device in my pocket. It’s like I live in the future. And I fought against a phone for years saying things like, “Moses did just fine without one.” Well, he did do just fine. Also without a car. Or bacon. Not by choice though. You can even buy waterproof phones in case it rains or your phone gets dropped into a glass of lemonade…not that I know anything about either of those.

      • No phone. All of what you say is true. But I don’t have one because I’m only ever in places that have a phone where I can be reached (home, work, friend, or with hubby), or I’m somewhere where I can’t be reached (feed store, grocery store, mall, car, travelling). I am not one of those people incapable of managing the shopping list without support from home. If I’m in one of the latter places, then leave a message at home or work, and I’ll get back to you. The only times I really want a cell phone are the very rare occasions when I am on a dark lonely road in the car, or it buckets down snow when I’m a half hour drive from home or…and mostly in those situations, there’s no cell coverage anyway. And I can always borrow the younger teen’s phone to take with me if I know I’m driving home late. So, no phone for now. However, I was given an iPod for Christmas (guess the family is tired of hearing Ethan Book or John Suscovich or PV every night while I wash eggs), and that thing might just be the slippery slope that takes me to a cell phone. Because it has the weather on it, a calculator, a camera (which I have used by the way, even to the point of getting the pictures onto my desktop), obviously I can listen to audio books or podcasts, and I just found out I could download an app for my Trello board. I have already felt the wistful pull of wishing I could whip it out and phone the house to ask for a cup of tea to be brought out to me. It would just take a few seconds to enable messaging on the thing, and FB…see? That’s where it starts being a bad thing – I’d be out in the back forty, waiting for my cup of tea, checking my FB page instead of pounding another post or hammering another staple. It’s one thing to be distracted by amazing sunrises but another to be beguiled into another round of gemstone drop.

  2. We had nice mild weather last wk with hoar frost making everything beautiful white, frosty and so sparkly in the sun – picture perfect for Christmas! Now not so much – extreme cold weather warnings the last few days with wind chill down to –41C/-41.8F – a good time to hibernate!

    Tell me more about your “(bales are pretty bad this year)”. If I have this right the alfalfa hay you square bale from your/your dad’s land? goes to the horses? And you buy round bales for the cows so this is not hay from your land? What makes them bad – are they moldy or weedy or are your cows just choosy? My horses will take a 30-40% alfalfa round bale and pick out the candy (alfalfa) first, then the sweet clover and the rest (timothy/brome etc) is bad in their opinion – sigh. What is bad about yours?

    • ….aaaaaaaaand that’s a blog post, folks.

      Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Square bales dad and I put up are good. Mostly. We had some wet clover that I salted and mostly salvaged. We put up some pretty high quality grass hay with a sprinkling of alfalfa for his horses. Plus we have about half of the hay we put up last summer still in the loft. The pure alfalfa comes from my fields. I can’t handle 17 acres of square bales so a cousin round bales it and takes half. It rained every third day so…mold. I don’t want to feed mold. I could starve them into eating it but I have so much standing forage and so much good hay (square bales) that…meh. Now we’re trying to come up with a plan. That first cutting should have come out on Memorial Day. It didn’t come out until the second week in July. Talk about stemmy! And wet. And moldy. And full of seeds. Would be great to compost if I could unroll it efficiently. More later.

  3. I hear you – we had a wet, wet, wet summer too with rain every 3rd day too it seems. It’s like mother nature wanted us all to quit the hay habit cold turkey this yr!

    My old rancher father in law always claimed that once you start cows on hay you cannot switch them back to pasture. I didn’t know if I believed that even though he likely raised about 25,000 cows over his years so thought he should know. I remember one fall my horses got into a pasture where I had pre-placed to add fertility some of their round bales in prep for winter. Gate malfunction and they got in, I was busy + short daylight days and they ended up staying on hay for about a wk. I moved them back out on the alfalfa mix hay field to continue their fall grazing thru minimal snow and found the exact same thing as he claimed with cows. At first I thought it was just an entitlement issue that they would get over in a few days – nope, a week – nope. It seemed like giving a 4 yr old child a few bites of cake then asking him to go back and eat all his peas and beans – they just picked a bit and seemed to spend more time pacing along the fence line of the field with the bales inspecting the fence line for weak spots, giving me a reminder whinny every time they saw me that gez shouldn’t we be on hay now? I don’t like losing condition going into winter so caved in and let them in for an early start on hay – a one-time thing only. Now strict rule of no hay at all until they are moved off the hay field and switched over to hay. We don’t have a lot of snow this year yet, only about 7” of snow on the ground now and they are still doing just fine on the alfalfa hay field.

    That all said, it always interests me that you supplement your cows with hay while on pasture (periodically or everyday?) and get away with it! Why do you do feed hay? Is your ?mature? hay higher protein then the standing tall fescue and other forages in your pasture? What would the protein percent be of the fescue at this stage? Why do you think your Jersey’s are more about the hay than the Shorthorns? Were they fed hay more often than the Shorthorns like perhaps when milked so have a hay habit? Inquiring minds… 🙂

  4. lol – glad to hear I have not worn out my welcome … yet! I look forward to this upcoming blog post, as I do all your posts. Happy New Years to you and your family!

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