Life on a family dairy farm
in the wilds of
Upstate New York
Friday, July 13, 2012
Red Sky at Morning, Sailors Take
A nap prolly......I wonder if this bright red ball of fire floating on the sky actually means anything in terms of rain. I very much doubt it. There is an old saying I learned from my boss back when I worked on a farm instead of living on one....in times of drought all signs fail.
And that tends to prove exactly true. Clouds build up in the sky, dry up and melt away. Red sky is just red sky, morning or evening. If you aren't in one of the drought-plagued areas you would probably be amazed by the dust. Just turning the cows up to pasture is a throat-clogging, choking experience. Normally we just open the gate, but with all the new heifers they have to be bunched up in a tight herd, then stuffed up to the gate, then someone opens the gate and they are followed and pushed through the next gate.
We feel like cowboys. We need bandannas. At least this bunch of newbies has been turned out in the barnyard before so they have some clue about acting like cows. The ones from indoor pens have no idea about fences or being in a herd or anything like that so they have to learn. It can be fun.
You would have had to laugh about the ones we turned out of the sawdust pen. The animal rights folks would have you believe that all animals are at home on the range and want to go to grass and eat clover and all that (studies have proved otherwise...given a choice dairy cows will eat at a feed bunk in the shade rather than walk to grass and overwhelming majority of the time), but it just ain't so. Cows like to graze all right, but they love their barn...what's not to like? Shade, cooling fans in summer, warmth in winter, fewer flies, good food....we serve it all up twice daily and they know it.
We turned six yearlings to pasture yesterday, two shorties, one Jersey shorthorn cross and a trio of Holsteins. The instant they got into the barnyard they ran to the sawdust shed pen to try to get in. They were crowding and shuffling around the gate and glaring at us and hooking at the three new ones we put in "their" house. Good thing they don't have horns or they would have torn the pen down.
So much for contented cows on pasture.
Anyhow, everybody stay cool and hydrated...with love from Northview Farm