Thursday, January 30, 2014

The outside playpen

            Our children are often excited to go outside at feeding time to be part of excitement and see the cows. Cows are large animals and need to be respected and it is important that our children learn safety around the animals. One place in the cattle yard where the children often end up to keep them safe is in the hay feeders. From this place the kids are able to interact with the cows in a safe way. Our kids know that you need to be calm and quiet with the animals. Often when you hold out your hand to them and patiently wait a curious cow will come and smell it and you might get a quick pet if you are gentle.
            We have taught our children that they never go into the cattle yards without an adult. As adults we watch the animals for signs of anxiousness or aggressiveness. Most of the time cows are calm if you are calm.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Winter Fun

          Yesterday I wrote about some of the hardships of winter on the farm, which there can be many sometimes. Winter time on the farm can also be a lot of fun if the weather is more mild.
          I have many memories from my youth of sledding in the pastures that surrounded our house. Like in this picture some times sledding was fun and exciting, sometimes it was scary, and other times I didn't quite know what I was doing.
         There are a few added obstacles/adventures to sledding in a cow pasture. For one thing you have to avoid the frozen cow pies which are incredibly hard and uncomfortable to sled over. Another thing that adds to the experience is that at the bottom of the hill there is usually the creek, which is frozen, but surrounded by cat tales. So at the bottom of your sledding ride you get stopped abruptly by the tall grass. Also there are what we called "Butt Breaker Hills". In the summer time as the cows walk through the pasture they like to follow each other and take the same path. After walking that same path for many years there are ridges that are worn into the side of the hills. We had a few hills in our pasture with a large number of these paths and so they deserved the name "Butt Breaker Hill".

       All of this added together made for alot of sledding fun, pain, and stories. You ask me or any one of my siblings about sledding down "Butt Breaker Hill" and you will see us wince with the vivid memory of the aftermath of sledding down those hills.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Another cold day and the Water Struggle

         The last few days the temp hasn't gotten much above 0 degrees and gets much lower at night.  At this temp the water tanks freeze at an alarming speed. It is vital that the cattle always have available water to drink. To allow this the water tanks have small heaters in them. To conserve energy only a small area of the water is heated.  The cattle will drink from this area and help keep the ice off this area. We also have some tanks that are heated with the use of a PVC pipe that is dug into the ground to below the frost line, about 4 feet down. The pipe allows the warmth from the ground to go up into the tank and keep the water and pipes from freezing.
         Even with these heating elements in place there are times where the water will freeze over and it takes a hammer to break up the ice and scoop it out.  Checking the water is a very important job on the farm.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cows on a Cold Day


         Today is a very cold day outside. At 1:00 when I went out to film this it was -8 degrees. Just taking off my gloves to take the video I was afraid I might have gotten frost bite on my fingers. As you can see on the video the cows are not bothered at all by the cold and seem quit content laying outside soaking up the sun shine.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

97% of America's Farms are Family Owned

Hello I'm Ruth Lanoue and I would like to invite you to experience life on our family farm. My husband Paul and I live in Minnesota and raise crops, cattle, and kids. We take all three of these charges in our life very seriously. I love life on the farm and my hope is that through letting you join us you can see the beauty of this life. Please visit us often and see what we are up to out here on the farm.