Rain, snow, sleet, hail. But the mail gets Sundays and federal holidays off. Chores are like the mail, only every day. No vacation, no sick days. Every. Single. Day. Always. Forever. Wonderful when the weather is a cool 65 degrees and sunny. No fun when your head and guts want to explode from the flu on a cold, blustery day. But regardless, you must go feed the animals. Who else will?
Newt was gone hauling hay for the day, so ReeRee and I were in charge of chores. Most days, the chores will take all morning. When the cows are home, chores take 2 days, so cows get feed every other day with cake (feed pickup) or hay (bale grinder and tractor). Cows are at cornstalks this winter, so we just had the horses and calves to feed.
Luckily Newt left me a list. The list was in number of buckets and pasture location.
Each bucket has 34 lbs. of distiller pellets (a byproduct of producing ethanol- excellent feed for ruminants). If you are in the feed pickup, one bucket has 220 revolutions of the auger. But we can worry about the feed pickup rotations in the spring. We just used 5 gallon buckets and the Mule to feed.
The pellets are stored in large bins to keep the expensive feed dry and mold at bay. These bins have electric augers that will drive the pellets from the bottom of the bin.
Newt’s brother made a contraption out of PVC pipe and some hooks for a spout.
The pipe keeps the pellets shooting into the bucket and not on the ground. ReeRee- stand back or the feed dust will get in your eyes. The buckets are loaded into the back of the Mule. Weight lifting is a little shaky…
Off to the horses, who are always the first to be fed. The geeky 7th grade colts (from Grullo’s herd) are in with the big senior horses. The senior horses are sorted off into the scale house pen. The big horses like to give the little horses swirlies, or the horse equivalent.
(Yes, Newt is in this picture. I tried taking a picture of myself pouring pellets into the bunk. It didn’t work, so I took this picture the next day. Thanks Newt!)
The big horses chow down on ¾ of a bucket in the bunk. We only have three broke horses. (They aren’t broken, but broke to ride with a saddle. Not guaranteed to not buck.)
Now the little geeks eat at their table, I mean bunk, without the senior bullies. And Grullo is enjoying his senior citizen meal by himself.
How are the pellets old fella?
On to the last bunch on this haul, the fats-in-training. The fats-in-training will someday be beef in our freezer. And there is a dinky corriente calf born late. He has a better chance of getting a decent meal with fewer buddies around. And bullies. This is the first day in the new pen.
The fats-in-training just looked at us from the far corner. So much for getting fat. COME TO THE BUNK! Get ‘em boys!
The dogs leap from the back of the Mule, empty buckets clatter as they exit. So much for the fats getting fat after the round and round with the dogs. Finally, the steers realize where the bunk is. Yummo- breakfast.
Our buckets are empty. Back to the bins to refill.
But there is always time for a ride on the C tractor. Brrmmm!