Oh I couldn't be more excited for warmer weather than what I am right now! In case you didn't notice, I haven't posted a blog in over a week. There's a GOOD explanation for that-we were taking care of our cows the best that we could in some pretty miserable Minnesota weather. At last count we put in 3 16-hour days, 2 15-hour days, and 3 12-hour days. It's been tough, no lie about that. Our biggest challenge was just making sure that all of our cows, heifers and calves were protected from the wind and snow. Frost bite is just as dangerous to cows as it is to humans....we take the winter very seriously. We bedded in all animals everyday with lots of extra straw, thereby keeping them dry and clean. We moved cows that were due to calve in the coming days, into a heated pen to assure us that any calves born would be warm and frost-free. Accidents do happen, where cows are not smart enough to stay out the wind and decide to have their calves out in the open, in a snow bank, and in the wind-those calves usually die. Knowing this fact-we didn't want to take any chances-we want all live calves, so mothers got moved inside. We used special teat creams/lotions in the milking barn to protect teats on cows and heifers that could be at risk of freezing as well. The temperatures dipped below -30 a couple of times over night, but wind chills were out biggest enemy: -45! Add some fluffy, fresh snow and we had a good mess on our hands. One night we were even unsure if we could make the 7 mile trip from the farm back to our home since most local roads were closed...but we made it.
It's days like those that I really wonder how animal rights activists can accuse us on "not caring" for our cows!?!?! Seriously!?!?!? If I didn't care for my cows, I would have stayed at home, wrapped up on the couch with a warm blanket instead of sporting 5 layers of clothing and a ski mask to care for my animals. Those days were really hard on us mentally. Jon and I asked ourselves often-"Why is it that we are doing this?" We do it because we love our cows, and we strive everyday to give them our very best-they deserve it! Farming is not easy, but we do it because we know how important it is to grow, raise, and produce safe, quality, wholesome food for the world. So, I guess to rest my case....say thanks and congrats to a dairy farmer today....especially if they survived a week of winter like we did.
And, be grateful for the +30 temps coming this week!