“Ahoj” to all! Here we are walking into mid-March and still getting cold, wet winter weather thrown at us! Dad and his friends spent the week in Florida at the Commodity Classic, an agriculture convention, so they were able to get a little break from Nebraska weather. My brother and I had to tiptoe around while doing chores this morning as we were given yet another layer of ice. Everything had a slippery finish, and the sky just kept sending down more.
The cattle were soaked to the bone as were we. It was cold, wet and so muddy. My heart goes out to the livestock on mornings like that, hoping they are able to stay comfortable. I feel like we are on day 365 of breaking ice. But I keep telling myself at least we have muddy cattle yards this spring. I don’t think I ever put my mud boots on last year. Spring 2022 was just an intro to what we would experience during the tough summer months. I’m sure many of us are holding our breath for a more bountiful summer.
Even though this winter has been a tough one, I have to remind myself every day to thank God for this moisture. He has blessed us with moisture we once prayed so hard for. What a different world we lived in last year. Our fields, livestock and farmers can’t afford to take that beating again.
The sun is about to hang around for as long as she can, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Daylight savings time begins this weekend and I can already picture those 9 p.m. sunset rides while watching the cattle graze so peacefully in the pastures. Those are the moments I live for and I am just itching for them again!
My Dad disagrees though, as he isn’t wild about this time change. He doesn’t carry a phone or wear a watch. The sun is his clock and his workdays end when the sun does. We are entering the time of year when supper is ready at 9 p.m. and no earlier. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am so in love with this life and pray that I never have to know any other way of living.
The cattle seem to be flying through our alfalfa crop this winter. Every day, I look at the stacks with one eye open. The cattle are learning to be picky this winter as they are filling up with some of the best hay that’s ever come from these fields.
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It’s hard to admit, but there was one favorable thing about getting such minimal rain this summer. After the hay was cut and raked, it stayed dry creating sweet, green bales packed full of whole, hearty leaves that all hung on to their palatable stems. With the cut, raked rows not getting wet (literally ever), the quality was one of the best this year and that is something we are so grateful for.
The cattle roamed the toughest pastures in the hot summer, so they fully deserve to be getting this high quality hay during the cold months.
Since we only grow alfalfa and red clover for hay, our neighbors have always been so kind and share some of their bromegrass bales with us for my horses. My mare is a picky little thing, and she approves year after year. I am so lucky to have this connection for I know how difficult it is for many horse owners to find quality grass hay that can live up to the standards of their choosy four-legged friends.
I’m fully convinced this is a connection that is only graced to people in farming communities. We have some of the best neighbors around our section. I know they would drop everything to share their generous, helping hands at any time, and I hope they know we would do the same for them in a heartbeat.
But unfortunately this year, their bromegrass crop was a victim of the drought and they were unable to part with the very few bales that they had. My brother found some round bales of bromegrass for sale near David City and was able to snag some of those up. I don’t feed my horses out of a round bale feeder for a few reasons, so one of those should last them while they impatiently wait for the grass to start poking through along the fence lines.
They are giving me hope that spring weather is right around the corner! I am spotting some thick winter coat trickling down to my feet when taking a curry brush to them. It’s slight right now, but it’s such an exciting sign! I am fully prepared to have half of a bay and a roan on my clothes for the next few weeks!
Hoping nothing but the best for you, your family and your farm as we enter into such a busy and hopeful time of year! Agriculture, this farm and the ones that humbly share their hard-earned knowledge about this industry is what I love most about this life. I’m convinced God put me here to love this land and this livestock. This farm and the generations before me that created it will always have my heart.
Until next time! “Spanem Bohem!”