Rain, Rain, go away.
Come again some other day.
This morning brings mixed rain and snow with a temp in the mid-thirties – not ideal conditions to be outside in the weather. But I still don’t wish it away.
The falling snow is melting down here along the river, but sticking a few hundred feet higher.
Cold, dry snow is not much of an issue as a person doesn’t get wet. But this stuff soaks a guy up pretty quickly, and wet clothes don’t insulate. For my morning feed I donned leather chaps, wool vest, rain slicker, rubber-footed boots, and rubberized knit gloves. I had a load of hay on the pickup for the big bunch of pairs, and I gave them what they could clean up in one sitting, then loaded up for an afternoon feed.
I normally feed the heavies late in the afternoon, as eating in the evening encourages them to calve during the day. But they bawled so piteously that I relented and gave them half a feed this morning also. Most of my gear hadn’t soaked through by the time I finished - only my hands were cold.
This wet weather is a bother, but I don’t begrudge it. Those of you who follow this blog will note that it has been sporadic for awhile as I have been busy with calving. And I had been a little worried that we might not have enough moisture for a good hay and grass crop this summer.
But at the same time I have been anxious about getting some spring plowing done. Hayfields must be renovated every ten years or so to maintain maximum production. There had been a long period before I took over management of this ranch since the hayfields had been re-seeded, and it has taken me awhile to catch up. I hope to get to the last fields this year. Wet weather has been keeping me from getting the farming done – but it also improves the production all over the ranch.
Feeding has become more challenging this year. My initial calculations had forecast that I would have just the right amount of hay on hand from what we put up last summer. But some stacks had been lighter than I expected, and some of the hay had been of lower quality than we needed. By February I figured that we needed another 50 tons to get through May.
Most years we have to feed through most of May before the grass is ready to turn out the cows - http://mellinniumcowboy.blogspot.com/2011/05/other-side-of-fence.html - although I have turned out as early as May 1st. So I ordered another two semi-loads of hay. With the way the weather has been since I ordered the hay, however, we won’t even use up the hay we have!
I do have one stackyard, yet, full of top quality alfalfa hay that the cows clean up, and I want to time that to feed for the last two weeks before we turn out. But when will we turn out?
If the weather stays as warm as it was last week, the grass will be beckoning two weeks hence. But if it stays cold and wet as this week, we’ll be feeding well into May. Do I feed this last stack now, or save it? When will the last two weeks be?
In the meantime I’ll use this weather to my advantage, catching up on my blog, and working through the accumulation on my desk – searching for that soothing glimpse of the wood underneath.