Saturday, November 2, 2019

Aaaannnd, Novembler!

Arrrrg! No, I'm not a pirate. It's the season of hard living and I'm getting stretched at every turn. It's not a bad thing. It's just a thing.

During the season of hard living the cold ads considerable difficulty to just about everything. You have to do more stuff from top to bottom. While in the summer I can be out of bed and out doing chores and jobs is 15-20 minutes, it just ain't so in the winter.

Of course it's not celestial or calendar winter yet, and it won't be until 9:19 p.m. (MST) on December 21. Or if you prefer, 212119TDEC19. Alternately, if distribution of this missive was limited to recipients only in the Mountain Time Zone, it could be rendered 212119JDEC19. Either would be fine, and guidance for which rendering to use would devolve to the operational commander, which is me. I like the sound of TANGO more better than the sound of JULIET (although I really like the Dire Straits song Romeo and Juliet), so the first one would apply. Of course I'm not the King of the World, so if this were going out worldwide, it would more properly be rendered in UTC or Coordinated Universal Time (commonly referred to in our U.S. operational lingo as ZULU time) thus: 220419ZDEC19. Clear? Oh, bother. I 'splained it all here. Holy stream of unconsciousness, Batman, where did all that come from? Obviously I digressed a bit there...

Sorry 'bout that. Where was I?

Anyway, winter weather is winter weather even if it happens in mid-autumn. Ahem.

In winter even the little things change. Dressing for instance. In summer it's shorts and tee shirt with cut-off sleeves. Good socks properly donned under lightweight but sturdy trail running boots. Out the door. In winter there's layering, and proper layering depends on an assessment of meteorological conditions and forecast. Basically, long underwear or not, but the smart and experienced idiot checks the weather on the interwebs with a cup o' joe first. If the interwebs is broke you go with eyeball observation and best guess. Proper winter socks, donned properly. Long trousers and a more substantial tee shirt. Good winter boots, regardless of conditions. Then coat, hat and gloves. It all takes time. Once you get out and get to work, cold, wind, and snow make things more difficult and take longer. I ain't complainin', you understand. Just 'splainin' why I call it the season of hard living.

First thing I usually do is turn on the water to the cattle. I try to keep it off during on-peak hours (3 p.m. - 10 p.m.) because it takes electrons to make the well work and there's no need to pay the higher rate if the cows choose to drink during the expensive hours. I shut it off at 3 p.m. and leave it off until morning, which is part of why it's the first thing I do. The water valve is out behind the barn, which is a good excuse to walkercize out there and back. Dogs seem to enjoy going with me.

Pretty morning today.

Here's the water valve setup!
The long t-shaped "key" goes down the tube and turns the valve. Lefty onny, righty offy. GENTLY.
Always park the key like this so you can find it in the snow.

This is off.

ON. Just a 90-degree throw. The key gives lots of leverage, so GENTLY. Axe me how I know.

Put the key back where you can find it in the snow.
Then I check and water the chickens and gather eggs.

Mom does the feeding of the birds.

The water is pretty straightforward.

They drink about 2 gallons a day.

They're usually quite interested in what I'm doing. Waterer is 'lectrically heated btw.

Ahhh! Fresh, clean, 'lectrically heated water!
Then I go check cows. And chop tank ice. That 141 cow is a troublemaker.

Had a couple of droopy calves this morning, which I reported to the owner. Not treatable sick yet, but they might be tomorrow.
The way they hold their ears tells you a lot. This young lady isn't feeling so hot. She was slow to get up and slow moving around too. Just feeling sick I think.

Same story here. They were both droopy yet this evening.

As it turns out, Nebraska got beat today. Which is fine since they're clearly the worst team in the league. By the time football is outlawed in 2030 or so they might be getting good again. Especially if there are no teams left to beat them.

Not a very big deal though. What a sunset!

Hope you're all well! Don't forget to sleep in and miss church after forgetting to change your clock tonite!


  1. Thanks for the reminder on the time change. I don't think I would be a good farmer/rancher. Not enough reading time for me. I'm a bit ( or perhaps more than a bit ) lazy. Not to mention well on the way to geezerhood.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Most of the farmer/ranchers I know including myself are olden geezers. The average age of u.s. farmers is 57.5. One of the nice things about being my own boss and having the lednik (I know, should be eldnik, butt I like lednik better) app on my phone is I can always take a break and read. Sometimes many breaks, or fewer but longer breaks. Gotta go with the flow of mother nature.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Paul.

  2. Your dogs appear to be great companions. My daughters both have dogs, amazing animals.

    Another beautiful day in western Nebraska!

    1. They're great dogs. And indeed a beautiful day.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sarge!

  3. Nice day at your place. We didn't have your weather or temps on the ranches and always poured concrete pads for the water troughs, but I see that you don't.
    Actually a nice day here. Should have planted the 120 tulip bulbs I got the other day. Tomorrow if the weather holds.
    Went to Saturday evening mass so I wouldn't have to worry about being late because of the time change tonight...

    1. We didn't...but we should have! Damme bunnies dig warrens under the tanks and cause no end of mischief. The bottomless or permanent tanks are really the way to go.

      I still have tulips to plant too. Maybe tomorrow as the ground isn't that frozen yet.

      Our preacher is usually down at the bar on Saturday night so I don't have that option. I wonder if the Padre would, no, he's down there too. Oh well.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Brig!

  4. A touch of hypothermia, from the first cold nights? I hope they feel better in the morning.

    1. Maybe just a tummy ache or something. They were both looking better this morning. Fortunately, they're tough and mostly self-regulating/repairing. It's a pretty good racket.

  5. Ok, so how many eggs per day and what happens to them after Red gets her share? That is not a negative comment on the lady's weight. She appears to be beautifully well nourished and very sweet. I am curious about the eggs and chickens because my neighbor had two older chickens (one layer) that he could leave with food and water for a week or two. We would gather eggs from time to time when he was gone and the rate was maybe one a day or every other day. He now has three or four young ones not yet laying. Of course, my wife wants her own chickens so she can send me out to gather eggs and tend the chickens. I say that's what WalMarts are for and you get the added benefit of joining the non situationally aware melee of cart pushers for a real fun time. Thank you for the post. Mark

    1. Out of 14 hens we average 10 eggs per day. That'll go down and stop during the winter, but if the interwebs is right it'll pick back up in the spring. Red is very sweet, a great dog, and a boon companion for Mom. She is also, as you noticed, beautifully over-nourished. It's what it is. The chicken farming thing is quite interesting, often quite fun, and sometimes quite vexing. I recommend it highly.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Mark!

  6. About the only thing you missed was the Julian date... And there is ALWAYS work to be done on a farm or ranch, and dressing properly CAN keep your ass alive out there! Hang in there.

    1. The Julian date (shudder). I always had ask the Yeoman. No shortage of work is a good thing, as is dressing correctly. I wouldn't enjoy the season of easy living so much if there wasn't a season of hard living.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    2. Badgers require 4 distinct and separate seasons. There is beauty in midwinter, too.