Transition to winter has been difficult

I guess my hopes of having a surprise “Indian summer” has past. And for some reason, this transition period to winter is difficult.
It seems like you just cannot put on enough clothes (I’m certain I won’t feel this cold in the middle of January or February).
The sun was shining on Saturday but we darn near froze!
I decided we should tackle the job of vaccinating and de-worming the cow herd. When I fed the cows last Wednesday, a fair way from the barn, I was thinking, “I wonder if I should feed this round closer to home?” I didn’t.
I thought to myself that all I need to do is start the four-wheeler and the cows will follow me home. But I knew as soon as I made it to them, and they weren’t on their way to meet me, that things were not going to go as planned.
Some started to follow me home but as soon as they noticed the others were not following behind, they came to a dead stop. I tried three times with little luck.
My boyfriend/partner said, “Why don’t you see if they will come with the tractor and a bale a hay?” I ignored him. So he took a nice green bale out and unrolled it in the pasture next to the barn pasture. Then we all went to the house to warm up and drink some tea.
It was already 1:30 p.m. by this time and I was sure that job was cancelled until at least next weekend. I would plan to feed them closer to home this week and then tackle the job next weekend.
But at the end of our tea break, we looked out and it looked as though the herd decided to come and enjoy the bale of hay that was rolled out! They were one step closer.
My boyfriend/partner took the four-wheeler and went and locked the gate while my mom and I went to encourage them to enter the yard area. Alas, they did not want to go as the frozen mud plays havoc with their feet.
It took us multiply attempts to get them close to the gate and finally a few young ones headed to the barn. They walked slowly and very carefully but they went straight into the corral (they were not going to take any extra steps on the unlevel frozen ground).
At this time of the year, I prefer to use the maternity pen to process the cattle. The handling facility is mostly frozen in place and we find the maternity pen faster and safer.
The cows received two needles and a liquid de-wormer along their back. We thought that by keeping our needles in an insulated bag, we wouldn’t have to worry about them freezing. But halfway we were having troubles.
Fortunately, Maddie was out so she was able to draw up the needles for each cow and we finished just before dark. We were finished, too, but pleased the job was done.
Thankfully, my mom, cousin, niece, and boyfriend/partner stuck around to help–it wasn’t the most pleasant day.
Bulls are next to be done, but there is only three of them, and, of course, the sheep. We’re going to try a new product on the sheep this year and we likely will start breeding them in the next couple of weeks, so it will get that accomplished before this.
The cows, meanwhile, are back out on smoother ground. I guess we only can hope for some snow to fill in this lumpy mess before they have to some home for calving.
It really is seeming like a long winter already and we are just getting started.
• • •
Sadly, I attended a funeral for one of my friends last week, Peter Boon Sr. I didn’t see Peter often but when I did, I always enjoyed his visits.
Sympathy goes out to his family who have been going through a very tough time.
• • •
I sure hope to see many of you this week at our abattoir annual meeting. We have been really working hard to get things in a better way for our abattoir and we really need to hear from the membership!
The meeting is set for this Thursday (Nov. 22) at 7 p.m. at the Chapple hall.

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