Full-time farming days come to end

I only had Monday and Tuesday of this week to be a full-time farmer, then I went back to work every day starting today at the agricultural research station in Emo.
I had two full days planned, starting with the need to get my house in order (currently the barn is in better shape than the house). Fortunately, my last calf arrived Sunday around 11:15 p.m. so now I can sleep through the night!
I also needed to trim my horse’s feet—and continue to doctor the wound he received during the last big snowstorm. The fence was covered up by blowing snow and he managed to get his foot in it, ending up with a large cut.
He seems to be doing okay until he does some extracurricular exercise and then it splits open again.
Cows are much tougher than horses (horses are extremely thinned-skinned and there is a reason there’s a term “tough as cow hide”!)
Now that calving is over, we start planning again for breeding. Most of us vaccinate our cows prior to breeding, so that needs to get planned and scheduled for the next couple of weeks.
I have, in the past, “released” my bulls on May 1 (of course, that depends on when you want to calve). I’ve been debating in my head whether I want to continue to calve in the winter, but personally I think I will do better with all my calves on the ground before I go back to the research station.
I tend to pamper my cows a bit, and it would be stressful for me leaving them calving while I am at work.
As I get older, I can see my calving date changing. My first calf arrived on Feb. 14 this year and my last on March 29, which is great although it seemed much longer than that (I’m assuming it was the fight with the minus-40 C temperatures, the 18inches of snow, and finally two or three inches of rain.
As farmers, we tend to complain about the weather, but we seem to fight it with most all our jobs (calving, planting, haying, and harvesting). No complaints right now—the sun is out and it is cool enough that the cattle are at least dry.
• • •
I attended a “Growing Your Farm Profits” workshop last week. It was a great tool to get you to stop and think about financial planning, setting goals, and thinking about what we are doing and where we are going.
I highly recommend it to everyone—and it’s free!
There is no way you’ll have as much fun and laughs as we did (I was lucky enough to sit with a funny bunch from Devlin), but I encourage you to contact Dick Trivers and get your name on the list for the next one.
It will be well worth your time.
• • •
Another “work bee” was held at the Stratton sales barn over the weekend. I showed up late and left early, but still was able to pick up a bit of garbage while I was there.
It’s simply amazing how much work and improvements have been done to the barn. It is another “feel good” story.
The barn was built by volunteers/cattlemen in the 1960s, and today the volunteers/cattlemen are almost finished making this facility into a very modern cattle market. The amount of volunteer hours that have been put into the upgrades is amazing.
Again, it speaks very clearly what kind of great people we have within our community as they show up to work for free on a Saturday (and you can darn well bet everyone had work to do at home, especially when most work all week and then farm on the weekends).
Again, a lot of the events in Rainy River District are social (i.e., you get some work done, but you also get to catch up on calving, fencing, the weather, etc.) And never mind the work bees at the sales barn usually include some good cooking from a nice lady north of Emo (no, not me!)
• • •
Over the past few months, I’ve been working with a new group, The South Kenora Rainy River Stewardship Council, and I have really enjoyed this venture.
Currently there are seven of us, plus a co-ordinator. We come from vast, diverse backgrounds but we all share the same goal: of looking after our soil, water, and air and all of nature that lives within these areas.
Since we are just getting our feet wet, we just have a few projects started. One of these is the tree sale you may have been reading about (we have booked and sold more than 6,000 trees now).
There also will be some water-quality monitoring, pine marten nesting boxes will be built this fall, a summer student will be looking at the spiny water flea, and we will help promote “Fire Smart.” A couple of bigger projects in the very early stages include an agricultural fencing demo site and an education component in the high schools.
We also are planning to come up with a shorter, condensed name and possible have a logo contest.
Stay tuned for project details, but this looks to be a great addition to our community–even if it means going to another meeting!
• • •
I just want to clarify that the “A” cows I’ve spoke about in the past are Shorthorns, not Herefords!

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