And sometimes, you run into things you would never expect! Tuesday morning, I drove into Naperville to speak to a group of Rotarians about all things livestock. I have given a LOT of these presentations (over 90), and always come away with a renewed spirit, as everyone is so interested in where their food comes from.
This week, I was entertained to meet a man who knew where my hometown, Little York, was! In fact, he was the grandson of Mrs. Haben, who lived "over the hill" from our church for many years & taught Sunday School & Bible School when we were growing up.
It is amazing what a small world it is!
The farm has had it's ups & downs lately (as farming always does). We had a set of live heifer twins (up), and a nice new heifer that died during labor (major downer). We are waiting the return of our concrete contractor to hopefully finish up the stalls for the cows in the new barn. In the meantime, new fans have been mounted, we've gotten the beginning of some equipment mounted, and we are getting into a routine for pushing up feed.
You see, the cows used to eat in a raised feed bunk that they could access from either side.
The new way has lots of advantages: the cows don't have to stand up to reach it, they can't pick up a big mouthful & throw it up in the air and onto their backs (as a few of our boss cows love to do), or at least not as easily. Brent can drive-by their new bunk to feed at anytime, and the cows really enjoy the ceramic tile that is laid underneath all that feed. Why would we spend some serious $ on ceramic tile for the cows? Well, what would you rather lick at the bottom of your plate - concrete or ceramic tile? The cows enjoy licking at the ceramic tile, and it won't wear away over time like concrete. The really awesome part of this feeding system, is that if the cows don't eat all their feed (as they didn't during the heat), we can simply drive by with a skid loader & scoop it out of the way to give them fresh stuff.
The only disadvantage is that as the cows nudge & eat off this pile, they push some of the feed away from them, so that they can't reach it over this curb. So, we have to come along 3-4 times a day & push the feed back to their bunk area. We are still experimenting with the right piece of equipment (push broom, pitchfork, snow shovel), and are getting a schedule down for when we need to do this.