Archive for May, 2009
All along we have talked about farm and garden accessories. What we need to work the farm and in the garden but, let us not forget ourselves. We need the proper clothing and footware to get things done.
It really doesn’t matter what you wear as long as you are comfortable but, you do need to dress for the occasion. What I mean is, when working the farm in the summer and it is time to bale hay, don’t wear shorts. Well, you can but I would advise against it, unless you are like me and drive the tractor. By the end of the day your legs will be so cut up from the sharp edges of the hay bales that you will literally hurt. You won’t notice it so much while you are working but, the next day is a killer. Better to wear jeans or overalls.
Your footwear is also a dress for the occasion item. If I am just choring and not doing extra projects, like sorting cattle or etc., I usually can wear my garden clogs and be fine. Then there are those days that, like these past two weeks, that it rains and you sink when you take a step, that you need a real good pair of work boots. I have went through several pair in the past few months and finally found a company that makes a really great boot. These are called Muck Boots. We have had so much rain that we are constantly wearing our boots and my feet would literally ache. I am diabetic and the pain was at times too much. I would buy the cheap things, thinking that it would dry up soon and that would be that. I didn’t count on having to wear them everyday for weeks at a time and would literally wear them out. I finally decided to pay the price for a good boot and I am so glad I did. I can wear these Muck Boots all day and my feet may get tired but, they don’t ache like before. They are comfortable and have great arch support.
The other boot is the kind with a heel that you need when you ride the horses to go check cattle or just ride. You always want a heel on your boot so that your foot won’t slip through the stirrup. This is a safety precaution. Yes, a lot of people wear tennis shoes and I have even seen sandals or flip flops but, that isn’t safe. It is better to be prepared and wear the best gear.
A good pair of Carharts, coverall or overall, for the winter is wonderful and they last a long time. A good rain coat or jacket and pants is also a good item to have on hand. We like most all Carhart outer ware and have quite a lot of that brand around.
The other important accessory is gloves. You can never have enough gloves around. We wear gloves year round on the farm. Around here, our hands are usually into building, sorting animals, repairs, gardening and etc. Very seldom does anyone see us without our gloves on or, at least, in our pockets. I won’t say never but, you won’t catch us outside without a pair of glove most all of the time.
I was one of the worst, I’ll have to admit. I would use tools and not think a thing about them once I was done. I would just put them up and go on with whatever I was doing. As I became more involved in gardening and working on the farm, I realized that in order to have tools that will last, you need to do a little one on one care with them.
For example; after using a shovel, do you just store it or clean off the dirt first, or a hoe, rake, spade? Well, I would just put them away, until I finally realized that if I would clean them off, they would last longer and I wouldn’t have to buy new ones every year or so.
The best thing to do is a little chore Allen’s dad taught him years ago, clean off the dirt real well, then oil it with vegetable oil or spray. This will keep them from rusting over the winter months and come spring, they will be ready to use again. You don’t have to oil them every time you use them but, cleaning them off is a must every time.
The same goes for your wheelbarrel. Clean it out and don’t let it sit with debris in it. Especially if water sets in it, it will rust and then need to be replaced. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to oil it once or twice a year also. Keep the air in the tire checked and you will be able to manuver it well. Those tires are hard to change, especially when they have been on for so long.
Another garden tool is the tiller. It needs to be serviced as well. The oil needs to be checked on a regular schedule, the gas needs to be drained at the end of the Summer and fresh put in before using in the Spring. The tines need cleaned and cleared of all debris and sharpened and a little oil on them will do wonders as well. Check the spark plug, as it may need to be replaced periodically, and clean the outside of dust and dirt. You can take a leaf blower and blow out any dust from the engine to clear that area also.
Your lawn mower needs the same care and service as well as your weed eater. Just make sure your weed eater is getting the correct gas and oil mix that is recommended. I recently learned that mine requires a synthetic oil and it runs a whole lot better.
Once this is done, a place to store your tools is in a good garden tool organizer or shed. I have a specific shed for all my tools. They are organized on the walls and the smaller ones in a tool caddy. My tiller, wheelbarrel, mower and weed eater all go there as well.
This is not a hard chore or job to complete. It takes a minimal amount of time and your tools will last for years to come.
If you’re a horse owner, you’re aware that horses require a lot of time and maintenance. Like every pet, they offer you love, affection, and dedication, but they also require that you’re savvy about the specific needs of horses. One of the main elements that you need to be aware of is the variety and breadth of equine supplements. Typically speaking, one of the best ways to minimize the need for these supplements is by keeping your horse on a steady, consistent, and nutritious diet.
This kind of diet should consist of high quality hay. This diet, in conjunction with a light workload, will diminish your horse’s need for supplements. But certain factors can throw that balance off. If your horse is older, for example, he’s more likely to need these supplements. Another factor is if your horse is doing rigorous physical work. Horses that are pregnant are also a prime candidate for supplements. These additives include protein, additional fat, vitamins, and minerals.
In your farm or livestock supply kit, do you have a thermometer available? If not, you should have. Why? Because, it is important to know the temperature of your animals.
Temperature rise is a body’s defense in trying to kill bacteria from infection that is present in our bodies or our animals. It is good to know that our normal temperature is 98.6° F. It helps us know we are doing okay and also when we are not. It is the same with our animals.
All animals temperatures differ from one to the other, just like humans but, like us, each breed has a normal temp. range.
Here are a few:
Cows – 101° – 102 ° F Pigs – 101° – 102.5° F
Goats – 102° – 103° F Dogs – 100° – 103° F
Horses – 99° – 101° F Cats – 100.5° – 102.5° F
Sheep – 101° – 102° F Rabbits – 101° – 103° F
Chickens – 105° – 109° F; this temperature range hold true for all poultry although, you must consider, the smaller the bird the lower the temp.
If you have a small amount of livestock, it would be great if you could keep a record of all their temps, if you have a large herd or several, it may not be an easy task to accomplish. Keeping records will help you know when an animals temperature has changed, especially if you know what it normally runs.
Above normal temps, even 1 or 2 degrees can indicate an infection in the bloodstream and that you need to cool the body with a cool water or alcohol bath. Too high for too long can mean brain cell damage.
Below normal temps for a period of time means that you need to warm the body with blankets, heat lamps, heating pads or even electric blanket. If the temp remains low for a period of time and everything you have tried does not bring the temp back up, usually nothing further can be done and death is likely.
Taking an animals temp is not hard to do. It must be taken rectally and inserted 1 – 2 inches into the rectum for 3 minutes. To do this, you must hold the tail up and over the back to help the animal maintain balance. A regular human oral thermometer will do nicely.
It may be a good suggestion to have someone help you so that it is not so awkward trying to do it and then getting kicked or bitten. A run to the hospital for yourself, would not be good.
Use your head before attempting this on your own. Even using a head shute or collar may not be enough to avoid injury if not accustomed to this type of project.
Some facts of information were taken from the book:
A Veternary Guide for Animal Owners by: C. E. Spaulding D V M
If you are lucky enough to have a farm or ranch and own livestock of any kind then, you know about expenses and the unexpected kind.
Just like our children, we must care for our animals. They need good nutrition and vaccinations. Our animals need to be de-wormed at least twice a year and when they are under the weather, may need antibiotics or other meds to get them back on their feet.
This, I am learning more about everyday with my own animals. We have a fair size herd of cattle and we do what we can to keep them healthy, they get their vaccines and de-wormed regularly. But even then, problems arise and new steps have to be taken when one is under the weather or injured.
If you have followed my website farm blog at: www.outaroundthebarn.com or on this blog, you will recall some of the misfortunate happenings I have had with my own personal stock.
First, there was Rusty Rose, my Longhorn cow for 5 years. She got her left hind leg caught in a hay feeder and it froze. This was in January of 2008, on the coldest day of the year. She eventually lost the leg but, we did everything we could to save her since she was only 8 weeks away from delivering her calf. I wasn’t sure she could even raise him but, she surprised us by the third day and then it was nothing to her. She hobbled around on three legs until we weaned him and done well.
When this happened, it was time consuming, antibiotics twice daily, we had to find a place to stall her with enough room for her to try to move around in and so we could lift her with a hip lift to get her on her feet two times a day. We had to provide extra bedding and hay for her and we had to keep her separate from the herd. The estimated cost of this project was close to $1,000.00.
Next, we have my horse, Blaze, a nine year old Quarter Horse. He didn’t come up to eat with the herd and we had just had a severe storm come through the night before. We went in search for him and found him in the rubble, he could not walk. He was barely standing. We finally got him loaded onto the trailer and got him to the barn. His left hind fetlock was swollen and there was a small cut above the hoof on the backside. We doctored him and bandaged his fetlock and put him in a stall to keep an eye on him. The next day the swelling was three times larger. We soaked his foot in Epson salts and bran to reduce the swelling and called the Vet to get some antibiotics. After a week, he was no better, so we loaded him up, which took a while to do, and to the Veternary we went. X-rays and blood samples were taken. No broken bones were found but he carried his leg like there was a serious break. Somehow, he had detached his Flexer ligament, this may not be the correct name, it’s the main ligament. It had either torn into or snapped. This was a major problem. We had to find a Farrier to come and fit him with a special shoe, an egg shoe, and keep it on him for several months. A few days later, we got the test results back and found that he had a serious staph and psuedamonius infection. The antibiotics changed. We ended up with three rounds of this medicine before the infection was gone. We had to continue soaking his leg twice daily and wrapping it carefully for safety and protection. We, also, had to put a boot on him, mostly only during the day. His right leg, also, had to be wrapped to protect it from damage of stress and the extra weight. We had to keep him separate from the other horses and keep him stalled so that he could be watched closely.
I was told it would take, at least, 8 – 9 months for this to heal and they were right. It has now been 10 months and he is doing well. He has gotten his spirit back and I will be working with him more so that I can, eventually, get a saddle back on him. We, now, move him daily out into the small lot by the barn so that he can eat grass and move around more. It has taken a lot of time and extra expense to get him well. I estimated that the total cost of this little adventure was close to $2,000.00. Definately, not a regular expense on the farm.
Now, we have my meager goat herd of 10, seven nannys, two kids, and a billy. We are getting ready to casterate our two little ones and de-horn them here in the next few days. All of them have been de-wormed twice, except for the babies, and we have had no major issues until now. Mr. Ed, our billy, has Foot Rot. He had to bring this with him since we have had no problems before, I have owned him for approximately 4 weeks now. The weather is wet and muddy and to keep his hooves clean is a chore. It is a good thing he is gentle and friendly.
The treatment for this I have found is keeping the hooves trimmed and as clean and dry as possible, soak their feet or let them walk through a water bath of Epson salts or a Copper Sulfate mixture of 450 grams to one gallon of water, at least, 2 – 3 times a week and rounds of antibiotics such as; pen-strep, oxytetracycline, or a combination sulfa. The antibiotics must be consistant for a week. Cortisone can be used but, you must be careful. It can cause abortion in pregnant does and should be used no more than four days.
There may just be one that is infected and you can do the treatment on that one alone but, the whole herd can get this. It is best to let them all walk through the water bath to prevent problems down the road. Also, for preventive measures, an iodine supplement should be given to them, an iodized salt block is not enough. This is our cheapest project estimated around $200.00.
These are my personal experiences with my livestock and not to be confused as medical advice. These are some of the treatments that have worked for us.
So to get back to the basic message of this article, I must say that owning livestock is not cheap. The unexpected expenses of the farm supplies that you have to purchase can get extremely high but you know that is the price we have to pay to keep our livestock healthy. You can stock up and keep on hand the ones that you know you will need and there are many companies available to help you do just that. There are also the medications that you can only get from you veternary and you should always discuss any problems with him/her before treatment.
It is not cheap to own and operate a farm or ranch but the end results are amazing. I just gave estimated amounts of the expenses we have paid to heal our animals, this does not include the feed, extra hay, extra straw or the extra time. Would I do it again? You better believe it! It is a wonderful feeling to look out across the barnyard or pasture and see your livestock grazing and feel that swell of pride in your chest. It then makes it all worthwhile.
I don’t know about your part of the world but, here in Illinois, we are water soaked. Here it is the middle of May and if we were lucky some of us were able to get a garden out. Others not so fortunate, like me. I planted a half of my garden three weeks ago because, I always plant around the first of May to avoid the frost. I thought we were doing good and then the rain begins. We have had maybe, five dry days and my garden is so muddy you can’t even walk in it. Everything I planted will have to be redone. I am now frustrated.
So, I took another route. I suppose most have heard of the Tomato Tree or the Topsy Turvy. They are great garden accessories. I tried one last year with eggplant and it was wonderful. I was surprised to see the harvest from one plant. So this year I have two with tomato plants in them and one strawberries. I then took 50 gallon barrels and cut them in half, put rocks or aluminum cans in the bottom and filled with soil. I have six of them with tomato plants in them and I have to 5 gallon buckets with tomato plants in them. I decided that if I can’t get into my garden, I will at least, plant my garden somehow. I am now in the process of planting my cucumbers in planters and growing my beans in the greenhouse until I can transplant them. I am determined to have my garden one way or the other.
If you put your mind to something, you can find ways to make it work. Check out the Tomato Tree, it is great for this kind of weather, for beginners or for the elderly that love to garden and want fresh vegetables.
Before I begin, I would like to say that there are several farm and garden tools that have dual purposes. I would like to mention a few.
There is, of course, the hammer. It is used for a number of jobs such as; building fence, repairing the barn, all around repairs and I use one in my garden for driving stakes for my plants or building trellises for my blackberries or flowers.
Another one is the pitchfork, which is used to move hay or straw, clean out stalls and work my compost pile.
Then, there is the water hose. This particular tool is an essential on the farm and around the house for any one with a garden or flower bed. Even without these there is the lawn that needs water and of course the swimming pool.
My personal water hose is three attached hoses. It goes with me to water every plant in my flower beds and garden. It reaches all my tomatoes west of my garden to all of my daylillies south of the house to the five flower beds east of the house to my blackberries and plants north of the house and then to my garden itself.
It is also used to wash down the well and clean it out when mud gets clogged in the lines and to wash the machinery and equipment.
Another use is to wash/bathe our animals. The horses get hosed down every once in a while, more when we are using them regularly, to keep their coats clean. The dogs need a bath after a long work day and we have to make sure all the animals have fresh water to drink.
So, there are many dual purpose tools out there that we use on a regular basis and the water hose is just one of many dual purpose garden tools.
There’s nothing worse than a messy garage. Many people, however, treat their garage like a storage unit that doesn’t particularly need organizing. This certainly isn’t the case. When you let your garage collect clutter in this way, everything in there might as well be thrown away. If you can’t easily get to the items in your garage, you’re simply never going to use them. This is particularly true of your tools.
If you have to dig through piles of clutter to reach anything, you’ll probably just skip the project altogether. So rather than raking up those leaves, you’ll just let them sit. Rather than replanting those bulbs, you’ll just let your garden remain empty. And so on. But with a garden tool organizer, it’s an easy and manageable way to keep all your tools visible and accessible. It also doesn’t take a lot of work to maintain that organization. All you have to do is put the tool back into its designated slot.
Like every other day, I was feeding the cattle their regular feed and supplements. We are in our calving season and we keep a close watch on the cows and heifers that have delivered and those that are still waiting to deliver. Our herd looks really good this year and seems to be thriving. Most of our mamas, some pros and others new to this experience, are calm and easy to be around but, there are a few that are extremely protective of their babes and you can’t get within 100 ft. of them. Can’t really blame them for that.
As I was looking over the herd, I noticed one new Bromvie mama, her baby, a bull calf, only three days old, just standing by the livestock feeders and watching. She had her baby hid out somewhere and did not bring him up to eat. She had already ate so, it surprised me to see her just standing there like she was overseeing the others finish, like a supervisor would watch his crew. I wondered what she was thinking. Was she really watching the herd or maybe she was just as curious about why I was still there after I had already left their food for them. Do you ever wonder what they are thinking?
We, also, have longhorn cattle. The discussion of horn size came up when I questioned about my young cows horn size and comparing it to her mama’s and grandma’s horn sizes. Heredity does make a difference in the size of their horns. My three ladies horns are nothing to brag about because they are not that big. I believe Angel’s, that is the grandma, has the largest of the three. Rusty and Ruby just aren’t going to have the best of horns and Squirt and Chili Pepper, their bull calves, aren’t either I’m afraid.
After comparing them, I looked over the remaining herd and we have a few that carry some huge horns. I got tickled, all of the sudden, because the thought, that for some strange reason, crossed my mind was, do cows get headaches from carrying around those huge horns?
I got the funniest look from my partner. Seriously, though, people get headaches from all kinds of things including too much hair because of the thickness and weight. So why don’t cows get headaches?
Even funnier was the look I got when I said, ”well, you don’t hear them asking for Tylenol.”
Animals can tolerate a lot of pain. They get scratched or cut and go on. When they are out in the pasture or on open range, you cannot keep a close watch on them and you cannot cure their every injury. We would like to think we can but, it is impossible to do. They were created to care for themselves and do quite well.
But, I am still curious, do they?
It has been raining off and on for over a week now and no sign of letting up. It is a pain, literally, to have to walk through all this mud every morning and every evening to feed the cattle. Not so good for a person with a back, hip or leg problem. The mud just sucks your feet into the ground and at times your boots off your feet. That is not a nice feeling! If we only had a drive through gate, where we could just load up the buckets and drive right out to the feeders and dump them, it would be so much easier and a lot less painful.
A drive through gate, a wonderful idea and wouldn’t it be great to just bump and go.