Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ok so I was wrong

Ok so I may have been wrong about the storm. That person is me, surrounded by snow. Did you recognise me off of a horse? I bet you wouldn't know me in the street.Uhh anyway so yes there is a storm and all the denial in the world didn't change that fact. It hit yesterday just after dark and really was quite heavy. We had about 6 inches on the ground in a couple of hours. We have a completely pastoral dairy farm here, with no sheds for the cows so they are all stuck outside. Cows are tough though and as long as you keep food in front of them they are ok. It's the new born calves that really struggle. They weren't even getting up, the poor little chaps. I brought one in about 7 o'clock. Mum did the late check at 9.30 or so and then that was it.

I woke up just before 3 in the morning. And lay in bed with the eerie white snow glow coming through the window thinking about little freezing baby animals. I tried to go back to sleep but it wasn't happening. So I found myself outside in the snow checking the soon to calve cows and the sheep. I tried to be really sneaky but the squeaking of the snow under my boots woke up the dogs and they kicked up a good ruckus. I'm going it's me it's me shut up, while the parentals and Kim are laying in bed wondering what the hell I'm up too. Actually, they thought I was checking the horses but I knew the horses would be fine, they all have double covers and hay and feeds. Anyway, there were two new calves that were cold and sad, the bull calf more so than the little girl. The little girl was very brand new, so wasn't as chilled. They got tucked up under a heat lamp and then I could sleep. Two more were born after I went to bed unfortunately and neither of them made it. The guilt! Mother and I are going to check them at 9, 12, and 3 tonight. Well I'll do 12 and 3. Mum will take the easier shifts.

The horses were fine though they are feeling the weather. The unclipped hair on the front of their faces is all poofed up which amuses me. I'm keeping a lot of hay in front of them. Today it started out miserable but was clear through most of the middle of the day which meant we could get everything fed on some grass as well as the silage, hay, fodderbeet (sugarbeet crossed with radishes- the cows go crazy for them. It's like cow crack apparently) and palm kernel. A lot of the snow melted but it's falling again now, though not as heavily. Up to 25cm is predicted overnight so fingers crossed that isn't the case. It's so hard on the animals. Well and the people. I was wearing two hats, a thermal, a polar fleece t-shirt, a hooded sweatshirt,a polar vest, trackies and waterproof leggings, a oilskin vest and a rain coat and gloves and still felt cold- though as soon as you move you are sweating. Those people that have proper snow all winter must be tough buggers. I'm sorry this is a fairly average post but you get what I have to give and right now it's not a lot!


  1. How cold does it get there for you guys? Your post is a cold reminder to us here in Canada that winter is on it's way for us too! I can't even imagine calving in the winter w/o a barn! Sorry for the loss of the little guys; winter's evil.

  2. Welcome to most of my entire life! I now live in the south, so it's not so bad, but for all of my previous years I lived in the Great White North of the US, AKA HELL. It started snowing in November and didn't stop until April. Sometimes it started snowing in October! I don't miss those days!

  3. Life on a dairy farm--you are one tough nut. Glad you managed to save the two calves anyways. Hang in there.

  4. Andrea, the big issue with this storm is that there have been falls in areas that haven't had snow in over 40 years. I live in Wellington and I'm looking at snow on the ground, and there has been snow in Northland - you'll possibly remeber that as being the 'winterless north' of NZ from when you were here!

  5. and i thought we got lots of snow.....
    luckily ours didn't last for very long and it was only about 5 cms deep.