Monday, May 15, 2017

Half of one barn has sand bedding

One side of the barn is done!  Due to a lot of work by our team members, of course Kris, and even our little family ...

We removed and replaced the free stalls and mattresses ...

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

We got a sand shooter bucket.  You scoop up the sand from the pile, move it to the barn, and it shoots it into the free stalls.

No automatic alt text available.

We smoothed out the sand to make it level.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor



Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor














I am sure this is the only time they will be crawling in here.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, child, outdoor and nature

And today, we got to let the cows try it out!  They seemed to like their new sand.  Now just the other half to do ... and the other barn!

No automatic alt text available.

Kris did take a short break this weekend to watch us run a 15.5 mile (25K) Fifth Third River Bank Run in Grand Rapids.  I ran with Team Chocolate Milk, Annie Link is a fellow dairy farmer, and of course we were both happy to drink it at the end!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, drink and outdoor

Image may contain: 6 people, outdoor

We just got a message from our neighbor Sharon Brock that she sees a new calf in the pasture along her yard.  Never a dull moment in the spring!

Want to know more about the farm?  Like the page on Facebook, on Twitter @carlashelley, or sign up to get the blog by email - the form is on the right side of the page.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A million things to do

Things are going a million miles an hour.  We're trying to do our part of the barn as fast as possible.  Here's Kris compacting the sand that will go under the mattresses.  Then we'll bolt them down and they'll serve as a base for the sand the cows lie on.

(I love how the boys are standing here.)


Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

They're out on pasture!  This requires using the trailer, sorting them, taking them down the road in multiple trips, and then getting them back in before they learn to stay inside the fence.

Image may contain: sky, grass, cloud, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: horse and outdoor

And in the midst of all of this, our corn is being planted (we pay a custom planter to do it) and ... we had our first calf!

The cows were especially excited when moving across the creek.  They were louder than I've ever heard them.

Now they're across the road from my house, so I can see one of my favorite sights ... again!  May really is the best month.  Not from a work-until-you-drop-from-exhaustion angle like Kris, but when this is out your window, how can you not smile?  (And then take a million pictures?)















Want to know more about the farm?  Like the page on Facebook, on Twitter @carlashelley, or sign up to get the blog by email - the form is on the right side of the page.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Converting to sand bedding

We're doing a big project - changing the barn to sand bedding! (It is a popular choice due to cleanliness and cow comfort.) This means we have to remove the free stalls and mattresses, cut the concrete, remove sections of concrete, pour a concrete curb, replace mattresses ... plus many other steps. Beach for cows, coming up.

It was a lot of work for our team to remove the free stalls and mattresses - and to be careful with them because we're going to reuse them.  Then we brought in a local company to do the cement work.  This was yesterday:

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, shoes and outdoor

Image may contain: outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and water

And 24 hours later, the cement is removed, and the curb is halfway done.

Image may contain: one or more people, sky and outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

We're doing half of the barn at a time.  They are moving quickly.  And ...

Image may contain: sky, grass, tree, cloud, plant, outdoor and nature

It's not bad outside, either.

Also, Kris and Jake were putting the calves from last year out on pasture while I was running by.  Three ran through the fence and I ran to help get them back in.  Running after cattle is so different than running on the road.  First, sprint to the right spot.  Second, crawl under a fence.  Third, race a heifer so she doesn't go into the woods to be lost forever.  Fourth, hop a stream to herd them in the right direction.  Fifth, get manure (or mud) on your shoes.  It's hard to tell without smelling them. Repeat steps 1-5. Sixth, ask Kris for a ride home because after all of that, you're late!

Want to know more about the farm?  Like the page on Facebook, on Twitter @carlashelley, or sign up to get the blog by email - the form is on the right side of the page.