Greetings from Minnesota. I awoke to about -6 degrees this morning, and it sounds like a cold front from Canada is moving in so temps will only get colder.
I’ll quit with the suspense and just post the pictures I mentioned… (more pictures can be found at the end of this post, so don’t quit reading here).
You may recall from previous posts that I’ve said we start keeping baby calves inside during the winter instead of moving them to hutches. I snapped a few pictures of our newest arrivals the other day, and now you can finally see the indoor babies!
Sometime in December we start putting new heifer calves into stalls inside one of our barns instead of hutches. The stalls are separated with plastic or painted wood panels and then just have little wire doors on the front. We also have some newer stalls in another part of the barn, but they don’t have babies in them yet. Pictures of these to come…
A few reasons dictate why we use indoor housing in winter. First, we only have a certain number of hutches. In summer when calves get old enough to be moved out of hutches and into pens, the hutches are pretty easy to manage. We can wash them, move them into new rows and re-bed with straw so they’re ready for another calf. During the winter, the hutches are usually under a deep pack of snow and not easy to move or wash.
Also, it gets cold outside! While calves do very well in hutches over winter with fresh straw and enough milk and grain, we can just manage the indoor environment a little better. We avoid having to shovel snow out of as many calf hutch yards and walk and drive through as much snow to feed calves. We can also easily use heat lamps over every calf for a few days (as in the photos above).
A downside is the barn just can’t be as well ventilated as a calf hutch. In winter it’s fine because we run the side wall fans as needed to bring in fresh air and close things up if we need to raise the temperature. In the summer it’s just much better for our calves to be outside in hutches with access to the outside and open air.
We still have older hutch calves right now and will throughout the winter, but we just don’t put new ones outside until spring gets closer. Usually in March once things start to melt a little, we’ll wash and move empty hutches to get them ready for calves.
I actually haven’t run since Saturday, and it’s intentional. After the run I was honest with myself and realized my leg really and truly hurt. A few more rest days seemed smarter than several slow-paced runs, so I’m sticking to stretching, cross-training and farm stuff. I plan to run Thursday if nothing hurts, and then I’ll either do a semi-long run this weekend or a local 5K.
This “Frozen 5K” is about the only winter race close by, and I have a small urge to run fast. While I’m not in top shape and the course will probably have some snowy spots, I’m still thinking about it. In typical Lisa fashion I’ll wait until the morning of to decide – based on how my leg feels and how everything is at the farm.
I promised you some more pictures, and these ones are running related. Just bear with my story for second, ok?
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about whether to marathon or half marathon this spring. I’ve also been thinking about the half I ran last spring. It was a perfect April day, but I was just starting to get over strep throat. (Why do I always get sick before big races? I suppose the added training wears me down, but ug!) I don’t think I’ve shared any pictures of this race because they were so yucky.
So what is the possible point of sharing these pictures? Mainly, it helps me remember that things may not be easy or go according to plan, and they might hurt a LOT, but running the race and crossing that finish line is worth it. I’m not alone either, because I know that God is with me no matter what I do.
This may mean I’m closer to signing up for Fargo, but I’m still evaluating. Whether I do a half or a full, I’m ready to put my race day face on (no matter how funny it makes me look in pictures).
If you made it to the end of this crazy long post, thanks! Share a link to your favorite (or worst or best) race photo.
Any cow questions for me this evening?