Friday, 15 March 2013

Wet weather means a stall, mate!

The days of endless rain and grey skies are officially upon us (also known as early spring) although I hear rumours that fellow Canadians to the east are still shovelling snow. The only inches British Columbians are concerned with are the wet and green ones--our grass just keeps growing!

Which poses a question: when the fields are still too wet for fieldwork what keeps farmers busy? Aside from the milkings and chores we simply head indoors or should I say, inbarn.

This week of rain meant that we donned our figurative hardhats (instead of baseball caps) and laced up our work boots (instead of the usual rubber ones) and ventured inbarn for some "inside projects." What was on the agenda? Some much needed housekeeping. The cow's beds, or free-stalls (since they are free to come and go as they please) were getting a little messy; not messy as in soiled sawdust (we do official clean-up morning and night and unofficial tidy ups throughout the day--which is more times than I actually make my own bed...oops...).

Our cows sleep on rubber mattresses covered with shavings and through the years these mattresses were getting a little bumpy and uneven due to the shavings sneaking underneath.

However, we were not going to laze about on this issue, even if the sole purpose of this project was so our lovely Holstein ladies could laze about more comfortably. It was quite the process (a week long one) and made for long work days but we straightened these matters--er mattresses out.

Follow my photo-journal about our week long inbarn activities and see just what farmers get up to:

Out with the old! This excavator was a small cutie (can you hear all the men on the farm wincing?) But we needed something small to fit under the barn roof so the boys had no choice. We used it to scoop out the old sawdust.

In with the...skid-steer? Just kidding, we needed to drive up on the stall curb in order to get the entire bucket unloaded. These are deluxe free stalls: the cows now have four layers of leisurely comfort. First layer? Fresh sand.
Here we are packing the sand down for a smooth, level surface and for layer #2 (the cement). But that's the boring part. The best part is that little nifty machine Adam is handling is called the Wacko Packer. Haha. Oh the simple joys.

Thought the excavator and skid-steer where big?

See what other sizable machines turn up on the farm in the following post and of course the finished project...and how the ladies of the barn feel about all the improvements. Will it be a success? Or will noses be turned and milk withheld?