Sunday, March 31, 2013

Week 13/52: Easter

For Easter, Andy was hangin' with his Peeps!!

Our family enjoyed church this morning and a meal with the Rockeman family.  Oh, and much laughter!  Of course, since it is calving season, there was a slight delay in eating.  We had a new calf who could not figure out how to eat.  So, the guys made sure the calf ate before them.  This evening they are out tagging calves.  Though it is a holiday, the routine must continue.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Week 12/52: Raggedy Family Reunion?

This week's entry in Andy's life...

Andy is pictured here with a couple of friends/family.  The big Andy belonged to Mark (or his brother?).  Mark just had a birthday (50+) and received Raggedy Ann from his Mom. I think she thought Andy needed a little buddy and this was a good excuse to give it!!  The sizes are about right for Father, Mother & Andy.  The ages - well, maybe Grandpa and grand kids? 

Anyway, I just had to get a "family" photo!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week 10/52: Andy watching a future architect at work

Today I had the pleasure of spending a little time with my sister and her daughter.  My niece is attending college planning to become an architect.  She is home on spring break but still has so much homework to get done.  She was working on an assignment while I was there.  Andy sat nearby so he could watch this architect at work.  Some of us are still trying to understand what drawing a beautiful bouquet of flowers has to do with designing buildings!

Thanks for letting us invade your space and for your time Miss Ashley. 

EDIT:  I wanted to add a photo of the artwork after Ashley finished it. 
(Yes, I am proud of my niece.)


Monday, March 4, 2013

Week 9/52: Andy & the blizzard

We have been warned about an incoming storm so had been doing things to prepare.  We tucked a young momma and her twin calves into the barn, put extra straw into the barns so there is a nice, comfy spot for the cattle to lay and tried to mentally prepare for trudging through deep, blowing snow.  (Okay, my guys did the first two things and I did the last!)

The storm didn't come quite as soon as expected but the weather folks were correct about the storm a-comin'.  By the time I went out to see if there were any new calves at 3 AM it was snowing and starting to blow.  When I went out again at 6, it was really blowing.  I had sent a text to Christopher and told him to stay home (he lives in our little nearby town).  He usually is out here at 5 or 6 AM to check cattle but today I asked that he stay put at least until daylight.  He & Paige came out later to tend to their horses and help with cattle chores.  The visibility actually kept getting worse.  Sometimes we can see quite a distance, but the ground drifting is terrible making the roads bad.  Plus, it is very hard to see the edges of the roads when everything is white and moving.  Brett had to help Christopher & Paige get "unstuck" a couple of times after they decided they had better get back home.  After Brett was back home, he said, "I watched for the fences to find the road."  He made sure he could see the fence in either ditch but even that was tricky sometimes.  Anyway, everybody got to their respective destinations safely.

Andy went to see the blizzard and didn't even get the screen door open when he found this.

Guess that is what happens then the wind is blowing straight at the door.  Lucky for us the inside door is tight!

I went to the other door and could hardly get the screen door open.  Here are a couple of photos from that door (I wasn't going out into this mess unless I had to). 


The visibility in the yard isn't too bad right now.  Heck, we've had blizzards so bad that we couldn't see the barn. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Rolling Feed

Our eldest son, Christopher, was able to purchase oats cleanout from a neighbor.  Cleanout (or Screenings as some call it) is the 'stuff' that is removed when we clean our grain to get most of the weed seeds, and other foreign matter, removed before planting.  The grain goes through a machine that shakes the seeds across various sized screens so, hopefully, only the pure seeds remains.  The rest is cleanout.    The oats cleanout that Christopher was able to purchase is great for feed to our cattle and those in the feedlot. 

Before we feed this we like to run it through a roller mill.  The roller mill cracks the grain making it more digestible for the animal.  We have also done this same process with corn and barley for the same reason.

The whole set up for rolling our feed
 We auger the cleanout (aka grain) from the bluish-grey building (grain bin). 
It goes into the roller mill. 
 There are two roller mills in my photo.  Yesterday the men tried the red one on legs.  Today, they are using the (formerly red) one that is hooked up to the tractor.  Both of the roller mills do the same job but it was decided that the one on the tractor was doing a better job of cracking the oats.  The one on legs runs with electricity.  The one on the tractor is run by the tractor's PTO (Power Take Off). 
Oats Cleanout
 Here is a fairly close photo of the Oats cleanout.  The long, narrow, oval shape is the oats seed.  There is also some straw (the dried stem of the grain plant) and other random seed.  This is what it looks like before it goes through the roller mill. 
 The top of this photo shows the grain going into the roller mill.  The bottom left hand corner is the rolled product getting augered away to the little white hopper bin (see top photo) for storage.  Just above the auger in the bottom corner is the rolled grain coming out of the roller mill. 
This is a closer look. Toward the upper right corner the rolled oats are coming out of the roller mill. The auger in the bottom left is taking it to the hopper bin.
 This is what the grain looks like after it goes through the roller mill. 
You can see how the grain is cracked open.  

Here is a photo of the tractor that makes the roller mill work.  Brett is sitting in the tractor making sure there are no problems.  Sometimes the top hopper (holding area) of the roller mill gets too full so he has to stop the grain from augering until there is room for more grain.  Yesterday he said he had to stop the auger every two seconds and wait for two minutes before there was room for more.  I guess it was better today!
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