Friday, February 3, 2012
Come Feed With Me...........
Would you like to ride in the hay truck with me today? It isn't scary, I promise! It's fun and we get to drive and everything! What's that? You aren't really into riding in hay trucks? Well you'd better get clickin' cuz we are ready to go..........HA! Too late, we already took off!
Ahem.....THIS is the hay truck.
Actually, around here it is known as the WHITE hay truck, not to be corn-fuzed with the RED hay truck, but I digress......
In the mornings, PK (Mouse's hubby) and I get in this handy little machine while The Man and Herry Ford (Mouse's dad) go cake the heifers. (Caking the heifers will be another blog post on another day, but I will tell you that it doesn't involve chocolate, layers, and lots of frosting, much to my dismay.....)
K.......so PK and I get in the hay truck and drive down to the stack yards to get a load of hay. When The Man and Herry Ford are done caking, The Man gets in with us. Am I rambling? Of course I am, you know I can't blog without takin' about 6 or 8 laps 'round the trailer park.........now where was I?
Oh yes, we need to load hay!
There are three hydraulic levers inside the truck that control all those fancy tools.......PK runs them, cuz I don't want to crush or otherwise maim anybody. Once he gets the bed up, the top thingy raised, and those little arm-y claw-y things out, he starts backing up to the stack......
When he gets backed up far enough...... what's that? Oh, how does he know he's there you ask? Why he rams into the stack of course. When I almost fly into the windshield, he knows he's backed up far enough.
Anywho, when he's backed up far enough, he moves all those handy leevers and closes the top thingy, and squeezes the beejeezus out of the side of the bales with those claw arms.
Then he proceeds to lower the bed back down.
Now, do you see that very tippy top bale and the bales under it? Sometimes, things don't work out like they do in pictures, and those back 4 bales like to tip out and threaten to plunge to their doom.
When it looks like that is gonna happen, The Man must "ride them down". Before PK starts lowering the bed back down, The Man climbs up to the top of the stack, and facing toward the front of the truck, he clings there to the top thingy like a Capuchin monkey, using his body to hold the bales in place...........yeah, that's the kind of fun we have on the ranch, AND you don't even have to buy a ticket!!
This time, however, the bales aren't feeling suicidal and no such acrobatics are needed.
We are ready to go feed! (Also, I must point out, because I'm a compulsive confessor, that in these pictures we are headed to feed the three year old cows, not the heifers as I was blabbing about earlier.)
Now we drive over to the area where the 3 year old ladies live.....They are happy to see us and are coming out of the crick bottom where they've been hanging out......
At times, they resist this coming out of the crick bottom, and we must cruise around honking the horn, and screaming HEY MOMMAS, COME MOMMAS, at the top of our lungs, but they will eventually mosey on over to see if we've brought them anything they are interested in eating.....
When PK and The Man have fed all the hay, I carefully push the clutch in and stop the truck, trying once again not to jolt them off. Then I scootch over to the middle, PK swings from the truck bed to the drivers seat, The Man does the same on the other side, they toss their neatly tied bale strings in the floorboard and we head back to the stack yards to get more hay and continue feeding.
How many bales a day do we feed? Well up until a couple days ago we were feeding right at 500 bales. There are 83 bales in a stack. The first group to be fed in the mornings are the little bulls. Then we go feed the heifers and the bred heifers, then the big bulls, then the old cows (meaning ages 4-10), then the three year olds are last. We start around 7AM and usually finish up right around noon. As the weather changes, the feeding amounts change. The type of hay we are feeding right now is just native grass. As soon as the heifers begin calving they will get alfalfa to help them produce plenty of milk for those new babies!
I really do enjoy driving the hay truck. I get to see the ranch, see the cow critters, and most of all I get to be with The Man for half of his work day!
Thanks for riding along! Next time we'll sort heifers for vaccinations ok?
Till then..........God Bless.............