JANUARY 7, 2015 – We’ve had a week of really cold weather and I’m still sick. On New Year’s Day Andrea and Robbie fed my horses for me so I wouldn’t have to go outside (9 below zero), and they helped Lynn feed the cows and heifers and break ice on the creek for the cows. Our feed truck hasn’t been running very well so Robbie put new spark plugs in it, which made a big difference. Andrea got a few more small bales of grass hay on her pickup for the heifers, to feed with their alfalfa. Our high for the day was zero. Emily took the kids to town for their hockey practice that evening, and took a photo of Charlie waiting to play.
That weekend Sam had a tournament here at home, so Robbie took her to
those games, since Andrea was in Kalispell with Emily. Robbie also
helped Lynn and me do chores and break ice for the cows. Michael and
Nick came down and put out 2 more big bales of straw with the tractor.
We had stormy weather and more snow, and the roads were bad when Andrea
and Em drove home from Kalispell, so we were glad they made it home
safely Sunday evening. We had so much new snow here at Salmon that
school was cancelled on Monday.
I had an encouraging message
from my publisher of Horse Tales; he said the book did well during
December, with people buying it for Christmas, and he hopes it will
continue to have strong sales as more people learn about it. He gave me
the go-ahead to do another book, on Cow Tales, and I hope to start
writing it very soon.
I’m starting to feel a little better, and
have been helping Lynn feed the cows again, and took a few photos when
we fed yesterday.
whitetail deer are really plaguing us. The dogs are keeping them out
of the haystack but now more of them are eating alfalfa hay with the
heifers. Some of them are so bold that they just lie around in the
field and wait for us to feed the heifers, then come
hay. Emily took a few photos of several young deer with the heifers.
She is taking a lot of pictures these days and I am using some of her
photos for this diary.
[photos 6, 7 & 8 – deer and heifers]
20 to 30 deer are coming into the field in the evening right after we
feed the heifers, eating their alfalfa hay. They ate so much of their
hay the past several nights that the heifers were pretty empty and
hungry by morning. The deer also jumped into Veggie’s pen and ate all
his alfalfa hay. This isn’t going to work! Poor old Veggie (29 years
old this year) has bad teeth and it takes him all day to eat his morning
feeding, and all night to finish his evening meal. If the deer eat it,
he won’t get enough to eat and will be losing more weight.
Lynn started shooting fire-cracker shells at the deer to scare them
away, but they come right back. He went out there several times in the
night and the deer were back eating the hay again every time. So we
called the Fish and Game and asked what we could do to try to remedy
Three of their wildlife people came out this
morning and assessed the situation. They didn’t have a solution for the
deer eating our heifers and horses’ alfalfa, but they brought some
strong plastic netting material that we could wrap around our haystack
to protect it—something the deer can’t eat through. We wrapped it
around the stack, so now we won’t need Andrea’s dogs tied at each end of
the stack to protect it.
15 – The day we wrapped haystack, we moved the dogs to a new
location—putting their little houses by the fence in the field where the
heifers are, and staked them there. A few deer still sneak up around
them, but they’ve been able to bark and scare most of the deer away that
used to come right through that area to eat the heifer’s hay.
[photos 12 & 13 - dogs guarding the field]
had several foggy, cold days this past week but at least the
temperatures were no longer below zero. One night the power went off at
8 p.m. and was off for more than 3 hours—affecting about 800 people in
our valley. We were about to go to bed anyway, so we just used
flashlights to put wood in the stoves, and were glad we had wood stoves
Nick left early Friday morning to drive back to
Oskaloosa, Iowa to finish his final semester at William Penn University.
He had relatively good roads, and cold weather. We sent a full gas
can with him, in case he got stranded somewhere; he could at least keep
his engine running and not run out of gas, and be able to stay warm.
But the roads weren’t that bad and he didn’t need to use the emergency
fuel. He drove more than halfway that day and made it clear across
South Dakota, spent a few hours sleeping at a motel, and made it the
rest of them way in time to be there for track practice on Saturday.
the meantime, granddaughter Heather was on her way back from another
visit to friends on the wheat farm in Saskatchewan, and got home Friday
night. That weekend Charlie’s hockey team had a tournament here, and
Emily took pictures of him skating.
On Saturday Michael and young Heather came down to help us put more
straw out for the cows and Heather brought a bucket of horse pellets for
me to try for Veggie. He has trouble eating very much hay, with his
bad teeth, and when the deer jump into his pen and clean up his alfalfa,
he doesn’t get enough to eat. These are tiny pellets, easy to chew,
and contain a lot of calories and nutrition. Young Heather bought a lot
of bags of these to feed her old pregnant mare, Classy, and thought
they might help Veggie.
That evening, I fed him a small amount
in a rubber tub and he tasted them and nosed them around and kept
trying to pick up the tub with his teeth and dump it (I had to stand
there and keep him from flipping the tub over). The next morning I gave
him some more, and he seemed to like them a little better—ate more of
the handful I gave him—but still tried to dump the tub. By the third
time, he decided he liked them. Now I am giving him 2 cups of pellets
twice a day, and sticking his tub down firmly into an old tire so he
can’t pick it up with his teeth and dump it. He always liked to play
with tubs (with his teeth and feet) so I can’t leave one in his pen,
just take it in there to feed him and take it out when he’s finished.
He can eat it while we are loading up hay right there for the heifers,
so that works nicely.
Now that he is willingly eating the pellets, I started mixing some
joint medication (containing glucosamine, also in tasty pellet form) in
with his easy meal, in hopes it might help his painful arthritis. He
does fine in the summer, but his leg joints get stiff and painful in
Michael spent a couple days fixing vehicles. He
helped Lynn take 2 of the old worn-out tires off the feed truck (tires
that had slow leaks and were always going flat) and put on some newer
ones, and worked on Andrea’s car to get it to run better. Yesterday
Lynn and Andrea fixed the electric fence around Veggie and Rubbie’s pens
that the deer tore down, so now the heifers can’t lean through into
Veggie’s pen and rub/press down the net wire. It’s hard to keep the
fences working with all the wildlife going through them!