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We are surviving! We are in lots of layers, but we are surviving. Tonight when I went out to do chores I wore Under Armor long underwear, flannel lined Carhartt jeans, Charhartt bibs, a Carhartt coat, neck and face cover, stocking cap, Thinsulate work gloves, cotton gloves underneath and Muck boots. 🙂

Just like clockwork on her due date our heifer went into labor. (What first time mom doesn't dream of going on her due date?) We are so blessed that my parents allowed us to move the heifers into their horse barn for this cold snap. We have a barn, but nothing that would keep them as warm as the horse barn.

I noticed yesterday afternoon that the heifer was acting just a little "off." Yesterday evening we started cleaning out the stalls and getting them some fresh bedding. Within moments of throwing just a little clean straw in her pen she laid down. I knew right away that she was going to be calving because that is just not her normal personality. We finished bedding and went into eat supper. We started to see feet around 9:00, but she was working real hard to get the calf delivered. Around 10:30 we made the decision that she needed just a little assistance. She was one very tired momma, but out came a healthy bull calf that has a beautiful blaze on his face.

We decided to name this little bull calf, Chilly Willy. We thought that was the perfect name to a baby born during this Polar Vortex. He was up this morning nursing like a champ!

It is getting colder and colder by the minute here in the Midwest and I ask that you continue to pray for those out in the elements. I just read a bit ago that the United States Postal Service is suspending delivery in many areas and read another funny meme that Iowa is closed. HA HA

The girls did get 14 minutes of snow play time in yesterday. 14 minutes? Exactly 14, I timed them because I didn't think they would last long. 🙂

And in all of the grumbles of the cold and yucky weather, we get blessed with a reminder of just how beautiful nature is with the sun dogs in the picture above. This photo doesn't do justice for what they really looked like in person (even though it was -17* when I took the photo.)

Stay warm friends, it sounds like the worst of it is coming tomorrow! How do you plan to keep warm? Do you have to report to your regularly scheduled work day?

From The Gravel Road-

Jen

20

Say a little prayer for anyone and anything that has to be outside in the Midwest this week. The forecast is calling for moderate snowfall and windchills near -50* for some areas! In all honesty farmers, ranchers, livestock, and anyone that has to be out in this stuff could use our prayers.

Pray for stock that lives out in the elements. As caretakers of livestock when a storm and temperatures, like what is predicted, is on its way we will bed sheds with corn stalk bales or straw. This gives the animals bedding that will help keep them warm and dry when they are in their sheds. When I was a kid we would often use corn cobs for bedding. I remember helping my dad spread the cobs around with the manure spreader to give the cows something dry to lay on, thinking about it now I bet they are happy we have advanced to corn stalks. I would bet they are a bit more comfortable. 🙂

Prayer specifically for tank heaters, electric waters, and pipes keep functioning in these extreme temperatures. With the temperatures that are predicted things just break. They aren't accustomed to the frigid temps, just like us!

Another thing we do when prepping for a storm and cold is make sure our animals have plenty of hay to eat and water to drink. We want to keep them a comfortable as possible and having plenty of the essentials will do just that.

This heifer is neck deep in a bale of haylage.

Another important thing we try to do is help the animals get out of the wind. As you can see (in the picture above) our cattle can get into the shed (that has bedding) to get a break from the wind. This isn't always possible for all livestock owners so many times wind blocks are built with hay bales, groves of trees, or even windbreak panels.

And sometimes... you just make a middle of the night decision to move a heifer that is due during this predicted storm to a warmer building than what you have available. Yes, at 11:00 PM on Saturday we decided to move her and our daughters heifer and calf. Thank the Good Lord that they cooperated, they walked on the trailer like it is part of their every day life and walked off of the trailer and into box stalls like nobody's business. It was almost comical.

The big girl is due with her first cal of Jan. 28th

Since they are in a nice warm area these two girls and baby have no clue that is snowing and blowing outside right now. The bonus? We get some warm playtime with this cutie!

Mr. Mouse
"Kisses for Grace"- Mouse's momma was Grace's breeding heifer for 4-H last year so she is calm as can be with us playing with her baby.

How do you prepare for a winter storm or these crazy temperature predictions? Anything special you do for your "herd" or tribe? And again, if you would, please say a little extra prayer for everyone.

From the Gravel Road,

Jen

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