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Welcome to mud season in Iowa or the start of the big thaw or the big flood, take your pick. We have had so much snow and with rain expected this week we are under a flood watch. With culverts and ditches still full of snow, this week will probably prove to be quite the adventure for many living in the midwest. Nothing we aren't used to dealing with, just another challenge.

I thought I would give you a little baby beef update. Baby Mouse and Baby Will (born during the polar vortex) are doing fantastic! Their momma's are taking great care of them by letting them nurse, keeping them tucked in the straw, and giving them a little quiet moo to get back in the barn when they get a little rowdy. Since I am not their mom (I'm more like the aunt that thinks everything they do is cute) I think it is hilarious when they run around with their tails in the air at mach 10. They look more like race horses than baby calves.

Chilly Willy

The other cattle that haven't come in yet (given birth) are still living the good life enjoying an area to get out of the melting snow, fresh water, and haylage. We made haylage last summer that is feeding our cows this winter, they are doing very well with it and are in great condition. Haylage is cut like hay, but not allowed to dry as much as grass hay would be when it is baled. Haylage has a moisture content of between 15 percent to a maximum of 40 percent (60 to 85 percent DM) it is baled and then it is wrapped in plastic to keep it from spoiling. When the bales are all wrapped they look like a long white worm in our field. So far, our supply of winter feed is looking great and we should have plenty, but that all depends on how quickly pastures dry up this spring. The condition of the pastures will be determine how soon the cows can get out on them and start eating grass.

Big Baby Mouse

What do you feed in the winter? Is it mud season where you live?

There you have it, the beef, from the gravel road-



Do you ever have one of those days when things just don’t feel right and you are just literally waiting for the next shoe to drop?  Maybe the cattle got out, you missed the train to the city, or you spilled your coffee all over the front seat of your vehicle?  I’ve been there, heck, we’ve all been there. BUT it’s not a place to stay.

A few days ago I had one of those days, as I sat and reflected on it I remembered something I had heard on a podcast (I feel awful, but I cannot for the life of me remember which one.)  The podcast talked about things you can do when everything is feeling awful and not okay.  The actual podcast talked about questions to ask yourself when everything is awful before you give up.  Now, when they talk about giving up I am not sure how literal they are meaning that, I was in no way thinking about giving up on life, but I am sure if someone were in that dark space that this list would help them, too.

I am going to share the list in full disclosure that I did NOT come up with those questions, but will add my thoughts (in italics) and share the ones that I think really hit home for me. This is the actual PDF with credits on the bottom of the page for where it came from on the web.

Everything is awful and I’m not okay: Questions to ask yourself before giving up:

1. Are you hydrated?  If not, have a glass of water. Dehydration can mimic or increase feelings associated with anxiety and a well hydrated brain functions optimally. Avoid excess caffeine.  Did you know the latest research recommends half of your body weight in water?  I will admit this is the first thing I think of when I get a headache or am just feeling crappy.  Go guzzle a 16 oz. glass of water!!!

2.   Have you stretched your legs in the past day?  If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the energy or time for a run or a trip to the gym, just walk around the block or building. Even minimal exercise preps the mind for learning so that you can focus better and recall things easier, plus it’s good to get a change of scenery. I have said this forever, just move!  It doesn’t matter if you don’t run, just move your body by going up and down some stairs or stand up and sit down 20 times.

3. Have you said something nice to someone in the past day? Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine! I TRULY believe in this and I love to do it in writing!  How long has it been since you wrote someone a letter or card?

4. Have you moved your body to music in the past day? If not, jog for the length of a song at your favorite tempo, or just dance around your bedroom for the length of an upbeat song (singing along is a bonus) Hello, playlist that my children cannot be in the room when I have it going!  Whatever your jam is, blare it! Sometimes at work when I am writing a report I will put my ear buds in and rock anything from classic country to Lady Gaga.

5. Do you feel ineffective? Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an email, loading the dishwasher, or tidying up your room. Good job!

For real, when nothing feels right, choose something you know for 100% fact that you can be successful at and go for it.  You are going to think this is weird, but mine, folding a basket of towels.  Towels are easy, not a ton fit in a basket, and if I end up putting them way-BONUS!

So, there you have it, my Top 5 Tried and True Techniques for no longer feeling like everything is awful and that I am not okay.

Do you ever feel this way? What works for you?

From the gravel road-


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