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Getting hay and cattle home for the winter

Eppich News: Plenty of projects to complete before the snow flies

As winter began to settle in and water began to freeze up it was good to get all the cattle home.

With haying season finished in early November it was finally time to start some winter projects. Gregory and John worked on cleaning the combines, swathers, and the baler and put them away for winter. They also had to work on the JD 4020, our feeding tractor, and get it ready for feeding and bedding the cows and horses.

We had rain Nov. 17. The next day everything was so icy it was dangerous. Gregory spread pails of gravel so that they could walk across our yard and get to the shop. We even had to put gravel out in front of the waterer for the old horse and the weanlings. It was too slippery for him to walk out and get a drink.

On Nov. 28 we celebrated our second Thanksgiving. John and Barb and Rose and Barney came over and we had a nice turkey supper with homemade pumpkin and cherry pie. We all ate too much and Joseph enjoyed playing with Grandpa Barney and Grandma Rose.

On Nov. 30 we started hauling our ditch bales from Landis and worked our way home. The ditch bales take a while to load and the travel time is quite a bit, but we still managed to haul about 80 bales home that day.

Time to haul cows

Our cows had been doing well on our Landis pasture, but the forecast was calling for snow and the temperatures were getting pretty cold. The feed was still good but with the lake starting to freeze, we didn’t want to chance the cows learning to walk out on the ice and around the end of the fence. So on Dec. 3 we worked on the loading corral. We hung two gates and put up a few scaffolding planks to act as a rub rail in the push pen.

The next day, John and Gregory went to pick up parts from a tractor salvage place. Meanwhile, Joseph got to play at Grandma’s, while I went around the fence on the home pasture where the cows will spend the winter. There were quite a few staples missing but no broken wires, thankfully.

On Dec. 5 we did a few chores and then I caught our two horses, while Gregory hooked up the trailers. I saddled up and took the horses over to Landis in the two-horse trailer and Gregory took the homebuilt stock trailer over. The cows felt a little frisky with the cool morning, but all went well and we got them into the loading corral and started hauling them home. It took three trips with the two trailers but by suppertime, everyone was home again.

On Dec. 7 we got back to hauling bales. All of the ditch bales were home, so we went to work on the slough bales. We started working on the fields that are the farthest away and most likely to blow in with snow. We had a bit of trouble with a tractor tire but still brought 95 bales home that day. There are still a few loads of slough bales out but we are definitely making progress.

About the author


Heather Eppich is a young former Idaho rancher building a new farm and family with her husband and young son, near Handel, Sask. Contact her at: [email protected]



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