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Archive for January, 2012

Its days like today that make me dread the rain. It is about 33 degrees rainy, misty and windy. Days like these make it hard on our outdoor livestock. It is easy to get wet and chilled and like humans, that makes your immune system work harder. It is muddy and sloppy, one degree colder and at least things would be frozen. Now on the other hand, our wells are really low from lack of rain throughout the summer and fall. That means any moisture we get is a blessing, so I shouldn’t complain! Easier said than done.

The hoop!

Today I am thankful that a few years back we built a large hoop building to feed cattle in. We have cows and calve them in one pasture and then when the babies are weaned they get moved into the hoop. They have the hoop and the pasture next to it, but today they are penned up in the hoop with fresh bedding, fresh water, and plenty of feed.

The cattle playing with their straw bedding.

If we would open the gate, they wouldn’t go out. They like the hoop!

The calves are dry and content, just the way we like them. If they were out in the pasture with no shelter, there’s a pretty good chance that some of them would not feel good in a few days and that is never fun.

Our hogs are pretty well off, too! They live in a temperature controlled environment with the same amenities the cattle have; they are dry, fed, watered, and safe from predators.

Happy pigs.

I forgot to mention predators with the cattle. We have a lot of coyotes around here and they are hungry. We lost two baby calves this fall to coyotes, but I digress. The hogs also have fans and sprinklers for the really hot days during the summer.

The horses tend to be out in the weather the most, but this seems to be by choice. They have a couple of barns they can go in and there is hay inside for them, but they stand outside and eat anyway. I’m sure they know what they need to be comfortable, smart critters. At least all of our animals have the shelter they need to stay safe and healthy, so there is another blessing!

Chad and Lana draining a field.

Farmers deal with precipitation and lack of all year long. That is nothing new, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be frustrating at times. Growing our crops is extremely dependent on the weather. Too much rain and you can’t plant because of the mud and too little and the corn won’t grow. We have had times when we have to dig drenches to help drain the fields.

The past few weeks we are having some field tile put in to help with the wet spots. There is always work to be done!

In need of tile!

Getting the tile!

So, back to work for me on this rainy nasty, blessing of a day! There are always jobs to do inside. I hope you and your animals stay warm and dry.

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Here we go!

So for my first post,  I guess I’ll start of with a little background on myself and our family farm.  My name is Stacy.  I am married to Chad and we have two daughters, Lana and Bridget.

Here we are this summer with some of our cows.

We farm near the town of White Hall, Illinois, with Chad’s family.  Our daughters are the 7th generation of Schutz’s to farm.  There are five of us families that all farm together: Chad and I, his parents, uncle, brother, and cousin.  In 1842  the Schutz brothers came to the US from Germany and settled and farmed in Greene County.  We still farm the land they settled on.  Personally, I think that is pretty awesome…what a heritage!

All the generations of us working together!

Picture time this fall.

On our farm we raise corn, cattle, hogs and soybeans (some years).   Each person does many jobs on the farm which could be caring for the  hogs and cattle, the machinery, field seasons, working the soil, building and machining, bookwork, or even delivering meals to everyone.  It is nice to have people that can fill in if we have to be gone.

Livestock is the part of the farm that  we (Chad and I) enjoy the most.  We enjoy producing meat for our own families to eat, along with the rest of the world.  We are lucky and get to have the majority of the critters at our house along with our horses.

I am a stay at home mom/farmer.  It is a full time job to raise our daughters and do whatever is needed on the farm daily.  I don’t think any of my days are ever exactly the same.  You don’t always know what may be needed.  It ranges from weighing hogs, feeding cattle, driving a tractor, scooping manure, running to get parts, helping fix a piece of equipment, to feeding a bottle calf.

~ Feeding Annie the bottle calf ~

As a grain and livestock farmer, I feel responsible for helping the consumer to understand where their food comes from.  And as a mother of two little girls, I understand the need to make sure what I am feeding them is safe and healthy.  I hope to use this as another tool to do that.  I am really looking forward to sharing our lives with you and answering any questions that I receive!

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