Chris and I drove down to Cookeville, Tennessee on Tuesday to fetch our new milk cows. Our pastor Roger Murrell lent us his three-horse trailer, which is totally enclosed and drives quite nicely. We knew that frigid weather was moving in Tuesday night so we got an early start. The drive down was warm (40s here, 50s in Tennessee) and mostly uneventful, dry until we got within ten miles of the farm.
Even then the rain wasn’t bad, and Darrin Drake is well experienced at moving cows around; once we got the trailer into position, he chased all the cows into the corral, let out all but ours, and worked our two into the trailer, all in about five minutes. (It took him twice as long to tell me how to back the trailer up.) We picked up the receipt and health papers, chatted with Darrin and Jenny for a few minutes, and then were on our way again at about noon our time.
Close to home it started to rain again. We arrived around 2:30pm, and found that it had been raining all day. The field was very muddy, but there was nothing to be done for it, so we drove the trailer out to the paddock where our calf was, figuring we would probably get stuck. We did, but not before we got the trailer more or less where we needed it for unloading. Chris and Maggie and Matthew and I rearranged the portable fencing to include the back of the trailer, got hay and water and all moved to the new paddock, and finally dropped the trailer gate. The two cows moseyed out, said hello to the calf, saw the hay we had set out, and got to work eating.
Our biggest concern was the cold snap that was moving in that night, right after a day of rain to get the cows thoroughly soaked. The weatherman was right for a change, and it dropped to about 11 degrees. Everything was frozen the next morning, but the cows seemed to have weathered the night without difficulty. They seem to respect the fence, and are happy with the hay we’re feeding them.
Speaking of hay, we’re looking forward to spring and growing grass, since we’ll have to haul hay weekly until then (and pay late winter prices for it).
And yes, the Suburban and trailer are still in the field where we left them. We’re hoping that the past couple of days of freezing weather will have solidified the ground, and probably tomorrow morning we’ll try to move them out before things warm up. If not, well, we’ll just have to wait until things dry up.