I kept a time log yesterday. Here’s how our busy but not unusual day went.
5.00am Wayne hops on the quad bike to round up the cows and slowly and quietly bring them to the dairy
5.45am Milking starts
6.30am Marian hits her desk to catch up on paperwork before Zoe wakes and checks the online forecast. All three computer models agree there’s a little rain coming tomorrow. Better get the nitrogen onto those paddocks we just grazed early tomorrow morning!
8.15am Milking’s finished and the cleaning begins
8.30am Zoe and Marian shift the effluent irrigator, fill the pump with petrol and get it going.
9.00am Marian and Zoe arrive on the Bobcat to give Papa a kiss and cuddle before we head off to feed the springers grain and anionic salts. The new calf spotted being born last night is a baby bull, who will be reared by one of our neighbours. We bring him and his mother back to the shed.
9.30am The milking machines, the yards and the vat room are spotless.
9.40am The three of us walk a couple of cows across the road to start their annual two-month holiday before they calve.
9.45am Wayne feeds three rolls of silage to the milkers
10.10am Zoe and Marian bring back two cows from the holiday paddock to join the springers in the TLC paddock.
10.45am Zoe and Marian refill the effluent pump and set it off again
10.55am We all meet up again to feed the youngest calves and muck out pens. Discover one is sick and Wayne heads off to town to get treatment for her and refill the jerry cans.
11.30am Zoe and Marian are starving. Lunch time!
12.50pm Treat the sick calf and muck out more pens while Wayne welds up a broken gate in the dairy
1.20 pm Wayne’s off to feed silage to the dry cows, calves and heifers. Zoe and Marian take a look at the heifers to see if any should join the springers. We decide to do a big sort out in one to two weeks.
1.40 pm Refuel the effluent pump and get it running again
1.50 pm Load up 10 buckets of grain to feed to the youngest of the one-year-old calves. They are very happy to see us!
2.30 pm Check a new pasture on the way back
2.40 pm Quick snack and conflab with Wayne. 15 minutes later, we go off to round up while he feeds our maremmas, Charlie and Lola, and takes a bit of a break before milking.
4.10 pm Finally get all the cows into the yard – Wayne’s already got the first 32 cows milked. The cows were in one of the furthermost paddocks from the dairy, we had to set up paddocks along the way and deal with a broken fence. Also discovered a major water leak 🙁
4.20 pm Equipped with tools, start prodding around in the mud.
Zoe’s taking pics now while Mama makes a mess.
Oops! Zoe’s got a bootful but let’s make it funny.
The cows crowd around us on their way back to the paddock.
5.06 pm The Eureka Moment! An old (but still connected) water line has burst a fitting.
5.10 pm Outta there.
5.15 pm Set the travelling effluent irrigator on a new path, refuel pump and pull the rip cord!
5.35 pm Marian and Zoe home at last!
6.25pm Wayne’s home from milking. The end of a big day.