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Anyone just OK with all the snow?!?

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  • Anyone just OK with all the snow?!?

    After prepping all week for the impending storm- I got to thinking... people in the midwest/north are used to alllll this snow. Does anyone have a setup where the weather does not impact the day to day operations too much?

    I just finished up prepping- including putting extra hay/grain in the barn so I don't have to carry it from feed house/shed. Brought two 100g troughs in the barn and filled with water and heaters in case we lose power. Put anything laying around under cover/inside. Double bedded stalls. etc etc.

    It will take at least 6 hours to plow the lane. Then another 5-6 hours to plow paths out to all the fields and paddocks. Winter is my busy time and I have 36 here now. All stalls and fields (when they get turned out) are full. I even built a stall with gates at the end of my inside shedrow barn for a friends horse that would have only had a run in shed at her place.

    I can not short cut and not plow paths to half the fields bc they are all used. I can't double up horses in fields bc they are grouped by sex/age, etc. I can not leave horses in for more than 2 days (unless emergency) bc one client with 15 there HAS to turn them out no matter what. UGH!

    I know everyone around here is going through the same thing. All that said to ask... anyone set up enough that this bad weather doesn't impact too much? Just bed down and leave them be? Only plow one path?

    I keep picturing in the movies where the horses are knee deep in snow and happy and the deep shed is only feet away. Oh.. and the smoke is bellowing out of the fireplace of the house in the background and it is all so serene.

    meanwhile- I have the oil guy coming this morning to top off the tank in case he can't get in for two weeks. I'm going through a tank every 3wks.

  • #2
    as another area II-er, I feel your pain. Add to that not having the heavy equipment for plowing (my john deere gator screamed in terror and went to hide in the shed), in the December storm, I hand shoveled a narrow path between barns, the house and the shed -- took me 7 hours, but became the main thoroughfare -- and my "hay luge". I'd put bales of hay on the sled, then push it thru the tunnels. My drive wasn't plowed for 4 days after the last snow.

    My guys have round bales and good run in sheds, but I'm dreading the morning and evening feeding. But, I've got grain in each feed room now, full tanks of water and fingers crossed at this point. So, no, definitely not OK with all the snow!


    • #3
      no plows at our barn, self care....planning on waiting as long as possible to bring in today...no snow yet, cuz they may not go out tomorrow


      • Original Poster

        I feel awful. I told my help this morning to bring them in at 12 bc the snow was supposed to start by 1. Now it's not going to start until 3 or so. I wanted to leave them out as long as possible also.


        • #5
          From SE PA

          We're bracing but I'm secretly smiling even though it will mean:

          Husband will be out plowing for the next three days (at least) and I won't have him to help with the barn.
          DD & I will have 18 stalls to much b/c my barn worker won't be able to make it out.
          Hay is alread loaded into the bed of the truck in 4WD backed into the barn and ready to go Sun am (thanks honey)
          Horses will go out no matter what, but late am to early pm Sat
          so we'll have 18 cranky, frisky, spooky horses to deal with
          Don't have anyone to plow path to fields - horses will have to do that

          So I really don't know why, but I still love the snow!
          "A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority." Rick Warren


          • #6
            See, I actually find there is less work in winter! Of course, we have snow from November to beginning of April so dealing with snow is just a way of life.

            We don't plough paths to the barn or to turnout...once you walk through it a couple of times..you just create a path.

            Tractor with snow blower attachment does the driveways and yard in about one and a half hours and it only needs to be done maybe every third week or so.

            Stock tank only needs to be filled every third day or so.

            No grass to cut, pasture to mow, rake. No ring to harrow. No weed whacking. No mosquito whacking, no daily application of fly spray. No on/off of fly sheets.

            Hay was loaded in the hay shed in early fall, load a bale on a toboggan and away we go. Muck buckets slide easily on packed snow.

            Winter is my catch up time!


            • #7
              I think that the unusualness makes it much harder for you - we get snow every year. Sometimes lots of it. How much, what type, etc, varies, but it always gets cold for extended periods and it always snows. Sometimes frequently. Sometimes a lot. It's like going to the grocery store. It's a pain in the neck sometimes, and sometimes you don't really feel like dealing with it, but you get it done, part of the routine.

              Your plowing times seem very high - is this because you feel you HAVE to clear everything down to bare ground? Or because you don't have the right equipment to deal with a lot of snow because usually don't need it? How many miles of "lanes" do you have?

              Are you in an area that it is likely that this snow will melt in a week's time? Then you probably do not need to clear an 8' swath down to the ground everywhere you might go. Do enough so you can lead the horses, run the wheelbarrow etc. Enough so you can do things, but not so much that you kill yourself since it's going to melt next week.

              Can you stagger turnout so you don't have to clear all the way out to the farthest ones? Use the closer ones and maybe everyone gets a few hours less, but you don't kill yourself.

              It WILL melt.


              • #8
                unlike ours up here in the north! I don't expect melt off till end of march.

                Good luck you guys.
                save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                • Original Poster

                  I have 13 fields. Closet one is 100' from the first barn. Farthest is about 800'. There is 25,000sf of blacktop- I usually plow about 15,000sf to make room for cars and tractor path from barn to manure shed/pile.

                  The real pain is that I don't have a plow- just a bucket on the tractor. Which works fine unless there is a lot of snow like now. It's a royal pain to push snow, have to angle off path and dump- and redo 100x! But you're right - it gets done eventually.

                  When we plow the lane to the fields- we do one path on the way down and widen that path on the way back. Then make 50x50 squares inside the field so they can stand out of the snow.

                  Of the 36 horses here- 25 of them are TB 2yos that are all over 16h and half of those are colts. They are wired and a handful to turn out so we try to make a wide enough path that we have room to walk without them jumping on us!

                  It's an ongoing thing- in the summer I wish for 20 things that would make life so much easier. In the winter I wish for 20 other things that would make winter life so much easier! I did install auto heated waterers this fall- so at least of have water in all the fields!

                  I could turn out in shifts for a week or so. Use the fields closest to the barn for all my guys. But my client has a handful here and uses the back bigger fields and I have to clear them for her. ugh.

                  I'm off to plow at 5am. Figured doing it twice will be better than waiting and moving it one huge time!


                  • #10
                    The snow doesnt bother me. My biggest worry is losing power and then losing the deicers in the troughs, in the buckets.


                    • #11
                      I love this thread. Sunday I will have to dig out three cars, three sidewalks, two porches and one faithful dog's favorite backyard - but I won't have to unearth 36 horses! The Mid Alantic has an issue with not really being snowy. We get snow, but it melts in between, it's not a massive fixture all winter. So yeah, everyone has basic snow-moving equipment, but it's only good for short-lived, relatively minor snowfalls. In other words, if we get two snowstorms in a row and no thaw in between, we're screwed because that's Not How It's Supposed To Be

                      Originally posted by Ridley View Post
                      (my john deere gator screamed in terror and went to hide in the shed)


                      • #12
                        I'd definitely save yourself the trouble of snow removal IN the paddocks. The horses will tramp around just fine especially if there are a lot of them. And the 2yos can burn off a little steam.

                        And yes, power loss is a giant PITA. Remember this is temporary! Don't kill yourself to make it perfect during the week you have snow.


                        • #13
                          We get at least one storm every year that needs to be prepared for! Two years ago I bought a generator and wired all necessary panels for cut offs so I can run the wells, heat in the house & tank heaters. I have multiple water tanks if I need them to store water & lose my nelsons. I set out round bales for the outside horses (they have shelters) and they're good pretty much no matter what. Horses do much better in the cold and snow than wet & mud.

                          I fell kinda special when I'm all hunkered down, horses settled in, food in the house & barn & ready to sit out a storm!

                          Once the storm has stopped I either get on the tractor & start shoveling or my (wonderful) neighbor comes over with the farmboys, skidsteer & snow plows & plow out my drive and the paths I use to put horses out. I'm like you--long lanes to turnout and lots of them so it is really nice to not have to trudge through hip deep drifts to turn out. I only plow out a path down the lane & the gates, though, the horses tromp down the fields just fine by themselves.


                          • #14
                            regarding plowing.

                            Sometimes we make decisions at our farm based on our time and equity. My time is valuable as is my hubby's. We do not have proper plowing equipment but we have lots of gravel drive that is used every day for tractor and spreader travel, horse pathways to paddocks and client parking. It would take my hubby hours perched backward on the tractor, trying to push snow with the plow blade while relying on tractor tires going the opposite way of the treads. Not to mention the wear and tear on our ancient tractor that we use every single day.

                            I finally convinced him this year to hire a plow guy. We only call him when there is more than 6 inches or so. Less than that and the tractor and client cars can navigate our drive just fine as it is really flat with very easy boundaries.

                            It just was more equitable to pay a guy $80 to have our full on drive plowed to perfection in about 30 minutes. I would say we have the drive plowed MAYBE four times a winter.
                            ...don't sh** where you eat...


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DiablosHalo View Post
                              The real pain is that I don't have a plow- just a bucket on the tractor.
                              Get a rear angled blade. Used ones are $300 or so. It won't work for everything, but for cutting a path or clearing a drive it is 100x the speed of picking up a loader bucket full one at a time.


                              • #16
                                I'm perfectly OK with you guys all getting the snow -- because normally, I'm getting it (and probably will get it before winter's over -- but not this time).

                                I've got one snow rule -- don't handle the damn stuff any more than ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY (which means driveway and front steps -- it has to melt off everywhere else!)


                                • #17
                                  I have spent the entire day digging out. I had to dig a path betweent the barn and the house--by hand. Dug a path to the manure pile and a place to dump the manure--by hand. Dug out the front porch so I could get to the firewood. My neighbor came with his bulldozer and plowed the driveway and I had to dig out the barn door and dig out the stall doors so the horses could get out in the sunshine for a few hours. The power only went out for two hours but I have a generator that runs everything, including the water pump if it had stayed out for longer.
                                  It's an experience I could do without but all in all it went well.
                                  I'm exhausted.


                                  • #18
                                    We spent most of the day digging out. We have around 2 ft, with drifts up to about twice as high. Snowblower, then front load tractor, then the blade. DH cut a path to the gate, I shoveled around the barn doors so I could open them, threw on the turnout blankets, opened stall doors and let them make their own paths. Making sure all water buckets are full, hay is in the loft, I just tossed a bale out and put it under the trees closest to the barn. I picked up feed thurs. AM.

                                    Thankfully we did not lose power, because our generator is dead. We have the BEST power company in the area! I do have one tree down in the back pasture. Not too sad about that, we have too many pine trees out there anyway. Getting to the manure pile is the biggest pita... I'm just dragging the 1/2 full muck bucket down there over the top of the snow. Was ticked to find out DH sold DD's sled at a yard sale!

                                    I sincerely feel for those who have lost power and have large herds to take care of. Heavy duty farm equipment is probably the only thing that saves them.
                                    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                    Witherun Farm


                                    • #19
                                      all i know is my body hurts from all the shoveling....not looking forward to today and the possibility of another storm tues into wed


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Well... we made it through. I plowed Saturday with snow still coming down. Got area from shed to barn to back door of house cleared nicely in about 2 hours. Hubby took his turn and did from barn down lane to road and area in front of 2nd barn. Cleaned up the 6" that had fell where I plowed that morning. And went from barn back to where field alley begins. Took about 4 hours. Snow stopped at 4ish and he recleared lane in about 30mins.

                                        Sunday morning the driveway had some ice but it had all melted by mid afternoon. I had only put out 2 bags of salt where the horses walk out to fields that is shaded most of the day. this morning- entire lane was dry as a bone. thank goodness.

                                        My dad came up yesterday and spent 5hrs plowing out to the fields (he's an operator so is much more efficient that I am!). He also can use the back blade better than I can. Between that and the bucket- he didn't have any trouble moving snow- just took a long time.

                                        There was no way we could have walked through that snow! Made one tractor pass down alley and made 30x30 square btwn gate to waterer for them to stand if they choose to. Got 11 of the fields done. My guys will have to finish the front two fields this morning. Drifts up to my chest in every field- with most of the field at 2'+.

                                        Finally sat down to relax in time for kickoff last night. Only to listen to radio on the way to work this morning and they are calling for another 12"+ tomorrow night into Wednesday?!?!!?

                                        How'd everyone else make out?