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Unpaid Overtime for Big D

By December 17, 2010 , ,

I love winter - I do ... There is something mystical about the snow when it falls and makes a beautiful white cover across our farm.

However, I have to say and my Real Farmwives of America friends know exactly what I'm talking about - being a livestock farmer during the winter months is not so much fun. The waterlines can freeze, pigs can get cold if our thermostat on the climate-controlled building malfunctions, doors on the barns are frozen shut, snow covers driveways making it difficult for trucks to get in and out. And not to mention - we all have to layer up on coveralls, long johns, hats, gloves just to peel half of it off once you get inside the warm barns where the pigs are housed. Things are just more challenging during the winter months. And this week was certainly no exception ... on Wednesday evening - the weatherman forecasted 4-5 additional inches of snowfall headed our way to top the already 3-4 inches on the ground from Sunday. Awesome.
So my husband - Big D - peeled himself out of our nice cozy home at 3 a.m. Thursday morning to drive to one of our offside hog barns to crank the curtain up helping to assure that the pigs wouldn't get too cold. Now, the pigs on their own generate quite a bit of heat especially as these specific hogs were in a group pen. Since many of our barns are climate-controlled to keep the pigs comfortable, we have curtains (that are only a few hundred feet long) to crank up or down (up during cold temps, down during hot summer temps) depending on the temperature inside, temperature outside, wind and type of precipitation.

Now many barn curtains are automated to maintain a certain temperature inside for the pigs. This specific barn is a manual crank curtain. So Big D woke up all worried about the pigs getting too cold and ventured outside to crank 'er up leaving 3 inches at the top to give em just a little fresh air, but not too much! And all at 3 a.m. before ANY snow plows had cleared the roads in our area. This makes for good times.

Big D is certinaly not one I would classify as lazy ... we do what needs to be done because we realize that when the pigs are warm and content - they are more productive and thus, support our family. Hopefully, the weatherman predicts only moderate snowfall Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - because the bossman (Big D) and I will be in Ohio celebrating the holiday with my family and I'm hoping this means no catastrophes on the farm. Crossing fingers now!

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  1. Somehow, when you mentioned curtains, in my mind I pictured a nice country kitchen style with tie-backs lol! I am sure the pigs would love that!

  2. I so hear you! Our cows are out in the elements, but then that means we are too when we are working with them. You saw my posts about chasing down a sick cow, and then we had to go back out because the back silo unloader froze up! Thank goodness for cell phones (which I forgot the first time and had to go back and get!) ;-p

    Hoping you have a very uneventful weather Christmas! Trade you some hamburger for som sausage ;-)

  3. I never knew that the some curtains we on an automatic setting. Glad those piggies are all cozy inside. Could you imagine if they were outside in those temperatures. Glad farmers are out there putting in extra hours to get food on everyone's tables.