Prairierth Farm

  (Atlanta, Illinois)
Life on the prairie
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first snow

Sunday morning - the world is white as forgiveness and perfectly still. I grab the camera and run out to the pasture where the black cows are trying to figure out what happened to yesterday's green. The new bull, a Belted Gallaway (black with a wide white belt around his middle) looks like a hind quarter following a front quarter around a snowman. They raise their heads to stare back at me, then start wandering toward the barnlot and fresh bales of hay. The chickens were thoroughly tramatized by the new landscape - for a few minutes anyway. They just stood at the chickenhouse door, apparently trying to figure out why anyone would go out there when there's plenty to eat inside. By afternoon most will have stretched their wings and settled back on the roosts for an afternoon nap. Not a bad idea, I thought. When I got back to the house my 7 year old was rolling a snowman's mid-section through the yard bare handed and red faced. "Where's your gloves?" . . . "Where's your stocking cap?' . . . ."where's your snowsuit?" . . . we went back in the house to warm up and start over. Winter's not so bad I guess.

After harvest

Wednesday, November 5th, the day after an historic election, we finally finish harvesting the corn and soybean crop. I can't remember a harvest running this late, and this is my 30th harvest. The weather in central Illinois has been beautiful, the tree line surrounding the fields is in nearly perfect fall colors, and the pastures are still green and growing - unusual for November. The stocker calves in the summer pasture are fat and sleek like June. Half mile away the cow herd is still rotating through their paddocks as they have all summer, and there is an ample supply of hay stored for winter. Hard to believe winter hangs just around the corner
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