By Tyler Trieglaff

Notes from the Chief

Drought, Drought, Drought…that’s what we are in and have been for the last 3 summers. The lack of snow seems to be continuing this trend. There are several concerns that stem from the lack of snow.  One is winter kill in the alfalfa fields. Snow cover usually helps insulate the dormant plants, so they rejuvenate in the spring.   

I do admit that the lack of snow has made farming easier this winter, but I miss the challenge it presents.  Spring runoff does not soak into the ground so much as the ground is frozen, but the majority does run into the lakes and rivers. What will the water level on your local lake be like this year without snow? The Otter Tail River has been nothing but a trickle in late summer the last few years. 

One last thing is, I don’t mind plowing snow. I put a plow on the newer pickup I bought and haven’t even scraped the rust off the snowplow shoes. I also bought a plow for the skid steer to make things more efficient on the farm, but that just sits in the shed.  

About a dozen ladies got their hoofs pedicured last Monday. After the trimming it seemed to make a few cows more tender on their feet. It may take a few days for them to get used to the new angle and shape of their feet.  

It has been 10 years now since the lights went out in the old milking barn. We made the decision to sell the milk cows in February 2014. I guess you could probably blame it all on me. Dad was scheduled for heart surgery for a valve replacement. He was milking about 20-25 cows at the time in our 50-stall barn.  I was the main handyman feeding cows and helping with chores when I was not working in town. We knew he would be laid up for at least 6 weeks, so I was planning to try to milk the cows, do the chores and work in town while burning some vacation time. Things were getting close to the surgery date and on Friday evening things went to heck.  

I was cleaning the barn like we have thousands of times before. The barn cleaner chain brings the manure from the gutter into the manure tub and a big piston pushes the manure and straw out to the manure pit. Being the barn wasn’t full and the barn was 140 years old at the time, there were some cold or frozen areas. One area was the manure tub which had a basketball size hunk of frozen manure hung up. Whether I did it, or dad told me to, I knocked that manure chunk into the path of the piston. The piston went forward and made one heck of a racket and the whole frame broke or snapped or who knows what happened. The bypass valve didn’t release and things were breaking. I shut the pump off as quickly as I could but it was too late. We analyzed the situation and decided that was it. I broke the barn cleaner on Friday, cows were sold on Monday and heart surgery was Tuesday.  

The old barn is still standing and we use it now for mixing feed and we do keep some stock in there as well as keeping the milk room heated so we have water in the barn. The milkers are still in the wash sink where we put them the last time we milked as are other items still in their resting place. Some of you may ask if we could ever milk cows again? Well… it would take a lot of work to get it back to Grade A standards. When dad was laid up those 6 weeks, I started taking out stanchions and drinking cups just in case he got a wild hair and wanted to milk again. 

The area where the cows were housed is now one large pen that has outside access. We can also house some beef cows and their calves if we need to get them out of the weather.  

Monday, Feb. 12

12:40 a.m. Assist with a car vs deer on Co. Hwy 29. Car and deer both severely damaged. Deer had to be put down.

11:14 a.m. Assist with finding a parent for a child that had a medical at school.

3:15 p.m. Welfare check on a male party.  Jamie Maxwell, 52, homeless arrested on a Hennepin County warrant. 

7:12 p.m. Assist with a civil standby at Acorn Lake Trailer Park. 

8:06 p.m. Disturbance between husband and wife, nothing physical.

10:44 p.m. Garage door open on business. Owner notified.

Tuesday, Feb. 13

11:55 a.m. Request to assist in getting kids back to custodial parent.

11:57 a.m. Disturbance reported between uncle and niece. Issues were handled and all is well.

Wednesday, February 14

11:08 a.m. Report of possible animal abuse, leaving a dog in the cold.

1:39 p.m. Assist with a medical.

6:08 p.m. Report of a male stumbling in the road. Unable to locate.

6:51 p.m. Report of a dog at large in a trailer park. Reporting party found the dog’s humans and brought him home.

9:09 p.m. Disturbance reported at a trailer park. Male, severely intoxicated, was banging on the house walls and yelling and wailing. Male refused medical and any help from officer. Male was left to go to sleep and enjoy his hangover the next day.

9:38 p.m. 911 hang-up reported at an apartment building. Officer did not hear anything out of the ordinary.

Thursday, Feb. 15

1:41 p.m. Hold up alarm at a business. Accidental push, all was ok.