Has your winter been as crazy as ours? Here we are NE TN right on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. It is mid January and it has not been cold since Christmas! I’m talking 50s and 60s just about every day. And wet too. And I do mean wet.
The area with the puddled water as well as under the logs is about 12″ deep mud the cows have to go through to get to the hay
part of the covered feeding area. It has a pallet base covered in plywood flooring. I still have to fork out the dropped hay and other waste every day or so but it also gives me the opportunity to put the unsoiled hay back in the rack for them to eat.
It was a drier than usual summer so the rain has been appreciated but it sure makes it sloppy going outside for the daily chores such as feeding or picking up the hay the cows drop or just letting the hens out or in or gathering eggs. Those Muck Boots Pauline bought me two years back has certainly been a blessing. Don’t leave the house without them, around the property at least, and take them off before you go back in. You don’t want what is on them in the house for sure. Overall it is not bad but the areas that get a lot of traffic especially around the hay feeder are a mess. Under the cover it isn’t bad
but the approach to it for the cows both to the hay and the water tank has turned into a quagmire about 12″ deep. Deep enough that I have been concerned for the last couple of weeks that one could slip down and possible break a leg. Not to mention that it is causing erosion and more and more of the soil is washing downhill. That area is probably 6″ lower than it was 3 years ago when I first started the winter hay feeding here. That might not sound to bad but since this one area is being constantly turned the dirt here washes out an forms a dished area causing water to stand which means the cows come into a wet area making more mud and the next rain more of it washes out making the problem worse still.
I am building a corduroy deck around it. If you are not familiar wit the term it is, according to Wiki, (A corduroy road or log road is a type of road made by placing sand-covered logs, sometimes known as “punchings,” perpendicular to the direction of the road over a low or swampy area. The result is an improvement over impassable mud or dirt roads, yet rough in the best of conditions and a hazard to horses due to shifting loose logs).
Assuming you have read some of the other posts here you are aware that we have an abundance of of unwanted trees on the property. Most of them cedars and quite a few of them of a size that I can get at least one fence post out of it but the rest has to be disposed of. The smaller parts I will trim and cut as necessary to make a deck on top of the mud that my hope is as the walk on it they the logs will sink into the mud stopping the erosion and as they rot build this low area back up to level. I do have some concerns with this however.
As mentioned in the excerpt from wiki above it is an unleveled surface and can and will provide a less than solid footing for the cows as well as myself until such time as the gaps between the logs fill in with the mud from below and the hay from above as well as other foreign matter that the cows will no doubt contribute themselves. I will still be concerned about the potential injury that could be incurred. A very real concern for me. Not only because it would cost about a thousand to fifteen hundred dollars to replace one of them but we know each other personally and even the one that I do not particularly like would be missed. My hope of course and the purpose of my efforts is and attempt to avoid these potential loses.
If I can get them all in while it is still wet and rainy the weight of the cows walking on them will push the down in the mud and as everything settles in the mud itself will form the anchor to keep the logs in place and at least for the next few years this problem will be taken care of.
A lot of work? OH Yeah but well worth the effort I think.