Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: calf, calving, miracle of birth, white clover
October 24, 2014
Liz’s calf finally stopped long enough for me to get a picture. They were all just moved to the white clover field. I am sure they are very happy…because their backsides are green with envy…or something like that :o
The little calf is 3/4 Murry Grey. She is standing right in front of mom and dad, but I focused on the cute one! The rich clover will help provide very rich milk to make the little one grow. She is a chunk. She is a fine example of what I hope my breeding program will accomplish. I haven’t named her yet, but all in good time I guess.
We are expecting more calves in the coming weeks. It is an exciting time. The grass is holding out well, but I don’t especially like calving this late in the year. I just hope the babies will come soon, before the biting winter winds blow. They are hardy once they are born and dried off. They are born with a winter coat at this time of year, but I still think that is a rough way to enter the world. They leave a 101 degree womb and hit the ground with the outside temperatures near freezing. No wonder they are in a rush to stand and drink warm milk!
The best part of farming is the babies. It is a great reward. I will never get over the miracle of birth…2 legged or 4 legged.
Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: cancer causing, city folks, colorful, night sky, sharing knowledge
October 22, 2014
In my lifetime so far, I have met many colorful characters, some are old farmers. Many of the men and women that I am thinking about are good country people, but then I don’t know too many city folks. I am amazed by real people from the city. I can’t understand for the life of me why someone wants to be surrounded by tall buildings, traffic and constant commotion. I much prefer tall trees, animals and peace and quiet. The bright lights for me consist of a star filled night sky. The only way to make that sparkling evening any better, is to share it with someone you love.
Anyway, getting back to the characters that have shaped my life, I was reminded today of an old man named John. John took great delight in telling stupid, corny jokes. He almost always smelled of creosote, it was a miracle liquid for him. He put that stuff on everything from wood, to the bottom of his vehicle. He was from the old country, a kind, gentle man. His mission in life was to make people smile. If you didn’t mind the smell of creosote, you couldn’t help but smile. ( ****creosote is now known to cause cancer, I don’t even think you can buy or own it anymore)
Another man who helped me more than he will ever know, was also named John. I called him Johnny. He was a small man in stature but a large man in my life. He taught me many old-time farming practices, especially when it comes to raising pigs. He was a man of God and witnessed often without being overbearing. I miss him often and stand ever grateful for his shared knowledge.
A lady, who babysat my sister and I, was another character in my life who shaped me as a man. She was a model lady from West Virginia. Her name was Nellie and she thought that I had hung the moon. I guess after raising five boys on her own, I was just a reminder of days gone by. She helped me to become a gentleman. She was a very hard-working woman who gardened and canned like she was still raising five boys, but you could eat all you wanted when you sat down at her table. ” Take all you want, but eat all you take.”, she would say, in a sweet voice that still lingers in my memory.
These are but three people who touched my life. I only hope that I have made a difference in someone’s life just as these nice folks did in mine. One thing I know for sure is this…. I am a colorful character, who enjoys seeing people smile!
Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: cows and calves, profit, Small Farming, Stockpiled grass
October 20, 2014
The cows are eating their last pastures of the 2014 grazing season. I have a few more paddocks with some stockpiled grass for them to enjoy, until the winter snows blow. They are in the most east pasture now, munching on third cutting hay, left to grow to nourish the plant roots. The frost has signaled the grass to go dormant, so lightly grazing the hayfield won’t hurt a thing.
The wooded pasture in the photo is the next hamlet for the cows. The woods provide some shelter from the late autumn winds. The grass lush and green will provide some very good meals for my soon to be momma cows. One young lady had her calf last week. She is still camera-shy, but we will see about that!
My horse pasture grows short. The horses are just tonight starting to be supplemented with hay, a little each day at meal time. They eat their oats and clean up the hay by morning. I am sure winter will soon be here. Our logging job, cleaning up the old fallen oak begins Wednesday. The horses and equipment are ready to go. I just need to roll up some broken fence and the job can start.
The horses will be given an old hay field with some corn fodder on one end as a jump lot this winter. They will paw down through the snow and eat the stockpiled grass and the leaves from the corn fodder. The frozen ground will keep them from damaging the soil and plants beneath their big feet. The area is more for excercise than for feeding. The grass is just a bonus.
The cow’s last pasture for the season has waist-high grass and red clover standing in it. A large grove of white pines will provide shelter and protection from the elements for the cows and their calves. Once the pasture has been eaten down, they will spend the winter under the barn overhang. This last pasture will provide a playground on nice days, once the cattle are moved to the barnyard for winter.
Having stockpiled grasses, left to grow tall until after frost, is like having money in the bank. It keeps the feed bill down by providing many free meals. This approach to self sufficiency, is just one more reason why I farm the way I do. Low inputs help keep the business end profitable…without profit, there is no farm…at least not one “in the black.”
Filed under: October 2014, Uncategorized | Tags: acorns, ear corn, hickory nuts, hogs, hogs on pasture, pigs, Small Farming
October 15, 2014
Our gilts are out on a wooded pasture with a boar. They are enjoying freedom, hickory nuts and ear corn. I guess they must be enjoying each other too, because I see the incriminating hoof marks on their backs…and that is a very good thing!
The pasture measures about four acres. This is much more area than they need, but there is plenty to eat, so this breeding season is costing me almost nothing. I am picking the ear corn on the ends and edges of the field, The pigs get a big helping every night. They usually have it cleaned up by morning, but don’t come running for it due to all the fallen hickory nuts.
Sunday’s frost along with Tuesdays wind has loosened the bounty in the hickory trees. The squirrels are even shaking their little fists at the hogs, as the hogs gobble up the nuts. The pigs are in great shape and eating less than half a normal ration, thanks to the pasture and all of feed it provides.
Each sow will get her own pen and recess for 40 minutes a day, once they return to the barn. The pasture is a better place, but I lack the time to make a place for them to spend the winter on pasture. I do have a portable pen for late autumn so they can glean the picked corn field, but litters will arrive in late December. I like to have the mommas and babies close where I can watch and care as needed….but for now it’s hickory nuts and ear corn!
Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: acorns, end of the growing season, frost, garden beds, ground chuck
October 12, 2014
This morning we woke up to a very hard frost. Today marks the end of the growing season here on our farm. The leaves have been turning for a couple of weeks, but this frost will turn the woods into a colorful bouquet. The cows pasture will now quit growing and the lawns can be mowed for the last time.
We have a brown steer. I call him Charlie Brown. His purpose is to fill our freezer with… ground “Chuck”. He is ready to go, so now that the summer grazing season is coming to a close, Charlie and a few others will be moved off the pastures permanently. Some of our cows are calving now. We have one new baby on the ground as I write. She is camera-shy, so no photo…yet.
I still plan to move and replant some strawberries, divide the rhubarb and get a bed ready for some asparagus roots in the spring. Also , I have plans for a place for some concord grape rootstock. It seems funny to be planting at the end of the growing season, but that is how it goes, nature too plans for next year…ever notice all the acorns?
Filed under: October 2014, Uncategorized | Tags: contentment, friends, small farm jobs, small square bales
October 11, 2014
The big round bales are all small square ones now. The mow is mostly full and I am very pleased to have this job done for another year. My kids and grandkids and several friends, over the last three days, came to my aid and … baled me out! :o
Today, a couple of my friends met here at eight o’clock. We started baling and it went very well. We were all finished by lunchtime. I then went to their farm and helped pick corn for the afternoon. We finished that job too. So, both of us, traded labor and managed to get more done than any of us thought possible.
Tonight, I will sleep well. I am tired, stiff and even a little sore, but my mind and heart will rest easy, knowing that this work is behind us. There are many farm jobs to do, but the hay tools can now all be cleaned, lubricated and put away…and that is a very good thing!
Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: family work, hay making, peace of mind, round bales, small square bales
The season will soon be closing in, with snow all around us. We are taking advantage of these nice October days to wrap things up. We spent much of yesterday making small square bales out of larger round ones. It seems like a lot of work, but the effort is well worth it. Those small square bales come in very handy on a wet, freezing, rainy night. I only do the horse hay this way and a few second cutting bales for the baby calves.
It is peace of mind in summer as I rush around the field making large round bales, as I make hay while the sun shines. It is mostly a one man show here, so making round bales lets me get our hay made all by myself. However, it does make things very nice when we can have extra hands to make the small square bales. We had a good time. It was cool and breezy. The children played all day and even helped some too. It is real nice to be in a hay mow when its cool and comfortable, still the same amount of work,but the coolness makes it a nice job.
Another wonderful thing that happened yesterday, was finding out that I had fixed the baler. I had recently replaced a broken spring. That spring. That $8.00 spring has caused me aggravation for over 3 seasons! I simply couldn’t figure it out. Wow, what a difference! We only missed tieing two bales yesterday and both of them were my fault!
This job continues but we made great progress. I think I will have it all squared away before the weather turns wet again…at least that’s my hope