Filed under: August 2014 | Tags: Border Collie, boys and dogs, rainy weather, Small Farming
August 20, 2014
Our dog Max is so spoiled…we got him a pet! Well, not really, a little boy in North Perry wanted his five year old Border Collie to live on a farm. Cinch came today, to live with us…and Max of course.
What a wet, hot, stormy day it was today! we now have gotten almost three inches of rain since Monday. It is very wet. Frogs are sitting on our patio to dry their feet off and ducks are carrying umbrellas!
Farming has stopped for now, but this is when I plan and rest up. All is well at Riceland, in fact you could say …it’s a cinch!
Wow what a busy week I had last week! I call it vacation, but some would call it work … not me man… I had a great time! I farmed steady for nine and a half days. I had great weather, so I made use of every bit of it that I could.
I combined oats for a neighbor. I made several small fields of second cutting hay. We even plastic wrapped a few for silage to be used this coming winter. I got to visit with my nephew and a few friends, My wife and I shared some time together and even the dog knows me again!
We are getting ready for a firewood marathon. We need to cut and split a small mountain of wood. The sugarhouse needs more as well as home heating fuel. It’s time to get the last of it done. These present and unseasonably cool days, makes me want to see this job done!
Farmer’s Almanac says another cold winter headed our way. I plan to keep my shoulder to the wheel to make damn sure we are ready. Plenty of work remains, but for now we are caught up and that is a great feeling!
Filed under: August 2014 | Tags: making memories, Small Farming, Oats, buckwheat, open pollenated corn, contentment, sorgham/Sudan grass
August 13, 2014
A very busy off farm work schedule along with the demanding work around this farm, has kept me from writing for a while. I am currently enjoying a few days of rest, thanks in part, to the rain. Even the cows were resting this morning in the recently harvested experimental oats and buckwheat field.
The experiment went well for the most part, but I didn’t seed it heavy enough. I did harvest a few round bales for feeding this winter, but would not repeat the experiment. There are other forages that do better in the same time frame. Sorghum/Sudan grass does better. I proved that too in a side by side comparison this season.
I am an ambassador for both oats and buckwheat in other applications. Buckwheat “mines” the soil for nutrients. When incorporated back into the soil, buckwheat makes those nutrients available for the next crop. Buckwheat also lures all sorts of beneficial bugs, especially pollinators.
Oats grow well in spring and fall. They can be baled or grazed along with harvesting them for the grain and straw. I use them often to follow corn and as a nurse crop for grasses and legumes. The grain makes great horse feed, but I prefer speltz due to my work load and our cold clay soils.
I managed to get all of our second cutting hay made, along with the forage buckwheat and oats and sorghum/Sudan grass. All the bales were made without any rain on them… a real feat this year! I have one more field of clover second cutting, that will be made into balage for our cows. The silage type bales will be wrapped in plastic and resemble big marshmallows.
Our corn, planted June tenth, is doing well. Sure, there is better looking corn around, but my small field of open pollenated corn will feed our sow herd all winter. I am fine with that :o The fodder will also be used as a snack for the cows once the ears have been picked and stored.
Plenty of work awaits me, but it feels very good to be caught up for now and enjoying a few days of fun. A trip to Holmes county yesterday, made for laughs shared and memories made with Connie. We bought a “chicken Tractor” from an Amish man who makes them from conduit and small square wire. They are light and portable, yet strong and durable …. more on this topic later.
Filed under: July 2014 | Tags: baby boy, buckwheat, hay making, open pollinated
July 29, 2014
We have had an interesting “last few days”. Saturday our youngest son and his wife welcomed a new baby boy. Keagan was 9 pounds 10 ounces. He is a big bouncing baby boy, born to two very happy parents…and grandparents too!
Yesterday we got a total of over two inches of rain. The weather is cool, with water standing in many places. The animals are lounging about like they are on vacation. I guess they are on a vacation of sorts, because even the greenhead biting flies are leaving them alone due in part to the cool weather.
The experimental oat and buckwheat field is doing well. The buckwheat is in full bloom. The pollinators are very happy and buzzing about. The field looks pretty good and will be cut for hay soon…. just need some dry weather.
The challenge of making dry hay gets tougher every year. It seems that the rain comes every third day…just short of the time needed to dry hay. I have a new “arrow in my quiver” with our new tedder. The ground drive model that we have is made by Master Equipment here in Ohio.
We have used it twice so far and have been very impressed with its performance. I think it will come in handy when we make the buckwheat and oat hay and especially when trying to dry the sorghum/Sudan hay. I am sure patience will be my best friend, as I wait for a string of sunny dry days.
Crazy weather and extra shifts have made for a tough hay year for me, but so far all is well. I am very sure the animals will appreciate my efforts come winter as they munch on hay made from the sweat of my brow and losing sleep to work with the sunny days as they come.
Actually, I sleep better knowing that the hay is mostly made, the corn is growing and the pastures are holding up well. We are blessed for sure….not to mention the new helper born next door!
Filed under: July 2014 | Tags: contentment, Hay, hay making, middle age, wildlife
July 24, 2014
Tuesday night, after a long day of work at my off farm job, I baled this hay. The hay was in big fluffy windrows and ready to bale. I went as fast as I could go and it still took me until after dark to finish. It was very nice hay and completes my needs for winter.
As I rushed around the field gobbling up the hay, I had time to think about life’s journey. I contemplated how many times that I have rushed through things to get done. The sun was setting on my hay making, much like the sun is setting on my life. Yes, I still consider myself young, but I am “middle aged”. :o
Just like life, the sun continued to set, even though I still had hay to bale. The time simply would not wait on me. I persisted anyway. I drove like a madman. I wasn’t reckless, I just kept going as the darkness fell. I pushed through and completed the job. I felt great, knowing that the hay job was finished.
Now, as I once again reflect upon rushing towards the sunset, I am realizing that taking time along the way is the best thing to do. I saw deer, mice, snakes and hawks as I baled the hay the other night. I took time to enjoy the ride as I pushed into the darkness, sure the sun was going to set and I was going to be surrounded by darkness, but while I could see, I watched, and while I could feel I embraced the night.
The evening sun lost its warmth, but I took time to enjoy it on my bare skin anyway. When the cool breeze of evening started to rustle the leaves, I enjoyed the sight and feel of the cool evening breath on my face. Most folks who could see me, probably thought that I was just baling hay… They had no idea that I was living life to the fullest…. the hay bales were just a bonus!
Filed under: July 2014
July 23, 2014
After a late night of tractor work, I am giving myself permission to take a break while the rain clouds pass by. I finished making the cow’s hay bales last night at almost 10:00 pm. The last few rows were getting tough but I wanted to beat the rain. Those last few bales will still be better hay than if it was rained on.
The bugs tried to eat me alive, but I managed to fight them off. I now have that peace of mind knowing the hay has been made for winter. My experimental field of oats and buckwheat will be ready to cut soon. Those bales will simply be a bonus for the hay stack!
I combined my speltz one evening last week. The field was small, but the combine worked beautifully. A little bit of straw has been mowed. The horses and I will work on getting that made this weekend. Straw makes very good bedding on cold winter nights :o
Max is doing great. He is learning to be a stock dog, but also a companion. He is loyal. He is socializing well. One day soon he will be the farm’s greeter to our visitors. He sure is a handsome guy.
The winter hay, now all made, must still be brought from the field and stacked away, but what a relief to have it made. I am working a few extra shifts at work, dealing with our weather, but finding enough time to relax and stay satisfied…. I guess you could say that I am living life…. to the Max!
Filed under: July 2014 | Tags: contentment, Mental Health, R&R, small farm work
July 19, 2014
Finally, I am catching up. I just have some cow hay to make, but everything is falling into place. I even found a few evenings to rest and relax. I visited with some friends, stared into the fire and spent time with my horses.
The pastures have all been mowed, the corn is growing well and the speltz have been harvested. I helped the new owners of my sheep, vaccinate, deworm and wean. I made some nice new friends in the process. I even had time to fix a wagon that has been giving me fits for months!
I have some hay down as I write. It apparently needed to be washed off, God took care of that job for me. So see, everything is working out well. I will bale that clean, rinsed hay once it is dry. The cows will love it come January. It will sure beat eating snowballs :o
Piglets are growing and my work list is getting shorter. My experimental fields of buckwheat and oats along with the sorghum/Sudan grass, are also looking well. It has rained quite a bit, but we have been working in between. The fields, pastures and lawn are enjoying the extra moisture.
I look toward next week with excitement as I continue to get my summer work done. I look at this last week with satisfaction as I can see much progress and the results of my efforts … Thanks to all who helped, especially my wife. She helped me celebrate the maiden voyage of our smokehouse…by helping me clean up after!