Filed under: July 2015 | Tags: sugarhouse, maple syrup, construction, natural light
July, 2 2015
The rains keep falling, the grass keeps growing. The clovers and hay grasses continue to ripen. It will be all fine, but I’d sure like to be making dry hay soon. We are making “wet” bales so all is not lost. This will make some very nice winter time feed. The succulent plants, harvested at their peak, provides high protein feed that smells wonderful. Opening a bale when the snow is deep, as the winter wind whips your face, is almost fun. The sweet smelling hay crop reminds me the days of summer. The worries of making a hay crop…gone! So, the lesson is…be patient. It will all work out.
The pastures are growing great. All this rain keeps the grass in top shape. We are mowing the lawn almost every three days. There is no sign of the dry July grass and lawn burnout. I’m sure it will come, but not this week :o Soon, the sun will shine and lots of work will need done all at once. Farmers like myself will be scrambling waiting for a rainy day and the rest that comes with it. Until then, I keep clicking things off my list, some projects not scheduled until fall, but they are complete none the less.
I see a few jobs that will slide of my list until the late cool days of fall. Grass and weeds are taking over the edges of the farm. I generally keep these areas mowed, but to date, they have been wet and saturated. I will get them sooner or later, but this year it will be later! The speltz are ripening quickly. Soon the “amber waves of grain”, will be calling me to harvest. This is a mid-summer job and much to my surprise … It is mid-summer!
Filed under: July 2015 | Tags: can't we all just get along, cows, draft horses, mowing, paddock, pasture, rotational grazing
July 1, 2015
As part of my rotational grazing method of raising livestock, I moo-ve my cows often :o I just need one gal to follow along and all the rest follow her. Now that we have been doing this a while, I say Ka-boss and they come running. They know that something good is about to happen! Even last years calves, still sucking moms, beat feet to the gate or new place that I am taking them.
My horse pasture is an area of almost six acres. I only have three draft horses on that paddock, so they can’t keep up with the grass, especially at this time of year. They also eat their favorite places down and leave other areas alone. I put the cows in there with them, just before mowing the pasture. The cows aren’t as picky. They eat the tall grass and anything else that grows pretty much. This makes great use of my forages, keeps all the grass growing well and rids the pasture of a few weeds in the process.
Having tame livestock is a plus, but once they know there is a reward for coming, even the surly ones follow the rest. The young stock go where mom goes. They stay together even grazing in a little herd. They go to the water at the same time and even rest together. The horses keep to themselves too. They don’t chase the cows, but definitely rule the pasture. They drink first. They come in first. and the cows move out of the way. I’m not sure how they learned this, but it goes on this way no matter which horses or cows that I have had over the years. I don’t question it any more. I’m just grateful it woks out so well.
Filed under: June 2015 | Tags: animal husbandry, backyard pig keeping, contentment, cool, draft horses, graze, paddock, piglest, pis, stress free
June 30, 2015
Today, as I waited for more rain to fall, I installed tire swings for my pigs playtime. “What?”, you ask. Yes, tire swings. The pigs love to play with them. They bite on them. They push them around with their noses. They even crawl through them and rub their bellies. It is funny as heck to watch them play. In the past I have also used old bowling balls to give them something to do. I will say though, they like the tires best :o
Often our pigs are outside. The sow herd is currently enjoying a big pasture from which to graze, play and wallow in the mud. These smaller ones would cause a big fight if I was to put them in with the sows. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. It is much better for these fattening pigs to have recess on the feedlot and play on the tire swings for fun. They do get to go out and play in the mud in a little paddock next to the barn. I guess they just like being pigs, eating , playing and resting…and best of all growing, in a stress free environment.
We have been using sawdust for bedding this summer. We tried chips, but they weren’t absorbent enough. The sawdust gets damp and stays cool. We scoop out the poop and strip the stalls when needed. The pigs like the damp cool sawdust on hot days. They stay comfortable and clean. The pen smells like sawdust too, a much better odor than pig poop!
The horses got their feet trimmed today. Knight has soft hooves, so he keeps shoes on all year. Duke and Hoss have hard feet that just need trimmed usually. I do put steel shoes on when working on the road or heavy work where they could slip. Our jobs for the next few months are light. We will mostly work in the hay fields. Well, that is the hope anyway :o
Filed under: June 2015 | Tags: grandma, magic, memories, Raspberries, transplanting
June 28, 2015
We have been enjoying this awesome fruit for a few days now. I like raspberries in yogurt, plain in my hand and on ice cream! My grandma Rice used to make homemade ice cream and just about the time it was done, she’d throw raspberries into the churning, freezing mixture that I love so very much. I have many fond memories of licking that red-ish purple treat. Sometimes, when I eat a raspberry, I can almost hear my grandma’s voice or feel her touch. Yes, there is magic in those berries!
I transplanted these plants early this spring. I was hoping they would survive in their new space. I never imagined that they would thrive! I am guessing the success is due in part to our rainy weather. The space between plants is helping to prevent plant problems like powdery mildew. This has been a great project and we are being rewarded with tasty, sweet fruit for our efforts.I even plan to dry a few leaves to be brewed for hot tea on a cold winter night :o
June is fast coming to an end. It’s had to believe that one third of our summer is over. Our hay is still standing and many early summer projects are on hold. All is well, as long as, there are such wonderful things such as fresh raspberries and ice cream!
Filed under: June 2015 | Tags: gardening, hay making, hoe, patience, raised beds, weeding
June 27, 2015
As I write this post, rain is hammering down outside. We have gotten over 2 inches since 5am this morning. We are still pretty wet from the last rains we got a few days ago. I am very glad to be gardening in raised beds this year. The plants, though well watered, are still doing great as their roots are above the flood zone :o
It does take some getting used to. I usually have many more plants to weed and watch over. Our garden needs have become smaller as our family has too. Gardening like this is actually fun. It doesn’t take any time to weed or hoe a bed. The dirt is loose and easy to dig into. The best part is that even when it is wet, my shoes stay clean as I do my “dirt work” standing on the lawn!
The sugarhouse addition is coming along, but the rains have delayed that project a little too. No worries, I am sure it will wait for me! My biggest issue is waiting to make dry hay for the horses. That too will all work out, I along with everybody else in northeast Ohio, just needs to be patient.