Poly Pipe Hay Bale Rings

This is our first season bale grazing with poly pipe bale rings.  We are completely impressed with them. We originally bale grazed without rings, following the advice of various conference speakers who scoffed at the idea of wasted hay.  “Wasted hay is just added fertility!”  But when we looked at our hay feeding costs, we realized that unless one has access to free hay, fertilizing a field with wasted hay is the economic equivalent of wallpapering a room with five dollar bills. Digression:  Related to this topic of wasting hay, I have some… Read More

The Good Winter

While we’ve felt chilly recently, this winter has been a real pushover.  But even though we haven’t been brutally tested like last year, looking back over pictures of summer fields still manages to bring a pang. I miss summer, but I’m not aching for warmth like I was last year.  It is a nice feeling to be at peace with winter rather than feeling like each day is a fight against it.

Political Farmers

Overheard today a group of farmers talking about how they had visited the USDA FSA office to get their paperwork in order for 2016 funding.  They have bigger plans for this year than last year, so they wanted to get more money for those projects.  Then they started complaining about the EPA having unwarranted authority to regulate how farmers use water. Funny how consistently I hear the inconsistent message from farmers that they want lower interest loans, easier access to grants, more generous subsidies and better price protection plans, but they also want less government… Read More

Cattle-Proof Water Trough, Improved

Our previous tire trough blog post has always been the most popular post on the site.  But the old trough was just a tank.  We had to truck the water to it or rig up the gasoline pump and a lot of hoses and pipes.  Trucking water is bad, bad, bad, but it was our only option for years. With our new pond and buried siphon lines in place, this fall we moved the tire and plumbed it with a float valve.  Most of the pictures are from a couple months ago, hence the lack of snow… Read More

Shivered Timbers

Everyone who knew me from my prefarming days knew me as a inveterate builder.  So their questions directed toward me are often, “What’s new with the house?”  And my answers for the last five years have been, “Nothing.”  After we moved in, we patched holes in the roof, fixed a few broken windows, and replumbed the rust-clogged plumbing, but we haven’t had the time or the heart to start home renovations.   But that is changing.  We’re starting with the worst part of the house, the addition that was built in 1909.  Leaky… Read More

Iced Egg

We had our first dose of winter today, windy and cold.  Cold weather means frequent trips out to the hens to gather the eggs. Most of our chickens behave themselves and lay eggs in the nests, or at least in the cove next to the nest box, but there are four or five hens that obstinately choose to lay their eggs elsewhere.  All but one of these nonconformists pick sheltered spots, but one lays an egg each day right out in the open on top of a mound of snow.  If we don’t collect… Read More