Forest Dwellers

As I was clearing brush along an overgrown fenceline today, I came across some critters hiding out in the woods.

Tarping Round Bales

This is the first year I’ve had all my hay bales under cover.  We were able to cram the sows’ winter hoophouse full of bales.  We’ll need to empty that out by Thanksgiving, but it is a pretty convenient place to stash the bales in the meantime. We’re also trying storing hay under tarps.  My friend and farming doppelganger Edmund brought me a stack of used billboard vinyl tarps.  I ran ropes and strapping under the bales and then snugged them down using ratchet straps attached to short lengths of scrap pipe in… Read More

Goings On

There’s a whole lot of everything going on these midsummer days so it’s hard to focus on any one thing happening. Livestock work continues apace as garden work transitions from planting and weeding to harvesting.  AJ and Harry brought in a few wagon loads of garlic.  Now that they are both big enough to drive the riding lawn mower they are becoming mechanized farmers, taking turns driving out to the far garden with the lawn cart in tow.  Rachel has been freezing blueberries we picked at Ingall’s Blueberry Hill.  Just two weeks ago… Read More

An Expensive Way to Feed Pigs

Every farmer raising a flock of laying hens can benefit from keeping a few pigs around to eat the broken or impossible-to-clean eggs.  I’m feeding my pigs eggs, but not just a few cracked ones.  They are getting hundreds of eggs at a clip. I started the season with hopes to supply several markets that didn’t eventuate or that didn’t turn out nearly as big as I anticipated.  I’m producing about 1/3 more eggs than I can sell.  I’ve been scrambling (nyuck, nyuck) to find new markets to pick up the eggs, but I haven’t had much success…. Read More

So Easy A Kid Can Do It

The replacement farm truck came with a handy feature:  a dumping stake body.  I’ve wanted a stake body truck for a long time because pickup beds are flimsy, showy affairs that never hold up to real use.  But having the dump hoist is a great bonus for unloading vegetable scraps.  The novelty hasn’t worn off for Allie and Harry yet; they are always willing to operate the controls for me.

Last Hay Down

‘Round these parts, perennial hayfields are good for only two cuttings each year.  Three cuttings are possible if you are lucky or if you make baleage, but we don’t have much experience with luck or baleage. We only take the first cutting for winter feed.  We buy in the remaining hay needs from neighbors and use what would be the second cut as late fall stockpiled grass for grazing. My goal is to have the cattle drop most of their forage as manure back onto the field it came from to keep the biological nutrient… Read More

Pasture Cropping Pearl Millet

We did something new this week:  planted five acres of pearl millet.  For years I’ve been hearing about the work Colin Seis has been doing in popularizing pasture cropping, and the idea is intriguing in many aspects.  The basic premises of pasture cropping are: Plant an annual crop into a perennial pasture during a period of dormancy. Harvest the annual crop (either as a forage or as a grain). Allow the perennial pasture to regenerate partially under the canopy of the annual  crop and then to fully regenerate after the annual crop is… Read More