Filed under: September 2016 | Tags: autumn, beef cows, calves, flannel shirt, little ones, Small Farming
She was born a few days ago. I couldn’t help but like her little white socks, so I named her Bobbi.
The best part of farming for me is the little ones. I mean all of them. The baby pigs, lambs calves will brighten the most dismal day. Showing these little critters to small humans, will shine light into your soul. The children’s bright smiles and gleeful shouts are the things that make marks upon your heart.
I am watching the cows close. They are about to calve, all of them, before winter. These are exciting times here. We calve at this odd time of year, because we share a bull with another small herd. I still have good, abundant pasture and lots of high protein food for when the weather turns foul. There is plenty of shelter for our bovine group. So, the entire herd will be warm and well all winter long.
Autumn is chasing summer away. We will soon be soaking up the last warm rays as the fall foliage turns color. These are flannel shirt days where a man can work comfortably in the cool breeze. I will work at planting my fall crop and harvesting our field corn. The horses and I will enjoy the cool work days, while mother cows nurse babies in the fading summer sun. I love this farm life!
Filed under: September 2016 | Tags: cover crop, procrastinate, raised beds, Small Farming, small gardening
September 14, 2016
Over the last three days, my wife and I have accomplished much around the yard and garden. Many of the jobs we did were long overdue. I used the weedeater in places that I hadn’t touched all summer! I trimmed bushes and hedges that really needed a “haircut”! I weeded beds that forgot what the hoe even felt like. We chopped, trimmed, dug mowed and sweated like people possessed.
The summer flew by, as we did farm work, chopped wood, and took care of animals. Somehow, while I was immersed in farm work, the gardens and flowerbeds went WILD. I walked by and simply turned my head knowing that I would get to it sooner or later. Our neglected garden was simply pitiful. Honestly, I was ashamed of my laziness.
I sat down and we outlined an attack plan. I also decided to do away with a couple things that didn’t work for us. We tore out three raised garden beds. I kept the ones with our berry plants, asparagus and rhubarb planted in them. The ones that I thought would make gardening easier, I ripped out and salvaged the lumber. They turned out to be labor intensive, hard to mow around and constant suckers of energy.
We also renovated an old perennial flower bed. The grasses had started to choke out the flowers. I had tried weedblock, mulch and this year, the weedeater but I just don’t have time to make it look like it should. We will now be mowing up to the fence, as the whole thing has been planted to grass. The last order of the day was to work up the garden space and plant a cover crop of rye. The gardens and flowerbeds are now all ready for winter.
It is great to have this behind us. I am training a new horse and will be soon working up a field and planting speltz. The corn crop is drying nicely and the harvest will soon be at hand. I can now look forward to those things, working horses and just enjoying this farm.
Bye bye flowers, hello grass….shhhhh, don’t tell anyone…the fence needs painted!
Filed under: September 2016 | Tags: Amaryllis, Christmas cactus, contentment, gardening, peace, woodlands
September 12, 2016
Okay, so we had this crazy plant blooming in our living room last Christmas. It was a pretty thing, showing off in the dead of winter. I read up on the care of the plant. I thought I had done everything right. The last step is to move it to a darkened basement for sixty days. Then it will once again bloom in late December.
So, we put it on the porch where it would get sun and fresh air. The greenery is supposed to be feeding the bulb now. Apparently, it was so happy out there it decided to bloom. I don’t know, perhaps it has been talking to our Christmas cactus. That crazy cactus also blooms two or three times a year! I guess like me, they are happy here on this farm, in this time.
I learned a long time ago not to hold anything back. I don’t want to stifle ideas, deeds or works. I have found that love unlimited is more valuable than gold. Any living thing that is happy with its surroundings will excel in any manner that it chooses. We raise and sell meat that is raised stress free. The animals are well cared for at all times.My horses look for me each day. They welcome me to the barn or pasture. The woodlands open up and share shade and the peace and quiet found there with me. This little plant is blooming her heart out. I will take that as a compliment and just enjoy the view!
Filed under: September 2016 | Tags: buckwheat, Grazing, honeybees, minerals, nutrients, Oats, Small Farming
September 3, 2016
This little field was my last winter’s cow lot. It was a rough field filled with hoof prints. I grazed it short in late July. Then we disced it all up to smooth it out and to open the soil up some. We next broadcasted oats from our bin and some buckwheat seed. The seeding is coming along good. I won’t put the cows up here until November. When they do get here they will have thick oats and the spent buckwheat to munch.
The buckwheat mines minerals out of the soil. When the plant dies back or is eaten by the cows, it gives up those minerals. The nutrients will be available for the following crop. I plan to plant some open pollinated corn in this spot next spring. The cows will get it until then. They will winter here again, depositing their manure all over this field. I will plow and prepare a seedbed for the corn. It should be a yummy place for the corn.
So, by fixing the problem of a rough field, I planted feed for the cows, suppressed weeds, mined some nutrients, used up some old oat seed and made a great autumn food crop for my bees. The blooming buckwheat is a favorite for all pollinators, especially honeybees. My cost was my time, a little fuel and $23.00 of buckwheat seed. It is a field of about 2 acres. It was most definitely worth my time!
Filed under: September 2016 | Tags: beef cows, deer plot, draft horses, memories, Small Farming, woodland
September 2, 2016
Last night, my grandson helped us do chores. He likes to ride with his grammy in our side-by-side vehicle, so why not do chores as we go? We fed the sow herd and pastured piglets. Then we moved on to fill up the cows water. He wanted to be with me, so I help him as the cows came to investigate.
The little cow Mable is very tame. She stood while we petted and talked to her. My little buddy talked a blue streak of what only he and the cow could understand. I got the idea though that he likes the farm, the cows and especially the horses. He had no trouble telling the little cow all about it.
I realize that for this farm to continue, it will take the generations after me to be interested. Its nice to me, that my grandsons all like different parts of what I do. Some like the farming part, while others like the environmental and woodland part. It is great for me, because I can spend time doing what I like, while spending time doing what they like.
Hopefully, we are making memories that will serve them their whole lives.I don’t know their direction, but I sure hope that I will have a part in shaping it. I’m thinking that with time spent petting cows and making deer feed plots…I’m on the right track.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: deer, deer plot, fall planting, family time, Forage, grasshoppers, memories, radish, turnips, wildlife, woodland management
August 29, 2016
This little field was an old part of our pasture. When I put up the new fence, I straightened it out. This little place got abandoned. I keep mowing it. I tried a couple of years ago to plant trees here, but the weeds choked them out. We will probably do that again, but for now, we have created a plot for the wild deer.
We worked up the sod and planted oats, turnips, radish and a medley of grasses and forage. My sheep would go nuts for this soon to be lush autumn and winter grazing. We hope the deer like it. I just want to keep them coming to our farm. We harvest a deer or two each year, so it seems only right to offer them a little food.
They do get into my hay fields and eat clover. They munch my corn and other crops too. This plot however is all theirs. It is in the back, next to the woods. There are trees growing on three sides. A stream is just a few hundred feet away and places to hide and sleep abound.
My son was pretty pleased with our efforts today. My grandson was thrilled that we planted food for the deer. He had a great time catching grasshoppers, crickets and even a frog while we worked and planted. My granddaughter made me mud pies and helped her brother in the big grasshopper hunt. It was a good day for us all….I think more than just a few seeds were planted today…I believe a memory was planted too.
Filed under: August 2016 | Tags: bells, birdsong, draft horses, harness bells, melody, relaxing
August 25, 2016
This picture is of Abby’s new harness bells. They are an unnecessary part of the harness, but they please me. I enjoy the simple chiming as the horses walk. Using horses makes a person slow down. They are animals, living, breathing creatures just like us. They must stop to rest now and then, but it is remarkable how much work they can accomplish.
As we work, I get to listen to the birds sing. I can even hear the plow slicing through the soil as we turn the sod. I hear the horses breathe and monitor that breathing for signs of when a rest is needed. The sounds of birdsong, slicing earth and breathing horses is enhanced by the ringing of my harness bells…or at least I think so.
I choose to use brass bells, cast in a foundry and made to ring pure and crisp. The sound is like no other. It cuts through the air in a subtle yet pronounced way. I use different sized bells to make the music sound like a melody. I can’t sing along, but it sure makes me smile. The horses pay them no mind. The bells are just part of their harness to them. I even asked them one time if they mind the sound? They just said … “neigh”.