Neighbors, Numbers and Salvage
June 20, 2018, 9:53 am
Filed under: June 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , ,


June 20, 2018

Monday morning I was up early. I started raking three small fields of hay that we used for “baleage” This hay was baled while still green or “wet”, then wrapped in plastic. The bales resemble large marshmallows. I started raking at 5:45 am, right after chores were done. I wanted the morning dew to raise the water content on the wilted hay. The good bacteria turn the bales into yummy sweet smelling silage! My Amish neighbors did the baling and wrapping.

My closest Amish neighbors, use tractors and very modern equipment instead of draft horses like me. This sect is much different from my Old Order Amish friends to whom I am most accustomed. In any case, the neighbors came by and made my balage. It cost me less than one payment on the equipment I would have to buy to do this job myself. It makes economic sense to hire this job done. We made 42 bales, enough for my supplemental winter feeding, in two hours!

I have always tried to look at my farm from a profit and loss perspective. Often times it is better to hire jobs done based upon time, equipment needs or the scope of a job. I tend to be hard-headed at times. I get myself into a project where hiring a man to do it, would have cost less, been done faster and probably had a better end result as well. Pride can be a wicked thing. I have learned a lot from experience…usually I learn the most from a bad experience!


Here is another example of hiring a neighbor and making use of salvaged goods. The lumber in the above photo was sawn for me by a friend. The logs were from a pine tree that blew down, A bitternut hickory growing in the wrong place and a dying sycamore next to the sugarhouse. Some of the hickory will replace the floor on my horse drawn work sled. The rest of the hickory and the pine, will become the north wall on my back barn overhang. The sycamore I had cut into live edge pieces to make benches for visitors to the sugarhouse.

So, it has been a great week so far. Thanks mostly to neighbors, numbers and salvage!

Foggy Morning Breakdown
April 8, 2015, 10:56 am
Filed under: April 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
The ladder to success

The ladder to success

April 8, 2015

Armed with 600 gallons of water, a couple of cases of white vinegar, some bleach and huge quantities of elbow grease, I am attacking the job of breaking down and cleaning up the sugarhouse and it’s equipment. A little bluegrass and Celtic bagpipe music playing on my headphones passes the time and keeps me company.

Before the 2016 maple syrup season begins, we plan to change our three sap tanks out. They have served us well for four seasons, but the time has come to upgrade. One large stainless steel tank will replace the three current ones. The large tank will take away some of my redundant work while boiling, as well as, make the job of clean up much easier! The job will require some building construction later this year. The wood will be acquired from white pine trees growing here on the farm.The horses and I will turn logs into lumber for the project.

The addition to the sugarhouse will be small in size, but will have a giant impact on my operation. It will make the sugarhouse more user friendly, safer and more efficient. I will create a mezzanine for the big tank. The roof will be tall enough to stand beside the tank for cleaning and inspection. The little addition will create some needed storage and free up some much needed space. For now, this whole project resides in my head, but stay tuned as I make another dream come true 😮