Saturday, June 26, 2010

Doggie Paddling

I have been a farmer dad for two weeks now, and it is still not settled out yet. Everyday is a constant struggle to get chores done in the morning and at night. The struggle is less so at night, but that is when I get caught-up on things that I can't really do during the morning. The weekends have become exceedingly valuable for pushing projects. We have also go to using a babysitter during the day once a week to free up some time for farm work.

Since my last post, we had Andy Larson from Ames out here and we built some fence when it was horribly hot out. We both looked liked like we took a dip in a lake by the time the day was done, but several corners were completed and we ran some line. About 1/3 of the large central draw is fenced. I have also started sinking posts on the much smaller south draw. The cattle are on the south end of the farm grazing the two steep drift hills and working their way down onto the crop land. I am now well beyond the range of my water system and the recently completed water tank trailer is allowing me to graze down there. The seeding on the crop land is very sparse and we have a lot of weeds to try and graze off. I am also going to broadcast Orchard grass seed ahead of the grazing so our livestock can work some of it into the ground with their hooves and hopefully improve the stand that way.

Water Trailer

Looking down toward the crop land (the corn field in the background is not mine)

Chickens continue to come along and we have a locker date set for July 9th. We will be trying a new locker outside of Bloomfield. It is 45 minutes closer and they will weigh the birds for me.

Chickens on pasture in a Hansen style pen

130 Turkeys arrived this week. They came a day early and the post office did not let me know they were hear until 11:00 AM, usually they call me at 8:00 AM. They got started on a bad foot when one of their heat lamp bulbs burnt out during their first night. I lost seven that night from smothering. Turkeys are incredibly fragile for the first two weeks. We try to keep losses down to 10% during that time. Other then the first night, the birds are looking good.

Turkeys are now here

In other news, the farm continues to be very wet in the low places (large parts of the house yard especially). We have had over 14 inches of rain since our last blog post. I just wear my rubber boots everywhere anymore. I might have cursed us. I bought the boots on sale and ever since then it has been raining. I am glad I bought them, but I don't think the curse is worth it. I picked up a bale spear for my tractor and put category one mounts on it so I can use it with my tractor, but the little tractor has not been able to lift the bales.  It is possible that they hydraulics might not be strong enough to move the bales, but I also did not get perfect angles on the bales I tried to move, so I will try again here and cross my fingers. The tractor is living outside under a tarp right now because it is so wet by the building and we barley got out of there with it. That is the month so far in a nut shell. The first round of deliveries is behind me and my mulberry orders are all filled. Until next time, cross your fingers for mild dry weather for fence building.

One of two marshes in our farm yard

Tractor with bale spear (so far not looking good)

1 comment:

  1. Efforts to graze the cropland planted to pasture have not gone well. The stand is so thin and the livestock will not eat the weedy Marestail, even when it is young, that is all over the field. I think the beneficial plants are taking too much abuse so tonight I will pull the livestock off and look into mowing the field.