Friday, October 22, 2010

Tumbling into Turkey Time

The farm is marching on into its busy season very rapidly. Fencing is going up, slower then I would like, but there is progress every week. All of the remaining posts are in the ground and braces are built. It is basically a matter of running the remaining wire. That being said, it will likely take me and my super helper Jim a couple of weeks at the rate that we are able to work on the fence, but we are making good progress.

Last Batch of Turkeys Ranging

The weather here has been dry for over two weeks now and it has been great for our poultry. The last batch of chickens and the first batch of turkeys went to the locker a week ago.  The chicken weights are about a pound larger than they have been for some time. I moved the last/second batch of turkeys this year a week ago to range on the orchard. These turkeys are doing very well and get moved about once a week to a new paddock.

We have also teamed up with an Amish family from the Drakesville area to provide additional turkeys for our customers. Their turkeys are from the same source as mine, are raised in pasture pens, and have a similar ration to my ration with the addition of oats (but the same mineral base). We will try to get customers our birds first, but our supply of turkeys raised on this farm is very limited because of the bad weather back in August. 

We did our October deliveries last week to Ames, Des Moines, and Pella; and so now by the end of the week I'm so tired Janice is typing this while I dictate. I also made a trip to Drakesville to pick up some of the Amish birds on Tuesday; now I'm in the market for more freezers. They are very full right now and the new freezer will have to contend for space with some of the windows stored in the corner of the shop.

Planted Nine Fruit Trees

We've added nine trees to the orchard, they were a gift from my mother-in-law. I've been watering them frequently in this dry weather. There are 5 pears, 2 cherries, and 2 apples.

Burning off Brush Piles from Spring

I finally, finally burned off the brush piles from cuttings back in February and March. I burned 7 off today because it's supposed to rain tomorrow and this is the first time it's actually been dry enough to burn these piles. Some of them still have wet ground underneath them even though it's been about 3 weeks since our last rain. I left a couple piles behind for wildlife cover. 

Over the next couple of weeks Janice will be on a business trip for a few days so I'll be watching Hazel more, keeping up with fencing, and trying to market turkeys. I'll be trying to stay ahead of the curve going into fall, stay tuned to find out how well I do with that. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Going the Distance

It has been about a month since we blogged about farm progress. I have been building fence with every free moment and have been getting a lot of help from Jim in Pella. We have finished fencing out the south waterway, and are now focusing on finishing the south side of the large north draw. The video is a quick pan of the south waterway. Jim and I should have the last of the posts sunk and all the remaining braces built by the end of this week. The goal is to start laying out wire this weekend and to be all done with fencing by the end of October. That is a very high hurdle.

Completed South Waterway Fencing

The chickens and turkeys are all coming along well. This weather has been fantastic. It has been dry for over two weeks now. The local weather station said back when we had 12 strait dry days that it had been over three years since such an event had occurred. Our locker date is next Friday, and I can honestly say that our chickens have not been this large in some time. They are doing great. The turkeys love to attack the cat litter scoop that I use to clean dropping out of the feeder. I took a video of them going after the scoop after one of them picked it up and carried it off.

Turkeys at Play

The sheep and cattle are now working their way onto the neighbor's land. I am renting the 10 acres of pasture to north of us from now until the end of April. It is a pretty rough piece of ground, but after two passes with the sheep and cattle, it should be looking much better.
Recently Rented Ground On the Horizon

I have been moving hay made on the pasture just north of our rented land. It was made by our neighbor to the south of us.  That will give us 19 bales to try to get through the winter with. I think that will carry us from February into mid-April. We will try to graze up until the end of January. That might be possible as long as we do not get a winter like last year.

Moving Hay with our Massey Ferguson 135

On top of all of this, I have an INCA Planning workshop, I will be planting 9 fruit trees, and I will be helping to do some flowering perennial transplant work at our church. Things are never quiet on the farm when we are going the distance.