Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Grind

This September has been the busiest I have ever had, period. I am still working around three days a week, taking care of Hazel on many of my days off, and trying to push the farm forward. The only way I able to sustain this effort is to know that by the end of October farm work will slow down a bit or at least change.

In the past month, we have finished framing the chicken building, put a roof on it, decided to make it bigger by adding a tractor lean to to the side of it, butchered chickens, moved all of our turkeys outside and all the rest of our chickens outside, we have been selling sheep, butchering lamb, having calves, all while  trying to ride out the last two months of our production season where we go through around $150 a week in poultry feed.

The chicken building has moved forward because we have had weekends off in September and because we have called on a number of friends for help, sometimes repeatedly (Jim and Adam especially). This weekend we are going to try to side much of the building. I am trying to get the poultry building sealed up before winter so we can work on the inside when it gets cold outside.

9/18/11 after a word day where the purlins went on and the framing got almost finished

9/25/11 after a work day where the steel roof went on and the house wrap stated to go up

Looking up at the new steel roof 

We did butcher chickens at the locker two weeks ago, but they came out very very small. A week before that we had a weasel hit kill 44 in the pasture pens in one night. Needless to say the chickens have not been treating me very well. The turkeys are doing much better. They are almost to the point where we will day range them, or give them a large area to run outside of their pens during the day.

Turkeys on 9/20/11, they are much larger now in just a week

The cattle have been grazing the native grass & legume planting we put in 3 years ago on the 12.5 acres that used to be crop ground. That stand is still developing in the sandiest parts of the field, but looks pretty good in others. The cattle have had very large paddocks designed to last them about a week. Since the stand is pretty dormant they are not doing much damage to it, besides we are trying to get them to knock down as much vegetation as possible so that it can decompose with contact to the soil and add to the soil carbon. 
Cattle down on the prairie planting

All four calves in one place

The sheep have been clearing out the forest floor

While the cattle have been on the prairie the sheep have been clearing brush and weeds in the timber. Where they go it is like scorched earth behind them

Hazel has been doing very well. She has started to make turkey gobbling noises and has shown a surprising amount of muscle coordination for a child of 17 months.  As always she is a joy to be around and is just a lot of fun. I do wish I could spend more time with her, but I appreciate all the more what time I do get. 

Hazel, the little engineer, lining up a screwdriver to the screws on the bottom on my chair

Hazel, Janice, and my pants on the clothesline

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