Monday, September 29, 2014

Moving Out

If you have not heard, we accepted a offer on our farm. We are still holding our breath a bit until it is all a done deal, but we have deadliness and a time horizon for our future for the first time in a year. We are currently planning on getting the cattle moved by November 3rd, and we are planning on being out of the house by December 1st. This timeline will make the next five weeks some of the busiest in my life. 

Proudly Displaying the Sold Sign

The kids are coming along on this journey with us. Our Daughter is preschool during the week, so I admit to not getting to see much of her. I try to take her out for evening chores so we can get some daddy daughter time. Our Son has a new babysitter to watch him once or twice a week. This has allowed me to start making progress on fencing at the new place. 

Pushing his New Dump Truck Toy (gift of his Uncle & Aunt)

Riding Said Dump Truck

At the new place, we have to go full steam ahead. I have a lot of fence to build, water lines to dig, and  building improvements to make and it is really doubtful whether or not I can accomplish what needs to be accomplished in five weeks. To start things off, I got my Uncle to bring over a tractor and knock down the weeds that had buried the place over the summer. It seems like the clutch has gone out of our new tractor so I am making arrangements to have that fixed. The most important thing is I am building fence. We are contemplating some customer and friend work days to help close the gap in what needs to be done. 

My Uncle Knocking Down Summer Weed Growth

New Corner Brace Going In

Back at our old farm, we still have a production season to wind down.  Turkeys are ranging during the day now. We have around 70 birds out on pasture right now. Our mobile prototype roost barely survived last year's turkey production season, but it did not make it through the winter. I have plans for a new mobile roost, but they were scuttled due to time constraints, So the turkeys are positioned around our old lean to, so they can come in out of the rain. 

Turkeys Ranging
I have been chainsawing for weeks so that I could get power up to our northern boundary fence. This has made it much easier to use our temporary fence to fence in the 10 acres that we rented north of the farm for our cattle to graze.

Power Line Running to the North Side of the Old Farm

Temporary Electric Net Covering One Side of the Rented 10 Acres

Cattle Herd Lounging on the Rented Ground

We started moving chickens outside. I have half of the batch outside, but the second half is waiting for a pen before they can move outside. I decided that trying to make the last old pens get across the finish line was a bad investment of time and resources, I have been dismantling it with my little helper and will start using parts from it to build a new pen this week. 

Chickens that Made it Outside

Old Chicken Pen Early in Dismantling Process

Old Chicken Pen late in Dismantling Process

Lastly, I spent a healthy chunk of change on a commercial freezer at a restaurant auction a few weeks ago. I wanted a way to get our chickens frozen faster, as the locker releases them after their internal temperature is 40 degrees or less. This also allows for more storage capacity. I now have the commercial freezer and three medium sized chest freezers empty. I hope that is enough to accommodate 1 beef, 4 lambs, 70 turkeys, and 180 broiler chickens that will all go to the locker in the month of October. 

Recently Acquired Commercial Freezer

There is so much to do and a very limited amount of time to accomplish all of it. Stay tuned as we take the leap of faith full steam ahead. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Some One Ordered Lots of Rain & Fall Weather

Since my last post in mid-August, we have had a whole lot of rain. We saw very little rain in July and early August, so we really needed it. After a couple of hot days, it looks like cooler fall weather is starting to set in as well. The biggest thing that happened since our last post is that I sold almost all of my sheep. I sold 10 animals for $1000, and now all I have around here is four ram lambs that go into the the locker October 1st. We have not pre-sold any lamb, so we decided that the herd was not worth the work and that my time was better invested focusing on our other enterprises. If you want to order lamb from us now is the time, because once it's gone, it's gone. 

Some of Our Breeding Stock we Sold

Since the sheep left, I have been focused on building fence at our current place and at the new place. I completed a stretch of fence behind our house and put in a gate. We always put up temporary fence in the past, but with the sheep gone, we won't be grazing our yard as often.

Recently Installed Gate & Fence Behind Our House

To build off that piece of fence behind our house, I started clearing brush from our fence up over the hill north of our house. This stretch of fence has always been serviceable, but not great. I am working to clear the brush off, tighten up existing fence, and add an electric line on the top. I am planning on continuing this work on the north side of the farm, where the fence is pretty much crap. I have a few head of cattle that have made it their goal to work the fence as hard as they can to find a way out up there, and I am done with it. I don't want to leave the old farm to work at the new farm only to get a call that my livestock are out. 

I rented the neighbors ground north of us, because we had such a dry spell in July, the cattle got ahead of our grass, and I decided that the best way to manage the farm would be to put the cows on their ground and let most of my farm recover for 30 days. The ground I rented is pretty rough and has good fences on only one side. I want to get my fencing work done on the north side, so I don't have to put up quite some much temporary fence to make grazing that ground work. Needless to say,  I am scrambling to make what amounts to significant fencing improvements in not a lot of time. 

Clearing Brush Off the Fence

I just made my first trip to the new farm in around six weeks yesterday. As you can see from the weeds, the areas we tore-up the ground are a mess with massive weeds. I should have tried to plant annual rye grass or some thing this spring, but that did not happen. 

Three-foot Tall Western Ragweed

At the new farm, my big goals include getting the fences fixed, digging the water lines, and putting the next phases of electrical work. I still would like to move my cattle over to the new farm for hay feeding season. Yesterday, was mostly focused on assessing the situation after being absent most of the summer. I widened an opening in the trees to start running fence and working on corner braces. 

Widened the Path for the Fence & Installed Rain Gauge

My daughter is back in school, which does enable me to accomplish more sizable tasks again. One young child is much easier to do farm work with then two. I am quite sure that the change is good for both of them. 

Imitating Crazy Squig Miniatures 

Watching Fall Broilers in the Brooder

We are entering the home stretch here on the production season. In the next eight weeks we will processes a beef, four lamb, seventy turkeys, and around 180 broilers. I have to make meaningful progress on the new farm, add to our freezer capacity, finish fencing work, Completed two rounds of distributions, and try to stay ahead of the day-to-day. Add in showing the house, and the uncertainty about our living situation and it tends to be a very stressful time. We will get through it one way or another. Until next time. 

Sunset on the Farm