Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Getting Ready for Spring

It has been too long since I posted to the blog. The weather is improving rapidly and the grass is starting to really get growing. There is a lot to work going on between the house and the farm. We had our first calf this past week. We have the potential to have as many as 11 calves this year. That is a huge number and when I think about it, it is pretty intimidating. I do feel like we are finally starting to get over the hump with the cattle herd. 

First Calf of 2015

The tractor has been back on the farm for some time. I burned out the auxiliary hydraulic motor in the middle of winter and had to have that replaced. I finally got around to replacing the bucket on the tractor with the bale spear. Since it was the first time making the switch and using that spear with this tractor, it took a lot finagling, but two-and-a-half hours later it was done. 

Bale Spear Finally on the Tractor

 The other day we had freezing rain and falling temperatures that ended in several inches of snow. I was very glad to go out to the farm and find all of the cattle under roof. I finally have the capacity to do this. It is one of the little things I always felt really bad for the cattle in those conditions in the past.

 Cattle Huddling Under Cover to get out of the Freezing Rain

On the farm this year, we have several big goals. We should have a new website (finally), we will be hosting our first Practical Farmer's of Iowa field day in June for hands-on fence building (we have an insane amount of prep to get ready for this), we have to come up with a way to brood poultry, and we have more fencing work to push forward on. I would love to build a full scale chicken building, but I just don't see the budget for that right now. Other than a chicken building, finishing the inside of the cattle shed and acquiring a herd bull are also high priority items.

The house is coming along pretty well. The roof is on and the exterior is almost complete. These pictures are about a month old, as most of the house work has been focused on the inside. Wiring, plumbing, heating and cooling all got their rough in work done. The house has been spray foamed and now the drywall crew is finishing up on the inside. Next up will be painting and finish carpentry.
House Exterior in Late February

House Exterior in Late February

House Exterior in Late February

The family is doing well. Aside from a week in February, everybody has been pretty healthy this winter. Everyone is pretty excited about the new home. Thanks to my awesome wife, things are staying pretty close to schedule. 

Watching Daddy Feed Cattle

One thing I am a little conflicted over about this year running the business is being a stay-at-home dad and being a farmer at the same time. I have tried to really embrace the stay at home dad gig more while I have been in town. I make many of the family meals, do the meal planning, try to schedule some activities during the week (even if that is just going to the library). I am not sure how to balance that when the demands of farming increase. It might result in some changes as the season develops.

Lowe's Build & Grow

Lowe's Build & Grow

Lowe's Build & Grow

Biking around the Neighborhood

Reiman Gardens Indoor Butterfly Garden

Dog Sitting

Stay tuned as we get our production and delivery schedule fully hammered out. The house is coming along quickly right now. It changes quite a bit on the inside from week to week.

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