Friday, March 05, 2010

Spring Thaw :: Many Projects

Since I have a tendency to become overwhelmed by the projects on my plate I thought it would be a good idea to get a jump on the planning and map them out so I have obtainable goals for this spring/summer/fall. There are quite a few things that need to get done and just as many or more that I would like to get done. So, here is what I was thinking ... I have decent idea of some of the most important projects, but I thought I could list them out and you all could throw out ideas on the order I should attack things. Some things will be obvious because they have to be done first before other things can take place, but some other things ... Let's just say I always appreciate all the help I can get!

Here is the list as it stands now...
  1. Cut down small grove of thorny trees that have popped up in the middle of the pasture and plow up that area for pasture planting (they are about an inch think or more).
  2. No-till drill in a pasture mix throughout the main pasture areas.
  3. Run water and electricity out the the new shed (the extension cord from the back of the house works, but isn't ideal.
  4. Put up permanent high tensile fence around the homestead area.
  5. Plant trees around the homestead (hardwoods and pines).
  6. Install a frost-free automatic cattle waterer for the winter lot.
  7. Cut lanes through the woods to setup electric fence for pig paddocks.
  8. Clean out area in the storage section of our house building for a chicken brooder (just a few chicks).
  9. Build a mobile chicken coop to follow the cattle out on pasture.
  10. Build three more pig huts (various designs to see what I like best).
  11. Plant a windbreak on the west side of the winter lot for the cattle (and probably the pigs next year).
  12. Gather wood for next winter (I understand that will be an all year thing and it really has already started).
  13. Get all my hay on the farm before fall (try to buy extra hay out of the field as opposed to all winter long).
  14. Clean out and compost the deep-bedding from the cattle shed.
  15. Put up gutters.
  16. Prep the garden and plow/disc the current pig area for this years sweet corn (this will be an as soon as possible project understandably).
  17. Build a portable loose mineral feeder and water cart.
  18. Gather all the materials needed to set-up at a farmers market (coolers, signs, table, tent, etc.)
That's my 5-minute list (it took me 5 minutes to put it together). How would your rate the priority? Any thoughts on what to add (if you know much about the farm)?

**As a side note ... Rich, that is a picture of my smallest cow at the hay ring. It's a normal hay ring so I would say maybe 4 feet tall or so ... You can tell she is small. I'll try to get some pictures of me standing next to the bigger ones, but they really aren't much bigger.


Jena said...

Looks like a great list. I'd call your hay supplier(s) NOW and let them know what you think you'll want so they can keep you posted. Frost free automatic waterers are the best invention ever, we love ours!
If you get a chance to share your pig hut ideas it would be much appreciated.

Rich said...

I have had the best luck planting trees during Feb or March (in OK), so I would suggest planting trees in the next month or so (if that is the the dormancy period in IA). There is less shock to the trees because they are dormant and they shouldn't need as much water to get established since early spring is usually wetter.

Why are you planning on plowing the area where you plan to clear out the trees? Every time I cut something like cedar trees in a pasture with an ax or chainsaw, I worry about the cut off stumps being left behind to ruin a tractor tire.

So, unless I was planning to bale hay in the area, I would just run the brush hog over the trees (with the bucket of the tractor down low to knock them down as I went), then I would come back a few weeks later and brush hog them going the opposite direction. Most of the brush should be all chopped up so there is no need to pile up the cut down brush, and the grass should come back quicker than if it was plowed and replanted.

Have you thought about running a lane with access to a water source down the middle of your pasture (similar to what is talked about in the rotational grazing thread on Homesteading Today)? If you are already running a line to your barn, it wouldn't be that much more work to run a longer waterline into your pasture for summer grazing.

What kind of pasture mix did you decide to plant?

Are you working towards a predominately red/dun-hided herd of Dexters? How long before you will have some Dexter beef?

Marianne said...

Rich, can you post the link to that rotational grazing thread on Homesteading Today? We are setting up our system, but I'd like to see their suggestions about the water, but couldn't find it. Thanks. Marianne

Rich said...

As I understand it, a centralized lane of two parallel high-tensile wires is built with permanent water sources in the lane. Paddocks are built with polytwine and step-in posts while the high-tensile wire is 'lifted' to provide access back to the water source.

Walter Jeffries said...

On the thorn tree clearing and plowing, one trick that might work for you is to fence in the area, plus just a little bit more, and put the pigs to the area. Mob grazing they may well tear down and uproot the trees if they're only 1" diameter. This will get the roots and fertilize it. Then seed on the last day before you move the pigs out so they stomp the seed into the soil.

Sheep are also excellent for taking down small trees.

Good luck on your list.

Anonymous said...

In Iowa, you can plant trees up to mid-June, though that's pushing it in regards to natural soil moisture. April-early May is ideal.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...