Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Second Shift Farming

I've decided that for the time being I'm going to call myself a second shift farmer. Although lately things have be running dangerously close (and fully into) the third shift. But, I will feel better about myself if I just keep thinking that I get it all done in the second shift ;) Of course I realize there are many second shift farmers out there, but it does really become more noticeable in the winter because of the ... DARKNESS!

This week I've been using my late nights to work on winter farrowing set up for some sows. I was able to use the tractor the past couple of nights to clean out the old deep bedding from the shed. Then I put up some panels in front of my hay feeder for the cattle (I'm feeding all round bales this year so it wasn't being used). I did this because I didn't want them crawling in there getting stuck. I will say though, that the most fun part of the project was pounding in some posts into the frozen ground ... but, it needed to be done.

Once I had that all done I spread an entire straw round bale around in the area and took in my first a-frame hut. The idea is to have the huts lined up against one wall with deep bedding in them and around them. With this set up I'll be able to put a heat lamp in each hut and with the deep bedding I think it will provide a nice farrowing environment for the sows. I know one thing for sure ... it will be better than they've had the past couple winters here!

I work about the same amount of time outside each night, but tonight was one of those nights were I could look out and see my accomplishment. Those kind of nights don't happen very often, but I'm always glad when they do.


Yeoman said...

I try to think of myself as a rancher who also has a desk job.

It's important not to start thinking of yourself as a guy with a job in town who has a second job that's some sort of laborious hobby.

Of course, most agirculturalist these days have more than one job. An interesting question is, how do others view us?

Anonymous said...

I truly enjoy reading your posts. We are just beginning our farm, while working other jobs full time to continue to fund the farm and get it off the ground. The "second shift" is definitely tougher in the dark. The plus is that we are on the other side of the equinox and the days should be getting longer.

Rich said...

As long as you are behaving in an ethical manner and are not impacting others in a negative way, why does it matter what others think of you?

Currently, I am moving to no-till on our cropland and I notice that almost all of the information about changing to no-till repeats over and over that the neighbors might ridicule or try to discourage the new no-tiller. It must be a common problem, but I don't see why I should care what the neighbors are thinking about how I am farming.

In the past, I was concerned about what others thought about how I was farming and I was overly concerned about whether my grandfathers would approve of how I was farming (its much more difficult to satisfy the mythical ideals of those that aren't around anymore). But, I eventually gained enough confidence to follow my own ideas and develop my own techniques.

It is difficult enough to live up to my own expectations, much less the expectations of others. And , it is a losing game trying to determine if others (whoever they may be) approve of what you are doing.

Rich said...

I neglected to add in my previous comment that it can be difficult at times to ignore what others are thinking about what you are doing.

But, almost every entrepreneur (both successful and unsuccessful) and pioneer had to disregard what others said or thought about them.

Brian said...

Be cautions about the deep bedding and winter farrowing. One thing that can happen is that the sows bring way too much bedding into the huts, the little piglets burrow into the bedding to stay warm, and then the sow lays on them and doesn't even realize she is doing it because there is so much bedding.

If you have exceptionally good mothers, it helps, but even then, it can be an issue.

Walter Jeffries said...

"I notice that almost all of the information about changing to no-till repeats over and over that the neighbors might ridicule or try to discourage the new no-tiller"

Yup. And it isn't just the physical neighbors but people on the internet who "Know Better" despite their failure to thrive. I find it interesting to be told by someone who isn't making it that what I'm doing is impossible. They act like I'm lying. They are like the people of yore that claimed "man would never fly". Turns out they just couldn't think differently enough.

It is key in all fields of creativity to develop a rhino thick hide.

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