Wednesday, October 16, 2013

TBF 033 :: Preparing for Winter, Farrowing Updates, and a Hard Lesson Learned

This past Sunday when I walked outside to head to church I was mildly shocked to see my windshield covered with frost. Not that it was too early for a frost, but rather because it really hadn't been forecasted and I was still basically in summer mode mentally. That chilly reminder did quickly bring into clear focus though the reality that winter will be here before I know it ... and I don't have any wood cut/split/stacked! Besides making a big woodpile there are plenty of other things that need to be do to get the livestock and their winter quarters ready. I have been spending a lot of time the past few episodes talking about my plans for the hoop house (winter housing for the pigs), but there is still plenty to do for the chickens, guineas, cattle, sheep, and rabbits. On todays episode I'll share what my winter plans are for each species and then talk a little bit about the difficulties winter brings to the farm ... and even a positive or two that I can take away from the winter season!

Links mentioned in this episode ...

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(if you are interested in the music in this episode check out my brother's record label, Historic Records) 


Rich said...

It's interesting that the farm you are working for is growing sorghum-sudangrass.

I've been growing it for hay for about three years and it's always amazing to me that I can put a little seed in the ground and it can be 6-7 feet tall in a couple of months. Then, I can cut it off, and it can regrow 3-4 feet in a few weeks.

On the subject of chicken waterer heaters, one time I built some simple heaters by building a simple plywood box, cutting a 6-8" dia. hole in the top, and installing a light bulb socket (I just used a upside down brooder lamp with a 40W bulb). I also had them plugged into a GFCI plug since I had water sitting just above a light bulb.

I've seen other versions that were made of metal (like an upside down drain pan) that had a socket screwed into a hole in the side.

You could probably get all fancy and add in some sort of thermostatically controlled switch, but I just plugged them in if it was supposed to get below freezing.

joan.ekimball said...

I listen to your recordings regularly as we just bought a big old farm here in Michigan. Thanks for your hard lessons learned. that's my favorite part!

Tom and JoanE Kimball

tBosc said...

I am happy to stumble upon your blog and internet radio show, it contains a lot of useful info for other beginning farmers presented with great passion and enthusiasm. I look forward to digging back through your experiences!

Regarding freezing water and chickens, you could consider 5 gal buckets with nipple waterers installed. Water freezes from the top down, so you should just be able to take the ice off the top or even try rotating them much like your son does with the rabbits.

Look forward to continue hearing about your sucesses!


Anonymous said...

Wow, I was born and raised in the suburbs of St.Louis, this was really eye opening to just a little bit of the things farmers have to do to prepare for winter. I remember growing up my dad preparing our back patio with enough fire food and winterizing our boat and shutting the water hoses off outside but I never though about how that differed for other families. I am sure there are lots of work on both sides but it is interesting to see what needs to be done in your case on the farm! I am now an agricultural communication major and I am constantly reading about all the different areas of agriculture and it really has been fun learning about such a important part of our lives; but in particular I loved how raw this radio show was it really gave a great picture of everyday life for you! I hope to continue to be exposed to things like this because I really want to help tell farmers stories to people in the city who need to hear about these processes. Thanks for sharing!

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