Monday, July 27, 2009

Farm Updates...

You may have noticed that I haven't posted the past couple of days like I usually would. Things have been busy on the farm as I've been pushing to get some projects finished up so I can move onto the next thing. I thought it would be good to just share a few quick updates today while I'm at work...
  • The fence is really coming along and I'm hoping to have the perimeter wrapped up tonight after picking up some supplies in town. All I have to do yet is bury a wire underground and then put on some jumpers. With that we will have electric fence all the way around! Some of the finishing touches will have to wait until a couple other projects are done, but the most important stuff is done.
  • If you are scoring at home we have had four calves this year. One dun bull calf, one dun heifer, and two black heifers. Seventy-five percent heifers ... I guess I'll take that! I will admit that in the evenings I often get side tracked watching the calves run around kick up their heels.
  • Our pigs are growing. In fact we have five butcher hogs ready to go and I'm thinking they are going to be pretty tasty because of the Berkshire in them. The only problem we are facing right now is that the processor we used last time is booked up because of fairs until late August. We are looking for another option now, but if you are interested in a half or a whole just let me know.
  • As I have mentioned previously the shed is up and it is now ready for steel to be thrown up on the sides. I'm hoping to get the project knocked off the list in the next couple of weeks, but we have to do a little planning first. Hopefully it won't be an overwhelming job, but if I have learned anything out here on the farm I have learned that nothing ever goes as planned.
  • In other farm related news my wife has been canning green beans at least once a week for the last few weeks. When all is said and done we hope to have a good supply for the winter. Also, the sweet corn is coming along nicely, but it isn't quite ready yet. I can't wait for it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thinking of Winter Feeding...

With all of the fence blogging going on lately I have neglected to mention one of the biggest topics on my mind lately, which has been winter feeding. Because of everything else associated with getting the farm up and going (which is the big push this summer) we weren't able to make hay with the first cutting of our grass and I know that with only one cutting there won't be enough to make it through the winter. This means that I'm going to have to buy in some hay, which also means that I'm going to be feeding mostly round bales again this winter. And, to top that all off it means that I need to figure out how to get the big round bales to the farm. So far I have come up with a couple of options.

Option #1: Try and buy all of my hay relatively locally. I'm hoping to have between 40 and 50 big round bales so that I don't have to worry about buying late in the winter, but that also means quite a bit of transportation. Last winter when I bought 12 bales a friend from church hauled them for me in two trips, but this would be a much more substantial undertaking. One idea would be to buy from someone that delivers. This would be the easiest way to get my hay and would take the least amount of my time, but it could be the most costly.

Option #2: This is kind of the crazy idea and whether or not I like the idea really just depends on my mood at the moment. My step-grandmother owns some land about an hour and a half from us that has about 11 acres of grass on it. I could use my dad's tractor, mower, and rake to get that hay ready and then hire my cousin to come down and bale it. This would also include paying some sort of rental price to my step-grandmother. After it was all baled then I would have to hire my cousin again to haul it up to the farm (where I would need some help unloading). One nice thing is that my cousin can haul 11 bales at a time. The downsides of course are that it will mean more time spent on my part and that it may not save me that much. I guess an upside is that I could maybe get a very small second cutting off the ground that I could square bale so I would have some small squares on hand.

As I have been walking around the farm pulling fence, pounding posts, and putting in cotter pins these are the two options I have bounced back and forth in my mind. As I type them out I still can't decide which option I like the best. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Good Fencing Wrap-Up

It's another busy day at the office, at the fair, and on the farm. But, I did want to point out a great overview article about the fencing project that Gary Duncan put up on the Powerflex website. You can check out his thoughts and some pictures of the work by taking this link. I think Mr. Duncan did a great job of boiling down our three days of work into a nice article and it is pretty cool to see how far we have come! Of course I need to thank him again (and my uncle) for all of the help. Without their help we wouldn't have cattle up against new fence now ... but, we do!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Another Fencing Update

There may be a point when you get tired of blog posts about fencing, but right now I'm just so excited about it. Plus, yesterday I made quite a bit of progress on the exterior fencing along the woods and I'm getting pretty close to fencing in some cows. There are three sections of fence along the woods and I was able to get all three wires up on the shortest section and even have them clipped in before dark. But, that was only part of my night.

After work I loaded up a trailer full of Powerflex posts and other supplies and took off. In just a little over one hour I was able to pound in 71 sixty inch Powerflex posts 18 inches into the ground. After I had all those in it took about another hour to go through and drill three holes in each post for the cotter pins. Then with the sun still up (or at least it was still light enough even though it was cloudly) I decided to put up a couple more wires! I feel like I'm getting the hang of it now, even though I still can't break the wire like Gary Duncan did.

I guess I don't have a lot of other fence building experience to draw on, but I feel like working with the smooth hi-tensile wire is fairly easy once you get the hang of it. And I know that attaching the wire to the Powerflex posts is extremely easy, plus I love the fact that I don't have to worry about shorts on the posts like I would with steel.

All in all, I think I'm just a few evenings of work away from getting everything up and running except for a bit of fence around the yard. That will be a day of celebration!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Marion County Fair 2009

It is county fair season here in Iowa (and probably around many parts of the country), so that means it is time for kids all over to throw on their farm clothes and spend a few days showing their livestock and hanging out in the barns. I love this time of year because I think it really does cause the kids involved to slow down a little and really enjoy life without all the cultural stimulation, but I have a feeling that the 4-H shows of today are quite a bit different than there were 50 years ago and it does cause me to think a little.

This morning I spent some time at the breeding ewe show and watched kids of all ages show their sheep and take home their ribbons and trophies. There was an interesting comment from the judge that did cause me to think a little about the world of showing livestock and what we have to look forward to with our children (because 4-H is probably in their future if they want). As he was judging a class of eight ewes he said something along these lines,
"My son is big into the club lamb world and if he were here right now he would be scratching his head at the order I have them lined up. But, I'm a farmer and our lambs need to make us money so I like this first ewe because she looks like she is ready to go to the pasture with the ram."
I am actually glad that he said that because in my mind that is what 4-H should all be about ... kids showing animals that are and will be productive on their farms or on a nearby farm. But, I think there is a growing push to buy in livestock that will help bring the prizes instead of producing good stock on the farm. I hope there are judges like that when our kids are showing.

So, do any of you have any experience in 4-H or the livestock showing world? Like most of the farming world it is pretty foreign to me, but I'm interested in learning more!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not Just Fence...

The past couple of weeks has been all about fence on the blog and on the farm. But, that hasn't been the only thing happening. As you can see from the picture above the builders finished with their part of the shed and now the rest of the work is up to me (and hopefully the help of some other people). We ended up with 13 foot side walls because there was some extra room on the posts (which is really nice) and because we have the higher sidewalls it also means the lean-to is a foot taller as well on the outside wall. All in all I really love the shed and can't wait to get some steel up on the sides and get it closed in. In the meantime I'm just glad to park stuff inside and keep it kind of out of the elements.

Our super-duper late calving season is also continuing, but I think we may be getting close to the end of it. So far this season we have had four calves with three of them being heifers (two black and one dun). Those are pretty good percentages, but it doesn't give us very many steers for the freezer. One neat thing about the most recent dun heifer born is that it happened right up by the fence where Gary Duncan was working. So we have so pictures from early on in it's life!

Other than that things are moving right along and it is beginning to feel like things are starting to come together. The work does seem a little overwhelming, but like people keep telling me ... it will get done!

Friday, July 17, 2009

PowerFlex Fence Project :: Day Three

Yesterday was Gary Duncan's last day helping out on our farm and I just want to say ... Thank You Mr. Duncan (I guess my habit of using "Mr." on the blog is causing him some grief back at the office)! The help that he was able give was incredible and really gave us some help in a very important project. Beyond the teaching though I have to say that he just plain worked hard, and hopefully we didn't wear him out. By the end of the day yesterday we had all the fence up along the roads and the grounding rods installed.

We were also lucky enough to have a couple visitors today that drove down to check out the Powerflex posts and the hi-tensile fence. They were a couple we met during our Grow Your Small Market Farm class and I have to admit that I learned a bunch more with them here because they asked a lot of great questions. Later in the eveing while I was putting the finishing touches on some fence a neighbor stopped by and said, "Okay, you have piqued my curiosity". We were able to have a nice talk about fence and I shared a little about our new fence and the Powerflex posts in particular.

This was such a great experience and I am becoming a big believer in hi-tensile fencing and the Powerflex posts. But more importantly I think I have learned enough to finish the rest of the fence. As a truly beginning farmer there are a lot of things that I do on the farm that I have never done before. Thanks to the help of people like Mr. Duncan, our friends, and of course our family. Keep checking back for updates on the fence and I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

PowerFlex Fence Project :: Day Two

Tuesday was a nice day. It was partly cloudy with a breeze that kept things cool for all of the work. Tuesday night into Wednesday it stormed and stormed, but when we woke up yesterday morning the sun was shining and except for all the mud it was another great day to work. So, with the weather in our favor we started early and got quite a bit of work done. If you were out on the farm working with us today you probably would have heard me say things like this:
  • "Ahh, my boots are stuck in the clay/mud/goop!"
  • "I am ready to be done with the wood posts and move on to the rest of the fence."
  • "There is no way I could have every got this done without the help of you (talking to Gary Duncan of PowerFlex)."
  • "I cannot believe how light weight these posts are."
  • "There is no way I could pull one of these out of the ground."
  • "I've put a few different kinds of posts up on this farm in the past year, but by far I like putting this one in the best (in reference to the PowerFlex posts)."
  • "Check this out, I'm carrying the post driver and five posts with no problem. No way I could do that with steel posts."
  • "You know, I think even I can figure out how to do this (in reference to putting up the fence myself)."
  • "That is so cool, but I can't do it (me talking about how Mr. Duncan breaks off the wire with a clean break)."
That is just a small sampling of the positive things I had to say about our new Hi-Tensile fence and PowerFlex posts. I really can't believe how cool the process is of putting up this fence and strength (and looks) of the posts. One really cool thing about the PowerFlex posts is how easy it is drive them into the ground. Granted, the ground was soft after the rain, but we drove them in so quickly with just a regular post driver. If the ground is more solid you can just pound a pilot hole and then pound in your PowerFlex post. Let's just put it this way, in about thirty minutes time we put in about 70 posts!

Another thing that I found really exciting is how easy it is to attach the wire to the posts. We made a guide to place the holes at the correct spacing on the posts and then just used a cordless drill and a 7/32's bit to drill through in no time. Now we have one section of fence along the road completely done. I can't tell you how great that is and how amazing it looks!

Today we are back at it again and I think we will finish up the rest of the fence along the road. After that I will move onto the three-wire fence along the inside of the trees. I have set that up with a couple of gate openings so that I can get back there with a tractor to cut wood and also so we can flash graze the cattle in the woods and along the edges. Make sure you check back tomorrow to see what we get done!

Also, if you are in the area today, feel free to drop on by to see the process and talk to Mr. Duncan.

You're Invited . . .

We are opening our farm up today to anyone interested in PowerFlex fencing. Mr. Duncan is using a variety of products on our farm to show different options available with their products. He will also be here to answer any questions about their fencing system. So if you are wanting to learn more about this type of fence, drop us an e-mail and we'll send you directions to our farm.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

PowerFlex Fence Project :: Day One

We have started! I can't tell you how great it is to actually say those words and see the progress as we get work done. Gary Duncan showed up yesterday morning with a truck load of materials and the know-how to get this fence going! Shortly after that my Uncle Loren pulled in with a tractor (my cousin Verne had also brought a tractor and post-hole digger Monday), a mower, and a bunch of tools. Before I knew it corner posts and wood transition posts were going in the ground and by the end of the evening we even had our first PowerFlex posts up on the perimeter.

In the picture above you can see Mr. Duncan teaching me how to tie a wire knot. Let me just tell you that it is one cool little trick. This is the process that he uses to tie the insulators to the wood posts and to tie the line wire to the insulator. In other places he used a crimp sleeve to make the loop. He is doing different things in different places so that I can get an idea of what is possible, but I have to say the wire knots seem the best because you don't really need any tools. Check out this link to go to a little article that explains the process.

This picture shows what much of my day involved. We had to put in the corner posts and line posts in order to start stringing the wire so there was a lot of digging to do. As you can see the John Deere 4020 and post hole digger came in handy. But, there was still some hand digging to do in order to get the posts deep enough. We are pretty much done with the perimeter posts, but there are a couple brace posts that need to go in yet. Today we are going to be focusing on putting in the posts along the woods. This will be a three wire fence so our bracing won't need to be as stout, but Mr. Duncan also pointed out that we could easily add a floating brace in the future if we needed to ... you can read about floating braces on the PowerFlex page at this link.

Finally, as I mentioned we even have the PowerFlex posts up on the first stretch of fence. In this picture you can see Mr. Duncan pounding in a post with a regular steel post driver. If you look really closely in the picture (you can click on it to enlarge it) you can see a blue thing sticking out of the ground just past the wood post in the picture. This is a tool that he used to make a pilot hole and then would pound in the post. He said we could just pound the posts in without the pilot hole, but he liked to do it this way because it helped get them in the ground straight.

Of course, chime in with any questions you have about the process and I'll make sure to take some time to answer (after asking Mr. Duncan of course!). Check back tomorrow for another update!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Fence Begins...

If you have been following for the past five days or so you know that the fence work is set to begin today and you have also had a chance to read up on the type of fence we are doing and the posts that we are using. Today is the day we begin putting it all together and as luck would have it it is also the day that it has decided to rain and have storm chances! But, I'm going to press on as much as possible and complete all that I we can so that we can get this fence up. Keep checking back each day for pictures of the progress.

In a somewhat related note the shed is going up again (except that we might get rained out today) and I'm guessing they have about one days worth of work left. They are only putting up the roof and the framing so it doesn't take as long ... the steel on the sides will be another project for us...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Q & A Interview With Gary Duncan of Powerflex :: Part Five

This is the big week that the fence goes up on our place. I can honestly say that I can hardly wait for this project to be done, but at the same time I feel a bit overwhelmed. Oh well, I guess we are just going to start regardless! One thing that I am confident of is that we will be in good hands with Gary Duncan of Powerflex helping us out. Check out the last two questions from my little Q & A interview with him and then check back all week long for the fence building progress.

7.) Lightening can be an issue with an electric fence. How can you handle that and are there other things that need to be considered.
Lightning is a powerful force. But, we can do things on the fence to try to get it to go ground prior to getting to your fence charger. Most larger energizers have two fuses in them - one for the fence side and another for the power supply side. A surge protector on the power side is also a device that will help. Some farms are more prone to lightning than are others. If your farm has historically had a lot of lightning hits, then multiple devices on the fence may be in order. There are different types of lightning protection devices, but most work somewhat in the same way. Either there are contact points or a spark gap that will activate when a surge of lightning attacks it. Some have coils. The coil is a device that aids in defusing and slowing down the flow of lightning thus encouraging it to make the spark gap in the device. It is generally recommended that you install one more ground rod at your lightning protection than you did at the energizer. Ie: you have 4 ground rods at the energizer, you should have 5 at your lightning protection. This device should be installed 65 feet away from your energizer grounds. No device is guaranteed to stop lightning entirely but it is worth the effort to try.
8.) So, how does this whole process go together in a nutshell? Is it a fairly difficult process or something that someone can get the hang of as they work?
If you are just starting out with electric fence I would recommend that you read up as much as you can. There is much information on the internet about electric fencing. I don’t think that electric fencing is difficult, but you do need to think it out as you build your fence. Hi-tensile wire is relatively easy to work with. Wire usually comes in 4000’ coils (with a weight of 100#’s) and you’ll need a wire dispenser, also called a spinning jenny to roll out your wire. Never try it without one! You can either crimp your joints and connections or you can hand knot them. If you crimp, you will need a good crimp tool. Even if you hand knot, there are still places that you will need to crimp. Hand knotting is not really all that hard to learn, however, only practice makes perfect. Once you learn how to tie hand knots, you will not need to carry many tools around with you as you build fence.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Q & A Interview With Gary Duncan of Powerflex :: Part Four

We are getting closer and closer to actually beginning to put up the hi-tensile on our farm, but it has been lots of thought and preparation put into this project. Most of the prep work that we have been doing is researching, studying, and planning. Thanks to the help of Gary Duncan of Powerflex Fence the research and planning have been made a lot easier. I hope you are enjoying these Q & A posts and that you are learning as much as I am!

5.) I know for our perimeter fencing we have been discussing a six wire fence. How many wires do you usually suggest for the various applications that people use hi-tensile fencing for?
This will depend mainly on the type of livestock that you wish to contain. Additionally, perimeter fences will have more strands than interior ones will. For cattle we normally suggest 5 strands on the perimeter, but only 1 strand will work fine for interior cross fences. If you are concerned about calves going under this single strand then install a second or third strand.
With sheep or goats, perimeter fences usually have from 6 to 8 strands. I personally know people who get along with 5 strands for goats, but 6 to 8 is more common. Some of this will be dictated by your management practices also. If, for instance, you will be with your livestock daily or more and you are moving them to fresh forage regularly, then you can probably get by with less strands of wire. The animals wont be searching for forage and will be less likely to challenge a fence.
6.) In the past I have read about hi-tensile fences being set up with alternating hot and ground wires in the fence. What do you suggest in regards to a set-up like that and grounding in general?
Alternating hot and ground wires can be effective with dry soil conditions, especially in the case of goats or other lightweight livestock. With a all hot wire system, in order to receive a shock, you have to be grounded to the earth while touching the hot wire, thus completing the curcuit. In the case of a small goat, that might be standing on a dry thatch of grass, they may not be fully grounded and do not receive a shock or a full shock. When using alternating ground wires, if an animal touches a hot wire and a ground wire at the same time they will receive a full shock, regardless of wheather their feet are well grounded or not.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Q & A Interview With Gary Duncan of Powerflex :: Part Three

Again, a big thank you to Gary Duncan for taking the time to answer these questions and to chime in on the comments. Here are the next two questions I asked him along with his wonderful responses.

3.) What makes the PowerFlex post and the hi-tensile fencing system good option for the farm practicing Management Intensive Grazing.
I think that the answer to that is “flexibility”. This system offers a lot of benefits during installation and afterwards. It is an easy system to install and should you want to add a gate later it is very easy to accommodate that as well. As we become better graziers, we often need to modify our system to fit our needs and climatic conditions. With this system it is very easy to add portable fencing components to further subdivide larger paddocks and get better utilization of our resources. Besides that it is more economical to install and will last much longer.
4.) Obviously when you are dealing with electric fence the fence energizer is an important piece of the puzzle. What sort of advice do you generally give to someone when they are picking out an energizer?
First off, don’t necessarily believe everything that you read on the label of the box ! There is really no international standard in the way energizers are rated, so labeling can be very confusing. Some manufacturers state stored joules while others give you output joules. Most will give you mileage and some will give you acres. These claims will vary greatly depending on may factors. Most manufacturers will claim that one output joule will power about 10 miles of fence. They may with a clean fence with no vegetation on it. However, when you consider grass and vegetation load you would be better off using 3 miles per joule. This will give you adequate power under high vegetation periods. If a manufacturer only gives you the stored joule rating, then reduce that by about 30% to know what the output joule rating is. With electric fence energizers, more power is better than not enough power. Another aspect to be aware of is grounding the energizer. None of them will operate to optimum performance without adequate grounding. One suggestion is to install 3 feet of ground rod per output joule.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Q & A Interview With Gary Duncan of Powerflex :: Part Two

Here are the first two questions and answers from my interview with Gary Duncan of the Powerflex Fence company. Feel free to add questions of your own in the comments and I'll see if we can get some feedback from Mr. Duncan.

1.) Hi-Tensile fencing is something that is fairly new to me. Thanks to the readers of my blog I was turned onto this type of fencing and decided it would be a good fit for our fencing needs. Could you give a brief overview of the ins and outs of a hi-tensile fence?
Firstly, hi-tensile electric fencing is a physiological barrier rather than a physical one. Typically a traditional fence of barbed, woven or a board fence is a physical barrier and must be maintained taunt and tight to be effective. Electric fences work on the memory of the animal from a previous shock. Once properly trained, animals respect electric fences greatly. They simply learn not to challenge them. Hi-tensile wire itself is much stronger than the traditional low carbon wire used in agricultural fencing. 12.5 gauge hi-tensile wire has a breaking strength of 1300 pounds plus. Around 3X more than barbed wire. The finish on hi-tensile wire is also superior. It has at least a class III galvanized coating, which will last 3 to 4 times longer than class I traditional wires. Hi-tensile wire will also stretch up to about 2% of its initial tension, but once stretched, it will return to its initial tension. This feature reduces the maintenance that is normally required to keep other fencing tight and effective.
2.) Can you tell me more about the PowerFlex posts and all their benefits?
The PowerFlex Posts are an “oriented” composite. They are comprised of about 70% polypropylene and 30% wood fiber. The orientation process that they go thru during manufacture gives them grain vertically similar to woodgrain. This adds strength and flexibility. All material used is virgin and no recycled products are used. They are made of an insulative material, so do not require insulators. Only a cotter pin to hold the wire in place. I think that the greatest benefit that Powerflex Posts offer is that they are flexible. They will yield to pressure, then return to their upright position. Next is the fact that they are made of an insulative material. Anyone that has been around electric fencing very long soon realizes that much of their maintenance involves replacing broken insulators and finding shorts on conductive posts.
Make sure you check back tomorrow for more. Also, a big thanks goes out to Mr. Duncan for all of the time he as taken helping us figure out what we need and answering our questions!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Q & A Interview With Gary Duncan of Powerflex :: Part One

Finally it is going to happen. Finally we are going to begin putting up our perimeter fence! I can't tell you how amazing it is going to be to actually have a fence around our farm so that we can really get down to business with our managed grazing. We have been doing the best that we can right now, but without that nice exterior fencing it has been more difficult and more time consuming. Not only will it be great for our cattle, but it will also open up so many more options with our pigs. This is a very good thing!

If you have been around the blog for awhile you may already know that we have decided to go with six wires of hi-tensile fence and Powerflex line posts. Quite awhile ago I posted some of the fencing ideas that we were considering and someone (sorry I don't remember who) mentioned in the comments that we should consider hi-tensile. It was something I had never heard of, but I checked it out right away and eventually decided it was the best fit for us.

While I was researching hi-tensile fencing I came across the Powerflex website and started to read about their posts. It seemed like the perfect fit and since then I have been in contact with the folks at Powerflex talking about all of our fencing needs and options. Next week Gary Duncan of Powerflex will be delivering our materials and giving us a hand, but before we begin the work I thought it would be nice to do a little Q & A interview with him about their posts and hi-tensile fencing in general.

I encourage you to check out the Powerflex website today and then check back the next few days for the interview. Like I said ... I am very excited about this!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Getting Beyond Buzz Words...

Sustainable, Local, Natural, Organic, and all those other "label" words are pretty big right now. And I have to admit that I have used them quite a bit here on the blog and in conversation with people all over the place. Sometimes I think that they are best thing we have to describe what we are doing and what we are striving to do, but there are other times when I think that words just can't say enough or even that certain words are losing their meaning. Words are important to me ... so, this is the kind of stuff that I think of from time to time.

But, as I read Allan Nation's July, 2nd blog post about Horizon Brands new "natural dairy" line of products the idea of word labels and categories really started bouncing around in my mind. Check out this quote from Mr. Nation's blog post:
"Dean Foods’ Horizon Brands plans to create a 'natural dairy' line to profit from consumers’ increasing disillusionment with Certified organic dairy products. Sales growth from organic products has flattened as consumers have learned that much of today’s organic milk did not come from pristine little pastoral farms in Vermont as they had supposed but from large-scale feedlot dairies in the West."
Basically it is time to change the label because the "organic secret" got out. The word "organic" no longer gets milk out of the fridge case quick enough and at a high enough volume so the powers that be in the marketing department have decided that "natural" must be the new thing on the label. I suppose they are hoping that this will bring back all their old organic customers and add some new natural customers.

Of course if this quote is to be trusted it also seems that it will make life easier for the Horizon company:
"Deans new Horizon "natural dairy" line will only claim that the milk is from cows who have not been given bovine growth hormones. This frees them to access all of their milk from industrial dairies without fear of media exposure or chastisement."
I understand our need for labels and descriptive words, but I do have a hard time understanding how easily we let those words influence our purchasing and thought process. Oh well, I guess I'll just invent a word or phrase for our farm ... kind of like Joel Salatin has done!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Converting Piles into Mobile Piles...

Yesterday we borrowed a mower (ours is ready for a junk pile or someone who likes to tinker) and started to attack the mess that we call our farm. So far this year we have mowed twice, including yesterday, so to say that things were tall might be a bit of an understatement. The great thing about yesterdays work though was that we didn't just mow, but we also moved a bunch of junk and threw away quite a bit of stuff as well. All of the sudden our farm yard looks a lot bigger and I feel a lot better walking around outside.

Even though the yard looks so much better and things are picked up I still kind of feel like I just swept most of the stuff under the rug. We had some pretty big piles of things that we have collected for future use on the farm and leftover construction materials. I sorted through and trashed as much as possible, but there was still a lot of "good junk". What I didn't want to do right now was just make another pile in a place where I would have to move it eventually. So, I decided to make mobile piles. Now pretty much anything with wheels has stuff on it. That way I can move my piles easily by just hooking them up to the tractor!

One side effect of all the mowing is that the new pigs have decided that they can squeeze through the holes in the cattle panels (there are only two in their pen). That was a construction oversight on my part, but it did make for some cute pictures as you can see above! Now for the fence...

Friday, July 03, 2009

Shed Construction Begins, Kind Of

Yesterday the builder arrived with materials, equipment, and workers to start our shed. They got things set up in the morning and dug 4 post holes before lunch. After they came back from lunch, however, they weren't here too long before I got a knock on the door. There was a slight problem. Some of the posts they had gotten in weren't the right size and they couldn't get the right size in until the middle of next week. So they headed home and should be back Wednesday. It still looks like we should get it up before we fence though - we just have to be a bit more patient to see it up.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

2nd Calf of 2009

Here is our 2nd calf this year. Our timing for calving this year won't be quite where we like because of all that was going on last year but there will be calves none the less and we'll get back on schedule soon. So far we have 2 bull calves this year for 2011's beef. Hard to say when they are this cute!
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