The Tall and Short of It

A few years back, The Farmer was able to pick some multicolored maize (translation: “Indian corn”)  from the field of fellow farmer Robert Perry.  The Farmer had been meaning to plant it for himself and finally had space and time this year.

On Saturday, May 26, The Farmer planted the corn in hasty rows just to get it done. On July 6, we took a picture,  because your corn should be “knee high by the fourth of July.”

Multicolored maize

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Stray Livestock

From Jewish literature – If a man lets a field or vineyard be grazed bare and lets his animal loose so that it grazes in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.  (Exodus 22:5 NASB)

Every so often we raise what we term a “naughty” cow. And our naughty cow recently went on a field trip to our neighbor’s house.

A naughty cow often develops when the calf is out with Mom, and she is in a non-electrified fence. The curious calf naturally wanders to and then through the fence.  The calf never learns that fences exist as boundary markers. Most of our calves eventually learn what a fence is, but need one hot wire to remind them. Naughty cows only respect fences with multiple strands of electrified wire.

Generally speaking though, cows are quite content to lounge in the area they are given. Sure, the grass is always greener elsewhere, but as long as they are not super-hungry, they will not cross a fence line to get it.

We currently have a naughty cow, and it changes the pasturing dynamic.

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Generational Agriculture

When The Farmer’s father was growing up, their family house burned down while they were out of town. Eventually the family landed on a 100+ acre former farm. The Farmer’s grandfather raised beef and had a garden to help feed his seven children. This was the property that The Farmer knew as “Grandma & Grandpa’s house.”

Of those seven children, several stayed involved in agricultural pursuits.

Child 1 (The Farmer’s father) ended up on his own small farm doing part-time agricultural stuff. His first career was teaching agricultural mechanics, and his last career was performing testing at farms as part of the New York State Mastitis Control Program.

Child 3 ended up with part of the “old homestead” and built his own small farm (the one pictured here, at an annual Memorial Day Picnic) where his part-time pursuits include raising beef, hay, and eggs, and working in his retirement at a nearby farm.

Child 5 married a man who was the owner/operator of a milk trucking company.

Child 6 married and ended up on a small farm of her own raising beef part-time and having a family milk cow.

Child 7 bought the remainder of the “old homestead” and while he does not farm per se, he does breed and raise Newfoundlands as a part-time venture.

The Farmer does not expect 70% of his offspring to maintain an intimate connection with agriculture, but it has been nice to give them that exposure as they are growing up.

Farm Technology?

When The Farmer graduated from the Cortland Enlarged School District, back last century, his parents bought him a Vic-20 computer. That was back in the days when you hooked your computing device up to your TV as a monitor.

The Farmer spent the summer between high school and college teaching himself the BASIC programming language.

He has dabbled with computer technology ever since.

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Spring Scallions

Our over-wintered scallions

Scallions are members of the onion (Allium) family that will over-winter in our climate. When spring (finally) arrives, they green up and make an early spring fresh vegetable. They have a  mild onion flavor and  can be used green or cooked.

These scallions have been transplanted

The Farmer began growing scallions just a few years ago. Here was the thinking: a single scallion grows into a clump of scallions over the summer…the clump overwinters…in the spring, the clump is divided and transplanted…the process repeats…wow-early spring onions without seeds!

What could go wrong?

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Bee Swarm

Way back in the day, The Farmer kept bees and extracted his own honey. But way back a few less years, the hives died off, and The Farmer moved on to other pursuits.

So these days someone comes and leaves bee hives for the growing season. He extracts the honey and pays “rent” to us in honey, and then we have honey to sell.

Bee Hives
2018 – some of the hives on the farm.

Recently, The Farmer’s teens have been looking at raising bees for themselves. They got the chance to get a hive for “free” when a swarm appeared on the property.

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Further Adventures of the Taj Mahal

Our Taj Mahal chicken coop was parked behind the barn over the winter. This gave us easy access to the chickens and provided a way to give them a protected area outside of the coop for eating and exercising.

In late March it was time to move the coop away from the barn so that the chickens could begin their free-range activities.

The chicken Taj Mahal in its winter location behind the barn.

We used a chain to pull the Taj Mahal back through the cows’ muddy winter access path.

Then we had to navigate out of the barn yard itself.

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