As is common in rural properties, The Farm is posted land. The Farmer doesn’t want uninvited guests leaving a gate open or tromping through crops. So when The Farmer’s Wife takes her walk along the road, the bright yellow signs are hard to miss.
The other day, The Farmer’s Wife came back from a walk and reported on a violation of the posted sign. We had an intruder!
It is the job of the brave Farmer to protect his borders, so out he went, weapon in hand…
March is time to start some seeds! So far this year we have started tomatoes, gourds, and rosemary.
We built a little plant nursery in our basement a few years ago that we raise our plants in. A string of outdoor Christmas lights are in the bottom to keep the soil warm. And overhead lights are on a timer to simulate sunlight. The plastic tent covering can be peeled back into a large opening. This lets us soak everything well with a hand sprayer.
Hopefully these young tomato plants will be producing fruit later this summer.
Late last fall we decided to re-try our hand at raising some goats. We bought a fine Nubian-Saanen cross, named Pesch, from farmers we know in Cortland County. She had been bred and expected to deliver in March.
Well, deliver she did…and along came kid number 1.
(Land mammals clean off their new babies by licking them off, so Mama is doing a good job here with her newborn.)
And then along came kid number 2.
(Baby 1 has its head up, which is a good sign. Within a couple of minutes she will be trying to stand up, although her legs will be too wobbly to support her.)
And the out popped kid number 3.
(Kid 3 was 15 – 20 minutes after Kid 1, so the first little lady is already trying to figure out how to eat.)
All was going well with our three little kids. And then we tried to follow good veterinary practice and gave them a booster shot of selenium and Vitamin E. Unfortunately, we got our dosage wrong and thus we arrive at our iatrogenic issue. Two of the kids reacted to the overdose and ended up dying.
It was a sad re-introduction to raising goats, but we are glad that we have one little guy (the kids call him Ralph) that jumps around the pen playing with Mama.
March 23 – Once upon a time (heigh-ho, the dairy-o) the Farmer took a wife.
The Farmer’s Wife not only gets to cook all the great farm food, but also helps keep track of farm records. This is in addition to volunteering for her church, working part-time for a small homeschool curriculum producer, homeschooling her children, and maintaining a household.
And the big push now is to get our tax forms done.
Here is The Farmer’s Wife’s Nerve Center. Does that look like organized chaos? Well, if The Farmer posted a picture of his work area, you would see complete chaos.
April 8 – And taxes are done, submitted, and accepted! YEA!!!
Last Spring, The Farmer used an incubator to turn some of the farm eggs into chickens. They were The Farmer’s little pet project throughout the year.
December found The Farmer enjoying fresh eggs while the hens were adjusting to their winter quarters.
One night late in December, when The Farmer went out to gather eggs, a hen was still in a nest box. She made it known by the cock of her head and the low screeches that she did not want to be disturbed. She had gone broody.
The next morning, though, she was out with the other hens, so The Farmer just took note…but, the hen acted the same way a couple days later.Continue reading “Winter Chicks”
While reviewing his news sources recently, The Farmer saw a reference to a comparison of fertilizers on soil health.
In a study that spanned more than a decade, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used varying levels of manure on one field and varying levels of inorganic fertilizers on another. Yet another plot received no amendments, acting as the control.
Soil samples were taken in 2015 to assess how the soil fared with the different protocols used. And in September of this year the results were published by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA). The executive summary states:
*Long-term annual application of manure maintained the soil pH but inorganic fertilizer decreased it.
*Manure application increased soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN).
*Higher manure rate helps in improving the water stable aggregates compared to inorganic fertilizer at 0- to 10-cm depth.
There was also a warning that higher electrical conductivity readings in the manure-fertilized fields could indicate salt levels being too high. But since The Farmer is not a member of the ASA, he cannot get the report details to read the specifics.
As someone whose farm includes animals, and whose animals provide much of the fertility for garden, this is a heartening study.
This post’s bottom line: using what comes out of your animal’s bottom will help your farm’s bottom line…or, the power of poo keeps your soil from bottoming out.
Gaia is our Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dog. Her job on the farm is to protect our livestock, and in particular, our meat chickens. On a recent morning, the young crew went out to do their chicken chores, and Gaia was at the end of her chain jumping and excitedly barking. They let her go and she sped off to investigate a broken two-wheeled cart that is stored close by.
An older son was in the area and came to investigate. As Gaia ran around the cart, our son pushed down on the back so that she could snoop around under the front.
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.”