A Good Horse

My old man never gets much attention any more. Either I’m working with the colt, cows, or we’re doing chores. He doesn’t seem to mind. Truth be told, he’s an antisocial creature.

But when I need him, he usually pulls through. We rounded up cows last night for annual shots, and since it was our first time with this set up, of course things went horribly awry.

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No Till Drills

As a one time FFA enthusiast and sometime conservation biology student, I try to do things right here on the farm. Low chemical use, select cutting of trees (except gum trees. They get ALL the chemicals and ALL the cutting), etc.

So when it came time to overseed our pastures, our first year I did so by hand in the small area that we could spare to leave alone. Spoiler alert, I simply blew about $50 in seed and had a really fun afternoon casting it out.

This year, we needed to overseed 8-10 acres of pasture that has been woefully neglected. We have scrubbed little gum trees and kept the fields bushhogged all summer, but we knew that new grass was desperately needed.

This is how we cleared land before the tractor. And Mr. DR Power still comes in handy!

Since the reasons for not hand casting that much land should be fairly obvious, and since we have added a wonderful tractor to our family, we started searching for mechanical means of putting seed in the ground that was also economical (it’s a wonderful tractor, it wasn’t a cheap tractor!)

Unfortunately, those two words aren’t exactly compatible. Sod drills, no till trills, cultipackers, all cost a LOT of money and we needed one pronto. Thank God for friends with good ideas. In discussing the issue with a landscaping friend of his, a friend of my husband suggested the No Till Drill rental program.

https://www.spartanburgswcd.org/no-till-drill.html

Hopefully it’s true across the country, but at least here in the Carolinas, rumor has it that every county’s soil and water conservation district has one of these beauties for rent. Our local place has them available for $12-$14 per acre. How wonderful is it that the seed cost more than the equipment use!

This is one of our sacrifice pastures for the winter while the bigger pastures grow up (hopefully) with new rye, orchard, and clover.

Fall Gardening

This is my first year ever putting in a fall garden. Though, when it is still over 90 some days, can we really call it fall?

Aside from the traditional greens, carrots, peas, and broccoli; my father-in-law recommended we put in green beans and purple hulls as well. I was not convinced at first, as I was certain they wouldn’t thrive in the cooler weather.

I am so happy to report how wrong I was! While the purple hulls are still under attack from black ants, they do look better than the spring crop.

Purple hulls seen on the right compared to the summer purple hulls on the left that need to be mowed.

My Roma II green beans, however, are looking fantastic and producing like crazy!

However, I’ve yet to see evidence of these plants being “bush” beans. They want to be, but they can’t help running just a bit.

No June bugs to attack the plants and eat the blooms, and for a wonder, there doesn’t even seem to be much damage from the bunny population. From here on, I am not certain if I will ever plant summer beans again!

Not only are the plants heavily producing, but the beans are SO tender. Two gallons in the freezer, quite a few for suppers, and we’re only in week two or three of production! Bring on the fall.

8 Days Post Outbreak

Well, we’ve hit a milestone. It has been 8 days now since our older calf, SirLoin, has made an escape. We added six strands around the remainder of the pasture, and he STILL got out last Tuesday. He was using our handy dandy walkthroughs, which have now been blocked off. I think that has fixed the problem. If not, veal anyone?

I will say, I am super grateful that our younger calf, Patty Melt, does not have the adventuring spirit of the other.

On that note, may I offer you some cute and clever calf names?

SirLoin

Salisbury

Chuck (Norris, Wagon, etc.)

Riblet

Weldon

Veal

Patty Melt

Phyllisy

Shep(herds pie)

And DRUMROLL PLEASE:

Felicia Mignon

Calving Season is Over

And it was blessedly uneventful! To be fair, we had two cows, so is that really even a season? I am so thankful that our second calf was born and that neither cow needed assistance in the process. It is quite lovely to just go into the pasture and see a newborn baby!

Everyone, meet Patty Melt!

New baby on the left obviously, and on the right, you see 2 month old SirLoin eyeing up the competition. I’m not sure he’s going to like not being an only child anymore.

She let us see her yesterday, but if history repeats itself, we won’t get another look for a few days. They are really good at stashing them away for safe keeping.

Calf Fencing – Round 2

Saturday was chicken processing day. It’s been on the calendar for months. And a more perfect day we could not have asked for. Cool, overcast, and slightly misty. We ended up processing 12 birds, and along about numbers 7 or 8, my neighbors called to say that SirLoin had escaped. Again.

This was how I intended to spend my Saturday, followed by a siesta.

Lets take a moment to say that, whoever read him my last blog post (Fabulous Fencing Tips) as a bedtime story, he took the challenge seriously and I dislike you. The little darling climbed through the one small section of three strands that was left at the WAY back of the pasture and gallivanted through apx. 150 yards of thick underbrush to get to the road. I know that’s how he did it because I saw his little hoof prints over there. There was barely enough room for a person to walk on that side of the fence, and you would have paid dearly through some brier thickets. But he gets props for determination.

Once he was found out, my neighbor said he tried but couldn’t find a way back through the fence. So I had to open the gate and usher him back in. So, after we finished processing birds, we took the advice of a long time cow farmer and set up two strands of electric about 2 feet off the ground. Unfortunately, solar powered fence chargers needs about three days of sunlight before they will work properly. So, all prayers gladly accepted over the next (now) 48 hours. If electric doesn’t keep him in, does anyone have any suggestions?

Take that, monster.

After our second trip to Tractor Supply for, well, supplies, we were wrapping up fencing and he was once again in the horse pasture through a small opening that he is now having to squeeze his chubby self through.

Not where he belongs.

So we had to block that off with a water trough as well. This morning, I caught him by the barn contemplating his newly blocked path to freedom and plotting his next attack.

He has discovered sweet feed, so that should make him easier to catch. Here, you see him licking the grain pail in the most lazy way possible. Precious.

Who’s brilliant idea was it to get cows?