One of these things…

Is not like the other.

Summer harvest is of course getting into full swing, and we’re just days away from the paste tomato apocalypse. We use Roma and San Marzano tomatoes, which are determinates and will ripen in a short period of time. Exactly what you want for canning things.

Paste tomatoes are almost ready!
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Building a Hay Crib

One of the perks of having a zillion projects going on, is there is always spare lumber lying about. Given the current cost of materials at an arm and half a leg, it’s pretty handy if we can complete a project without making a trip to the hardware store.

While we have much better facilities now for weaning, when it was time to wean the first calf we had born here at Sourwood Hill, our only option was the round pen. Now, the reason that was the only option, was because this so happened to be our convict calf that escaped FREQUENTLY prior to some fencing modifications ( So into the round pen young SirLoin went with a tub of water and a bunch of hay.

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Let’s take the pigs to market!

(or is that kids?) one of them you’re supposed to take home from market, I’m sure of it… But I digress. First and foremost, happy spring! This is the time of year of fluffy chicks, baby bunnies, fresh growth, and the start of Farmer’s Market season!

While we have hatched out a few batches of chicks, and have more in the incubator, our plants are still in triage and wont be ready for the garden for some time yet. However, there are those industrious hard working folks who have had their seeds in the ground for months and are preparing to sell them to you and me at farmer’s markets near us soon! Along with homemade baked goods, fresh spun yarn, honey, etc.

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Barn First Aid Kit – Top 25 Items

What is a farm without animals? Its not. And don’t speak to anyone that says otherwise, you don’t need that negativity in your life. What you do need is horses, cows, chickens, goats, at least one barn cat, and a clever dog. I’m slowly working my husband up to this mentality, he’s conceded to an extra horse, the barn cat, and chickens. And the dog has been around for a while. Since I can remember, I have always wanted a horse, and for anyone with a daughter, when she says she wants a pony, get her one. Can’t afford drugs when you have vet bills. Speaking of vet bills, we just had the third anniversary of our youngest horse’s most spectacular injury to date, though he constantly tries to outdo himself.

Just at six months old. Its a good thing baby animals are so cute!
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An almost free hay shed

Between the square-ish round pen and the new farm office, We. Are. So. Tired. Of Spending. Money. So when it came time to move the horses to their winter pasture, the same issue as the last two winters came up yet again (odd, that). How to keep hay dry and edible? And stay solvent while doing so?

The solution that has worked well for us in the past is to feed twice a day or bring out tons of hay and know they will waste a lot. However, I wasn’t pleased with their body condition this past spring so I don’t think they were getting enough, and there are still those rainy days when they will never eat fast enough before some hay is simply too wet for their majesties.

So after letting my mind wander and referencing Pinterest for awhile, we came up with a workable solution. It’s ugly, but it works.

Here, you see two corral panels, recycled from the old round pen cattle alley; two cattle panels stolen borrowed from the garden; a section of PVC we found in the pasture; copious amounts of wire ties; and six recycled t-posts. I had a tarp as well that I had never used before, but it was way too small, so we had to purchase a $15 tarp last weekend 😡. So, so close to being no active out of pocket money spent!

Then, we needed somewhere to keep the hay since we don’t have a round bale feeder for horses. So my husband brought home some used pallets from work, we cut them down so the horses can reach the bottom, and tied it all together with baling twine.

We have been feeding from the remainder of a round bale we had in the barn, just to make sure they didn’t demolish the entire structure in a day. However, I am confident an entire round bale will fit in here and so far it’s worked great. So, if no one tells my horses how registered, fancy horses are fed their small batch alfalfa hay from gold plated hay bunks, I’d appreciate it.

The Farm Office

No, not the back of my SUV where I store grain pails, feed, and my saddle by turns. A real life, climate controlled (sort of) office! All I usually talk about is my outdoor life, but we do spend some time indoors outside of sleeping. In fact, I’ve been home based for work since last summer and I’ve finally moved out of the living room into my own space.

Our house originally had a garage where the den is now, and through the course of events, a sunroom was added after the garage was transitioned and a carport added. The sunroom was really a selling point of the house for me, but we knew it would need a ton of work to be useable.

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The Square(ish) Round Pen

I was a pretty good student throughout school, but I detested math. It did not come as easily to me as other subjects, and it just wasn’t fun. I remember my geometry teacher in 8th or 9th grade as being a really likable guy, I know I passed the class, but I really can’t remember much about the content. Same for algebra. When would this ever impact my life? Just another example of God’s sense of humor I suppose.

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