Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Q @ A

There have been some questions from different folks recently that I haven't had time to answer.  I always read and appreciate everyone's comments, but my computer time has been really limited lately.  I know the blog has suffered for it and I'm sorry.  There is no one specific reason for it, but 2014 has been a rough year.  There is a lot going on on many levels that I can't really blog about and there's this jinx that has been following me around.  Maybe it's because I had the rediculous temerity to actually write down a list of goals for the year.

Please dear Universe, I take it back!  I rescind all thoughts of plans or goals and bow to your whims.  I will try to never again to be so foolish.

Anyways, all attempts at breaking the jinx aside, I thought I'd try to answer some of your recent questions.....

Terri wanted to know where the path in the pasture led to and why Tessa would opt to leave it.  All hooved animals that I know of make paths like this in their familiar territories.  I think it is so that they always know where safe footing is even if they can't see it.  Their hooves leave scent trails behind them  as well so even if completely blinded they know where they can put their feet.  As for where it goes....I am using a track system to limit the amount of pasture my fatties have access to while maximizing exercise.  The track goes around the perimeter of the field and the path follows that track.   I guess it works, although Tessa and Emma are still far, FAR too heavy.  As to why Tessa left the path, that's easy: she had to pee:). She always goes off into the tall grass for that.  Actually, they all do.  They don't like getting splashed.  Who does?

Mary Ann wanted to know who owns all the turkeys, sheep, pigs, etc that I post sometimes.  They are all over at Farm Buddy's place, Natural Borders Farm.  She and I have been friends and worked on farming stuff together for nearly twenty years.  FB owns a small farm where she raises grass fed beef, lamb, pork and poultry.  The whole farm is centered around the concepts of raising happy healthy animals as naturally and humanely as possible along with sustainability, land conservation and diversity.  The animals live like kings, FB lives like a slave to them.  The farm produces extremely high quality, humanely raised meats and very little income.  The plight of small farms these days.   I keep trying to get FB to write some blog posts, but she keeps balking.  Maybe if you all nag her....

The farm is where we make hay and Val was interested in that.  We generally make first, second and third cutting, but it varies in how we do that.  This year, the first cutting on the main hay field was all made into balage which will feed the cattle.  We contract with a local dairy farm for that, which is expensive but ensures that the animals get the highest possible nutrition despite impossible weather conditions.  The second cutting was already made, (as small square bales) but with very poor yields.  The third cutting is yet to happen.  Last year, it was made into balage and fed to the sheep who do extremely well on it.

The hay we made last weekend is on a separate field that is enrolled in a wildlife conservation project for ground nesting birds so we never mow the hay there until after July 4th.  The birds are done nesting by then and have moved out.  Some of this hay goes to feed my crew, anything left is used on the farm.  Unfortunatly, there is not a lot left this year.  Hopefully, there will be enough.  As for how much I use....I am still struggling with that.  I am hoping that this hay, cut very late, will be low enough in calories that I can feed it free choice out of small mesh hay nets.  It looks awfully green and fine and yummy for that though so I am not sure.  I am having it tested and will know more in a week or two.  The bales weigh about 25 pounds each and I am figuring a bale a day.  We'll see, they all need to lose weight.  

Did I miss anything?  I really do appreciate hearing from all of you.  If anyone else has any questions or something you'd like to hear more about, let me know and I'll try.  It might take me a while, but I'll try.




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Velociraptors

The little velociraptors over at Farm Buddy's have stated venturing out into the big world.

Turkeys are interesting creatures.

These have definitely imprinted on humans and they follow people about, making inquisitive, little chirping noises, always searching...

"Where's mom?"

"Are YOU my mom?"


Monday, July 28, 2014

Done

The hay is done.  It's nice hay, it's in the barns and it didn't get rained on.  That's about all I have to say about it.  This year's crop ended up being very expensive, difficult and stressful in the extreme with yields almost half what they were last year.

But, it's nice hay...

and it's in the barns.

That means it was a success I guess, despite the mechanical problems, anxiety, disappointment, expense and frustrations.  It's nice hay, tucked safely away in the barns.  It's nice hay, tucked safely away in the barns. It's nice hay, tucked safely away in the barns....Keep repeating that.  That's the part that counts.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Time to make the hay

All the hay in our little world got mowed today.

We're doing things a bit differently this year.  I made a deal with the local dairy farm to bale and transport my portion of hay using his modern kicker baler, which throws the bales onto a wagon pulled behind the baler rather than relying on human hands to pick them up.  We were trying to make things easier.  I guess it's a good thing since it looks like none of our hay-help is going to make it this year and the jinx is still alive and kicking.  God does seem to enjoy a good laugh come hay time.

We're committed now, the hay is mowed. Here's hoping the weather will hold and no more equipment breaks.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Clear Speaking

Things get so complicated sometimes.  All the tangled webs of human wants, needs and interactions get to be too much.   Even the webs of our own making get swept away in the noise.

The clarity of speech that animals always carry with them in the world is so much easier to deal with.   All I have to do with them is step back, let my mind clear and listen to what they have to say.  As soon as I can stop projecting my own thoughts, emotions and preconceptions onto them, they tell me loud and clear what they want, think and feel.  Once they have what they need, they are equally clear and generous in sharing their contentment and satisfaction.  If only we humans could ever learn to communicate half as well as our "dumb" beasts.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Good Advice

Hot, humid, hazy with storms on the way.  Tessa has the right idea.

We're hoping to make hay at the end of the week, the weather people keep saying it's supposed to be good after tomorrow.  We shall see.  There has already been a great deal of hay stress and drama this year and we've barely even made any.  It's giving me a stomach ache.  For today, I think I am going to just try to take Tessa's advice.