Archive for the 'Equipment' Category
I believe I wrote about a similar subject a while back but decided to write about this again since I took a spill last evening and am now nursing my sore body back to whatever it is to feel normal. We have had such a mild and warm winter and it has been so pleasant, but now, here in Illinois, a cold, and I mean single digit cold, has finally arrived. I miss the warmer temps but I am glad for the freeze, I just hope it stays long enough to kill the bugs and insects so we are not over run by them this summer.
As, I mentioned earlier, I took a spill last evening while trying to get some hay for my goats. I am not sure exactly sure what had happened but it was right after dusk had settled in and the ground was frozen and all of the sudden, I was falling to the ground and hit it hard. I am so lucky the pitchfork landed away from my falling body so I didn’t land on it. It sure seems strange that three days ago we were wading in mud and now the ground is frozen hard as a rock.
The weather can change things so fast and the fact that it is so difficult to walk on frozen ground where cattle have recently trod that I am guessing I either lost my footing and tripped over a frozen pile of, well you know, or I had a spell of vertigo. Whichever it was, it was not fun. So in light of all of this, be careful of the changing weather and the ground surfaces. I always feared ice, but now, well I fear frozen manure, how funny is that.
Have a great day everyone and now that we are getting things better organized, we will be posting more.
Today, as I sat here thinking of the upcoming holidays, I was reminded of the years harvest and that the farmers have finished bringing in their crops. The fields outside my window here are barren, corn stalks are all that is left and the grass is turning brown. The farm machinery is mostly put away for the season and the roads are clear of the slow traffic.
It is not funny when I think about it because there just wasn’t that much machinery on the roads this year. Even five years ago, there were just so many out there and now we are a dying breed. The farmers are disappearing; small farms can not keep up with the changing economy, the price of livestock is either outrageous or bottomed out; it is just too hard for most. It is mostly the larger farms and agriculture business that remain.
I wonder what is going to happen if the farmer no longer exists. Food will be so scarce and expensive that it will be hard for anyone to even obtain unless you are wealthy and that is a scary thought.
I enjoy gardening and would hate it if I could not grow my own food in the summer. I think we need to support our farmers and figure out a way to save the farms that are so much a part of our country’s history. This is just my thoughts.
I enjoy my garden and my flowers during the Spring and Summer months and consider myself as having a fairly decent “green thumb”. So when the winter months come along I get a little sad. I am still learning the ins and out of horticulture so whenever I read or hear about tips to help with your plants I take notice of them.
One tip that I have always tried to do every Spring, once the weather starts to warm and the new growth begins, I start to clear away all the dead foliage and let the air breathe. It is almost the same in the fall; clear away all the dead foliage and run a garden rake over the ground to break the top soil. I then add some compost, which I make, around the plants for nutrition.
By making my own compost, I know what is in the soil and I know that my plants are healthy. One tip is to make sure to allow air to flow through the compost for it to receive air and water so it can heat up. You can do this by using a pitchfork to allow the soil to breathe.
I then would cover with fallen leaves and leave throughout the cold months. I just recently discovered that I had done this step wrong. According to new information that I have obtained, all steps should be done as mentioned above but do not mulch until after the first freeze. I was surprised by this so I asked questions. I found out that by waiting to mulch after the first freeze it will actually protect the plant from serious damage and it will return year after year, we are talking of perennials here. The reason was described to me like this; by waiting when the first frost comes the sugars and nutrients that exist in the plant above the ground will return to the root for storage, then when you do mulch it will keep the plants from freezing and protects the bulb underground until it is warm and ready to grow once again. Also, if using leaves to mulch with; Oak or Beech are best because their leaves are stiff and will allow more air flow. Straw and salt marsh hay is also good mulches to use.
Another tip is to trim away excess foilage with my garden pruners in early fall by doing this most plants will grow back stronger and fuller. I do this on my Clematis and roses. I try not to trim too short, you can always check in the Spring for dead foliage that needs removed when new growth starts. I also trim my grapevines and my blackberries and restructure any parts of the trellis that needs repaired for the new growth.
I do mow off any remaining strawberry plants and cover them with a thick layer of straw and remove come Spring.
These are just a few tips that I hope can help you out in your gardening endeavors.
Several years ago my wife and I purchased three acres of property about an hour and a half north of Seattle. After living in urban areas for the last three decades, we found ourselves pining for a respite from the concrete jungle. For the first few years, our new home served as a welcome oasis from the cluttered nature of city life.
In recent months, however, there has been a drastic increase in the number of residents in the area; it appears that other people have developed a yearning for the simplicity of rural life. In order to maintain some of our privacy and separation, I’ve constructed a fence around the perimeter of the property. And in order to ensure our easy access, I’ve even included a drive through gate.
Summer on the farm is one of the busiest times of year. We have fields to plant, hay to bale, pastures to mow besides the everyday jobs of feeding and caring for the livestock. Summer, for most folks, is a fun time. They go to their 9-5 jobs and come home and relax, cookout, swim, ballgames and whatever. Here on the farm, especially if you have a second job, which most of us do these days, farm work is our relaxation time. We put in long hours and less sleep and still continue to function normally, well, most of the time.
It is also a time for the kids to learn about animals and their care. We have a niece, age 4, and a grandaughter, age 2, that come to the farm often. Kalissa, our niece, has always been the little ranch hand but hasn’t been here much lately. Kennedy, on the other hand is here every week or at least every other. Between the two of them, they are the more excited to play with the animals that they will absolutely wear them out, or at least me, before they ever wind down.
Both girls now want to learn how to handle the goats and show them at the county fair. This info was discussed last week and in the process of explaining the need for them to spend more time on the farm to learn seemed to go over well with them. At least during the day, anyway, Kalissa had a bad overnight experience with a babysitter, woke up and did not remember where she was and Mom was not there and now is staying close to home at night. Fear of Mommy not being there, I guess. Any way as long as the daylight is on we are good to go.
So to start, we have to have goats, of course, and I have a small herd with 2 yearling nannies that are just at the right size for them to show. The problem being they decided a little late to do this and the fair is in 4 weeks. So, I suggested to start working with the kid nannies that are 4 months old and start putting a lead on them and messing with them some. So that is our plan. Now to just get started on a regular basis to have them ready for next year.
Another favorite is riding Blaze, my gelding. He is around 10 years old and gentle as a kitten. Anyone can ride him with any kind of horse sense, so to speak. The girls are learning to get used to him by being led bareback first. This teaches them balance and helps them lose their fear. Kalissa has no fear when it comes to animals and Kennedy is right behind her. A year ago, Kennedy was terrified and now that she spends time on the farm she just loves it. They cannot go a whole day here without getting Blaze out to ride. They will soon get to visit the tack room and learn how to care for their gear. They will pick a saddle from one of the many saddle racks and be shown how to clean and care for it, this will give them a sense of pride and they will want to take care of their equipment. They will graduate to a saddle and then we will begin with the bridle. It should be fun to watch them progress and the excitement they show is just wonderful.
Summer is such a great time to enjoy life on the farm and to learn new things, the girls love it.
Every summer my siblings and I travel to our grandparents’ farm in Wyoming for a few weeks. Although it is a nice reprieve from the stresses of city life, there is certainly plenty for us to do. Each year we divvy up the work amongst ourselves and attempt to give everyone an equal share.
Last year, most of my work was centered on the livestock and cattle. I would start my daily routine by filling the cattle feeders and letting the various animals out to pasture. After this, it was my responsibility to ensure that the barn was clean and that all of the equipment was put away properly. It’s nice to be able to go to a farm for a stint, but after a few years of doing the various jobs, I’m thankful that I not there permanently.
There is always stress on your animals when you wean the little ones from their mamas. It does not matter the type or breed, there will be crying from both the mamas and babies. Besides all the noise the animals will want to get back together and they will look for any opening to do just that.
For at least three to four days they will walk the fences, try to jump the fences and try to climb through or crawl under any opening just to get back together. We always wean in the sign of the moon and have mostly good results but, there are always those few that just cannot get with the program.
So, what do you do when they get back together and you have to begin the process all over again? Really, I do not know what the best plan is. I take it one day at a time and go with the flow. Try as I might, I fill and close any openings that I find, where I think they are getting through and try again. Does it work? Sometimes but, not always.
I weaned my kids, baby goats, 2 weeks ago and have only had them all get out one day but Jillie has gotten out 12 out of the 14 days they have been weaned. It never fails, I go out to feed and she is back with Miss Dolly, her mama. She is such a pet, I spoil them awful, that it is nothing to get her back in with the others but keeping her in is a problem. It is hard not to think it is funny or cute but, she needs to stay in her pen.
Reinforcing the fencing is the best plan to keep them contained and having fencing supplies on hand is helpful. There are those moments, and I have a lot of them, that you just have to rig something up until you have the time when you can complete the job. Fencing wire, wire cutters, tools and the rest of fencing supplies are necessary livestock equipment to have on the farm and handy at a moments notice.
Any horse owner knows that the acquisition of the animal is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to expenditures. In addition to the horse itself, there is also food, medication, boarding, tack and a litany of other essentials that must be purchased. One of the most important of these investments, and one that you will be employing often, is your saddle.
To that end, it is critical to keep your saddle in pristine condition so that it fits well and is comfortable for both yourself and the animal. A saddle rack is one of the best ways to ensure that your saddle is protected. Not only does it help you keep the saddle and riggings organized, but it also protects it from hazards that can damage it in storage.
The farm house is something that is rarely mentioned as part of a farm. When we talk of farm equipment or supplies we usually are speaking of the barn and things outside of the house. In reality, the farm house is a major part of the farm. It is where we sleep, eat and relax after long hours working our farm and managing our livestock. In many houses, it is where we have our business/farm office. This is where we work the numbers so that all things fall into place.
If your house is like mine, very much lived in, it may not always be as clean as it should be, or is expected to be. But, I have a few tips on how to make the cleaning a little easier and faster so that most of my time can be spent doing what matters most.
- slit a tennis ball, place on a handle and use to remove scuff marks on tile floors before cleaning
- do a quick wipe down in the bathrooms daily to keep them fresh
- always have dishes clean before going to bed
- prepare coffee pot before bed
- do a quick sweep of kitchen floor after last meal of day
These are just a few little tips that I have found useful. It makes the big day, once a week or every other week. a little easier and not so overwhelming.
Having the Farm House in some kind of order, helps keep the farm running smooth.
Over the years, the process of cattle feeding has grown and evolved, and today there are three main systems for feeding cattle. The oldest and most natural method is, of course, grazing. This entails letting the animals free in a pasture to eat as they please, but this method of feeding is dwindling and occurs in less than 10 percent of the world’s cattle production.
Much more common today is industrial-style feeding. In this system, animals are confined to stalls or pens and fed using a cattle feeder. This allows more animals to be kept and makes the maintenance process easier for the workers. The final feeding method is known as integrated, and is a medium between the two above-mentioned techniques.
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