Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From Oats and Rye to Hay

We recently harvested our rye crop, and after our combine engine blew, we hired someone else to harvest our oats. 

Once the grain was harvested, it was time to work the fields. We hooked our trusty, dusty Massey Ferguson MF2705 to the offset disc and went to work. We waited a few days and disced the field again. Waiting a few days and then working the field allows weeds to sprout and be killed, sprout and be killed. 

After two passes with the offset disc, we used the chisel plow on the fields and waited again. Then we used the field cultivator. Our plan is to thoroughly kill any plants in these fields, and have them begin decomposing. It's very dry right now, which hinders the decomposition process. We need some rain. Eventually, after we have a very smooth field, with no weeds and no big clods, we will plant hay/pasture for next year.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Willow Whacking

The ditches are becoming clogged with willows. Every couple of years we really need to work on cutting them back. The Farmer has a saw blade that fits on the end of his weed whacker that helps with brush whacking. Perfect for the willow invasion. 

Here's a  photo of the before:

And an idea of what things look like after:

There are piles of dead willows along many of the ditch banks on the farm. Our township has a summer burning ban, so these willows will be collected for a fall brush fire after the ban is lifted.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Fence Posts

A friend of ours has a portable sawmill (handy!). The emerald ash borer has been hard on the ash trees in our area. These ash trees were taken out of a woodlot and made into nice new fence posts for us.

Because we are certified organic, our fenceposts cannot be treated. We will just have to replace them more often.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Moving the Bull

About a week ago, it was time to put the bull in with the cows for breeding. He'd been sounding like a donkey for about a week or two, indicating that he was longing for some company. The braying began when we moved the cows to the west of the bull's pasture. I'm sure the prevailing wind brought their scent and sound to torture him.

The move itself was rather free-form. We usually set up lots of fences to minimize escapes. In this case, he knew where he wanted to be, and so we were able to just walk along in case he made any wrong turns.

Being up close and personal with an animal of that size worries me. In this case, he's paying very little attention to us.

And he finds what he's looking for...

And announces his arrival: "MOO!" (See his head lifted up?)

Glad that went as smoothly as it did.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Stuff Only Breaks When You Use It in B Minor, Opus 93

Last week we harvested our rye crop. Afterwards, The Farmer headed out to custom combine a couple of very small rye fields for nearby blueberry farmers. This is what the evening ended like:

Now that's not a great picture, I'll admit. It was late and it was dark. So I'll explain it to you. The large tractor was towing the combine home. The combine engine blew while The Farmer was custom combining.

We knew the engine wasn't good. But we decided to keep using it until it wouldn't go anymore. And that time has come.

Three years ago our old combine gave up the ghost during harvest. We scraped together enough money to buy this one. And now it needs a new engine.

I explained it this way to a friend--we can only afford to buy the combine equivalent of a 1979 Chevy Nova. Now, I'm not bashing the Nova (much). But when was the last time you saw one on the road? I didn't think so.

We have a new engine being shipped to us. One that cost more than half of what we spent for the Chevy Nova combine.

And I think I hear a familiar refrain...

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