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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Summer Changes and Summer Trouble (spelled MOO)

This past summer has brought some significant changes to the farm. Ethan has gotten the cattle on a good rotation through the pasture, and he is following them with the tractor mower to knock down whatever weeds they don't get (which are a lot this year due to our land just coming out of CRP). The improvement to the pasture is impressive, and I'm sure it will continue to be the longer we are here.

The hogs have also made a move into the woods and are doing a great job of clearing out the woods. Our woods are quite thick, with lots of undergrowth which makes it almost impossible to get through. The area the hogs have been in is now completely bare ground except for the older trees. We are excited to have our woods become more usable as they continue to rotate through.

This summer we also started doing a farmer's market at the Living History Farms. It was a smaller market, which worked well for getting our feet wet. We were able to meet some great people and have some wonderful new customers.

This summer we processed our first grassfed beef as well. It has sold fast, and now we are waiting for the next round to become ready. From processing the beef though, we became aware of our need for freezer space. We ended up taking our home deep freeze and transitioning it over to a business deep freeze as well. Even so, with the both beef and pork, we struggled to make everything fit.

It seems like our farm is growing wonderfully and we are needing to take steps to help bring it to the next level. This is always a challenge, and even more so this year. Ethan is now just working 20 hours at the church as the youth pastor. In order to make up for the difference, he is also working 40 hours at the NAPA center at the farm store. I do have to say, working at the farm store does have some nice perks, but the extra hours also bring some challenges to the farm set up.

Thankfully, we were able to get our perimeter fence up last year, although we were waiting to do around the yard until this year. The fence is working great, but we have found we need to make some rotation changes with the cows to help keep the voltage its strongest. The reason we have found out is because we have 6 small cows/calves who are able to work their way out of the paddock of the day and come terrorize the yard - scratching on trees, walking through the garden (which isn't that big of a deal this year if you have been following along), and tearing apart the shed.

Ethan has plans to put up a semi permanent fence around the yard soon to stop the recent wanders, and hopefully we will get the permanent fence layout figured out early next year. Until then, I decided that enough was enough in the shed. So today I strung some wire across the front and made gates between each post. I didn't charge it, but it can be. Hopefully they will just see that there are multiple strands and not bother.

When it comes to farming, I starting to feel that you need to devote 25% of your time to the expected and 75% of your time to the unexpected. I guess such is life on a beginning farm, or maybe even any farm. Even so, we are still moving along and amazingly still moving forward. :)


Richard said...

It's great to hear that this year has went well and to know that the Lord is blessing you with such a wonderful farm.

I look forward to reading what y'all continue to do and to seeing all the things you accomplish on your farm.

Jenny said...

Hi Becca! Sorry for the delay in commenting. I just want to reassure you that you are doing fabulous! We purchased our home & almost 5 acres, 9 yrs. ago. After several years of updating the inside of the house (still not finished but it'll get there) about 4 yrs. ago we started small with food plots - we're deer hunters. Last year we built our first pasture, adopted two goats and fed out a heifer and a steer. This year we have added 2 young steers, 15 chickens and 3 ducks. It all takes time & patience...I'm impressed with how far you've come! Keep up the great work & wonderful posts. Although I don't comment often I do read & always take something positive or helpful from your posts. (LOVE your list update from today - still meaning to do the same)

Thank you for sharing your life with us all!

Jenny-Backwoods Mama at The Magic Farmhouse

Jenny said...

Oh, I forgot to add that we too had a similar problem fencing problem with our goats recently. Had to add a bottom hot wire to outsmart the far it's working. You can only do what your able to do.

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