Category Archives: rain

Muddy Tires, Sore Knees and Baby Chicks

Spring equals mud! Mud makes farm girls happy!
Spring equals mud! Mud makes farm girls happy!

Nothing like starting right out with a photo that can manage to bring a big ol’ happy grin to my face and a twinkle to my eye. I love mud. Spring mud specifically. That greasy, slimy stick to everything kind of mud.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the truck or the four wheeler…I must drive/ride to get “dirty” every spring. It’s my way of saying GOODBYE OLD MAN WINTER! HELL-LO SPRING!

I think that thing that makes it best right now is the simple fact that my knee has been driving me insane over the last week. I think it has something to do with the 5-6 mile walks everyday, chasing loose cattle and sliding down very steep hills. Could just be old age too. Not really sure…all that matters is it gives me an excuse to get muddy! Mud makes me happy!

As the paper lining the box says...Great Expectations
As the paper lining the box says…Great Expectations

Babies make me happy too! Doesn’t matter what variety, two-legged or four. Covered in fur or feathers, doesn’t matter either. This time, we have NINETEEN babies! Little associated, mutt mixed chicken chicks ranging in all sorts of colors and color mixes.

They are so much fun to watch running around, learning how to peck at food and scratch the paper to shreds. The first day is always kind of quiet. It takes a lot out of the chicks to hatch…but they are just too adorable to watch as they run around and just flop down to take a nap.

Of course, all those fluffy feathers make it that much cuter!  Nothing like babies to make a grown woman act like a young child.

Needless to say, I am definitely young at heart….now I think I need to act my age and take a nap. Maybe I can take this little chick with me?!?! Nah…maybe another time!

Napping newborn chick
Napping newborn chick
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Muddy Mornings

Muck boots have become a staple of our dress code around here for the past week. Everything is muddy and wet. Rain is a good thing but too much of it always causes issues.

Our alleys for the paddocks are now nothing but mud…so today, we are going to load a bunch of stone into the muddy mess and see if we can cure this issue. Too bad we couldn’t use shale stone…but I refuse to risk injury to the animals for sharp stones!

We still need to get that 30 acre field planted back into grasses. It seems like every time it starts to dry out…in comes another storm. We are aiming for this weekend and the first part of the week. Of course, it would be nice if we could just get out there to pick stone which, of course is an issue with everything else that is going on around here. What makes it even more difficult is Mr. Farmer working a full-time job and myself work two part-time (and NO that doesn’t include anything on the farm).

So…I decided to try something! I put an ad on Craigslist for all of this shale stones! AND low and behold…people are actually willing to come pick stones if they can take them for FREE! And wait…I don’t have to do it or make time to do it!!!!
Even four or five truck loads will help…anything! Look at these photos to understand what I mean…..

Just one small view of the field of stone
One small load…already removed about 30 loads just like this!

Not all crop land looks the same. We don’t have flat stoneless fields or rolling acres with feet of topsoil. As you can tell, we have ground full of stones and very little top soil. This is one of the biggest reasons our future plantings will be no-till. The field shown above will also become part of a rotational grazing system too. This will assist with the build up and retention of top soil. It isn’t going to be a one year fix to repair the damage but more like a 5-10 year remediation!

This is just one small example of what farmers like us do…we repair the damage to the environment created by others. This field has actually been used by a commercial dairy for  three years and after seeing what kind of environmental damage his uncaring, unsustainable mind was doing to the land….we put our foot down for Mother Nature and said that’s enough! We really didn’t have the extra money to do it ourselves but we will manage and will start rebuilding and recuperating from the damage as soon as possible. The first step is getting the seed in the ground!!! Four days of nice weather coming….WE ARE GOING TO ROCK IT OUT! no pun intended!!!!

 

 

First Calf of 2012

IT’S OFFICIAL! Our first calf born from the Dexter’s has been born this morning!!

First glimpse of Meanie and her new baby
First nursing
All dressed up to stay dry from the rain
Up and running already!

We are so happy to see him healthy and happy. Now we just need to get him dried up, kept warm and continue him on the right path.

His mother’s name is Meanie….wonder what we can name him?????

Damn Weather

At some point, maybe…well, hopefully sometime before July…the weather will straighten out and we can get our 30 acres of forage grasses planted. Every time it seems like the ground is just getting dry enough to plant, it rains again and then we have to wait another 3-4 days. UGGGG

It is maddening. Especially considering we have so many other things going on right now too. Meetings and more meetings about our regional energy sustainability are slowly driving me insane. I have sat through so many of these now that I have lost count. That doesn’t include the multiple coordination phone calls and emails in between. Maybe someday this will all get easier as more people within the area become informed and knowledgeable about bioenergy. For some reason though, it seems like you have to constantly repeat the same information 1,000 times before anyone seems to grasp the basic concept of energy and energy demands.

Thank goodness for the two “working” highlights in my life! Y’all have no idea how relaxing it is to work with stubborn cows with attitude! These Jersey cattle kids are all head strong that’s for sure. Belle, the worst of the bunch, has to be nosy and “chat it up” with each and every animal here on the farm, including those pesky chickens! She has befriended one of the Dexters so much now that they are inseparable. They are always together now.

The calves are both doing extremely well and growing fast. Tommy, our newest addition, certainly has a ton of spunk. It is comical to watch him run round and round the pasture, which takes him about 10 times around before he decides to slow down. Him and Chuck are both buddy pals. We attempted to separate them at night but all Tommy did was bawl and bawl some more so now they are housed together at night. It’s working well and makes me feel good knowing that they are enjoying each others company that much. Just points out to me that I think all calves need to be raised in pairs!

We are still awaiting the arrival of Dexter calves…they are bagging up beautifully and are show lots of signs of being uncomfortable. The calves are large enough now within the womb that you can see their Mother’s bellies roll around when they start moving. I love sitting out in the pasture watching those moments! Makes me miss being pregnant but not enough to have another child. It’s just one of those amazing moments I feel blessed enough to share!

Our heifers are getting close to breeding time and big decisions will need to be made soon on just what semen we will be using. I don’t think I have put this much thought into a decision in a very long time. I have talked with my cousin, who just happens to be a semen distributor, about what my best options would be. Needless to say, for someone who is as picky as I am about how I want my Jerseys to turn out…it just made matters worse! Some how I will choose and in the meantime, I am getting very proficient in reading sire reports! Haha

Speaking of sires and genelogy, I had a great time at the New York Spring Jersey Sale this weekend. Lots of beautiful Jerseys that I really wish I could have brought home with me…but, they were selling for more than I am comfortable paying right now! 😦 Isn’t that sad? I just wanted to bring home one or two but all of the ones I had picked out when for much higher than my budget will allow. Made some really good contacts for the summer months though. Meet folks from Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and even Maine. I loved it! People who actually understand the language I talk!

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Jersey girls after their trip through the sale ring!

So, back to this weather.. All of this rain has us behind on mowing the lawn but, the pasture is growing well. I am thinking I need to get some fencing around my yard and use it for calves!!! Could you imagine the UPS or FedEx guys pulling in and having to go through electric fence to deliver? The one who drives for FedEx wouldn’t be the issue…he grew up around here and is actually from the same small town I am. I still think it would be great though…maybe it would keep some of the goofy people away!!!

Nice thought but I doubt it would work. Speaking of goofy people…I need to get my butt in gear! Lots to do today and hopefully some great events that will mean more to me than anything in the world!!!! Only time will tell!

Strange Weather

Well, I never thought that I would still be dealing with mud issues just days before Christmas! It’s 8:30 in the morning, 42 degrees and it rained all day yesterday. EVERYTHING is a muddy mess. The one good thing….the barn isn’t too messy ’cause everybody is out in the pasture.

The poor grass is even confused as it is greening up again. I am surprised that the trees aren’t budding!

I worry that without a really cold spell, we aren’t going to be getting sap from the maples to make syrup this year. Wouldn’t that be just our luck now that we own our very first evaporator! We bought the one that Mr. Farmer’s parent’s had prior to their retirement and consequent move out of their home. Kind of hard to travel between NY and TX with maple syrup making equipment! 🙂

Yesterday, when I was outside taking care of some necessity chores around the farm….I couldn’t help but notice the music of the rain. Have you ever just sat and listened to the different tones of the rain?

It makes such a unique and difference sound on each thing it hits and of course it depends on how hard it rains. It was perfect yesterday for listening. No high winds whistling through the trees. Just the sound of the pattering of the rain.

I think the sweetest sound is when the light rain was hitting the steel roof on the barn. It sounded like distant cricket-like noises that all blended together. Then there were the baritones of the drops hitting the roof of the two cover-all style buildings. With them being two different sizes, the pitches and tones were different there too. And even different sounds when the rain it puddles, the ground, the gravel in the drive….

Natures Music! Soft, subtle and completely peaceful.

This is just another one of the many reasons why I couldn’t live in the city. Too much ambient noise to really hear little things like the differences in the sounds of rain hitting various objects. Here, in the country, there may be  an occassional car that drives by or the sound of an animal but I sat on the picnic table in the barn (yeah, I know…nice place for it huh?) listening to the different sounds that created from nature.

It was one of those hours when I sat back thinking about how blessed I am to be surrounded by such beautiful things.

A dying weed on a cold, rainy morning just after the sun came through the fog.

Summer’s Gone and So Is Fall

Well, the title about sums it up! Hard to believe that we are into November already! We still haven’t completed the addition on the barn either and I am sure that snow isn’t too far out in the forecast!

This fall turned into a slow brewing nightmare. Corn harvest still isn’t done on some of the fields because they are just too wet! Nothing like trying to get a chopper into a mud pit! Only got stuck once with the tractor but that was definately more than needed to happen.

Trying to keep up with harvest while building a ten foot addition down the full 72 foot length of our barn has not worked out so well. We got the poles in the ground, the roofing on and a new water system put in but that’s about the extent of what we have managed to complete so far.

Our herd has expanded yet again too! We now have three calves here. One bull calf that already has a group of girls to spend next summer at pasture with and two lineback/jersey cross heifers! Along with those three additions, there have also been three Dexter cattle added to our mix! I will post photos in our photo page as soon as I get some time. Our jersey rescue cow is looking good and we are awaiting the arrival of her calf! The vet was WAY off his estimates when he preg checked her…by nearly two and a half months!!!! We have been anxiously waiting too…mostly because it will be the first calf born on the farm in 25 years!!!!

Two of our steers went to the butcher shop last weekend…I miss them but I do like to eat. They were well cared for when they were here and raised with the intention that they also had a purpose.

Our young group of chickens are doing well. They have moved into a temporary hut shelter until the barn addition is completed and they are loving their barn yard! A few have started laying eggs but we still are not keeping up with the local demand for our eggs! We are selling around 15 dozen eggs a week now!!!! Everyone who buys from us keeps telling us that these are the best eggs they have ever had! Makes me happy to know that how we treat our animals here shows through!

I (Doreen) have been working more on spending time doing social media things too. Sometimes it is difficult to keep up with a new business, a farm (which really is another business) and just life in general. You can find our facebook page for the biomass happenings at and on twitter! I have my own account through twitter too…CNYFarmGirl! I know I am not as informative or as busy within the ag industry as some others are…but I do ask some good questions and have some thoughts about things on ag.
Right now, one of my newest questions: Are cows better off today with regard to animal welfare than they were 20 yr ago? Please give reasons on why or why not.
I am gonna talk more about that very soon! Hope everyone has a great day…time for me to head back to the barn!

Update

Yes, I know. Shame on me! I haven’t updated at all recently. There has been a lot going on and this was unfortunately not high on the list of main priorities.

BUT…I finally have the time to update what has been going around here! First off, bad weather this spring resulted in crops going in late and even some issues with replanting fields that didn’t take. Too much rain this spring made for a muddy mess no matter where you went.

Then as the spring transferred to summer, the extreme opposite happened. We went from fields of mud to field too dry. First cutting alphalpha went great but second cutting resulted in very poor yields due to lack of water and near drought conditions. Our pasture grass stopped growing and we had to feed hay much early than we ever would!

Then a couple of weeks ago, our region saw a deluge of 7-11 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. Many of our neighboors, friends and family have been displaced or effected by all of the flooding in the area that recieved national attention…

Fortunately, we were not affected by the high levels of water and are high enough in elevation to not have been impacted at all by the rest reminants of Lee.
Instead, we have started construction on a 10 foot addition on the side of our barn, a new barn roof and additions to our herd!

I will update each seperate happening in additional posts…due to the fact that I have taken lots of photos and this isn’t the post to include those in.

Right now….I need to go check on the arrival of our newest addition that is coming at any time now!
God Bless and Have a great day!