It has been a whirlwind ten days on the farm. We are trying to get ready for Winter and there is lots to do still. Last week we had four cows killed at our house. Three we sold as live animals and we are going to eat the fourth. We got the bull with undescended testicles. I figured when he was little that I just could not find them to band and that as he got older they would descend, they never did. He was a bull, no question despite the shriveled up scrotum. Short of surgery there was no way I was going to correct that issue. We are going to have cube steak, steak, stew meat, hamburger and prime rib out of him. We still have a pig coming also next month in a trade, two sheep for a pig. Plus, I got a buck tag also and will be shooting a small buck off of the farm, there are no large bucks here. The small ones are way better eating.
On the cow front we just spotted another newborn calf yesterday. Usually, we don’t see them for a couple of weeks but this one looked less than 24 hours old. We will wait a couple of weeks before pushing them all into the corral so we can tag and band. Hopefully, we are only tagging as we have had all boys so far this year. I think there are a couple more still due. We will look when we run them into the corral.
Our sheep guy came on Wednesday of this week and picked up the last 15 lambs for sale, they weighed around 50# each and were very wild. The dogs had trouble moving them and the dogs have been thinking they know what is best lately. Mouse is going to have to go back on a lead rope until he can figure out right and left. He is now convinced that a straight line is the fastest way to get to the prey every time. This may be true but it doesn’t help herd them through a gate. He also runs in and cuts one sheep out of the herd immediately which scatters the herd every where. We are now throwing his ball in the house with left and right commands to get him used to them again. He is 2.5 years old and we always seem to have a teenager mentality at this age.
I managed to find another 10 ton of small bale alfalfa. We had to feed about 6 ton of feed this summer due to the sudden dry weather which caused all of our pasture to dry up and stay that way. Once the sheep started to get picked off we tried to keep them close to the house and this limited their pasture options. We have now let them have the entire bottom to roam and they seem to be doing well. We look for carcasses and have not spotted any.
We are trying to get the upper fields prepped for alfalfa. I got some advice this week and I can tell that I am not cut out to be a farmer. Here is how the advice went.
Me: I want to plant Roundup ready alfalfa, but its expensive so I only want to do it once.
Advice: Alfalfa has to be planted fairly shallow and it needs to have three leaves on it before the first frost or it dies.
Me: What if I just plant it now will it winter over?
Advice: How moist is the soil now?
Me: Its dry, dust now.
Advice: How loose is the soil?
Me: Its loose down at least 8 inches
Advice: You need to smooth out the surface and break up those dirt clots so you get good seed to soil contact. You should also try and compact the soil so you will get an even planting depth.
Me: What about freezing?
Advice: Look at the future weather forecast. You want to get the alfalfa in the ground, have it rained on and grow three leaves before you get a hard frost.
Me: So a killing frost were it has a solid freeze?
Advice: yes. Do you have a seeder?
Me: No, we sold them last year. They were old and I had no clue how to use them or fix them.
This continued on for about 15 minutes. There are days I really wish my Father in law was still around. I could have learned so much more instead of trial and error.
All of this convinced me that getting seed in the ground soon is necessary. To achieve this goal I took the tractor out and and hooked up an old drag I found in the barn made out of three old 2×12 boards bolted to a 18 inch piece of steel with two hooks on each side. I drug that around behind the tractor for five hours. This did help but now I have a smoother field with definite hills. I need a couple more pieces of equipment to smooth out the field and compact it down. I also had five hours to think about $3500 in alfalfa seed. I have come up with a new plan. I am going to still smooth and compact down the two fields I have been working on. I am going to rent a seeder for my tractor and plant pasture grass on those 14 acres this fall. I will make this my only priority until it is done. Then I am going to disc up the upper little 7 acre patch and leave it alone. In the spring I will spray it down a couple of times until I can get in the field and work it smooth. I will then rent a seeder and plant it in Roundup ready alfalfa. We probably won’t get a crop off it but it won’t die either. Then we can talk about putting one more field into alfalfa the following year. If the grass does well we may not plant another alfalfa field. This is safer and if I lose the grass over the winter it will be a lot less hit to the pocket book.
If anyone knows when we are going to get a nice soaking rain and when the killing frost is coming please let me know.
I also need to pickup the 10 ton of hay and get it loaded into the machine shop sometime also. All of this will be done by hand.
I also start evening welding classes in two weeks on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. These are very necessary as I have a 20 foot hay elevator that needs some welding repairs to make it functional. Not to mention the horseshoe fence I want to make. I am on the search for 3-5K horseshoes if anyone has any leads. I will pay better tonnage than the scrap metal places. Please keep the horseshoe fence on the down low, Annmarie is still not convinced it is a great idea. I keep telling her that she just cannot see my artistic vision. She was against the wheel fence out by the main cattle guard initially when I first wanted to do it.