- T H E F A R M -
W H I P P O O R W I L L
Over the years, we've made notes on seasons at the Farm. Our deep love of the land, the animals and our family comes through:
It's really here. Babies are being born every day. Calves, piglets, chicks and goat kids. The grass is growing quickly but cold winds still whip through the farm to remind us that it is not yet summer. The cows are so happy to be out on the pasture, though there is not much yet for them to eat. They are still being fed dry hay and grass silage (also called haylage). Our freezers are well stocked with all our cuts. And we have LOTS of eggs. We are supplying local restaurants with ground beef for burgers and they continue to be outrageously good. We are happy that we can turn folks on to this tasty, clean, and economical meat. It also becomes our favorite summer party food.
It is stunningly beautiful this time of year as natures regrowth erases the scars of a challenging winter. The cows have shed their rough winter coats for shiny healthy hides.
Every day that the sun shines this time of year I want to mow. I look to the weather to see how big of a window we have, I'm ready to go, but I wait. It is a crazy hard thing to do. The grass is deep and lush and has a power that won't let me go. It is a compulsion that makes me work and one that is hard to overcome.
"I am a firm believer in averages: if it is cold and wet one part of the season it will balance out in some other way in the long run."
Seems to be one of my busiest times of year. I pushed hay making until early Oct, and then jumped into a couple of big projects that must be done before the ground freezes.
We feed the cows round bales of hay and grass silage through the winter (no grain). I love to show my peers my cattle at the end of winter, late March, really just to gloat. They always look great, fat, healthy, clean. Most of our cattle have been crossed to New Zealand based genetics and Devons, although we still have some strait Hereford and Angus cows. The right cattle, good feed and a little care seems to make it work for us.
I love the cold weather ... it's so nice to work outside and not sweat. I have had a long standing tradition of not putting on my long johns until the first week in December. I have a theory that you MUST get cold in order to acclimate to the season.
Ground is frozen HARD. Makes it somewhat easy to get around, can't get stuck in the boggy areas, I'll have to take advantage of that. The herd is doing nicely, forty or so calves again this year, everyone settling into the winter feeding routine. They really get much calmer when you work around the every day, they are a little more wild in the grazing months. All summer long I try to keep them coming to me, that way when I want to move them to another pasture (something that we do every few days) I don't have to push them or herd them, I just call them and they follow. Whenever they hear my particular call they know it means new grass or some other treat. The store is nicely stocked and should remain so throughout the winter.