Kittens Are Climbing

A small black kitten sitting on a board fence.The kittens are growing quickly. They are learning new things each day.

This little guy figured out how to climb the wood fence and sit more than a foot off the ground on the 1 inch ledge at the junction of post and board.

The little kitten fits in the small space perfectly while he awaits one of his siblings to come along and knock him off his comfy perch. The six kittens are constantly playing and it was a surprise to see this little one taking a break from the wild action going on with the rest of the juveniles.

 

Gully-Washers and Thunder Bumpers

The forecast called for rain and the morning looked like a front was definitely moving in. We decided it would be a good day to work in the barn putting the parts on the bale wagon that we had ordered last week.

A view from inside the barn as a hard spring rain shower begins to mud up dirt road.Looking out through the bars of the barn gate the rain had started to mud up the dirt road leading to the bridge.

About then a storm cell above us let loose with what looked like a fire-hose amount of water. The drops hitting the metal roof was so loud we could not hear each other talk or shout.

Puddles filled with water after a spring shower.Within minutes the dirt road was filled with puddles, the grass growing in the hay field was flattened and we had recorded over a half inch of rain in less than an hour.

This amount of rain will push back the start time for mowing the hay fields, it will take more than a week for the ground to dry out under the grass. The rain also temporarily stopped our logging operation because the road is too muddy to even get to the bulldozer or the landing, and the bulldozer would not be able to go up the skid roads with it being this wet and slippery.

Concentrating on the hay equipment in the meantime will keep us busy in the meantime.

Waiting Patiently, Again

Butler the dog, has been at it again.

The other day we were working on hay equipment in the barn and I realized that Butler was not hanging around as usual.

A black and white dog rests his head on the yellow seat of the Gator.He was sitting on the Gator with his head on the driver seat, just waiting.

I’m sure that he was hoping that we were going to be going into the woods (his favorite place to run and play), but he was willing to hang out for as long as it took while we messed with greasy parts on equipment.

 

Cleaning Up The Barns

Preparing for hay season is more than just getting the equipment ready, the barns also have to be prepared.

Using a yellow wheelbarrow to move bales from one end of the barn to another.My right hand helper moved the left over hay bales from one end of the barn to the other end. With this part of the barn cleaned out, we can re-stack the new bales into the area easily.

Getting to this point of not having too much hay left over yet still having enough for the herd is a task that is constantly monitored throughout the winter and spring.

Because of the very wet and cold first part of the year, we did need to purchase some hay to add to what we harvested in order to make it until this point. Moving a hundred bales or so is a small job compared to the actual hay season where we count bales in the thousands.

With this barn cleaned up and ready for the upcoming harvest we can move onto cleaning up the other two barns that are for hay storage.

Everything Has A By-Product

Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle is a slogan that has been around for a long time. On the farm we take it to heart and try to not let anything go to waste. We use the manure from the barns for fertilizer to enhance our fields and garden, broken equipment that cannot be used for parts goes to metal recycle, and the extra limbs, tops and broken logs become the firewood we use to heat the house.

A man is chopping firewood next to some logs.The process of decking the logs in the landing for easy access to be loaded by a log truck is a messy process. There are lots of board feet that are not ship-able for market.

Parts of logs that are not viable candidates for timber are chopped into small enough pieces for firewood and stacked to dry along the fence line of the pasture.

Once the hayfield has been harvested the stacks of wood will be hauled to the house so it can be re-stacked near the outdoor furnace for heat throughout the winter.

Keeping the landing clean of the debris makes it a safer place for decking and hauling logs while beginning to get a start on the 12-20 cord of firewood that we need for heat each year.

Rolling This Way And That

Fog hanging around the hills on the far side of the pasture.Even before I had a chance for a morning cup of coffee, the fog was seen dancing and bopping around the hill.

This morning was a little unusual because of two types of fog forming at the same time. Just before the treeline, ground fog laid a blanket of white across the flat ground that was still and un-moving, while another layer of fog swirled slow configurations at the treetops. The middle area of the trees seemed unaffected by the moisture and was clear of fog as was the area closer to the house and barns.

Watching the scene from the comfort of the house was a wonderful way to begin the day as the fog played out at daybreak. The show this morning also reminded me that August is the month where, according to old farmers tales, counting foggy days in August belies the trend for snow days during the winter months. Since last years correlation of fog and snow seemed to be pretty accurate, I’m going to attempt the reporting again this year. Stay tuned…

 

Pasture Grass

pasture grass being mowed down.We are in the process of mowing down the pasture areas where the main herd graze until we have the hay harvested and those fields then open up for pasture also.

This is when I get to spend some quality time on the tractor with a rotary mower attached. The mowing is needed because the grass is getting too tall for the herd to graze it off effectively.

By mowing it down at this stage, the herd will pass through and eat the dried grass (along with those pesky Canadian Thistles) just as they would bales of hay. The weeds will be stunted by mowing the future flower and seed tips of the plants with still enough moisture in the ground to keep the grass growing.

Over the next couple of weeks as we are waiting for hay season to start, I will be spending quite a bit a quality time with these pasture fields while cutting the grass and weeds. Many times I will be working right along side the pasturing herd. The smart momma cows come running when they hear the tractor and know that a fresh meal is getting prepared for them.