Thursday, June 24, 2010

Enough to do - plus more

Things are going pretty well here. All the trees are leafed out and the pastures are lush and the gardens are coming up quite well.

On Tuesday, all of us boys and Dad worked together and brought the chicken pens out to the big field and then brought the second batch of broilers out of the brooder to place in the pens. Jonathan already had the rest of his hens put in with the pullets that were in the netting and the new hoop tractor in the field behind the cows. We brought the bell waterers back to the house for cleaning and scrubbed them up so would be ready to put back in the pens. We put the turkeys out in a separate pen out there too so they have a clean place each day. The chickens are now on their way down the pasture section behind the cows adding their droppings and scratching out the cow pies. Earlier in the year I walked out to inspect the grass where the chickens were moved last year, and it was fun to notice the difference in the grass of where there was chicken manure and where there wasn't. About a foot from where the pen had been, the grass was thin, pale green and about four inches tall, but where the manure was dropped the grass was almost knee high and lush green with barely any space between the individual plants. Hopefully next year we will see a similar increase in fertility in the other field.

On Wednesday, Jonathan, David and I went to work for the insurance agent as we have been doing for quite a few weeks now. If we wanted to, he would hire us to work for him many days a week for $10 an hour, but we can't spare that much time away from home. He has asked us to do odd jobs around his house so we went as usual at 10:00 a.m. After the five or so inches of rain we got the water washed out some landscaping gravel beside his house and so he had a pile of 3/4 inch gravel dumped in his driveway for us to use in replacing the other rock. We used his john deere tractor with loader to move some of the rock and then put in some other six-inch rocks to direct the water down the stream bed and not into the neighbor's lawn. We ended the day by filling in some bare spots in his lawn and adding grass seed so it will grow back. (I just thought I'd add that he's really picky about his lawn, and everything else for that matter, so anywhere there was an inch or so of bare dirt showing we had to put more black dirt and scratch in grass seed. He fertilizes the lawn so it grows, then cuts it so it doesn't grow so tall, then waters it so it doesn't dry out etc. If it were me I'd just . . .)

Yesterday was a milk pick-up and delivery day. Jonathan went to town about 9:30 a.m. and dropped milk off and eggs to a few people and I got other milk ready for people to pick up later on. Someone came at 10:00 to pick up a gallon of milk and a few dozen eggs (he's a fire chief for a small town in the area), and then later on a man came from Minot to pick up five gallons for him and some other people from Minot (he's a lawyer or something of that sort) and he took a quarter cord of aspen wood along in his truck, and then another lady picked up her share of milk too.

Last night it rained again so the low spots are muddy again. They just started to dry out and now they are all muddy again. David and I got stuck with the truck trying to take a half-tank of water out to the cows so we had to dump it all out in order to get the trailer out. I did get water out there after going a little faster to make it through the wet spot.

I just came in after investigating what the dog was barking at out near the point. The other boys went out on the raft to swim and Samson followed along the shore and found something interesting to play with. I heard him barking the sort of exited bark like he does when he sees something so I ran out there. I found him in the brush rolling after getting sprayed by a skunk! He jumped up and followed after it again when I got there and chased the skunk into a den on the slope of the hill that goes to the lake. I didn't get to see the skunk but the sun was shining down the hole he went down so I could see a kind of vapor/mist coming out of the hole. Not a pleasant sight! I think it is the same skunk that I fired at while we were putting up the goat fence and the same skunk that killed the pullets so I would gladly have shot him this time if he showed himself.

The electricity was off for about a half hour around supper time but now it is on again. We're not sure why it was off but we are glad to have it on again.

That is all for this post,



David said...

It always amazes me what chicken manure can do to a pasture. If you keep getting a lot of rain and are concerned about compacting your pasture by driving on it, I have a thought of what you can do. There is a way to keep the water trough in one place, and make a temporary hot wire lane to the trough. Then you make the paddock open on one side to let the cattle go to water. Once you have this system going it is good to move this water lane to the opposite side of the area you are grazing the next time you move the cattle though this area, this is to eliminate a cow path from forming which looks messy and will become a washout in a heavy rain storm.

Peter said...

Thanks David,
That is what I've already been doing with the water trough and it has kept us from needing to drive on the field. But now that it is getting to the heat of the summer I'm going to be moving the troughs more often to keep it close to the cows. We're quite dependant on the milk from the Jersey and she will drink more water when it is close by her than when she has to walk for a few hundred yards to get a drink.