Today’s Farm Update compliments of Ben.
It’s warming up. Last week I talked about the slope of our land and how bad it is when icy. Mud isn’t much better. After my shoulder surgery I’m being extra careful not to slip and fall. I was extra careful walking on the snow or ice, and now it’s mud and I’m trying to decide, should I put that hand in my pocket just to keep my arm down? Any suggestions? In a slip, it’s the sudden lunge with the arm—as well as the stop at the end, that I’m worried about. So far so good fingers crossed. As the weather has warmed up this week, first I unplugged the well house heater and put it up on the shelf. I’m really done with it for this year. Then I unplugged the heat lamp over the dogs’ water dish. Next day I unplugged the chickens water bucket. I haven’t had the tractor plugged in for a few weeks now. The only winter thing left is the heat tape on a water pipe down in the barn. I’ll wait on that yet for a while. I’m pleased the electric bill is going down.
Missing another poufy duck. Dang, I don’t know if it’s because they’re white they stand out in the early morning light and it makes them easy to pick off? Or are they just that slow moving so the weak get picked off first? You may notice I don’t comment on missing chickens. The ducks stick together for the most part, and there’s fewer, and they’re more identifiable and easier to count. Of the 40 or 50 chickens, some are in the nest boxes, some are in back eating, some are in the rafters, a few are in the bushes, a few are at the bird feeders, and a bunch are scattered around the yard. I try counting them, but they move too… so I don’t know how many chickens we have. Forty or fifty. I try to count them at night, but still, a few on the perch, a few in the rafters, a few in the pen, some over there, some over here… it’s a mystery! So, I don’t know if one disappears. Except the ones with the funky hair. The rule of thumb is the fancier the bird, the sooner it’s gone.
These didn’t last long.
Daylight Savings Time. Do the chickens care? Egg production is up so maybe they do. The other day there was 9 eggs in one box! They had a second level going in there. Never seen that before and I don’t know why they like that box so much. Usually, they spread out more. (see header photo)
All the animals are sure enjoying the lack of snow and they’re free-ranging all over the yard.
During the winter as we move snow, it’s not unusual to scrape up some gravel as well. And then come spring, as the snow melts, we end up with piles of gravel in the grass. It’s a bummer. The other day just before it got really warm, I had a thought: I used the loader and pulled the snow piles back into the road, so when the snow melted, the gravel would be back in the ROAD, and not in the grass. Seemed like a revolutionary idea to us.
We have one really nice day this time of year and all the farmers get excited. We know it’s a false spring and the ground is frozen and we haven’t gotten though basketball tournaments yet (there’s always a snow storm during tournaments they say) but suddenly we all think “SPRING! I GOTTA GET MACHINERY OUT!” and everyone gets excited. The parts guys are busy. I’m thinking about what needs fixing before spring planting. (I need to put new fertilizer openers on the corn planter this year. Got the parts last year and they’re sitting there. Thankfully, we got the drill fixed last summer) I’ve also started looking at Camera systems and options. Cameras have really become popular on machinery as a way to see behind things or be sure critical components are working. I’m thinking about putting some inside the drill grain box so I can monitor the seed level without having to stop and go look. Time is money! Plus, I could put them on the baler to know the strings are tying, which would save bales and time. This year I’m also thinking what I can actually, physically, pick up with my left arm. It will be helpful that I’m having the co-op do all the fertilizing as that will save a lot of wear and tear on my arm. (not to mention time. Notice I didn’t say “money” there…) I’m a little concerned about the reality of scheduling them. I’ll need to have all the fields worked up at once (all the corn, or all the oats or beans) and then hope for good weather until they get too it. Plus, at the college, as covid settles down, all the extra spring concerts are coming back, so I have extra shows to deal with.
I feel my stomach knotting up already.
Talk about your hair stylist or barber. Got a favorite hair style?