2017-05-17

The rest of the Farm

Our apiary has been the focus recently as it is a new project which requires a lot of guess work, planning, research, and learning in general.  That is fine, but there are 234 acres here and plenty going on besides bees.

We have three feed lots here on the farm and we leased them to my next door neighbor this last winter.  I was concerned about the fensing around the lots, some of it is very old and I was not sure how well it would hold up to a rather large number of confined 300 pound young stock.  Not to mention folks from another farm using our buildings.  It actually worked out well for both us and our neighbor.  Well enough in fact that we have agreed to repeat the operation this coming winter.  That is good for the Farm.  Buildings that are used don't fall down.  The weterers were another concern of mine.  Cattle drink a lot of water and it is very important that they stay hydrated during cold weather.  Problems with such equipment in the winter is not a good thing.  It is expensive to fix if something goes wrong.  We were fortunate and these critical pieces held up just fine.  So this new activity was a good success.

Having sold off un-needed equipment has left us with room to work in and on the buildings finally.  We had been pretty crowded which meant some equipment sat outside, which I hate.  There are still a few pieces that need to be sold, but almost everything can now be stored inside.  That makes maintenance easier and keeps the place looking a lot better.  There are some pieces  of equipment which have not been used in years but will now have to come into service.  It all has to be stripped down and checked over: bearings, belts, shafts and pretty much any moving part has to be checked over, replaced if required or just cleaned up.  Whatever, it is a lot of work to do.

I did a fence check the other day as best I could.  We are in reasonable shape in that area, though some work needs to be done around the feed lots.  My neighbors are helping me out with this.  There is no way that I can accomplish that kind of physical labor.  These folk have gone out and patched where needed.  All they ask is that I provide the materials.  I can't even begin to say how grateful I am.  It is humbling...

The yard around the house is cleaning up nicely.  The kids that rent the house really like making things look neat.  They have cleaned up two of the larger flower gardens and are working on the rest as they have time.  It is really nice to have young renters that give a damn.  Agian, we have been and are fortunate in this regard.

The  workshop is a work in progress.  Part of the challenge is that there is so much stuff that is brand new but no longer needed for our operation.  Stuff like drive chains, sprockets, bearings, filters.  What does one do with this stuff.  It is too valuable to toss, too bulky to store.  I guess I am going to have to have a garage sale and hope I can get rid of some of it.  That too takes a lot of time, and being that I split my time between MN and the Farm, time is a challenge.  That said, the shop is looking better than it has in a while.

The CRP ground looks darn good to me.  I was worried because we had not done a burn down (herbicide) prior to planting the native grasses, thus allowing a lot of weeds to propegate through the new planting.  I did a lot of mowing last year to try to mitigate that.  It seems to have paid off.  The fields look good with most of the weeds being crowded out by the intended grasses.  I still see a lot of thistle and suspect that I will be spending some time with the hand spayer this summer.  Probably a lot of time...   The new polinator habitat is comeing along well.  No gullys in spite of some heavy rains right after plantinng.  The oats is up about 4" and that will help establlish the other 15 varieties of flowering plants that are the target of such a planting.  I have to say that the expense of three acres of pollinator habitat is daunting.  The shit is expensive!  I hope it is worth it.

The pasture is rented out again for the summer to the neighbor to the East.  He is taking good care of it, having fertilized this spring with clearly visisble results.  The smaller pastures near the buildigs will have a few head of cattle in them just to keep the weeds down.  I am going to look into getting a few goats to help keep down the muti-floral rose and other brush like plants.  Maybe we could have some goat meat in the freezer this fall.....I like goat stew.

Ran into an odd problem a couple of weeks back.  The renters called to say that the pump on the well would not work.  Breakers were re-set, wires were checked, no clue.  Turns out ants got into the pressure switch and prevented it from closing when there was demand for water.  Easy to fix, but I would never have guessed.  The damn things have gummed up the works twice since.  Kind of strange having to put Terro arond the well to keep ants out of the pump workings.....  Well, now we know.

As usual, the amount of work exceeds the amount of time, money, and other resources by a factor of at least  10 to 1.  And I move so frigging slow that one might as well take that ratio to 100 to 1.  That said, I would not know what to do with myself if it were not for the Farm.  Again, I can't express the gratitude I have for the opportunity to be a part of this land.