Tag Archives: grass

The Big Till

As a first step of my endophyte infected fescue eradication and pasture renovation project, today was the big day of tillage.  My husband had purchased a Howard Rotavator 600, which is 10 foot wide sod-cutting and chewing machine and the soil (actually just dirt, it’s in pathetic condition) it’s been through gave it a real workout.  Even the tractor couldn’t keep up and i had to sidle over and only take 2′-5′ bite of new sod at times, especially going up hill.  This first pass took place on May 17-18, 2017.

IMG_2667
Here my husband has been running the equipment to make sure everything was working.  I’m getting ready for my dual.  Operating new equipment is always an uneasy step for me!
IMG_2669
The ‘soil’ more like dirt because it’s so dead is very compacted and lots of clay making for a lot of overlapping.  I even killed the tractor a couple times because there was simply not enough power to pull the machine.  I quickly learnt how much ‘bite’ the machinery could take so the John Deere 4250 would not be overwhelmed.
IMG_2690
The Howard Rotavator 600.  Here’s a link to a video of the rotavator in operation.
IMG_2679
My soil hasn’t been tilled since at least the early 1960’s.  It’s compacted with little to no life in it.  Just dirt.  The  hope is to allow water and other nutrient infiltration to encourage forage growth.  This is an example of first pass.

IMG_2680

One pass tillage next to existing stand of grass.  Serious clay content.  Methinks some of this worked up harder than if i took down the gravel road!

18447365_10208951224400242_1733792195519459584_n
Plenty of big rocks (these are some of the smaller ones) to make the machine go ‘klunk’!
IMG_2695
My office for a total of 8 hours.  Allen ran it for about 4 hours. 

All in all, i mapped out about 18 acres actually tilled.  There are about 25 acres total in the area being renovated, however, because of the steep slopes, several acres are left alone to serve as grassy waterways.  I wonder, however, as hard as the ground is, if the tilled portions won’t actually hold and stop more water than the hard pan waterways.  Hmmm.

So far, 12 hours spent (1.5 acres per hour) tilling, but not counting time servicing tractor and machine or time spent getting to/from the farm.  Tractor uses about 7.7 gallons diesel fuel per hour, so 92.5 gallons there.  Second pass should take a bit less time, but we’ll see!

We received a big storm last night with about an inch of rain, so the second pass won’t happen for a few days – depending on weather.  Allen will be right behind the second rotatiller pass with the Einbach harrow/seeder and my selected annual grass mix.

Per acre healing forages:

  1.  6 lbs buckwheat
  2.  6 lbs lespedeza
  3.  3 lbs pearl millet
  4. 12 lbs oats
  5.  6 lbs cowpeas
  6.  5 lbs sunflower
  7.  2 lbs red clover

These were chosen for their prolification, adaptability to poor soils, nitrogen fixing, and low cost as well as providing excellent grazing in 60-75 days.

IMG_2706
Grass waterways left to slow water during rains until the rest has forage established.
IMG_2701
Not a clear photograph, but a better idea of leaving waterways.
IMG_2704
On the far slope, the rows would have been so short that a lot of time would have been spent just turning around, so i chose to strip till through and across low and high spots.  Time will tell if that was the right decision.
IMG_2698
View from my office. 😉

Allan Nation tips for Young People

We just received the new issue of Stockman Grass Farmer magazine and inside is a small feature entitled, “Allan Nation‘s Journal Jottings.”  This is a little section to share some of the many notes Mr Nation jotted down while reading.  Allan Nation died last November and thankfully, his wife, Carolyn, and friends are bravely moving forward with his vision of helping farmers become better graziers.  Check out Stockman Grass Farmer.  News, events, books, DVDs, CDs, and all sorts of archived information.

Guidelines for Young People

  1. Find out what you really want to do before you go to college.
  2. Go to work for a small, fast-growing business at any level.
  3. Show up for work on time, look, and dress sharp
  4. Keep fixed living costs low.  Rent, don’t buy.
  5. Where does the money come into your employer’s business?  Get to that spot as close as possible.
  6. Don’t be overhead.
  7. Don’t go into business for yourself until you are 30.
  8. Work in your career field at any level while you are going to college.
  9. Consider getting a general business degree.
  10. Make sure you understand the core business model you are working in.

Good thoughts!

Shalom!

tauna

Green Hills Farm Project

Started in 1988, Green Hills Farm Project is non-profit, family-oriented, sustainable agriculture group of like-minded farmer families who support each other in sometimes crazy ideas.  Each month, we meet with a potluck and farm tour at members’ farms and ranches and once annually with an invited guest speaker.  This year on 4 March, we welcome Jim Gerrish, world renowned grazing expert,  back to his old stomping grounds at FSRC (Forage Systems Research Center) at Linneus, MO to share his unique perspective with a presentation entitled, “Grazing Around the World.”

Join us on Green Hills Farm Project Facebook page for upcoming events!

Here is your invitation!  (GHFP meetings and farm walks are open to the world)

Jim Gerrish, author of Management-Intensive Grazing – The Grassroots of Grass Farming and Kick the Hay Habit – A Practical Guide to Year-Around Grazing, is our guest speaker at the Green Hills Farm Project annual winter seminar March 4, 2017 At FSRC (Forage Systems Research Center, Linneus, MO). Known world wide as an expert in management-intensive grazing systems, Jim is also available for private consultation. Today’s seminar “Grazing Around the World” will be exciting insight into grazing management in many different climates and cultures from Jim and his wife, Dawn’s, personal experience. American GrazingLands Services, LLC.  Jim and Dawn now reside near May, Idaho.american-grazing-lands-pasture-walk-jim-gerrish

This annual seminar has a cost of $30 per family and will include a one year membership to Green Hills Farm Project. Please bring a potluck/carry in dish for lunch. More information contact Allen Powell at 660.412.2001 or myself (tauna) – taunapowell@gmail.com

Hope Ya’ll Can Come!!

Cheers

tauna

 

 

 

Getting Ready for Spring

So much to do to ready the house, yard, farm for spring growth.  In north Missouri, there is always a very narrow window for such activity when it’s not too hot, not too cold, not too muddy, not too dry, not too windy, not too green.  Yeah, spring work needs to happen before spring brush and grass starts growing.

Today is about 70F, cloudy and very windy, so no outdoor burning, but otherwise great for outdoor stuff.

Dallas and i cleaned out a small ditch near the house which contained ancient metal trash – he ran the tractor, i ran the log chain and we made short work of it – had a few interruptions – but finally all pulled out, loaded, and hauled off.

Also, taking time to prune trees, rose bushes, and ornamental grasses.

tall grass 001
Tall ornamental grasses in front of house
tall grass 002
Tied into a bundle before cutting because it’s exceptionally windy here right now and i don’t want to be chasing this stuff all over!
tall grass 003
My trusty Easy2Start Stihl MS211C
tall grass 004
Both bunches cut off
tall grass 005
Bundled and ready to put on my garden for composting.

Egg Nog

 

Another treat for an all liquid diet – this one hails from my good friend, Barb, who, along with her husband care for great cows which produce awesome milk from their nearly 100% grassfed diet.

1 quart milk (real, if possible)

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar or 1/4 cup real honey

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp vanilla

Heat milk to 160 degrees (about steaming)over medium heat.  Add one cup hot milk to egg yolks, then blend into the remaining milk.  Remain vigilant and/or whisk often to keep it from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot.  Add sugar (or honey) and spices, then reheat.  This is great warm or cold.

As always, use organic, fresh, local whenever possible.

Jerry really likes this and it’s packed with calories and fat, which is important for him right now.  He warms up a cup of eggnog if he has trouble falling asleep or for brekkie in the morning with his softened cereal.

Cheers

tauna

Casady Honey Farm 

Welter Seed & Honey

Frontier Organic Spices

Green Hills Harvest

 

Refuge Ministries

Quick trip to my farm to shift the cows across the road.

chores 002
Even though we are inside the Gator, still got my hunter orange so as to be more visible.

Yes, i was just there yesterday, but discovered that I had grossly overestimated the amount of forage the cows would have, so they had to be moved today.

Took Dallas with me just in case my temporary netting decided to take flight in our 33 mph gusting winds.  But all went well;  he wouldn’t have needed to go, but sure gave me extra peace of mind.  Taking out mineral,

chores 012
Always keep out mineral for cattle unless it’s just raining everyday.  We use Redmon Natural mineralised salt.  You may know the company as Real Salt.

shutting gates, and draining a water tank took us 55 minutes.  Driving up there and back takes 1 hour 15 minutes.  Obviously, I usually plan to spend more time up there to justify the trip.

Frying lumpia this afternoon in preparation for my monthly trip to Refuge Ministries in Mexico, MO.  

 

Cheers!

tauna

 

 

Trying to rain…..

One of the negative aspects (and i’m NOT complaining) is that with this unexpected warm weather, vacuuming or sweeping dead face flies and Japanese beetles off the floor around windows and sills etc is a daily event.

Each morning and evening, I have 5 orphaned peewee calves to feed along with two orphaned bottle calves.  A nuisance to be sure.  Once they are started good and I have time, I’ll take them to the auction before winter.  Someone else will like the chores more than we do.

Last night, after dark, Dallas, Allen, and I mustered 12 calves from the TT place across the road to their mums who Allen had moved earlier in the day.  He should have checked them before dark!  We were able to move all but one blind calf.  She’ll be up waiting today.

These two dead trees were too close to the electric powerlines.
These two dead trees were too close to the electric powerlines.

The electric company guys came yesterday whilst I was gone and cut down these two dead trees from near the power lines.  I had only called them about a week ago and here they are so quickly.  I was glad they were willing to do this dangerous job for us.

Thanks guys at Farmer’s Electric Coop, Chillicothe, MO!

I like this birdhouse the best because i messed it up - it's just slightly askew, so we'll keep it for ourselves.
I like this birdhouse the best because i messed it up – it’s just slightly askew, so we’ll keep it for ourselves.

Need to get back to these birdhouses I cut out from an old barn gate using a pattern for bluebird house from the Missouri Department of Conservation.  Boy, repurposing lumber is a challenging undertaking, but it is rewarding to keep this lumber from just burning.  Still need to screw on the tops and cut out the hole.  I’ll leave the decorating to Dallas – he’s more creative than I am.  We have a lot of small antique farm junk to use.   Not sure what we’ll do with so many birdhouses – maybe Dallas and I can hone our skills enough to make something worth selling.   I lined these up today – does that count for doing something?!  😉

Birdhouses that are made from an old barn gate. I have discovered that using repurposed lumber is a time consuming endeavour!
Birdhouses that are made from an old barn gate. I have discovered that using repurposed lumber is a time consuming endeavour!

Rolled up about 875 feet of polywire and picked up the posts, giving my ET cows and some late calving heifers of Allen’s another break of fresh grass.

Managed to squeeze in a bit of time to take this ancient bird feeder apart and take out the plexiglass that was there which i used to take to the seed plant to cut another one.  As you see one side is missing. Using the table saw, I quickly sliced a piece to put in on the other side.
Managed to squeeze in a bit of time to take this ancient bird feeder apart and take out the plexiglass that was there which i used to take to the seed plant to cut another one.  As you see one side is missing. Using the table saw, I quickly sliced a piece to put in on the other side.
Carefully disassembling.
Carefully disassembling.
All put back together with it's new plexiglass.
All put back together with it’s new plexiglass.

Lunch was such a hit yesterday with beef fillets and broccoli, that I made the same today.  Which was quick and easy since I had sliced the whole loin yesterday morning when it was still somewhat frozen.  Being partially frozen, meat is much easier to slice.  These fillets I sliced about 1 1/2 inches thick.  Pan broiled in butter from grass fed cows is our favourite way of preparing beef fillets and lamb noisettes.

Since it may rain tomorrow and i need to go to Chillicothe, I headed to my farm to shift the cows.  That sure made them happy.  I opened another paddock as well since I can’t get back up there until Tuesday.  Took out mineral and drove the perimeter to make sure the fence was all cattle tight.  Finished my fencing project at my farm this afternoon  with driving another 10 or so fiberglass posts and attaching the two hi-tensile wires with cotter pins.  I’ll be feeling that tonight – I can see some Tylenol in  my future – the ground is really hard right now.  Tightened it all up – done.

The guys are nearly done with building my perimeter fence.  They finished today’s plans in the rain.  It was not a full day of working since Allen took his dad to the doctor this afternoon.  If the weather holds, probably tomorrow will see it done.

Upon my return home, i found the peewee calves in the yard waiting for me!  Guess i accidentally left a gate open.  So glad the bulls hadn’t wandered up to the barn and out as well!  Got some feed and they followed me back to the barn easily.  One of the bottle calves is not feeling well  – i noticed her not being up to par this morning and she is worse this evening, so i pushed her into a corner and shot her with Red mix and a vitamin B complex.  Hopefully, that will knock whatever rattles out of her.  She has a good appetite, though, so that is a good sign.  She and the other calf sucked down their bottles in good fashion.

Enough chatter for today!!

Cheers

tauna

Nearly dark, Allen and Dallas pulled in.  Dallas collected eggs and we all sauntered back to the house, enjoying the lovely evening.

Now, a long evening before bedtime – maybe i can talk these two into playing a few games of UNO.  We are all tired, but it just gets dark so early.