July farmer's journal Summertime

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Summertime and the living ain't so easy if you're a farmer. We are into second cutting chopping and Stan has plowed the field for the millet. It has rained everyday this week. We've had about 3 inches since Monday. I wish I could share the wealth with some of you in Texas! Needless to say, the grass is GREEN. Stan said some of the fields has more hay than they did for first cutting. Now, if we can just get it in.

The gardens are lush. I have peas to pick either today or tomorrow. The lack of heat and sun is making it a difficult year for beans, they look rusty and peaked. The watermelon is wishing it could crawl back into its seed. The tomatoes are growing, but no blossoms yet. Right now the clouds appear to be breaking up after raining off and on through the night, but scattered thunderbumpers are in the forecast through tomorrow.

Waddy, KY

Bernie, what's a good price for a used plastic layer that's been used very little?


Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Here's the dealer page on the one we have.
New price is $1750.00 + $340 for the drip tape attachment. Add shipping from factory in Michigan.

So I would pay up to maybe $1400.00.

We bought ours used about 12 years ago. Paid $600.00. At the time new complete was $1200.00.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

What is T tape?

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

We got the direct seeding chopped yesterday. I mean, finished it yesterday. SU wanted to mow some 2nd cut to chop but the clouds rolled in and we didn't want to get caught with a bunch down on the 4th as we have a family "do" and my band concert that evening.

A couple more new calves in the last days; just what I want. NOT! I need a nap. :>)

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Don't all farmers need a nap???

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Oh, I will have spare time up the ying-yang now.........my calf guy came tonight and took all 9 of my bull calves!!!! Now I have "only" 13 calves to feed.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Check it out here.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

That is some really neat stuff. Bet it makes all the difference in a big operation like yours.

Waddy, KY

Bernie, we went and saw the plastic layer Thursday night. A slick little machine. We didn't buy it though. DH has been talking to another fellow that has two and thinks he can get one of his for $300. Right now I just want something to help me keep the weeds down. This fellow said that folks down here are all wanting machines that do raised beds because the production is higher from them. That's what the fellow also said Thursday night. He's wanting to go to strawberries as an annual crop. Said that they need raised beds and that they produce about a third more on plastic than they do conventionally in the ground. That's somewhat of an amazement to me but if they aren't making a profit on them I can't see folks raising them that way.

Anna, I bet you don't see a whole lot of difference in having those 9 calves gone. Especially if you feed whole milk or mix milk replacer in big batches. When I was younger and in charge of calf raising it seemed like once you got over a certain number but under another number in the pens it didn't matter how many there were it took almost the same amount of time.

Yes, a nap would be nice....

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Oh, yes, I do see a difference. Now I have calves in 1 place instead of several. Well, I do have the 3 little gals up in the barn, but I feed those when I am letting in cows. Multi-tasking, if you will. :>) Otherwise I would just be standing around twiddling my thumbs while the cows wander in.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Everybody must be up to their necks in work. Haying season is in full swing all around us. Many ranchers have big stacks already.

The grasshoppers are terrible this year. We knew they would be because they were bad last year, and of course they all laid lots of eggs and must have had 100% hatch out.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Direct seeding all done and 2nd cut hay all chopped too. Soooo...........absolutely NOTHING to do around here..........Bwahahaha...............our county pork producers BBQ is tomorrow night, and I will be there all day and half the night with that. Next week is our county fair and we are heavily involved in the junior swine show with helping, and SU is on the youth auction committee, so that kinda puts me in there helping too.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

My garden is coming along and the animals are all fine but I have been sick. Feeling better today.

Waddy, KY

Youngest is at 4-H camp as a junior counselor this week. The little punk is severely missed cause I have no helper, stepper or fetcher. Fortunately she's back tomorrow. The little rascal does a heck of a lot of work around here.

Working on getting the potatoes dug. We've got 6 rows out of the ground and 10 more to go. Looks like we're getting about 100 pounds per row roughly. They aren't super big but they're potatoes. And folks seem to like the little potatoes at market. I want to get my second crop in the ground ASAP. I got all my winter squash planted too late this year. Lack of planning on my part for sure. Things just aren't flowing this year for some reason. We're starting to get dry here and I need to get some water on my tomatoes. Hopefully either that will happen or it will rain soon. I have some beans that could stand a drink too. The blackberries have been watered three times now. I picked 4 gallons yesterday. They'll go to market Saturday.

DD wants to cut calves this weekend. We need to get the herd up to the hill farm to eat it off. No sense in feeding hay at the home place when there's 200 acres up there for them to chew on! Need to walk the fences up there first. Never fails that something falls on it over the winter or some jerk cuts it to go four wheeling. Wouldn't be good if DH was ever able to catch them doing it!

southeast, NE

Hello everyone!

The weather is absolutely beautiful, especially considering it's July! Temps were only in the 70's today. We had a record low last night in the 50's. There is a big threshing show this weekend. I never wanted to go in the past because it's always been so hot. Unfortunately, I can't go this year because of other commitments.

You may recall that Abby, our 15 year old border collie, broke her leg when a cow stomped on her. She was doing fairly well hobbling around, even though it took a lot of energy. She would still want to work the cows and "guard" dd while she was artif. inseminating cows. And then several weeks ago, she literally ran right in front of DH while he was on the tractor and went into a down position. SIL saw her but couldn't get dh's attention. She died instantly. We were heart broken. SIL said it was almost like she did it on purpose. She was an "old farmer" and died doing what she loved to do best.

Lots of projects going on around here as usual. Cows are all on pasture.

We could use some rain but crops, alfalfa, sudex, etc. all look good. Even the people in the "city" have not been watering their lawns.

My brother-in-law's cousin died in her sleep on Wednesday night. She was only 46 and the family is waiting for the autopsy. She had survived two very bad car accidents in the last 5 years. She and her husband have five children. Please keep her family in your prayers.

I'd better get supper done and I'm retiring early tonight. Work has been quite stressful lately. I'm interviewing for another job on Monday. I hope it works out.

You all take care.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

NJ, whoa - lot of stuff on you're plate right now. So sorry to hear about Abby - they sometimes seem to think it's time to go out. Hmm, could I tempt you with a puppy? We have a few. How horrible for you're BIL's family! I will say a little prayer.

Hope the job interview goes well - another little prayer for that.

We had a quick storm this evening. I'd spent all day working in the flower beds with my helper. We got a lot done, and it all got a nice shower.

Stan has all the second cutting done but up on the hill and that's not ready yet. The weather is iffy - lots of scattered hit and miss showers, the one tonight was part of a line that went clear across the county in into PA.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

We had a barn cat that did about the same thing. She was given to us and we'd had her about 3 or 4 years. She started looking poorly about mid-winter and I told Spousal Unit that she'd never see grass. I doctored her, but there's only so much I can do, you know? Anyway, I came out to milk one night and she had laid down under a cow, cow laid down and end of Snowball. She NEVER went under the cows, and I told SU that it was almost like she committed suicide. Poor Snowball. Our pets are family, aren't they?

Had a really nice rain a couple nights ago; there was 2 inches in my gauge when I got up the next morning. Can almost see the corn growing. It's about ready to tassel, it's getting those pointy leaves at the top of the plant. LOL

Everyone around here is gung-ho on making 2nd crop. Some got rained on too. :>) Glad ours is done.

Our county fair starts on Wednesday so that means we will get a hellacious rainstorm with wind to knock the oats flat. Not many put oats out anymore, but there are a few here and there. And about a week before it's ready to combine, down she goes with a windstorm. Glad we don't "do" oats; SU direct-seeds the alfalfa. We get 2 crops off of it the first year.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Out here oats and alfalfa are seeded together, then the oats are harvested, either combined or made into hay, and the next year the field is alfalfa. Our intense sun makes this method practical. We only get one cutting of hay from most fields because of the water situation. Our irrigation water is on from mid April until mid July, then no more water. Down in the valley they are on a different irrigation ditch that takes water from the river, so they have a longer season and more cuttings. Different worlds just a few miles apart.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Here it is 4 crops of Alfalfa a year. End of each month starting in May.
Anna do you get 4 cuttings also ?
Only irrigation here is on some really sandy soils. All the water comes from wells. We have our whole market garden set up to irrigate & haven't turned it on yet this year.
Off to market.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Mary, that is how it is done here too if you don't direct seed the alfalfa.

Bernie, yes, those of us that are "on the ball" get 4 cuttings. We usually make 4 if we can. Only 2 off first year direct seeding tho. First year meaning the year it is seeded.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

The guys down on the gravel ground in the valleys have alfalfa, seeded with a cover of oats. Up here, alfalfa won't grow. We use the oats as a cover and usually shop them for silage. Some years they get away from us and if there aren't too many weeds we get them combined and trade them for heifer feed at the local feed mill. Last year, Stan mowed them and baled it up for straw - the seed shattered out in the process and we had a second crop of oats that he had baled in big round bales and wrapped for heifers that stayed outside over winter.

We've occasionally gotten 4 cuttings on a few fields but 3 is usually the limit here. Gets too cold or too wet or both for a 4th.

Bernie, are you feeling better?

Anna, have fun at fair. Has there ever been a county fair that didn't have rain?

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Sorry, Kathleen, I haven't been ill or under the weather for a couple years. Working to hard & getting over tired now & then.
Like today, after working all day Friday getting things ready for market. I was up at 4:45 AM, drove to market, arriving at 6:30. By the time we were all set up, it was starting time, 8 AM. So busy we never got a break. Literally ran for a bathroom break. At noon quitting time, all we had left fit in a 3 gallon pail.
It was kids day, so a huge crowd. Also, first Saturday for local sweet corn. The grower had to get extra truck twice. Ended up selling 2 pickup loads. Their loads are mounded up to the point of almost rolling off.
After market I had drive about 90 miles, one way to pick up a sheetrock lift I bought on an online auction. So I got home about hour ago.
Here's the way we looked just before starting time.


Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

This is a new vendor this year. They sell homemade cookies, other baked things & homemade ice cream. It is super!

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

We bought 100 bales of hay today and got it in the barn loft. Then we fed up and the rain started to pour. Glad our supplier got all his hay in before the storm hit. It is beautiful hay and the bales are full and tight. We are fortunate to get such good hay at a good price. It is orchard / timothy / clover mix with just a bit of little blue stem mixed in. The horses love it. Folks here about usually get 3 cuttings.

So sorry about your BC. They are such a special breed. And my sympathies to your BIL and his family. Such a great loss.

Your tables look really nice and your veggies look delish. Easy to see why your produce would go quickly.

Tabor, SD(Zone 4b)

Hello all.
Our rains finally stopped. We got record amounts of rain from April until this month. We drove across Nebraska in late June and everything was wet, wet, wet. We even saw a couple of fields of oats. You don't see very many oats fields in our area at all. Sounds like the rain has stopped for you also, Jewel. Sorry to hear about your BIL and BC. Seems like all the bad stuff is lumped together somehow, all at once.

My sister and brother-in-law were hailed out for the 4th year in a row. Seems like their place gets hail every other year, but lately it's been annually. BIL and nephew are checking into whether there are any jobs in our area. They are fed up with farming. They have lots of money invested in equipment, so unless they sell it, seems like they will keep on farming. Its really frustrating for them.

DH is coming home from work early as the radar shows some thunderboomers coming. He wants to get the hay baled before it gets wet. It sprinkled for about 5 minutes this morning but that should be dried off. It was just enough to give me a bad hair day before work. Started when I was halfway across the yard and just dumped. It was frizz city from then on. LOL

The tomatoes have blight, even though I have been spraying them with soap shield. The bunnies got my green beans and the cucumbers haven't produced much yet, but boy do we have potatoes!!! And mosquitoes. The skeeters are big enought to carry away a small child!! ;) Or so it seems. We have had to gather up the ducks in the evening to shut them into the barn for the night as we have lots of hungry coyotes around. They are NOT going to get my duck dinners. A friend of mine GAVE me a huge incubator that can set 400 duck eggs, so I will be hatching next spring (if the egg sucking dog doesn't get the eggs first). I'm thinking the barn will be a good spot for the adult layers. I have to keep the friend supplied with duck dinners, so that should be pretty easy. I just have to find a spot for the incubator. I'm thinking about rearranging the laundry room. This incubator is big, about half the size of a VW. I can't believe he just gave it to me. We had it cleaned up and working the day we got it, so we are ready. SCORE!!! Oh, sorry about the enthusiasm. !!

Got my baby quilt done for DIL's baby shower. It didn't quite turn out the way I had pictured it, but I will probably make another one before the baby is born the end of October. I think we will be busy after that. DH is already buying fishing equipment so he can take the little nugget fishing, whatever he/she turns out to be.

Bernie, your veggies look wonderful. If I could keep out the weeds, my garden wouldn't look too bad. I'm seeing layers of newspapers in my future.....

Gotta run. Trying to beat the skeeters when I pick peas.....

Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

Wow! Everyone's been busy..
NJ, So sorry about your dog.. I know that hurts.. Our "million" dollar cat disappeared the other day.. She never wanted on the porch unless the weather was absolutely terrible.. We threw cat food out for her.. The rest of the time she watched for rodents.. She never ate them, just brought them up and laid them on the old well...

Bernie, You produce looks wonderful.. Just got in from picking a few green beans..My Grandson helped me plant them, so Hubby is going to the city tomorrow and take them by to him..

Ruth, So good to hear from you.

I am working more than ever at my "Day Job"... Hubbies "employment status" ( as he puts it) has changed .. He took his retirement as his job was unbearable.. He has plenty to do here, but we still need a bit more money, so I am working longer hours.. Keeps me out of trouble.

Wish I was closer to some of you dairy guys... I would love to raise some of those bottle calves..

I have been loving the weather.. We have had plenty of grass until the last week.. I need to move the cows, but need to run a little electric fence first..

We have also been planning on planting quite a few Chinese Chestnut trees to give us some extra income at some point.. I have been excited at my tree grafting success and hope to supplement our income at some point..

Waddy, KY

Jewel, did they ever find out anything about your BIL's cousin? Such a terrible thing for someone so young and for the children to not know their mother. ..

We've gotten more rain that usual this summer and the temps for July hasn't gotten once in the 90's. First on records since they started keeping records. As a result, folks are not having many tomatoes ripen and some of the late planted tobacco may not mature before frost. Just amazing when you think about the cause and effect thing.

I'm trying to can salsa, beets, green beans, and relish plus do the market baking. It'd be easier if I'd have retired but since I didn't I guess I'd better suck up and get it done....

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

SU is wanting to start the 3rd crop hay and 2nd cut of direct seeding. However, it is rather difficult when THEY "predict" rain every other freekin' day. Sheesh...........Friday and Sat. look to be good, so I suppose he will go slash some down for then.

Waddy, KY

I'm wanting to get the rest of my potatoes dug. I'm afraid I've lost the window of opportunity on planting a second crop. I need to get another couple rows of beans planted plus my turnips and greens. My cabbage and broccoli transplants are supposed to be ready this weekend. I also have about 25 iris roots that arrived the other day that need to be in the ground. This is the first time in I don't know how long I've not had a "Dear Lord, please let it rain" in my mind during the summer. This had certainly been a different summer....

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

You guys are lucky. We are looking for rain. Supposed to rain tonight.
Working on the new strawberry beds. Pictures to follow.
Beans, pickles are all picked for today. Nice to have hired help!
They are caught up on weeding also. They are busy pulling onions now. Walla-Walla's are huge this year. A new one, Red Candy turned out to be a super onion.
Here they are in the drying trailer.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Should have added the Picture, Dah!

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Great looking onions. Mine did well too. Must be a good onion year. Did you build that trailer for that purpose?

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

It was built to haul perennial plants when we were raising lots of them. It holds 88 of the 1020 flats. We had 18 pots in a flat. There were covers that tipped up so things wouldn't blow going down the road.
Found this old picture. You can make out the covers. I had a winch to lift them up.

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Good morning - rainy and foggy here, after bad storms yesterday. We were driving home from Kentucky and came through Wheeling and up by Pittsburgh just in time to go through severe storms - 20 mph on I79 and that was probably too fast. A wild ride for sure.

We had a WONDERFUL weekend with DD and her family, although it was too short. We took a puppy down to a friend of hers (we'll get one down there for the GKs at some point in the future). I wasn't anticipating the ride down - 11 hours with a 9 week old border collie in a pet carrier - but he was just about perfect.

The GKs have GROWN. DGS is now in Kindergarten - REAL school, as he says - and DGD has started her first year of pre-school, she'll get 2 years of pre-school because her present daycare offers it for 3 year olds. What busy little people they are. We did a lot of hugging and tickling and rough housing. DGS got to go to Rural King with Daddy and Grandpa, and Erin went to Cadiz with Mommy and Grandma where we met Melody for lunch and some antiquing. What a treat.

Now, it's back to a broken barncleaner, and I think I heard a newborn calf earlier, I'll have to update you on that one. We left wet hay ground, have come home to saturated ground. There was 3 3/4 inches in the rain gauge last night when Stan looked and we've had a pretty hard rain already this morning, more to come. Oh, yay.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Kathleen, we've had rain up the wazoo too; SU is out mowing a bunch of hay, and I suppose he'll mow the last tonight.........It "should" get done up in a day............Har.........har.........har............and we all know where THAT is going, don't we??

Yesterday we took 4 bred heifers up to the other farm (I call it The Ruination Hole), so we were able to combine some groups here at home. This allowed me to put the 5 messy devils in the stalls outside where they belong. Jeez, I get so tired of pailing feed and shoveling the by-products of such pailed feed. Helped tremendously this morning. What WILL I do with all my spare time???? Bwahahaha............

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Sounds like you need more chores! He-he.
Garden is producing like wild. People love to give us their money for our veggies.
One thing we do other farmers can't do, is price our things. We charge what we want, not what some Chicago money monger thinks we should get.
Tomatoes are still going for $3.50 a pound. Beans $4.50 a pound.
We have a huge crop of potatoes this year. We are going to stop at my friends Apple stand & see if he could sell some.
He said his business is way up from average years.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Can't believe I posted in the July journal - I seem to have lost about a week somewhere.

Anna, Stan was thinking he'd be mowing, but there's water standing OVER the tile in the back yard, this does not augur well for the hay ground up on the hill - all you need for that to be wet is a heavy dew.

Bernie, I wish I lived close enough to buy some of your lovely veggies, I'm getting peas but everything else is looking pitiful.

Here's the new thread, probably for me!


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