farm journal: September, welcome to fall

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Septermber 1, first day of meteorological fall (say that fast once!). It is crisp here, with clear blue skies. Stan is off to the bus drivers' meeting and my older grandchildren are here for the day - last day before school starts. I've been saying, "Hey, now." a lot already and the day is just starting. I think I'll have a second cup of tea when I get back from taking my grandson home to put his contacts in. He forgot them because he didn't eat breakfast at home - hmmm.

I think we'll goof off this morning and get to work after Stan gets back. They are presently watching PBS kid shows - saw Arthur earlier, ah, the memories. When GS started watching Arthur he was 4 and I held him in my lap. Now, he's 14 and towers over me. YIKES.

Richmond, TX

Whatever type of fall Sept 1st is, it did change our weather a little It's a bit less humid, still in the 90s but stayed overcast all day which made it feel relatively cool. Fall is our best season I think. If only it would rain so that our pastures might recover before winter.

Waddy, KY

Well, it appears that September already has a hit of fall in the air. I'm wondering if I should already be cutting wood for this winter. I know it's going to take a heck of a lot more wood to keep the house warm this year.

I'm still picking tomatoes and freezing them for salsa. I probably should be finding me some peppers and hot peppers to put away for that too.

I think we're going to have to cut the herd back. There's just too many cows running around here for DH to take care of by himself. Two of the oldest DD's have full time jobs and one of them is taking night classes for her masters. The youngest DD is a freshman in HS and her honors geometry has grabbed her and gotten her full attention. He's running out of help to get the feeding done at night and the winter's not going to get any better. There's going to be nights where the youngest needs to put her whole attention to her homework and the other's have night meetings for work or school and he's going to be high and dry. Hopefully he'll do it soon before we have to start buying hay again. Even with the rain we weren't able to get enough hay up for all of them.

Kathleen, I don't have grandchildren yet but it's kind of sobering to realize that the oldest is turning 25. For all practical purposes, she's lived a quarter of her life. It's amazing, I remember bringing her home from the hospital and how unsure I was of what I was doing....

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Here is a link to an article in our local paper which is another chapter in the story from April, the continuing tragedy of wolves killing livestock. The ranch where most of the livestock was killed is about 15 miles from me. Wolf tracks (probably from the same pair) were seen by my neighbor at his pond and confirmed that they were wolf tracks by the state fish and wildlife department, less than a mile from our place this summer, but they didn't do any damage in my neighborhood. Thankfully my neighbor's sheep were a mile away in another direction when the wolves made their exploratory visit, apparently they only wanted a drink of water, and turned around and went back the way they had come. It did make us all nervous for a while though.

Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

MaryE, Hope the wolves don't get any of the sheep close to you.. I think once they get a taste for lamb they don't change their minds easily.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Sitting here, goofing off for a few minutes before I go down and get serious about the 20 or so 'very hungry people' who are coming for a picnic later.

We have had some lovely weather lately and Stan and I have both taken advantage of it. He's baled up some third cutting for us and some second cutting for SIL and I've been painting fabric everyday. The wonder is that most of what I've painted already was planned. Often I just get random, but the weather was so bad this summer, that I really hadn't had time, so I did a lot of thinking about what I would do when I got the chance. It has been fun getting the pieces out of my head and onto fabric. Now all I have to do is make the quilts - - -

After the picnic, I have to start thinking about next Friday. We are hosting a pasture walk. Actually, we're the second part of a two farm pasture walk. The first part is up the road at an Amish farm where they've been pasturing for about 4 years. Stan was instrumental in getting Wally into pasturing, so after they are finished up there, they will come here for lunch and then a program on the economics of pasture in bad times. According to studies done at Cornell and several other Land Grant colleges, we are being paid an average of $5 less per hundredweight than it costs to produce. Dairy in is big trouble, but the guys who pasture are making out a bit better.

I'm sitting here watching Mitzi playing with Zeke, the last puppy. We really need to find him a home - he's gotten WAY too much a part of the family! He's 3 months old and quite the pup. He's got such a nice personality and he's very interested in herding the cows. Not quite bold enough to go out and bring them in, but he watches Blaze and Sadie. Poor Sadie is aging fast. The cool weather this summer has been good for her, but nothing is going to slow time. She turned12 this August and the stroke 3 years ago seems to be catching up.

Well, I guess I'd better go finish the potato salad and get the peach crisp made. I should do some tidying up in the kitchen as well. Skipping church this morning, as they are meeting with our 'daughter' church 'downtown' and I have a bit of an aversion to their minister. LOL, how's that for an excuse for playing hooky?

edited to add
ky, about kids, it only goes faster and faster. Our oldest is 37 this year, She was starting her senior year in highschool when I was that age!

This message was edited Sep 6, 2009 6:58 AM

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

The next county north of us has a wolf pack with pups. No doubt we will be hearing about more livestock losses in the years to come as their population increases. Like people, there seems to be a percentage of bad apples in every lot.

Harvests are pretty much over up here in the dry hills. Cows and sheep are grazing on the hayfields, and attention has been turned to putting away irrigation equipment, swathers, rakes and balers, rebuilding fences, putting roofs on barns, cutting firewood and working on preparations for winter. One neighbor has a fall calf crop, he is getting about 10 new calves every day. Fall weather is good for calving because there is very little weather stress and the calves hardly ever get scours. He has several hundred cattle, divided into 2 groups, so he gets a spring calf crop too. When I rode past his place a few days ago I noticed 2 cows with twins. The tagging system he uses is to put the cow number on the calf's eartag. They were all standing in a little group watching as I went past, so it was easy to read the numbers.

Waddy, KY

Got the tomatoes picked last night. I was hoping for more green tomatoes for relish and pickles but it looks like they are drying up with the blight.

First heifer of the fall calving run freshened Saturday. Actually, DD thought she'd just slipped the calf since the heifers aren't supposed to start dropping calves until the 26th. Anyway, they were cursing the fact that they couldn't find the fetus in the field anywhere and just assumed that the coyotes had hauled it off. Yesterday DH was on the back of the farm seeding wheat in the pastures and found the calf. Alive and well and with a definate Black Angus "attitude" The mother had been with the herd two fields over since Saturday. We don't know if she was jumping the fence and feeding him or if he'd been doing without since Saturday or what but he didn't appear to be weak or in bad condition. They got her to the barn and she knew who he was and took right up with him. He's definately several weeks premature as four of the teeth in the dental pad are just starting to break the gum and his hair is rather short. He's also barely the size of a small Jersey but he seems to be popping on all cylinders so I suppose he'll be fine. He's so small he runs under her belly without even grazing the hair!

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

I actually got one tomato, which I ate instantly. September 10th, first mostly ripe tomato - not a good year.

The Pasture Walk was yesterday, and I'm still tired (Blaze, Mitzi and Zeke, the puppy, were just walking up the driveway, in order of size, three tails wagging) and we have some clean up to do, benches to return, tables to take back, etc. I think it was a good walk. There were a lot of people, but some that we expected didn't show up. There were fewer Amishmen that we thought would come. There will be an article about it soon - have to get the pictures arranged and get my thoughts down, just as soon as I'm able to think coherently again.

Off to fix breakfast.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Ky & Kathleen. You have so much going on with the cattle. I miss having some until I ythink of how tied down one is to take care of them.
We are seriously thinking of not having a big laying flock any longer. The eggs just don't sell like you think they would. Very busy day at market & only sold 35 dozen. At $2 a dozen, doesn't bring in much income. The way everybody talks, we should be getting $3 or $4 for them. Probably wouldn't sell any then.
Stores are selling them cheap. People don't understand the ones in the stores are very old by the time they buy them.
Going off to KY RU Tuesday. I think I will take a bunch of tomatoes. Sounds like everyone is having a poor crop this year. We are going to check out Nashville on Thursday. We will pickup a person that is flying into Nashville & give her a ride to the resort for the RU.
I will off line from Tuesday until maybe the 22nd.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Bernie, you coming my way???? LOL

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Not this time.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Too bad. Might have been fun, eh? :>)

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Not going east this time, Bernie?

Listen, anytime you get really lonesome for cows, you can come and 'borrow' ours for a weekend.

The young Amish family across the road had church for the first time. I knew something was up when Aaron was out 'mowing' the horse pasture with his weedeater. Stan took a hay rack over and put it out there for them to tie the horses to during church. I have a picture that I'll post when I get it downloaded.

Our eldest grandson joined church this morning. He dressed for the varsity football game yesterday, but didn't play, which means he'll probably play the whole game tomorrow night for jv. The varsity has won two now, jv won last week, and has hopes for this week. Unfortunately, the game is an hour and a half away, so we'll just have to wait for a home game. When he was little, he used to run in the house and tackle me with a hug. I have to tell you, I still love the hugs, but I'm glad he got over the tackling bit! He has to bend over to hug me!

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

Hi folks, long time no talk :) Have some info thought some of you might be interested in. Some Kiko meat goats and 8 Anatolian Shepherd guardians who's owner died suddenly. Now his sister and BIL are trying to disperse the animals. See info below for contact if you're interested. It was good to catch up with y'all reading above. Miss you guys!


"I am sorry to report that Jim Reigle, a past member and officer of the
Missouri Meat Goat Producers Assn. was found dead in his home yesterday.
(Sept. 12) Jim was single and when a neighbor hadn't seen him outside for a
couple of days, he went to check on him. The neighbor found him deceased on
the bathroom floor. It looks to be natural causes pending autopsy reports.
His only living relative, a sister, has contacted me needing to disperse his
herd of Kiko and Kiko crosses along with guardian dogs. Jim raised Anatolian
shepherds for several years and they were known as good dogs.

I don't know much about his goats, only that there are around 60, his sister and husband know nothing about goats and they need to disperse the herd. They have no
trailer or way to move them so you would need to pick them up.

Jim has had Kikos for several years.

His sister's home phone is 417-831-7341, cell is 417-693-2037 (leave a message) their names are
Cheryl and Terry Jones.

They would like to hear from anyone by Tuesday
night, otherwise they will need to round up transportation to take them to
Highlandville for the sale on Thursday night.
They would greatly appreciate any help you could offer.

Jean Gullion
My cell # is 417-372-1326
My home # is 417-284-9311

Or they may email me

Thank you very much,

Jean Gullion
Moody, MO"

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Well, now, it's past the equinox, chores start in the dark in the morning and end in the dark at night. We're already starting to feel the darkness. I think it has something to do with not having enough sunshine this summer.

Stan and his hired boy are out putting up the last load of second cutting in the lean-to on the front of the barn. He says he may think about some 4th cutting in some of the meadows here, but he has cows pastured on the side hill and the weather is not looking great for the next bit, so we'll see.

I picked a lovely mess of lima beans for supper last night and managed to burn them to a crisp. This has not been a good year for my vegetables and me!

Waddy, KY

I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one that can burn things on the stove! One minute it's cooking merrily and the next minute I'm throwing the pan out the back door and turning the fan on to clear out the house.

Two more heifers freshened and day before yesterday a second calf heifer dropped a set of twin heifers. She took the littlest on and DD is bottle feeding the other one. That'll be one that's rotten to the core. Cows should start dropping calves fast and furious here in a couple weeks.

I pulled the first kale and collards for market this week. In the last few days we've gotten over 5 inches of rain with what looks like rain through Saturday. It's gray out right now. That should make the broccoli and cabbage get with the program. Only problem is the cabbage loopers are having a field day and with it raining every day it's hard to dust for the little rascals. My father also wants me to mow off a part of the garden that's grown up in weeds so he can spray the Johnson grass and I should have done it before it started raining. Now it's going to be a while before I can get in it.

Bernie, how did the KY roundup go?


Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

We had a great time. Not a very big crowd, but sometimes less is better. Weather was fair. Hot & muggy Sat., then rain Sat. evening.
Sharon & Jo put on a great program Sat. afternoon. Then Sally recited a poem from memory. It was an assignment for her school work. She did great!
We drove 2000 miles altogether. Didn't see anything but good crops except in Iowa where they had the bad hailstorm early in the summer.
Lots of empty store buildings in the small towns we went through.
Might go a different direction next fall. Maybe out to Kathleen's area.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Bernie, it looked like a good time. We've been to a couple, but the timing is all wrong for us with late hay, etc. That Sally is a sweety. Then there's her mom (heh heh heh).
I may hold you to your trip east next year. You could spend some quality time with the Holsteins, black and whites and red and whites.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

We stopped at Lisa's for dinner on the way to KY. That gal can cook!
Everyone was talking about little Sally at an earlier RU & how grown up she is now.
That would be the plan. I can stop at AnnaZ on the way, then compare.
My step son works on a farm in NE Iowa. They milk 300 cows. I couldn't believe the production they get, amazing.
This picture is their corn crop. There was a widespread hailstorm at the time corn was tasseling. Also some of the ready to cut alfalfa was pounded into the ground. 50,000 acres were a total loss & 490,000 acres were affected somewhat.

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

That corn just makes me feel sick. We don't do corn, but most of the farms around us do. Down on the gravel it looks really good, but when you get up on the hills where the heavy clay it, it is pathetic - too wet for it this year, uneven growth. Most of it goes for silage around here.

southeast, NE

Good morning all!

Itís absolutely beautiful outside today. The crops look great. No one has started harvesting yet because moisture content is high.

Iíve heard people say farmers are somewhat pessimistic Ė always worried about what might happen. I know why.

Four weeks ago DD, DH, SIL and neicesí boyfriend chopped silage. Went very well . There were no M&/orMís (mental or mechanical). Last week the same crew (less dd) baled and put 800 small square bales of 4th cutting alfalfa in the barn. It took 6 days to dry. However, it didnít get a drop of rain. Again no M&/orMís.

Well then all crap broke loose yesterday. All week theyíve been slowly hauling calves home from the pastures to wean. Yesterday DH & SIL were hauling a load of calves home and someone forgot to latch the trailer correctly. So as they were driving down the road, the door came open and 14 calves jumped/fell out. Fortunately, they ran towards a pasture full of cows and didnít run into a corn field. Fortunately, no other driver hit one. Unfortunately, one (naturally the best heifer calf) broke her hip so DH had to shoot her. They butchered it and hung it in our cooler that dh bought several years ago to hang deer in. Hopefully, our normal butcher can work it in to cut up. Thatís going to make some very expensive hamburger! They had hoped to sell her for $2500. They went down to the pasture this morning and caught all the wayward calves and are on their way home. DH said some were limping, etc. Hopefully, they will get better soon.

At times, there is just too much excitement around here!

Tabor, SD(Zone 4b)

Hello, all.
NJ, sorry to hear about your misfortune with the calves. It is always the best one that gets the worst injuries.

The wind is blowing like crazy today. I'm hoping for a quiet Sunday to get some laundry done, but our weekends are like grand central station. People keep popping in and out all day. At least the sheets will smell good with the wind blowing them dry.

DIL is counting down the days. 34 days until her due date. DH offered her $100 if she'd hang on until his birthday, but she just rolled her eyes.LOL

The ducks are almost ready to butcher. We have to chase them off the pond every evening and shut them into the barn so they aren't a meal for the local coyotes. I don't think there is a stick or rock on the sides of the pond anymore, we have to throw them at the ducks to get them to come off the water. I think DH is going to practice cow chip throwing soon. ;) I'm going to see if the old iron still works. My mother used to steam the feathers off the ducks. She's put a wrung out wet towel over the breast and put the hot iron on it to steam the feathers off. That way you didn't have to dunk the feathers into hot water to get them off, and you could use them right away.

It doesn't seem possible that we have had six weeks of school already. I didn't have much of a summer with working extra hours at the school, checking in freight and getting supplies and educational materials to where they were supposed to go. Hope the new secretary is more organized. It took three of us to do the old secretary's job where it took the previous gal only part time in the summer. She seemed to have a way to pawn off parts of her job. We are really finding lots of things that didn't get done like it should have. There is four years of filing that she thought was just menial that was tucked into boxes. Our new gal is just shocked at what didn't get done. We knew the old gal wasn't organized, but we didn't realize the scope of laziness that she had. She pretty much did as she wanted and if someone said anything, she had a way to turn it around back to them. Hope her supervisors are honest if she ever wants a recommendation.

DH wants to cull some old cows out this fall. I think the oldest is 15 years old. She seems to even have problems chewing her cud. ;) Not too many teeth left. We had one with hardware disease but she ended up getting bred and having a calf when we were getting ready to make her into hamburger. I think I will have to look into getting another freezer this year. The two that I have are full of pork, frozen tomatoes, deer and antelope meat and veggies from the garden. If we butcher ducks and an old cow for hamburger, I don't think they will all fit.

The chicks that I got this spring are all doing well. I only lost two chicks. Our 'freebie' chicken is one of those mottled Houdan's with the big top-feathers on his head. We call him Charlie and he has trouble seeing from under all those feathers. DH thinks we should give him a haircut. We just might if he starts running into things.

DH and the two DS's are putting a lift up in the machine shed. They had to cut out a section of old concrete as it wasn't thick enough to hold the lift, and poured concrete yesterday. Next weekend is when they will set up the lift. Always something going on. Younger DS wants a haircut today and a neighbor wants me to come over for coffee. I should take her some fresh peaches as she doesn't get out much. Yes, I have a lug of peaches to do something with. The tomato plants that I had were ridden with blight, so I had to buy a couple of bushels from the local colony. I still have some of those on the radiator by the window sill getting a little riper so I can core and freeze them for salsa-making later.

Well, better get those sheets out on the line. I think I better anchor them down good, otherwise they might get blown into the next county. I'm also hoping for a boring day.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

We are chopping corn silage. The most disgusting job (next to milking) on this stoopid farm. Our corn head is a pathetic piece of crap. I said it should have been torched apart before it even came off the assembly line and used to make Kiddie Cars for 2 year olds. Plugs up constantly. The first day I was out, it took me 2 hours to get 2 loads. I will leave it at that, or I will get censored. Anyway, let it suffice to say I absolutely ABHOR chopping corn. 3 row wide head and SU has 36 inch rows. Yuck, yuck, and double yuck!!!!

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

That's tough, Anna. I remember days like that - and I don't want to go back! We don't have any corn, but there's some clover that I know Stan would like to get if he can. It might just all go to pasture if the weather doesn't improve.

It's raining and chilly here. Yesterday, there were periods of sun, but I think today it is going to be all dismal. That would be because my garden "slave" is coming this afternoon. I guess we'll just do house work today. Yuck.

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

Boy I miss this forum. Have enjoyed catching up with everyone. Will have to try to get back here more often :) As for my place the veggies didn't do anything this year, they drowned and the weeds took over my flower beds. Have over 50 rabbits right now for breeding/showing. Heading to my third show of the season this weekend. My bunnies are doing decent on the tables this year so guess my breeding plan is getting along good :) Still plenty of room for improvement though, it's a work in progress but I'm having fun with it.
Have three pygmy goats, a few laying hens and three foster livestock guardian dogs that need to find homes. Poor things came to us filthy and starved. If anyone needs a goat guardian let me know, they are experienced and young. Looking into getting some small donkeys for pets. They are so funny! Found someone local yesterday selling babies for only $125 each so trying to talk dh into a couple ;) Wish me luck with that! LOL

Talk to y'all soon.


Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

DW talked to my step-son the other day. They have to haul corn silage 7 miles. That's how far away to get corn that wasn't ravished by the hail storm. Lots f trips to get enough from 300 cows. They have one of those 8 row choppers. He said it eats corn like it's nuts.
Hope all goes well for everybody as you finish the season.

Waddy, KY

This past weekend was pretty rough. We'd had 4 calves, 2 single births and a set of twins starting last Tuesday. By Sunday night 3 of them were dead and one on his way down. From last Sunday morning until this past Sunday morning we'd had 7-8 inches of rain at the farm. Near as we can tell flies laid eggs on these calves and the cloudy warm wet weather allowed the eggs to hatch and every maggot to live. The maggots then entered the reproductive tract and rectum of the heifers and when we noticed them the calves were nearly eaten up with the things. While we see the calves every day, we were unable to see the maggots until the calves were beyond saving. I've never seen anything like that in my life of raising dairy or beef calves. One of the most distressing things I've ever witnessed in my life. Absolutely something that they make up to show in a horror movie but it was real life. At that point we got all the rest of the calves in and found a bull starting to show signs. I don't think the vet had ever seen anything like it either. We started off with a screwworm spray on the bull and then an injectable ivomectin that they normally give to dogs as a wormer. I guess because it was a small enough concentration for a calf. At least right now he's holding his own so maybe he'll be ok. Fortunately it's turned off much cooler here this week and the flies are taking a break. Normally the cows are freshening in the spring with weather too cool for flies or in the fall in much drier weather.

With the demise of most of the dairies in our county and the surrounding counties down here you see very few choppers running this time of year. Dad used to raise around 70 acres of silage corn to fill the three 70 footers at home. Silage and dove hunting went hand and hand. You'd hear the chopper run one day and the shotguns blasting the next. Now there's nothing but empty silos dotting the landscape. I suspect lots of folks would give you the silos if you'd just move them.


southeast, NE

OMG Janet - how awful!

The neighbor hires his silage chopped. As fast as they got through the field, I would imagine it was a good size chopper.

The farmers are just starting to harvest - on Sunday we saw one field of beans and one field of corn that had been chopped. SIL saw one field with three combines in at one time. (One of the "big guys").

A friend of ours has been in Afghanistan with a group helping to teach the people over there new farming techniques. He is home for two weeks and then will go back for another 6 months. He showed us a lot of pictures last night.

We lost a couple of our Rhode Island "TSC" clearance chickens a few weeks ago. DH treated them with something from the vet and they aren't dieing anymore. You might recall dd was supposed to go to TSC and get 15 chickens and came home with 51. All the chicks had lived until a few weeks ago.

Taking a break from work and I'd better get back to work. You all take care!

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

That is something the news media never shows, is all the good things we are doing over there.
Not much harvesting here yet either. Some beans, but no corn yet. I'm sure they are hoping for more field drying first.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b) was HORRID out there today..............Makes me want to run away from home and NEVER come back. Between chopping corn and the stoopid cows...............I need one of those 5 minute chocolate mug cakes........might have to cave and make one, even tho showday is Oct. 10th. Arghhhhhhhhhhhh............again. :>)

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

the new journal for October is here:

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