Winter 2010-2011

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Hopefully enough people are returning from "The other place" so we can get a little chat going again.

We have a good amount of snow covering our land, 20" is what is official.
I am busy searching catalogs for that one killer variety. Lots of new to me things to try this coming summer. Also going to do more in high tunnels, so getting things that will work there. Even a zucchini that don't need to be pollinated.
I am going to give the fillet beans from Johnny's a try. They offer green, yellow & purple. Wonder how a mixed container will sell. They are only 4" long instead of 6 to 7 inches of regular beans.

Added a few more hot peppers to the mix. Fun to grow & sell, don't know if we get rich on them! I have 20 varieties for 2011.

Also a couple new tomatoes, Believe It or Not & Massada. Both going in the greenhouse of course.

Happy growing,
Bernie

Waddy, KY

Right now we're back in the hospital with the DH getting his osteomy reversed. Hopefully he will be out of here by tomorrow or at least Friday. Hopefully next year will be a bit more healthy.

The kids are hauling hay to the hill farm. We've still got 120 head up there. This past week of snow and ice has really gummed up the works making us haul hay when they still have grass.

I've got my garden seed ordered for this year. I'm going to cut back some on what I try to grow. There's one market vendor that has the market pretty much cornered in lettuces and greens so other than raising some buttercrunch for us to eat I'm leaving the lettuces to her. I'm also cutting out carrots. Too much trouble. I think I'll do peas, because we as a family like them, sugar snaps, beets, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower for spring and do tomatoes and peppers for summer. I'll sell those fresh and anything else goes in salsa. We'll have zucchini and yellow squash too as I use them in the value added products too. I'll do potatoes since we also eat plenty. I'll have just enough beans for me to can for next year. I just don't have time to pick beans on a regular basis. It's easy enough to get them planted but keeping them and everything else picked is another story. I'll plant pumpkins, butternuts, spagetti squash and cushaws for the fall. Turnips, kale and fall broccoli and cabbage will depend upon the weather. I'd love to do high tunnels but I just don't have the time or the labor to take care of it. Something's got to give somewhere this summer.


Merry Christmas all!
Janet

Waddy, KY

Bernie, do you grow all your tomatoes in the high tunnel? I'd love to mess around with one some but until I retire so that I can be there to open it up when it needs to be opened I'm just going to have to leave well enough alone. I do want to try to get some tomatoes in the ground early this year and maybe put some plastic over them until we're frost free.

Got a little more snow last night. Supposedly by the end of the week we'll be up in the high 40's and we'll be wallering in mud to our mid shins. Hopefully in 2-3 weeks all the cows will come off the hill farm and we can stop having to run over there each afternoon.

At least now the days will become longer. I think I'm first cousin to a bear. When the days get shorter I want to burrow in, sleep, eat and get fat!

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

I've done that for about 10 years. I am changing to high tunnels now. Before we just used a greenhouse with furnace & fans. Costs to much now.
One year we saved them from frost, then while we were at market it got to hot & roasted them. Vine roasted tomatoes are not good.

Quite cold here tonight. Supposed to rain Thursday & Friday. We don't need that.

Waddy, KY

Well, there must not be very many farm folk frequently this forum anymore. Where's AnnaZ and Mary in Oregon? I heard from Kathleen the other day. She's doing ok. Has anyone heard from Mistymeadows lately?

We took DH back to the surgeon on the 28th to get the stitches out. On the 29th it started draining and we were back in the office. They opened the wound up and they're now letting it heal from the inside out. I'm packing a 2 inch deep hole the size of a ping pong ball daily and he's about to go crazy. The kids and I loaded the 4 wheelers Sunday and went to the hill farm to repair fences on the back third. It was the first time that DH has ever NOT gone on one of those repair trips and he was antsy as he could be. We hadn't been out there an hour and he was calling trying to give instructions from the couch. Of course we were already doing all of them anyway. Turning the cows on the back half of the farm meant we could quit watering them since there's a good spring with two water tanks. It also means we don't have to feed them hay for a week or two.

I'm trying to get in some overtime here at work so I can have some extra comp time to take off this summer. Sure makes the days long....

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

AnnaZ is on coffee forum. They sold their cows.
Mary has been posting on;
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1145921/

We are just very busy with cabinets. New orders every day it seems.

Waddy, KY

Bernie, are most of your cabinets new construction or are the remodeling what they have? Down here it's getting much easier to get someone to do remodel jobs because new construction is virtually nil. The fellows that did my trim work on the house last summer said that we were the closest to new construction that they'd seen this past summer and they were building decks and bidding remodel jobs to take up the slack. A few years ago you wouldn't have been able to touch them because they were hip deep in new houses.

Lost a heifer on the hill farm. Looks like she just laid down to rest and never got up. I hate not knowing why they died. We'll be bringing them home soon.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Most of our things are going into existing houses. 3 or 4 things are actually furniture.
Not many new houses here at all, either.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Well I didn't think anyone else was here anymore. I would much rather be here than over there, tho I will check there too.

Soooo........ta-da...........here I is.

SU has the Packer-Bear game on.......we're not fans one way or the other. They're all over-paid wusses........they need to get a real job and get out in the world and EARN their money. Oh, don't get me started.....oops, I started myself.

Yup, sold the cows and a darn good sale it was too. I was shocked at some of the prices we got, since SU has done nothing but yammer for years that all we had was a barn full of butcher cows. Here is an example of some of the butcher lineup on sale day........the first half dozen you can see good from the left of the photo are all first calf heifers. Got a guy in to clip and wash; best money we could have spent. I know we recouped that many times over. He really did a good job and made them look really nice.



This message was edited Jan 23, 2011 4:46 PM

Thumbnail by Anna_Z
Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Were you cows registered ?
I took over my dad's farm when he died in 1967. I ran it until 1972. Just didn't work out. All my cows were registered by the time I sold. At auction they went all over the upper midwest. At that time you could buy a springing cow for $250. My whole herd averaged over $400. That was cows, heifers & calves, even one day old one. Top cow brought $925.
The auctioneer, who had never sold registered cows before, & the FHA guy who thought I had more debt than assets were shocked.

I'm glad you guys got good prices for you herd.

Not much going on here. Feed the chickens, feed the cats, feed the dog. That's it for farming here in winter.
Keeping real busy in the wood shop. A kitchen & some office cabinets should be ordered this week. That will keep us going until mid March.

Probably start some tomato seeds next week. Also got to get onions, strawberries & seeds ordered.

Bernie

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Bernie, we had 2 cows that brought $2,000 and 1 brought $2100. Most of the 1st and 2nd calf heifers were in the $1700-1900 range. Bred heifers $1500. Baby heifer calves on milk $300. Of course we had the obligatory junkers that were bred but aways off that weren't giving much, but still too "decent" to yard, those brought pretty much butcher price, but we expected that. And the "real" junkers we yarded before the sale. Dumped 7 that we didn't want anyone to be saddled with. Our vet told us that they have found that the guys that sell out because they are just tired of the whole deal (like we were) and that have decent stuff do MUCH better than they guys that have sales because they HAVE to get out.

This is the udder of our best cow......she only brought $1650......I was disappointed, but he age was against her........she was 8. Fresh in Sept. of '09, milked over 100#/day for 9 months. She's due around Valentine's day, had a heck of a time getting her bred because she was milking so much. Peaked at 141. Record at sale day was already over 39,000 so I know she was going to be well over 40,000 for the lactation. Never leaked a drop even at 141 pounds.

Thumbnail by Anna_Z
Richmond, TX

You sold a pretty impressive group of heifers!. We don't have dairy cows now, but I worked for my uncle on his dairy for years and I know we never had a cow milk 141lbs! WOW!

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

This is the udder of the coming 2nd calf heifer that brought $2100.00. This was 2 weeks before I dried her up and she was still giving 70 pounds. She went to the same buyer as the one that gave the 141 pounds. I was SO glad they both went to the same place and it was a small farm. 48 cows.

When preg. checked this one was diagnosed as carrying a heifer calf. I sent the buyer a Christmas card and asked how the 2 cows were doing and if the 2nd calf one did indeed have a heifer. He called me and said yes, she did. And he is very happy with both of them.

I should add that both of these pictures were taken before we decided to have a sale, hence they are not clipped and washed. :>) They are in "working condition". LOL



This message was edited Jan 23, 2011 10:48 PM

Thumbnail by Anna_Z
Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Very impressive!

Waddy, KY

Dad sold his herd privately to some big place that was going to milk in MI. They went through and weeded out anything over 6 years old, which included one that had been contracted with one of the bull studs the year before, and some long udders. He got a set price of around $950. He was satisfied with the price for the time. He sold all the heifers the next year private sale. Jersey Marketing Service found the buyers. I'm not sure where they went. It took the a little while to get used to not having a paycheck twice a month.

Anna, surely you didn't believe the SU about having junk cows! Udders that are as stylish as those in your pictures are carefully bred for over the years. I can't think of any self respecting dairyman that wouldn't have appreciated those cows.

More snow and ice on the ground. The kids did go to school today. Those south of us didn't so I guess they got a little more than we did last night. Didn't do much yesterday. I had one of those nasty sinus headaches that make you want to heave so I hugged the bed all day. Didn't want to help cut and split wood but I didn't want to spend the day like that either.

Anna, are you all going to get some beef cows?

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Oh, ya, we had a few "junkers". Not everybody was pretty. LOL

Nope, no beef. We are custom raising and feeding some heifers for the neighbor a mile down the road that has also rented the cropland. So, still have stuff to do.

Don't know if I mentioned here or not, so if I repeat, please excuse.......SU and I are going to do some chores/relief milking. Good money in it, we know what we are doing, are reliable, and are not restricted to just weekends like alot of the guys that do it are because they have regular jobs. Have a 10 day stint Feb. 20-Mar. 2nd.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

I did some relief milking years back. I fell in love with milking parlors! Sure beat the heck out of bending in a stanchion barn.At one time there were 180 to milk. I had to do it alone. 3 hours. It was a double 6 parlor.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Got about 100 at the job next month. There's a hired guy, but way too much for him to do it all alone. We got along fine when we milked/chored there in Dec.

Waddy, KY

I'd say that you will have plenty of takers when word gets out that you're available. I can only remember two times when we were kids that my family actually went somewhere for more than an afternoon and each time it was just 3 days. And Dad was on the phone every night with Granddad making sure that the people showed up to help milk and that all the cows were ok. I doubt that he had much fun cause he was worrying so.

Warmed up here yesterday to 34 degrees. We almost felt like going out without coats. I guess we've gotten somewhat used to the colder temps. It wouldn't surprise me if they tell us that this winter we've had more snow and it so far seems to have stayed with us longer than usual. Maybe it's just my imagination. About the middle of Feb. we'll start the mud season.

I worked late last night and have been for almost the last month. Been leaving the office at 6 o'clock. I realized last night at 6:15 that it was still light enough to see while walking to the car. Back at the first of the month it was pitch black by that time. Spring and longer days are coming. I'm actually thinking about starting a flat of tomatoes here in the next few days to have enough to put out at least one early row. Put it on fabric mat and if it gets one of those light frosts in April I can throw some reemay over it and see what happens. I'm ready to see some green stuff growing.

Waddy, KY

I guess this is a pretty dead thread. Apparently not much farming done here anymore.

Anyway, lost another calf on the hill farm. It was one that was a little crazy according to the kids. Looked like it got a foot caught in some roots and DD thinks while it was thrashing around it possibly broke it's neck. That's the best guess anyway. Another $600 down the drain. Not been a real good winter in the livestock arena this year but you can't bed down with them every night.

We missed the snow thank goodness. With cows 13 miles from the main farm we've been hauling round bales up there to them and if we'd have gotten a foot of snow it wouldn't have been pretty. I'm ready for spring. Got out last weekend and got some plastic off where we had tomatoes. I'm going to try some fabric mat I think this year instead. I think I can get 3-4 years out of it, maybe more and with under 500 plants that's only 4-5 rows.

Bernie, what all do you all plant on plastic? I've seen pictures of onions on plastic and I've seen beans and strawberries but haven't tried it. I could have access to a plastic laying machine that lays raised beds this year but don't know if DH is willing to try it. The may will let us use it but won't put a price on it. That probably means that he's not really ready to give up Farmer's Market.

Richmond, TX

Sorry to hear about the calf; there's no way you can protect them from their own foolishness. We had a wet summer and lots of grass (and no snow) so we're not feeding any hay to the cows yet. They think we should be, they stand at the fence and bawl when I deliver hay to the horse pasture!

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

I got my seeds from Johnny's today. I use them for most of my smaller things. We have a local place for all the big amounts, like peas, beans, watermelons etc.

Plastic is number one here. Basil, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli, pickles, muskmelon, watermelon, peppers, hot peppers, okra, kale, eggplant, kohlrabi, summer squash, winter squash, zucchini, cabbage, celery, & tomatoes. If it hard to weed, it goes on plastic.

Waddy, KY

Do you have something that lifts the plastic at the end of the season? And what do you do with the plastic at the end of the season. Is it recycleable? if so are you knocking all the dirt out of it before sending it off? I want to get a water line up to the garden this year so I can water without stretching hoses so far.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

We take the chains off of our potato digger & use it to lift it. Then we just go with the tractor & loader. I drive & a couple employees pick it up. Dirt falls right off. So far it's oin a big pile. Haven't found place to recycle it yet.
We put in water lines in the garden last spring. We have shrub rows for erosion control. We laid " black plastic pipe down those rows. Put couplings on ends by driveways. Just stretch a hose across the driveway when we need water.
In the fall we blew all the lines out with our air compressor.
Bernie

Waddy, KY

Just got back from delivering a couple meat orders. We're still doing the winter market in Lexington. Nothing in the veggie realm unless it's canned but we're doing the beef, breads and canned items. Money wise it certainly doesn't hold up to the summer markets but I figure I'm doing a little PR for the meat and if we pick up some steady customers it'll be worth is.

It's snowing again. Bernie, I don't know how you all stand it. At least we see some bare ground here and there. I don't expect this to stick since it was 45 degrees yesterday and the ground's not frozen.

Porkpal, we turned off dry last year around July and fed hay almost all summer. Problem is right now we're overstocked and need to unload some cull cows.

Been making salsa at night. I've got enough tomatoes for about 12 more batches and then I'm done until tomatoes come on. I've still got some jam to make but I'll have to wait until the stores put jelly jars back on the shelf.

Janet



This message was edited Feb 7, 2011 2:35 PM

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Warm enough here today that there is melting from the roofs but sposed to be single digits again tomorrow and not in the 30's again till the weekend.

Waddy, KY

Supposed to be back down in the teens and mid 20's by the middle of the week. I'm actually starting to think of the middle 30's as warm. Not funny.

Richmond, TX

I have just finished fixing the frozen pipes ( which I thought I had drained and/or insulated) from last week's unusual cold and they are predicting more of the same starting on Wednesday!

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Ain't it grand????

Waddy, KY

Pal, I assume you've gotten out from underneath your winter weather? And your frozen pipes...

It's actually warm here today. And supposed to get warmer this week. I'm getting in the mood to get peas and lettuce in the ground. I'll do some buttercrunch and some sugar snap and English peas.

Brought all the cows except some bred heifers home from the hill farm last weekend. Now we're about to pop at the seams. I want DH to ship some as a friend went to the stockyard yesterday and 300 # calves were going for $1.50-$1.70. People gonna really be squealing about the price of beef pretty soon. With that and the grain prices food's gotta go up. Just a shame that we'll still be barely breaking even.

I'm making my daughter's wedding cake come the first weekend in June. I've never done something like that so I've started playing around with what we're going to do. This weekend I determined that you can't put 5 cups of batter in a 8 inch pan like the Wilton website says. If you do you're in the over with your long handled fork, lifting the coil and shoveling out the burning chocolate crud that's oozing over the edge of the pan like some horror movie. Back to the drawing board.

Janet

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Yeah, reminds me of the one cheesecake recipe I had.......the proportions of stuff looked WAAAAY too much for a 10 inch springform, and I was right on that too. Where are some people's brains?

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

About time food started going for what it is really worth.
Our veggies & eggs are going to cost more this year too. As long as the government allows gasoline & fuel oil to go up, we need more for our products. Let the people who make the big bucks pay for their food. The poor & low paid can spend their food stamps on the food instead of beer, cigarettes & casinos. At least that's where a lot of it goes here.

If you have to, you can make practice cakes & send samples to all of us. We can then tell you when the cakes are just right. (Especially chocolate!)

All kidding aside, we haven't had a bakery made cake for special occasions for a long time. A lady in town makes them for a fraction of the cost of a bakery. Very good cakes, too.
I think you will do just fine.

We are busy remodeling the store building for our antique shop. Going to take a load of shelves & merchandise over later today. I have a little painting & some trim boards to finish up, then the shelves go up.
All the things for sale have to be gone through, cleaned & new tags put on them.
With luck & hard work, we hope to be open in April sometime.
Still busy in the wood shop, too.
Bernie

Richmond, TX

I volunteer as a cake tester too!

The antique shop sounds exciting. I don't know how you keep up with all your businesses.



Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Are you going to cover the cake with fondant instead of frosting? I've never had fondant and would sure like to know what it tastes like.

Waddy, KY

Don't think so. Daughter has had that before and she thinks it's nasty so I think we'll have buttercream. She's aiming for very simple possibly with just some peonies around the edges. That I can handle. Anything else is iffy.

Talked to my father yesterday. Ground isn't quite ready to work. We want to spread some manure and turn it under. I don't know if we'll get that done before it rains or not. Can't put the manure on until just before we plow cause it'll never dry out if it's on the ground and it rains. Just do the best we can I guess.

Had a lady ask me the other day at market if we use any fertilizer. Sometimes I just have to about bite my tongue in half. We're not supposed to use fertilizer on our fields but they will have the lawn service spray it on every week. I have a hard time with that.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Poop isn't fertilizer??? And it's NATURAL............

Richmond, TX

Studies have shown that the vast majority of the aquifer contamination by fertilizer is from the home owners "improving" their lawns. We soil test - do they?

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Oh, I'm sure...........(typed sarcastically........)

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Scotts & Miricle Grow do the soil tests right at the store. If you haven't bought any in for a couple weeks your "soil test" says you need more. Then you can go to work & complain to your co workers about having to cut the grass so often.

Richmond, TX

We have a local radio garden show that advocates "The Schedule" which dictates what product one is supposed to dump on the lawn each month. I find it laughable.

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