April Farm Journal, could it be spring?

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Just giving this a start on April Fool's Day. "April is the cruelest month..." according to one poet, but I think it is the month that gives us up north hope.

edited to say this is late April last years, early April can be depressing!

This message was edited Apr 1, 2009 7:42 AM

Thumbnail by Kathleen
Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Well, I, for one, cannot wait till I hear the spring peepers down in the little creek in the pasture.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Our first sign of spring... at least the one I notice... is the bluebirds and goldfinches return. =0) Which was last month.

"Spring has sprung, the grass is riz,
I wonder where the birdies iz?"


Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

We had peepers the night before it snowed again. I only know that because I stuck my head out the window to see who was sitting at the endo of our driveway - it was an Amish buggy with a boombox, kids are kids. Today has been warm and rainy and the grass is greening up a bit and some of the trees are showing red.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

The one real Amish buggy I looked inside (after helping unhitch the horse) was a surprise... blue and green shag rug floor to ceiling, including the ceiling. And a radio in the dash... AM of course. =0) For the weather report, I was told.

Well, maybe. LOL 'Spect it depends on who's driving...

Hempstead, TX(Zone 8a)

March 31st brough to our small farm another new calf. Spinner is our 3rd little bull and cute as a button. Our two other little bulls, Frederick and Rocket Man are a older by 3 months and 1 month respectively.

And today, we went from 72 muggy degrees to 60 in a matter of moments. Gary and I were out in the pasture feeding the cows (well, I was snapping pics) and all of a sudden the little bulls and the big mommas were running with tails flying, kicking, and feeling good. Could not capture it on film, but it was a fun thing to watch.

I meant to go over to the other pasture and take some snaps of the wildflowers. Will do next time I go over.

Jay, I used to love to watch the finches return to our past home in Charlottesville, VA. Cardinals, a few blu birds, and tit mice, all returned to the feeders. We do not get much of that around here at my house.

People are continuing to purchase hay, so that is nice. I thought with the rain and grasses coming up the sales might drop off.

Thumbnail by MelissahL
Hempstead, TX(Zone 8a)

And this is Frederick. He is not shy but rather a curious fellow. Has been since day one. He will make a nice breeding bull if someone wanted to take the time.

Thumbnail by MelissahL
Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

I like Spinners white tail.
I miss the little calves, but not pitching the manure from the big ones. To bad they all grow up.
Had a coating of slush this morning. It was supposed to be 6" to 8", but weather liars missed again. It's getting so bad nobody pays attention to watches & warnings any more. In summer every time it clouds up they come with a tornado watch. Then if it looks like rain it's a tornado warning. It gets old after a while. So now if one does hit it is more serious because people don't heed the warning.
The sun is in & out right now so the slush is disappearing fast.
Signed up a couple for a new Maple kitchen Friday evening. So I am working on the cut lists & drawings now. This will be the last one we can do until fall. Nice to be busy. I'm not sure where the poor economy comes in.


Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Melissa, nice calves. They are cute in that size range.

Bernie, Stan says we haven't noticed the bad economy because by the rest of the country's standards we've been in recession pretty much forever. People know how to save for what they need and save harder for what they want. Oh, and would you like to say a word about the parity pricing that was the standard between 1931 or 2 and 1981? We got into that a little at the Dairy Business Report meeting last week. Stan came out as making the most milk per worker and having the lowest input per hundredweight. The one organic guy had the highest pay price, but actually made less because his inputs (organic grain) were higher and his herd average was just a little more than 1/2 ours. We were in the middle for herd average and it turned out that although we don't have a lot of hired help we pay the highest hourly wages. It helps to have people you trust and know you can get when you need them.

The weather here today is gorgeous, but Tuesday's forecast is for lake effect snow and that is one that they almost always get right. The grass is starting to green up and we have oodles of little bulbs blooming and the daffs are just getting started. I even have a couple of early tulips out. I go out thinking I'll get something done in the yard, but it is still too wet to really do anything more than walk around and look at the mess winter has made. Stan has almost got the pasture fence down below the farm yard done. He's going to put the outside heifers and some still in the barn down there with a bale feeder sometime this week - probably after the snow - and let them all get used to being together and eating grass again. I think this is the bunch that will go up to his brother's place later in the month.

Guess I'll go make a list of things to do and check off "Make list".

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

I agree, I would hate to have to be milking cows at this time. When I did farm, best hay was $28 a ton. Corn was a $1 a bushel. Fertilizer was about $30 a ton & seed corn was $20 a bushel. My herd average was over 500 lbs of butterfat, which was really good for 1970!
I decided there had to be a better way of earning money. Even then the milk check didn't go around. I am thinking it was around $5 per hundred for whole Grade "A" milk.

I was in Mankato yesterday. Stores were packed. People are spending money. Mankato is kind of diverse. Large hospital & clinics, part of the Mayo system. Large collage & a couple of small collages. So those places employ a ton of people. Manufacturing there seems to hold pretty steady. Limestone quarries are always busy. The limestone goes all over the world. The new Twins stadium in Minneapolis will be covered with it.
The only thing slowed down here are building new homes. People seem to be staying in their house instead of buying new.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Could just be the 'paycheck effect'... the stores have noticed that folks are buying when the paycheck comes in and then sales crater in between. So they're putting out their sales and loss leaders around the first of the month. I can't decide if I'm happy or angry about that... happy because TP is a bargain, angry because most of the sales are for junk and it's just another cynical attempt by corps. to separate folks from their money for stuff no one needs. Lets face it--when was the last time you saw dried beans and flour on sale... oh, and by the way, fewer staple crops (corn, wheat, soy) are being planted this year, so they're expected to go up 5%.

Definitely know what you mean about all the weather watches and warnings... here when the wind gets over 20 mph--which is nearly every day in the spring--a watch is issued. Over 30 (every other day) gets a high wind warning. And here that's just normal spring winds, not hardly worth talking about. So what's left when it starts hitting 40-70 mph? Those are the winds I want to know about, those are the winds that rip the roofs off of barns around here.

9* here today, but at least the sun's out and it's not supposed to be windy...

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!! (sigh of relief here.....) We got a teeny, tiny dusting of that snow yesterday morning and managed to miss all the rest. So sorry for those of you that didn't, but I was NOT looking forward to all that garbage again.

No time to really say much right now, but hope to check in again soon. I think maybe I need to go hide and take a nap. :>)

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Well, I'm glad that Anna and Bernie missed it. We've got temps in the mid 20, a wind chill of 10 with 30 mph gusts and 6-8 inches of snow, with LOTS more still falling. My hands are so cold it hurts to type - I'll be back when I warm up a little.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

It';s cold this morning, but the blasted wind has died down. A whole 45 predicted today.
50's rest of the week. It's about time!

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

I am SO SICK of this putrid brown everywhere..........GIMME SOME GREEN, for crying out loud!!! (and I am crying out loud, in case you can't hear)

Temps in the 40's like Bernie, but with some wind. Wind is ok as long as it's not the caliber that would like to blow you off the face of the planet and onto the great red spot of Jupiter. :>)

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Is it warm there? I'd consider it...

Waddy, KY

We got green down here! Come on down. Just load those hussies in a possum belly and head south!

My peas and green onions are about 2 inches tall. Haven't seen my potatoes yet. The yard needs mowing but it may be a while. Last year the front yard at the house that we're working on got cut and rolled for hay. We just didn't get to it in time. Somehow something else is always more important. I'd love to get my cabbage and broccoli in the ground but I think I'll wait until this freeze is by us. That and the fact that it's rather wet here right now. I dont' know if we can mud it in between showers or not.

Had a market meeting last night. They put the DH on the market board. They may wish that they hadn't done that. He can be rather progressive in his thought processes sometimes.

We had 2 calves yesterday during that bone chilling cold. I bet they wished they were back in that nice warm place. They didn't look impressed with the world when I saw them....

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Them hussies can stay here..............thank you very much.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

April's calendar page shows an old pot bellied farmer standing in front of a desk talking to his banker, saying "why should I find new ways to lose money when the old ones work so well?"

Yesterday was warm and calm, so I planted onion sets, and lots of seeds for the kinds of vegies that like cooler weather. Today we have clouds, sun breaks, strong wind and rain or snow in the forecast. Spring weather for sure.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Well, it is really not spring here yet, I can't smell the dirt when I go outside. I just love it when I can go out, take a deep breath and smell the smell of dirt on the warm breeze. Maybe soon, tho. And I sure wish those spring peepers would start peeping. LOL

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Some of the snow has melted. We had a bright clear night - moon in the window most of the night. It's supposed to get into the upper 40s, so most of it should disappear - again. We had about a foot all told. yippee.

Stan goes out to the shop every morning and comes in at noon to tell me what he's put back together on the 8000. He's doing some maintainance on it as he's putting it back together, and making some improvements on the wiring. The snow at least has given him the time he needs in the shop. He will finish a bit of fence fixing when the weather warms up and put the heifers down the lane for a bit.

Anna, we had peepers, but I think they all crawled back into the mud. The robins and bluebirds have been sounding downright depressed.

Waddy, KY

11:00 last night and we were roping a heifer to a tree so we could pull the calf. Bless her heart, she'd been trying for a while and there were two feet out and the tongue of the calf was as red as a beet and twice the size of a grown cows tongue. I wouldn't have made any bets the calf was still alive as I couldn't get any response. Feet looked the size of a good coffee mug. DH got the chains and calf puller going and much to my surprise the poor thing was still alive . The heifer couldn't get up so we pulled the calf right under her nose and headed to the house. His comment was it'll live or die. DH went to check on them this morning and said they were both up, the calf's tongue was back to normal and he knew what to do with it and the heifer's teats. Ain't nature grand?

Hopefully I'll get cabbage and broccoli planted this afternoon before it starts to rain. Or at least get started on it. Easter means company at my house so I won't get anything done this weekend.

Paul has so much to fix I think he could spend a year in the shop before he started to get a handle on it. Two summers ago third child was raking hay with the tricycle front end AC and managed to drop the front end into a 10 ft. deep sinkhole. Snapped that rascal right off. That's still a sore spot with hubby. He hasn't had time to get that tractor back together. One other has hydraulic problems and another was reworked and needs all the gauges hooked up and the muffler put back on. And both my daughters cars need working on too. The shop's starting to look like the local junk yard....

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Most of our neighbors spend a lot of time in their shops patching old machinery back together. The guy next to us bought an old hay stacker just like the one he already had, switched a lot of parts and sold the spare one to somebody else. All of his stuff is ancient, he says his baler has 30 years of shop time.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Hmmmm...........30 years of shop time, eh? How many years of field time???? LOL

Got water running up in the greenhouse, just started filling my 200 gallon tank, so I have a bit before I need to go up and shut it off. Well, I mean, climb down in that stupid drywell and shut it off. With the dead rabbit.......just gonna be bones soon, so I'm not gonna worry about it. When I found it it was pretty nasty already, and I was NOT gonna put my hand on it to pitch it up out of the hole; even with gloves on. Yuck.

southeast, NE

Good morning all!

Been a while since I've been able to check in - life has been crazeeeeee!

On March 23, dh had a shunt put in behind his left ear for Meniers disease. The shunt is supposed to help drain fluid that was causing extreme vertigo, nausea, ear ringing, etc. A specialist in Omaha did the surgery. On our way home, it was extremely windy driving down I-80. The car shook so much that my arms and shoulders hurt the next day from trying to keep the car on the road. I kept listening to the news and hearing about a strong storm due to hit our place any minute. I kept praying that we would make it home. (And dh is in la-la land as a result of being "drugged" and snoring.) As I was turning onto the highway about 7 miles from our place, a sign blew across the road. And it began to poor and blow so hard. I pulled over and kept praying. Thankfully, it only lasted a few minutes and I made it home before the 2nd round blew threw. The 2nd round resulted in a tornado that caused damage about two miles from us and swept right through the area I had been driving in. We were definitely being watched over.

Last weekend we had snow. But not as much as other parts did. I wonder how much snow Ruth received in South Dakota.

Calving is slowly moving along. So far - so good. We have had one set of twins. We were bottling the calf and then trained her to suck directly off the goat. Goat's not too thrilled but calf is doing well. I need to take a picture and post.

Grass is really starting to green up.

Income tax is done.

We're still trying to find more pasture ground. We somehow missed a land auction in December where some ground only sold for $1100 an acre which is very reasonable for this area.

DH & SIL are headed up to his family's ranch. This is the annual family branding time. There are parts of Nebraska where cattle are required to be branded and they live in that area.

Our farm family can relate to "fixing things". My dh wants to retire just so he has time to get all his projects done but then I wonder how we pay for the parts that he needs. (Vicious circle.) We had two tires that needed to be fixed on the tractor within the last month (over $200!).

Better get back to work!

You all take care!

Hempstead, TX(Zone 8a)

Morning all and Happy Easter.

Much needed rain here. Have an 80% chance and so far it is 80 percenting for us.

Talk about projects. My DH disappears into the barn to say he is taking care of some things. Stays out there for a long time. Fixing nothing - he is loading shotgun shells.

Calving is over and fence fixing is still going on. We finally got us a helper who comes out every Saturday and helps with the fences, the barn, the shed, whatever we need. He has been a real blessing. The two of us do not work that well together (OSHA would die).

Talked to a guy at the corner store this a.m., a Mexican Eagle went into his barn and tried to take away a baby goat. I could not believe he was able to do that. I have a little Chihuahua that I dare not let go outside alone. She would be gone in a minute.

Glad to hear that gardens are going in and little green shoots are sprouting up. Enjoy this day.


Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

The last snow pile in the yard melted overnight - YAYY!!!!! The rain greened the grass up some and the trees are looking buddy. It's still cool out and breezy, but they are talking 60 this weekend. I am SO ready for some warmer weather.

Waddy, KY

We have had a couple weeks of wet here. My peas are up and looking good. My brother killed three groundhogs out of the barns around the garden so just maybe I'll have some peas this year. Lettuce and spinach is up but for some reason none of my beets sprouted. My brother's sprouted just fine but not a one for me. Guess I'll be sowing some more if the ground dries out. I'd like to get my beans and squash in the ground soon.

I think we have 5 more cows to freshen. DD is hoping we have everything on the ground by the first of May. They'd better hurry up cause this month is flying by. Markets start the 25th and things get wild from there on out.

Just got an e-mail that they're shipping my greenhouse that will replace the one that the wind blew away. There must be 10 boxes. Who knows, maybe Fed Ex can find my house this time. Usually they leave boxes for our road at the road with the same name in the next county over. Go figure. Or they call us and say they can't find us and we can just travel 40 miles to their shipping hub to pick it up. Not gonna happen. They're paid to deliver and that's just what they can do. It's not like my name isn't on the mail box....

We put our orphan calf on a cow that lost her calf the day after it was born. While she's not trying to kill the poor thing the only way she'll let it suck is if we put her in a stall and stand over her with a big stick. Then it's the old swap ends of the stall routine. Poor calf is dizzy by the time she's finished eating but she sticks to that cow like glue.

Does anyone have any trouble with buzzards while cows are freshing? They're getting so bad at my parents farm that my nephew had to run them off with a club while the cow was trying to get up after dropping the calf. They were coming in to try to peck the eyes out of the calf before the cow could get around to protecting it. I've seen the whole herd get together to run several of them along the ground and out of the field. Kinda scary. They may be a protected species but they're treading on thin ice when they start working on the calf crop.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Were the calves both heifers?

Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

Happy belated birthday to you! I'm so sorry I missed it. A little bird told me it was your b-day yesterday.

I'm not going to mention that the you-know-what will next week and we're going to miss you and wish you were with us.

Did you other dd travel to KY yet?


Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Oh, Kathleen, it was your birthday??? Haven't checked in here for a couple days and see what I miss......probably had cake too, with lots of frosting. :>)

Hope you had a happy day and you could do something that YOU wanted to do.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Thank you for the bday wishes. I did have cake - I made me a cheesecake and when DD and her crew got home (they were traveling from KY on my bday), my eldest DGD made me a homemade fudge cake, going to be doing lots of intense gardening and walking to get those two off my hips.

Lisa, they had such a good time that the four kids had started snarfing at each other like siblings.

We got a sunny afternoon yesterday after the rain. Stan worked himself to a stand still on the 8000 on Monday, so he's been working on fences and yesterday he started getting the cattle trailer ready to move heifers. He and his dad built the trailer years ago and the floor is on it's second (or third) life and the hubs and brakes are shot so he was tearing that apart. Today, our eldest DGS is coming to help with fences either at the dry cow pasture or up at Stan's brother's where the younger heifers spend the summer. It will be an interesting year up there. Stan has always used the barn to feed the heifers grain and he put catch gates in so he could catch them to have them bred. Well, his brother let things go and the back end of the hay mow fell in over the winter. It looks like they might be able to save enough to still use the catch gates, maybe. It made everybody a little sad and their mother rather disgusted with her youngest, but barns without animals in them tend to go.

I did some major whacking yesterday while Stan was doing evening chores - cut down the autumn clematis, trumpet vine and 2/3s of a rose bush that had been neglected for a couple of years. There was a lot of dead in it, so it looks like a mere shadow of itself, but I think it will thank me. I haven't pruned it for the last couple of years, always left it for last and then didn't get to it. It's an FJ Grootendorst with some major nasty thorns.

today is looking like a real spring day and I have to run to town to get groceries and then do some more trimming. The sun is rising up over the hill and shining on me saying, Get with it! so I guess I will.

take care.

southeast, NE

Happy belated birthday Kathleen! I'm alway late for everything!

Our calf twins were boy and girl. The heifer is the one being fed by the goat so since she is a free martin, she will end up on someone's plate. DD & SIL brought another twin (bull calf) home from SIL's family ranch. They will put the bull calf on the goat when her kids are weened. This goat had some nice females that we want to keep. So SIL is bottling the calf for a few weeks. DH noticed a neighbor planting corn yesterday - seems a bit early for that. We need to plant some alfalfa but dh thinks we should wait a few weeks. Such a gamble!

I think it's supposed to rain today thorugh the weekend.

Better get back to work - take care!

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Nebraska Jewel..........if the twins are from a good cow, there is a blood test y ou can do on the heifer. The "Y" chromosome is present in the blood from birth, so you can do it right away. Let me know if you are interested and I can give you more info. It only costs $25.00. I've used it quite a bit, and found 1 heifer twin that was NOT a freemartin.

southeast, NE

Anna - yes I would like more info. I will check with DH for sure but I believe this heifer is a very nice calf and comes from a good cow/bull combination.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)


This is about 15 miles from me. We knew that with wolves released in central Idaho and having been seen in Washington and a couple of stray ones in Oregon, that sooner or later they would come here and cause a problem. I don't know if my neighbor with the sheep I help take care of has seen the paper, so I will take my copy to him.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

I hate wolves. I don't know what the fascination is with them. So stupid to "introduce" them into an area where they can kill lambs, calves, etc. and since they are "protected" y ou cannot kill THEM!!!

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Why don't they take them to New York City or Washington D. C. They could find good homes for them there. That's probably where the people trying to protect them are from.
Here they are just starting to come around. But no livestock running on pastures so not a problem yet. Some people have lost cats & dogs, but mostly to coyotes.
When we moved here 25 + years ago there was a beautiful beach to go swimming at. Now it has been taken over by Canadian Geese. Another endangered species that is now out of hand. Some people collect money for the crops the geese eat up.
Whitetail deer are not native here, but they are so thick we need to put up electric fence in order to raise carrots & beets.
But they are so pretty to look at!
Lots of them killed on the highways & lots of motorcycle riders killed too. They don't stand a chance against a deer.


Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

I haven't checked in for a while.. and was just trying to quickly read through the April posts.

Jewel, Sounds like you barely missed a really bad storm.. wow..

The big news with my husband and myself is his work status has changed.. His boss was very unhappy with him.. I told him to go ahead and take his retirement.. He had enough vacation time to get his to his 55 birthday.. Life is too short to be in a job that makes you completely miserable.. His retirement isn't the same amount as his regular pay check.. So we are hunkering down, and he is looking for another job.. not a good thing in this economy.. We are fine for right now.. We just want it to stay that way..

A new calf this morning.. the mom is half holstein - half simmental and we know to give her space when she has a new baby.. She is quite protective..

and this is so off Farm Life topic, but has anyone else listened to Susan Boyle? What a singer!

ok.. back outside to enjoy the day.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Yes, Susan is fantastic.

And how well I know about being in a job you hate...........I live it every day. *sigh*

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