A full farm, fencing and friends.


 

We are now pretty close to being a full farm. The 40 yearlings that will be this year’s CSA beef arrived last week from their home farm in Vankleek Hill. They were in the winter paddock area for a few days, eating hay and getting used to the place, as we waited for the pastures to green and grow.

 Yearling cattle arriving 

The drier and warmer weather made it possible for us to get the fields cultivated and seeded. We were seeding three different types of grasses, a mix of legumes, and oats as companion plant.

  Seed drills to seed pastures

On the last morning of seeding, the workers realized they were running out of the legumes mix — the small seed. Here Paul is speedily mixing alfalfa, bird’s foot trefoil and huia white clover.

If you want equal parts of each, you would think that you would have to mix one full bag of each, but since the seeds are different sizes, you actually need one full bag of alfalfa, two thirds of a bag of bird’s foot trefoil, and one third of a bag of white clover if you want a pasture with an equal number of plants of each type.

 

Open seed bag Pour Seed Into DrillAdd seed to drillMix the seedMix Seed some moreFinished Seed Mix

I’m not sure it’s entirely visible in this photo but the oats have started coming up in the fields across the road (a happy sight to wake up to.)

 

 Germinating Seeds Across the Road

 We’re still working hard to stay on top of the fencing, in order to be able to give the two different herds — the cow-calf herd and the yearlings herd — fresh pasture every day. Making our fencing systems more efficient is really key. Here the fencing cart is being upgraded, replacing the wooden reel with a welded metal one made out of some of the stop sign posts that we inherited.

Building a fencing jenny 

The roll of fencing wire stays in place with the hooks and the wire is now fed through a ring that can be opened and closed to allow for easier manipulation.

Notice the rubber stopper in this model, an addition that really speeds things along as it keeps the reel from spinning on (and having to be constantly re-rolled) when we stop the cart.

 Home made fencing jenny

Careful planning (and long work days) are making rotational grazing possible despite our needing to build permanent fencing, temporary fencing, fix culverts, and move pasture pumps.

 Cows rotating on pasture

Despite the seemingly endless amount of work, the long days and little sleep, we’ve been pretty blessed with visits from good friends, eager to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand,

 Grazing in fields

some good times together,

 Looking at pasture with son

and some amazing skies.

 Sunset at the Farm