Category Archives: hay

Vacation: Days 2 and 3

After the tractor pull on Friday night we followed my cousin and her husband in to Indiana. We had enjoyed the pull with them and had made plans to visit some friends together for the weekend. Our friends in Indiana moved there a couple years ago to join their family business, McCoy Dairy Farm. Brian and my cousin’s husband had fun talking to the guys, touring the farm, and helping out where they could. Since my cousin is due to deliver her first baby in October and our friend recently had her 4th child us girls had plenty to talk about too. It was really refreshing to see a dedicated Mom in action who manages to balance work on the farm with parenting. She’s my new role model! 🙂

I was really interested in the farm too. That barn in the picture is new – can you believe how wide it is!? Here’s the very best part…those of you who have read about my desire for a milk cow will understand. They. have. a. miniature. jersey. cow. Her name is Elaine and I’m in love. First I got to pet her – and then I got to milk her!!! I wish I had taken pictures but I didn’t want manure and iodine all over my camera. I spent awhile (maybe an hour?) in the milking parlor helping out. I’ve always been interested in milking cows so it was fun to try it. It seems like the type of job a person could get very efficient at with practice which is what I like. I told Brian I know where we’re going to move if we ever have to rely on my income over his. I’d love to work for a vet down there!

That is all hay behind Brian. The picture doesn’t do it justice – it was like a wall of hay in all directions.

I think Brian could have stayed all week and I was really enjoying visiting and, I admit, holding the baby. As the weekend progressed Brian and I found more and more things we had in common with our friends there so it was great to talk with them. However, the whole goal of taking a vacation was to spend time together just the two of us with no farming to get in the way. We headed out late Monday afternoon…

More to come soon!




“Hey Ken, it’s Brian. We’re up north and the person who was going to check the animals tonight can’t do it now. Is there any chance you could run down? Everyone should be fine except the chickens might need more water.”

“No problem, you got it.”

“Thanks so much, we really appreciate it.”

The above conversation is one that we had with our neighbor and good friend over the 4th of July weekend. I know we have great neighbors but I’m still amazed at how great. Ken and his family have been very supportive since we moved here. Brian helps him as much as possible during harvest and then Ken brings his equipment and harvests our fields. We would really struggle without his help.
When our barn was burning, he was one of the first people I called (after 911 of course). Looking back, it is kind of funny. Ken ran out of the restaurant where he was eating breakfast with his wife and his brother, leaving them there. He flew in to our driveway in record time. Later, his wife and I cried together, with her remembering the dreadful day when their own barn caught fire.

Speaking of the fire, there were many people who helped that day. I remember two complete strangers pulling in, with their families in the car, and running to hook up hay wagons so Brian could stay on the tractor. Even the first police officer who arrived, seeing the situation, allowed us to keep pulling things out as long as we didn’t go under the burning roof. One good friend from our church slipped a fifty dollar bill in Brian’s hand that day. My cousin, her husband, Ken,and his brother all stayed late that night helped us put up a big tarp to protect our hay. That’s them in the above picture. You really do find out who your friends are at times like that.

We have another set of great neighbors right around the corner. They’ll borrow something, we’ll borrow something. He even picked up my peaches from the orchard for me since I couldn’t get there during business hours. Plus, our horses just love all the treats that they get over the fence.

I can’t forget the neighbors across the section who called yesterday to say that they had a big bucket of berries for me. They are soooo good too. We know those neighbors pretty well since Brian is over there at least once a week, visiting or exchanging tools (okay, I should say drinking a beer instead of visiting). We have 700 bales of hay stored in there barn, and they’ve been asking us to bring some sheep over to graze there pasture for about a year now.

The other neighbors are the ones who inspired this post. He pulled in our driveway this morning and announced that he has something I can pick if I’d like. I think he said some kind of onion, I couldn’t hear for sure. Pick every other one, he said, there is about 200 there so help yourself. I have to confess, I was a bit taken aback by him and his wife last year. After hearing we had asparagus, they pulled in, dropped some frozen sausage in my lap, proclaimed that was “for the asparagus”, and proceeded out to my garden with buckets and scissors. Not knowing what to do, I sat in the house and watched out the window as they took what they wanted.

Nowadays, I understand. That’s just how things work between neighbors!! 🙂

Do you have a great neighbor or a story to share about one?

Farm Update

I’m still here! Haven’t posted much this week due to the time change (I think!). I seem to be stuck in my old schedule and going to bed much later which means I’ve been dragging and tired all week. We’ve also been pretty busy, so I thought I’d fill you in with what we’ve been up to:

I know the video is a little dark but can you hear the little lamb sounds!? We had twins born yesterday. The mama had me worried as she started to have a vaginal prolapse a couple weeks ago. We fitted her with a harness truss, which is basically baling twine tied around her in a way that encourages her insides to stay in. The harness truss worked well, so well in fact that it was trying to hold the babies in! Brian came home to find feet poking out, cut the twine, and helped to deliver the first baby. Then, when he had me on the phone, another set of feet appeared! Both mama and babies are doing great, and she is showing great natural mothering instinct.

So, we only have one ewe left to lamb and I think she’s getting close. She showed some aggression towards the other lambs so right now I have her in a lambing pen while the other mothers and babies can be together in the main pen. I hope that she is gentle with her own lambs or we may have some problems.

Today I went to my Dad’s for a family gathering and bought a great little flatbed trailer from him. It will make a perfect base for an eggmobile. I’m expecting my order of heritage chicks in May which we will add to our layer flock. I also need to get in gear and build a pen for some broiler chicks, I’ve been talking about it for a long time and have a lot of interest already.

Brian is working like mad on the burnt shed now that warmer weather has come. He already filled one dumpster himself and is working on another. At first he planned to burn the old, singed lumber in his shop wood stove. Unfortunately, the foam they use to put out the fire also doesn’t allow the wood to burn. He called the foam manufacturer and was told that the foam is biodegradable so no special disposal is necessary. I can’t believe how much progress he is making! Right now we’re still unsure of exactly how we want to rebuild but plan to put a new roof on the entire building, rebuild and expand the lean to on the back, and then add siding later on. We’re still unsure if we’re going to use the excess insurance money to build a separate building for livestock or use it elsewhere and then build as we can afford it.

Brian is also getting ready to start conventional farming for the year. He spread some fertilizer on our wheat this morning and has more to do when he gets the time. We’re still not sure how much corn to plant since corn prices are soooo low, the current prices barely cover our expenses. We still have 3,000 bushels of corn from last fall that we’ve haven’t sold yet. This is also the first spring we’ve had square bales of hay left. We have about a 1,000 to sell and have had a lot of calls from one little ad on craigslist.

I’ve been knitting like an addict in my “free” time. I have the tote bag for Brian’s Mom done and one of the two handles knitted. Now I just have to finish the other handle and felt it! I have a lot of work to do on Brian’s slippers yet and have started a pair of socks for him as well. It is such a great hobby – I highly recommend it!

I’ve also borrowed a lot of books on Once A Month Cooking from the library, went grocery shopping today, and plan to make a bunch of meals to freeze tomorrow. The idea has interested me for a long time so I hope it works out. Any tips from the pros?

Even with the joys of spring I feel a teeny tiny bit sad that the lazier days of winter are over. There’s nothing lazy about summer on this farm! What about everyone else – are things getting hectic yet?