HOT Happenings

Dark Cloud

Posted on August 28, 2018 at 6:00 PM

My dad has aptly nicknamed Andrew "Dark Cloud". In DC's word's, "it's going to die, it's going to break, it's not going to work."

DC has been telling me all summer the apple tree planted last fall is going to die. It finally gave up this week. 

We have had the driest summer on record. So far 9 inches of rain, 22 inches is the norm. The hay produced off the farm this year was less than a bale per acre. We probably will not get a second cutting either. I was hoping for 3 bales per acre produced this season. I purchased bales of corn and milo and have been feeding the cows corn since early August.   The cows have decided they like the corn.  After a few weeks I put out regular hay and they turned up their noses and went back to the corn. Which is okay? Corn bales are cheaper but they go through them faster so in the end the cost is probably about the same. Next week I'm going to plant turnips for the cows and hope for some rain. The turnips should be ready in 45-60 days and have a high protein content. Today I have been out working the proposed turnip site and I came in brown from the dust. Should have worn a dust mask.  

I turned over the shredding duties to Mark because there is an area in the field that requires the expertise of someone with a higher pay grade. Dark Cloud was watching Dad on the tractor shred a tricky spot in the field and said, "it's going to break". At least I was off shredding duties until the shredder was fixed.

In March I planted a native seed mix in the pasture and have Bundleflower and sunflowers from that mix growing abundantly.  The Sideoats are showing, but not as plentiful.  Johnson grass (not part of the mix) is also growing well and I have to lop the heads off every couple of weeks. Johnson grass can be a good/bad thing. Depends on how you manage your herd. First, it can takeover a field in no time. The seeds can be viable in the soil for 10+ years. Second, it can harm your cattle if not grazed properly because of a build up of prussic acid.  But the good thing is it grows like a weed, because it is a weed, and is good fodder for cattle. I am trying to get rid of the Johnson grass so that it will not overtake my native mix without using chemicals so that requires cutting the seed heads every few weeks. 

This past week my husband and I tried 9 different ways to put a 20 by 200 foot tarp over some milo bales. Andrew was right again, "it's not going to work". I know those farmers on the high plains can do it, why can't I? Do I really need this tarp? It probably won't rain anyway. I decided the tarp was better off secured in the barn than flying high over the field like a deranged UFO.

Andrew had come running in the house today complaining the chickens had pecked a scab on his leg and was bleed profusely. After he was all cleaned up I put a bacon bandaid on his leg. He said, "don't we have anything else? They'll peck at that even more."  

The blood thirsty chickens have plucked their white tail feathers, sown a surrender flag and are flying it above the coop. I know they wish for rain too.

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