Archive for September, 2009

Mid-week Rambling

Well, for all you picky people who didn’t like the color of my new blog, I have changed it. Is this any better? I was over at the old blog looking around for something and realized it had over 122,000 visitors when I quit using it. That really amazes me, thanks to all the folks that care enough to read my stuff. You all are like family.

Last couple of mornings have been pretty warm but the couple before them were downright chilly. Its been down in the 30s a couple of times but we have dodged any frost so far. Talked to a fella the other day that said they had a hard frost 2 mornings in a row, he lives a bit east of us. Geese have been stopping on their way south to eat my neighbor’s small grains. He grows a real neat mix of oats, buckwheat and canada peas. Its all combined up and the straw is baled but they are still gleaning the stubble with the help of a good many turkeys. When it was all swathed and drying they had quite a feast! We bought some potatoes from an Amishman the other day and told him we were looking for some laying hens. He had 10 young hens that just started laying so we bought them from him. All the Amish we’ve met so far have been real nice folks. We left for church on Sunday and the Amish were all going to church the opposite way. I’ve never seen so many buggies in my life! On our way home they were all heading home as well. It was kind of an Amish rush hour.

Did everyone see this story about Belgian dairy farmers protesting the milk price by dumping a days worth of production. They are also getting paid about half the cost of production. The war on farmers is global in scope. I wish our brother farmers in Europe the best, keep up the good work.

I was taking to the milkman about the Belgian milk strike and told me he lived through both of the famous North Country milk strikes. Said he had the milk cans shot full of holes while he was hauling them to the plant! He said the farmers were up in trees all along the milk routes shooting with deer rifles. Those were the days, he said no one that he knows of got caught. The second milk strike was in the 60s and by then they hauled with a tanker truck like they do now a days. He said he didn’t bother to leave the driveway that time!

Video like this should make you uneasy. I was not comforted at all by the answers these MPs gave when asked about their oaths. Army check points in Newport, Kentucky….

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A Good Cowman

Anyone who has spent any time around cattle knows that moving and sorting them requires people with some cow sense. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to do it with greenhorns. When I was a boy, I had the opportunity to work with some pretty good cowmen. I can remember hearing old Paul holler “You’ve got to be smarter than the cow!!!” anytime one of his workers lost an animal they were trying to sort out of a group. The older I’ve gotten the more I realize that Paul was absolutely right. Perhaps that’s why most people are worthless when it come to working cattle. My boys have grown up around cows and they all show promise of being good cowmen. Right now, Little John is 7 and is at the age were he is really starting to blossom in this area. John is good cowman now. Fact is whenever the cows are out or something needs to be done in this department I always know John can help get the job done. On a few occasions I’ve hurt the pride of grown men by telling them to stay back and out of the way and asking a 7 year old to “grab a stick and come with me.” The second load of cattle that came here came in the dark. They had to be unloaded on a concrete pad with a poor fence on the backside. They needed to go through a gate that had the first load on the other side, all wanting to come back out. Little John was in charge of the important job of running the gate. He worked like a well oiled machine, holding back the one group while popping the gate open just in time to put a cow or two through. He dodged and weaved like a pro and none of them out smarted him. I was so proud of the little guy. Its such a joy to be able to work with your sons and watch them develop the gifts God has given them. Raising the next generation of husbandmen is my number one job these days. I can’t think of any job more rewarding.

The Blight and My Tomatoes

I had hoped to harvest and can lots of tomatoes before we left Mt Hunger. I planted about 100 tomato plants and harvested 3 tomatoes (not counting the ones from one cherry tomato plant). The blight came through and hit everyone in the area pretty bad. Mom and Dad lost the 70 they planted and all the neighbors got hit one by one. The only tomatoes that lived were the Matt’s Wild Cherry Tomatoes that I planted. The seed was acquired from Amishland Heirloom Seeds. It was a wild cherry tomato that someone named Matt found in Mexico on a trip and brought back some seed. It is a vining plant and it crawled all over all of the dead and sick plants, but never missed a beat. It yielded tons of very sweet little fruit. Closest thing we had to fresh tomatoes this year. So if anyone wants a cherry that will resist the blight, this strain fits the bill.

All the following were killed dead..
Amazon Chocolate
Ukrainian Sabre
Old German
German Johnson
Roma
Early Girl (the only hybrid we plant)

The potatoes were planted early, and by God’s Grace, were all grown and died back before the blight hit. They yielded pretty good. The boys took some to the fair and won the Pontiac class with them. They were seed tators we saved from last years crop. Many people were not so fortunate and a lot of potatoes were killed before the spuds were very big.

“One Giant Toxic Asset”

Ron Paul interviewed about his book End the Fed.

More about the new place

Today we went to the local 4-H and FFA fair. It was a real nice little country fair, with no midway, rides or games. It was just a good old fashioned agricultural event. They had a sheep and goat show, a cattle and hog show and lots of produce, canned goods and stuff. Ate a nice chicken BBQ and were home for afternoon chores. I really love it up here, there is so much open grassland its amazing, and so many dairy farms still in business. The folks just around the corner are certified organic and they are also members of Organic Valley, real nice folks. Our new barn is wonderful, recently redone and very clean. The milk house was totally redone last year and is very nice. This barn is so much nicer than what we left behind. The cows are doing very well and are settled in to their new routine. We had a few flare up with high SSCs but they are now going back in the tank. We went out to the river the other day and the kids and Leah and I went fishing on Black Lake the other night. We have a lot of Old Order Amish around, the real deal, they milk by hand and have a community bulk tank and milk house. I look forward to meeting some of them. Tomorrow will be our first trip to our new church which is about 40 minutes away. It will be good to hear some Psalm singing again! Last Lord’s day the cows were still getting used to the barn and I didn’t get milking done in time to go. Now that they are settled in we get done milking by 6:30am, so it shouldn’t be a problem tomorrow. I know folks want to see pictures but I left the camera back in the hills with a lot of other stuff. We had to worry more about emptying out the farm house so we left a lot of stuff up on the hill since we own that place. Leah and I will be going back next week to pick up some more stuff. We also need to dig the rest of the taters and haul them up here. Well, time for bed. Lord willing I’ll be blogging more regular now.

Joel Salatin: Re-birth of the Family Farm and the Household Economy

Click on this link to read a pretty good interview with Joel Salatin by Franklin Sanders.

Settling In

We are finally settling in on our new farm in St Lawrence county NY.  Its been a wild couple of weeks, but all the cattle and all the people are now up here.  We just got the internet hooked up a day or so ago.  We really like it up here, so much so that in hindsight I feel silly about be so upset about leaving the hill country of southern NY.  The Lord opened some great doors for us up here.  We are in wonderful farming community, with a neighboring farm that is also organic and lots of organic feed in the area.  The barn we are renting is so much better than what we left behind, the milk house is almost brand new.  The cows are doing very well here, even after the long trip on the truck.  There is a Reformed church within driving distance as well as many old order Amish. The Lord has been so good to us.