Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cucumbers join the garden area

Today we managed to get the cucumber patch in just before nightfall.

There are 11 rows of 50 yards each. At 1 foot spacing thats about 1600 cucumber plants. These are "double yield" heirloom cucumber,  so we are expecting a good yield. These will be multi purpose....

fresh for pickling
And the rest is animal feed

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Trusty Hoss seeder

Here is our trust Hoss Seeder... I love this thing. It makes planting on a mid scale usually easy. Has held up pretty well too, no problems and this is three third year to use it.

It does have a little trouble with rocky ground, and with multi size heirloom seeds, but I think it's as good as it gets at this scale.

We have managed to plant a lot of crops this year in very little time, and without blisters or back ache!

If your looking for a useful time saver for planting... This is as good one

Pumpkin patch is in

Today got the pumpkin patch in the ground..  Approximately 2300 plants covering a half mile of rows. That's a healthy dose of pumpkin for winter pig feed!

There is the pumpkins.. All the way to the fence line

Friday, May 29, 2015

Newsflash! Jackson gmo ban upheld in court

Just heard... federal judge released the judgement stating that jackson county gmo ban stands as is. The lawsuit against the county is denied.

Here is a link to the actual judgement

 judgement text 

One thing this means is that we can now start back into honey production in a big way! We had stopped all honey production since our old time natural methods are totally incompatible with gmo crops within 10 miles. Now, with gmos prohibited once again... healthy honey is ready to flow again!

Melon patch is in the ground!

We got the melon patch in the ground today.    Eight rows of about 150 feet.... makes about 1200 melon plants with one foot spacing. That should be enough to keep the pigs in juicy heirloom sweetness for a while! (Anyone wanna try melon finished bacon and chops???)

Unfortunately it took a while more than expected... the weeds had sprouted and with the tractor tiller down for repair.... we ended up tilling the entire spot with the old trusty hand tiller.

The drip lines worked out well this time though... from start to finish, including turning the water, was only about 2 hours. Love that Hoss seeder!

Tomorrow.... pumkins, squash, zuchinni, and okra go in!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Automatic sprouting hog feeder, it works!

With the success last summer of sprouted grain for the hogs, I decided to try to remove some labor this year from the sprouting  routine.  And the good news.. it seems to WORK!

We have a pasture feeder from Osborne Industries. This thing is amazing! It is designed so that the grain in the feed trough never touches the grain in the bin. In fact, eve if the feed tray fills to overflowing with water, the grain inside stays perfectly dry! IT does this by having a mechanism at the bottom of the bin that rotates when the pigs eat, and drops grain into the feed trough. No actual gravity feed.

So, the idea is.. leets just leave this thing full of water! that way, the grain sprouts on the way to the pigs but stays dry in the inside storage.  To accomplish this, I added a drip line to the lower part to drip constantly into the feed trough.  After some careful adjusting we are reaching a point where the grain stays wet and some actually sprouts while waiting to be eaten. Yet we only handle dry grain once a week.  Awesome!

No worries about corrosion, as the bottom is fiberglass. Water should nt come in contact with any metal parts that matter.

The proof as they say is in the pudding... or the poop in this case. After a couple weeks of this feeder in operation, a careful poop check (dont you love farming!)  shows near complete digestion of the grain. Without sprouting, it would only be about 50% digestion or less of dry grain.  More digestion of grain equals more bacon!

I'll post some pictures of the contraption when I get a chance, but it is seriously easy, just a single piece of drip line connected to a hose with a pressure reducer.  Everything is tied overhead the pigs and brought in over tposts to keep curious pigs from eating hte hoses.


2 Acres ready, but the tiller gave its all

With the tiny moisture we received from the rains last week, the ground was just soft enough to power the tiller through to prepare the "pig garden".  And power through we did! at the end of sunday night, we converted a total of 2 acres of hard dry pasture into plantable garden area!

Unfortunately the tiller, a very impressive land pride RTR series... didnt make it. On the final pass over the whole area, it threw a main bearing.  But.. thats ok, even if we cant get it fixed in time to flatten the top a bit more, we can plant as expected on friday.

This tiller is nothing short of amazing. Take a look at the before and after pictures!  with only a 30 horse tractor it plowed through to fine enough to plant soil in only a few passes.  It was quite the wild ride flattening those pig root spots and bedding spots. This area is where they spent their winter... so it was pretty torn up.

The area totals 2 acres... and currently houses the cabbage and beet sprouts (which are doing nicely!).  This coming weekend we plan on adding squash of a few varieties, zucchini, pumpkin, and okra. Hopefully enough food for the pig herd to make it through the fall and winter with minimal grain.

Here is the before picture... this spot is actually pretty tame, it gets worse in the back!

This is the completed 2 acre area looking over the original cabbage patch.

This shot shows how far back it goes. Imagine this filled with squash plants!

We ended up putting a hard panel up to keep the pigs back, with new babies born there is too much risk of them running the electric and wiping out the sprouts in one night. You can see the beet sprouts in the middle here.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Welcome home

Farm life...

Gone for a week on business,  14 hr drive home with 5 kids,  a baby,  and a dog while pulling a trailer behind "the buggy" '....  Tired...  Ready to head straight to bed...

And molly,  one of the milking goats,  is found in the dark stuck in the fence.


Bolt cutters... 

Time for bed

Farm life....

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Can you see him?

Deep in the darkness of this pig shelter lies a fun sight!  There is a sleeping pig laying on the right side,  snout to door.  All the way in the back right corner is a rooster standing happily on the sleeping pig,  crowing.

Wish I would have captured the audio!

The beets are up!

The tiny beets Sprouts poked through today!

Can you see them?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

New water setup at foothill

What a busy afternoon today!

We needed to modify the water setup at foothill for the pigs. The current setup was just too time consuming to maintain with the grain sprouting happening there instead of at the farm.  Plus .. the old car frame was struggling to ride the bumps with 2000+ lbs of water in the tank! So, we made a new setup.

The water trailer is now parked for at least a month at a time, probably 3 months, in a central location. The water line from the irrigation pump is 300 feet of 1.5 inch pvc bringing the water to the trailer. Then the trailer (with the solar powered 12v pump) is attached to 200 feet of 5/b inch water hose to reach the pig pen. This way the pens can float around the pasture as necessary and the water trailer can stay stationary.

An extra add was to install a pressure tank at the far end of the water hose, right at the pen and waterer.  This is a cheap hot water pressure tank holding 4 gallons.. . Putting this out at the edge should both stabilize the pressure available as well as slow the cycling of the 12volt water pump on the trailer for longer life.

Long afternoon, but we got it all set up and the pens moved today.  Good for another week or two!

Levi wanted to connect the flexible hose to the hard line. He loves working with tools.

Next the boy helped roll out the soft line.

Teamwork helping dad!

Levi struggles to open the top of the water tank. It was Tight!

And of course... a lesson in gluing PVC!

Finished product... a water fill pipe!

Look far off in the distance... toward the left... in the tall grass you may spot hunter working to round up some pigs that "wandered away"... those pigs!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Beet patch is in!

What a long day this was! We just finished the beet patch. whew.. tired!

This patch is the biggest beet patch yet.  it measured 44 rows of 75 feet each. Doing some math:

44 rows of 75 feet = 3300 feet
3300 feet with a beet every 3 inches = 13,200 beets

half harvested at 2 lbs = 13,200 lbs of beets
half harvested at 4 lbs each = 26,400 lbs of beets

for a grand total of 39,600 beets, or about 20 tons. Not bad for about 5000 sq feet of dirt!

These are heirloom beets, which we have been able to grow into winter to over 10 lbs each, still solid and juicy.  These guys make great pig and goat feed!

Not bad for a days work.. 20 tons of beets!

Cabbage Sprouts!

Our first crop in the ground is sprouting nicely!  The sprouts are all little heirloom cabbages. Actually too many to leave, they will be overcrowded.

We are using the same technique as we developed last year.. using the drip irrigation lines to sprout the seeds from day 1.  This saves us tome and maintenance. Just put the seeds in the ground with our Hoss automatic seeder, lay the lines out, set the auto water timer, and watch it grow!

Sauerkraut, here we come!

Here is the cabbage patch, 21 rows of 75 feet each

Look closely... a cabbage plant every 2 to 3 inches!