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Posts Tagged ‘drought’

Rain and damp continue to keep us out of the last seventy-five acres of corn. Nearly forty trucks have come and gone, the fields studded with fractured and moldy stalks to show what grew before.

post harvest

 

The signs were right for weaning recently so we separated the most stressed mamas from their calves, across a fence from each other. This “fence line weaning”¬†reduces stress on both mama and calf. I came home late to hear a great deal of complaining from those fields the day they were separated, but by the next evening all was nearly quiet. We’ve moved herds around and weaned another group while waiting for the corn to dry out again.

newly weaned calf

 

With drought damaging the grass over the summer, we started using hay a good bit earlier this year. The Bermuda patch is all baled up and ready for the shed.

bermuda bales

A cold front came through yesterday, making it finally feel like October. We loaded another truck this morning and hope to finish picking here soon, so the harvesters can go start picking on the family farm down the road. Then it’s fence repairs, picking beans, and waiting for calving to begin in a few months…

 

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Today saw 104 degrees. Stepping outside, the breeze that normally cools the porch felt instead like the rush of heat from an open oven. Crossing the yard, grass crunches underfoot like leaves in fall. Yield losses mount as we try not to watch the skies. Even the corn looks to be holding its breath, folding itself up against the oppressive heat and high pressure. A quick walk around the field roads left me drenched and exhausted.

the popcorn patch

The milk thistle shows its evolutionary wisdom: to survive, it must die.

milk thistle, fully dried down

 

Although the air was so hot it felt difficult to breathe, the drying clover along the field ditches smelled like honey, and even the browning grasses held their own special beauty.

We celebrated our daughter’s fifth birthday on Tybee Island, Georgia, earlier in the week. We returned home to discover the chicken pen project was complete! Notice the windows on the coop!

chicken fence and coop

The fence is secured along the ground, with trenches dug out and PVC pipe stabilizing the bottom edge so that our next batch of chicks will be just as safe as the larger birds. The compost is contained inside the fence so the birds will have access to it.

meat chickens

These boys are nearly grown; almost all the birds are contained now. Tonight Brad hopes to catch the three remaining rogues and put them in with the others.

I passed the heifers’ pasture at the end of my walk. Some had ventured out from the shade for a drink:

thirsty pregnant heifers

Brad and Max waited for the sun to go down before working in the veggie patch, staking tomatoes until they couldn’t see. Tomorrow we’ll all continue where we left off today, stopping when it gets too hot and waiting for the rain.

 

 

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