Early Fall on the Farm

This is anything but a normal fall. It is the mid October and they forecast 90 degrees today. Go figure! A week ago it was in the 50’s. Much of Texas had 5+ inches of rain a few days ago while we had sunshine. The drought that seems to go on forever is depressing. Day after day of seeing things die that you planted is not healthy.

This week we are setting 10 ft T-post (most of it will sink into the lake mud) in the lake at the Rocky Branch Grass Ranch and attaching cattle panels so the cattle there do not walk off the ranch. This was a 16 acre lake. At the home place, we will be moving the irrigation water intake for the berry field a bit further out into the lake. This 11 acre lake has dropped 50% and the point we are taking water is now only 5 foot deep. Thankfully our deep wells are still operating without any problem, but they can not be used for the berry patch.

Unless we get significant rain in the next 10 days, we will not be planting winter wheat and rye grass. That means that our use of hay will not diminish in the spring. Normally we can depend on winter pasture to meet over half of the nutritional needs of our cattle herd.

We have had plans for weeks to move the chickens onto pasture, but have had a problem getting electric poultry wire to work due to very dry soil. It takes a good ground to make the fence hot so it will repel animals that kill chickens. We have watered the area we will have the chickens in to try to make the ground work.

Yesterday, a 24 month old steer died for no apparent reason. The vet came and performed an autopsy. We will know in a few days what happened.

A somewhat bright spot has been cabin rentals. While not as active as last fall, we have had steady weekend bookings. We will offer until year end a 15% discount for a three night week day rental.

There are Farm to Fork Cooking Class opportunities October 22 (Cooking the Low Carb Smart Way), November 5 (Grass Fed or Free Range Beef, Pork, Lamb, and Chicken) and finally November 12 (Healthy Holiday Appetizers). The cooking classes seem to brighten our moods as everyone participates and feasts on the dishes prepared.

It seems we are working hard to just stay even, but with each day we slip back a little. I know that this will end and it will rain again some day. In the mean time, we just keep on keeping on and praying for rain.