Spring On the Farm

So many blogs to write and so little time. Spring has sort of arrived on the farm. It was almost 90 degrees last week and today was 40 degrees; go figure. The old timers, folks older than dirt, say this is our Easter cold snap. It has been so dry that we have done little in the garden except plow. Sugar snap green peas, carrots, radishes, and potatoes are in the ground and being irrigated. Tomatoes and a lot more have been started in the green house.

The new blackberry plants look weak. Most, but not all, have leafed out. This was probably not a good year to plant new berries. The blueberries are half way through bloom and look good. Irrigation is going to be the challenge this summer. Today we are checking all drip lines for leaks and broken pipes. We hope to install a new main line distribution system before the end of May with better filtration.

Baby calves are still arriving. Two heifers still to calve (if they are pregnant). We lost too many babies this year. Everyone else says the same thing. The bulls are still on three sets of breeding cows, but that ends Saturday if we have time to catch them. Then we move the cows to new pasture that is not eaten into the dirt. The lack of rain is getting serious. The 70 acres of rye grass, clover and vetch is saving us, especially after we fertilized 50 acres before the last rain three weeks ago.

The butcher steers are getting ready to harvest. We will catch two this weekend and bring them to the house before they depart. The other three are ready in a month. We are taking orders for fall beef quarters now. All the 15 month old heifers and steers will be moved to Rocky Branch where we have the best forage.

Eva is still working on her flower garden. The roses are trimmed and starting to bloom. There is always something blooming here. A garden club from Texarkana has a lunch on April 14, so all will be ship shape by then.

Our latest project is an Egg Mobile. It is almost ready to roll out. Roll out because the chicken house is on a trailer frame and we move it on a regular basis cross the pasture. This allows the chickens to free range on fresh grass, bugs and what ever they can find. We expect really deep yellow egg yokes. Two day old baby chicks arrive at our local Post Office from Missouri on April 14 and April 29. We brood them for a few weeks then move them to the old barn. They do not get to the new chicken house until they are about six weeks old or more. From birth, its five months until the first eggs.

The spring chore list is so long it’s almost impossible to sort it out. From cleaning hay feeding areas (making compost from the old hay and cattle waste), dragging the fields with a tine to break up the thousands of piles of winter cow poop (spread it out to distribute waste and mineral over the pasture) to getting the berry patch ready for late May picking.

We continue to Twitter, but no sure if anyone looks at them, and we add something to Facebook every few days.