A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Posts tagged ‘hay’

August 2012 Newsletter

This month has brought us some much needed rain.  The soybeans and corn are looking OK, although there are some areas in the corn that have been stunted.  Prices are still looking pretty good.  Hog prices appear to be going down.  Lee made 3rd crop hay and it yielded better than 2nd crop because the rain helped it to come back.

West Nile Virus has been rearing its ugly head.  There have been so many human cases all over the country.  Horses are also susceptible to West Nile, but there is a vaccine for horses.  I wonder why there isn’t a vaccine for people yet?  The horse vaccine has been available for years.

We have an adorable litter of 4 kittens.  Unexpected!  I hope to find homes for them.  One calico female and three tabby males.  I’ve been documenting their growth in pictures I’ve posted on Facebook for my friends.  Everyone loves a kitty picture 🙂

Kay and the girls were not able to make the trip to visit this summer.  We were really looking forward to seeing them so it was disappointing when they had to change their plans.  I’m hoping that everyone will make the effort to attend a planned family function in OKC next summer.  It would be so nice to have them all in one place!

In news of the grandchildren, Lexi was here very briefly  and we were so happy to spend a little time with her.  She’s  nearly an adult and really is such a nice person.  We miss her, and all of our family members who have moved away.  Meredith was here from PA with her husband and little Noah.  I was crushed that we only saw them for a couple of hours, and I didn’t even get to talk to Meredith.  It was kind of a drive-by visit!  Noah is a beautiful little boy. Alora has moved to Virginia (I think) to be a nanny.  It was a sudden departure, and there were no good byes.  Sheesh!  Collin was home on leave and has now returned to his base.  He leaves very soon on  deployment and I’m so sorry to see him go again.

It’s still very warm here in Wisconsin, but Fall is in the air.

There is a slideshow at the end of this post.  Thanks for reading, and see you in September!

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July 2012 Newsletter

The wheat has been harvested, and most of the straw has been baled.  The wheat yielded about 65 bu/acre.  The price is high right now, sadly due to the misfortune of farmers everywhere.  Now we’re seeing the sandhill cranes and Canada geese gleaning our wheat fields and probably finding bugs and frogs in the stubble. The next crop related job will be cutting and baling a small field of hay.  The lack of rain and high temps have burned up our pastures (and lawn) so we’ll be needing more hay than usual.  The sheep aren’t getting anything out of the pastures now, and Lee’s had to supplement them with hay.
We are still very dry.  Last night while all around us rain was falling, sometimes in gully washer proportions, we got a measly 1/10″!  It didn’t even settle the dust and only served to raise the humidity levels.  There are more chances for rain in the next few days and we’re hoping some of it will fall on our farm.
Even with the lack of rain, the roadside weeds and wildflowers are still abundant.  One of my favorites is wild chicory.  Its flowers are such a pretty shade of blue.
This summer has been hard on the farm cats.  We started this spring with 10, and we’ve lost several, either to illness or the road, or just unknown causes.  One of the kitties was dead on the road the other day and it’s the first time I’ve ever lost a cat that way and known it, in all these years.  We have more traffic on our road lately because we have new neighbors building a house and there’s lots of construction activity.  Well anyway, I think our current cat count is 5 or 6.
We’re anticipating some family visits in the next few weeks.  Collin will be home on leave soon, and Meredith and her family will be here for a few days in August.  Kay and the girls will be coming in August too.
Here’s a slideshow of photos I’ve taken in the past few days:

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June 2012 News from the Farm

First, let me say that Aubrey, Josh, and Carys had a wonderful time in Hawaii.  They were able to meet some of our family and spent some time with my sister Julie.  I have a picture in the slideshow of Aubrey and Carys with Julie.

Alora has made her way back to Wisconsin from Scotland.  It’s made me so happy to see her and I hope to spend some time with her in the near future, getting caught up.  She looks so good and I think she’s ready to begin making a life for herself now that she’s an adult.  She knows that she has her family as a safety net and that we all want her to succeed in whatever she does.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, our 16 year old grandson Cameron has been ill.  He has a genetic blood condition called spherocytosis and it’s kicking his butt right now.  He’s in the hospital and will be  there for a few days while he’s being treated.  We wish him a speedy recovery!

We have some birthdays this month.  Connor will be 15 (I think, forgive me!) on the 19th, and little Noah will be 1 year old on the 25th.  When I get a B’day pic of Noah from Meredith I’ll share it.  He’s so darn cute.

Here on the farm, we’ve been battling black cutworms in the corn.  This is a first for us, and the agronomists are telling us that it’s due to the very mild winter we had.  I have some pictures for you to see.  Lee has sprayed them and he thinks that the damage has stopped.

Lee got our first cut hay done without any rain!  He sold a few wagon loads to regular hay customers, and kept back some for our own use.  It’s such a good feeling to have that new hay stacked in the shed for next winter….and it smells SO good!

The lambs are growing fast and it’s about time to wean the bottle babies.  We had 4 of them this year due to having so many triplets.

Weather is still crazy.  A few cold days followed by a few hot days!

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Farm and Family

I started this blog to help me keep my family and friends updated on our lives.  It seemed like an easy way to reach everyone who might care about our latest news and views.  For the most part it’s doing exactly what I hoped it would.  Sometimes I veer off in other directions and write about things that no one else cares about but me.  Sometimes I have nothing to say.

Today, I want to write updates on both farm and family. Pictures will follow in a slide show.


We’ve had an unusually wet spring.  No flooding, but enough rain to keep everything soggy, and lots of humidity to add to the tropical feel.  Our crops are suffering due to some uncommon pests.  Slugs are eating the leaves of the corn.  When I say slugs, I mean tons o’ slugs.  There’s not much we can do about them.  Dry weather is our best bet.  We’ve also had some kind of worm/larva in the young corn stalks.  Skunks are breaking the corn off at the ground level to get at the worms.   It looks like someone went out with a scythe and hacked the corn off.  Although Lee was able to make most of the first crop hay, he has a field of alfalfa that hasn’t been cut yet.  It’s very tall, due to the rain, but the lower foot or so of the plants is moldy and nasty and the plants are long past prime cutting and will be tough, course hay when baled. 

The riding mower broke and is in the shop being repaired.  With all the rain, it’s looking like an untamed jungle here. 

There’s a huge old maple tree next to my horse barn and we discovered a family of raccoons living there.  Three youngsters and Mom.  The cat food in the barn kept disappearing so I suspected there was a coon raiding the food supply but was surprised to see the little ones in the tree one day.  I started closing the barn doors at night, and the little family has moved on.  They’re so darn cute, but naughty.

Speaking of the horse barn, my old mare Shamrock isn’t doing well and I’m worried about her.

On to family news. 

Lexi and JD were here for a few days.  Their visit was much too brief, but we’re so grateful for any time we’re able to spend with them.  They’re so far away, in Oklahoma, and any time we can get together is a gift.  They live in tornado alley near OKC, and ironically, we had destructive tornados here in Wisconsin while they were here.

Paige has gone back to work, and Nikki is caring for Payten while her parents are working and attending classes.  I’m so happy that Payten is with people who love her.  I know from my own experience that there’s a special bond that develops between children and the grandparents who help care for them.  I’m just going to end here with some pictures. 

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IMGP1023Last week I got an email from my cousin Bob, who lives in Michigan.  He had attached several pictures of himself and his wife Mary on their 50th wedding anniversary.  They look wonderful, and I’m so in awe of anyone who maintains a marriage for 50 years.  Congratulations to Bob and Mary and we wish you many more years together.

JDI learned about celebration #2 on Monday.  My son JD was offered a good promotion, and he accepted it.  In these difficult economic times, it’s been rare to hear good news regarding employment.  Of course we’re thrilled for JD and we have every confidence that his superiors made a good decision. JD is a newlywed, so he’s having lots of change going on in his life these days.  We’re proud of you JD, and so happy your life is going so well!

Lee01The 3rd celebration of the week was Lee’s 50th birthday.  He spent part of the day making oat hay in the 90 degree temps.  It was a hot, sweaty job, and not a fun way to spend a birthday.  In the evening we met his siblings and their spouses for dinner at the Chinese Buffet.  We had a very nice time.  Even though we live near each other, we seldom get together, so we enjoy seeing them and catching up.  Shirley picked up a little birthday cake, and  there were the obligatory age joke birthday cards.  A very enjoyable get-together.

The final celebration of the week was Meredith’s graduation party.   Meredith is a beautiful young woman,  smart and clever and funny.  We’re so proud of her and wish her only the best in everything she does in the future.  Nikki made enough food to feed an army, as always.  She gets that from me, but I don’t do that so much any more.  We missed seeing Collin and Alora while we were there.  We never see Collin any more and we miss him.  He’s so busy making a life.

June09 021meredith grad cakemeredithgift-table


haybaleLee finished making our 1st crop hay the other day, and as we often say on the farm, that’s a good job done!  Not only is it all baled and stored, but he was able to make really good quality hay.  In our Wisconsin climate, it can be a big challenge getting the hay dried, baled, and under cover.    He made orchard grass hay for the horses, and has a nice timothy and alfalfa mix that he uses for the sheep.  We’ll sell whatever surplus hay we have, as always.  Some of our regular hay customers are feeding llamas and we have a few horse owners who buy from us too.  Just a point I’d like to mention, for those reading this who may not be farmers….the nice green bale in the picture is hay, not straw.  Straw is yellow/golden and is not a feed.  It’s used for bedding mostly.  The green bales are hay and they are animal feed.    The smell of hay has to be top on my list of favorite things.  Right after it’s cut and laying in the fields drying, it smells amazing.  Walking into the shed where the newly baled hay has been stored, a beautiful aroma.  The very best hay smell for me is when the horses are tucked into the barn at night, chewing on their supper hay.  Their chewing releases that lovely hay smell and it’s such a comfort.  Hay can be full of surprises.  Foreign objects get baled up in the hay sometimes and we’ve found sunglasses, dead snakes, frogs, lots of feathers, paper, balloons, and more.  That’s my hay knowledge for today.

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