Thursday, July 23, 2015

Unity Farm Journal - Third Week of July 2015

In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about mobile devices and my own blood pressure variability.  

The one time that my blood pressure is normal is during a day of farm work.   After hauling wood, planting/harvesting, caring for animals, maintaining trails, and repairing infrastructure, I’ll walk down our farm road through the orchard on the way back to the house.   All the tension of the week fades away with walk along the road.

Last week we moved 10,000 pounds of manure from the barnyard compost area to wind rows near the orchard.   We use “llama beans” to amend the soil in our hoop house and supplement our trees/squash beds.    A heavy rain made the manure very heavy and on the way to the wind rows, a buried underground stump collapsed, causing the Terex front loader to tip over with a 1000 pound load.    Luckily I was standing nearby and the opened the emergency exit for the driver who exited unharmed.   We used a truck and heavy duty nylon webbing to pull the Terex back into the upright position.   No harm done!

With the manure cleared, we’re redesigning the barnyard so that we can install a 17’x24’ hoop house for equipment storage - moving the Terex out of the barn and the mowers out of our pasture lean-to’s.    We’re also creating an area that might be used for pigs in the future.  We’ve scaling back our wood storage to just 4 cords (from 8 cords).   We’re re-grading/leveling the barnyard and applying gravel to the working surfaces to minimize the low spots that become mud wallows.   With every passing season we’re learning more about how to run a farm and optimize the physical arrangement/equipment to minimize maintenance tasks.

We did our annual vet visit for a full physical exam of all the animals this week.   The 14 camelids (alpaca/llama) are entirely healthy.   We gave the rabies and clostridial vaccines, checked their nutritional status, and carefully examined eyes/ears/teeth.    The only issues were that the llama is slightly overweight (but no change from last year) and one of our older alpaca has irritated eyes that we’re treating with ophthalmic ointment.   Our young alpaca continue to grow like weeds.   Danny (4 weeks old) is now 35 pounds and Sunny (1 year old) is 85 pounds.

The geese continue to follow us around the farm.  It’s as if we have 5 dogs - two Great Pyrenees plus 2 buff geese and 1 tuft goose.

The young chickens are learning the ropes of farm life, roosting in the coop night, staying safe from hawks during the day, and avoiding conflict with the other birds.

At midsummer, the hoop house is filled with peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and beans.  I fill a basket with fresh food every night.   Kathy is busy pickling and preserving the foods we’re not eating now.

The weekend ahead includes harvesting our garlic, potatoes and squash.   I’ll plant a few beds of lettuce and chard for early Fall picking.     We’ll spin frames of honey and bottle in anticipation of mead making and honey lager brewing this Fall.

I’m working remotely on Mondays and Fridays in August.   Although it seems early, the planning for harvest and the winter ahead is already in progress.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am not surprised that your BP goes down after working on the farm all day. You are obviously a high-intensity guy. Eventually your attention to both big picture and detail in your IT world will take a toll. I have to tell you how much I enjoy your farm reports. I just retired from the IT world and have no real interest in farming myself. I have to say, however, that I am fascinated with your weekly reports. There is something very beautiful in what you are doing. It is interesting to me that my BP, which has been borderline for many years, was 96/69 tonight. I thought there was something wrong with the machine but I also checked it at home. Being free of IT has been a good thing for me.