Father’s Day, 2014

June 15, 2014

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Happy Father’s Day!

This is a photo our friend Jeanenne took of my Dad helping me move farrowing huts about a month ago.  Click on the picture to enlarge, and click again for more detail.  She has a nice camera and took the photo without us even knowing it.  Zooming in changed the perception, though.

The bare dirt in the background is my Dad’s corn field about a quarter mile away.  The white water tower with the Redbird on it is about three miles away as the crow flies.  In the foreground you can see how tall the rye bordering the sweet corn has grown.  There are some flags in the sweet corn field where I planted squash and pumpkins.

When Jeanenne gave me this photo she told me how nice it is to see family working together.  And she’s right, that’s one of the benefits of farming.  I’ve spent many hours working with my Dad.

There is also a little time for play.  I remember one Christmas, Dad  put up a basketball hoop in the barn.  My sisters being too little to play against me, I always bugged Dad to play.  He would usually indulge me in a quick game, especially after chores were done.

Thank you, Dad!


First Day of Spring, Rye Cover Crop, Egg Balancing,

March 20, 2014

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It seems like a long time since the last photo of the rye cover crop in November.  You know it’s been a long winter if you feel like a different person come spring.

Spring always has an effect on me.  Along with being outside more, I’m reading and writing more, and sleeping less.  It’s a funny thing, I always think I’ll get more reading and writing done in the winter, but it appears I enter a state of semi-hibernation, only to emerge revitalized in the spring.

The bottom photo shows a tradition in my family of balancing an egg during the spring and fall equinox.  Egg balancing research says that this is a myth and eggs can be balanced any time of year.

We’ve tried it various times, and it’s so easy now, yet so difficult at other times, I find it difficult to believe science.  Experts speculate my delusion fuels my success, and I’m open-minded enough to admit they may be right, but I’d rather be a successful delusional than a know-it-all failure.  Cheers!

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Dickies Insulated Bib Overall, Review

February 1, 2014

Dickies Insulated Bib Overalls

Restrictive, but warm!  I normally wear something like the ensemble pictured below.  But when the temps drop below zero F, I throw on these insulated bibs and am able to get my chores done without discomfort.

My Dad is a big fan of insulated coveralls.  He usually puts them on in October and doesn’t take them off until May.  But I’ve found them too restrictive.  I like to move when I’m outside.

That being said, I was too cold when the weather turned brutal.  So when Country Outfitters offered me clothes for free, I jumped at the chance to try these insulated bibs.

And I learned something.  I used to think when my toes and fingers got cold I had a cold toes and fingers problem.  So I would put on a second pair of socks and gloves to combat the problem with limited success.

Now I see when I put on these insulated bibs, it ties everything together and warms up my core.  This warmth radiates to my toes and fingers and I don’t need more socks or gloves.  Amazing!

Winter Farm Clothing


Madison Primal/Paleo Meetup

July 14, 2013

Madison Primal/Paleo Meetup

The Madison Primal/Paleo Meetup group toured our farm Sunday morning.  It’s always fun meeting new people who are engaged and interested in what we do.  Most were from the Madison area, but a few were from as far away as Michigan and Iowa.

I showed them a bred gilt who I predicted would farrow within a week.  She farrowed much sooner than that.  By 5 pm she had twelve nice piglets.  I wish the meetup could have seen it.

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Contest Finished: 12 Days

February 12, 2013

Contest Finale

Congratulations to John Roelli!  He guessed 14 days and was the closest to 12 days, which is how long it took to burn one of my rows, which is about 80% of a cord of wood.  Since John is a neighbor, I’m going to run some chocolates over now, and sweet corn later  when it’s in season.

I’m glad I took the time to measure how much wood I’m using.  It’s about double what I thought.  At this rate, I’m using two cords of wood per winter month.

 


Contest Update: Week 1

February 8, 2013

Contest Update: Week 1

Photo taken after six days.

Here are your contestants:

Doug, 7 days

John Roelli, 14 days

Walt, 16 days

Hubbard, 17 days

Gordon Milligan, 20 days

Brygy, 24 days

Toasted Tofu, 28 days

For the record, I would have guessed 28 days, which looks now to be more of a wish than an estimate.  As I tell my sons, an estimation is not a wish.  If you consistently under or over estimate, you’re wishing.

It’s good that I’m doing this.  I really need to get a handle on use.  I estimated the large pile I built up over the summer would last 3 to 5 months.  Not a very precise estimate.

It looks like it’s going to last about three months as I didn’t start using it until the middle of December.  Until then I was cutting weekly loads because I had time and the weather was nice.

Thank you to our contestants.  I’ll update again within a week.


Contest: How Much Wood for Outdoor Wood Boiler?

February 1, 2013

Firewood

How many days to burn the row pictured?  The dimensions are about five feet tall, by sixteen feet long, by sixteen inch logs.  This is about eighty percent of a cord of wood which is 128 cubic feet, the industry standard for firewood.

It’s mostly dry oak, although it was rained on the day before I took this picture.  And now another winter storm has dumped snow on it, but it still burns well.

You can look at this old post for hints.  Also notice the changing color of the lawn.

I’ll start burning this row February  1st.  You have a week to guess in the comments.  The prize for the closest guess is negotiable.  In the past I have given gift certificates to Kiva, and meat.  Good luck!

I hope my old friends guess.  I also hope some of the newer visitors will guess and introduce yourself.  Ever since Bruce King put my blog on the sidebar of his excellent blog, I’ve had more international visitors.

Bruce raises chickens and hogs on some highly fertile bottom ground in the state of Washington.  He also recently purchased a confinement dairy farm.

Firewood and Snow

Click on this link if you want to read more about my Outdoor Wood Boiler.  Below is a photo of the ash pan.  That is the amount of ash after two days, which is about how often I remove the ash.

Ash Pan


New Farrowing Record / Tough Times

July 21, 2012

Sow 62-3 farrowed 19 live piglets and one small dead one for a total of 20.  This is the new record for our farm.

It’s too many.  She only has 14 teats, and the piglets are smaller than I like.  I won’t keep any of her offspring for breeding, as I would much rather have 10 to 12 larger piglets born per litter.  But it’s still nice to note a record.

I went to an informational meeting on how crops are being affected by the drought, and how we can use the stressed crops.  The University of Wisconsin Agriculture agents lead the meeting.  It was well attended with many interested farmers.  The meeting was a little depressing, but my troubles were put into perspective as I drove home.

When I drove to the meeting I noticed a line of people on the sidewalk near the Catholic Church.  I wasn’t sure why they were lining up.  When I drove home, the line was huge and leading to a semi trailer which read something like “Catholic Mission” on the side.  The people were lined up to get food.


Cutting Down a Tree in the Yard

May 16, 2012

My friend helped me cut down a tree in our yard.  Half of it split and damaged the house three years ago, and I was dragging my feet cutting the other half down because its a nice tree with late afternoon shade for the house.  Now that its gone though, I’m glad.  Most of the trunk was dead, only about a two-inch section on one side was alive.

We put a rope up high in the tree around the bigger branches to help guide the tree and tied it to my tractor.  We weren’t entirely successful at guiding the tree, as the tree took out the power line when it fell, but I’m thankful we missed the house and shed and no one was injured.


Reality Review

January 1, 2012

Country Outfitter, a retailer of Dickies, sent me this Dickies premium insulated bib overall to review.

Adam from Country Outfitter asked if I would like to review a pair of boots.  I checked out their site and regretted to inform them I don’t wear cowboy boots.

“How about something else?”

I found these insulated Bibs.  So far I love them.  They are super warm.  I normally wear uninsulated Dickies with long underwear, but wanted to try something different  when the weather is brutal.

I’m going to wait and wear them for a winter season before I give my final review. 


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