Happy Holidays to all! I am very anxious for Christmas. It will soon be here.
Sunday, my neighbor, Dad, and I went deer hunting. Hunting deer helps keep the population down, and reduces the chance of auto accidents caused by deer. We walked a couple miles around the farm. We saw a few deer, but did not get a single one. Mom finished moving Jess to Owatonna on Sunday and came home that night tired. She was glad to be home! Monday, Dad finished cleaning out the hoop building we were cleaning last Saturday. After the hoop building was cleaned out, Dad spread eggshells on the floor about 6-12 inches deep. We believe that the eggshells will keep the bedding warm. This is where the pigs sleep and cuddle together.
I had my high school Christmas concert Monday night. The New Hampton high school chorus and bands played and sang Christmas songs. I was in the concert band and the jazz band. I thought the concert went quite well.
Tuesday, Jess came home. Since I was at school all day, she went deer hunting with Dad. Also on Tuesday, Dad took 2 hogs to the locker for local market. On Wednesday, Dad sold about 8 ton of feed to Organic Valley hog and dairy producers. It takes a lot of work to get the order together and load it out. Usually, the customers come and pick their feed order up.
Also on Wednesday, Dad moved 11 sows and their pigs (about 80 piglets about 2-3 weeks old) out of the North-farrowing barn and into the newly cleaned and bedded hoop building. I think the sows and pigs like the deep bedding! It really is cute and funny to see a family of piglets and their mother cuddled together sleeping in deep straw. It really sets emotions in your heart to care for the pigs.
Jess left on Thursday so she could do some Christmas shopping for us and do some other things in her apartment. She'll be back on Tuesday, Christmas Eve. Dad moved 6 sows that were ready to farrow, or give birth to piglets. Also on Thursday, Dad sold 5 market hogs and 6 sows. After he hauled them and unloaded them from our livestock trailer, Dad went to St. Ansgar to pick up premix for our own use and our feed business.
Friday, Dad replaced a corner post right north of our hoop building and he'll replace the gate next week. On Saturday, Dad and I put the heat houser on the John Deere 4020 tractor. Since the heater is broken in the cab of the tractor, Dad built a heat houser for only about 3 dollars last winter to heat the cab. It's a lot better than buying a 300 dollar heater! With the heat houser on the cab, I stayed warmed all day while I was hauling manure (we cleaned the hog floors and the cattle yard).
Friday night Jolene came home from school. She had finals all week. She'll be home for Christmas and New Years. She'll be back at school for second semester in mid-January.
Saturday, Mom and Dad surprised us with an early Christmas gift for the family. We got a new TV. The old one was not working well, but it did last for 14 years.
I take Industrial Arts (shop class) at school. In shop, my group and I manufactured four magazine racks. I purchased two of them and will be giving them to Jess and Jolene for Christmas (don't tell them!!!). I hope they will like it! It was fun to make and assemble many parts over and over again.
Also, I take Plant Science (agriculture) at school. We are learning about soil drainage and why it is so important. Remember when we put tile in a month or two ago? Drainage tile lowers the water level in the soil. This improvement produces better yielding crops. Less energy and fertilizer is required to produce a crop on land that has good drainage.
Farm Fact: In the picture above, you can see where I went hunting. A family of beavers cut down the trees. Beavers are interesting creatures. They build stick dams to create their water habitat. These dams help prevent flash floods. Many other water depending animals come after beavers and repopulate. Beavers are very intelligent creatures and good construction engineers. They help other beaver families find food or build dams. The dams are used for homes. They are hard working animals and never quit working. Agriculture can get along well with the beaver population and the dams they build if farming activities stay away from the streams. Much of the land in our county that lies along streams is now in the Conservation Reserve Program. Farmers, in our area, stay away from the streams and the beavers and their habitat.