Another busy week gone by! Mom, Dad, and I went on a little vacation and we were very busy with baling hay and straw when we got back. It also rained A LOT!!!
Last Saturday (July 27), Mom, Dad, and I went to a friend's wedding in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. This is a city along Lake Michigan. Nice place! A schoolmate friend and his parents went to the wedding and he vacationed with us afterwards. Sunday, we visited a maritime museum including touring inside of a World War II submarine. The sub was really interesting for Dad and I (we love studying history). It was really amazing to see how the crew could live inside of a small, hot, and noisy place. The sub was the length of a football field, yet very narrow and had limited space to house 81 men.
Sunday night, Mom, Dad, my friend, and I stayed in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. This city is also along Lake Michigan. We did a little fishing in the great lake, but didn't catch anything. Well, at least we can say that we fished in Lake Michigan! We also waded in the lake along side the beach in the evening. The water was cold, but it was still fun.
Monday, we went to Baraboo, Wisconsin. Here, we toured a circus museum. The old circus wagons were huge! We watched the circus show which included clowns, animals, acrobats, and even saw a tight rope act! This is where people walked on a tight rope about 30 feet from the ground! It was fun and amazing. We even pet and fed some of the animals - goats, llamas, and giraffes!
We drove home Monday night and my friend stayed at my place for the night. Tuesday, we dropped my friend off and finished our vacation. Mom didn't have to go back to work until Wednesday. Mom, Dad, and I drove up to Owatonna, Minnesota to visit my sister, Jess. Jess has been working at the large outdoor sports store, Cabela's. The store is HUGE! It was pretty inside, too. It's decorated with a big rocked area with game animals. We looked at the hunting, fishing, and camping areas in the store. They also carry a lot of outdoor clothing. We bought some fishing equipment and some clothes. When Jess was finished working for the day, we all went out for supper at a really good steak house restaurant. Just as we were leaving Cabela's to go out to eat, the weather got really nasty. I thought there was going to be a tornado. It got really windy and the sky was green! It rained very hard.
When we got home, Dad found out that we received a total of three inches of rain while we were gone over the weekend. This was not good because we had hay cut, but not baled. Rain on cut hay makes it moldy and very poor quality for cow feed.
Wednesday morning, Dad was in Dubuque, IA to give a talk to a group of farmers. Back home here, I helped a couple of ISU researchers with a study being done on our farm with animal health in an organic livestock production. After Dad came home, he and I raked the straw (the stems from the barley) and the cut hay. Our custom baler tried to bale some of the straw, but it was not fit yet. Fit means dry enough and ready to bale. Thursday, Dad and I re-raked the straw and hay. This time, it was fit. After our custom baler did the baling, Dad and I picked the bales up on Friday and placed them into storage in the shed. The rest of the bales were picked up and put away Saturday morning. We had about 6 more acres of straw left to bale. But this was not baled into large rectangle bales. Dad and I pulled out the baler we haven't used in years. This baler makes small rectangle bales. I drove the tractor that ran the baler while dad loaded the bales on the hitched hayrack. 150 small rectangle bales is a big load on the hayrack. I wish I had a picture to show you the tractor, baler, and Dad on the hayrack, but Mom and Jolene were gone at work and we didn't have anybody available to take the picture while we baled. We backed three loads of these bales in our sheds and they will be unloaded next week. We got done just before night fell. Saturday night, we got 2 more inches of rain; luckily, we just finished with the hay and straw baling.
Farm Fact: As you can see in the photos above, I have a before and after picture of what the cowherd can do. It is hard to control the weeds around buildings and machinery. Cutting the weeds with a tractor or lawn mower uses up fuel and pollutes the air with fumes. Chemicals are not allowed on an organic farm and that, too, causes pollution. A cowherd does not pollute the air or land. Cows dung can actually nourish your land. The cowherd does a nice job cleaning up the area. They don't like to eat thistles though, but who's complaining! The cowherd eats the other plants in these difficult to control places and makes valuable use of what most people consider to be problems.