Making Hay
Week of February 2nd, 2003 | The weather was a little bit snowy.

Trees in CRP

Trees in CRP

Hello to all! We had some snow this past week, but the rain we received on Saturday turned it into slush. This increases the amount of work we have with the livestock.

Sunday, Dad and I went rabbit hunting. We walked around the farm, but did not see anything. It's a little weird that Dad and I could not find a single rabbit, but our dog, Sammy, did!

Monday was a cold day. Dad moved 18 sows from a hoop building to one of our Cargill hog floors. He left their little pigs in the hoop building because they are too big to live with their mothers now. Dad started building another gate on Monday for the hog floors. This is just like the one he built last week. He worked on the gate in the shop.

It snowed 2 inches on Tuesday. School was canceled due to the snow. I think we could have easily gone that day. Tuesday morning, I went for a walk around the farm. In the picture above, you can see trees covered in the fresh snow. I looked at many trees that Dad and I and the rest of my family planted throughout the past ten years. Ten years ago, our farm did not have a single Oak tree. Now, we have planted thousands of Oak trees and tens of thousands of other trees, too. I am very happy that Dad made the decision of planting so many trees. We have trees around the entire border of our farmland. Most of the land planted to trees is enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. This land is rented to the United States Department of Agriculture in a 15-year contract. In ten years, I plan to take over the family farm. When I do, I plan to build a hiking trail through these trees around the farm. It would also go around the farm pond. I hope to accomplish this goal someday. I think it would be pretty neat to hike around the farm during the fall with the many trees around and see all the different colors.

I helped Dad finish building the gate on Tuesday. He hung the gate on Wednesday. I think the two gates look great and have improved the appearance of the hog floors. They both cost very little to build. Most of the material was given to us by the electric cooperative that has power lines on our farm. Thursday, Dad finished building two more hog floor gates. These gates are made to close off one of the two huts on each of the Cargill floors. Dad built one gate per floor and that took 8 gates total. I think these gates will be very helpful.

It snowed another 2 inches on Friday. I had a 2-hour late start for school. Remember the power box Dad purchased last week? On Friday, Dad started to make some changes. The gearbox that drives the spreader was missing and we had a good one in our salvage pile.

Saturday, Dad and I hauled manure out of the hog floors and the cattle yard that the calves are in. The manure went to the compost pile where it will be composted and will than be spread on the fields in the spring. While I was spreading the manure on the compost pile, the manure spreader broke down - BIG TIME! Dad and I still do not know what really caused the problem, but the apron of the spreader fell apart. An apron is a mechanical conveyor that moves material to the back of a wagon. Many pieces of the chain were scattered around, but hopefully, Dad and I picked up most of them. Now, Dad has to put together the whole apron. That is quite a job!

Due to the excellent increase in sales for Organic Valley, they have recently announced their plans to build a 4 million dollar office complex. Outgrowing their existing office space, has led to this decision. They not only will be able to have all of their office rooms in one building, but it surely will be a positive move for all involved. Thanks to you (the customers) for your continued support toward organic foods. Probably by the end of the year this project will be completed. Can't wait until I see it!

Farm Fact: Organic regulations forbid the spreading of manure on frozen soil. We pile our manure most of the year and we spread it on the fields just before the ground is prepared for a corn crop. Manure spread on frozen ground is subject to loss when water runs off the field.

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