Fall farm life is busy! We are in the midst of wrapping up the garden and cleaning up the farm for winter. Our to do list seems to be a mile long and more items somehow keep appearing but that is okay! I am giving my worries to God. It will be fine, everything is fine haha.
We need to winterize the garden, divide dahlias, plant cover crop seeds and wean the calves. Tyler also wants to mow the pastures to help with weed control for next year. Winterizing the garden is an all man on deck kind of job. We need to mow down the flowers, pull up the netting, weed fabric and drip tape, till the soil, and plant cover crop seeds. Here is a post I did last year. Check it out for garden clean up tips and tricks. Tips and Tricks for Garden Cleanup! (farmhouseflowers100.com)
Dividing dahlia tubers will happen after the first frost. I haven't had much luck with Dahlias but I am determined to keep trying. They are a crowd favorite. Dahlia tubers are a bit of an investment but they multiply after one year and then you can divide. Interested in dividing your own dahlia tubers? Check out Tips for Digging and Storing Dahlia Tubers (farmhouseflowers100.com)
Weaning calves usually happens around Halloween. Each fall we wean and preg check the cows. The vet comes out and we also precondition the calves for colder weather. First we separate the calves from their moms. Weaning takes place when the calves are old enough to begin eating grain and no longer rely on their mothers milk. The calves go through the chute first.
The vet gives the calves a preventative vaccination in preparation for winter. Just like people, calves are more prone to illness in cold and wet climates. We also pour the calves with an insecticide to prevent lice and mange and lastly we implant the calves. Implants provide the calves with a dose of hormones to help boost their rate of gain. This increases the efficiency of feed consumption. Less feed=less carbon footprint.
The cows also take a trip through the working chute! Each cow is poured and preg checked. The vet performs a rectal palpation (check by hand) to determine how far along the cow is in her pregnancy. Just like people, cows are pregnant for nine months. This knowledge helps farmers provide better individual care for each cow.
This year we also have additional farm clean up happening. We have some old barns on the farm, some as old as 100+ years, that are beginning to fall down. I don't like seeing our barns come down but if we want to continue moving in the right direction we need to keep the farm safe and operable.
Grandpa and Dad farmed farrow to finish hogs. Farrowing is the act of a sow giving birth to piglets. We had the pigs on our farm from the day they were born to the day they went to market. I may do another post in the future about the history of the barns on our farm! I think it would be interesting to look back.
The finishing barn, old corn crib and farrowing barn (better known as our show barn) are all coming down. It will be hard to see the show barn go. We transformed the old farrowing barn into a place where we raised our show calves during our 4-H years. It was our home away from home. We practically lived in the show barn every summer! 4-H was what started my career path in agriculture! So many wonderful memories!
Fall farm life looks different depending if your a crop farmer, livestock farmer, or both! Many farmers are in the fields. Remember to be careful when following large equipment on the roads. Happy FALL!