There’s a new tool on the farm, one that’s been needed for far too long: a John Deere tractor. Now that it’s finally here, it’s time to get serious about spreading manure. The manure spreader has been on the farm as long as I can remember, but it was never much use without a tractor to get it moving. Before we could use the spreader, it needed to be oiled up, and prepared to work. The machine has been sitting idle for years, so we had to knock off some rust here and there, add air to the tires and replace a few pins.
The bucket on the front of the tractor is very useful for getting giant scoops of manure and plopping them into the holding area. When it’s full, simply pull it to the field, and flip a lever. The cart then uses the rotating motion of the wheels to power a series of gears which fling the poo everywhere, and in just the right amounts. Manure should be allowed to rot for a year before spreading it, or spread it at the end of the season. I can’t express just how much work this tool has saved me, as I used to do all this work with a pitch fork !
After all of the progress in the garden, I finally got around to planting these “Black Raspberries”. My sister gave them too me last year, and they have been sitting in buckets next to my walkway. When they were in the ground, I mulched then with some straw to prevent weeds from growing nearby.
To replace all of the energy I expelled during the day, I figured it was time to try out something new. In the fall of last year we bought a “half-cow” or all of the meat cuts from the animal. Since I’m not used to the names of the different cuts, it’s been a trial and error learning process about how to cook it. I like to keep things simple, so a frying pan, and some butter seemed appropriate. I then cut up the “English Roast” to help it cook better, and tossed in a few Stuttgarter onions from last years garden. Just as I was about to finish up, I ran out and grabbed some Chard, and added it before calling the whole concoction “edible food”. I really enjoyed the taste, so I thought I better add this to my blog so I won’t forget how it’s made.
I’ve snapped a lot of pictures today, as it’s been one of those days where a world of difference unfolds. A few days ago, I decided to trade my old rooster in for one of the roosters I had hatched from eggs earlier in the year. When I put the new rooster in with my egg laying females, they let him have it, and I found him hiding in the corner day after day. I decided to put him in a different cage, and since my egg layers are getting pretty salty, I got a few new chicks for my new rooster.
I now have five egg laying chickens (and five dozen eggs in the fridge), a new rooster, and two new female chickens that will start laying in the fall. I choose these oddball colored chickens, as I’m out to start my own off-shoot of chicken evolution. Maybe someday there will be a ITFarmer breed of chickens running around….
Sandy asked me to come to her farm to take some pictures of her East-German Shepherds. As she was rounding up the pups, I wondered off to take pictures of the other inhabitants of the farm. Above is one of their cows, the look on it’s face makes me wonder if it knows about that Big Mac I had on Thursday….
After scoping the cows, I stumbled upon this happy goat. He seemed to be having a great day. His ears are fairly long, and his horns are bent back out of focus.
When the puppies were ready, I began to learn a thing or two about photographing animals: They never stand still long enough ! These puppies were very cute, but I’m used to taking pictures of cucumber plants that don’t move. I took many pictures, and learned a lot about timing.
After many photos, we got a good number of cute and detailed pictures. I’m not much of a dog person, but this picture just screams “take me home”.
We all went to Mom’s farm afterwards, and began preparing lunch. Peppers were picked from the garden, onions were sliced, and of course we had to throw in a Brandywine tomato. These veggies on a stick were first microwaved for five minutes, then browned a bit in the toaster oven. Combined with a salad, we all left the table stuffed, after eating a meal paid for with no money, simply the time we invested to grow it.
To end the day, we picked lots of corn, zucchini, and melons, and Davie offered to man the stand to see how the customer response would be. Here’s hoping it’s a big success, as it’s the first venture after the market mix up.