A large part of what we do on the farm has to do with my kids learning where food comes from, what work looks like and why it’s important, and how to handle animals safely and with care. I think it’s important that they realize that work happens every day and the typical American Monday – Friday work week isn’t actually that typical the world over and that each day you get up, you have something to accomplish. While they are too young to really understand the complexities of all the above right now, they are seeing the example, much as I did at their age.
However, not every day can be collecting eggs and mucking stalls. Some days you have to mix it up. Thankfully my good friend Dustin was foolish enough to buy a sailboat recently. I took the opportunity with this boat to have some new adventures with Spork. I explained to SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) that the boat was going to require a lot of work and that it was my intention for Spork to go down and help me with all that work. Having seen Captain Ron a number of times, Spork was enthused about the idea of being a “Swab” instead of his normal Sporkness. After a number of days of work, yesterday was a day for just sailing. Mr. K, Dustin, Spork, and myself made a day trip out of it and got in about 4 hours of pure clean sailing with a fresh breeze and great weather. Although I spent a lot of time at the wheel, I did get a break which you can see above. I went forward to sit on the bow pulpit and immediately Spork came and sat on my lap. We had about 15 minutes of just us two riding through the waves and talking about whatever. It was the highlight of the trip.
Here is Spork learning to read channel markers. End game I’d like him to be comfortable tackling any job shipboard so that he carries those skills and that confidence into adulthood. I’ve had to learn sailing as an adult, and have always been a little jealous of the kids I see sailing by themselves at 9-10 who grew up on the water.
Of course we had to feed the hungry crew after a hard day of sailing. Last time we were in town we took Spork to a fancy restaurant where he had Pomme Frites cooked in duck fat along with other items he’d never had. He tried everything served and was a champ. Here he’s trying “gator bites” which are fried pieces of alligator tail. He liked them.
Sailors have to have their rum, well gin, and beer, and bourbon.
No children were harmed in the taking of this picture, that’s sweet tea for Spork.
It’s not the first country by any means, but it’s awful close to home.
Link to article
I was reading my latest Stockman Grass Farmer paper and they had a really nice article on how to know when your cow is ready to finish. A lot of it had to do with fat and how to judge it which I knew. However there was another tip about looking at the inside of the back legs. I hadn’t really looked at Sam that way before until this morning. I gotta say, the boy has some nice legs. He’s closer to finish weight than I really thought. I think he will be ready to go by the time we go in hay which will be about perfect as far as feeding. However since I can’t fit any more meat in the freezer we either need to sell some pork or I need to buy another freezer. Probably both.
Here you see the cows in the paddock just outside the barnyard. The grass is still pretty thin so we are doubling the paddock sizzle giving them plenty to graze. The clover is recovered in these paddocks and the cows are going straight to it first.
The beauty of having the cows in the front pasture is that they are right by the house and its like having them in my front yard. The downside is that moving the cows from the front pasture into the next pasture is the largest move we make. We have to move the cows from the far end of the front pasture all the way to the other side then through the barn paddock and into another pasture.
I am either getting smarter or luckier because this time we timed the move when the inmates were here. I also had Spork and the Princess to help me. With all that help, and a bit if strategic hot wire, everyone was moved without a hitch. In fact it went so well that I didn’t even get a picture.
The interns are getting better at this grazing thing than I am. They are making decisions I didn’t even look at yet and are keeping the paddock sizes right for the grass. Today John pointed out that the grass in the bottom of the upcoming weeks pasture is thinner than the grass at the top of the hill. I had noted that on the last rotation but hadn’t said anything. John picked it up and was already adjusting the upcoming paddocks for the individual conditions. Its great to see these guys getting everything down. It’s also great to see that individual attention is making a difference on the pasture.
While giving a tour to a 4H group this week, I was showing the soil conditions in our front pasture. Much like the other paddock which had completely different conditions, this pasture had about 1/2″ of dry organic material on top then about 3/4″ of topsoil. We have created almost all of that topsoil in one season utilizing nothing but grazing with no amendments. Pretty amazing.
Hot off the slicer, a full rasher of bacon ready to be vacuum sealed.
The Princess was in charge of the vacuum sealing and did all of these perfectly. It’s such a help to have great helpers. Not pictured is Spork who helped me by opening and holding each bag.
The cows continue their march across the pasture directly in front of our house. The grass is thick and good looking although the cows are mowing it down as fast as they can. The front pasture is small so the cows can cover a paddock pretty quickly.
After 4 days gone, the cows have killed the last of the phosphorous and also the vitamin V4 in the mineral feeder. I used my last bag of V4 this morning and the phosphorous was done before I left. I have a large replenishment order that is supposed to be here this week. I don’t think they have hit their schedule yet so I don’t have my hopes up but maybe this time I will get lucky. The cows have gone through 250 lbs of phosphorous in 30 days. Obviously it’s the mineral they were lacking the most. I just have to keep them supplied and the balance should return to the farm. I keep telling myself that when the bill comes.