June 2015 update

It’s been so busy around here I didn’t even write our monthly update.  I have to think back now.

Our belted galloway steer.  We bought him in May 2015.  I love how he matches the color of the Hampshire pig.

Our belted galloway steer. We bought him in May 2015. I love how he matches the color of the Hampshire pig.

Winter was really dry and warm, early spring was really dry and warm.  Late spring was cool and wet.  Right up to about June 15 or so.  Then it got hot and dry for about 2 weeks.  What that spells is good grass growing and hay cutting conditions.  Lots of cool wet weather to grow the grass followed by hot and dry to dry it all out.  Our neighbor gives us his grass every year, last year we got 120 bales, this year we got 160.  Same ground and it was actually cut a few weeks earlier than last year.

Our gardens are in and doing very well.  For the past 2 yrs, irrigating the gardens was a chore.  3 hrs a day, 3x/week standing around holding a hose on plants.  Not hard work, but work nonetheless.  This year I’m too busy for that, my brewery consulting work is going very well.  So we installed a drip irrigation system for most of our gardens.  In total it cost about $300, but it saves me about 8 hrs of labor each week all summer long.  Very worth it!  The drip system covers most of our garden, the rest is covered by sprinklers, permanently installed for the summer.  So far so good.  The drip is very nice, but there are a lot of pieces and complicated parts with it.  Plus I am pulling water out of the ditch.  Muddy, algae, insects, etc.  The drip system requires 200 micron filtration, so we have a total of 4 filters.  The first 2 are coarse and were here before we bought the place.  The 3rd is a disk filter and the 4th is a 200 micron screen filter.  We clean the 200 micron filter at least 2x each irrigation cycle, a bit of work, but it takes about 1 minutes compared to holding a hose watering individual plants.

We use no fertilizer, herbicides, or pesticides in the garden.  Well, we do fertilize, but it happens over the winter with pigs.  We don’t do a lot of weeding, we mostly just let it go and enjoy the jungle.  At least I enjoy the jungle, Emily isn’t a big fan of it.  But she does most of the weeding so we’re all happy.

June 6.  The dirt mound is our hugelgarden, a less than successful experiment.  We have decided to stop growing veggies on it and turn it on to a perennial flower garden (less weeding).

June 6. The dirt mound is our hugelgarden, a less than successful experiment. We have decided to stop growing veggies on it and turn it on to a perennial flower garden (less weeding).

June 6 in the garden.  Pasture and eggmobile in the background.

June 6 in the garden. Pasture and eggmobile in the background.

Did I mention the eggmobile earlier?  Very cool, we’re still working out the details of the best way to work with it.

Our laying hens are on pasture all summer long.  For the past 2 yrs I was dragging their house across the grass; not easy.  So I built a hen house on wheels:

The frame of the eggmobile.  Eggsactly what I wanted at the right price too.

The frame of the eggmobile, aka running gear. Eggsactly what I wanted at the right price too.

What the hens used to use for their summer house.

What the hens used to use for their summer house.

Almost done.  I built a deck on the running gear, then set 2 bird pens on top.  I move it with our Gravely tractor.

Almost done. I built a deck on the running gear, then set 2 bird pens on top. I move it with our Gravely tractor.  Mesh floor, lots of roost space, up off the ground.  The idea is I can run lamb and pigs in here with the chickens and move 3 different species all at once.  So far only birds have been in there, I’m a little nervous to add more.

Busy.  Brewery work.  Farm work.  An 18 month old daughter.  Spring on the farm, it’ll always be busy.

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