Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Working Cattle

Recently we were made an offer that we couldn't resist, namely, a partnership with a cattle-farming friend of ours who is getting to the age that he would like to slow down a bit, but isn't ready to hang up the cattle prod yet.

So, suddenly, we have found ourselves in the cattle business, and we're loving every sweaty minute of it! (Well, almost all of them!)

There are 50 + beef cows, and um, somewhere between 100-150 dairy heifers. That makes for a fair amount of chores to be done.

This morning, we met at the corral around 5:30, there was a lot of work to be done, vaccinating and putting in fly tags and the like. We wanted to get an early start, and move those girls through before the 90 + degree day had fully arrived. Heat stress is not good for cows, or their owners.

Getting set up. David and Chad worked the squeeze chute.

Joe and Jonathan brought the cows up to the chute.

Josiah and I took notes. Or to say it another way, I took notes, and Josiah bawled louder than the cows every time a gate crashed. That lasted through the first 45 cows, then he fell asleep. (5:30 is too early for an 8 month old.) After that, he jumped and yelled everytime a gate was slammed, but kept on sleeping until it was all over!
(And Mama makes a mental note to leave baby with a sitter the next time she helps!)

When it was all said and done, we had worked 79 head of cows, calves and one bull, in just about 2 hours. We felt pretty good about getting so much accomplished bright and early on a beautiful morning!

Friday, June 11, 2010

2009 ~ Our First Year

Last year we planted about 30 acres of soybeans. David was so happy to finally be busy farming again!

The process of becoming certified organic has been interesting. We've enjoyed getting to know the folks at Oregon Tilth.

Sometimes little helpers are lulled to sleep by the roaring and bouncing of a tractor ride.

We took many walks through the bean fields, inspecting, admiring, and looking for little bean pods! I learned a lot about soybeans this year. The children did too. Even Katri, at two years old, soon became adept at finding little beans!

Bringing out the combine at harvest time.
It was fun to ride along with David in the combine. The shrivelled and dried up little plants yielded an amazing abundance of those little round beans.
Unloading the wagon, and filling the grain bin.
Overall, our first year of farming was a happy success. The beans produced well. We were able to buy some farming equipment, and still come out with a little extra money for living expenses. In the current farming economy, that's great!
This year we have a few new plans up our sleeve, and we're working hard to make them a reality. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Our Farm - A Family Project

David is definitely the primary farmer in the house. He does most of the work. But farming is a family affair. We're all involved, one way or another. Daddy never lacks for volunteers to 'go along' when he's heading out the door.

I'm the bookkeeper, picture-taker, and general keeping-it-all-together manager. I'm also the blogger.

So, why don't you join us? There's always room for one more to bounce along on the fender of the tractor, and you can't have too many hands when it's time to pick rocks in the field.

Come and see how one family is working towards farming in a way that is sustainable, organic, local, and also financially able to support itself, and us.

We want to share the joy of growing things. We love to get out and dig in the dirt, and we hope you do too!