Friday, August 10, 2007

A Busy Month

Thanks Pen for reminding me to do this. The whole point of blogging was so I didn't get behind on recording what we are doing. I guess July got a bit ahead of me.

Here's what we have been up to,

The kids and Connie had Vacation Bible School for a week. They had a great time, but it went pretty late in the evening. The last day of VBS was the first day of Camp Roberts. We had two young friends come stay for three days. It was great fun. The kids got to help with all the chores, including milking the cow and goats. They made scrapbooks, went swimming, made tee shirts, cooked out every night, and slept in a tent. We also enjoyed a fun day of fishing with to cub scouts. The cub scouts are coming to our house for a rocket project on Sunday.

Julia was also very busy with 4H. She had an oral report, a demonstration, and the Goat Skillathon test this month. She did very well for her first time.

Things on the farm have been a struggle. Time, heat, and water have all had a big impact on what we could get done. The garden has really struggled due to lack of rain. Some things have done very well in spite of the weather. We have had an abundance of Chard, Zucchini, and Beans. The tomatoes have set well and are starting to ripen.

The garlic had to be dug a bit earlier than I expected, but I am pleased with the overall quality. We have enough to put in four 50ft. beds and still have quite a bit left to sell. People are really interested, so I hope it does well.

August brought rain. The temp has stayed in the 90s, but at least I'm not trying to water the garden every day.

Everything is settling back down after a hectic month. Now we can focus on getting the house painted, getting the fall garden in, keeping up with the grass, and getting the kids ready to start school in two weeks. It should be a bit easier than last month. I have finally worked the kinks out of my grazing system and am ready to put up some more permanent fence (in my spare time). It's fun to see a MIG system start to work. (I knew it would, but it still pleases me when it works in the real world.) We are feeding about 2000 lbs of livestock on less than an acre. Our neighbors run one cow to the acre (about 1000 - 1300 lbs) in a set grazing system and had to start feeding hay in July because they were out of grass. When I talked with them about what we are doing they say that the two system can't be compared because I run goats in with the cow and they eat different things. While it is true that the goats eat some things the cow wont, in my pasture they all eat pretty much the same thing - grass, there isn't anything else.

We are struggling a bit with the cow. We need to get her bred but can't find a bull who wouldn't crush her anywhere close. We will probably have to have her A.I.ed but finding someone who will do it isn't as easy as I thought it would be. I'm going to have to get trained so I can do it myself. It's all a matter of time.

The redwings seem to have dispersed, but the barn swallows are out in full force. Some evenings there will be 50 or more following me around the pasture. It can be a bit unnerving as they swoop in quite close to catch the bugs I stir up as I walk through the grass.


Dawn said...

Hello Roberts,
I know about the busy part. I haven't had much of a chance to get online so I have had to do a bit of catching up. Did you get your milk cow bred? Are there any college students that could use some hands on experience in the AI department? It sounds like things are rolling along for you. The kids are getting so big. I miss you all.

suellyn said...

Hi Alan and Connie,
Hugs to the children who are growing up, even the one I never met. Penni sent me your blogspot address after I returned from my visit to South Africa and Namibia (real local eh?) I'm paying with guilt and carbon (buybacks? I can't think of the right word) but I can't say I'm sorry I went.

Anyway, I've read most of both sites to catch up and enjoyed them. I'll try to check in with you'all occasionally, and maybe write a bit about my own process of going local and growing food and organizing in a permacultural way when I have time.
Just wondering if I might see you at an OEFFA conference sometime?

I guess personal notes are OK on the blog... I don't know how else to connect. And I didn't see Penni's comment posted, but saw your response to her...
I'm going to click publish and see what happens and you can fill me in if there's another way.
Happy harvest,
And oh yes, don't forget about the lunar eclipse next week! Visible about dawn on Tuesday (28th)

Pen said...

I want to get the girls a bird we can keep in the garden.
What makes a better suburban resident do yout think?
Chickens or ducks?
I suppose a duck would try get in the pool hey?
Or am I just being silly?


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