Well I haven't been a big fan of winter since I became an adult and this winter is certainly not going to make my list of favorites. Snow snow snow!
Just for spite I started some plants in the basement all ready. A bunch of tomatoes, some peppers, an ocra plant, some pickles , and we decided to try some luffa sponge gourds.
We are trying to do more determinate varieties of tomatoes this year and try to stop the tomato sprawl all over the garden. We are looking at methods of containing the indeterminate types but so far the cheap cages from the hardware store and twine around some t-posts hasn't done it.
We bought a heated greenhouse starter kit at Menards. It has a heat pad 1 tray with cells and a clear top. It was about a third of the cost of one in the seed catalogs. Once things get growing good we will move the tray and keep it under grow lights and start another tray full of stuff. I know the plants I have started are way too early but sometimes you get this itch ya know? We build a lean to greenhouse type thing on the deck in front of the patio doors to see if we could get a little supplemental heat on sunny days. For the most part it isn't as great as I was hoping but it will be nice in a little bit when we really start on getting the plants going.
Since the last post which was way too long ago, we have changed a few things and come up with some different ideas.
With the price of hay and the difficulty of finding it in easily managed packages we decided to sell Belle and Stupid. We decided we didn't really need the milk that Belle would have produced either with 3 goats ready to do that duty. So we shipped her and got skinned at the sales barn. Or at least I thought we did. We had Stupid butchered by Smith Brothers who come right out to the farm and kill and quarter the animal. We had them do Lady and were quite impressed. And it doesn't add to the price at all. We sold half to one of tammys co-workers and put the other half in her folks freezer. I have sold some of that hamburger. And wouldn't you know, last week the neighbor who raises beef decided that he was getting out and sold me over 300 bales of first and second crop alfalfa for 1.50 a bale......
We will be butchering all the chickens we have and all the rabbits except maybe 2 does and a buck this spring when it warms up enough to spend any time outside. Our youngest layers will be 2 years old this summer and I haven't really been impressed with them anyway. We will be buying in another batch of the brown sex linked from Sunnyside Hatchery this summer when we order our 100 Cornish X Rocks.
I have a few of those presold on the agreement that the price isn't set in stone yet. And with feed prices as they are I may need to really up the price.
Due to the feed price we are really looking at how we raise our beef. We may either buy a bigger weaned steer in when the pasture comes on and butcher in the fall when the pasture goes away or since we really enjoy calves we may buy a calf in the early winter and have him ready for pasture in the spring and butcher in the fall. Stupid was raised like this and he made just shy of 500 pounds of meat which is plenty for us when combined with all the other good stuff we raise.
If pig prices stay low we will probably buy a couple of feeders to help dispose of the extra milk when the goats freshen.
The breeding rabbits will stay in their cages and eat pellets but the young will be finished in tractors on the grass with minimal pellets to cut some costs there.
The chickens will be free ranges with minimal feed supplement as always. I am hoping that we may do a bit more egg sales if I can get the word out a bit more and place a sign at the end of the road instead of the end of the driveway.
We have talked to the guy that owns the land around us and he will let us work up some of the old beef feed lots in the back. So I am going to try planting oats and alfalfa, make oat hay at the boot stage and try to get a cutting of alfalfa off as well. I would like to make hay on the alfalfa for 2 years and pasture it the third, then plow the stuff in and do corn for a year. i have seen some studies on this rotation and while the corn production isn't record breaking it is enough for me and the inputs are pretty cheap. There are 4 lots out there but they need a little leveling out so I am looking at purchasing a small bulldozer from a co-worker which I can resell when I'm done. Once I get them all worked up and in rotation the feed situation should be quite a bit better.
We went to Jungs in Stevens Point 2 weeks ago and dropped a bundle. Could have spent a lot more. WOW! Got some Jung Bucks to spend this summer. Tammy bought a pea sheller. Don't know how good it will work but it looks cool.
So that's what's happening, waiting for the snow to go away and the temps to go back up. Getting those seeds ready, keeping everybody fed, and enjoying our goat milk.
sammyd on 02.29.08 @ 12:17 AM CST [link]