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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Wood Ticks, Seeding, Etc.

Been a while. Been busy, as usual. I did finish seeding this past weekend which is pretty much right on time historically for my farm. I was amazed how quick the canola fields germinated and started to emerge. 8 days is really good considering we have next to no rain all spring. Being seeded on chem fallow helps as it has all last year's moisture waiting beneath the surface to help get the plants growing. We even reclaimed an extra 13 acres on one quarter now that the water levels dropped enough to allow access with farm machinery. You can see some of that in this video.

Its not quite a replay of 1988 (driest year in my farming experience) but the continuing absence of rain was cause for concern. Up until yesterday. A real old fashioned rain/thunder/lightning storm hit in the late afternoon that gave a real boost to the soil moisture. I was not optimistic enough to have a rain gauge out so can only go by guess and other reports of anywhere from 4 tenths to maybe twice that. Its still muddy driving around the fields on the trike this morning. More to come tomorrow.
Gorges Smyth liked the photo I took of the Western sky as the clouds passed by and the sun was emerging. It shows you how dry its been when I actually have to take a picture of a rain storm.
I have to say it is the worst year yet for wood ticks. I never used to be a "tick magnet" as others seemed to be until this year. The past week or so I'm picking ticks off several times a day. And those preaching about wearing long  clothes and staying out of the grass, its all rubbish. I'm never out of the house without coveralls and work boots and yet the ticks are on me. From what I've read our ticks don't carry Lyme's Disease but their bites do raise a nasty red bump that itches for a  day or so.
More by good luck than good management I have two new calves in the past few weeks.
Picture here of one as she meets her father for the first time. Some difference in size.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Roosty 6 Plants Wheat

Its been a busy week planting crops between the times I'm fixing stuff or driving from one farm to another. Finally the first rain of spring fell last night and a little more today so I've had a chance to edit some video I shot earlier this week while loading the truck and air seeder.

Surprisingly I am about half finished and only started last Friday.
On the positive side the leaking fluid from a tractor tire seems to have slowed down to almost a stop. The strange and disturbing noise the tractor made intermittently, and finally steadily, turned out to be a worn out alternator. Luckily I had one "in stock". The same alternator fits tractor and combine. Still a lot of time lost diagnosing, remove and replace, with the necessary driving back and forth between farms. A leaking radiator on the big truck, and now one on the old GMC pickup. Both still on the job but needing work. I also drove over my tool box (for the second time). This time with the grain truck. First time was with a tractor. It gave me some practice at metal shaping and straightening.
Record breaking high temps a few days combined with incessant wind and no rain had it looking pretty bleak. This little sprinkle of rain will alleviate the situation for a while.
Several of the early planted potatoes are up and I planted a few more today.
Grass is growing enough that the cattle are getting a little to eat. They still like the hay in the feeders though so I guess I'm lucky to have some left.
Due to the continuing dry conditions a total fire ban is on this area which is fine by me. Some people get a little careless lighting fires and disaster results.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Little Surprise

This little calf showed up this afternoon when I went to give the cows a pail of oat chop. Earlier this week I was convinced I had lost the cow and calf as well. She was missing Monday morning and I spent a few hours and miles driving around on the trike searching the entire quarter. Round and round the bushes looking in to all the likely spots. Walked through a good many of them with no sign of the missing cow. I even sent the drone up for an overhead view but could not see a sign of her. I figured she must have had trouble calving and likely dead. Searched some more a couple of days later when I was convinced I had heard a cow bawling. Sat out in the pasture listening for a repeat but nothing. Must have been a goose, moose, or my imagination.
Couple of days ago the heifer showed up with the rest of the herd at the chop trough. It was good to see that she had survived but no sign of a calf anywhere so I figured it was laying dead somewhere. She didn't seem too concerned but I did hear her bawling for her missing calf some time later. Normal I guess. She will get over it.
So today the calf is here with the others looking normal enough. Just amazes me I did all that searching and never was able to find them until they decided to come back to the yard.