Blessed with Fine Weather!

We had a lovely couple inches of rain a couple weeks ago which settled the dust after about 7 weeks of nuthin’!  It was dry – and still is – but with warm weather, the grass actually has been squeaking out a bit of growth before the last of this nearly perfect weather gives way to the bitter iciness of winter.

So, we have not had to turn the cows and calves on to winter stockpile yet – we have fed a few bales of hay to stretch the stay on some of the paddocks simply for convenience.  Plus it’s dry enough to set out bales with the pickup, so it’s a nice time to feed hay.  Once the snow is blowing and it’s cold, snowy, icy, or slick, i would rather just leapfrog another stretch of polywire on the stockpile and let the cows go to grazing.

This is the perfect time to get stock tanks, pump houses, etc winterized.  Today, I removed my two marine-type batteries from the solar powered water pump.  Drained the pump, pressure tank, intake and out pipes as well as 4000 feet of 1 1/2 inch HDPE water pipe (not as hard as it sounds, just undo the end and it gravity drains itself), and removed the bottom screw from the filter from the pond to drain it.  Unplugged and shut off the pump, turned the solar panels off, shut down the door to my portable solar house and latched it, loaded the marine-type batteries (yeah, they are heavy  – ’bout 60 lbs a piece!) into the back of my Gator and it is all set for winter.  I store the charged batteries in our basement – don’t want them to drain and freeze – they cost about $140 each.

Allen and Dallas are replacing a half a quarter mile of perimeter barbed wire fence on my Buckman 80.  It was just getting too worn out to keep cows in with any peace of mind.  They set posts and stretched wire today and yesterday.  Rick helped yesterday.  Such a busy week, they hope to finish up on Monday.  Once the end posts settle a couple days, then they’ll stretch the wire.  I can help put on the clips.  Why don’t i help?  Honestly, i’m really not strong enough to do much except put on the clips.  If anything ever happens to my guys, I’ll have to hire my perimeter fencing done.

My to-do list today:

Go to my farm – It takes an hour and 10 minutes roundtrip, so a good part of the time is spent in traveling.  Once there, i moved a water tank, replaced an anchor and brace post on hi-tensile fence, pulled the fiberglass line posts and moved them.  I’m actually moving about 650 feet of existing 2-strand hi-tensile wire over a bit.  It just wasn’t working where i had built it four years ago.

Quick trip to Brookfield to buy nappies for Allen’s Aunt June – she is attending a baby shower saturday morning to which i’ll take her.  At 96, her eyesight and motor coordination isn’t what is used to be and she no longer drives.  Last week, i spent a few hours scrubbing her frig and freezer since it was not working properly and all the food had gone — well, totally nasty.  I discovered that the back of the freezer (inside) was frozen solid, so hoped that cleaning, vacuuming underneath and behind, as well as completely defrosting would fix the problem.  Thankfully it did.  I found a wooden bar to place beneath the front of the unit since it was leaning so far forward.  Maybe the doors were not getting shut completely to cause it to freeze up.

We were supposed to have sunny weather today, but that didn’t happen.  However, I’d already set Dallas to the task of caring for his lawnmower trailer with linseed oil and mineral spirits on Monday early afternoon.  After two days of curing, today would have been the second coat.  He had parked it in the barn last night because of the possibility of rain; only a heavy mist, but inside it is dry.  Maybe he’ll get that second coat on tomorrow.

Had planned to pain the letters on the Powell Seed Farm sign, but too high humidity and too cool.  Ran out of time anyway.

Made some phone calls.  One to get the lawnmower picked up for annual maintenance, another to Bill to schedule changing out June’s garbage disposal, amongst others. Received a phone call from the fellow in south Missouri from whom I’m buying hay and he has it all delivered, so will pay him tomorrow.

Well, that’s about it along with preparing beef fillets and stir fry for lunch, three loads of laundry, making up another batch of laundry soap, and washing dishes.  I had more on the to-do list, but tomorrow’s another opportunity.

CHeers!

tauna

Looking Back – 2004

Here’s an old article and our operation has changed a little bit, but we still very much appreciate and use management-intensive grazing (MIG).  All our pastures are subdivided into 20 acres or less paddocks with hi-tensile electric wire.  With the focus on managing the grazing, our animals and soil benefit from good health.

MFGC/GLCI is hosting their 2015 annual conference this week (2-3 Nov) at the Resort at Port Arrowhead, Lake Ozark, Missouri.  

Allen & Tauna Powell Named 2004 “Grasslanders of the Year”
A Linn County farm family was named “grasslanders” at the Missouri Forage and Grassland Council annual meeting at the Lake of the Ozarks in November, 2004.

Allen and Tauna Powell, Laclede, Mo., were named Grasslanders of the Year. The Powells operate a 3000-acre farm stocked with 800 cows that use management-intensive grazing systems. Though the majority of their calves are marketed through traditional commodity channels, the last couple years, they have been finishing calves on grass only and marketing the beef locally and on the Internet.

The Powells learned grass management techniques at grazing schools at the University of Missouri Forage Systems Research Center near Linneus, Mo.

They now serve on the advisory board for the research farm and have been instructors at the grazing schools.

The award was accepted by the family, which includes Jessica, 12; Dallas, 11; and Nathan, 8. The children are home schooled and attended the educational meetings at the MFGC conference after doing their regular homework.

Tauna said, “I thought raising pasture-finished beef was a crazy idea when I first heard it from Fred Martz (former superintendent of MU FSRC.) Now, 12 years later, we are doing it.”

MFGC is an educational association made up of graziers, educators, agency representatives and businesses. It provides support for state and regional grazing schools.

They have also initiated and support a grassland evaluation contest for high school students and travel scholarships for college students attending national meetings.

The Powells were nominated by Fred Martz, retired MU professor and grassland farmer at Columbia, Mo.

Management-intensive grazing improves production and health of pastures, increases livestock gains per acre, and reduces soil erosion. The system is based on dividing large pastures into smaller grazing paddocks. Livestock are moved every few days to give forage time to rest and regrow. Livestock always has fresh pasture to graze.

For more information about the Missouri Forage and Grasslands Council go to their web site athttp://agebb.missouri.edu/mfgc/

Food Waste in the UK

Speak boldly  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall!

From BBC News Magazine

Viewpoint: The rejected vegetables that aren’t even wonky

There is little doubt this situation is just as bad in the US and around the world.  Yet the big food companies (not food producers) tell us we’ll all starve if we don’t buy their products to produce more food.  It’s a pack of lies.  We waste far too much food.  What we have is a distribution problem and in the first world countries we have so much food that we are incredibly picky.

Food waste is a subject i feel is important – as a cattle rancher and mom, i hear a lot of people complain (in the US) about the high cost of food, yet most producers (meats, eggs, chicken, vegetables, fruit) barely scrape out a living.  The facts are that the cost of production continues to skyrocket, yet, by and large, the producer’s income has remained stagnant while the consumer’s cost has risen only a little.  The margins are very thin and oftentimes only the much aligned farm subsidies provided by the govt are the difference between going another year and losing the farm.  We could utilise our resources much more efficiently and produce a great deal more foodstuffs.  But there is no reason to do so.  Food is so cheap, we would simply lose money.

That huge pile of parsnips that Mr Fearnly-Whittingstall is standing in front of could consumed by cattle or sheep or just returned to the soil to be ploughed back in, but will it?  For sure, the food you throw into your bin at home will go only to the landfill.

Okay, i’ll step off my soapbox now!  😉

Cheers!

tauna

BBC magazine supermarketveg

Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination

Some time ago, a fellow blogger at Life As I Interpret It, nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award.  Thank you very much.  I would encourage visiting her blog since she is bold in sharing real life struggles and challenges in cutting back in a realistic manner without sacrificing small pleasures.

However, not really knowing how to go about responding, I kept putting off responding to the nomination, so here goes.

Here are the instructions:

The rules for this award are below (copied and pasted from the nominator’s site):

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you.
  • Nominate some other bloggers for this award.
  • Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated.
  • Notify the bloggers you have nominated

My questions to the nominees are as follows:

  1. What is the most interesting blogging experience you have had?  Hmm – really haven’t had any interesting experiences blogging, but when my son posted a dual credit course paper about his great aunt and uncle’s Charolais business, it busted way off the charts!  that was exciting.  Lonely Statues                                                            
  2. If you were to be given an extraordinary amount of cash, what would be the first thing that appear in your mind?  How much income tax am i going to have to pay!!!???
  3. What do you think about frugality and what are your best advice to achieve it?  I‘m all for frugality!  It goes along with thankfulness in my mind.  But unless you are driven to live frugally or must because of finances, go ahead and live it up!  Somebody’s gotta buy a $1000 pair of shoes, don’t they?  How to achieve it?  
    Found tw 100% wool coats for working in - total cost was $7 for both.
    Found two 100% wool coats for working in – total cost was $7 for both.

    For us, it is buying second hand clothing for the most part, buying organic food in bulk (not prepared foods – but flour, sugar, cases of frozen veggies, etc and hold out for when it’s on sale). If we want to read a new book, we get it through inter-library loan rather than purchasing.  And, in general, just really consider whether or not we need to make a purchase. 

  4. Have you ever had a pet? What is your most cherished memory about it? Yes, many since i was very young.  They are treasured memories.  My most memorable that is gone now is my Quarter horse, See Sum Hum.  
    Here's my old horse, See Sum Hum and me.  We are both clearly past our prime, but we were having fun that day running the barrels.
    Here’s my old horse, See Sum Hum and me several years ago. We are both clearly past our prime, but we were having fun that day running the barrels. He always wanted to drop a shoulder into that second barrel and knocking it over, so i had a tendency to take him a bit wide and pick him up a bit. Added about a second to our time, but that was better than the 5 second penalty of knocking over the barrel. He was the best horse i will ever own.

    My grandparents bought him for me (when i was 16) at auction as a burnt out barrel racing horse – i loved him to pieces.  We raced barrels, pole bending, flag racing and whatever else i put in front of him -he was game.  Didn’t have a lick of cow sense, but he would always do what i asked, so we were a great team.  He was four when he came home with me, but died a few years back at the ripe old age of 29 – we were mates.  (i’m gonna cry now.)

    Thunder relaxing on the porch table.
    Thunder relaxing on the porch table.

      Currently, we have an old farm cat we call Thunder.  He is 15 years old and still going strong.  Still quite the hunter and frequently brings his prey to the door for our approval.  Pretty much an outdoor cat, except he likes to come in when it’s cold now.A beautiful stray kitten showed up at the seed plant last fall and we were able to save him.  My son named him ‘Ashes.’Ashes 2015

  5. What else do you think can be done to reduce the burden of cancer in our communities/countries/world?  By and large, many cancers can be avoided with proper diet and environment.  Not all, but a good many.  So if that is the case, individuals have to be accountable – i can’t change anyone or anything.
  6. Which is more annoying?  rain or snow? a bone chilling rain is worse than a dry snow, but a gentle warm spring rain is better than any snow.Misty Rain

Now, for the questions I pass on to bloggers I nominate.

  1.  What country or city do you want to visit the most?  What makes it so appealing?
  2.  Your favourite vacation would be adventure? history? relaxation? other? or all of these?
  3. Do you buy organic or locally grown food when you can?  or do you grow your own?
  4. What magazine or newspaper do you read the most?
  5. Do you drive a car, pickup, motorcycle, or something else as your regular vehicle?
  6. What would you like to learn more about?

Passing on the nomination to:

Cheryl “Cheffie Cooks” Wiser– Now, she actually manages and writes several blogs!  Check them out for great ideas on cooking and living!

Faithful Homestead – Jennifer tells a great story of day to day homeschooling, farming, and homesteading.

Grace In Torah – VERY insightful and thoughtful teachings about living in Torah.

Sale Day or “What’s Wrong with my Shirt?”

During the course of the year, we sell our calves as they reach a weight that is valuable in the marketplace – this may mean we’ll have 3 or 4 days which we sell groups of calves.  Monday was such a day with 200 head going to market at North Missouri Livestock Auction in Milan, MO.  (also find them on facebook)

Calves resting in the shade. These will be sold on Monday.
Calves resting in the shade. These will be sold on Monday.  Description:  200 Hd mixed Steers and Heifers, Red, RWF, Black, BWF 500-650 lbs, 2 Rd Shots of IBR-BVD-PI3 & 7-way. Steers cut with knife, Heifers Calfhood vaccinated. All work done by Brookfield Vet Clinic. Weaned and growing on grass. No grain, NO IMPLANTS

The calves had already been sorted, so Monday morning just meant gouping into trailer load lots.  The number in each lot varied by trailer size.

John brought the Ford up earlier and I pulled in here with the Dodge. Once the white pickup trailer was loaded, I took it on up to Milan.
John brought the Ford up earlier and I pulled in here with the Dodge and trailer that is almost identical to the one shown here. Once the white pickup trailer was loaded, I took it on up to Milan.

Our little stock trailers are 7ft by 24 ft, so we can haul about 25 head of the five weight calves.  I was the first one to load out for the trip to Milan and would return for a second load.  Roundtrip is about an hour and 15 minutes.

Now that my husband has sold some of his calves, he’s offered to buy me a new shirt.  WHAT!  Aint’ nuthin’ wrong with my shirt?! 😉

2015 summer work shirt. 100% cotton - Second hand price $1.00. Yup, i'll toss it at the end of the season.
2015 summer work shirt. 100% cotton – Second hand price $1.00. Yup, i’ll toss it at the end of the season.

Joel Salatin – Farm Marketer Extraordinaire!

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farmshttp://www.polyfacefarms.com/speaking-protocol/joels-bio/ is recognised around the world as a no nonsense, say it the way it is kind of farmer and marketer.  His ideas are proven to work in his area (highly populated with customers), but the ground rules can work anywhere and even in the commodity markets.  Some of his advice here needs more explanation, but most are just cut-to-the-chase, get ‘er done stuff.  GO!

Here’s a quick interview with a reporter from Modern Farmer

Five-Minute Mentor: Farming Advice from Joel Salatin

Faith, Family, Farm

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