Tag Archives: Allergies

Annuals Scheme – Final Analysis

Today marked the last day of my experiment with rotatilling, pneumatic drilling/harrowing, and grazing annuals as part of a pasture improvement scheme.

Grazing comparison data is as follows:

2013-2014 – Paddock 22 – 3218 lbs, Paddock 23 – 1871 lbs  Total:  5089 lbs

2014-2015 – Paddock 22 – 3567 lbs, Paddock 23 – 2007 lbs  Total:  5574 lbs

2015-2016 – Paddock 22 – 2072 lbs, Paddock 23 – 1222 lbs  Total:  3294 lbs

2016-2017 – lost all my records

2017-2018 – Paddock 22 – 1547 lbs, Paddock 23 – 695 lbs    Total: 2242 lbs

As you can imagine, i was shocked at the lack of grazing days provided by the annuals, but this was my first experience.  When i turned them in on the annuals, the cows and calves grazed it all down in four days!  In a few days, i was able to turn them back in for a couple more days grazing to boost that yield just a bit.  However, at this point, the paddocks will take a very long rest.  One thing i did not observe and record in previous years and that is cow condition.  At least for this year, these cows were slick and shiny healthy coming off the annuals, but they were that way going in, too.  So…..

So, in a nutshell, it cost me a total of $1842.12 to plant 18 acres of annuals for grazing.  The purpose of annuals to help rejuvenate the soil microbe community and not necessarily for gain in grazing.  Good thing, because it certainly failed in that department.  However, as i had written before, the goal is to eradicate toxic fescue and build organic matter.  It does look like that has happened at least in short term.  It is very hard to measure long term benefits.   However, from this point, i’m planning to tack the sail and switch to tilling then no-till a permanent ley (grassland).  Whether or not that will work remains to be seen, but i’m keen to find a way to reduce then eliminate any tractor work.  I hope to get that scheme underway and perhaps even completed this week.  This new scheme, although i do plan to till before planting to permanent ley, will provide a side by side comparison of planting annuals first vs planting permanent pasture once and done.  There will be a few spots, too, that won’t be tilled and seeds will be drilled straight into established pasture.

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I drive through the annuals with my Gator to make it easier to set up a polybraid fence through it.
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Grazed part next to ungrazed annuals.  That tall stuff still standing in common ragweed.
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My ground is very poor in most areas and this is all it will grow in a 65 day period of the annuals.

 

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This is along the fence line (see fence on the left).  What a difference in where i tilled and planted vs undisturbed.  The ubiquitous Kansas ragweed (lanceleaf) is still thriving where it is undisturbed.

 

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Those cows didn’t waste any.  They really, really enjoyed eating the succulent annuals and snarfed down the volunteer yellow foxtail.  The stalks are trampled nicely.
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This is a close up of the left behind common ragweed.  That step in post is 36 inches tall.
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A closer look at the Kansas (lanceleaf) ragweed in undisturbed soil.  Same step in post.
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Larger area shown here of what is left of the annuals after grazing.

 

The Sixth Day

Nearly here – weekly shabbat – so thankful our Creator made such for us.  Of all the 10 commandments, the fourth one is relatively easy to keep (remember) in our culture.  I’m tired!  Lack of sleep from allergies and just the constant fighting it makes my body exhausted all the time.  Keeps me from being productive to be sure.

Eleven cows of the seventeen selected have been recorded in standing heat as of 6pm today.  There are a more who are shoving and being restless, so they will likely come in sometime before tomorrow.

Other than going to town to pickup kleenexes, drop of some papers at NRCS, swing by the bank for a quick visit with Tom Morris about his grandparents being the last caretakers of the Linn County Rest Home, located just a mile west of Linneus on Infirmary Hill, then to Twin Oaks Produce for a handful of groceries.  Had a nice visit with Fran Graff, whose daughter is also teaching in Dubai, though at a different school than our daughter.

Rick continues to take care of my cows on the farm north and west of Purdin – It will another month before I can stay outside for more than a few minutes at a time.  Will my cows forget me!?

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

Even Higher Pollen Count!

My ‘stuck in the house’ routine continues as the pollen count rises due to excessive wind!

Couldn’t sleep well last night due to allergies, but laid on the recliner from 5am to 7am before finally giving up on more sleep and just getting up.

Had found a package of beef stew meat in the refrigerator freezer that was four years old!  I absolutely do not recommend keeping meat frozen that long – it doesn’t actually go ‘bad’ but it does not taste as good – especially coming from the frig/freezer which does not keep frozen as hard as a deep freezer.  So, not wanting to waste it, i planned lunch around it with browing it in olive oil and simmer for tenderness, then closer to lunch time, adding enough flour to thicken, then plenty of milk to make a tasty white gravy.  I also scrambled farm fresh eggs with butter from grass fed cows and garden raised spinach.  Whipped a batch of baking powder biscuits for the gravy  and that was lunch.  It’s weird only fixing for four.

In the meantime, I drove to the seed plant to do some paperwork (always that..:-( , picked up some apples from the tree as well as a water tank float and a short hose.  The latter two to set up a small tank for my recip cows since i’m getting tired of going out to fill up the water tank twice a day.water tank  After repairing one end of the hose, I hooked up the fittings to the hydrant and moved the water tank in place and filled.  Working great – no leaks.  Awesome. Now they won’t run out of water and I don’t have to work so hard.

The apples were to cube along with a butternut squash, mixed together then poured over with a bit of orange juice and maple syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon, then baked.  I don’t think i’ll keep this recipe – it was okay, but well, it’s just not chocolate…….

I did manage to wash the front storm door – it looks great, but later when i tried vacuuming the spider webs built between the glass and screen of the windows, i was totally overcome with allergies – it’s like breathing sand!  So didn’t do that anymore, but did manage to vacuum all the furniture under and between and around and beneath.  And wipe down one of the ceiling fans  Really feels a lot cleaner in here.

No cows exhibiting heat today; tomorrow is supposed to be the big day, so gotta hang around the next two-three days for observing.

Drove to north and west of Purdin this afternoon to pick up our weekly allotment of milk and return the empty glass bottles.

Green Hills Harvest
Green Hills Harvest
Cobwebs everywhere!
Cobwebs everywhere!

Watered the mums that I meant to transplant today – best get that done in the morning.

Spent about an hour removing items from the silver garage.  Hope to get it torn down and removed sometime this fall.

My early morning is catching up with me since I feel quite sleepy.

Shalom!

tauna

Stuck In the House

What does a woman do when she is stuck inside due to extreme ragweed allergies!?  It is frustrating because the weather is starting to cool off and there is always SO much to be done outside.  Fences need repair, brush needs cutting, barns cleaned out, livestock needs shifting to new paddocks…… the list is endless.  Up until this year, youngest son, Nathan, would do my basic chores (shifting livestock, checking water) from mid-August to mid-October, but he is off to uni this fall, so the task has fallen to Rick, our new hand whom we hope stays on to become manager – he is certainly capable.  So, while I’m grateful,it’s frustrating as well.

So, after spending most of last week at my farm in south Missouri (Dallas and I were hoping our allergies would be somewhat alleviated, and surprisingly for me, i did find some relief, not so much for Dallas) and redesigning and setting up the working corral and trampling through a ‘jungle’ of a small timber patch to string out some polywire in preparation for fencing it off this winter and we started tearing out an old house, but wrong time of the year for that – i got stung on my upper lip just straight away.  OUCH!  brought tears to my eyes!

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Built up dust on the leading edges of ceiling fan blades.

This week, we are back home, so my major goal is to ‘fall’ clean the house.  Spiders have built webs in every nook and cranny inside and out, so lots of vacuuming and dusting.  Of course, I vacuum all the furniture; under and around the arms and cushions, and turn them over to vacuum the dirt and dust from underneath.  Cobwebs in the corners, from ceiling to walls, and walls to floors.  Climbing a ladder to wash off the center and blades of our two ceiling fans and dusting the leaves of our one inside plant.  Dusting the tops and back of wall photos and pictures, top of furniture, and all the wooden trim and doors.  And definitely under the floor grates which cover the return air ducts.

Cobwebs everywhere!
Cobwebs everywhere!

One tip I learnt as a travel consultant when on Fams and checking hotel rooms, was to run your finger along the top of doors and/or shower rods.  If there is dust, then the room is NOT clean.

Washing windows is sort of an outdoor job, so I can only do so much of that at a time before becoming overwhelmed with allergy attack.  But i can plug away at it.

Additionally, Monday i listed a bunch of unneeded items to sell on Ebay, paid bills, and RIck and i pulled the CIDRs, administered Estrumate, applied heat detection patches, and mouthed a few of the 17 recip cows because the needed ear tags and i didn’t know how old they were.  The ear tag number starts with the year they were born.  For example, a four year old cow’s number would start with a ‘1.’  This took about an hour, so i was struggling a bit by the time i could get back into the a/c.  Took a break, then went back out to let out the cows into the pasture south of our house for observing and ran water for them.

Of course, breakfast, lunch, and supper preparations are everyday.

Froze up a couple gallons of green beans, cooked down, slipped off the skins, and froze a gallon of tomatoes.

Until tomorrow!

tauna

Climbed up in the back of my Gator to drill a hole large enough for this solar lantern to fit snugly into.  When it's really dark outside, I can't even find our own driveway!  Hopefully this will help.
Climbed up in the back of my Gator to drill a hole large enough for this solar lantern to fit snugly into.  When it’s really dark outside, I can’t even find our own driveway!  Hopefully this will help.

Repairing our Favourite Picnic Table

Our dear friend, Jesse Bright, built this eight-sided picnic table out of western red cedar  maybe 12-15 years ago.  He was still in high school, (another talented homeschooler), so it’s been a while.  Jesse is now a technical designer at Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill in Alameda, CA, specialising in making his companies’ skyscrapers sustainable and ‘green’ as is reasonable.

Since the table has been sitting directly on the soil all these years, the bottom boards finally rotted away.   So, today’s  task is to at least get all the boards cut.  Unfortunately, ragweed pollen is at extreme high allergy rate, so I can only spend a few minutes at a time outside before succumbing to maximum sneezing, mucuos production, swollen, itchy, red eyes.  😦

When my children were younger, this project of repairing the picnic table would be one of many math lessons.  (We just completed 13 years of home education).  Of course I did all the cutting and drilling until they were older.  However, by then they could manage the entire project.  Measuring, determining angles, planning the project, gathering the necessary tools and materials, determining if something needs to be purchased, then going to town to make the purchase or finding them out of our own inventory.  Time and financial budgeting included as well as problem solving (because you know nothing is as easy as it looks).   All skills needed to be successful no matter one’s career choice.

Finished just in time for Shabbat!

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

Turned upside down in preparation for base board removal and measuring.
Most of the screws coule be removed with the cordless power drill, but some needed special attention.
Most of the screws could be removed with the DeWalt cordless power drill, but some needed special attention.
Using my small monkey wrench (visegrips), I could turn the stripped headed screws out fairly easily.
Using my small monkey wrench (Vise-grips), I could turn the stripped headed screws out fairly easily.
The boards had been glued down, so using a disk sander, I sanded off the old boards that had stuck to the glue and ripped off when I pulled off the old boards. Also, sanded off the old glue to make a smooth surface.
The boards had been glued down, so using  my Makita disk sander, I sanded the old boards that had stuck to the glue and ripped off when I pulled up the old boards. Also, sanded off the old glue to make a smooth surface.
Our local lumber store did not have Western Red Cedar boards, so i had to settle for treated 2x4s. Nathan went to get the boards and they sent him home with boards that are above ground grade! GRRRR. Nevertheless, I was ready to finish the project, so i used them anyway. Will treat them with a couple extra coats of boiled linseed oil when i have time. I used a skill saw to the cut the boards. Check out that short board with the 45 degree angles. I did that, too! I'm no carpenter, so that 's a big accomplishment for me.
Our local lumber store did not have Western Red Cedar boards, so i had to settle for treated 2x4s. Nathan went to get the boards and they sent him home with boards that are above ground grade! GRRRR. Nevertheless, I was ready to finish the project, so i used them anyway. Will treat them with a couple extra coats of boiled linseed oil when i have time. I used a Skilsaw  (our model 5250 is so old there is no web link!) to cut the boards. Check out that short board with the 45 degree angles. I did that, too! I’m no carpenter, so that ‘s a big accomplishment for me.
Thunder enjoying a cool morning and looking surprised! :-) Actually, he was just into a yawn.
Thunder enjoying a cool morning and looking surprised! 🙂 Actually, he was just into a yawn.

Debilitated by ragweed allergies keeps me busy inside!

If there is any good to be had by this allergy, it is that every nook and cranny of our house is dusted, vacuumed, and scrubbed (we have hardwood floors).  Furniture is moved and wiped down from behind and underneath.  Every chair spindle and nightstand leg. Even the deep, dark recesses of the wardrobes.  Not my favourite of tasks, but a rewarding one nonetheless.   And my favourite travel agent, fam (familiarization) trip, hotel site inspect check – wipe clean the top of every door.   You know, the kind of cleaning you can’t hire anyone to do well.   Clean everything you say – then they ask, ‘do you want me to clean that?’  Quizzically, you wonder if the assignment is unclear or is it a trick question!?

Deep down cleaning beats giving the tops a quick swipe at least twice a year.   However, the windows – the outside anyway – cannot be washed because letting outside air, heavy with the yellow dust of ragweed pollen, will set me off with non-stop sneezing, wheezing, itching skin, eyes, ears, watering red eyes, scratchy throat, and, in some cases, difficulty in breathing, resulting in not being able to talk for several hours.   Being inside with air conditioning is my only relief with Benadryl able to manage only the mildest attack, which may occur when i’m inside.

Some people fortunate enough to find natural ‘cures’ for their seasonal allergies have willingly shared their findings  and though I try most,  unfortunately,  none have put the slam-dunk on my nemesis. I’m headed next week to another allergist for consultation and prick testing; perhaps this time a magic potion can be developed for me.  What kinds of allergies, if any, do you have, and what works to control them!?