October 19, 2021

From the Pastures: Taking a break

Hello from Graze-N-Grow. Cooler and less humid conditions lately allowed for good hay baling weather around here. I spent several days helping my friend, Richard, tedding, raking and hauling hay when September arrived. To get even with me he will be doing our chores while Ruth and I go to Virginia to learn from the folks at Joel Salatins’ Polyface Farm.

Richard is used to livestock chores although the variety of broilers, layers, sheep, cows and pigs, along with the guard dogs, will keep him busy for a while. At least he won’t have to milk Ruth’s cow since the calf we put on her to allow for once-a-day milking will get double rations for a week.

We do have 200 of our pastured broilers scheduled for delivery to Richard’s brother, Tom, while we will be on the road, so that will add to Richard’s chores. We have additional help lined up for the chicken rodeo roundup. Since we live between Richard’s home and his cow herd, at least it won’t be out of his way for those daily trips.

Pastures are holding up good so far although the summer slump is evident in the grasses with the August heat. Corn harvest is getting started in our area and beans should go soon. Except for the downed corn north and east of us, it should be a good harvest. Unlike last year, we can all look forward to good prices on almost all farm commodities. Corn, beans, hay, cattle, hogs, lambs and even goats are enjoying great demand and we look forward to the increased interest in our bred ewes and replacement ewe lambs.

We will have over 100 January lambing ewes and at least as many spring lambing first-timers available. It’s always nice to reward a good market with sales and I should just move them all on this market and take a long vacation this winter, but the transition to no chores might be too much of an adjustment, plus I would probably be too much of a nuisance around the house for Ruth to put up with, so the flock will remain, just reduced.

Ruth and I are really looking forward to getting away from our daily routine since we haven’t been anywhere for over two years. I heard it said that we can get more work done in 50 weeks a year than 52 weeks. I’m going to give it a try. Have a safe and enjoyable harvest and give thanks for it. Happy trails.

Jim Draper

Jim Draper

Sheffield, Ill.