June 10, 2023

From the Pastures: Times have changed

Hello from Graze-N-Grow. As of Dec. 12, we will be sending the last of our pastured hogs to the locker, so one less winter chore. We take orders in the spring from our regular customers and add a few more for new customers and buy our Berkshires from Ralph by East Peoria. They are always good pigs.

We had a few extra that went to a local market, which could have been a financial disaster if it would have been a trailer load like we used to do 30 years ago. How times have changed. Whether we sell beef, pork, lamb, or chicken, it is always nice when we can avoid the middle man and also have the pleasure to meet our consumers — and be price setters, not price takers.

Our hay feeding season has begun a little earlier than normal since we only had a few cover crop acres. The ewes are still eating the turnips out of the ground, but the oats are all gone. Next year, I hope to have more acres devoted to a summer-planted cover crop.

The cattle are still grazing the corn stalks, but we drilled rye on 40 acres the day before Thanksgiving, so they have been pulled from that field until spring grazing. Ken with the drill seeded another 60 acres to rye that we just rented from a lady who wants us to transition to organic. Good for her.

As an update on our defunct I-80 overpass, it’s all gone. They have removed all traces of it except the dirt, of course, so their plan is to finish construction by next July. Hooray! It has been a challenge to drive machinery nine miles to get to my other field next door and we don’t get to see our neighbors as much, but we are just glad they didn’t remove the ramps and abandon the crossing.

The Christmas season is upon us now. Through all the busyness that goes with it, let us not forget the message — that God came and lived among us for a reason. Give Him the praise He deserves. Why not read Chapter 2 of Luke, 1 through 20, when you gather to celebrate His birth. Merry Christmas.

Jim Draper

Jim Draper

Sheffield, Ill.