Maine Fiber Frolic 2017 Poster
MOFGA Common Ground Fair Poster

Good-bye Summer

Fall is well and truly upon us.  Rain is more common these days, colder nights have produced some frosty mornings and oh! the leaves are turning — it’s a great year for color!  The rhythm of the farm has changed from the frantic pace of summer — moving fence & sheep often every other day, caring for temporary residents like the roasters and pigs and continually hauling water to all the various groups.  Now the meat birds and pigs have been packed into the freezers of our foodie friends…and our own, too.  Pasture paddocks are getting larger and the moves are happening less often.  There’s still grass to graze but that will soon come to an end and water consumption is far less in this cool weather. 

There are still a few items on our to-do list before the snow flies…hay is at the top.  We have some pre-bought which we’ll pick up at the end of this month but we still need another 5.5 tons.  Sadly, the hay we purchased in September tested as “poor” quality — you cannot judge hay by its color! — so it’ll be returned and will have to be replaced.

Jim takes random core samples of about 15 bales so we have a good mix of the forage. We send the sample to a diagnostic lab in NY and keep our fingers crossed.

Jim takes random core samples of about 15 bales so we have a good mix of the forage. We send the sample to a diagnostic lab in NY and keep our fingers crossed.

Getting good quality hay will be a challenge this year but we’re still hopeful.  It’s likely it’ll have to come from Canada.  Making hay on the Maine coast isn’t easy even in the best of years.  This year, it was impossible…too much rain and no way to get into soggy hay fields to cut on time.  Consequently, the grasses were wa-a-ay past prime (most had long gone to seed) by the time the first cutting was made.  By then it was too late in the season to get enough growth for a second cutting.  On top of that, low yield has driven the prices up — everyone has to make a living — so we’ll be paying quite a bit more than we did last year for hay with less nutritional value.  It may be difficult to keep to our “grassfed” goal but we’re sure going to try! 

If we don’t get too much rain in the next few weeks, Jim will be able to get the manure spreader out on the pasture and fertilize — maybe get some lime down, too.  We’ve scheduled a cleaning of the girl’s winter paddock and the boy’s “frat house” will be going into the burn pile…it’s just too nasty and has to go!  Don’t worry…they’ll still have shelter in the nice greenhouse.   

For now, though, Jim’s been in the woodshop producing tons of sawdust (and spindles, too <G>) in preparation for NYSS&W Festival and I’m packing up woolie stuff.

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