The Weeks That Were: August 23- September 6

It has been a very busy two weeks on the farm. So busy in fact that we did not get to write our weekly "week that was" last Sunday. Well, actually the reason was Eva and I had taken off on Saturday to visit our son in Dallas that had just turned 30. We went to the IMAX and saw Harry Potter's latest film in partial 3D and then had an elegant dinner in one of Dallas' finest restaurants. The Doubletree Hotel had given us a great rate, but when I logged on to write my blog they politely asked for $9.95 plus state tax. I can pay for a movie, meal and hotel room, but damn if I want to be ripped off to access the internet. So, the blog was not written. It reminded me of when motels charged 25 cents for a phone call. Next time I will look for a hotel that offers free internet access.

This was the first time I had been away from the farm since late April or early May. It was nice to see some civilization for a change. It was kind of funny as we had the cabins full of folks from Dallas wanting to get away to the country and we were rushing to get to the city. I was very happy to get home and Eva was equally pleased to see our dogs and be back on our own front porch Sunday evening.

The weather was so cool starting the 24th. The nights were in the very low 60's and days in the mid 80's. It seemed like someone had flipped a switch and said the long hot summer had ended. This made a very busy work time go faster.

Hay baling continued at the Rocky Branch Grass Ranch and when it was over we had baled 425 1,100 pound rolls of hay. That is a lot of hay; almost 7 bales to the acre. It is still sitting where it fell out of the machine. We moved 111 bales of older hay out of the barn and have it in the pasture. This hay will be fed first starting in late November. A few months of weather exposure will not hurt is as we are in the dry season now. I re-stacked hay in the barn and thought I had it right, but now know that about 40 rolls need to be moved from Rocky Branch to our hay barn at home. We should then have room to get most if not all of the new hay in the barn. The new hay will be stacked on its end four bales high. I practiced doing this for an hour before i got the hang of it.

Also we received an 18 wheeler load of alfalfa from northern Missouri. This is very rich hay that we feed as a supplement to our cattle that have babies, calves that have been weaned and the steers we are finishing for beef. This load was 55 large bales (3x3x8 ft) each weighing 872 pounds on average. This entire load fit on one side of our barn at home which has a concrete floor. The hay will be good for years. We had to move 11 big bales of alfalfa received last year to Rocky Branch where we have about 22 other bales. This older hay will be fed to the cows having calves this fall before we use the new hay.

Moving hay or tractors has been difficult. The breaks on our one ton truck keep messing up. When you go to stop the truck lurches, jacks and jumps enough to frighten you. We took it to the shop on Friday and they flipped the calipers which were warped, but that did not do the trick. It needs to go back to the shop first thing on Tuesday so we can use it to move hay.

The new fence project has moved along well in the thick woods. All 10 braces were finished and all the wire stretched except a small piece. Next on this section is to finish that last piece of wire and then to place clips on each post. We then put two strands of barb wire on top of the woven wire. This will be a good fence and keep out the wild hogs and keep in our goats and cattle. I cannot wait until Spring when I can release 50 or so goats on those thick woods and see it open up. The cattle will go in there too and knock brush down.

This section of fenced land will be the perfect place to try and raise pastured pork. They would have access to the woods and some pasture.

Javier and I started taking a welding class at our local community college. That will be two nights a week for 7 hours of class time a week. We have a lot of projects that were left hanging when Karl moved on we can finish when we perfect this skill.

When we had time mulching continued in the berry patch. This project will continue on all fall I guess until finished. We bought another 18 wheeler of pine bark mulch so we hope that will finish this project and have some left over for other uses. See our blog of August 28.

Eva is working on different breads and soups for her September 17 cooking class. The October class Oktoberfest Texas Style has only 1 or 2 slots left and November on roasting meats is almost full. She has several private cooking classes lined up for the fall with groups staying in the cabins and enjoying the farm and cooking. Last week she had a luncheon for 23 ladies with Texas Cooperative Extension. They were from Fort Worth to Texarkana and had a business meeting prior to lunch. Javier and I were the special waiters of the day.

Our fall cabin schedule is filling up. This is the perfect time to get away before it is cold and enjoy a few days in the country.

All in all it was a good two weeks and much was accomplished and much is still to be done.