9.22.2010 A pretty good day down on the farm

9.22.2010

No doubt, this farm is learning experience. Before we moved I knew intellectually I needed a steady water supply and good fencing to run a farm. But it’s taken a few set backs for me to appreciate a really good fence and a reliable water supply.

Regarding the fence: We have five pastures on this farm and every one of them has a gap in the fencing of some sort. I had been keeping the horses in the most secure of the five which is also the only pasture with access to trees for shade. It’s also the weediest of the five pastures. Last week, some plant, I don’t know which one, started giving Venus hives. After three days of mysterious bumps and swellings and a runny nose, I figured I needed to get her on better pasture. The next most secure pasture is where the chickens and turkeys are currently hanging out, so I roped over the gaps in the fence moved the horses in there. My thought at the time was it would only take me a couple of days to set up the electric fencing and maybe, just maybe, the horses would respect a temporary fence.

I cordoned off 1/8 of an acre with electric wire, but didn’t give it a charge. I put the horses in after their evening feeding. To my surprise they were still within their little paddock come morning. After their workout, I went to move the temporary fence and discovered poo piles outside of their little 1/8 acre patch. They’d gone wandering in the night but, having a sense of humor, and always willing to pull my chain, both Ophelia and Venus, looked perfectly innocent.

By the end of the next day, I’d given up on trying to contain my pushy, clever mares until I had some serious voltage. I just crossed my fingers and hoped they’d leave the chickens alone while I tried to get the electric fence thing figured out. Yesterday, I went out to find the chicken fence down and one of the chicken tractors all katywhompered. No harm done to the chickens, can’t say the same for the non-electrified electric net around the the chickens.

Regarding the water: The only source of water on the farm is the well. If the power goes out, the only water we have is what’s in the toilets and the pressure tank. Not enough for the livestock. In our four and a half months here, we’ve lost power a couple of times. Luckily, never for more than a couple of hours. Still, those outages drove the point home. As a side note, not having power when you’re trying to brood chicks could be problematic if the weather is cool. Bottom line, I’ve either got to have power or a pond and mother hens.

Which brings me to today. It was just nasty hot and humid, but I was hopeful as I headed out to the pastures to start the day. The guys on the weather blogs I read were pretty darn sure we’d be getting rain. The pastures are pretty crispy and several times today I felt sure I was going to start a grass fire as I worked to clear the fence lines. But if I’m going to electrify the fences I can’t have weeds, tree limbs and long grass interfering with the current.

About mid morning my neighbor stopped by with a tractor warming gift. A linchpin! Miriam says I always need extras because I’ll always be losing them. She’s so thoughtful. We chatted over the fence for a long time. She was kind enough to let me show off my poultry (always glad to visit the babies) before we both went back to the chores du jour. Then, oh happy day, the gas company guys finally showed up with the generator I ordered a month ago! And, those weather geeks came through too. We actually got a wee bit of rain. Pretty good day down on the farm.


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