4.5.2011 Farm Stuff you won’t find in farming books

In case you wondered, a farm auction is an all day endurance event. No matter what the signs say. Forget your dreams of a snagging a great deal by noon and getting back to the farm with your prize with plenty of daylight left to get pressing chores done. Bring your check book and your cooler/picnic basket but be prepared to come home empty handed. The stuff you don’t need will go for a song. The stuff you do need will sell at or above retail. And the entire county will turn out to take advantage of any neophyte. Bid with caution. A smart phone or a knowledgeable friend can save your reputation.


In case you wondered, it is entirely possible to kill an entire flat of tomato starts by setting them outside the greenhouse to harden off. But the same conditions will make your pepper plants stronger. Onion sets abandoned for two weeks in a cold, dry, dusty barn probably won’t survive, either.


In case you wondered, no matter how many chicken tractors you make, each one has it’s own quirks and assembly never goes as smoothly as you think. And it is very possible and quite likely that you will overthink design improvements and all your thinking will further draw out the construction process. Kids and neighbors, animals and plants. They all need stuff only you can provide. You will not finish one tractor in one day.


In case you wondered, goats are quite capable of opening doors. Big, heavy doors. And feed bins. In fact, they are quite capable of eating themselves to death. But sometimes you get lucky and they just deposit giant piles of poo on the feed room floor and splatter other “graffiti” all over the barn.


In case you wondered, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lion. So does April.


In case you wondered, momma hens do have their limits. Most will mother their brood for about six weeks. Some go a couple of months. Others get very conflicted and take a few days to decide they’ve done all they’re going to do and it’s really, really time to lay some more eggs and get some nookie.


In case you wondered, it’s best to have two incubators if you are going to incubate eggs. One with an automatic turner for incubating and one without a turner for hatching. That way you can add your very precious and rare heritage turkey eggs as they become available to the very clean incubator while your test chickens pip their shells and spread their bacteria all over the other one. The required relative humidity in both boxes is, well, relative. Depending on whom you consult.


In case you wondered, you will need a hospital pen for your poultry. And sometimes your patients will actually recover. El Fuerte made it.


In case you wondered, there will be a large rock about two feet down when you start digging the hole for the corner post.


In case you wondered, portable electric fencing is very easy once you get the correct equipment. But be warned. The little cap you use to keep the fiberglass rods from shattering when hammering in the stakes . . . well, it’s very small and has a will of its own. Best to leave it on a stake and not in your pocket. Even better to have spares because you’re going to lose them.


In case you wondered, some horses love going to the day spa for a shave and a haircut. Some horses think beautification is for sissies.

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