“Tough Jobs” Complete … CHECK

The last of our summer “Tough Jobs” is cleaning out the fence rows. It’s amazing how quickly they get out of control. One day the weeds are barely visible, the next they are knee high, then waist high.

Our thistle population is almost unbelievable. They have invaded the side pasture, the back pasture and the cattle runs near the barn. We’ve kept them in check in the big pastures with the Woods 12-foot Batwing and we got into some tight places amongst the trees with the Woods RC6 Rotary Cutter.

This weekend, we needed a combination of the Rotary Cutter, Mow’n Machine and some good old-fashioned shovel work.

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Finally after just a few hours of intense teamwork, the job was accomplished.

DSC00036To say “goodbye” to summer, we are hosting our club calf sale. Hopefully we’ll see many of these steer calves at the shows next summer. And, I’m sure we’ll have more tough jobs to tackle again next year. That’s one thing we always can count on, the farm jobs are never done.

steer 2014

Long holiday weekends are perfect for …

FALL PASTURE PREP!

Spring calves are weaned from their mothers. Fall-calving cows are brought up and starting to calve. It’s time to squeeze the last bit of grass out of the pasture and prepare for winter.

IMG_2935Earlier this summer we used the Woods Precision Super Seeder on several dead spots in the pasture. Those areas were damaged during the winter so no grass grew. We used a standard grass mixture and today the grass is lush and green.

To prepare for fall and winter, we need to tackle some brush that has invaded the hard-to-reach places in the back pasture. The worst areas are infested with multiflora rose and prickly ash. If you’ve never seen these weeds, they’re terrible.

Nasty brush in our pasture

Nasty brush in our pasture

As with any rose bush, they are full of thorns. The prickly ash is even worse with hard spines that poke through your clothes and stay embedded in your skin. And though the cows have created paths through the brush, we never fail to get all cut up when trying to bring the cows up to the barn.

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NEW Woods Single Spindle cutter tore through the bushes and weeds.

 

The NEW 12-foot Woods Batwing did a great job on the big pasture and could get into some tight spaces, but for the cow paths and wooded area we pulled out the NEW Woods Single Spindle cutter.

It was able to take out the thorny brush, bring down the large thistles and quickly tame all the other weeds. To keep the pasture in good shape for next year, we’ll now go in and treat what’s left of the brush so it doesn’t come back. IMG_2091

Only one more tough job for the summer – cleaning out the fence lines in preparation for our fall steer sale. Watch for the before and after pictures next week and happy mowing!

End of Summer Jobs

As the summer is winding down and the kids are going back to school, we are all trying to cram in those last few projects. Tell us about the “Tough Jobs” you still need to tackle.

Tough jobs are easier with the right tools.

Mowing with the Woods Mow’n Machine is even fun.

Just submit the form below and we’ll try to feature them over the next few weeks. What a great way to help others learn from your experiences or gather suggestions on the best way to get those projects checked off your list.

“Tough Jobs” Checklist

Where has the summer gone!?!

With all the “Back to School” ads and deals, I know the days of my dedicated labor force are coming to an end. We’ve accomplished most of the tough jobs on the list, but some of the toughest are yet to come.

So far, we have repaired the driveway, rebuilt a fence, planted a neighbor’s food plots and reseeded a pasture area, mowed the grass, fence lines and front pasture and tilled the garden. We also freshened our flower beds, cleaned out and added pea gravel to the playground area and added a fire pit to the back yard.

I guess we’ve done better than I thought.

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Next we need to mow the pastures (again), clean out the cattle pens in preparation for our Fall Steer Sale, trim along all the fence lines and cut down the wild grape vines that would trap all the snow on our driveway this winter.

Next week we’ll be doing the State Fair circuit and then it’s the quick slide to fall. Be sure to post your “Tough Jobs” and visit us on Facebook to see more pictures and videos.

 

Weeds are as High as a Cow’s Eye

The weeds were taking over the pasture.

The weeds were taking over the pasture.

On our farm, every decision and delay has a direct impact, and domino effect, on everything else. Our fencing project was delayed due to the wet weather, which meant the cows couldn’t go into the front pasture, which led to the back pasture being a bit overgrazed, which caused the front pasture to grow too long. Wow!

 

These flowers are easier to pick than the thistles.

These flowers are easier to pick than the thistles.

Now we’re dealing with blooming thistles and weeds taller than the baby calves. The little boys think the thistle flowers are beautiful and even tried to pick some to accompany my dandelion and violet bouquet. Unfortunately, the thorns stymied them.

Big weeds called for bringing in the big guns. We would typically use our small rotary cutter to cut the 10-acre pasture, but this job was a little more than it could handle.

Enter the Woods Batwing 180. This 15-foot Batwing is about 10 years old but still tackling everything thrown it’s way. It even made short work of a plastic bucket that ended up in the field.

Happy cows. Beautiful pasture. And hopefully, a stop to the domino-effect.

Woods Batwing tackling the tough weeds.

Woods Batwing tackling the tough weeds.

 

Things are looking up!

The corn is up. The fence is up. The kids are out of school. So, summer is officially here.

The fence is up and now the corn is up, too.

The fence is up and now the corn is up, too.

We are happy to report that the fence is finally done. We ended up with 1,075 feet of 5-strand barbed wire, 85 t-posts, 29 wooden posts and two metal gates.

That should keep the cows out of the corn this fall and keep the neighbors happy.

 

Putting in wooden posts is not our favorite job. We usually dig the holes by hand, drop the big, heavy post in the hole and then fill in around it.

Digging the last hole!

Digging the last hole!

This time we had the luxury of using the Woods PHD65 post hole digger with a 12-inch auger. It worked great! Each hole took just a few minutes to dig and even when we hit a rock, we could power right through. It was easy to attach and, with the parking stand, we could even be confident that is was secure when it was off the tractor.

As soon as the fence was finished we were able to let the cows out into the succulent, fresh grass. They were so excited they didn’t know where to start. I’m just happy they were able to get out in that pasture and we don’t have to worry about them escaping.

Enjoy, Girls!

Rolling hills and fresh grass. A smorgasbord for cows.

Rolling hills and fresh grass. A smorgasbord for cows.

 

Good Neighbors Make Good Fences

Most people say “Good fences make good neighbors,” but in our area, I think it’s the other way around.

Cows always seem to think the grass is greener on the other side.

Cows always seem to think the grass is greener on the other side.

Last fall, our cows decided they really liked the cornfield that borders our pasture. Cows are naturally curious – and always looking for a meal. The old fence was dilapidated, the wooden posts were rotten and the green, lush corn was too enticing to let one electric wire keep them out.

A group of young heifers decided to make a break for it and have a corn buffet. By the time we rounded them up, they had knocked down a few rows of corn and made an even bigger mess of the old fence.

Some neighbors would have been angry. Some would have billed us for any perceived damage to the corn. Some may have even called the police. But in our community, we worked together to move them to a different pasture and make a plan to replace the fence this spring.

The country rule for paying for fencing in our area is to meet at the middle point of that section and both look right. You’re responsible for that section of fence.

This Tough Job requires the big equipment.

This Tough Job requires the big equipment.

Now, it’s time to replace that fence and we’re working together again. Our neighbor owns the heavy equipment so he was in charge of the tear-out. We had to pull out all the old posts, barbed wire and trees that had grown into the fence line over the years.

 

Next, we’ll be replacing wooden posts, driving in t-posts and stringing the wire. Check back to see the result of this Tough Job. The lush new pasture is calling!

This calf wants to be a dog, laying by the house instead of in the pasture with her Mother.

This calf wants to be a dog, laying by the house instead of in the pasture with her Mother.