Summer's End, Farm Updates, and More!

Holy crap! I'm so sorry I haven't updated the farm blog since, what, February? Ope. Life got really busy between spring field work and my photography business ramping up along with the temperatures. Anyway, I have a hard time with the fact that in a couple of days, I'll need to consciously remember to write 9 instead of 8 when I'm filling out the date on various written things.

September starts in two days, and my basic white girl heart cannot be any fuller. I've already got the mantle in the kitchen decked out with fall decor, and I'm meeting one of my friends in Chippewa Falls tomorrow for PSLs and such. If you know what PSL stands for, you know. Summer has been my least favorite season for as long as I can remember, and I'm glad that it passes so quickly. It's hard on me, Sam, and the cows. Like wedding planning, the best part about summer is when it's over. Fight me about it. 

We finished up our third crop of hay a couple of weeks ago, and after filling a silo and making nearly 80 bales of beautiful dry hay we decided that was enough for the year. If we wanted to take off a fourth crop, we'd have to wait until after frost at this rate with our cutting schedule to avoid winterkill (to which alfalfa is particularly susceptible). Sam has been busy getting chopper boxes serviced for chopping corn silage, which looks to happen in the next couple of weeks.

Nerd alert: some bigger farms are already chopping their corn, but when you store feed in silos like we do, the plant moisture content needs to be a smidge lower or you run the risk of damaging the silo due to the juices that are leached during the ensiling process. Larger farms prefer to store their ensiled feed in bunkers and piles, which can withstand higher plant moisture content (and means feed can be taken off a little more quickly). After we get our 20x70 silo full of corn silage, the remaining corn will be combined for grain a few weeks later to feed to the cows.

We've also got some big (and I mean BIG) changes coming soon. No, I'm not pregnant. (Sorry, Dad.) Our dairy barn has been in grave need of some major updates for years now. After waffling between updating what we've got, building a new tiestall barn, building a freestall barn and milking in our current barn, we circled back to updating what we have. It fits our style of farming much better and slashed the amount of money we'd have to pay for such a big project. Starting September 13th, we'll be tearing out the stalls and mattresses along with most of the concrete in the barn to replace it with new tiestalls and mattresses (Freudenthal CS60s and Kraiburg mattresses for you barn equipment nerds out there).

The overarching goal is to not only make the barn more comfortable for the cows, but also for us because we're sick of putting patches and Band-Aids on patches and Band-Aids. I can't even fathom how much better our lives are about to get when all is said and done.

Furthermore, when we do have kids someday and one of them wants to come home and farm, why not give him or her something they want to come back to? This major remodel isn't just for us and the cows, but we're making big moves with the next generation in mind.

I'll update you all when the barn is finished and the cows are getting settled into their new digs! In the meantime, we've got lotion for sale here on the website and we ship all over the continental United States. Keep me and my local post office busy.

Until next time,

Brittany and the cows that put the lotion on the skin

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