Sunday, October 25, 2009

After the heavy rains in late September, October has developed into a trying month. We have not had more that two rain free days the entire month even though the amounts of rain have generally been moderate. Like other farmers, we cannot harvest our fall crops, but in addition to that, we must cope with mud everywhere in trying to keep animals comfortable and productive. We have also much work around the yard and facilties to finish before freezeup and that proceeds slowly. Much of it involves digging; we must dig up a cattle drinker to fix the underground valve, we have two shorts in the underground electric cables that must be found so that we can keep the water frost free this winter. We have a gas line to trench in so that we can keep the pigs warm.

And any animal that lives mostly outdoors in putting up with the weather right now. We are nearly half through our inventory of bedding and the ground hasn't even frozen yet. It will be an expensive month. I don't usually look forward to winter, but when the ground freezes I will be able to walk outside again and that won't be all bad! We are hanging in there. It keeps us out of the saloons, as they say. At least we have work. Boy do we have work. But some don't and that's worse.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We have received six inches of rain here at Pastures A Plenty in the two weeks starting on the 24th of September. The amazing thing is that we don't have any water standing anywhere except for wheel ruts around the livestock lots and barns. Now we have run a bit short of rainfall for the last several years, but to have no ponding is remarkable. I remember large rainfalls in the eighties that resulted in ponding that froze over in December, the ice lasting til the next spring. This is due to the difference in our farming, I am convinced. Pastures hold and store water better than any other agricultural use, and the soil, even in the cropping areas, is much higher in organic matter and waterholding capacity due to our long rotations including grass and hay.

Flood control starts not with levees, but with farming done right. The condition of the acres in the watershed is both the most important flood control and the hardest to accomplish, depending as it does upon the resolve of ordinary people to farm responsibly.