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Posts Tagged ‘Agriculture’

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about the incredible consistency of shop-bought eggs as opposed to the variation in their home-grown  cousins.  It came to mind again because of a slightly different anomaly on an egg carton hubby Kanute showed me. A quick calculation shows each egg weighs 41.5g, for 12 to equal 500g.

That incredible and questionably knowledgeable breed known as ‘they’ call these eggs Medium size. Huh? Egg farmers around the world would be squawking loudly and selling the first tiny eggs most chooks lay when they start — except they are rendered speechless by the very thought. Here’s a photo of that  pack of  ‘Medium’ sized eggs –

egg carton medium.500 (more…)

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and the Old Man WAS snoring, last night – just like every night.

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It certainly wasn’t him who did the rain dance that has brought us 7″ (175mm) of rain last month , and in the 20 days of this month so far, another 5-1/2″ (137mm). Over the next few days another inch or so is forecast. Of course, at the beginning of the season rain dances were popular amongst the farming fraternity – but just like our old friend Hanrahan said, “We’ll all be ‘rooned if it don’t stop soon”.

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Kelly, when she was Wendy

P-L-E-A-S-E take me home with you!

This story in pictures begins with the photo of our Kelly, who was still ‘Wendy’ at the animal shelter when this heart-rending photo was taken.  ‘Wendy’ was all signed up and paid for, when her new mother to be had an accident and was unable to go ahead with the adoption.  Unlucky lady… but oh SO lucky us! (more…)

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We have known several single farmers over our farming years and all, without exception, have needed a wife.

Some still lived at home and managed, in a fashion, with the help and support of their ‘farmer‘ mothers.  At least they were still well fed and clean (after work hours)m and their farmhouses stayed respectable and looked like someone cared.  Their accounts and records were kept in order too, even if the farmers themselves were the ones to look after these.  A little whip-cracking goes a long way when there are strong but feminine hands on the handle.

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The version of  ‘The Farmer’s Creed’ that is believed to be the original, dates back to 1915 – almost 100 years.  The life-style, attitudes and farm practices of the farmer have certainly changed a lot since then – but thankfully, not as dramatically as so much else in this world of ours.

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Kids at a Milk Bar?

Well-ll-ll no…not exactly.

We were young, admittedly – but hardly kids anymore.  Although, looking back from a vantage point some 40+ years later,  we were most certainly novices or ‘new kids on the block’.  And the block was pretty large for us ex city-slickers – being a dairy farm of 165 acres (or 67 hectares), hence the Milk-bar concept.

When you see a refrigerated milk vat that holds 330 gallons (or 1250 litres) of milk , and the huge agitator creates a deep head of creamy white froth, you’d have to question if  you’re in the midst of the largest milkshake on earth.

Here are the first paragraphs of my Ezine Articles about our Date with Destiny…as Dairy Farmers.

They all start with the prefix ‘The Milky Bar Kids….’   and then continue with their individual labels.  Here’s the first, aptly named –  In the Beginning,

Sometimes a combination of youthful enthusiasm and a degree of bravado can carry the day.  Other situations demand a large dose of determination that no one should witness the woeful lack of knowledge and experience that actually exists.

How it SHOULD be done. I DID learn…quickly!

………….A Memorable First

 Our Dairy was a Herring-bone style with cows standing alongside each other in a staggered fashion – 6 each side of a waist-deep pit where we worked with swing-across sets of milking cups.  A strong steel bar across their bottoms and a thick concrete ledge behind their back feet stopped them from joining us down there…mostly.

The Famous Concrete Holding Yard…getting clean!

………….Dog + Dairy = Disaster

Due to their previous bad experiences with dogs , we thought it kindest to our new ‘girls’ (or dairy herd) to keep our dogs tied up on our first official milking day.  On foot ourselves, we gently but firmly brought them in – no noisy, smelly vehicle or relentless barkers and heel-nippers for us, as we proceeded to lead them – like over-large lambs to the slaughter, coming to meet their Milkers.  And we were confident at this, our second milking, there would be no repeat of the morning’s bedlam and mayhem following our exceptional and memorable ‘false start’. 

Gypsy…about 15 years later!

If the Chinese blessing is truly – ‘May you Live in Interesting Times’ – we most certainly have!

And we feel SO blessed.

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For Sale…for a price!

Yesterday we went to a clearing sale on a farm some 20 kms away.  It was a glorious day to have the excuse of the sale to be out enjoying the sunshine – wandering about the paddock full of machinery and all manner of bits and pieces, plus a flock of sheep to be sold…and munching on the obligatory BBQ’d sausage sandwich cooked and sold by the local Lions Club as a fundraiser.

There were a lot of farmers there, and the bidding was brisk, led along by a talented and amusing auctioneer.   It’s quite an experience to see the different styles of bidding, and it was fun to show our 10 y.o. grand-daughter some of the ‘tricks of the trade’ that we have observed over the years.  From quite visible, almost flamboyant bidding with hands and voices raised, to a secretive wink or raising of eyebrows, to a steadfast stare that indicates a buyer is still in the bidding until he looks away.  For various reasons, some do not wish to be seen as interested in buying…mostly to do with ‘getting a bargain’ – or alternatively, having to pay ‘through the nose’, as they say.

I can still get surprises, after all the years we have been to clearing sales.  I knew my husband wanted to buy some round bales of hay for our cows – but I never saw him bid, and then they were sold for less than I knew he was prepared to pay…and I couldn’t understand it.   Afterwards, I learned he had  come to a prior arrangement with the successful buyer of  over 100 bales –  to buy 20 of them from him!  So all is not necessarily the way it seems.

Now, THIS was a hay cut! In 2011.

Not so lucky with a couple of older pieces of machinery he had his eye on.  They went for prices he wouldn’t consider.  It’s always an eye-opener to see how some people get carried away at these sales – and some have been known to pay more than the item would have been worth new from the ‘shop’ or manufacturer.  A tad over-enthusiastic – or something??

Anyway, all arrangements have been made, and the hay arrives today – and we are all smiles, as the price was truly ‘right’.  In short order, the cows too, will share the contentment.  Poor things, suffering along as they do on their sweet, fresh lucerne and pasture feed.  Sometimes we cut our own hay, sometimes we make silage (moist grasses cut and preserved in large plastic wrapped rolls).  And as you can see from the photo, in 2010, we had the perfect year, and all this hay, plus huge lucerne regrowth kept us and the cows smiling…all year long!

This year my husband decided to let the cattle have the pastures to graze on, instead of closing them up to grow to be cut for hay or silage.  It was going to be an expensive proposition this year, and has turned out well – the purchase price of the hay being less than the cost of making silage.

Enjoy…Cows!!

 

**Update, Feb. 2012 – I have now written a series of Ezine articles about farm clearing sales – they are the ones that start with the prefix – ‘Going, Going…Gone’.

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