There Are Days

There are days like today when I am glad that this little farm is really just a hobby. When I got home from work this afternoon I was just bushed and so I did the bare minimum to keep everyone happy and alive. I put the cow up and got her some hay to go with her evening sweet feed, gathered eggs, hauled manure out to the compost pile, put a load of thistle in the burn pile, and made sure everyone had water.

Sounds like a lot but it really only takes about half an hour – but still, it’s stuff that cannot be put off… or I might’ve put it off.

If this were a “real farm” I would be out yet again working on the baler I recently purchased.

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Ain’t she a beauty? We had such a time finding someone willing to bale our little hay patch that I decided next year we will bale our own. This is an International Harvester 45 baler with a McCormick knotter. Best I can tell, it was manufactured in the early 1950s. It actually does work. I’ve been polishing the bill hook and replacing the knives and trying to get the timing just right. Square balers really are Rube Goldberg machines and I’ve been chasing 1/32 of an inch for days. Yesterday I got one of the knotters just almost perfect and I think a couple more adjustments to the other will complete the job. The best part about this old baler (and really, old implements in general) is that it was designed to run behind a 21 horse tractor or larger so my little 33 horse Kubota runs it no problem.

I also bought a New Holland side delivery rake.

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This piece works just as is and does a pretty good job too. I convinced the guy doing our hay to let me rake it for him.

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It was fun. Those are my first windrows! I think they’re perfect windrows! 😉

We wound up with somewhere between 3 and 4 tons of hay off our little 3.5 acre pasture. Not record-setting but still respectable I think. If I can get this old John Deere No. 5 mower rehabbed over the winter we’ll be able to cut, rake, AND bale. Woo-hoo!

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Ok so enough about my burgeoning hay operation. What else have we been up to since last we spoke?

We managed to catch two swarms of bees! I think one was from our own hives but I believe the other was a wild swarm. I have to admit that shaking bees down out of the trees while you’re standing underneath is a little bit surreal…

But also oddly exciting! Now we have 4 hives going. They all seem to be doing well.

We also (finally!) got the house painted! Yay!

I honestly did not realize how much nicer it would be to come home to. We used an airless paint sprayer and we would’ve been done in one weekend except your’s truly managed to toss out a little, itty-bitty part of the spray nozzle with the wash water. We spent the next week with a half-painted house waiting on the replacement. Still, I would not paint with a roller or brush again, at least on the outside. The sprayer was so easy to learn to use and the speed – heaven, just heaven.

What else, what else? I processed our meat chickens. I say “I” because when we moved out here Don informed me in no uncertain terms that he would not be involved with any slaughtering, hahaha, and so far, I’ve managed to live up to our agreement. We rented this setup from our local conservation district for $20 (less the gorgeous table, that’s my creation) and the job went surprisingly smoothly.

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The plucker is miraculous but I have to tell you, I think the real secret is the scalder. It keeps the water at 146.5 degrees and you can dunk five birds at once.

I was very pleased with our harvest. Each bird weighed about 5.5 pounds and we put 50+ pounds of chicken in the freezer.

And I am happy to confirm that they taste wonderful. Unlike the rabbits, we had no problem eating these.

And that my friends is all… I think. 🙂

Thank you for letting me ramble on in these sporadic posts.

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2 thoughts on “There Are Days

  1. Awesome! Good job. Wish I had the confidence or mechanical aptitude to buy old equipment like that. Renting the scalder/plucker is a great opportunity. I’m going to be thinking about how we can set something like that up in our county.

    1. freethnkr1965

      Hahaha, I wish I had mechanical aptitude too! I would say I have confidence but I think it’s really more like foolhardiness.

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