Friday, March 27, 2009

Telling our Grandaughters Class About Farming

Our one grandaughter is in Kindergarten . Yesterday we went and gave a talk about farming to her class . We had pictures of the farm equipment , the cows , the barn , the calves , the milk tank with milk in it , the barn with hay , a cow getting milked , the milkers and a picture of the cow named after our grandaughter ( Kirsten ) . The kids seemed to enjoy it. They asked if it hurt to milk a cow by hand. Which we almost never do . We use the milkers . And most cows don't like being milked by hand . They are used to being milked with a milker. We handed out cow erasers . Plus since my husband is also a Forest Fire Warden he talked about Smokey the Bear . And handed out Smokey the Bear pencils and coloring books. I think our granduaghter was very excited to have her Papee come in to her class.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hay Baling

Last summer we baled loads and loads of hay . We have the old type baler . It bales the rectangle shape bales . Not the great big round ones a lot of farmers have . We baled about 6300 bales of hay . Our barn was full . But soon we will be running out of hay. My husband , myself and a retired farm neighbor unloaded most of the hay . Once in awhile my brother helped or a friend . Between feeding the cows , small calves , dry cows and heifers we use about 24 bales a day . I usually feed the hay at the barn . Depending on the size of the bale , one bale usually feeds 4 cows.

When the hay is baled Glenn ( our neighbor ) brings the full wagon of hay down to the barn . My husband is still in the field baling more hay . Glenn pulls the wagon close to the barn .I unhook the pin holding the front of the wagon to the tractor . Then a guiding pole is inserted in the back of the wagon and is attached to the tractor. Glenn pushes the wagon in towards the barn and I guide it inside . Sometimes we start unloading the hay right away . If we have a couple of loads to bale , we have to unload the hay to get the wagon back up to the field. There were a few times last summer we had 6 loads to unload in 1 day . Boy , does that wear you out ! I try and think of it as good exercise !

It gets pretty hot in the middle of the summer unloading hay . And those humid days are really bad. I am usually on the wagon throwing the hay into my husband to stack . Once in awhile some of our 4 grandkids like to climb up on the wagon and try and push some of the bales off to their Papee . They are our little helpers . And of course we tell them we couldn't have got all that hay unloaded without them .

Soon my husband will be starting the field work for spring. Plowing and planting. Sometimes he works in the field all day , comes down to milk and then goes back to the field after milking and works til sometimes 9 p.m. or later. Never gets to eat supper til almost 9:30 or 10:00 . Farming is a lot of hard work and it takes a toll on your body . My husband just turned 60 in January and he a lot of back and leg problems.

Most of our farm equipment is antique. Almost all of the tractors are the ones my father-in-law used when he farmed. Most farmers can't afford new tractors or other equipment . The only ones who can are those " Pretend Farmers " . That is what I call them . The ones who use their farm as a tax write-off . And aren't on the farm to actually farm it.

Well ~ need to get going . Almost time to go to the barn adnget started !

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Milk Prices

We got our milk check and the milk price is even worse than I thought it would be . We are getting $ 12.00 for a hundred pounds of our milk and it cost us $ 30.00 to make it . This might be the month we give it up. Just don't know what else we can sell to get more money . If farmers were getting paid what we should be we would be ok. Farmers are getting ripped off big time . All the work my husband does and to get this insulting amount for our milk is awful ! Guess I better get my letters to my Congress people sent out again ! Not that it seems to do much good.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our farmhouse at Christmas

This is a picture of our farmhouse this past Christmas. I always decorate everywhere . I put lots of pine branches and Santa's and Snowman all over the porch . I have an old chicken crate hanging on the wall .I have it filled with some of my prim goodies. And I have some crocks , old boxes and old tools around the porch . I have an old wooden shutter by the porch . It used to be on the house years ago . They were stored up in our barn . We found them the other year . So we brought them down and I decorated with some of them . They are a really neat aqua color . When everyone comes for the Craft Open House they love to look over everything on my porch . Usually they want to buy stuff that is on the porch . But I tell them it isn't for sale. At least not yet !

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Calf prices

One of our cows had twin calves the other day . They both were bulls. Usually we send bull calves out and only keep heifer calves . But we learned we are better off keeping them . We were told they were only worth $5.00 !! We are charged a hauling fee and other fees. So til they would take all the fees off our price we would end up with nothing. The other week a farmer sent out a bull calf and he got $5.00 .They took off the fees and ended up sending him a bill ! Even cow prices are awful . We used to get from $ 400 to $ 700 . The last cow we sent out we got $ 300 .

There are only about 59,135 dairy farms left in the whole US . The number of dairy farms drops about 5000 per year . 2009 could be the year to beat that number if the farmers milk prices do not improve quickly .

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dairy Farms Going Fast

Dairy farms are going fast . Farmers are getting lower and lower prices for our milk . The milk check is hardly enough to pay the bills. As the price falls there are going to be fewer and fewer family farms. And the price people pay at the store is going to go up and go up high . Could it go as high as $10.00 a gallon ? Who knows ? It seems the milk processors have more influence over the Congress than we farmers do . We have had to start selling some of the things we hold dear . I am selling an antique dry sink to try and get some money to help pay bills . My husband is selling some of his guns. We used to have stock . But the last of it was sold last year . You sometimes ask yourself ~ how much do you sacrifice to hold on to your farm ? Farmers don't want a bailout . We just want a fair price for our milk !