Saturday, May 5, 2012

“April showers
May Flowers”


 I did see a dandelion, but I haven’t seen many flowers blooming in Montana in May.  In fact, this morning brought one more snowstorm.

We’re still trying to get a hayfield worked up and seeded – the operative word being trying.  The last week has been cool weather with numerous showers.  That doesn’t promote the growth of grass, and it mostly keeps us out of the field.  We did get some tractor-work done yesterday, but it wasn’t as effective as it could have been.

Our goal is to uproot the old grasses which are no longer productive, and create a good seed-bed for a new crop.  If the dirt is too damp it remains in a clump on the roots, rather than crumbling away and leaving the roots exposed.  It also makes the implement pull harder, so we can’t work the soil as deep.

The tool we are using at this point is the “duck-foot sweep”.  Each of these duck-foot shovels is a foot wide, and the shanks are a foot apart.  

Mounted on the back is a set of spring-tooth harrows.  The sweeps under-cut the sod and tip it up; the harrows break up the clumps and roll the grasses up to the top where they wither and die.

The grass is turning green, but it is a ways from providing feed for the cows – thus we are still feeding every day.  The cows are getting pretty finicky, and leave the courser stems after picking through for the more tender alfalfa leaves.  They soon spread out to crop off whatever new growth they can find in the grass, but they come bawling at the sound of the tractor, as they are still hungry.

We’d like to be farming, but there is plenty of other work to be done.  We got the irrigation pump in this week did some work on it – relocating the primer pump, adding a new priming valve, and building a support bracket for the new, heavier valve.  We pulled apart the gated pipe in one of the hayfields and replaced two 30-foot sections that had shattered last winter.  We got the last of the pairs turned out, and we did a little more cleaning in the old house.  And there always seems to be desk-work that needs to be done.

The forecast for next week is sunny and warmer.  We’ll see….

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