• John Hogeland

A Letter From the Farm

Spring has sprung here at Whippoorwill Creek Farm and I am as busy as a one legged man at a butt kicking contest.  I am currently up at 3:00 am writing this because:

  1. I wanted to share with you a little of what will be going on over the next week or so, and,

  2. I couldn't sleep because I have too many things to think about, so I thought writing them down might help.  


An early morning survey of cows and calves

On the schedule for today is the delivery of our refrigerator and dish washer to our almost remodeled farmhouse.  It has been a long time coming, but our kitchen is nearly ready for use. The cabinets went in yesterday and will (hopefully) be plumbed in today, if our plumber was able to get his beans planted yesterday.  We also have to put in the shower doors today.  Luckily I have a good friend who is a contractor who is helping me out.  


The new refrigerator arrived!

While I work at the house, I need to call to see if the septic guy can help me find a water line that runs through a dam of a pond my dad built with his own bulldozer about 10 years ago.  The water is filling up in the ponds and finding the line is important because we can use the water to graze our cattle on the south side of the road - if we can just find the damn thing. 

I also need to talk to some young men about helping us move our behemoth, 1950's O'Keefe and Merritt stove out of storage and into the house.  I would estimate that the thing weighs nearly 600 pounds, so you can believe me when I say that it is no joke.  Luckily, Jake and his compadres enjoy hunting deer and turkey on our farm and so are happy to help in any way that keeps them in good graces, even lifting giant stoves.



But before all that, I will be up around 6:15 to go out to water the bulls, move both the yearling calves and the the cows into new paddocks. Beth too has been moving the cows (as you can hear in the video) which helps a lot. If time permits, this evening we will set up tomorrow's paddocks for both the cows and yearlings. Then I will bring in the tractor from the field where it broke down and I subsequently (I hope) fixed it.

When I bring it back to the house, I will bring with it the harrow that was left in the field when the tractor broke down.  I will need the harrow on Sunday, when I hope to be able to disc, seed and harrow the cows old calving pasture with a mixture of sudan grass, cow peas, field radishes and pearl millet.  The mixture is supposed to help suck up much of the extra nitrogen that the cows have been (over) producing for the last 15 years of so, and in the process rejuvenate the soil and also grow a bounty of luscious, hopefully fat inducing  forage for the yearling calves.


Oh, and remember the bulls that I mentioned up at the top of the letter?  I need to make some calls as I am trying to sell or rent one of them out to another farmer.  (That's right, you can rent your very own bull, should you need one or even two.)  Their names are Bib and Bob and they are generally pretty gentle unless there are cows around, then they decide it's time to see who is boss.  



Unfortunately, just two days ago, when I moved the cows near them, they took to fighting and Bib pushed Bob into a fence where he cut his front leg badly.  Bob eventually won the fight, but nearly died of blood loss in the hours afterwards.  Luckily, Bob is tough and has so far pulled through, though now his breeding days may be numbered.

So, this gives you an idea of what we are doing with our current and future "social distancing" time. It's a busy life but a good one.  

To you we say, keep your sanitizer handy, your gardens tended and your cows 6 feet apart.  These are strange days.

Love from the farm,

John (and Beth)

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