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Boring Blog Post

January 9, 2013

Do you ever run out of things to blog about?  I sure do, farm life can be, and is a lather, rinse, repeat type of thing.  Plant the carrots, weed the carrots, harvest the carrots, eat the carrots… .  So I was glad when a friend stopped by yesterday to get some roots and I put her to work helping me get ready for the snow that is predicted for tonight.  Since I’m ready, I doubt it will snow much, but she provided me with several good ideas for blog posts just from our conversation as we worked.

Premier Poultrynet

Premier Poultrynet

My first task was to move the sheep into the empty chicken brooder for the duration of the snow.  When I asked my friend to do that task while I did something else, she was horrified.  She hates, hates, hates her electric netting.  I feel a blog post coming on here ;)  Here I thought this was a simple thing that she could do by herself, but I didn’t count on her dread of electric netting.  I soon found out why she abhorred her fence and didn’t move her animals too much because of the fence problems she was having.  I was glad to help, since I happen to think this electric netting is the coolest thing since sliced bread, or Juniper Fiestaware, either way, I love it!

Come to find out she is rolling the dang thing up every time she uses it.  No wonder, that is a lot of unnecessary work, and all that work destroys the temporary nature of the temporary fence.  I do roll up our rolls of fence and tie them when I am ready to store them for the season, but during the grazing season I store them flat like the photo above.

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The method we use to tear down and move electric fencing goes pretty quickly, and allows one person to take down and set up a net or two in three shakes of a lamb’s tail.  Well not quite that fast, but fast.  To take down a fence section, I grasp the first post in my left hand and then walk along pulling out the next post with my right hand.  While doing that I am draping the net towards the ground, and bringing the next post to my left hand, which is sort of like  making pleats (if you sew you know what I mean.)

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Keeping the nets like this when they are in constant use is a time saver, because then you can just grab them and feed them out in reverse order and bam your fence is laid out.

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The route to the least frustration is keeping the spike ends free from the netting.  Otherwise you are in for an annoying fencing stint.  I have to say I really like this netting, our Electronet for the sheep lasted about 4 years, and the last year of that it was a mere suggestion to the sheep.  But this PoultryNet™  has went above and beyond the call of duty.  We purchased this fencing in 1999!

We had a great time, she learned some new fencing tricks, we put the sheep in, and we got some roots dug and a few pics for a blog post.  Another funny thing she brought up was that she had just read somewhere recently on a farm blog that Jersey cows were hardy in mild climates.  We pondered that for a while and decided that since all cows were hardy in mild climates that was hardly a claim to fame for the Jerseys.  We both had read stories in older books about Jerseys being rugged in the olden days, which meant a rug or blanket was put on the cows in inclement weather, not that they were rugged as in hardy :)  Not enough story there for a blog post, but I promise pics of the roots we dug in the next post and some miscellaneous pics of what’s going on in the winter garden besides root crops.

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37 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2013 7:32 pm

    I know I run out of things to blog about and then I just get out there to explore again:) Have a Great One:)

  2. January 9, 2013 7:43 pm

    I could’ve used that post about 6 months ago! Alas, through a few weeks of utter frustration I learned all the tricks you detailed, but only after my own trial and error. NOT ROLLING IT UP is DEFINITELY the key.

    • January 10, 2013 6:28 am

      Scrapple, the lessons I learn the hard way stick the most, glad you figured it out :) It’s funny how a little ol’ roll of fencing can make you want to tear your hair out!

  3. Eliza permalink
    January 9, 2013 8:13 pm

    You may think you have nothing to say, but we love to hear it. I would rather read about what is happening on you farm than watch 16 and pregnant any day! Which is what I recently discovered many people watch.

    • January 10, 2013 6:27 am

      Eliza, that sounds awful, it’s hard to believe that anyone would find that entertaining :( Thanks for the kind words :)

  4. January 9, 2013 9:10 pm

    I love Premier’s catalogs! They were very helpful over our electric fencing that our Dexter heifer kept getting through. They told me the big box store solar chargers are not strong enough to shock a calf or young cow through its baby coat, and so she got conditioned to being able to go through the fence. They assured us that if we got a 1 joule charger she would learn to respect it in no time–and they were right! The charger we got from them is great, and I’m just looking for an excuse to get some more goodies from them.

    I echo Eliza! You always have something worthwhile to say! It may seem old to you, but it’s not to us! You might be surprised how often you’ve saved someone from having to learn through their own trial and error. Many times I’ve said to my husband, “Here’s what Matron of Husbandry says . . .” So keep on saying it, please!

    • January 10, 2013 6:19 am

      Susan, I like the fence too, it sure has been a great poultry fence and right now I have a section of it on my carrots to keep the dogs out! THEY ARE NOT HAPPY ABOUT THAT ;) I never have used their chargers though, but I guess that is a good testimonial, it sure is frustrating when the fence isn’t effective!

  5. Barb in CA permalink
    January 9, 2013 9:37 pm

    If it’s blog ideas you need, I have a million questions for you! And I completely agree with Eliza – Your “nothing much to say” is ALWAYS informative! You are wonderful at sharing the details, but just hearing about your daily routine gives us the big picture as well. Everything you share has helped me understand how all your ideas fit together. And you share what doesn’t work, as well as what does! Honestly, I don’t think you’ll ever really know how much we’ve learned from you! So I’ll just hit you with my latest question before I blather on too much… you’ve mentioned “a calf with an intact flight zone” several times over the years. I think I understand what that is, but I don’t know why it’s important.

    • January 10, 2013 6:05 am

      Barb in CA, thanks :) The flight zone is the magical space between you and an animal, the tamer they are the smaller that is. With range cattle it may be quite a distance, with a bottle raised calf it may be too close for always safe handling because the calf is not scared of you at all (you don’t want it to be BTW) but you do need it to respect your space. Cute little calves grow up to be big cows. It comes in handy moving the cows when the human understands the flight zone and the balance point. Where you stand and how you move towards and away from your cow or cows makes them move. However you can totally violate that with other behavior like using dogs or ATV’s, it’s much easier to learn the ways and move carefully. I’m not saying big herds on the range don’t need those tools (dogs and ATV’s) but most homesteaders with a few cows or a small herd don’t, it’s more of a weekend warrior mindset to use those tools instead of your head. Chasing cows and fast movements rarely give you the results you want.

      • Barb in CA permalink
        January 10, 2013 7:05 am

        Of course! It’s obvious now that you tell me! I’ve been reading Temple Grandin’s information on flight zone, balance point, and low stress handling, but still wasn’t making the connection to BOTTLE fed calves. Thank you again! I don’t know where you get the time to answer us individually, but I sure appreciate it!

  6. January 9, 2013 11:05 pm

    I sometimes wonder if I am getting repetitive. Like you say, how many times can you write about planting seeds? Or harvesting? It happens every year and hopefully after a while becomes quite routine. I suppose the only difference is the changes we make due to the weather conditions or the introduction of something new.

    By the way, I ordered the Sweet Meat seeds yesterday, so I look forward to trying them this year. Had to order some more Pumpkin Nut seeds too, our first attempt was a dismal failure, pretty much like the weather we had this year too.

  7. January 10, 2013 3:54 am

    I love poultrynet and reading your blog. I use it all the time to move my goats and poultry. Keep posting. When you have nothing to say I go back and reread old posts.

  8. A.A. permalink
    January 10, 2013 5:09 am

    I used the SmartFence thing last summer, and I’m not sure if it was much handier than the poultry netting, even though a lot of people seem to have trouble with poultry netting.

    I think for next summer I’ll try cutting off the electricity to one or two of the lowest strands of the netting to help a bit with the spark. I think I’ll also add baling twine and a pin to each post to make bracing easier as with smartfence: loop a twine in at the top of the post, run it down and around the spike, bring it back up and end with another loop to attach to the top again, with a pin hanging from that second loop. Wouldn’t have to mess around with a pocket full on pins and twine anymore.

    • January 10, 2013 6:17 am

      AA, that smart fence looks like a nightmare to me, I prefer my single strand really hot wire to the netting or rope any day. With the rope, tape and netting you never know just how weak it is, every time you handle it you’re wearing out those little filaments and weakening the effectiveness of the fence. The simpler the fence is the better it works…

  9. January 10, 2013 6:53 am

    As for carrots — Mother Earth News had an article yesterday about a mini root cellar.

    Dig a five gallon bucket down into the dirt, with the top level with the ground. Add carrots, lid. Set bale of straw on top. Enjoy!

    So, there are things coming along in carrots, as well. Not to mention companion planting the carrots, warding off the pests of the season, reminding us which varieties are selected for which uses, or for which features of resilience.

    Not that I want to see a carrot blog.

    I don’t recall seeing recent posts about selecting garden tools, which get used for which purpose, depending on soil condition, weather, and various stages of routine aches and pains, as well as stages of soil preparation, care of plants, and harvesting.

    There is also a slight matter of care and maintenance of various implements, what gets sharpened, what is done to preserve cherished handles — why a particular tool falls into disfavor.

    Not that Fiskars started coming out with some really nice garden tools (I work in Lawn and Garden, at my Wal-Mart). But I *really* like the tree saw I picked up last year. Just, not on carrots. Because the grasshoppers got all of them, I think. Something did.

    • January 10, 2013 9:17 am

      Brad, I have got as far as taking photos of pitchforks, maybe that can be a post…

      • January 10, 2013 12:24 pm

        You noted on another post the importance of keeping the “hay” fork out of the manure, keep it clean to protect it’s use for hay and feed. That was *not* a boring post. And you didn’t even say much about how to choose a hay fork, field fork (for gathering/turning loose hay for harvest), manure fork, silage fork. Just saying, some of just make do with what we find at last auction we went to, without knowing the proper use of the long-handled tool in our hand. Heck, I just got my first scythe stone last winter (Amazon.com)!

        Thanks!

  10. January 10, 2013 6:55 am

    I know what you are saying about running out of things to blog about. Try having a farm blog and not farming yet. I really have to be creative in coming up with stuff. That’s why I post about every two weeks.

    I always learn from and enjoy your post, so keep up the good work.

  11. PennyAshevilleNC permalink
    January 10, 2013 7:21 am

    You also have sheep??? Neat. Would you post about them sometime? I’d love to learn about them :) I have learned so much from you and I live in the city and have no livestock! Thank you for sharing your life.

  12. Nick permalink
    January 10, 2013 7:24 am

    Do the sheep mind the cold? I was wondering about their wool in the snow?

    • January 10, 2013 9:16 am

      Nick, no they don’t mind the cold that much, but the snow is hard on the fence netting, if it is down with heavy snow it doesn’t afford much protection from predators :(

  13. January 10, 2013 9:34 am

    Hubs and I are both terrible with names, so, when I mention you (which is surprisingly often), I call you “my farming mentor.” I find your posts really helpful (enough to consider you a virtual mentor!), and sometimes I even find my way back to you through some other search, where someone linked to one of your old posts and says “here’s a great post explaining it.” Keep posting your thoughts, boring ones and all. They’re never boring from this side of the screen!

  14. Chris permalink
    January 10, 2013 9:51 am

    Ditto all the other comments…You always have something interesting and informative to say…even to those of us who do not live on farms…we love learning about them and their inhabitants…..but here’s a request for these boring, winter days….how bout more photos of the inhabitants themselves….the cows…specially Jane…the dogs, sheep, cats, horse, chickens…did I miss anyone?…Oh…a few of the caretakers of the farm once in awhile, would be nice too!! :)

  15. January 10, 2013 10:45 am

    I use a 25M poultry net – fortunately I don’t move it often as it’s used more as a deterrent to Mr & Mrs Fox than as a movable container. Despite the instructions saying to do as you do, it took me a few times to get the hang gathering the posts together and letting the net drop into folds. The downside of the fence being more permanent is that the lower wires soon get encrusted with micro crud and then colonised by algae/lichen. A tedious cleaning job if ever there was one. Still, the fence so far has kept the predators out for which I am grateful. Useful kit.

  16. January 10, 2013 12:51 pm

    ha, I knew you couldn’t write a boring blog post, so I clicked over anyway, and of course it was interesting! I love the thought of putting a rug on our jersey cow, I can’t imagine that she would be very impressed with it! I once put a blanket over a sick calf when we were expecting frost, not sure what he thought of that, but he did live through the night, so I didn’t make it worse. At the moment we need cattle that are hardy in HOT weather here in Australia, and having part Brahman is a help there. Thanks for your fence tips, we are yet to buy any, but it does look very useful.

  17. January 10, 2013 4:42 pm

    Concertina fence.. awesome.. and that rugged jersey!!! I knew there was a reason why i don’t have jerseys, i don’t have enough rugs!
    I am popping in really to tell you that Daisy is on day three of her mastoblast ( I ordered it the day you recommended it) and oh my goodness the difference in that cow is fantastic.. i have hauled John in to literally brush her while I milk, to further calm her down and she has almost stopped all the kicking and her quarters are all evening up nicely. I bought a CMT as well and the quarter I was worried about (which looked swollen) was the only healthy one, the other three were reading very borderline and losing milk fast. But by today two are already healthier and the third dubious one milked more this evening than before.So i have high hopes. I have see through cups which is handy. So I am able to really strip the bad quarters which has helped also.
    So thank you so much for your recommendation. I will keep up the regime until the full 10 days so she gets a chance to build her immunity as we are going to Once a Day milking soon. The girl is tired. I know the feeling.
    Once again many thanks

    celi

  18. January 11, 2013 9:42 am

    Keep up great work :-)

  19. January 11, 2013 11:37 am

    I’ve learned the hard way with that kind of netting and I’ve learned to NEVER roll it up during the season! It just gets tangled! Good to see it laid out flat and neat! :) Keep us the awesome blog, I love it.

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