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It all starts with a plan and a seed…

May 6, 2008

Jetta Update:  Still waiting…

Frozen colostrum, just is case something goes wrong.

 Everything that happens here starts with a seed, part of the “master plan.”  A seed can grow into a calf that may be a milk cow or beef, or a tree that makes firewood, lumber or that just makes us feel good  by looking at it.  These last few days, we worked in the garden, cut storm damaged tree limbs into firewood, and DH started the huge job of building compost piles from the deep bedding.  And we anxiously waited for Jetta’s calf.  Plans or decisions, right or wrong, made years back, affect what we do today.   Not in the plan – Della (Jetta’s mom) decided to wean her current calf.  I was hoping she would hold off on this small detail until Jetta had freshened and I felt comfortable (or not) milking her.  I don’t like to milk two cows at the same time, (waaa, I know this is all my planning) but it’s what I will have to do.  I noticed Della was getting kicky and didn’t want to let her milk down last week, but I ignored her.  But on Sunday morning when I went to put her back to pasture after the calf had milked, I saw she was only half milked.  I finished and resigned myself to the fact that I had to milk everyday now.  So now Della is happy, her calf is bawling and beside himself.  (I don’t know who is taking it harder, him or me?)



Kickers, note that they are loose. 

It is hard to hobble cows if they aren’t gentle in the first place.  These can be adjusted tighter for more control.  With Della if she has them on, she behaves.  To use these, put the clip on the left hock and then, bring the chain around the front of the legs, and put the clip with the adjustment on right hock.  Adjust the chain to desired tightness.  Do this in reverse order if you milk from the left side… .  If she wants, Della knows just how to step/kick to get these off.  I have always milked her with these, because if she  kicks, (not very often) she kicks hard. 

Kickers on.

Garden stuff:

Dry enough to cultivate. 

When the soil gets this light brown color, I know it is dry enough to till/cultivate.  This past weekend, I hoed or raked the rows that I wanted to plant.  This part of the garden had a somewhat winter-killed oat cover crop, and was rotavated the week before.  For dry land gardening, this cultivation of the top crust is important to maintain your dust mulch.

My not-so scientific garden notebook. 

In my notebook, I keep track of varieties, planting dates, harvest dates, tillage, cover crops, amendments, etc.  Devoting a line per row allows me to visualize my rotation as it is laid out in the garden.  Each garden and greenhouse gets a page each year.  Yesterday, I transferred my overwintering allium information to the 2008 page.

Planted yesterday:
♥  Tristar strawberries.   90′, the garden is 100′ long, with approx. 8′ tilled headlands.
♥  Walla Walla Sweet onion transplants.  90′, planted with Eliot Coleman’s cluster method of 4 plants together.  This makes it easier to hoe, weed and harvest in the row.
♥  Nelson carrots, Summer Cross Daikon, Detroit Dark Red Beets, Hakurei salad turnips, Kolibri kohlrabi.  60′, these were planted in a 30′ double row.

This is how I plant the bulk of my rows.  A double row spaced about a foot apart.  I then have wide paths for easy harvesting, and I can side dress the plants with compost, or use a soaker hose in the middle.

Side dressed with compost after planting.

This double row of carrots etc, is just filling in at the end of the garlic row.  Everything I planted here should be harvested by the time the garlic is ready to harvest. 

|—Insect barrier—|
Daikon     | Hakurei  | Kolibri    | Detroit Dk |  Nelson                          |
radish         turnip       kohlrabi   beet               carrot
Daikon     | Hakurei  | Kolibri    | Detroit Dk  | Nelson                           |
|—Insect barrier___|

I need to use row cover on the radishes and turnips to keep out root maggots, so by planting several “short” rows of these vegetables, I can better utilize the width that the row cover comes in. 

My potatoes are in the greenhouse for chitting, which makes for stronger sprouts and quicker emergence.  Our soil is still cool, I usually plant potatoes mid-May to Memorial Day depending on the weather.  I plant several hills of an early variety for summer eating, but the bulk of our spud crop is for storage.

If it doesn’t rain today, maybe peas! 

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2008 11:03 am

    I’ve never used kickers on a cow but would tie a figure eight around their hind legs with a soft cotton rope instead. I got my spuds, peas…. and everything in but the real tender veggies this morning. What potato variety do you consider for early eating. I still have room left and need to buy some more seed potatoes.

  2. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    May 6, 2008 2:40 pm

    Linda, That’s a good idea to use rope. I’ve never had one fight the kickers, so I have never cinched them too tight, so it isn’t hurting the cow.

    You’re ahead of me on your gardening – it has been so wet, if I get in too big of hurry, I’ll pay for it later with cloddy soil.

    Dark Red Norland it about the earliest here, and it keeps good too.

  3. Kristen permalink
    May 7, 2008 5:21 am

    I was watching a show on strawberries the other day and they said even though they are considered perinials they treat them as annuals…..I just ordered some plants and I am wondering why….do they not produce as much the next year?

  4. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    May 7, 2008 6:17 am

    Kristen, I treat strawberries as annuals because I have a hard time keeping them weed free. So I replant every spring.

    There are two types: June bearing and day neutral. The June bearing put on one large crop and then spend the rest of the year growing runners to replenish for next year. This type has larger fruit. We are in a large commercial berry growing area and the big guys replant straws about every 3 or 4 years. The day neutrals can supply you with berries until frost. However, the berries are smaller and the plants put on less runners.

    I’m using Tristar, a day neutral. I’ve tried plastic mulch, straw, and just trying to keep them weeded. Each method had its drawbacks in our garden.

    What has worked best is to replant every year in a new clean row in the vegetable garden, and KEEP them weeded. In the garden we are in the weeding mode, so it gets done. By doing this we have enough berries for the freeezer and for fresh eating all summer.

  5. May 7, 2008 8:34 am

    I am interested in the way you freeze stuff in canning jars. I hate to can and like to freeze and have about a bazillion jars left to me by my late m-i-l. I am going to try it this year.

  6. May 7, 2008 9:48 am

    No calf yet? Sorry about Della weaning her calf. My goat weaned her babies off right at the end of summer last year when my travelling was all done. It was a change, going from milking when needed to milking daily.

  7. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    May 7, 2008 3:32 pm

    Threecollie, I like the jar method better, the quality of freezer bags isn’t what it used to be, so it always seems like there is a freezer burn taste. The jars take up a little more space, but if the food tastes better it is worth it.

    Sarah, nothing yet… my best guess will be Saturday? But from the looks of things that is a long shot too. I’m realizing that at least going back to milking everyday is getting my hands in shape for heifer milking.

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