A rainy day here in Southeast Ky. provides me with the first chance to “stop and smell the roses” in a couple months. It’s been the proverbial “rat race” here since Farm I got it’s first shipment of birds on Feb 28th. I always take extra pains getting the birds adjusted to their new environment and making sure the equipment is all functioning properly. Typically I work every day, at least during “feed time”, to make sure the hoppers are emptying equally and all the birds are getting the right amount of feed. It usually takes me until Farm II is receiving birds to have everything like I want it and then I start the process anew. This year that was April 23rd. I get very little time off until the birds get through their peak production.
This year we haven’t even gotten to peak production at Farm II before hay season started. All indications are this is going to be a great hay season too. I’ve picked up a couple more farms on lease. One is about 48 acres and the other is 20 some. We are almost done with the first cutting. About another 3 good dry days will get it all wrapped up. As of now we have 138 4×5 rolls from the first cutting. That’s more hay than I generally cut in a year and the first cutting isn’t done yet. One 4 acre field we have really been working with here on the farm netted us 18 rolls. That’s a great yield. The other 30 acre farm we’ve had leased for the last 3 years netted us 54 rolls. I remember the first year we cut that farm we got 15 rolls. That’s a pretty good increase in production in 3 years. Chicken litter really makes the grass grow! We’ve been going almost non stop cutting with the 6000, raking and fluffing with the 3316, and rolling with the 7010. The more I use the 7010 cab and the Vermeer roller the more I like them! My plan is to square bale a bunch of the 2nd cutting.
One evening last week we took on a rescue horse. The poor thing was starving where they were keeping it and the boys did the right thing and ask us if we would take it and take care of it. The kids have named it Millie. Slowly it seems to be getting back in shape. At this point I am afraid to feed it much grain so we’ve basically just wormed it and let it pick with the goats. It seems to appreciate our efforts. My dad said he didn’t think it raised it’s head for 36 hours. We’ve had a good kidding season this year with our goats too. At last count we had 13 kids. Some does have already kidded the second time for the year. With a goats gestation period of around 150 days it’s possible to get 2 kidding’s a year from them. We’ve gotten a couple calves since I posted last too. Cows are by far the least labor intensive thing we have here on the farm. I’m seeing some pinkeye this year for the first time though. I’m planning to purchase a Tarter Gates squeeze chute for working with the cows. It’s just too risky trying to vaccinate and treat them by hemming them up in a corral.
The 3316 HST has been hard at work in the garden laying off rows, hilling, and cultivating when it wasn’t raking and fluffing hay. We’ve got every vegetable imaginable in the works and it takes every available evening hoeing and cultivating to keep the weeds out of them. My aunts from Ohio and Pennsylvania have both requested several bushels of green beans to can so I’ve tried to take extra special care of them. The corn is looking good so far too. That’s one of my favorites, corn on the cob. I can’t wait for real tomatoes either. These things they sell in the store can’t really be considered tomatoes. I guess I’m a real country boy because in my book it doesn’t get much better than fresh garden veggies. Our berry patch is finally netting us some wonderful strawberries too! I think papaw eats them everyday. I know I would go broke if I was getting paid to pick them. I eat more than I pick. Blackberries should ripening soon too! Most days I run like crazy and don’t get a chance to stop and realize this place really is coming together.
The added acreage this year has had me re-evaluating my equipment. While I’ve been pleased with the 6000 I’ve come to the ultimate conclusion that it has outlived it’s usefulness here on the farm. I currently have it listed for sale and if it sells I’m planning to take advantage of Mahindra Dealer Days specials and pick up a 5035 PST. I initially was set on a 4035 PST, but there is such a small difference in size between them that I feel I should opt for the 10 more hp. The price point on the 8560 cab is really tempting too. I’ve looked the big tractor over several different times. I just wish the scope of my operation was bigger so I could justify the purchase. For now I think the 5035 will take on some of the tasks I’ve normally used the 7010 to do. My next 2 purchases will be a hydraulic fold 8 wheel V rake and a 4 basket tedder though. The 5035 can then take over the hay duties the 3316 is currently performing. As the old saying goes, “time is money” and I should be able to cut my haying time roughly in half.
Well as always I have a ton to do and it seems the rain has passed so I guess I should move on to something else that needs doing! Thanks for taking the time to follow along. There’s much more to come so check back often! I’m trying my best to keep the Combs Farms Facebook page active and updated. I’ll be uploading pictures frequently both to Facebook and Flickr so even if I’m not posting here feel free to take a peek at the pics! Again thanks for reading and God Bless!