Small Farmer's Journal

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MONDAY

January 16, 2017

LittleField Notes Two-Legged Stool
from

LittleField Notes: Two-Legged Stool

I would fix it but it ain’t broke yet, or more to the point — it ain’t completely broke yet. But that is the way of most of our lives isn’t it? We so often have to make do with a two-legged stool. That is until one day the cow will suddenly shift her weight and in response you will shift yours and you will hear a crack and suddenly your two-legged stool will have become a one-legged stool. And no one, not even a stubborn “ain’t completely broke yet” farmer, can abide a one legged stool.

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TUESDAY

January 17, 2017

The Farm & Bakery Wagon
from

The Farm & Bakery Wagon

The first step was to decide on an appropriate chassis, or “running gear.” Eventually I chose to go with the real deal, a wooden-wheeled gear with leaf springs rather than pneumatic tires. Wooden wheels last forever with care and are functional and look the part. I bought an antique delivery wagon that had been left outdoors as an ornament. I was able to reuse some of the wheels and wooden parts of the running gear.

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WEDNESDAY

January 18, 2017

Mowing with Scythes

Mowing with Scythes

Scythes were used extensively in Europe and North America until the early 20th century, after which they went out of favor as farm mechanization took off. However, the scythe is gaining new interest among small farmers in the West who want to mow grass on an acre or two, and could be a useful tool for farmers in the Tropics who do not have the resources to buy expensive mowing equipment.

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THURSDAY

January 12, 2017

Barnyard Manure
from

Barnyard Manure

The amount of manure produced must be considered in planning a cropping system for a farm. If one wishes to manure one-fifth of the land every year with 10 tons per acre, there would have to be provided two tons per year for each acre of the farm. This would require about one cow or horse, or equivalent, for each six acres of land.

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FRIDAY

January 13, 2017

Rebuilding the New Idea Manure Spreader

Rebuilding the New Idea Manure Spreader

To select a Model 8, 10 or 10A for rebuilding, if you have a few to choose from – All New Idea spreaders have the raised words New Idea, Coldwater, Ohio on the bull gear. The No. 8 is being rebuilt in many areas due to the shortage of 10A’s and because they are still very popular. The 10A is the most recent of the spreaders and all three can be rebuilt. The 10 and 10A are the most popular for rebuilding as parts are available for putting these spreaders back into use.

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Central Oregon Food and Farms

Central Oregon Food and Farms

Who is growing food in the high desert? How can you find it? And how can you contribute to creating a vibrant local food community in Central Oregon? Find out here! By consuming more Central Oregon grown food we keep money in our region, support local businesses, and have delicious, fresh food to eat. This video is funded by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and produced by the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance, and Joshua Miller with joshuamiller.tv. For more info visit hdffa.org

News & Weather

Letters

  • Cheval de Merens Revisited

    In the Fall ’97 issue of SFJ you printed an article on the Cheval de Merens, the all black horse of the French Pyrenees. I was immediately obsessed by their beautiful stature, a very strong draft-type-looking horse with powerful legs ...

  • Black Walnuts All ‘Round

    Dear Lynn, In the Summer 2014 SFJ there is an article by Glenn Dahlem about the black walnut (p. 62). If I may, there are a few additions I would like to make regarding using black walnuts. First, the harvesting. From ...

  • Keep ‘Em Coming

    Super magazine, Lynn and Kristi!! I love the content, and I can’t wait for the next issue in my mailbox. My best to you. Bob Langness Broomfield, CO

  • A Large Part

    Mr Miller – My name is George Bristol. I served for 38 years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. I retired in August 2013 as a Colonel and am still working in special operations overseas. I am writing ...

Upcoming Events

Feb
2
Thu
Organicology: The Study of a Sustainable Food Future @ Hilton Portland & Executive Tower
Feb 2 – Feb 4 all-day
Feb
6
Mon
11th Annual Local Food Connection: Protecting Farmland for Local Food’s Sake @ Lane Community College Center for Meeting & Learning
Feb 6 all-day
Feb
9
Thu
OEFFA Conference 2017 – Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow @ Dayton Convention Center
Feb 9 – Feb 11 all-day
Feb
18
Sat
Oregon Small Farms Conference @ OSU LaSells Stewart Center
Feb 18 all-day
Mar
15
Wed
Public Auction – Horsedrawn Farm Machinery, Antiques, Collectibles
Mar 15 all-day

Weights & Measures

Easy Estimates

BEST SIZE FOR SILOS

The average silo is about 12 feet in diameter and 32 feet high. A silo 12 feet by 32 feet will hold about 75 tons of silage – 34 feet high about 80 tons – 36 feet high about 87 tons – 38 feet high about 94 tons – 40 feet high about 101 tons. It is better to build two small silos than one large one.

TO MEASURE EAR CORN IN CRIB

Determine the number of cubic feet and multiply by 4: then divide by 10. Most corn in cribs is figured by this rule. However, if the cobs are well filled and corn sound and dry, divide by 9. If cobs are not well filled or if corn is damp, divide by 11.

TO MEASURE CORN IN BINS

To find the number of bushels of grain in a bin, multiply length by the width by the height, thus ascertaining the number of cubic feet and deduct one-fifth. For instance, a bin containing 10 cubic feet will hold 8 bushels of grain, 8 being the four-fifths of 10.

CAPACITY OF BOXES, BINS, ETC.

A box four feet eight inches long, by two feet four inches wide and two feet four inches deep will contain twenty bushels.

A box twenty-four inches long by sixteen inches wide and twenty-eight inches deep will contain a barrel.

A box twenty-six inches long and fifteen and one-half inches wide by eight inches deep will hold a bushel.

A box twelve inches long by eleven and one-half inches wide and nine inches deep will contain a half-bushel.

TO ESTIMATE NUMBER OF TONS OF HAY

In Square or Oblong Stacks

Multiply the length in feet by the width in feet and this figure by one-half the height. Divide the result by 300.

In Round Stacks

Square the distance around the stack in yards. Multiply this by 4 times the height in yards. Point off two places from the right and divide the remainder by 20.

My Small Kitchen with Kristi Gilman-Miller

Applesauce Biscuits

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp cold shortening
  • 1/2 cup tart applesauce
  • 1/4 cup thick sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated American cheese

Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt together.

Cut in shortening.

Combine egg, applesauce and sour cream.

Add to sifted dry ingredients, mix quickly, turn out onto a floured board and knead lightly for a few seconds.

Roll out to 1/2-inch thickness.

Cut into 2 inch biscuits and place on baking sheet sprinkled with grated cheese. Bake in hot oven (400 degrees F) 15 minutes.

Spotlight On: Livestock

Ask A Teamster Driving

Ask A Teamster: Driving

I have been questioned (even criticized) about my slow, gentle, repetitious approach “taking too much time” and all the little steps being unnecessary when one can simply “hitch ‘em tied back to a well-broke horse they can’t drag around, and just let ‘em figure it out on their own.” I try to give horses the same consideration I would like if someone was teaching me how to do something new and strange.

Ask A Teamster Ten Common Wrecks With Driving Horses

Ask A Teamster: Ten Common Wrecks with Driving Horses

One of the things I’ve learned over time is that the truly great teamsters rarely – if ever – have upset horses, close calls, mishaps or wrecks, while the less meticulous horsemen often do. Even though it may take a few minutes longer, the master teamsters constantly follow a series of seemingly minute, endlessly detailed, but always wise safety tips. Here are 10 of them:

Changing of Seasons

LittleField Notes: Changing of Seasons

by:
from issue:

We are blessed who are active participants in the life of soil and weather, crops and critters, living a life grounded in seasonal change. This talk of human connection to land and season is not just the rambling romantic musing of an agrarian ideologue. It is rather the result of participating in the deeply vital vocation that is farming and knowing its fruits first hand.

Mini Horse Haying

Mini Horse Haying

by:
from issue:

The first mini I bought was a three year old gelding named Casper. He taught me a lot about what a 38 inch mini could do just by driving me around the neighborhood. He didn’t cover the miles fast, but he did get me there! It wasn’t long before several more 38 inch tall minis found their way home.

Boer Goats

Boer Goats

by:
from issue:

The introduction of the Boer Goat has stirred up a lot of interest in all sectors of agriculture. The demand for goat meat exceeds the supply; goat meat is the most consumed meat in the world. One of the main points about South African Boer Goats is that out of all meat goat breeds the Boer is the top meat producer whereas in the cattle business you have over 100 breeds of beef cattle that all compete for the beef dollar.

The Milk and Human Kindness Part 1

The Milk and Human Kindness

by:
from issue:

I know what it’s like to be trying to find one’s way learning skills without a much needed teacher or experienced advisor. I made a lot of cheese for the pigs and chickens in the beginning and shed many a tear. I want you to know that the skills you will need are within your reach, and that I will spell it all out for you as best I can. I hope it’s the next best thing to welcoming you personally at my kitchen door and actually getting to work together.

Walsh No Buckle Harness

from issue:

When first you become familiar with North American working harness you might come to the erroneous conclusion that, except for minor style variations, all harnesses are much the same. While quality and material issues are accounting for substantive differences in the modern harness, there were also interesting and important variations back in the early twentieth century which many of us today either have forgotten or never knew about. Perhaps the most significant example is the Walsh No Buckle Harness.

Fjordworks: Zen and the Art of Training the Novice Teamster

Fjordworks: Zen and the Art of Training the Novice Teamster

The first step to a successful training session is to decide ahead of time what it is you wish to accomplish with your horse. In the wild the horses in a band require the strength of a lead horse. Your horse needs you to be that strong leader, but she can’t follow you if you don’t know where you want to go.

The Milk and Human Kindness Caring For The Pregnant Cow

The Milk and Human Kindness: Caring for the Pregnant Cow

by:
from issue:

Good cheese comes from happy milk and happy milk comes from contented cows. So for goodness sake, for the sake of goodness in our farming ways we need to keep contentment, happiness and harmony as primary principles of animal husbandry. The practical manifestations of our love and appreciation are what make a small farm. Above and beyond the significant requirements of housing, feed and water is the care of your cow’s emotional life, provide for her own fulfillment. Let her raise her calf!

New York Organic Grazing Dairy

New York Organic Grazing Dairy

by:
from issue:

The cows have fresh pasture after every milking — twice daily. They are also sometimes moved during the day — if I have miscalculated grazing needs. The goal should be to always have well fed cows. Cows coming in hungry, wolfing down their grain, are a sign of poor grazing management.

Work Horse Handbook

The Work Horse Handbook

The decision to depend on horses or mules in harness for farm work, logging, or highway work is an important one and should not be taken lightly. Aside from romantic notions of involvement in a picturesque scene, most of the considerations are serious.

Hand Plucking Poultry

Hand Plucking Poultry

by:
from issue:

I confess that I am cold-hearted and cheap. Though I love raising poultry, I hate spending time and money anywhere but on my little farm. So I process at home. If you are only raising a few birds for yourself, say 25 or 30 at a time, I recommend having a party and doing it all by hand.

Ask A Teamster Round Pen Training

Ask A Teamster: Round Pen Training

When we ask a horse to follow us in the round pen we can help him succeed by varying things a bit – changing direction and speed frequently, stopping periodically to reward him with a rub (“a rub” or two, not 100), picking up a foot, playing with his tail/ears/mouth, etc. In other words, working at desensitizing or sensitizing him by simulating things he will experience in the future (trimming and shoeing, crupper, bridle over the ears, bit, etc.).

Ask A Teamster The Bit

Ask A Teamster: The Bit

I work at a farm that uses their team of Percherons to farm, give hayrides, spread manure, etc. One of the horses gets his tongue over the bit. I’ve been told he’s always done this since they had him. I have always thought: #1. You have very little control, and #2. It would hurt! The horse is very well behaved, does his work with his tongue waving in the air, and sometimes gets his tongue back in place, but at that point it’s too late. They use a snaffle bit. Any suggestions?

Praise for Small Oxen

Praise for Small Oxen

by:
from issue:

Every day in the winter, and a fair number of days in the summer, I choose to work with a team of Dexter oxen, just about the smallest breed of cattle in North America. Harv and Mr. Whistling Sweets are three years old, were named on a half-forgotten whim by my young children, and stand 38” tall at the shoulder.

Big Logs at Tarn Hows

Big Logs at Tarn Hows

by:
from issue:

Simon and his elder sons Simon, Keith, and Ian, with their Belgian Ardennes horses, work good timber in bad places. The felling and extraction operation at the Lake District beauty spot of Tarn Hows was done in often appalling weather, and in the full glare of publicity. It must rank as one of the most spectacular pieces of horse logging, or indeed of commercial horse work done in these islands in recent years.

Livestock Guardians

Introducing Your Guard Dog To New Livestock And Other Dogs

When you introduce new animals to an established herd or flock, you should observe your dog’s reactions and behavior for a few days. Since he will be curious anyway, it is a good idea to introduce him to the new animals while he is leashed or to place the new animals in a nearby area.

The Mule Part 1

The Mule – Part 1

by:
from issue:

There is no more useful or willing animal than the Mule. And perhaps there is no other animal so much abused, or so little cared for. Popular opinion of his nature has not been favorable; and he has had to plod and work through life against the prejudices of the ignorant. Still, he has been the great friend of man, in war and in peace serving him well and faithfully. If he could tell man what he most needed it would be kind treatment.

Journal Guide