Walk About, Repair and Alpacas...
Took some time out today to have a walk about and a look-see at three new hay fields we are bringing online this year; all planted in Clair Timothy. These fields were planted last fall and I was anxious to see if they survived the winter cold. Knock on wood, so far, so good. Below is a pic of timothy coming in the "Bull Pasture".
Next on my walk, I went "across the road" to a couple other fields, starting with the "Orchard Field"...
Then I made my way (on foot) to "Crown Hill". Here is a pic along the way. From a distance, note the green strip at the top. That is timothy growing on Crown Hill.
Working my way to the left from the above view, I continued to hike up - making my way around to a spot above Crown Hill. You can see a divot in the field, that's where the name, "Crown Hill" originates.
And then Crown Hill...
Alleghany County use to be a place where iron ore was mined. Just down the road towards Covington is a spot called Jordan Mines. Potts Creek Runs through it and there are old pictures of a community that once thrived there; houses and buildings on both sides of the creek. On our farm, we occasionally stumble onto a rusty rock that might have been a candidate for an iron furnace back in the day. I encountered such a rock today while out walking on the farm...
When I finished my walk about, I turned my attention to my old Massey Ferguson Model 50 Diesel tractor. It has been plagued with wiring issues and most recently a flat rear tire! With the tire fixed, I spent a goodly amount of time getting the electrical straightened-out and the tractor runs again! Fine machine too. It is a 1962 year make and so am I. Not sure which of us is in better or worse condition...
A bit of trivia. If you look at the hood ornament, you will see three triangles. One with a tractor in it and the other two with "M" and "F" respectively. Harry Ferguson invented the 3 point hitch that is standard equipment on all tractors today. Other manufacturers tried their hitch arrangements, International Harvester had a 2-point Fast Hitch, Allis Chalmers had a some kind of upside down 3-point hitch - I forget the name of it. Case had their Eagle hitch. The Ferguson System, as it was called, eventually won out (with help from Ford) and is the standard today. The three triangles in the MF logo represent the 3-point hitch.
I'm continuing to pull Autumn Olives on the "10" in preparation for a Summer Teff grass field. I'll start fertilizing the timothy fields in a week or two. Fertilizer is generally referred by NPK - Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Pot Ash. The amount of fertilizer we put down is driven by expected yields coupled with soil sample analysis' by Virginia Tech. Typically P and K are put down in the fall. N goes down in the spring and after each cutting.
On another note...
I was contacted by a gentleman who raises Alpacas. I really don't know much about them. We've been totally focused on making horse quality square bales of hay. Higher quality hay raised specifically with the horse in mind has been our niche and for those horse owners that recognize it, it is nice to work with folks that know and value REAL hay quality backed-up by forage testing from Equi-Analytical vs. some Craigslist "horse quality hay" labeled ad. I'm finding that Alpaca owners have special needs/requirements for their hay too. We are not a big farm; my hands touch just about every square bale of hay and sometimes three or four times over. Being smaller allows us agility and a certain attention to what we grow that might be more difficult for a BTO farm. As such, we can pivot and produce focused/quality hay for a special need. I'm interested in investigating a bit of hay for Alpacas. In the photos above, there was some very nice green timothy growing. There were also a lot of brown areas. Until we planted the timothy, everything was brown. Anywhere on this farm we can safely put a tractor, we are going to raise quality hay - but it takes time to develop/reclaim these fields. As we do, we will continue to expand our timothy and teff, and to the extent there is Alpaca interest, we'll peal off some acreage for Alpaca specific hay. If you know someone with Alpacas that needs quality hay, ask them to shoot me an e-mail at FirstQualityHay@icloud.com - I've got questions. For those of you interested in our timothy and teff - it's on the way!!!!
2/26/2018 07:57:59 pm
You should of been a writer among the many other things you do. Enjoyed reading this .....
3/10/2018 01:48:56 pm
Nice looking farm. I had a German Wire Hair years back . He had nearly the same markings as May. Neat dogs.
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