Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Parker's Report: Week 10

Week 10: Trimming and Tractors
July 11-15, 2016

                  Monday dawned bright, hot, and humid. I arrived at the barn and was greeted by happy nickers from the horses. After putting oats and a hoof supplement in each stall I let the eager horses in the barn to eat. I took Summer and Bonnet and trimmed their hooves once they were done eating. I decided to trim two or three horses every morning over the course of the week. When I was done I let all the horses out and swept out the barn as usual. Then I went and got on my 4555 and took it to the North Alfalfa pasture. The Dallisgrass had gotten thick and a group of cows were about to be put in it. I made four laps around the circumference of the front section before cutting along the fence line in nice straight lines across it. To me the straight lines look really pretty. On Tuesday it was Willie, Ms. Kitty, and Ginger’s turn to have their hooves trimmed. When I has done with them I headed back to the North Alfalfa to finish. This pasture is rather odd to bush hog because there are three sections to it. Each one is divided by a long, deep ditch/ creek surrounded by trees. The cows easily pass from section to section but there is no place to cross in the tractor. Instead I had to go into the next pasture and circle around to the gate leading into the next section. While I was in the middle segment and cresting the hill, movement from beyond the fence caught my eye. I looked over and a large whitetail buck gracefully soared across the open pasture. He had at least eight thick, velvety points on his antlers and was beautifully broad and muscled. I was in such surprise and awe that I didn’t think to pull out my phone and snap a picture until after he had disappeared into the woods. The sight of such a majestic creature made my day. That afternoon as I was in the back of the pasture a storm blew in. I love watching them build at least once every week. The sky is blue with white clouds everywhere most of the day. Around 2 or so they’ll start creating massive towers with many different nooks and crannies way in the west. As they approach the clouds turn from white to dark gray. The temperature drops to a pleasant cool. Eventually a solid deep blueish, purpleish gray overshadows the land. Refreshing rain begins to fall. That Tuesday a light sprinkle was all I received in the pasture that I was in. I was close to finishing so I opted to push through it. However, I kept a close eye on the sky because it was darker than normal and I could see lightning around me in the distance. I completed bush hogging the North Alfalfa without incident and called it a day. On Wednesday, SisterBear, Bubbles, and Mona all had their turn to have their hooves trimmed. Sister made it very clear that she did not appreciate being left in her stall longer than normal as there were several piles of fresh manure waiting for me when I finished. When I finished cleaning the stalls and sweeping, I moved my bush hog across the farm to the back of the lane. I cut the front portion next to the road before moving around behind the creek to the back part. To my surprise it had already been clipped. I checked the next pasture over (the Mary Alice) as it was next on the list. It had been bush hogged as well so I moved to the back of the lane. It was already late in the day but I had just enough time to make my four rounds around the perimeter. That set me up perfectly for the next day. Once I trimmed Wes, Buddy, and Dixie I was able to cut in straight lines parallel to the long fence side. This pasture was a challenge because in some places the grass was so short I couldn’t see where I had already passed over. There were several instances where I thought I was cutting along the right line and would suddenly realize that I was passing over a place I had already been. Despite the challenge, the pasture was completed and looked nice according to my specifications. It reminded me of a freshly vacuumed carpet. Friday was full of lots of odd jobs. I finished trimming my last three horses: Wanda, Sam, and Trudy. (Trudy is doing excellent by the way. You can’t even tell she had an abscess unless you know where to look.) I mucked stalls and took special care in sweeping since it was the weekend. I then bush hogged the old Brahman bull pasture and the cow trap next to the North Alfalfa pasture. When those were finished I took my bush hog and tractor back to the shop and cleaned them off. Mr. Mike gave me a life back to my truck and we talked about irrigation. He showed me the reports that the soil moisture sensors were sending to his phone. He also informed me about several of the projects going on on the farm concerning new technology and how to best utilize the water that they have to produce the most crops that they can. Crops require different amounts of water at different times in their life cycle. Corn’s water requirements are pretty well known. However, soybean’s are not known as well. I ended the day by washing off Seth’s truck and cleaning out all the mud from the inside. Some visitors were in town and while touring the farm got caught in a heavy rain the night before. Needless to say, things were very muddy. It was worth it though as the farm received between 2 and 3 inches of rain.

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