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3 years ago

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When I first bought my farm we had a really wet year followed by three years of drought. I swore I'd never complain about rain again, and I've kept my word. We've had a fairly wet yet so far and I keep worrying that it could turn off anytime and not come back. So, still, no complaints. Finished setting tobacco yesterday with a lot of help from a lot of friends and neighbors. Got about a half inch of rain on it before I got the setter out of the field. Still haven't planted corn but am hopeful to get it in the next couple of days. Grass is growing well but still no hay on my place yet. I've see a lot rolled around me and I'm getting anxious but the stars haven't aligned just yet. The hogs are enjoying the rain, and cattle are fat. So, while not ideal, as long as the worries stay in the back of my mind and never claw their way to front we'll get along fine. My stifled mare mule is improving, but slowly. Been working her team mate single and she is improving as a single. We've brought several sled loads of shingle bolts out of the woods and I think she's about had enough time on the sled to be ready for the rastus plow. I may see if her and my riding mule can sort things out on the riding cultivator. The riding mule is solid enough to do anything but never gets in a hurry. If she'll tolerate his speed we'll keep the weeds under control, but if she don't want help, whom am I to get in the way of her and the walking cultivator? Shingles are still stacking up. Got a second offer of shingle work if I can find logs so it's got the makings of an interesting summer even if the year is about half over!

Keith L. says 2016-06-03 09:52:18 (CST)

Sounds like a busy time, Jerry! I was curious if you are going to give the Floriana Red corn (not sure of the spelling) a try again this year or if you found a different good kind to try out on your farm?

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2016-06-04 05:38:47 (CST)

I will be planting the Floriani Red on wednesday. I know it's late but, fortunately, it is a short season corn; 100 days, so I think I'll be ok. I decided to go a little bigger with it this year. Last year I only put out a quarter acre and hoped to get enough for seed. This year I bit the bullet and bought enough seed for a full acre. The ground has been ready for quite some time, but has pretty much been mud and too wet to get on to work, and I really didn't want to plant an acre by hand. The rain is supposed to let up here by Monday or Tuesday and the ridge top land drains pretty well. I have the acre of corn there yet to be planted as well as an acre I plan to sow in turnips, beets, and rape for fall pig pasture, and an acre that will be going into buck wheat. Finally get more garden stuff out as well. Glad to know I might have more to eat this year than taters and sweet corn!

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2016-06-06 07:14:32 (CST)

We haven't had 4 consecutive rain free days to make hay. And, ironically, we are still a bit behind in rainfall. And the irony goes on... early warm weather did not promote crop growth because it alternated with frosty nights. Corn is only 4 to 6 inches high and it is already June. The only benefit to the weather was maple syrup. And it was a boon year for that but not many making it. Grass is growing at a fantastic rate. Cattle can't keep up with it in my rotational grazing scheme. Each year is different. Farming isn't easy, is it?

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2016-06-06 08:44:23 (CST)

The weather seems to be one extreme or another, but manages to keep one busy regardless. Do you have a crib for that acre of corn you planted or do you have another way of storing post-harvest?

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2016-06-07 05:07:29 (CST)

Brianl, I don't currently have a crib but I plan to build one this summer. As soon as this shingle project is done, I will be cutting logs to lay up a double log corn crib with a wagon shed between. I put a new roof on the house last year and saved the old tin. I plan to use some of it to roof the corn crib. I plan to build it the old fashion way, up on locust posts set in the ground with pie pans on tops of them to keep out the mice.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2016-06-07 09:15:58 (CST)

Jerry, can you post an image or two when you finish it? I'd like to see your Building a new crib is on my summer agenda. Our current one, that I quickly threw together last year, kept most critters at bay. Until this Spring. The crafty little red squirrels managed to infiltrate. (I think they used power tools.) Now I've gone from "world's smallest corn crib" to "world's largest squirrel feeder."

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2016-06-07 13:22:03 (CST)

Thanks for the chuckle Brian!

Good luck Jerry on your building project. I walked around a very old log corn crib on time just outside of Gatlinburg. It was amazing to see the workmanship, especially the wooden hinges.

Having the double crib with the roof makes a great place to store your wagon or whatever!

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2016-06-07 16:54:36 (CST)

I have pondered the idea that pie pans on top of the posts may not be enough. I figure I can always cover the posts with flashing if necessary. We had a double crib when I was younger and it was a good place to work. We shucked a lot of corn in the hall way, as well as used it for storage. It seems like there is never enough storage space. The old crib on my place was never any good. When I bought the place it had about 50 bushels in it and the floor was rotted out. I sat on a bucket with a red head lamp and shot seven rats in less than an hour the first night. Finally cleared it all out, floored it and now use it for a chicken house, and it's barely fit for that. In reality, I could probably put my first years corn in barrels and be as well off, but I've always wanted an old log crib. Of course, we also have a log black smith shop on the list of projects too. Not to mention the log cabin we hope to build out the log road from the house. I have a spot picked out on a rise overlooking my creek and near enough to the spring so that I don't have to carry water too far. Plenty of projects and not nearly enough time. Just set tobacco last week and already sharpening hoes and greasing the cultivator. Should have cultivated it today but had a pretty good rain last night and it's still a little damp. I don't think the weeds are gonna wait for the dry though so I may have to just set the shovels shallow and roll on. I don't mind cultivating and I think the mules benefit from it as much as the crop.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2016-06-07 21:12:50 (CST)

They say squirrel makes really good gravy.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2016-06-08 15:06:20 (CST)

It is rather difficult making something critter-proof while simultaneously allowing a crib to have good ventilation. I guess it's impossible to make it completely impervious and one must learn to be happy with simply making it difficult enough that it's not worth the animals' bother.

Speaking of, I was in the barn the other night late. Heard water trickling and saw something running down the wall. No pipes up in the hay mow so I decided late night was not the time to explore a dark hay mow. Next morning found a pile of scat up there and it seems a coon had somehow gotten up in the mow and was then trying to figure out how to get down into the attached coop. No clue how he got up there and fortunately he never made it to his planned dinner, but boarded up every tiny crack anyways. Needless to say, the liquid I heard was not water.

Best of luck with your crib project. May it be safe, sound, and critter-free.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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