Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I have friends who blog. When they do, they carefully consider each and every word they put on their page, editing and tweaking until they say just what they want, just how they want to say it. If you know anything about grammar, you know I'm not that kind of blogger; just check out that last sentence! No, I'm more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants blogger. I say what I want, do a little proofreading (for typos, mostly) and hit "Post." But that's no surprise to you.

In other areas of my life, however, I do try to do some planning. Our farm, for example, needs some major things done this year. I mentioned some of them last week or so. We were blessed with an unusually large tax refund this year, due to nervous pre-planning based on our change in income over the past two years. We just over-withheld from ourselves.

But I don't want to just rush to Farm and Fleet, buying things without a plan. That's a sure and proven (by us) way to waste at least 40% of our available dollars. So I've been reading and thinking and measuring and organizing my thoughts and our farm, all on paper right now. Today I measured this area;

You saw this area a few days ago, when I posted about all that had to be done around here. It is the "alley" between our compost piles on the left and Alphonse on the right; it ends at our pasture gate. Bess is there to say, "Hi." Alphonse is a silly name we gave to a 10'x20' tent we use to store hay in. Anyway, this area is vile right now. It is soggy and muddy; I was ankle deep in mud this morning when I took hay to the cows. Not just mud; sucking mud. That isn't a vulgarism used to describe it; that's an adjective that describes how it behaves. I've almost lost boots 2-3 times daily in the past week. We have just received so much rain, and it tends to run right through that gate area. On the other side of the gate, the cows are standing in mud that reaches a little more than 3' over the tops of their hooves. Now, April came from a farm that was much worse. But I don't like this on my farm. So I am looking for solutions. That area is about 40'x60'. I plan to move the compost piles over to the left, and Alphonse over to the other side of our barn, which is just past it to the right in the picture. When that's done, I am thinking about having a truckload of gravel dropped. So I was measuring to have an idea of how much I would need so I could figure the cost. I'm also thinking of putting something over the gravel; pea gravel, or barn lime, that the animals could walk on. Then I could fence that small area, and, on days when they can't be out in the pasture for whatever reason, they might have a dry place in the sun (the sun will shine on there someday.) They already have a place to stand in the shade. (If you have your own place, maybe you could suggest a surface for me.)

I probably shouldn't have let you know that I sometimes plan things. You might expect better posts. Well, don't have high expectations. That way you're never disappointed.

(Speaking of planning and expectations, I expect that next week I'll be announcing our updated and revamped farm website. John has been spending lots of time designing our website; I should say, redesigning. It's been there for a while, but it's gotten so old and stale, mostly because it didn't do all we wanted it to in the first place. So stay tuned for that.)


Elephantschild said...

I don't suppose there's any way to build a small berm or a ditch elsewhere to help avoid the water there in the first place?

I'd hate to see a huge pile of freshly-spread gravel get washed into the yard during a bad rainstorm.

Mossback Meadow said...

Melody - I totally understand cow mud.

I'm thinking that the gravel wouldn't work, because as soon as they track mud and drop manure on it, it disappears and you're back in the same boat ( our barn floor and driveway are gravel and we have spots where this has happened). I think it's going to have be to concrete that you can scrape off with a big grain shovel.
Make sure the concrete is scored or textured so it doesn't get slippery. You don't need a cow with a broken leg on top of everything else.