Monday, September 25, 2006

More hay

I cut about five more acres of hay Wednesday and Thursday evenings, raked it Friday, and baled it up on Saturday.

The baler had a problem with the knotter, but only after the job was almost finished.

I just stopped at that point and arranged to get it fixed.

By 8:30 or so Saturday it was all in the barn.

My bride is a very accomplished hay stacker.

I just drive the truck and make helpful suggestions.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Funky old cedar tree

I was cutting hay last evening and admiring the weird old tree in the back paddock.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Make hay while the sun shines

Well, at least while the rain holds off.

The forecast at midweek last week was for rain Wednesday followed by clear dry weather until at least today.

It did indeed rain Wednesday, but from then it was cloudy most of the day and even a bit threatening in the late afternoons. But here’s the thing, no actual rain.

This set up a rare occurrence here on the A3 farm, hay that gets from the field to the barn without getting rained on at all.

I cut two paddocks, one Thursday evening and one Friday evening.

I raked them both up on Saturday. One was bailed Saturday the other Sunday.

We loaded it all in the barn Sunday, the first batch early, the second batch in the late evening.

It is a bit easier to work outside now that the high temperatures for the day is just in the high eighties.

That’s about ten degrees cooler than it has been. Morning and evenings are really quite pleasant.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Selling eggs

I’ve written here about the fact that a new farmers market is being established near here and my interest in selling eggs there.

Here are some interesting developments on that front.

As is often the case in the Byzantine realm of public regulation selling eggs is both allowed and forbidden.

First the forbidden part, sent to the market manager as the result of official inquiry:

Guidelines for Selling Eggs

1) Facility must have an annual food permit.
2) Facility must have an approved water and sewage system that meets requirement for a food processor. A residential system is not acceptable.
3) Facility must be separate from living quarters.
4) Facility must have hot and cold water of sufficient quantity to meet processing requirements.
5) Processor must use a USDA approved shell egg sanitizer and have the appropriate test kit.
6) Facility must be equipped with equipment to properly wash and air dry the eggs. The temperature of the wash water must always be 10 degrees F or greater than the temperature of the eggs. The temperature of the wash water must be a minimum of 90 degrees F. The temperature of the approved sanitizer must be at least 10 degrees F greater than the wash water temperature. Appropriate records must be maintained for this procedure.
7) Facility must meet all requirements of the Food Code.
8) Facility must have a three compartment sink to wash, rinse, and sanitize equipment.
9) Eggs cannot be sold in cartons. They can only be sold in bulk or in flats.
10) Facility must have cooling capability to store the eggs at 41 degrees F or less.
11) A placard must be displayed at the point of sale stating the following: “These eggs have not been graded as to quality and weight”. The placard must be not smaller than 7 inches by 7 inches in size.
12) The unclassified eggs (washed eggs which have not been graded for size and quality) may have no more checks, dirties, leakers, or loss than those allowed for Florida Grade B eggs.
13) Nest eggs (eggs that have not been washed, sized, or graded for quality) may not be sold to retail outlets, consumers, or public eating places.

1, 2006

What I get from this is that no one has told that Ag Dept folks about chickens. They think eggs come from factories and if you don’t have a factory you can’t sell eggs.

Next comes the allowed part:

Sell the eggs as fertile hatching eggs. Meaning that they are intended to be used to hatch new chicks and are therefore not food. The “guidelines” above then do not apply.

Then of course if someone buys such an egg and then in total disregard for all public health guidelines, actually eats it, the vendor is not involved.

I’m not sure which side of the looking glass this is, but it is your tax dollars at work.

OK so what about that hay

So this is how things turned out with the continuing saga of the back hay field.

I got most of it baled up, all but what would have been 15 or 20 bales + or -.

Out of that most was not feed quality, so I have maybe 50 bales of feed hay and 125 or 150 bales of mulch.

I would have preferred to use it all as feed but I have use for mulch.

On top of that is the fact that this pasture has been under grazed for the past few years, and when it was cut the grass was just left to decompose in the field. The result was a lot of thatch over the turf.

A lot of that thatch wound up in this hay. Getting it up off the field will do very good things for the pasture allowing the rain to soak in better and the soil to breath a bit, all good.

What I intend to do with all that mulch is to spread it in a thick layer over and area I intend to plant in corn and cowpeas next spring. I let it sit that way all winter, probably run chickens over the area. That should kill the grass and retain moisture in the soil so I can plant it no till in the spring, no need to plow or any of that. That’s my theory anyway; we’ll see how it goes.