Fencing the Grapes

Fencing the Grapes

One morning I woke up to see some deer munching on my grapes. Last year, the deer absolutely destroyed my muscadine crop right as they began ripening. This year, a combination of birds and high winds left us with only enough apples to make a little bit of apple sauce and two cobblers. I was determined to protect the few grapes I have this year and the large number of muscadines from the deer. My mind immediately went to some...

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One Year Anniversary

One Year Anniversary

Today marks my one year anniversary at the farm. It's been a very busy but amazing year with a ton of good lessons along the way. Some days it feels like it's only been a couple of months, other days it feels like I've been here forever. When I moved in, I had a list of projects and to-do items that I already planned out before closing on the farm. Since then, priorities have changed quite a bit. I've done...

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Skid Steer

Skid Steer

One of the items on my to do list is clean up the bank at my parents' property. It's not ideal work for the tractor since it would require raising the bush hog, backing up to the sloped bank, slowly lowering the bush hog without hitting the rocks, raise the bush hog, then pull forward. I had seen hydraulic powered brush cutters that go on the front of skid steers. I decided to look into them to see if I...

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Hay Grapple

Hay Grapple

One of the lessons we learned during our first cutting this year was that there's a labor problem. I decided to fix the labor problem by adding equipment. There's quite a few options for handling square bales, but I was most interested in a hay accumulator/grapple that hooks to the front of a tractor. This would allow us to pick the bales up in the field, load them on a trailer or wagon, then drive them to the barn. Part...

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Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

This was our first time taking up hay on this large a scale, and I learned a lot. Some things we did well, some things could use improvement, and others we did horribly. Carry Scissors In addition to carrying a knife, scissors would be a safer alternative in some situations. When I cut my thumb fixing the knot on the baler, it was caused by using my knife to both pry under the twine and try to cut it. If...

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Finishing First Cutting

Finishing First Cutting

Before we get started, I noticed last week that notifications weren't being sent for new posts, so I apologize. It should just be two articles that were missed, and this should be resolved now. We still had about 18 acres left to bale after the first time we took up hay. The first step was to cut the hay. The whole time I was cutting the hay, the storm was threatening a storm but my luck held out. I got...

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Baler Safety

Baler Safety

The first time we took up hay, I noticed a fairly significant safety concern. The bale chute extension I had made to reach the wagon had sharp metal corners. Since people have to lean over the chute extension while grabbing a bale, I was concerned we might hit a bump and they could fall into the corner. Obviously the hope is that no one falls, but it's still ideal to minimize risks where possible. To accomplish this, I decided to...

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Hay Tedder

Hay Tedder

We learned quite a few lessons from the wet hay. The first was that we need to be testing hay before we bale it. The second was that it needed to be teddered earlier. It's hard to schedule that when you rely on someone else to do that for you, so I started looking for my own tedder. Brand new tedders are outrageously expensive. There aren't a ton of used ones on the market, so it took quite a bit...

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Bird Eggs

Bird Eggs

I don't have a whole lot of time to write articles this week. We're currently finishing up the first cut of hay, so I thought I would share a picture. A bird decided it wanted to lay eggs in one of the hay bales I left on my neighbor's wagon.

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Broken Baler U Joint

Broken Baler U Joint

When taking up hay, we broke the U joints on the baler PTO drive line (unfortunately as soon as we turned it on the first day). An emergency trip to Tractor Supply and some field repairs got us running again. Unfortunately we broke another one at the end of the first day that required another trip to Tractor Supply the next morning. That one got us through the second day, but this one also broke when we were rebaling lose...

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