February Farm News

Jerry Kitt

Northern Hawk Owl.

How could such a sweet little bird instill terror in a human? We’ve been seeing quite of few of these medium sized owls lately, always a treat. Even on bright sunny days like the day we were out fencing, to make sure our electric fence was up and running.

That’s when I pointed up and said, “Look, a Hawk Owl!”

That’s also the time my friend turned and looked, and touched the electric wire. It was working. The 9000 volt shock only lasted 3/10,000 of a second but the memory of it and the hawk owl will last a long time.

It was around 1981 when I got my first John Deere 4020 tractor. 92 hp., with a front end loader, that tractor was the link between my projects and my ability.

Farms are full of projects and those machines work almost every day. BS’ing with my mechanic he said “there’s a weak point in those engines.” “It’s serious, if it failed you’d have to rebuild the whole engine.” Having run those tractors for so many years I didn’t worry too much about some “weak point”. One week later when I was hauling hay bales my engine quit.

Sure enough, it was “the weak point” he had mentioned.

After 36 years of running the same tractors I hear about a weak point for the first time and then my tractor succumbs a week later? Just not too sure what to think about my mechanic anymore but next time I’ll be sure to pay attention to whatever he tells me.

Tough decisions ahead. I think I might get out of bison.

I started in 1992 with six and since then the herd has just kept growing. What I’ve noticed is that the quality of the pastures is declining which directly reflects on the quality of the soil.

I’ve tried rotationally grazing the bison to allow better rest periods for the plants to recover but ended up spending too much time fixing fences. Bison prices are high now and although I have lots of market for bison, I just don’t have enough grass to feed them. Besides, the greatest asset we have on this farm (and the earth) is our soil.

Must have been a bit of hanky panky going on in the cow pasture. July 1st is the day we normally introduce our bull to the cows. After nine months of pregnancy the first calves would start to appear in early April.

Not sure what happened. No questions asked. Mother and son are doing well.