Memorial Day and a Birthday!

June 2nd, 2017

Memorial Day weekend is one of our busiest times at the markets. This Friday we spent a few more hours than usual prepping for the markets, making sure each truck was packed correctly, and the freezers were all organized. Friday also happened to be my 30th birthday. It wasn’t the most glamorous way to spend my 30th, but it had to be done.

After working until exhaustion, we woke on Saturday and headed to the markets. Gorgeous weather graced us while we met you all under our tents, and it proved to be a busy, successful day.
Once everyone returned from their locations, we then packed up two more trucks for Sunday’s market in Logan Square. This time we were packing quickly because Nick wanted to at least take me to dinner for my birthday. I was exhausted, and suggested that we just stay in, but he insisted.

We left the farm to leave the kids with my sister, and as I went into their house I was surprised by my whole family popping out around the corner! I was shocked to see that they were there ready to celebrate and relax with me around a fire. It really was the best way to celebrate my 30th.

On Memorial Day, Nick started mowing the first cut of hay. Hay season is his favorite time of year. When he lines up all of the equipment outside, you know there will rarely be a day where you won’t see him in the tractor for awhile.

While Nick was mowing, I was riding around the neighborhood with my Dad, sister and brother-in-law. A car-ride with Dad always includes stories about the history of the neighborhood, and information about farming. If you ever stop at the farm, he will do it to you too, trust me.

This time he had us noticing the differences in specific pastures – green and tall vs. yellow with weeds. He had everyone in the vehicle thinking about ways to build the yellow pastures back up, and discussed why some type of fertilizer may be needed once in awhile after cattle have grazed.

Our cattle only eat grass, and take most of the nutrients within the plants to grow their bodies.  It is important to replace those nutrients that the cattle keep in order to sustain healthy pastures overtime.

The most natural way to do this is to allow pigs, or chickens to graze after the cattle. Pigs and chickens are fed a supplement diet of grain along with the pasture, so their manure provides nutrients that are missing from the cattle’s manure. Some of our fences around the cattle pastures are not set up for pigs; therefore, we collect manure from other fields, and use a spreader to disperse the manure on these pastures in order to fertilize them.

Similar to bringing the manure to the pastures, we can also bring the pastures to the cattle.  Anytime Nick mows something that isn’t fenced in for grazing, he can loosely bale it, and throw it near the cattle’s water source.  They enjoy a fresh treat without having to work too hard for it.

Between grazing the pastures, the loose bales of grass cuttings, and Lucy stopping in from time-to-time with her treats, I’d say our cattle are definitely fed well!

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